Rabbits are sociable animals that do not like to live alone but should at best be kept in groups with several conspecifics. They like to cuddle and need to exercise together by chasing each other. In most cases, however, such an attitude cannot be enforced. This is especially the case if the rabbits are kept indoors or in an apartment. Keeping them in the garden, on the other hand, leaves room for your own ideas and large enclosures.
However, a rabbit not only needs a conspecific as a friend but also space. This is not just related to the cage itself, but also to the fact that rabbits are prey animals that need walking to stay healthy and to be cared for in a species-appropriate manner. For this reason, it is best if the animals can either move freely in the apartment or at least in a room all day, or if they are provided with a large run outside in the garden.
In this article, we will inform you about the types of cages for rabbits and what you should pay attention to.
Small but nice?
As already mentioned, rabbits need space, and ideally as much of it as possible. The typical rectangular-shaped rabbit cages found online. Anyone who cannot offer their rabbits enough space to move freely should refrain from keeping rabbits out of love for the animals. Because even the cute long-eared ones want to live out their natural behavioral repertoire, run and jump and be able to satisfy their natural needs. Because a cage alone with some straw and hay is not enough, the furnishings must also have space. Furthermore, rabbits like to run and jump a lot. For this reason, it is important that the home is at least big enough for the animals to make a big leap without going straight to the fence.
The interior also determines the size of the cage
Even if rabbits should not live alone, the fur noses always need their own sleeping cave or house that belongs only to them. Depending on how many rabbits are now kept together, the cage must be large enough to set up a hut for each animal. However, that was by no means everything that makes a good cage. To ensure that there are no disputes when eating, you should also make sure that you set up separate feeding areas and separate toilets. Likewise, the toys for variety should not be missing under any circumstances and despite the facility, it is important that the animals still have enough space to move freely. After a brief overview of the most important criteria, it quickly becomes clear that the standard wire cages cannot meet the requirements for species-appropriate rabbit husbandry under any circumstances. For this reason, it is advisable to only offer these cages as sleeping or quarantine places and not to use them as a permanent solution.
The important setup for the rabbit cage:
- a sleeping place for each rabbit;
- Feeding place for each rabbit;
- Toilet for each rabbit;
- drinking opportunity.
Rabbits need more space than expected
IMPORTANT: You should calculate 2 m² of floor space per rabbit, although experts recommend even providing 3 m² for larger breeds!!
In such a situation, many people who want to keep rabbits often ask themselves why such small animals should need so much space. If you compare the typical cage housing with the available space of a prison inmate, these people quickly get their eyes opened. A person in prison has little space, a bed, a toilet, a chair, and a table for eating. Sometimes there are also two beds if a cell neighbor lives in the cell. The standard rabbit cage sold at typical pet stores also usually has a bed, a food corner, and a toilet area. If you are lucky, another floor. So there are a lot of similarities to be found. And let’s be honest, nobody wants to treat their darling like a prisoner, because this attitude has little to do with true animal lovers. So a rabbit, like us, has the right to a nice home in which to develop.
Many animal welfare organizations advise rabbit owners to use a 140 x 70 cm rabbit cage for a pair as a minimum. However, this is mainly because most pet shops hardly have any larger ones in their range. However, if you take a closer look at the animals that live in these cages, you quickly realize that it is definitely not a species-appropriate attitude.
Important to know: A rabbit moves forward by jumping and hopping. A normal cage, therefore, does not offer you the opportunity to make a hop, but severely restricts the animals, which means that they cannot follow their natural instincts.
What types of cages are there and what is possible?
There are different rabbit cages, which offer you as a keeper different options. This not only applies to the furnishings, but also to the space for the animals.
Let’s first come to the keeping options in the house or apartment:
A lattice cage is a version that animal lovers, who of course strive for species-appropriate rabbit husbandry, do not like. Wire cages are usually rectangular and consist of a plastic tub surrounded by bars. Unfortunately, these are available in many sizes, but they are always too small. However, if you prefer such a lattice cage, you can still give your rabbit more space by placing two cages on top of each other and connecting them together so that an additional level is added and the rabbits have more space. Of course, this is still not sufficient, but it is better than a single cage alone.
In order to build a connection between the two cages, the roof of the lower cage must be completely removed so that the upper one can be placed on top. The plastic tub sinks in slightly, but this ensures a stable stand. An opening in the floor of the second cage represents the passage. It is now important to ensure that the edges of the passage are not too sharp and the animals cannot injure themselves. A ramp now offers the ideal “staircase” to the upper floor.
It is important with the lattice cages that you offer the rabbits the opportunity to let off steam in the outlet, to run and jump every day. The duration of exercise should ideally last the whole day.
