Meet Chio and Sev
Our bunnies names are Chio and Sev. They are both rescue bunnies and came with the names Pistachio and Severus. I didn’t want to completely change their names, but wanted to give them nicknames that were unique to us, so I decided on Chio and Sev. Of course, they get called plenty of pet names as well :). Both bunnies were around 2 years old when we got them, and are now around 4. We got Chio first, when a coworker of mine was helping someone re-home a rabbit. When Chio started to seem sad an lonely with both of us working full-time jobs, we decided to get him a friend, and it was one of the best decisions ever. After some initial uncertainty, Chio and Sev became best friends, and I can’t imagine life without both of them! At the same time, getting Sev showed us just how different bunny personalities can be! While Chio never really got up to much trouble, Sev was (and is) a complete trouble-maker and rebel! But although our carpet has suffered a little, I love his determination and spirit (and cuddles) :).
This worked fine for Chio didn’t work well when Sev joined.
Our bunnies very different personalities made designing an enclosure for them a bit of a challenge. Chio came to us with a good-sized pen made of storage cube materials. The floor was made of a rectangle of hard plastic Plexiglass material, with a fleece blanket on top for softness. This worked fine for him, but not so well when Sev joined. Sev is bigger and a bit messier, and shall I say… more destructive? 🙂 We needed room for a second litter box (and a second bunny), so I bought more storage cube pieces to expand the pen. I bought some rubber shower mats to protect the carpet where the plexiglass rectangle didn’t reach. But despite all my efforts, this setup didn’t work at ALL. The shower mats were chewed up within a week, any pee that didn’t quite make it into the litter box was leaking over the sides of the Plexiglass floor and into the carpet, and Sev apparently didn’t like the fleece blanket, because he would “dig” it into a wad on one side of the enclosure in order to lie on the hard surface. Chio, on the other hand, was starting to get sore hocks from the hard flooring.
Choosing the best pen for both bunnies
So basically, I needed to find something hard enough for Sev not to chew it up and pee not to leak through (ruling out carpet or foam pieces), but yet soft enough for Chio’s feet (ruling out hard plastic or laminate). After a lot of online research and brain-wracking, I came up with a solution. I went to a home improvement store and got some cheap foam material (the kind you would put under a rug to make it softer). Then, I ordered some of the strong but flexible plastic rug material used to protect carpet. (You might see this kind of material used as a walkway in hotels in high-traffic areas, or under a desk chair in an office.) My dad built us a simple wooden base, and the flexible plastic material is cut slightly larger than the base, so it goes up a little on the sides, preventing any spills or leaks from reaching the base. And the foam underneath creates a soft enough padding for Chio’s feet.
Adding some extra height to stop escapes
This solution has been amazing for us, and well worth the investment! When we first moved to the new setup, Sev did find ways to escape in the middle of the night for several nights in a row (leaving us with no internet for a day or two until we could buy a new cable! After going almost crazy trying to make sure everything was secure, I finally figured out that he was jumping straight over the 28 inch wall! I added another layer of storage cube pieces around the top of the enclosure, leaving one piece partially unattached so it can swing open at the top, allowing me to reach in to pet the bunnies, give treats, or fill their hay and water even when the doors are closed. The bunnies are happy in their little area, and will often spend hours there during the day, even when the doors are open. We leave the doors open for them as long as we are home and not in bed, so they are free to go in and out as they please. Cleaning is much easier now. The zip ties on the cube storage pieces make the walls semi-flexible and easy to move around, so I just push the walls to the side and wipe off the plastic flooring. In the future, I would love to add more levels to their enclosure, and once we get a house with a yard, I would love to build them some kind of outdoor run that would allow them to play outside safely!
Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny Proofing group!
We are a community of house rabbit enthusiasts with a specific interest in sharing our experiences of living with these special pets. We like posting tips on enriching our rabbits environments, preventing damage to our homes and making them safe for our rabbits to inhabit.