You've decided to add a rabbit to your family. Congratulations! We are thrilled that your heart has been touched by the desire to bring home a sweet bundle of love and fun. But before you bring your bundle home, you need to make some decisions about where you will house your Bun. There are some very important things to consider before purchasing a cage or hutch.
What kind of rabbit are you getting and how large will it grow?
Is your bunny going to live inside with you, or will it be housed outside (or in an outbuilding), and therefore need additional protection from heat/cold?
How many rabbits are you planning to have in the future? One? Two? A whole houseful?
Will the bunny spend the majority of her time in her cage?
How much space for a cage and exercise pen are you willing/able to give your rabbit?
Will the exercise pen be attached to the cage, or will the bunny need to be carried to his/her exercise pen? Do you even have room for a separate exercise pen?
Are you able to bend down comfortably to clean a cage, or will you need an option that allows you to stand upright to clean it?
Do you prefer a wire floor with a dropping tray or cage with a solid floor?
What type of flooring do you have in your home?
Are you planning to litter box train your bunny?
What is your budget for purchasing a cage?
The answers to these questions are going to guide you in your selection for the right cage for your furry friend.
Let's look at a few scenarios and see what would work well in each one.
Hana is getting her first pet rabbit and knows she is only getting one bunny. She has decided to buy a dwarf rabbit who will get to be about 4 lbs in weight. The rabbit will live inside, but space is rather cramped. Her family has a tiled family room where the bunny can safely play for a large portion of the day, in an exercise pen. She doesn't have a preference for solid floor over wire floor because she knows the bunny will have a litter box, a resting mat, and a pillow to sit on and prevent sore hocks. Hana is comfortable bending down to clean the bunny's cage. She would like to know what kind of cage we would suggest.
There are a few possibilities. The first would be not having a cage at all. This might sound like blasphemy, but having a cage is not a requirement; having a safe place for the bunny is. In this scenario, the bunny would probably be very happy staying in the exercise pen full-time, providing the room is kept at a comfortable temperature. A box with a hole cut in one of the sides and lined with a towel would be a wonderful burrow for it. Attach the water bottle and food bowl to the side of the pen, add a litter box, washable rug or towel, and a couple of toys. You're done! The only drawbacks to this possibility are that cleaning would take a bit longer and litter training might be tricky unless you slowly increase the size of the pen as litter training success is achieved. Hana might also wish to purchase a safe carrier to hold her rabbit during cleaning time. We love the Frisco exercise pen with a walk-through door from Chewy.com.
Another possibility would be to buy a smaller cage, since space is cramped, and keep the bunny in the exercise pen during the day. Normally we recommend purchasing the largest cage you can afford so bunny has ample space to play and execute binkies. Because the bunny would have plenty of exercise time during the day, a smaller cage would be acceptable. Martin's Cages, Bass Cages, and KW Cages might fit the bill for a smaller, easy to clean cage will a removable dropping pan. The cage prices are reasonable, but the shipping charges add up quickly. These suppliers carry multiple options and styles.
Living World cages are another possibility, if a solid bottom cage is desired. We have several of these and they have held up very well. At one point we had about 12 of them all over the house. They became very time-consuming to clean, which led to our switching over to mainly stacking wire cages. We do keep a few for our very particular Buns who abhor wire cage bottoms (We're looking at you, Cookie and Mango!). For only one rabbit, we definitely recommend the Living World cages as a possibility. They come in three sizes as of this writing, Standard, Large and X-Large, and can be found on Chewy and Amazon. Check both sites as the prices change almost daily. We have purchased the X-Large in prices ranging from $59 all the way up to $102.
Jack is a 4-H member who has decided to do a rabbit project this year. He may decided to do a breeding project in another year or two, but nothing is definite. He wants to keep his options open. This rabbit will be primarily a pet and he will keep it indoors. There is not room for an exercise pen, but the bunny will be allowed to play in bunny proofed rooms in the house for an hour or so every day. Jack plans to try litter training his Bun. He hasn't decided what type to raise, but is leaning toward a 6-7 lb breed.
In this situation, we would recommend getting a cage that can be stacked three high, in case Jack does get interested in expanding or someday having a rabbitry of his own. He would only need to buy one cage initially and then add others as needed/desired. Because he is interested in larger breeds, we would have him look at the largest cages available at Martin's Cages. We have been very happy with the 36"x30" luxury cage that they carry.
Another possibility would be for Jack to find cage building plans online (some are free, others are for purchase) and create his own cage that can be expanded if his interest in rabbits grows. The only the we would caution against is using wood in building cages. Wood will absorb urine and cause some very unpleasant odors, which would best be avoided, especially since Jack plans to house his rabbit indoors. In doing a little research, we came across some interesting plans using cage wire and pvc.
Jessica is a Hot Cross Buns client who is purchasing a very active little Bun for her pet. She does a lot of entertaining and wants her Bun to be front and center in all aspects of her life. She is looking for an attractive cage that will be comfortable for her Bun while being easy on her back during cleaning time.