To Cage or Not to Cage?

Portia in Front of Baby GateEven if you intend for your rabbit to be mostly or completely free ranging, a cage or enclosure will give your bunny a place they recognize as theirs.  This can add to feelings of security. They do like to have a place to use as their home base where food, water and some toys are located and where they can retreat for privacy.  I know many have a cage that a bunny can call its own even if  the door is never locked on the rabbit.

Things to consider in making the free range vs. cage decision:  Discussions in bunny circles and groups can get heated about caging or penning rabbits as opposed to allowing them to be free roaming house rabbits.  Our rabbits don’t seem to understand the principles of gravity and don’t realize the danger of a tummy full of carpet.  Their free area and time are restricted by their inability to be trusted when we aren’t around to watch and prevent their stupid rabbit stunts. 

So, don’t feel guilty if you have to set limits to keep your bunny safe and healthy.  We would not have 10-year-old rabbits if we had allowed them to roam freely 24/7 and chew indiscriminately.  Some rabbits need the safety of one well bunnyproofed room, a large cage or exercise pen when someone isn’t available to watch them. 

Just be sure to allow the adventurous bunny to have plenty of free roam time when you are available.  A minimum of 30 hours a week of free exercise time with a number of hours each day out is best for bunny rabbit well-being.  Also be sure that any cage or enclosure is large enough to allow them room to move and run a bit and be able to stand up to their full height comfortably.  There should be room for a litter box, and containers for their food, hay and water.  Give them some toys to play with or chew too. 

You can buy a cage or animal exercise pen or bunnyproof a small room or use a baby gate to isolate an area.  It all depends on your rabbit.  Tigger and Shadow have always had cages with four walls, because those are the only things that would contain them.  Portia who did not leap, had a 3 foot tall open-topped exercise pen.  When the three would run free, we would have a baby gate blocking the bottom of the stairs in Portia’s area and a 4 foot tall exercise pen blocking the top of the stairs in Tigger and Shadow’s area.  We needed to make the stairs a no bunny zone with double gates at each end to keep the three apart. 

Here are links to some great articles by the House Rabbit Society on housing for rabbits whether you are buying or creating them yourself:

Next week on Wednesday, I will share how to make bunnyproofing fun!

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