Creating a platform for your rabbits
Rabbits are a prey species, and it's important that they're able to scan their area for threats, such as predator species. Giving them a 'lookout point' will reduce anxiety and provide a potential hiding place where they can go if they feel scared.
A platform also helps your rabbit keep fit, as jumping on and off a raised area will help keep their weight healthy and their bones strong.
Suitable platforms for rabbits
You can create platforms for your rabbits using the following:
- Straw bales
- The top of strong cardboard boxes
- Wooden crates
- Tree stumps - from fruit trees not treated with chemicals
- Low hutch in an outside exercise run
- Wooden shelter with a low, flat roof
If you house your rabbits in sheds, adding low shelves will increase the floor area and give them raised resting platforms.
Making sure the platforms are safe
- Platforms should be at a height they can easily jump onto - if necessary, add interval platforms or a solid, low ramp (not too steep and with footholds) to allow rabbits to access the platform easily
- Rabbits should be able to stand on their hind legs on the platform without their ears touching the roof of their enclosure
- Ensure the platform roof is made of non-slip material to stop rabbits getting injured when they jump on or off them
- Platforms must be strong enough to withstand the weight of one or more rabbits jumping onto it (depending on how many rabbits you house together).
- Many platforms can also act as hiding places and vice versa.
Always ask your vet for advice before adding platforms to your rabbits' enclosure to ensure that they're installed and used safely.
It's especially important to consult your vet if your rabbit has previously been kept in a restricted environment with little or no opportunity to exercise and jump onto objects - they may be prone to fractures due to poor bone strength.
In this situation (and with your vet's approval), you may need to start by giving them low platforms and gradually increase their height as your rabbit's fitness and bone strength improves.