There are also practical lattice enclosures. As the name already suggests, these variants are an enclosure that is delimited with a lattice fence. The great thing about these enclosures is the fact that they are much larger than the normal wire cages and above a certain height, which is at least 100 cm, they can also be left open at the top. Depending on how much space is available, the enclosures can be enlarged so that the animals have plenty of space and the interior design is not neglected. Nevertheless, it is advisable to allow the rabbits to run around from time to time so that they can run and do hooks properly.
The rabbit’s room
There are now many rabbit friends who provide their animals with a complete room. If a room in the house is free and not needed, it can be converted into a real rabbit paradise and is guaranteed to offer plenty of space to run, hop and rest. But be careful, rabbits like to nibble on everything that comes their way. Therefore, it is advisable to separate, for example, the walls of the room.
Most rabbits use a toilet, so nothing would stand in the way of long-term free keeping in the apartment. If you train the animals, the apartment stays free of feces and urine. However, if you want to offer your darlings this great opportunity, you should set them up in a corner where they can retreat to sleep or eat. It is also important to make the apartment “rabbit-proof”. Because the little rodents like to eat furniture or cables.
The posture in the garden
Rabbits do not have to be kept in the house or apartment compulsively. Keeping them in the garden is also no problem for animals that are used to it and is even healthier and more natural. With this attitude, it is important to observe a few criteria.
Animals need lots of straw and a place to warm themselves, especially during the cold months. Suitable for this are, for example, houses or stables made of wood, which do not let the cold ground through so extremely. The rabbits will not usually freeze because they have winter fur, an extra layer of fat, and the protection of the straw. When keeping them outside, it is also important not only to ensure that the rabbits can warm themselves but also to have a place that is completely protected from rain and moisture. This place should also be fed.
Rabbits should be accustomed to being kept outdoors in spring when the ground frost is permanently gone. Under no circumstances should they simply be put outside in the winter, as the winter coat forms in the fall, so indoor rabbits do not have it, or at least do not develop it as much as it should. For this reason, affected animals are not adequately protected from the cold and often suffer from severe colds, severe weight loss, and, in the worst case, can even freeze to death.
Many rabbit owners who want to keep their animals in the garden use the normal lattice enclosures, which can be built by erecting a lattice fence and are variable in size. This is a great idea because the animals can follow their natural instincts and satisfy their own needs. Here they can dig, jump and run as much as they want. But be careful. It is now important to ensure that there is also a roof. Unfortunately, there are also dangers lurking from above in the form of birds of prey or wild animals that can climb and go over the fence. You also have to make sure that the rabbits don’t dig under the fence.
Many rabbit owners keep their animals in a normal hutch. This is large enough and offers the animals plenty of space to run. But be careful, there are always ways to escape. Before the rabbits can move in, everything should be secured and it is also important to keep a closer eye on the risk of injury. Also make sure that the barn is not too dark, but has enough daylight to offer.
In addition to the purchased wooden cage, there is of course also the possibility to get creative and build a wooden cage that does the animals justice. This method is not only cheap but also versatile. So you have the opportunity to create a species-appropriate space for the animals.
|mesh cage||almost escape-proof
several lattice cages can be combined with each other
Change of location easily possible
cheap to buy
|way too small
Rabbits cannot move freely
comparable to the life of a prisoner
|lattice enclosure||offers a lot of space (if it is built big enough)
set up quickly
can be set up individually
from a height of approx. 100 cm safe from escaping (adjust height to rabbit size)
space for furnishings
Rabbits can move and jump freely
Conspecifics can avoid each other
natural needs are mostly met
|Zimmer||a lot of space
Animals can avoid each other
Rabbits can run and jump a lot
Space enough for a lot of equipment
|Rabbits like to eat the walls or the carpet|
offers a lot of space
Rabbits can dig
Space for several conspecifics
Space for lots of furniture
|often complicated in construction
must be secured from above
ATTENTION: Rabbits like to dig under
needs lots of space
many criteria have to be considered
|Stall||lots of space
warm in winter
escape-proof safe from other dangers (fox, etc.)
large enough for several conspecifics
enough space for a species-appropriate facility
|must be fully secured
some stables are too dark
|wooden cage||DIY possible
if you build it yourself, great size is possible
Wood is good material
Building your own is cheap and easy
|Store-bought cages are often too small
expensive if you buy them
Rabbits like to eat the wood
Unfortunately, keeping rabbits is often underestimated and it is not an easy task to offer the animals species-appropriate housing. However, this is important for the well-being of the rabbits and their health. Always compare the keeping of the animals with your very own requirements and only decide in favor of such a creature if you can offer it a species-appropriate life.