Make sure your rabbit has a suitable place to live
Things you should do
- Provide your rabbits with a secure living environment that is large enough for them all to exercise in and stand up fully on their back legs without their ears touching the roof.
- You should provide both a large living area and a secure shelter where your rabbits can rest, feel safe and are protected from predators and extremes of weather and temperature. Ensure all areas of your rabbits' environment are well ventilated, dry and draught-free.
- Make sure your rabbits have constant access to safe hiding places where they can escape if they feel afraid.
- Make sure your rabbits have opportunities to exercise every day to stay fit and healthy. Find out more about meeting your rabbits' behavioural needs.
- Provide enough bedding to keep your rabbits warm. Bedding should be safe for your rabbits to eat, e.g. dust-free straw or hay.
- Give your rabbits regular (ideally constant) access to a suitable place where they can go to the toilet. If you provide litter trays, use newspaper, hay/straw, shredded paper and/or natural wood or paper-based non-clumping, non-expanding cat litter. The toilet area(s) should be separate to where your rabbits sleep; a hay rack can be placed over the litter tray to encourage them to eat hay.
- Clean the housing and toilet areas regularly.
- If you are going away, try to find someone to care for, and meet all your rabbits' welfare needs within their familiar home. If boarding your rabbits, try to ease the move by keeping grouped rabbits together and taking familiar items, such as toys, along too.
- When you transport your rabbits make sure they are comfortable and safe at all times. Putting familiar smelling items in the carrier and the new environment can help make your rabbits feel at ease.
- Ensure the size and temperature of any place you leave your rabbits (including your vehicle) is appropriate.
- Make sure that where your rabbits live is safe, secure and free from hazards.
Download our Rabbit Housing Advice (pdf 638kb) to read our current housing advice, learn about the concerns we have about traditional rabbit hutches and find out about the pro-active steps we are taking to improve pet rabbit housing.
Download our advice for Transporting rabbits (pdf 458kb) to find out how to transport your rabbits in a safe and stress-free way.
For winter care advice for rabbits, download our document from our health and welfare page.
- Rabbits are active animals. They need the opportunity to hop, run, jump, dig, stand fully upright on their back legs, and stretch out fully when lying down.
- Rabbits must be able to hide from things that scare them. As they are a prey species, they need to be able to hide in a secure place, away from the sight and smell of predators (e.g. foxes, cats, dogs, ferrets and birds of prey).
- Living in a draughty, damp, hot, poorly ventilated or dirty environment can cause rabbits to suffer and become ill.
- Rabbits need regular and frequent opportunities to exercise.
- Rabbits need regular (ideally constant) access to an appropriate place to go to the toilet.
- Rabbits are intelligent. If rabbits are bored, and do not have enough to do, they may suffer.
- Rabbits are inquisitive. If there are hazards within their environment they may easily injure themselves.