A Rabbit Hutch or Rabbit Runs – Which One Is Best For Your Rabbit?
By Christopher Lunsford
When it comes to choosing the housing where you will keep your pet rabbit, inside your house or outdoors in your backyard. If you decide to keep it outdoors whether in addition to the rabbit cage inside your house or just outdoors, you may have to choose between a rabbit hutch or one type of rabbit runs.
Why should you choose a rabbit hutch?
There are a few reasons in favor of you getting a rabbit hutch for your pet rabbit. Before stating those reasons, it is the assumption that the following conditions are present or can be fulfilled:
1. The hutch is constructed of durable materials. Part of the wall is made of strong wire mesh, to allow good ventilation and part wood or plastic sheet of adequate thickness to provide warmth to the rabbit.
2. There is a solid nice roofing. The roofing serves to protect the rabbit from inclement weather such as sudden precipitation. Also, it serves as an obstruction to the line of sight of a hawk flying above the cage searching for a prey for its food.
3. The floor is of good construction or has a solid plastic sheet. This is to prevent any injury on the feet of your pet rabbit.
4. There is a place where it will be shaded form the direct rays of the sun and sheltered from strong driving wind. If there is no place shaded and sheltered place, this will be a great disadvantage. For one thing, in case of strong winds, the rabbit hutch can be knocked over. When this happens there is a high probability of your pet being injured. Also, because of the shock your rabbit might suffer a heart attack and the possibility of death is there.
5. There is the needed material like hay to serve as bed for the rabbit. This is a must to make the life of the rabbit a bit more comfortable; a litter box, receptacles for the food and drinking water, etc.
6. It is of the right size for your pet rabbit. It is the hutch that allows your pet to hop and play or stand on its hind legs.
7. Your pet is litter trained.
8. All the other things like cleaning and maintenance are being done regularly done by you.
All things being said, what are the advantages that a rabbit hutch gives?
1. The elevated construction of the hutch serves as a natural protection from predators. For a raccoon for instance, it would be difficult for it to reach the hutch's floor without climbing. This brings it to a weak position to do any harm to the rabbit, much more penetrate the strong wire mesh of the hutch. If it goes atop the roof of the hutch, the more it cannot go inside it. For birds of prey, it would be a little bit difficult to spot the rabbit inside, much more get the rabbit out of it.
For dogs and others, the height of the hutch not only serves as a barrier for the rabbit but also is a deterrent to any attempt to destroy the wire mesh or the wood covering which could otherwise be done if the hutch were on ground level.
It also is a sort of cushion against shock or panic caused by the sight of the action of the predator on the ground or even the sound produced by it. Especially if the hutch has that room where the rabbit can hide, then the panic can be minimized including the rash reactions of the rabbit that will tend to injure it or cause a heart attack.
2. The protection afforded by the roof, the sidings, and the place the hutch is located, serve to give some sort of peace of mind to the pet owner that the pet is secure and safe, so that whether they leave the house or not, whether they are awake of asleep, no unwanted things will happen to the rabbit. For as long as you do the things to cultivate and enhance the social life of the rabbit, there will be no problem. In other words, less supervision could be required on your part or that of your family.
However, although the hutch is quite safe, still it is still better to have a cage inside your house to keep your pet at night.
What about rabbit runs?
Rabbit runs are also extensively used by pet owners because they find in them the fulfillment of some of the needs of their pet rabbits. If they have adequately predator-proofed the run; have removed the poisonous plants that may be present at the ground where the run will be placed; and the like, there are advantages that result from using it.
1. They afford more room for the rabbit to exercise resulting in a healthier rabbit for you.
2. They also give the rabbit that feel of its natural habitat and so can play and hop or explore the grass on which the run has been placed. They can burrow if they want to but with much restraint.
3. There is very good ventilation and adequate sunshine for the rabbit. If in case the sun becomes hot, the rabbit can always get inside the covered room provided inside the run.
Rabbit runs though, need constant supervision because of the danger of predators, especially if your house is located near some forested areas. Not even your predator-proofing of the run will ensure that they will not be harmed in case of an attack because the shock and the panic caused by an attack can cause the rabbit to run wildly, twist and jump which might result in injuries like a broken vertebral column or a heart attack.
Which one then?
It depends on your situation and your preference. You can have a rabbit hutch or a rabbit run or both, if you can afford it and depending on the place you are living in.