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New to this - lots of questions :)

BlueMoon

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My bunny has needed a bigger indoor cage for a while now, and I'd like to have one ready for him when he moves back inside this winter (he lives in an outdoor hutch in the warmer months). I have a whole bunch of questions for those of you who are more experienced with this than myself.

First off - How to I determine what size cage is right? He's a dwarf rabbit, but since he'll be spending a good deal of time caged, I'd like it to be pretty spacious. I don't think he'll be too interested in a lot of balconies, since he rarely tries to climb the stairs.

Second - I noticed that many of the cages seem to have the bottom tray set inside the cage. Does this present an issue with food, litter, pee, etc. getting on the floor outside the cage? Is it better (neater) to have the cage sit inside the bottom tray? Does liquid leak out through the seams of the tray at all? We just got a new carpet, so I'm especially concerned with this. ;)

Third - I know the guinea pig cages often have open tops and low sides. How many panels high do you think a bunny's cage should be? Is it based on the height they stand upright at?

Thanks in advance for your advice! :)
 

CavyM

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Hi
I do not have rabbits ouside or anything but her are some pointers.
Some people get those trays. But it is pretty easy to litter train. A rabbits cage does need to be higher than a guinea pig cage. You can look in the photo galleries to see some nice rabbit cages.
 

BlueMoon

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CavyM said:
Some people get those trays. But it is pretty easy to litter train. A rabbits cage does need to be higher than a guinea pig cage. You can look in the photo galleries to see some nice rabbit cages.
I was thinking of using the tray in addition to a litter pan, which he is trained to use. He has had "accidents" on occasion, and poopies rolling around the floor are just no fun. ;)
 

bunnyluv17

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I think you should make it at least 4 cubes long and it has to be at least 2 cubes high. If you are going to use coroplast, I reccomend having it on the outside so the rabbit can't chew it. Most rabbits LOVE jumping onto shelves, so I highly reccomend you add some. Multiple level will help your rabbit exercise. The cage should have a top.

May I ask why you keep your rabbit outside at all? Rabbits are extremely social animals and they get lonely and bored when outside. Did you know rabbits are closely related to primates? Outdoor pets rarely get the attention and exercise they need, and it is harder to notice signs of illness since you are not around them often.
 

CavyM

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YOu could put some hay or some bedding on the cages also plus the litter pan. I would think it is sort of hard for the rabbit to move around and not get his/her feet cought.
 

BlueMoon

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bunnyluv17 said:
May I ask why you keep your rabbit outside at all? Rabbits are extremely social animals and they get lonely and bored when outside. Did you know rabbits are closely related to primates? Outdoor pets rarely get the attention and exercise they need, and it is harder to notice signs of illness since you are not around them often.
Thanks for all your advice, bunnyluv.

As I mentioned previously, my rabbit has two cages - outdoors for the warmer months, and indoors for the winter and severe weather. Neither of them offer an ideal housing situation at this point, which is why I'm looking into building a larger indoor cage.

The outdoor cage is at least twice the size of the current indoor one, and my rabbit seems to prefer it. During the day, he has an opportunity to watch birds at the feeder, he can see most of the activity that goes on in the backyard, and he is often visited by the little girl who lives next door. I think he gets a good deal of attention while outdoors. In addition to being raccoon-proofed, the cage is right next to a bedroom window, so if he were to have any nighttime visitors, we would hear the noise.

Once his new indoor cage is built, he will be able to spend more time inside comfortably housed with more direct human attention. I expect he will still look forward to time spent in his "summer house," though. :)
 

mncavylover

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Please don't keep your pet outside. Although they may enjoy the occasional outdoor playtime, it is not as ok for them as you'd think. What is the hutch made of? If it is made of wood and the like, chances are it is moldy or will get moldy within the year. Urine soaks into the wood, as does the rain. Parasites and other crawlies can live in the wood and get to your pet very easily wihle outside. What about the cold weather? There are the occasional chilly nights in the middle of summer. Please read https://guineapigcages.com/location.htm, scroll to the bottom section about outdoor animals.
 

BlueMoon

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mncavylover said:
What is the hutch made of? If it is made of wood and the like, chances are it is moldy or will get moldy within the year.
The hutch is made of polyurethaned wood and double-layered wire mesh. The mesh covers the inner face of the wood so it can't be chewed on. We have had the hutch for 4-5 years now, and there have been no visible problems with rot or bugs. Only the inner hide-box is made of untreated wood, and it will be replaced when the need arises.

mncavylover said:
What about the cold weather? There are the occasional chilly nights in the middle of summer.
We bring the bunny inside anytime the weather is unfavorable- excessive heat, heavy rain, high winds, and pretty much anytime the temperature outside is colder than it would be in the house.

mncavylover said:
Please read https://guineapigcages.com/location.htm, scroll to the bottom section about outdoor animals.
Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. :)
 

bunnyluv17

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Rabbits do like to spend some time outside, but it is not safe to house them outside 24 hours a day. Rabbits can die of a heart attack from just sensing a predator. Rabbits are also sensitive to heat and can die of heat stroke. Your hutch may be raccoon-proof but what about other animals. This one episode of Animal Cops on Animal Planet showed two loose pitbulls who got into someone's backyard and killed about 20 rabbits. The two dogs were able to tear and smash thier way through metal and wood. They tore apart all the hutches and rabbits and only two or three rabbits were left alive.

Most hutches have wire floors, is there a part of your hutch where your rabbit can get off the wire? How often does your rabbit get to exercise? Is he neutered?

If there was a predator attack in the middle of the night, I doubt you would be able to get there in time to save your rabbit. Since most attacks happen at night, why not bring your rabbit inside at night?

Here is a link about why not to keep rabbits outside http://rabbit.org/faq/sections/outdoors.html
 

BlueMoon

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Thanks for all the info, bunnyluv. I appreciate your concern. :) To answer your questions:

A dog attack in my yard seems unlikely - the yard is fenced in, the hutch door is latched, and the hutch itself is four feet above the ground. This height may not be a deterrant to all dogs, but the only one on the block at the moment is a yorkshire terrier. Visits by cats would be more likely, but the raccoon-proofing would keep cats out as well.... point taken about them dying of fear, though. Buns is a tough little guy - we found him seven years ago roaming around in the woods after he was released by his owner. BTW,I know he's not a wild rabbit because he's himilayan. :)

The floor of the hutch is wire, but half of it is covered with wood. Additionally, there is a tray of peat moss in the cage as a "digging box." This leaves only 1/3 of the wire floor uncovered.

Buns gets about the same amount of interactive/exercise time whether he is indoors or out. The specific amount of time varies a lot from week to week, but I try to make up for a lack of one-on-one time with things like the digging box and other toys (yes, I know that nothing really makes up for a lack of attention, but I do what I can).
 
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