Did you know it was the Victorians who first kept rabbits in hutches – a short term storage solution before the animals went to the pot?
We’ve moved on a great deal since then, but the habit of keeping rabbits in hutches has stuck.
Rabbits are not designed to live in a confined space. In the wild they cover an area equivalent to 30 football pitches. They’re not designed to live alone either – wild rabbits live in large social groups, foraging, grooming each other and huddling together for warmth. Rabbits living alone experience high levels of stress.
Domestic rabbits are not fundamentally far removed from their wild cousins.
They share the same need to run, jump, explore and share companionship with their own kind, so their accommodation must allow them to display these natural behaviours.
We recommend a minimum hutch size of 6′ x 2′ x 2′, which allows rabbits some room to move, stand on their hind legs and enough space for the food, toilet and sleeping areas to be kept apart. It is commonly accepted that a rabbit should have space for 3 hops, but it is commonly underestimated just how far 3 hops is – our tests show that 3 hops from an average sized rabbit covers 6-7 feet!
A hutch should only be a shelter and not the only living space. It should be attached to a secure run of at least 6′ x 4′.
Even better (if you can) is to bring your rabbit into your home to be part of your family. Rabbits are easily litter trained but a lot of care is needed to ‘rabbit proof’ your home for their safety. Telephone wires and cables in particular are tempting treats but can easily be secured out of reach. Many people have an area or room for their rabbits to enjoy their own space in safety when unattended which works very well.