When you imagine medieval times, you probably picture cavernous halls and long wooden tables heaped with platters of roast meat and flagons of mead. You likely don’t think of monasteries full of rabbits, but modern cuniculture—also known as rabbit husbandry—may have had its start in 5th century Europe when medieval monks began raising rabbits and selectively breeding them for fur color and weight. Those early rabbit-breeding monks may have kept their rabbits in huge sunken rabbit pits lined with individual rabbit cages. These days, keeping an actual pit full of rabbits is about as popular as arming your home with a catapult—but rabbit-keeping has only gained in popularity with time. There are somewhere between 3 and 7 million rabbits living as pets in the United States, and another half a million rabbits are sold every year from rabbit farms that raise the animals for meat, fiber, and other uses. They’re the 3rd most popular pet (after dogs and cats), which makes finding the best rabbit hutch an important task.
- Best Indoor Rabbit Hutch: Gutinnen Indoor Rabbit Hutch
- Best Customizable Indoor Rabbit Enclosure: Songmics Pet Playpen
- Best Outdoor Rabbit Hutch: PawHut Raised Rabbit Hutch
- Best Rabbit Hutch With A Run: PawHut 2 Story Rabbit Hutch
- Best Budget Rabbit Hutch: COZIWOW Outdoor Rabbit Hutch
Tailoring the Best Rabbit Hutch to Bunny Biology
When it comes to raising rabbits and selecting the best rabbit hutch for your needs, it makes sense to have a solid understanding of the rabbit’s unique physiology. Scientists once assumed rabbits and hares were rodents but, thanks to important differences in their body structure and diet, moved them into their own order in 1912, officially classifying them as lagomorphs.
Rabbits are herbivorous prey animals with a whole host of predators, which drives them to burrow underground for refuge. They have specialized front teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives. To prevent those teeth from growing too long and causing problems for the rabbit, it’s important to feed them a diet of mostly tough, fibrous hay—such as timothy hay or orchard grass—to keep those teeth filed down. Rabbits kept as free-range house pets or maintained in rabbit enclosures won’t lose their drives to dig and chew, so it’s important to plan for these natural behaviors when selecting a bunny hutch.
Rabbits are known for their long ears, soft coats, and docile temperaments—but perhaps nothing says “rabbit” quite like their reproductive rates. Female rabbits can produce a litter of 1 to 14 kits every 28 to 31 days. That’s…a lot of rabbits. Plus, that hormonal drive to reproduce at a steady and frequent clip means that unaltered, same-sex rabbits kept in the same rabbit cage will likely become territorial and can do brutal damage to each other from fighting.
Whether your rabbit is an indoor pet, an outdoor pet, or livestock, careful consideration of the rabbit’s biology and natural instincts is key to choosing the best rabbit hutch for your needs.
A Long, Healthy Life with an Indoor Rabbit Hutch
Predators and disease put the life expectancy for wild rabbits at only about 2 years. Rabbits kept by humans enjoy much longer lives: between 6 and 8 years when kept outdoors and between 8 to 12 years when kept indoors. (Pet rabbits that are neutered or spayed are more likely to live longer since this eliminates reproductive cancer. In fact, 60 percent of unspayed female rabbits will develop uterine cancer after 3 years of age, regardless of whether they have been bred.)
For this reason, many people choose to keep pet rabbits indoors. This is a great option for people who want to keep a single rabbit because single rabbits can become lonely and rely on human companionship when they can’t be kept as bonded pairs.
Since rabbits can be trained to use a litter box, many rabbit owners allow their rabbits to free-roam in the house, providing a rabbit cage or rabbit hutch only as a home base for the rabbit. Raising rabbits in this manner maximizes the animal’s bond with its owners—but the rabbit’s natural impulse to chew away vines and burrow can translate to biting through electrical cords or accidental ingestion of carpets or other fibers from chewing. Because rabbits can’t vomit, the resulting digestive problems can quickly turn deadly. Plus, severed cords (sometimes called “spicy hay” by rabbit owners) and chewed up carpets and baseboards are frustrating problems for humans who like their electronics and homes in good working order.
