The recommended minimum size already mentioned above is intended for small to medium sized rabbits; large and giant rabbits will need bigger accommodation. As a rule, a rabbit should be able to take at least three hops in a row from one end to the other.
It can be difficult to buy purpose-built accommodation measuring these dimensions but there’s no reason why you can’t build your own!
Rabbits are a prey species and need to be able to hide from things that scare them. They need to hide in secure places, away from sights and smells of predators (e.g. foxes/cats/dogs/ferrets/birds of prey). Making sure that your accommodation is escape-proof as well as fox-proof is essential!
Many people are now looking at alternative accommodation to hutches as they can be difficult to build and most of the time you will not be able to find one suitable that meets the minimum size to ensure that animal welfare standards are met. Not only is size an issue but also weatherproofing. Most hutches found online or in pet shops are made out of thin and weak materials that do not stand the test of time or our cold, wet British weather.
Shelter and run :-
A hutch is NEVER enough! A run should always be permanently attached to the sleeping quarters/internal shelter with 24/7 access. Rabbits are most active in the early morning, evening and overnight. This is when they like to graze, forage for food and be sociable so every effort should be made to ensure that rabbits have access to a large exercise area at all times - lifting them from their accommodation to a run for a few hours in the daytime just doesn’t suit their body clocks and instincts.
The minimum size for rabbit accommodation is 3 metres x 2 metres x 1 metre high. The internal shelter should be a minimum of 1.8m x 0.9m x 0.9m high (or 6ft x 3ft x 3ft) and permanently attached to a larger area. Sadly most hutches and runs that are available online are just not big enough - be savvy; just because it is for sale doesn’t mean it is suitable! The minimum for internal shelters is the size of the enclosed area where weather cannot get in, most hutches found online unfortunately have most of the shelter exposed to the UK weather via wire mesh and therefore not suitable.
Converted shed and run :-
Converting a shed, Wendy house or summerhouse into a bunny paradise is getting more and more popular, especially now that more people are realising that our rabbits need access to bigger spaces to be able to carry out the simplest of behaviours like running and jumping. Not only do sheds offer more room for your furry friends but they are also easy to insulate for the colder weather and last much longer than a hutch; as well as giving the owners the option to go inside making it easier to clean and interact with the bunnies. Runs can be easily attached to the side of a shed with access via a hole, tunnel or cat-flap.
Below are some examples of ideal outdoor rabbit housing.