What is the Best Enclosure for an Outdoor Rabbit?

What is the Best Enclosure for an Outdoor Rabbit?

If you're wondering what the best enclosure for an outdoor rabbit is, you've come to the right person. 

Over the years, I've had plenty of bunnies, so I can tell you that the best rabbit cage provides plenty of space for exercise and keeps your furry friends safe and comfortable.   

But there are a few things to consider when getting a hutch for outdoor bunnies, so I'm here to share them. 

Key Takeaways

  • Rabbits can live indoors or outdoors, provided they have a suitable enclosure to protect them from predators and the elements.
  • A wooden rabbit hutch with an exercise area is the best enclosure for outdoor bunnies.
  • Always ensure the rabbit enclosure is made from safe materials and provides lots of hopping space.¬†

Should You Keep Pet Rabbits Outdoors? 

Before revealing the best enclosure for outdoor bunnies, let's talk about whether keeping your pet bunnies outside is a good idea.

Rabbits are prey animals and need to hide quickly when a predator approaches. They're also sensitive to hot and cold weather and need proper shelter for protection.

Keeping your rabbits outside is possible, provided you have a secure enclosure to keep predators away and a suitable outdoor location. But it's safer inside.

As vets say, "Indoor bunnies can thrive happily and have plenty of freedom even in a very small house or apartment."You just have to pick the best enclosure for indoor rabbits. (1)

a bunny inside an enclosure

Moreover, bunnies are social animals and feel better when they're part of the family. And you can quickly notice if there's any change in their habits when they're close to you. 

However, when keeping the bunnies indoors is impossible, you can still create a comfortable environment outside.

But what's the best outdoor rabbit cage to keep your bunny safe and healthy? Let's find out! 

What Is the Best Enclosure for an Outdoor Rabbit?

The best enclosure for outdoor bunnies provides a secure environment for your bunny to sleep, play, and hide when stressed. It should also have a large enclosed area for foraging, burrowing, and hopping. 

I use a traditional wood hutch with an attached exercise run and a waterproof roof.

The sturdy construction provides adequate shelter during bad weather and keeps predators away. My pets love to forage and burrow in the large exercise area. 

Some rabbit owners modify garden sheds, aviaries, Wendy's houses, duck pens, etc., or make the perfect outdoor enclosure with recycled materials, like in this video.  

 

So, let's talk about the features you should consider to create the best outdoor rabbit setup. 

#1 Space 

The best rabbit enclosure should provide lots of space for mental/physical stimulation, and I'm not just talking about the rabbit hutch. 

The enclosed area must be at least 10ft x 6ft x 3ft for a pair of average-sized rabbits to ensure your furry friends have enough area to play, jump, and hop.

three bunnies in an enclosure

 

As for the  sleeping hutch, experts recommend at least 6ft long x 2ft x 2ft for 1-2 rabbits. But bigger is always better, especially for larger rabbits. (2)

My rule is that the rabbit house should be big enough for my bunny to stretch its hind legs without feeling confined. 

The good thing about outdoor rabbit hutches is that you can create a large living area because you're not limited by furniture or awkward room spaces. And it's the perfect for multiple bunnies. 

#2 Roaming Roam

Many novice owners make a huge mistake by keeping outdoor rabbits caged permanently. It can lead to musculoskeletal issues, obesity, and other health problems. 

My bunnies have constant access to their exercise pen. They decide their daily exercise time and when to nap in their comfy rabbit house. 

I'm also happy because I don't have to get up early to let the bunnies in the exercise area or worry about forgetting them outside. 

#3 Predator Protection 

You need a rabbit enclosure with high-quality mesh and bolts that you can padlock to keep the rabbits safe from foxes, weasels, and polecats.

I recommend a 16g or 12g mesh wire with 13mm holes. It's thick enough to ensure nothing can bite through it, and the holes are tiny to prevent small predators from sneaking inside. 

Never use chicken wire because it's thin, and predators can easily chew through it. Also, avoid outdoor enclosures with wire flooring. It can cause sore hocks!

#4 Protection from the Elements

According to experts, the ideal temperature for domestic rabbits is between 10 to 20 degrees. (3)

Inside, it's easy to keep your pet warm. I use LuftPets' cage liners inside the rabbit pen because they're soft, comfortable, and waterproof. And my bunnies enjoy the soft surfaces.

But cage liners won't be enough to keep the rabbits warm outdoors, especially in winter. The question is, "What is the best thing to put on the bottom of a small pet cage or outdoor enclosure?"

I recommend hay, wood shavings, or straw because of their insulation properties. Also, ensure the enclosure has a waterproof roof and is away from direct sunlight. 

#5 Escape-Proofed Location

When creating your outdoor rabbit setup, it's vital to escape-proof it. Rabbits are diggers, so digging a tunnel under the enclosure is easy.

You have two options: Use a wire mesh or paving slabs to prevent escape attempts or place the enclosure on concrete, decking, or slabs. 

#6 Easy to Clean

Do you know how often you should clean the rabbit cage? You must deep clean the rabbit enclosure at least once a week to maintain hygiene and prevent common health problems.

a rabbit in a clean cage

Unfortunately, many outdoor rabbit hutches have hard-to-clean areas. So, make sure the hutch you get is easy to open and establish a cleaning routine to maintain a clean outdoor environment. 

#7 Rabbit-Safe Materials 

Rabbits are chewers, so the best enclosure for outdoor rabbits must be made from safe wood material and shouldn't be treated with dangerous chemicals. 

Moreover, if your bunnies will be grazing, make sure that you use "green" gardening methods to avoid your bunny getting poisoned.

 

 

FAQs

1. What do outdoor rabbits need in their cage?

Outdoor rabbits should have constant access to food, water, a litter box, and an exercise pen. You should also provide suitable bedding. 

2. Can rabbits survive outside in a cage?

Rabbits can survive outside in a cage, but they should have permanent access to an exercise area and shelter from predators and bad weather.  

3. Are rabbits happier outside?

Rabbits can be happy indoors and outdoors. They just need a warm, comfortable hutch, plenty of space for hopping, a companion to play with, and good food. 

Conclusion

What is the best enclosure for outdoor rabbits? You can buy a spacious rabbit hutch with an attached exercise run, modify a garden shed, or build a bunny house by yourself.

But the most important thing is to ensure the enclosure provides plenty of space, shelters your bunnies from predators, and is escaped-proofed. 

What do you think about outdoor rabbit setups? Which is the best outdoor enclosure for rabbits, according to you? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Resources:

  1. Hastings Vets. Indoors or Outdoors? Where to Raise Your Pet Rabbit. [Cited 22 May 2024] Available from: https://hastingsvet.com/indoors-or-outdoors-where-to-raise-your-pet-rabbit/
  2. PDSA. Creating the Ideal Home for Your Rabbits. [Cited 22 May 2024] Available from: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/rabbits/creating-the-ideal-home-for-your-rabbits
  3. RSPCA. Rabbit Winter Care Advice. [Cited 22 May 2024] Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/documents/1494939/7712578/Rabbit+winter+care+advice+%28pdf+428KB%29.pdf/a46aefe5-1487-fade-6402-308d79106d8e?t=1559139783796
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