Rabbits make good house pets and can be easily litter trained, but they love to chew and can be very destructive to furniture and carpets. It is best to supervise your rabbit whilst loose in the house and have a secure cage or pen to keep him in when you are out and at night. Outside rabbits may be housed in a hutch, but should always have access to a grassed run. Cages should be as large as possible and allow the rabbit to stand up fully on its hind legs and perform at least three consecutive hops. The minimum size required is 6 x 2 x 2ft with 8ft run. The hutch should be divided into an enclosed sleeping area where the rabbit can hide and a larger area for daytime use. House rabbits can be kept on soft towels, or shredded paper. Outside rabbits may be kept on wood shavings or straw. However, these substrates may be dusty and contain mould spores, which can predispose your rabbit to developing respiratory problems - high quality substrates should always be used to prevent this.
How do I litter train my rabbit?
Rabbits can be litter trained relatively easily. Initially the rabbit should be kept in a small area (either a cage or a blocked off area of a room) and a litter box placed in a corner that the rabbit has already used to soil. The sides of the litter box must be low enough so that your rabbit can get in and out easily. Newspaper or paper-based litter is best and avoid using cat Fuller’s earth products, these may be harmful if eaten. It may help to put some droppings in the litter box as well to encourage your rabbit to use it.
How often should I clean my rabbit out?
It is essential, particularly if it is outdoors in the summer, that your rabbit is kept as clean as possible. You should check it twice daily, especially in the summer, for any signs of matted droppings or maggots around its rear end. Clean out the hutch at least twice weekly and, if possible, remove any urine soaked bedding each day. The hutch may be cleaned with a dilute disinfectant.
What temperature should my rabbit be kept at?
Indoor rabbits should be kept in the coolest and least humid part of the house. The optimum room temperature range for rabbits is 60-70°F (15-21°C). If environmental temperature rises above 80°F (27°C), heat stroke will occur. Outdoor rabbits should have access to shade and be free from draughts, wind and driving rain. They should also be protected from dogs, cats and predators. Plenty of straw bedding in the winter and covering the front of the cage with a blanket at night will prevent your rabbit from getting hypothermia. Water bowls and bottles should be changed daily in the winter as they may freeze.