Outdoor Rabbit Hutch - everything you need to know

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If you already own a rabbit or two—and live in a moderately pleasant environment (we're not talking about Alaska, here), hosting an outdoor rabbit hutch might be the best idea for you and your rabbits.

Finding the perfect outdoor hutch product, however, might be a little bit difficult since there are so many different brands, types, and sizes out there—even options to make one yourself.

However, if you're looking to invest in the best outdoor rabbit hutch for you and your pet(s), you might want to consider the various features. 

grey rabbit

Why should I choose
an outdoor hutch for my rabbit?

If you have the outdoor space, you might want to consider investing in a hutch that can be placed in your backyard. 

If you also live in a moderate-temperature environment, having an outdoor hutch can bring more pros than cons.

Actually, rabbits tend to cope much better when their environment is "set" at a colder temperature, which can be quite pricey when raising the air conditioning and hiking up the bill. If your rabbit is a specific type of rabbit that has thicker fur, they internally most likely feel much warmer than you do.

These breeds are normally Britannia Petites, Belgian Hares, and the Blanc de Hotots. If you have a rabbit or rabbits of this breed, you can feel assured that they'll feel comfortable under cooler temperatures.

Another pro to the outdoor hutch is that it normally allows for more space, which makes it easier for your rabbits to get regular exercise. However, you definitely want to make sure that the hutch is secure and there's no way of your rabbit getting out (or predators getting in).

Features to Consider

Before you buy, please take into account that one outdoor hutch can be completely different than the other. Whether it's from its size, type, material, or build, there are so many differentiating factors. 

To help you figure out which one is best for you, here are a few of those features:

What Size Rabbit Hutch Do I Need?

Before closing your eyes and picking a size, you need to factor in whether or not you have one or more rabbits and the size of that particular breed. 

You should also be aware that the smaller the hutch is, the more likely it is that your rabbit will meet a few problems—like lack of exercise, pain, and possible loneliness.

The lack of space may also induce certain self-harming behaviors, like hair chewing or pawing, since they don't have the area they need to play and move around.

The RSPCA generally recommends that the minimum size of your hutch should be as follows:

  • The weight of your rabbit plays into account—the total square feet should equate to the pounds of your rabbit.
  • The height of your hutch should be tall enough for your rabbit to be able to stand up without its ears touching the roof.
  • If you plan on or already have more rabbits than one, you'll need to have a bigger hutch.

What Style Hutch Do I Need?

If you've ever bought a home or looked for one to rent, you're probably familiar with all the various ways you can be picky about it.

With a rabbit hutch, it's not that much different.

However, with all the different styles, a "hutch and run" seems to be the best style for an outdoor hutch. This style has a sleeping area with an adjoining, open exercise space. 

Empty rabbit hutch

Normally, they are surrounded by wooden frames and wire mesh fences. However, you definitely want to make sure that it's weather and waterproof—but we'll get more into materials later.

How to Make Sure Your Hutch is Predator-Proof

Although there are some pretty sly predators that can find their way in, there are certain features that can help prevent that from happening as best as they can.

The Wiring: Chicken wire might be good at keeping your rabbits in, but might not be the best to keep predators out. You might want to think about investing in stronger cage wire if the risk of predators is considerable where you live.

The Locks: If your young child can figure out a lock, a sly fox or another predator can also most likely solve the problem, tucking in for an evening snack. We would definitely recommend that you make sure the hutch is secure with either a complicated mechanism or a very secure bolt and entryway.

The Flooring: Since not only rabbits like to dig to get out but also foxes and other predators might dig to get in, you will want to consider the floor of the hutch. Placing it on grass that is accessible to the rest of the yard via underground, animal-made tunnels won't keep your rabbits safe. Consider placing the hutch on concrete or wooden panels. 

You can also consider getting a mesh or metal grate for the floor that can help make it easy for you to clean out your rabbit's droppings as well as help prevent them from getting a UTI.

This grate, however, really shouldn't cover the entire floor, just a part of it, normally located near the sleeping area, which should be cleaned out at least once a week—depending on how many rabbits you have.

The Material: As you're shopping through the market for outdoor rabbit hutches, you'll most likely notice that they're made out of either plastic, wire or wood.

These wooden hutches, although they can be weather and waterproof, normally tend to be much harder to clean, which makes it more difficult for the owner.

The wire material of the hutch is a bit more stable than wood but can be less comfortable for your rabbit—in particular, their paws.

Plastic is also another option but may be lacking when it comes to durability and trying to keep predators out from chewing on the material.

rabbits in an outdoor hutch

Make Sure They Have Good Hiding Places

In the wild, your rabbit instinctually understands that they are going to be prey rather than predator.

So, as a natural instinct, they normally look for a secure location where not only do they feel safe, but they also are able to hide when they feel threatened or not-so-safe.

This re-treatable place should be built into the outdoor hutch as a private, sheltered area. Having this option in your outdoor hutch is extremely important for their well-being since you want to make them feel as if they have a place to feel secure.

Fortunately, most outdoor hutches keep this aspect of a rabbit's behavior in mind so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

You Might Not Want to Let Them Loose

Although they might be giving you those bunny eyes to let them hop around free of fencing and borders, you should consider supervising them when they have that sort of freedom.

You have to constantly keep an eye on them to make sure they're not running around eating things they're not supposed to—even the most harmless-looking plants in your garden can be deadly for your rabbit.

If they're heading towards over-growing bushes or tall grass, you also want to be careful, since predators may have found their way in and are waiting patiently to make their pounce.

How Do I Choose a Rabbit Hutch?

Since there are so many different options out there on the market, you might find it a little bit difficult to try and choose the right one.

