When it comes to your fury friend, you want what's best for their well-being. Setting up a cage and making sure that your rabbit has all that they need is essential for rabbit care, especially if they spend the majority of their day in the cage while you are away.
Here are 8 tips to help make sure your rabbit is comfortable in their cage.
1. Your Rabbit Needs PLENTY of Space to Hop Around
It is recommended that the cage be six times the length of your rabbit. The cages you find at pet stores can be small or they might not be the cage that you had envisioned.
If this is the case, you can always build one from wire storage cubes (that you build yourself) and zip ties. For the owner that would like to pamper their rabbit, there is always the option to build a rabbit condo for your rabbit. For step by step instructions, click here.
2. Do Not Use Mesh or Wire For The Lining of Your Rabbit’s Cage
This can hurt the rabbit’s sensitive feet and can cause an infection or sore hocks. The material scattered around the cage should be hay or rabbit-safe material or bedding.
Rabbits are sensitive creatures, which is why it's recommended that you use precaution when deciding on a material to line the cage. Hay and shredded newspaper are common but they do not absorb animal waste as well as recycled pulp or Food Grade Bedding.
Recycled pulp is more expensive and normally can only be found in holistic pet stores, but it doesn’t need to be changed as frequently as the other options. Food Grade Bedding is also more expensive, but your rabbit is safe to nibble and ingest it while also absorbing more than six times their weight leaving to smell less of what they leave inside it.
3. Know Your Rabbit's Habits
When it is time to put things inside your cage, it is important to understand that you may be rearranging the cage to your rabbit’s liking. Your fury friend tends to go to the bathroom while they are eating making it is wise to put the litter box under the hay rack.
Remember Rabbit Care Basics: to raise a healthy rabbit, grass hay must be fed to them every day and be at least 80% of their diet. Timothy Hay, Orchard Grass, and Mountain Grass is fed to rabbits that are older than seven months. Alfalfa Hay is fed to rabbits that are younger than seven months. Make sure that this transition happens or your rabbit will become obese and/or develop urinary tract problems.
4. You Need a Water Bowl or Water Bottle
Choosing the method on which you give your rabbit water is up to you, both will work to get your rabbit the needed water to stay hydrated. The main difference between the two is the amount of effort you use to clean and replace the water.
It is suggested that you use a hanging water bottle to prevent any food, feces or bedding finding its way into the water. If you choose to use a water bowl, make sure you check it periodically throughout the day to ensure that nothing has landed in the water.
5. Create a Cozy Place
Just like most animals and humans, rabbits love to get cozy when they get tired and lazy. To create a cozy place for them to relax you can lay down a towel, blanket or rabbit bed.
6. Give Your Rabbit Toys
Rabbit's like to play and be entertained too! If your rabbit stays inside their cage for long periods of time it's important that you place some toys inside their cage to help them stay occupied and to pass the time until you can play with them.
You can also throw in a few chewing toys for them such as Apple Sticks to help entertain them and keep their teeth worn down!
7. Lay Out Items For Them To Chew On
Rabbits love to chew on anything they can get their teeth on. You can help make sure your rabbit chews on things that are safe by placing items that are okay for them to chew on inside their cage.
A lot of things your rabbit can safely chew on can be found around your home, check it out! You can also throw in a few Apple Sticks for them to munch on, not only will help to entertain them but it will also help to wear down their constantly growing teeth.
8. Include Something Your Rabbit Can Crawl Inside When They Are Afraid
It’s no mystery that rabbits are known to be skittish, so having a smaller cardboard box (that they can still fit in) gives your fury friend a place to hide when they need it.
Cleaning the Cage
An important part of rabbit care is to clean your rabbit’s cage on a regular basis to help prevent any illnesses. Cleaning the cage itself can be done with a white vinegar diluted with water (4:1 ratio). Make sure that everything you washed is dry before you put it back in the cage. If you choose to use a different cleaner, make sure that you check to see if they are toxic to your rabbit.
Location of the Cage
When choosing a location for your rabbit’s cage, it is important to observe the environment and factors that could potentially hurt your rabbit. Avoid putting the cage under windows because of the potential of direct sunlight that can overheat your rabbit. Heat stroke takes more rabbit’s lives than old age. The same concern applies when you are setting up a cage outside. The sun moves from east to west, so check on your rabbit’s cage frequently to ensure that there are places in the cage where they can hide and cool down from the sun.
It may seem like a lot of information to have to recall, but to keep your rabbit happy and healthy it's important to understand rabbit care and the different options you can give to your rabbit to give them a safe and healthy place live.
Once you've got your rabbit's cage all figured out, you'll need to decide on what kind of litter box you want and begin training them. Download our Guide to Creating the Ideal Litter Box for more tips on the litters to use vs litters not use!