"Although rabbits are the third most popular domestic pet in Britain, RSPCA statistics show that they are often the most neglected. Many still live lives of solitary confinement in small hutches, without the opportunity to satisfy their basic fundamental needs. Rescue Centres are full of rabbits who have suffered through the ignorance of their owners and then, through no fault of their own, become unwanted. Sadly, many pet owners do not understand just what a rabbit needs to live a healthy, happy life." The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund.
The animal welfare act was improved in April 2007. It is still against the law to be cruel to an animal but now you must also ensure that all the welfare needs of your animal are met. For a rabbit owner this means it is not acceptable to keep a solitary rabbit in a small hutch, without the opportunity to exercise.
We follow the RWAF recommendation of a minimum area of 10ft x 6ft x 3ft high (3m x 2m x 1m) for a pair of average sized rabbits, regardless if they live indoors or outside.
INDOORS OR OUTSIDE
Rabbits can be happy living indoors or outdoors, it can depend on the individual rabbits and we can offer advice on this. Whether inside or outside the accommodation must meet the welfare needs of your rabbits. It must be large enough to allow for them to exercise and display natural behaviour. The environment should contain safe toys, hiding places and of course permanent access to fresh hay and water. Accommodation needs to be safe and secure from predators and other hazards such as electrical cables and toxic plants. Outdoor accommodation will ideally be insulated and must have a large covered area that can be kept warm and dry in winter and cool in summer.
THINK OUTSIDE THE HUTCH
Rabbits do not have to live in rabbit hutches - there are lots of different ways to make spacious and comfortable living accommodations for your bunny! Wendy houses and sheds not only make excellent homes for bunnies they also give great shelter for you in our temperamental weather meaning you can clean out and cuddle without getting wet! The attached runs can also be the minimum height or they can be aviary size meaning easy to clean and enrich.
THINK INSIDE THE HOUSE
Having a rabbit living in the house with you leaves room for all sorts of possibilities with regards to housing. Just remember that if this is their home they need their own space and safe place they can retreat to when life gets busy. Some bunnies have their own room, some might have under the stairs, some might have a part of your room and some even have free roam of the house. As long as where they have access to is safe from plants, cables and any other hazards they can happily explore and be a part of the family.
Whatever your accommodation, rabbits will appreciate the time to get out and exercise and explore. If you can make your garden, or an area of your garden, secure for them to run and binky around then they will love you for it! Just make sure someone is around at all times to keep an eye on them, predators such as foxes, cats and birds of prey can appear at any time of the day or night. If you can't supervise, then an aviary is an excellent option, attaching it to your shed or wendy house can allow your bunnies to come and go as they please while remaining safe.