So, whether you have one bunny or multiple ones to be kept as outdoor animals, finding the right outdoor hutch can be done!

All you have to do is a bit of research on your part. Since there are so many different factors to consider, you'll need to take ratings and reviews into account.

Before you buy a particular product (and have chosen it based on its rating and features), take a look at the various reviews of the products from rabbit owners just like yourself. This can tell you a lot about that particular product and if it's worthy of being invested in. 

Especially if you have a budget and are going for the cheaper outdoor hutch, you'll definitely want to make sure that it has some sort of quality to it!

What Does a Rabbit
Need in Its Hutch?

Every rabbit hutch is different—and so is every rabbit. Although two rabbits of the same breed can have similar needs and mannerisms, they may actually have quite the opposite personalities. So, before you buy any rabbit cage, there might be some other features you're interested in. 

For example, certain accessories can make your rabbit feel much more comfortable and at-home than even the highest-quality (or most expensive) outdoor hutch. 

If you're looking for a budget-priced hutch, then consider adding in a few of these accessories to make your rabbit feel the most comfortable:

Rabbit Cage Accessories

1. Keep them hydrated with a drip-feed water bottle.

This can ensure not only that your rabbits are healthy and hydrated, but even the smallest of the rabbits will have access to fresh water.

water dispenser for rabbits

2. A food bowl for their pellets and other rabbit treats.

This helps you also designate a particular area where your rabbit will get used to eating, which can minimize the mess and also encourage them to defecate far away from their food—which will help keep them healthy. If you can spare the change, invest in a ceramic or stainless steel bowl.

3. Chew toys or other materials can also help.

Having chew toys around the hutch can not only help keep your rabbit's teeth growth down but also will keep them entertained. A bored rabbit is an unhealthy rabbit.

You'll need to keep that in mind when investing in accessories to keep your bunnies occupied. You can get these at any pet shop or online — it doesn't matter if they're toys or chew balls.

4. Bedding can help them feel comfortable.

Particular bedding can also help them organize where to go to the bathroom, where to sleep, and where to eat—so they don't get those mixed up.

For bedding, your safest bet is to buy untreated, organic material at the pet store. It can be wood shavings, litter shavings, shredded paper, or paper towels. There are many different types of beddings to choose from.

How Do You Clean
An Outdoor Rabbit Hutch?

About once a week, you should take the time to clean the hutch. Not only should you make sure all old food or bedding is removed and replaced, but you should also clean the drip tray and food bowls. You can do this more than once a week, as well.

However, after you've removed the accessories and are ready to replace the bedding, clean the hutch with a good scrub. Simply soapy water can get the job done.

If it's sunny, you can let it dry on its own. However, if it's not a particularly sunny day, you might want to consider towel drying it.

Make sure your rabbit is in a safe place while you're cleaning the outdoor hutch.

FAQ on outdoor rabbit hutch

Before you buy—whether you're a first-time rabbit owner or not, you might have some questions about investing in an outdoor hutch. 

To help you out, here are the answers to our most frequently-asked questions:

Before you buy and place in your hamster's cage, here are a few last-minute questions you may have about the best hamster bedding for your little guy:

Can you keep rabbits outside?

Depending on the environment you live in, considering an outdoor hutch to keep your rabbit or rabbits outside is a decision you want to make with caution. 

Especially if you plan on keeping them or it outdoors all year, you'll want to consider what it will be like during the winter months. Although they are quite comfortable in a bit of a colder temperature than humans (since they normally have a much, thicker layer of fur), they shouldn't be left outside when there's bad weather—freezing cold rain, for instance. 

If you do live in a colder, wetter environment, consider getting a shed, unused garage that can be exposed to natural light and have a bit of natural air coming through.

If you ARE keeping your rabbits outside in an outdoor hutch, you'll want to make sure that the hutch is secure from predators, from the escape of the rabbits themselves, is clear of poisonous vegetation, protected from the weather, and offers plenty of room to play and hop around. 

Is it better to keep rabbits indoors or outdoors?

Depending on their personality and situation as well as a few other key components, rabbits will be happy living both outdoors and indoors.

All they really need is a focus on exercise, companionship, and enough space to feel comfortable. So, the choice between the two comes down to your preference and the amount of space you have in your home or outdoors (and investing in that particular housing).

Can pet rabbits live outside in the winter?

Technically, the rabbit is naturally adjusted to grow a thicker coat in winter when it's ready for the colder temperatures. They also molt their fur in the summer when it's hotter outside. 

However, if you're living in an area that is extremely cold (and wet, as well), you may want to reconsider. The rabbit is not as likely to survive in temperatures lower than s 20°F, which is well below freezing. This can be dangerous to the health of the rabbit.

Can I leave my rabbit outside at night?

If you have a safe enough enclosure with the locks necessary to keep your rabbit safe—and if it doesn't get too cold or too wet at night—it's pretty safe for you to leave your rabbit outside during the night.

Not only is the temperature a factor here, however. You need to make sure that the rabbit(s) is/are safe from outside predators with proper fencing, a closed floor, and safety locks.

How often should I clean out my rabbit hutch?

As we mentioned earlier in the article, it's suggested to give your rabbit's hutch a thorough cleaning at least once per week. This will mean replacing the water and food bowls, cleaning them out, and cleaning the floor—giving it a good scrub. This might need to be done more than once if you have more than one rabbit in your hutch.

Should a rabbit hutch be off the ground?

It's not one hundred percent necessary but has its own advantages! An elevated rabbit hutch can help your rabbit feel safer when it's inside. 

We hope this article has helped you with finding not only the best type of bedding for your hamster (no matter what type they are) but also has given you proper guidance, tips, and instructions on what the best features are to look for in hamster bedding. 

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