History of the Hutch
Thankfully, gone are the days when pet rabbits were housed in converted sideboards ... or are they?
We can find quite a few proud chaps showing off their 'conversions' on websites and blogs today, like this image here.
Poor, poor bunny ... Sideboards were of course made by craftsmen in olden days it's fair to say, and looked lovely - as sideboards. What about the poor rabbits though, are they happy?
Making use of an old sideboard was very popular in days gone by, it seems that the most obvious use for one was housing the pet rabbit. By removing a door, being careful to retain one of the doors for access to the sleeping compartment, and then using anything you could find, such as old mesh and string to hold it all together, the poor rabbit was confined in this untidy creation.
Over the decades I'd like to think we have progressed a little from the rickety old sideboard, but, the most common pet rabbit hutch in pet shops today is usually mass produced in China. Most typically a box shape, looking like a sideboard, and cheap. These are cramped and cold as well as poor in size and quality.
Rabbit hutch designs have not really changed very much at all over the years, today's options include - A rectangular box shaped hutch with mesh front and sleeping quarters, or perhaps a rectangular box with mesh front and sleeping quarters, and legs.
Breeding hutches are slightly different though, being rectangular boxes with mesh fronts and sleeping quarters, and luckily still having the added option of legs, however each hutch is piled one on top of the other. Sometimes they are simply wire cages with wire mesh floors for the bunnies to stand on - horrid!
It seems a little unfair to deny the rabbits any pleasure of passing the time of day with their 'flat mates' who reside on the upper and lower floors (although we understand for breeders this is not always an option). Don't you think they would love to wander around on grass in the lovely fresh air?
The old 'stack 'em high - breed 'em cheap' is, in our opinion, not the kindest option. As you've probably gathered, we felt the need to design hutches with a difference to put bunny welfare first.
Our sheer dislike of the ordinary outdoor rabbit hutch style gave us the impetus to develop our Arched Rabbit Houses. Combining not only interesting contemporary looks; perfect practicality, superb build quality and, thick timbers to keep them warm, safe and dry; but more importantly the run space for the rabbit to develop both mentally and physically.
The Salisbury Rabbit House
The Salisbury Rabbit House, which is based on our larger Arch Rabbit House, is proving very popular due to its compact nature and ease of cleaning.
We think our advances in designing hutches offering luxury living for your rabbits or pets is streets ahead of what is available on the market today and, being made of pressure-treated timber, will certainly last and look good for many years.
Suitable for a couple of small rabbits, the Salisbury has a run area of approx 38 sq ft.
It is very easy to clean and includes a sleeping tray as well a drinker bottle stand for inside the house.
There is plenty of height for them to stand on their haunches and the under-house area also provides shelter from the midday sun.
More information about the timbers we use for our houses can be found on the About our Housing page.
The Arched Rabbit House
This Arched Rabbit House is a large, 9ft long x 6ft high, Rabbit House with spacious accommodation, a sundeck and a long ramp leading to the lovely grass below.
Around the edge of the sundeck and the ramp we have added raised edges to prevent those 'I wish I'd brought a parachute' moments, however, the Bunnies exit the house directly on to the sundeck.
The raised house makes maximum use of the space underneath as well as making cleaning and tending a great deal easier. This space provides an area for shelter or shade and, with a height under the house of 76cm, also gives bunnies room to stand on their hind legs.
The Walk-in Run has an internal height of 173cm, so very accessible for most of us, and will allow children the height and space to sit inside with their bunnies.
We don't advise or advocate putting a mesh base in the rabbit's outdoor run as it would be very uncomfortable for the bunnies.
Unlike cats and dogs, rabbits do not have padded paws to cushion them, their paws have claws but are just covered in fur, so a mesh floor could damage or disfigure their feet and be extremely uncomfortable.
If you wish to prevent them digging then place a cushioning layer, like woodchip, on top of the mesh.
Framebow Guinea Pig Hutches
Our Framebow Hutches - The Helford and The Hampton - comprise both indoor and outdoor living space with a ridged ramp which helps to keep the guinea pigs active and gives them a feeling of freedom they will certainly enjoy.
Your pets will spend hours flying up and down the wooden ramp, in and out of the hutch, amusing themselves.
Our guinea pig hutches boast an elegantly curved timber framework giving a modern designer feel to the outdoor accommodation.
The Framebow Hutches have been designed with the house section raised above part of the run space with a ramp leading down to the ground. The ramp is pulled up with a cord if you wished to close up the hutch.
It also includes a twin wall polycarbonate weather shutter for the meshed house door to serve both as night shutter for colder nights or weather protector during the day.
5 Top Tips for Happy Bunnies
This is what we like to see isn't it ... two relaxed, happy bunnies snoozing in the shade of the Arch Rabbit House on a lovely summers day.
1. Allow plenty of nice soft bedding in the house, like Chopped Hemp Bedding, Hay or Straw. Do not use newspaper or pine shavings (can be harmful if they ingest them). In cold weather fill their house with lots of extra bedding for them to snuggle into so they can stay warm. Keep the hutch clean and healthy by changing bedding every few days and do a proper clean once a week.
2. Be good about their diet. Plenty of hay for their digestion and a good pelleted rabbit feed. Leafy greens are a nice regular treat, and root vegetables as an occasional treat. Do not feed them meusli type feed or grass cuttings (it upsets their digestion).
3. Allow plenty of exercise. If in an outdoor run provide as much space for running around as possible with stimulation like ramps to run up and down or cardboard boxes to play in (make sure they dont eat them though). Encourage excercise by playing with them.
4. Ensure your outdoor run is predator proof. Foxes can easily dig into a run underneath the edges, as can rats, so always make sure the run is made of small-size mesh. Heavy duty metal weldmesh is best and regularly check for gaps which may allow predators in.
5. Regularly handle your bunny and check its health, particularly its front gnawing teeth which can grow at up to 3mm a week. Be prepared to take it to a vet if you notice any change in its behaviour, especially lack of eating. Rabbits are good at hiding pain.
All About Rabbit Hutches is ©Framebow (Flyte so Fancy Ltd) 2015. Author: Anne Weymouth. Reproduction of part or all of this text is only possible with the express permission of Flyte so Fancy Ltd.