Indoor rabbit hutches give pet rabbits a safe retreat—and make it easy to enclose your pet when the rest of the home isn’t set up for free-roaming lagomorphs.
Best Indoor Rabbit Hutch: Gutinnen Indoor Rabbit Hutch
Functional and Fashionable
This indoor enclosure keeps your bunny secure without sacrificing style. GUTINNEEN
This two-level indoor rabbit hutch gives your hopping friend space to explore and has a removable wire floor, which is great for rabbits prone to sore hocks from sitting on a wire bottom. The top level has a pull-out tray for easy cleaning. It’s made from natural fir with an eco-friendly varnish to keep it looking newer for longer. For maximum versatility, this hutch is set on casters so you can easily move the hutch as needed.
Customizable Rabbit Hutches For Tight Spaces
For many people raising rabbits indoors, traditional rabbit cages or hutches may not accommodate tight or irregularly-shaped spaces. In those circumstances, rabbit owners may choose a customizable rabbit cage called an exercise pen or x-pen.
This style of rabbit enclosure is really a set of gridded wire squares and connectors that you assemble to build a customized cage that fits perfectly into any space. With this style of enclosure, it’s important to build the walls tall enough to keep your bunny from jumping out—as some bunnies can jump up to 4 feet high—or use some of the grids to construct a roof.
For maximum versatility, combine multiple x-pen sets and take advantage of vertical space by adding a second story to the enclosure. Each set should include a door for easy access and should have relatively small grids with 1- to 2-inch spaces to keep your rabbit securely inside the pen. The custom hutch can sit directly on the floor or on a plastic or foam pad, which is ideal for rabbits prone to sore hocks.
Best Customizable Indoor Rabbit Enclosure: Songmics Pet Playpen
This fence cage can be customized to fit any space. SONGMICS
Each set of grids and connectors can be combined to build a rabbit enclosure that fits perfectly into any space. Your rabbit remains safely enclosed in a shape of your choosing, and the included zip ties ensure the cage’s stability. The roof can be set slightly lower to form a handy shelf for neatly storing rabbit supplies.
Staying Safe Outdoors
While many people love raising rabbits indoors, some owners—and some bunnies—prefer an outdoor rabbit hutch. For humans, the major benefit of an outdoor rabbit enclosure is that it eliminates the need to bunny-proof the house and requires less frequent cleaning. Rabbits may benefit from an outdoor lifestyle, too, since they are sensitive to overheating (especially from furnace use during winter) and may not enjoy the noise of a bustling household. Pet rabbits kept outdoors do best when kept in spayed/neutered pairs.
Outdoor rabbit hutches should provide protection from two things: the elements and predators. The rabbit enclosure should have a fully enclosed nesting area to keep the rabbits protected from rain, wind, and the sun. If you want the hutch to last for more than one season, look for solid wood construction that’s painted or varnished with waterproof, anti-UV products.
Rabbits have many predators, even in urban or suburban environments. These include opossums, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes, dogs, and even some cats. Smaller rabbits may also face danger from the skies in the form of owls and hawks. Because they are prey animals, rabbits are particularly sensitive to danger, so the presence of a predator can cause rabbits to panic and thrash, sometimes resulting in broken backs, heart attacks, or shock.
To keep your rabbits safe and healthy, look for a solid hutch fitted with small-gauge wire mesh. Ideally, the nesting area should be elevated and mostly enclosed to prevent fright if a predator approaches the rabbit hutch at night. Some raised rabbit enclosures have open bottom areas for grazing. This may require extra bunny- and predator-proofing to keep the bunnies from tunneling out of the enclosure—or predators from tunneling in.
Best Outdoor Rabbit Hutch: PawHut Raised Rabbit Hutch
This outdoor hutch includes a raised, enclosed nesting area and small-gauge wire mesh to keep your bunny safe from predators. PawHut
The PawHut raised outdoor rabbit hutch is built with sturdy materials, including waterproof and anti-UV coatings. The small-gauge wire mesh covering the lower grazing area keeps predators out (and bunnies in) while the lifted, enclosed nesting area provides a secure area for sleeping. The hutch includes four lockable doors, a metal tray for easy cleaning, and a cute design so the enclosure does its job and looks good in your yard.
