Because they are full of energy and undeniably adorable, many people want rabbits as pets in their homes and others breed rabbits for adoption. While this is completely fine, there are certain things you need to consider before bringing a rabbit (or multiple rabbits) home. Since rabbits need much more space than you might think, one of the biggest concerns is space.
How many rabbits can you own? Technically, you can own as many rabbits as is allowed by your municipal development codes and zoning requirements. Most of the time, two pet rabbits are more than enough for a family. In general, each rabbit should have a minimum of 12 square feet of space with even more room allotted for running and playing.
Knowing how to house multiple rabbits properly is important, especially if you are considering breeding. Read on to find out how much space a rabbit needs to be happy, as well as tips to help you provide proper housing and care for multiple bunnies at once.
How Many Rabbits Can You Own?
So, how many rabbits can you own? The simple answer is this: you can have as many rabbits as is allowed by your municipal development codes and zoning requirements. Perhaps the better question to ask yourself, though, is this: How many rabbits should you own?
The bunnies you plan to house should have adequate space. This keeps them happy and healthy because they can release their energy without worrying about getting bored. But is space all there is to it? Can you throw five bunnies in the same place and expect a happy rabbit family to merge? Absolutely not.
Even if you are planning to grow your bunny family from one to two or become a bunny breeder, there are steps required for success. This may be a surprise to some, but rabbits can be very territorial, which means they are probably not going to like the addition of another bunny – especially if it’s in their cage.
So how can you make sure that multiple bunnies end up getting along? “How to Keep Multiple Rabbits” by Ryan Corrigan, LVT, VTS-EVN explains a few things that you should consider before committing to owning multiple rabbits:
- Start by spaying or neutering, unless of course, you are planning to breed. Rabbits reproduce in mass quantities, and this can be overwhelming and unwanted. Spaying and neutering will avoid this potential problem and also helps to calm their behavior. Male rabbits can be neutered as young as three months old, while females can be spayed at around four months.
- Always introduce new bunnies slowly. Again, bunnies are territorial and won’t like a new rabbit right away. You should start with short greetings where the two bunnies can sniff each other and get acclimated. You may want to consider putting a small gate between the two bunnies so that they can sniff without attacking each other.
- Always make sure they are meeting on neutral territory. If you try to bring another bunny into your rabbit’s cage, it will end in disaster. The original rabbit will likely be very defensive of their ‘property.’ Take the two bunnies to a neutral place for better results.
- If not spayed or neutered, keep different sexes apart. Putting different sexes together while they can mate is going to end up in litters upon litters of rabbits. Avoid this situation by keeping them separate. Even as a breeder, you should keep males and females separated unless you are actively trying to breed.
- Keep rabbits that don’t get along apart. Sometimes your bunnies are not going to like each other no matter what you do. It’s a terrible twist of fate, and your only option is to separate them and provide their own spaces.
- Make sure the rabbits have enough food and water. The more bunnies you have, the more food they will require. Place the food scattered around the area, so one bunny doesn’t bully the other or hoard the food. Generally, adult rabbits should have about half of a cup of pellets as well as two ounces of fruits and veggies each day.
- Make sure the rabbits have plenty of space. This cannot be stressed enough. Rabbits are much more active then you might think because they are most active during dawn and dusk. But the fact of the matter is that any truly happy bunny will need plenty of space, and this becomes even more important when you are dealing with more than one rabbit.
So, just because you want lots of rabbits in your home doesn’t mean you should have a bunch of rabbits. It takes more work than you might think to create a happy home of bunnies, and that should be heavily considered before trying to add more bunnies to the family.
How Much Space do Rabbits Need?
When you think about adding a rabbit to the family or start breeding, you’re likely going to buy them a special place to live in, usually a cage. But how large does the cage need to be to keep your rabbit comfortable?
When considering the space you are going to give to your rabbit, you must know the following:
- Rabbits need at least 12 square feet of enclosure space.
- They should also have at least 24 square feet of exercise space.
Here is an easy way to calculate how much room your rabbit needs: stretch your bunny out and measure them. Their cage should be at least five times your rabbit’s size when stretched out. This ensures that they will have plenty of room to run, jump, and play, while also allowing them to be cozy in their space at bedtime.
When it comes to how much space you provide for your rabbits, bigger is better. They can be quite active in the afternoon and nighttime, so giving them ample room to get their energy out is critical.
