What do we need to consider when choosing a rabbit run?
The most important thing when petting a rabbit (or any other animal) is to find all resources needed to assure him a basic comfort where appropriate food and safety are upheld. He really needs it. In most cases, being organized and informed is better than buying an expensive rabbit run and not providing solutions to his real needs.
We strongly advise you to keep your pet rabbit indoors. They are safer and happier in this environment, where they can be closer to the family, where you are able to observe his health closely. Stress has such an enormous impact on a rabbit’s lifespan.
What do you need? In the first place, if you are keeping your rabbit outdoors than we would not recommend an open bottom on the grass. The rooftop also needs to be really well fixed. If not they will be able to burrow away. Predators are sometimes faster and smarter than we may think. Weasels will dig under and get inside in seconds.
In the second place, besides a secure rooftop and floor, your rabbit needs a strong mesh (no larger than 1 inch), and a sturdy frame. They also need toys, a place to hide, a shade or a sheltered area to be protected from the sun or rain.
In the hutch (the shelter area or the living space) the rabbit should be able to complete 3 – 4 consecutive hops. So, it should measure at least 12 square feet (6ft x 2ft x 2ft). On the other side, the rabbit run should measure 32 square feet (8ft x 4ft x 4ft) according to the Animal Welfare Act.
What options do we have when it comes to rabbit runs?
Any Puppy Pen or Metal Run needs to be firmly put together. The top and the bottom needs to be secure. The Apex run is very easy to use but it’s not that cheap and sometimes it’s too small for a rabbit to stand up easily.
A rabbit run made of mesh and wood it’s easy to build and very nice to have. It’s the most secure but also a lot of fun for your rabbit to have. Aviary is also a nice one to have. You can enter it and have some moments with your rabbit. You don’t need to grab him outside like you would normally do with a regular rabbit run.
Another solution, if you want to house your rabbit outside, can be turning an old piece of furniture into a hutch. It’s a cheaper and practical solution). Or, even better, to set up a small room for your bunny. If you live in a house there is a big possibility that you have a room you don’t really use.
The cage or the rabbit run with wire bottoms are very stressful for rabbits. There is a big probability that they can cause sore feet. Besides that, rabbit runs should be secure from the bottom and top so he doesn’t burrow away.
Here are some practical solutions:
- Wire mesh on grass can be a good solution but sometimes, when the grass is gone you need to find other solutions.
- You can place the rabbit run on concrete.
- You can either leave it like this or place some plastic covers, hay, straw or safe wood chips.
- Cedarwood chips/shavings and pine wood chips/shavings are not good for rabbits.
- Newspaper can get pretty messy. Cleaning it may take some time but this way you will avoid sore feet.
- You can also cover it with a solid surface. We recommend harder plywood or pressed plywood sawdust (the best wood is pine). Cover it with hard wearing lino or an anti-slip vinyl flooring. You can place some cardboard on it to avoid any lino chewing. Cardboard can be changed easily and they will not get bored with it. They will use their chewing energy on it. Rugs or straws need more cleaning but they are ok, too.
- Bathroom tiles or faience can be too slippery. You can also place some cardboard sheets on them. You can place the tiles and faience on the lino for more adherence.
Some people try half wired and half not-wired rabbit runs. It’s not such a good solution especially if the run is a little one, 32 square feet (8ft x 4ft x 4ft). Rabbits love using all their space and doing their binky movements. They could end-up using wire-bottom areas even if their feet may hurt a bit. Sore feet must be avoided under any circumstances.
Wired litter boxes are not recommended either. Rabbits spend quite a lot of time during a day doing their thing. In time, that can hurt, too.
As previously mentioned, we encourage you to keep your pet rabbit in the house with all family. If that’s not possible, then a good solution is choosing a safe hutch and rabbit run. You can build it on your own or you can buy it from the pet shop. One made of wood and wire mesh would be a perfect choice.