Housing for Rabbits
Rabbit Farming in South Africa

© Karoline Steenekamp
A good rabbit cage system showing the height of a comfortable cage and a good manure collecting system.

Basic Requirements for a Good Rabbit Cage

Before buying rabbits it is important to decide on their housing – the type of cage, size and position. One can buy cages but that is the most expensive way to go; it is more economical to build your own. The basic requirements for a good rabbit cage are:

A safe secure hutch that offers protection from the weather. This includes shade from the sun and complete protection from rain and wind.

A hutch should have a minimum of 0.6 m² floor space and a minimum of 0.5 m in height. The rabbit needs to be able to hop from one end to the other comfortably and lie down full length without touching the sides. Very importantly, it also has to be able to sit up on its haunches and look around and also to move food through the gut to prevent digestive problems.

A good cage should have protection from all predators. Rabbits are food to many creatures such as dogs, snakes, wild cats, rats and raptor birds like owls.

Rabbits must always be protected from heat. Temperatures of higher than 25℃ are a problem and care must be taken to ensure that cages are either in the shade or in a very well ventilated building. In extreme heat, it is necessary to sprinkle the roof with water to help decrease the temperature. The cold is not a problem for adult rabbits but babies must be kept protected from cold.

When kept in wire cages it is important to give the rabbit a rest pad to sit on. This protects their feet front being on the wire all the time, but most importantly gives the rabbit a place to rest without having a draft on its tummy. The rest pad can be made from a wooden plank, a sheet of cardboard or a piece of carpet tile. It is very important to keep the rest pads clean.

By Karoline Steenekamp