Providing the perfect space for house rabbits - what we are looking for when you apply to adopt
A pair of standard sized rabbits will require a minimum floor space of 60ft², this is most commonly visualised as 6ft x 10ft or 2mx3m. This can be achieved in three different ways, you could create a dedicated rabbit room, partition part of a room using dividers or allow your rabbits to roam freely around your home. Each has it's own pro's and con's and your choice will depend on your home, your circumstances and your rabbits.
Here's a lovely dedicated rabbit room which provides a suitable safe space for the rabbits to exercise and relax
Here's a great example of a room divider, keeping house rabbits safe when on one is home, but still providing plenty of space for them to run around and play whenever they want to.
What to understand why we have minimum housing requirements? Read our blog article
Many people are surprised by just how big the enclosure needs to be. After all, pet shops don't sell housing to meet these requirements, so why do we insist on 60ft²? This is based on peer reviewed research based around welfare and carried out by leading universities across the UK. 60ft² allows rabbits to display natural behaviour which meets the 5 freedoms included within the current animal welfare act. Leading welfare organisations such as The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund and the PDSA also recommend a minimum of 60ft².
It's very important to provide a safe space for rabbits, especially if they are allowed to roam freely around the house.
What are we looking for:
House Plants - many house plants are poisonous to rabbits, but they can still have a nibble regardless. Plants need to be kept well out of reach or removed from the space entirely.
Electric Cables - known as spicy hay, rabbits are drawn to chew on electric cables. To our rabbits, these resemble roots which would be naturally encountered in the wild when digging their burrows. Cables need to be protected and the best way to achieve this is via trunking which can be easily purchased and easily installed.
Protection from other pets - house rabbits need to be kept safe from other pets such as cats and dogs. Keeping them in separate rooms or being able to close a door to separate them when no one is home.
Here's one of our hutch hay feeders. It's a large holed letter box cage, with a cat litter tray underneath.
Here's one of our run hay feeders. It's a wire hanging basket with a plastic storage box underneath.
Hay feeders - hay is the most important part of a rabbit's diet. It's vitally important to provide rabbits with 24/7 access to clean fresh hay, to achieve this suitable hay feeders are essential. Once again this doesn't have to cost a fortune, there are some lovely hay rack litter tray combos, but a wire hanging basket and a plastic storage box will do the same job for a fraction of the cost. It's important to place a litter tray under a hay feeder as rabbits love to eat while they poop! At least two separate feeders should be offered.
Water bowl - bottles are incredibly difficult for a rabbit to drink from. Research shows that rabbits provided with a water bowl will drink more and therefore stay better hydrated, compared to rabbits with a water bottle.
If rabbits are free roam they still need to be provided with a dedicated area for snoozing, eating and provided with a toilet. All rabbits need to be provided with a number of areas to retreat and feel safe.
Here's a perfect example of providing an area for free-roaming house rabbits
Items to hop in, over, under and through - these need to be provided an empty enclosure is as exciting to rabbits as a house with just a bed and bathroom would be to us! Hooded cat litter trays, non-collapsible step stools, fabric and plastic tunnels all make great enrichment items. There are also some amazing items available on the internet to help provide an interesting environment.
Chew, throw and play - our rabbits love toddlers stacking cups, we hide treats between the cups for the bunnies to find. They love plastic balls with bells which they can pick up and throw. Willow toys are also a firm favourite to be chewed and thrown. Why not save the cardboard inserts in your loo rolls and stuff them with dried herbs and forage to help keep your rabbits amused. Enrichment doesn't have to be expensive, but it's very important!
Here's a lovely rabbit room full of things to keep the rabbits entertained.