Room to Run
Unlike rodents kept as small pets, rabbits require a good deal of living space to be happy and healthy. In general, experts recommend that a single rabbit or pair of rabbits have 8 square feet of enclosed nesting space, plus access to 24 square feet of exercise space for at least 5 hours per day. Of course, rabbit breeds vary quite a bit from the tiny 1-pound Netherland Dwarf to the whopping 22-pound Flemish Giant. A good rule is that the primary rabbit enclosure should be four to six times bigger than your bunny when stretched out—and allow your bunny to stretch to its full height vertically.
A good way to meet those needs is to combine a fully enclosed rabbit hutch with a rabbit run, which gives the bunny that extra space to roam. Rabbits are crepuscular—meaning they are most active at dawn and twilight—so it’s a good idea to give your bunnies access to the run during those times.
Some rabbit hutches come with an attached exercise area to make it simple to meet your rabbits’ needs for protection and space. Ideally, these should include a solid, enclosed nesting area, and the run should be enclosed with small-gauge, galvanized wire mesh. Some designs incorporate a raised nesting area to take advantage of the area underneath for the run, maximizing the space for the rabbits while maintaining a manageable footprint.
Best Rabbit Hutch With A Run: PawHut 2 Story Rabbit Hutch
This option includes a raised nesting area and a secure run enclosed with small-gauge, galvanized wire mesh. PawHut
This 2-story rabbit hutch is a solid pine frame coated with non-toxic paint and topped with a waterproof asphalt roof. The exercise area is small-gauge, galvanized wire mesh with ramps so your bunny can access the run. The nesting area is completely enclosed with a locking door for extra security against nocturnal predators.
Keeping a Bunny on a Budget
Of course, the best rabbit hutch is one that does the job without breaking the bank. A solid, budget-friendly rabbit enclosure will protect your bunnies from predators and the elements but will likely need a run or exercise area added on. It’s important to maintain the recommended space requirements for a single rabbit or pair of rabbits—even if a budget rabbit hutch indicates it can accommodate multiple rabbits.
Since budget rabbit hutches may be smaller than deluxe versions, you may need to clean the rabbit enclosure more often. Look for sliding trays and lift-top roofs to make this task easier to accomplish.
Best Budget Rabbit Hutch: COZIWOW Outdoor Rabbit Hutch
Tiny but Mighty
This budget hutch includes two sliding bottom trays and a roof that lifts open for easy access. COZIWOW
The best part of this outdoor rabbit hutch is the lift-top roof, which makes it easy to clean out the enclosure. It also includes two sliding trays and three doors for accessing the interior. The slanted feeding trough is handy for sliding in hay quickly without opening the hutch.
Best Rabbit Hutch FAQ: People Also Ask
Is it cruel to keep rabbits in a hutch?
As long as rabbits have enough space and regular access to a separate, larger exercise space, it is not cruel to keep rabbits in a hutch. For rabbits kept outdoors, a solid hutch protects against weather and predators. Even free-roaming indoor rabbits need a rabbit hutch or enclosure that serves as a home base.
What size rabbit hutch should I get?
The size of the rabbit hutch should accommodate the size of the rabbits. In general, a rabbit or pair of rabbits require 8 square feet of nesting space plus 24 square feet of exercise space they can access for at least 5 hours per day. Since rabbit size varies by breed, a good rule is that the rabbit hutch should be 4 to 6 times the rabbit’s length when fully stretched out.
The Best Rabbit Hutch is All About Balance
Whether you’re raising rabbits as companion animals or as livestock, the best rabbit hutch provides sufficient space and protection to keep your rabbits healthy and happy. When choosing the right rabbit enclosure, it’s important to consider your rabbit’s biology and instincts as well as your own needs and preferences.
Related: Get the best rabbit food while you’re shopping!