So you want to get pet rabbits! You’ve done your research and decided bunnies are the right fit for your lifestyle. So, what do rabbits need? In this article, I break down the basic supplies you’ll need to get ready before your new bunnies come home.
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What do Rabbits Need?
Before you bring your new pet rabbit home, you want to make sure you have everything ready and set up for them before you bring them home! I’m going to cover all the supplies you’ll need, as well as a few other things you’ll want to be aware of that will impact how much you’ll spend on your rabbits.
One thing I do want to make sure to mention is that bunnies are social animals. In most cases, they need to live in at least pairs in order to live full happy lives. Be aware that you’ll need to get more than one bunny if you’re wanting to add them to your family!
I also want to mention that I highly recommend pet rabbits be kept inside. Domestic rabbits are not as suited to the possible extremes of outdoor temperatures as wild rabbits. It’s much easier to keep indoor rabbits healthy and safe!
First up, you’ll need some type of pen for your rabbits. You want to make sure your rabbits have enough room in their pen for a litter box, water dish, food bowl, hide, a few toys, and still have room to move around! The general rule is a rabbit should be able to hop 3-4 times in a row and have room to lay out flat.
Pet store cages are way too small for rabbits. Better options are a X pen” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow”>x-pen, or C&C cage. You also have the option of free-roaming your rabbits, where they don’t live in a cage at all!
Regardless of what type of pen you create for your bunnies, they need several hours of playtime on a daily basis. This gives them time to stretch their legs, explore, and get their daily exercise. Rabbits cannot live in cages or small areas full time. Providing a large exercise run or a bunny-proofed room are great options that will provide plenty of space.
One thing to note – rabbits should never live with guinea pigs. Not only do rabbits and guinea pigs communicate in completely different ways, but a rabbit can very easily injure a guinea pig on accident. There are also pretty serious diseases that can be passed from rabbits to guinea pigs. It’s not worth the risk!
Read more > Rabbit Housing Basics
Rabbits are smart little creatures and one of the benefits of this is that they can be easily litter box trained! You will need a good-sized litter tray for your rabbits to use that has enough space for the number of bunnies you have. If you have two bunnies you might want to provide multiple litter boxes. A litter box” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow”>shallow plastic bin works well. You never want to use something that has a mesh or wire floor, as this is very hard on a rabbit’s feet and hind legs.
it’s a good idea to place your rabbit’s litter box under their hay rack (which we’ll cover in a minute!). There are a lot of great litter box/hay rack combination options you can find on Etsy!
There are a lot of different options you can use for litter in your rabbit’s litter box. The most common options are paper-based bedding, wood stove pellets, or aspen wood shavings. I have used wood stove pellets in the past and they work great, but my rabbit’s preference is Small Pet Select paper-based bedding.
You could use cat litter as long as it isn’t clay-based, is unscented, and won’t clump. I personally recommend staying away from cat litter altogether as there are much better bunny-safe options.
Providing high-quality grass quality hay to your rabbits is one of the most important parts of owning them. Rabbits need unlimited amounts of hay available 24/7 to keep them eating constantly. The most common types of hay fed to adult rabbits are Timothy and Orchard Grass. Alfalfa hay should only be fed to growing baby bunnies under 6 months old.
When looking for good hay, you want it to be green, pretty leafy, and smell fresh. You’ll be able to smell moldy hay right away. If your rabbits don’t like their batch of hay they likely won’t eat it or will pull it all out of their hay rack. Some great hay brands are Small Pet Select.
We feed Orchard grass from Small Pet Select and very highly recommend it! They are a great company with fast shipping and consistent quality.
While you can easily feed your rabbits hay just by putting a pile down in their litterbox for them, this can result in a ton of wasted hay. Hanging a hayrack over the litter box on the side of the cage will give your pet easy access, reduce hay waste, and keep the hay mess to a minimum.
There are a ton of different options for hay racks. You can buy one or there are a lot of different ways to DIY them as well. You can use a nice wooden one like this one.
Having fresh water available to your rabbits at all times is very important. Rabbits drink a lot of water – a 6-pound rabbit can actually drink as much water in a day as a 20lb dog!
Most people recommend water bowls instead of a water bottle. This is just more natural for the bunnies and encourages them to drink more water. You want to use a dish that is large and heavy enough that you won’t be filling it up constantly and that your bunnies can’t knock it over! If you’re worried about the water getting dirty throughout the day, you could always provide both a water dish and a sipper bottle so your bunnies will always have something clean to drink.
I use a