bunnies gossiping

Bunny Spaces

Now what? An incredibly cute fuzzy bunny is looking at you and you're looking back. Now there's this bunny in your life, but how to fit them in? What sort of bunny housing is best? What does the bunny need? What do you need? What should it be like when it's done? Where to start? Well, as usual, starting at the beginning is best and one of the best beginnings is to take a deep breath, pause and plan things out a bit.

A basic understanding of who your bunny is and what your bunny needs may help shape what sort of housing would be best. The major difference between your basic household pet dog or pet cat and your new fuzzy friend is that your new cute fuzzy bunny is a prey species. Being a prey species is part of who your bunny is and how they will interact with everything and everyone around them. Being a prey species means there's loads of things (occasionally including the household dog or cat) that would like to eat your new bunny. In some cases, bunnies are kept as 'meat rabbits' although generally the angora bunnies are much more useful as a creator of luxury fiber than as dinner. Being a prey species is also one of the major attributes that shapes their housing needs.

For a bunny, one of the most important things is safety from predators. If you have an inside house bunny, then your bunny will be safe from a lot of the possible predators, although being an inside bunny has it's own dangers. Since the bunnies here at Hillside Farm are outside bunnies, we haven't had a lot of experience with inside bunnies. Some of our bunnies have gone to homes where they were inside bunnies and some of them didn't do well in that environment. Nibbling on electrical cords is not a good thing. So, if you are planning to have an inside bunny, having the bunny in it's own bunny space inside the house with supervised roaming time may be a good idea. Or bunny proofing the house so electrical cords are kept out of a nibbling bunny's reach.

To provide safety from predators for an outside bunny, having a sturdy and secure hutch is the first level of security. If you can have a fenced yard with a fenced in bunny yard inside that space, that makes for a secure bunny area. Having a bunny safe dog around also keeps away other dogs, but you have to have a dog that isn't going to add to the threat to the bunnies. We had border collies which are a good livestock dog, although our Katie the Pest finally succumbed to old age last year. At some point we will probably get another border collie since they are good with rabbits and a good dog all around as long as you keep them busy. Keeping the rabbits safe and the chickens herded kept Katie pretty busy, even for a border collie.

The bunnies here at Hillside Farm are outside bunnies and have lived in a variety of different housing. It has evolved as the number of bunnies changed as well as our experience level increased. To get to the minimum (note: "minimum" is no where near "optimum") requirements for your bunny, here's what we consider the 'basics'. This is for English angoras which are a from a five and a half to about a seven pound bunny. That'd be about two and a half to a bit over three kilos.

Secure from predators:
This can be accomplished by a fenced yard with or without a guard animal. A secure hutch inside a secondary fenced bunny yard zone also increases their protection.

Shaded and not too hot:
A dense shady tree is excellent, although a roofed pavilion is a good choice, too. A big overhanging roof on the hutch helps keep shade in the bunny area.

Ventilated but not too drafty:
A breeze really helps keep the bunnies comfortable, but not being able to get out of the breeze is not a good thing. So some areas open with a sheltered side as well helps keep the bunnies comfortable.

Cool clean water at all times:
This can be by water bottles, although those require filling and cleaning. A water dish or crock can be used, but English angora bunnies have fuzzy chins and when they repeatedly get wet, they get matted. Which means you'll have some delicate snipping to do to get the mats out and probably this delicate snipping will be done on a grumpy upside down bunny. If you're setting up a bunny space for multiple bunnies, a piped in water system saves tons of work and doesn't take too much money or effort to set it up.

Enough space to be comfortable:
For an English angora, the minimum space would be 3 feet wide by two and a half feet deep and about two feet high (one meter, by .9 meter by .6 meter), but that's the absolute minimums. Even within that space, it would be good to add a shelf for additional floor space.

Nutritious food:
An assortment of feeders can be used, but keeping the feed clean and fresh is important. The feed should be fresh and not moldy. Bunnies will do things in their food dish which may be less than sanitary, so keeping the dishes clean or having them to where they can't lay in them in the first place is good.

Ease of Maintenance:
If it's not easy to keep their bunny space clean, then there will be less time to play with your bunny since you'll be cleaning instead of playing. So ease of cleaning and ease of daily care is important. Situating them close enough to your house that you can visit with them quickly is a good start on making the daily feedings easier, too.

Over the years, our hutches have evolved. Here's a history of our previous interpretations of proper bunny housing.


The Evolution of Hillside Farm Hawaii Bunny Spaces:

Hillside Farm Bunny Spaces
The First (and Not-So-Good) Bunny Hutch
The First 'New and Improved' Bunny Hutches
Phase Two of 'New and Improved' Bunny Hutches
Modular Hutches
Assorted Temporary Hutches


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