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Housing

The hutch

  • Rabbits need a roomy hutch. Typical dimensions for a small-to-medium-sized rabbit are 150 centimetres × 60 centimetres × 60 centimetres high.
  • One-third of the hutch should be enclosed to provide warm, draught-free sleeping quarters. The remaining two-thirds should be a run covered with strong mesh allowing light and ventilation.
  • Hutches should be large enough to allow free movement, be easy to clean, and have no rough edges. As both wire and solid flooring may give rabbits sore hocks, use washable plastic floors or lay wood shavings or hay over a solid floor.
  • Rabbits may be housed indoors or outdoors. Their ideal temperature range is 18–28°C. If temperatures rise above 27–30°C, they are susceptible to heatstroke.
  • Access to both the sleeping quarters and the run is needed, especially for cleaning, and many hutches have a hinged roof for this purpose. Catches on these should be strong and secure. Consider security needs both during and outside the hours for an ECE centre and a school.

Outdoor hutches

  • An outdoor hutch should have a sloping, waterproof roof that overhangs the sides. The cladding of the sleeping quarters should also be waterproof.
  • Outdoor housing should give protection from direct sunlight. In temperatures below 18°C, provide the hutch with insulating material or heat.
  • For protection from predators (dogs/cats), the hutch should be strongly constructed with welded mesh and/or be elevated on stilts.
  • The door to the sleeping quarters should be protected from wind and rain to ensure that both the rabbit and its bedding stay warm and dry.

Bedding

  • The sleeping area should have a layer of litter about 5 centimetres deep. Litter materials can include kitty litter, untreated sawdust, and wood shavings. Cover the litter with a deep layer of straw or shredded paper. This provides warmth and insulation and a chance for the rabbit to burrow and hide.
  • Cover the floor in the run with litter also.
  • For ease of cleaning, both compartments may be lined with newspaper, which will absorb a lot of the urine.

Cleaning

  • Good hygienic practices reduce unpleasant smells and the risk of disease. Cleaning materials include rubber gloves, a scrubbing brush, a cloth, dishwashing detergent, and water.
  • Rabbits tend to use one area to urinate. Clean this area daily.
  • The sleeping quarters and run should be cleaned twice a week. If cages are dirty, irritants such as ammonia, moisture, and bacteria may rise to harmful levels, causing illness.
  • Each month, wipe all the hutch surfaces with a weak bleach solution (10–20 millilitres of bleach per litre of water). Rinse them well and dry them.
  • Every day, wash the water bottles and tubes with detergent and water. Rinse them well. Once a week, disinfect the bottles and tubes with the bleach solution, soaking them for fifteen minutes. Rinse them well and dry them.

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