Having a rabbit as a pet means you need to consider housing for your floppy-eared friend. It's not enough to put a cage in the backyard. You need a good cage. But what makes a good rabbit cage?
The size of the cage depends on the breed of rabbit. Some guidelines include:
- A cage is large enough if it is four times the size of an adult rabbit.
- A cage is large enough if it measures a square foot per pound of rabbit (for the smaller breeds).
- A cage that measures approximately 24 inches by 36 inches for a small- to medium-sized rabbit is adequate.
- A slightly larger cage than above is needed for the larger breeds.
Easy to Walk Around
A rabbit does not have padded paws and your pet is not meant to walk on wire grids in a cage. If your bunny pet does not feel comfortable walking around its cage, it will sit in its litter box, where it is more comfortable on the feet.
However, a rabbit cage traditionally has a wire or slatted floor that allows droppings and urine to fall through to a litterbox tray below. To protect a rabbit's feet from wire floors, consider the following guidelines:
- Look for a cage with a floor made from wide plastic slats instead of wire slats.
- Place the litterbox in the corner rather than at the bottom of the cage.
- If you must have a wire floor, it should be cushioned with a solid layer of wood, toweling, rugs, or several layers of newspaper to provide the bunny's feet a rest from the wire floor.
Ideally, your pet rabbit should be able to easily get in and out of the cage on his or her own. You should also be able to get your rabbit out quickly if necessary. Keep in mind that you'll want to be able to get a litter pan in and out of the cage easily. In addition, you need to access food dishes and water bottles for maintenance.
Building a DIY Cage
If the cost of a large and comfortable rabbit cage with easy access is prohibitive, consider building your own. If you're handy, a roomy rabbit DIY cage might be just the thing for your pet.
For inspiration, consider any one of these homemade cage designs. Though they may not be the best-looking hutches on the block, they can make a rabbit happy, thanks to thoughtful designs.
A Better Wire Floor
One DIY idea to use can include a cage with a wire bottom placed directly on top of a solid surface. Install the surface to the cage using a piano hinge so that it can quickly drop down to allow feces to fall to the bottom floor for easy clean up.
If your rabbit's soft feces get stuck on the wire slats, you can effortlessly loosen it up with a plastic drywall mud spatula.
DIY Cage Specs
A DIY cage is simple to replicate if you consider these general specs:
- It can be made from a frame of 2-inch by 2-inch lumber.
- The cage can measure 4 feet long, 20 inches wide, and about 20 inches high.
- It can be raised 17 inches off the ground to allow the bottom's solid platform to drop down far enough so it is easy to clean. (That is if you want to install a platform that opens on a piano hinge.)
- If you choose to install a solid floor that swings down on a hinge, you can make it with a product named EnviroBoard, which is a recycled plastic sold in sheets that are 1/4-inch thick.
If you cannot find EnviroBoard to create a drop-down floor, a corrugated waterproof plastic sign board could work just as well for the drop-down floor of the cage.