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.
There are going to be times when you need to keep your house rabbit safe where you know it can't come to any harm and be sure its not causing damage to your home. This may be when you are at work or asleep or just simply when you don't want your rabbit getting under foot. One of the most popular ways of doing this is to build an enclosure in the corner of a room that will allow enough space for you rabbit to stretch and binky about and can also include a litter tray, hay feeder and even some toys to enrich the environment. If you are interested in building one of these enclosures then this article talks about the best way to build one, what materials you will need, the cost, where to put it and how to set it up.
Rabbits need a safe enclosure when unsupervised
Where is the best place to put the enclosure
You need to find somewhere calm and secure for your rabbit, remember rabbits don't like loud noise and are easily scared so avoid chaotic spaces like kitchens or rooms where children play. Make sure they are not next to stereo systems or next to speakers and electrical devices such as washing machines. Especially avoid rooms where people smoke and rooms where their is a draft or where direct sunlight falls. Make sure the temperature is even and does not overheat in the summer or get to cold in the winter. However bear in mind Rabbis are very social critters and they like to know what's going on, They are very sensitive to noises and even the vibration off footsteps in your home so If they feel locked away will struggle to join in so an are you can easily look in on would be good so you can keep your rabbit stimulated and socially involved.
How big should the enclosure be
The simple answer is as much room as you can afford however a practice way to do this is to think about all the things you are going to need space for and then make sure this will fit into the area you choose and that you can maintain it.
Space for your rabbit to exercise
The first thing you are going to need is space for your rabbit or rabbits. It needs enough space to carry out its natural behaviors such as running, jumping and foraging. It needs to be able to stretch out and reach up to full height. Rabbits can pick up quite a lot of speed when the binky about bouncing about and they will need room to spring about in a number of steps without crashing into things.
A safe inner shelter
The area is also going to need a shelter acts as a safe place for them to rest and run and hide to if they are scared. If you have multiple rabbits they should all be able to fit in their. A large dog cage is ideal for this however a large cardboard box with some holes cut in the side will do, it just wont last very long.
You are going to need a litter tray, when your rabbit gets used to the space and is fully litter trained then you may be able to save floor space with a corner type. If you rabbit is new to your home or a baby then you may need a much bigger tray or even a few trays till it gets the hang of it.
Food and water station
Your rabbit is going to need a variety food sources that are away from their bedding and toilet area. Hay should be provided via a hay feeder, Stacks of hay can also be provided to encourage foraging or hay can be stuffed into cardboard tubes to make it more fun. A food bowl can also be used to help contain food such as fruit or vegetables. Your rabbit is also going to need a water bowl or water bottle.
Ramps and platforms
To help provide exerciser and a stimulating environment it is good to provide some platforms they can jump up on or ramps the can run up and down. you can either make these yourself or they are many types available on in pet stores or on the internet you can buy. These need to take up additional space in the room so they still have some floor space to run around.
Toys and other enrichment
Rabbits don't like to be bored and are always looking for stuff to do. You will also need to provide them with list of safe toys to play with, chew, arrange and shred to keep them stimulated. Each rabbit has its own favourite behaviours and as you learn these you can keep a supply of toys the you can rotate to keep them interested.
How do I build a pen
The simplest way to build a pen is to buy a petpen or number of pet pens and use this as the perimeter of the area. Be mindful of how you clip it together as the plastic clips that typical come with these pens can be un-cliped by a resourceful bunny so something more sturdy like some extra cable ties should be used of some wire is ideal. If you have large section of wall make sure it is secure and cant be pulled over.
Floor and roof surfaces
There is no right floor surface for a house rabbit that perfectly simulates the surfaces they live on in the wild. Hard surface although easy to clean can be a bit slippery especially for older rabbit and can make them timid. Carpeted surfaces can cause large rabbits or rabbits with short guard hair to have sour hocks. Straw surfaces can require constant cleaning and can spread a lot of mess into the rest of your home. With a variety of surfaces a good balance can be found that suits you rabbit. If you rabbit is on a man made surface then consider covering it with an off cut of wool carpet that does not have a plastic back. This is ideal because it can be through away when it gets tatty. If your rabbit turns out to be a bit of an escape artist then you may need find some way of street light a roof over the area or building the sides up sufficiently.