When i first kept a rabbit back in the 80s like many, i housed my bun in a small 1.2m x 80cm hutch. My very first Rabbit Lilly lived in a cage made of fridge shelving that my Dad had recycled & welded together – during the day Lilly had a large pen on the grass or roamed the yard when we were home. If id had my way my pets would of lived in my bedroom with me but my Dad being a farmer held the expectation that animals lived only outside.
Now i’m all grown up and have a house of my own we do things a little differently & i encourage as many others to do the same knowing how amazing sharing your home with a rabbit/piggy can be. Continue reading to see the progression of how my buns reach free range status.
My late rabbit Roo was our first fur family member which my husband i kept together, Roo had the most beautiful hutch which looked like a cottage, even had a white picket fence & sun deck. Roo and i soon became inseparable, as time went on he preferred to hang out right at my feet rather than be in his house. So overtime Roo became free range & only slept in his house at night or for a snooze during the day. Though cute he would tell me loudly without speaking that his hutch was boring and too small to be in for anything other than sleeping.
When our second Rabbit Oliver join our family he and Roo would fight so we ended up buying another hutch (two story) with a large run attached to the front. The base was lined with faux grass, as a rescue bun Oliver was found with sore hocks, so this helped his feet recover quickly. I did a mini makeover & custom painted both hutches with chalk paint so they matched (Something Painted Chalk Paint). The pair of hutches side by side looked absolutely gorgeous – however keep in mind limited time was spent in them.
It wasn’t long before our 3rd rabbit Archie joined the clan, adopting Arch was primarily to keep Oliver happy as he seemed lonely – it worked a treat, Oliver and Archie bonded instantly. We now lived in a 2 story home so i was able to let Arch & Oli free range up stairs and Roo always stuck with me downstairs until bedtime.
I kept seeing photos of other peoples setups, i trawled pinterest daily in awe of other peoples ”rabbit rooms”. To be honest i didn’t know where to start for a while as the ideas swirled around my head. But a trip to a rescue shelter saw us adopt yet another bun Logan – who Roo also detested so it became clear to me it was now time to revamp our setup into the room style id always dreamed of.
Firstly i had to think about the floor covering, we have hardwood floors that needed protecting, so i looked around high and low for a rug to suit. I found an amazing 320cmx220cm indoor/outdoor rug from www.floorsome.com.au
It’s made from a material called Oflin, which is water resistant, low allergen, short & tight woven pile, resists fading in the sun, it can be hosed off & sun dried, also another cool thing is that it’s not susceptible to mold or mildew, even if left wet. When i found this rug in this size, quality & awesome price of $130 on sale i thought all my christmases had come at once. It really has been the BEST thing ever, 6 months on still no issues or nibbling! I decided for added protection of the wood floor to line the back with plastic to be super safe about any unexpected spills. The plastic i got from Clark Rubber for a couple of bucks per meter. – Please note if your rug is not Oflin & just recycled plastic like many outdoor rugs your bun will chew it – trust me i tried one, resist the cheaper option.
Now the flooring was sorted i picked up x3 playpens from www.catch.com.au 8 panels in each pack 60cm w x 76cm h – Its important to mention how high rabbits can jump, anything over 70cm should only be considered unless your bun can’t jump or doesn’t bother. I needed 3 packs to go around the outside of the rug & divide the buns thru the middle in 3rds also with a few panels spare. Beware of cheap pens the lighter ones can be easily lifted by cheeky buns so you want a quality brand.
In each area i put a high sided litter trays, beds & auto water bowls from Kmart, & found some pop up tunnels & baby blankets (the minky ones are amazing & they don’t chew them up) The tunnels are a huge hit and i highly recommend them, they keep the buns busy, they love to sleep in them too. I added a plant for a special touch… just to bring nature in. It sits up high on a table i got from Kmart so they can’t nibble the basket it sits in. I store their hay in a lined cane laundry basket that i found at the op shop – works a treat.
At the start i kept the rabbits hutches in the design & just removed all the doors etc. as they still liked sleeping in them but as time went on they begun to prefer sleeping next to each other through the fence so eventually i donated the hutches to local rescue groups. I also chose to remove the grass as it was getting worn & i felt it trapped dirt & hay to much. Unfortunately not to long after the room makeover my little mate Roo grew his angel wings. So the pen set up was divided down the middle with a little more room for Oliver & Archie than Logan.
The newest edition to the family is Rosie, a little nethie who decided she was most at home with Oliver & Archie, so we now have 3 buns in one side of the area & Logan remains happy on his own but still able to be close to the others through the fence – unfortunately he fights with Oliver soon as the fence is lifted but one day i hope all four will bond. For now i alternate their free range time – half the day each or Logan comes down stairs with me. Either way they get more than 8 hours of complete freedom everyday. The most rewarding thing is even when they have their pens open they often prefer to spend time in their area rather than be up to mischief. Giving your rabbit the option to roam & explore with unveil their personalities in full and i promise will provide you endless smiles and warm fuzzies.
Lastly to complete the space we setup a wifi camera – the brand is called Nest from JB HIFI. This is so we can monitor the buns if we are away from home or downstairs. We spent decent amount on the camera $499 to get one with clear vision both day & night. You can also talk to them at the hit of button which is abit of fun when they look around for you 🙂 You can get cheaper ones but the features is what made us choose this one 🙂
Feel free to leave me comments or ask questions, i’d be happy to offer advice, or share your setup with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for improvements so our fur family can live the best lives ever.
Love Holly xx