If you are housing multiple rabbits, you must generously increase the size of their cage. While one to two rabbits can live happily in 12 square feet of enclosure space and 24 square feet of exercise space, more rabbits will require more room.
Proper Housing for Your Rabbits
If you are planning to keep your rabbits indoors, then you need to make sure you have the room to allow them enough space to be happy and active. Small Pet Select’s blog “Living Spaces for Rabbits,” by Natalie Riggs, discusses some of the housing options that rabbit owners choose for their furry companions.
Most people find that dog crates or pens make wonderful rabbit homes. Since they are used to house larger dogs, you know that they will be able to provide ample amounts of space for satisfying bunnies.
However, you do not have to keep your rabbit indoors for it to thrive. While some people might consider a bunny an indoor house pet, they are forgetting the fact that rabbits can thoroughly enjoy their lives being housed outside. Sometimes, they have even more fun when they are outside!
If you decide to house your bunnies outside, you should create a space for them that mimics their natural environment. Some people choose to set up several different rabbit cages and connect them using rabbit tunnels. This allows for the bunnies to enjoy their instinct to burrow and tunnel through the ground without destroying your lawn in the process.
Whether you are keeping your rabbits indoors or outdoors, The Rabbit House’s Rabbit Hutch/Cage Size Guide lists the things that you should keep in mind:
- Rabbit cage size will depend on the number of bunnies you have. The more bunnies you have, the more space you are going to need.
- The cages should be big enough to accommodate their adult sizes. Rabbits grow pretty rapidly and become quite large, so you need to make sure the cage is going to accommodate their adult size.
- There should be a confined area for the rabbits to relax and sleep. Out in the wild, the rabbit is prey. For this reason, they can naturally feel scared or insecure without a confined space to run to. Allow them a proper home burrow, whether they are in your living room or the backyard.
- Always go bigger. Don’t be so caught up on the actual size of the space you need to provide for your rabbit. Your final thought process should always be more. Trust me. Your bunnies will thank you when they have plenty of room to run around.
When it comes to the amount of space that bunnies need, they aren’t too particular. As long as there is plenty of room and confined space to run, hide, and relax, then they should be happy with the area you have provided. Tunnels are always an excellent idea, too, since they will mimic the natural environment of the rabbit and keep them feeling satisfied consistently.
Bunny House Recommendation
One of the top choices for bunny houses on Amazon is the PawHut 2-Story XL Wooden Deluxe Bunny House Outdoor Hutch Pet Cage. This larger-than-life outdoor bunny cage has plenty of space for your bunnies to roam freely, and the two stories allow for plenty of hopping. For less than $200, you and your bunny can enjoy the following features of this bunny house:
- A sturdy, solid wood construction. This large bunny house is guaranteed to be durable enough to take on a few bunnies at a time thanks to the solid painted fir wood construction. It’s long-lasting and resilient while also being perfectly safe for animals.
- A water-resistant roof. Don’t worry about the weather getting in the way of your bunny’s home. With an asphalt roof that is completely waterproof with UV-ray protection, you can feel confident leaving your bunnies outside during rain or shine. The enhanced weather protection of the roof is ideal for all types of weather conditions and climates.
- Easy access points. The main living space of the home and its run boxes are easy to find for your rabbits, making this house versatile and enjoyable for your pets. With the addition of two extra ramps, more access points and fun are awaiting your energetic bunnies.
- No worry about predators. A durable metal wire surrounds the bunny house, so you never have to worry about predators finding their way into the home and wreaking havoc on your furry friends. Your bunnies are protected and safe while enjoying their time outside.
- Easily cleaned. It is important to clean your bunnies’ home regularly since droppings and other dirt and grime can accumulate quickly. This home is easily cleaned thanks to a built-in droppings tray and plenty of circulation from the windows.
Does That Mean Rabbits Should Be Cooped Up all of the Time?
Now you know how to house your rabbits properly and how much space they need to be happy. But even if you have created the perfect environment for your fluffy friends, should you leave your rabbits in their cages constantly because you think they are happy?
It’s the job of the rabbit owner to make sure that their rabbits are getting the space they need to live their lives to the fullest potential. When a bunny does not have enough space, their muscles can begin to atrophy. This is a major concern that can have serious negative effects on your pet, so you should avoid it by making sure that your rabbits have enough space.
This isn’t as much of a concern for outdoor bunnies who have plenty of space to roam, run, and get their fix of activity. But for those who choose to house their bunnies inside, there is a higher chance of your bunny becoming unhappy or experiencing muscular atrophy. Even in the best indoor enclosure that’s jam-packed with toys of all kinds for bunny enrichment, your bunny will eventually become bored and upset.
Indoor rabbits should always be given a few hours outside of their cage or pen each day. They should be allowed to roam freely throughout the home or get some outdoor time. Make sure to keep an eye on them while they are roaming because bunnies can be mischievous.
Do Bunnies Need Cages?
Some bunny owners might consider whether or not their rabbits need a cage, and the simple answer is no, your bunnies do not need a cage. The article “Everything You Need to Know About Raising a Free-Roam (Cage-Free) Bunny” by Tori Holmes from Wide Open Pets gives some tips for rabbit owners that choose to let their bunnies roam free.
The major concern here is that your house needs to be bunny-proofed. If you have a small child or baby at home, then you’re likely already set up to have the bunny roam freely without any potential issues. But for families without babies, bunny-proofing your home will take a little more effort.
The most important thing to do to make your home safe for bunnies is to keep electrical wires out of reach. Bunnies like to chew, so it’s important to keep them out of reach to reduce the chance of bunny death.
You should also make sure that there are no other pets in the home. Think about it – a dog and a bunny hanging out in the living room is not likely to end well. Remember, rabbits are prey, not predators, and that’s just nature. Even if the two animals grow up together and get along well, there is still a chance of their instincts taking over and one of them being hurt.
A few other important things to keep in mind when raising a free-range bunny include:
- Your bunny is still going to want his own space. Bunnies like to have a ‘safe space’ where they can feel confident that nothing bad will happen to them. You should make sure that there is a confined area in the home for your bunny to rest. They will likely feel the safest there and want to sleep there.
- You might want to consider toilet-training your bunny. Yes, believe it or not, your bunny can be toilet-trained. You can train your bunny to use a litter box, just as you would train a kitten to do. I recommend this one on Amazon. Bunnies are surprisingly responsive, and staying consistent is key.
- Keep a cage on hand for when you are not around. Even though you have bunny-proofed your home, you are still going to want to keep a watchful eye on your fluffy friend. Although they might be accustomed to the home, they can still wind up in danger when left alone. A cage that’s big enough to accommodate your bunny is ideal for times when you are not home to keep him safe and secure.
If you are considering raising free-range bunnies, remember that you still need to follow the numbers allowed by your municipal development codes and zoning requirements. It always comes down to space when it comes to owning rabbits, so not having adequate space is going to be a major issue for your bunnies.
Now that you know the proper space requirements for owning multiple bunnies, you might be wondering if the same rules apply for breeders. Even breeders must follow the rules of their municipal district. You can find out municipal development codes and zoning requirements online or by giving your city hall a call.
Most of the time, you should have no issues with being a small-scaled breeder. If you are only breeding bunnies to sell as pets to individuals and families, you will not even need a license. As long as you are following the rules for your area, you are all set.
But how many bunnies should a breeder have at one time? Keep in mind that bunnies are territorial and need plenty of space to run free and have fun. Therefore, even if you are a bunny breeder, you should keep your numbers small.
Having fewer bunnies is highly recommended for the simple fact that you can take care of them more adequately. You won’t have to worry about a lack of space or food and focus on the happiness of your rabbits and their offspring. This leads to happy, healthy bunny babies that will be ready to be adopted when the time comes.
Keep this in mind: rabbits can become pregnant very quickly and will give birth within 31 days. They can become impregnated directly after giving birth. To make sure you aren’t overbreeding your rabbit, house the males and females in different cages. When ready to breed, put them together for no longer than 12 hours at a time.
After your bunny gives birth, you will want to give her some time to heal. A good rule of thumb is to have all the bunnies adopted before planning to breed again, especially if you do not have adequate space for them. As long as you are following the rules of your area and taking proper care of your bunnies, there is no harm in breeding bunnies.
Having multiple rabbits can be a fun experience and a great way to add some adventure and love to your family. However, it is important to keep in mind that the more bunnies you obtain, the more space they are going to need. Bunnies require an abundance of space to keep them happy and healthy.