Housing a large number of rabbits in a stress-free, safe, and natural environment.
What are ‘Rabbitats’?
Rabbitats in effect are ‘micro-sanctuaries’, enclosures designed to be escape proof, predator-proof, visually pleasing, gently interactive, sustainable and low maintenance.
The ‘rabbitats’ can be indoors, outdoors or a combination of the two.
The designs, size and capacities depend on the land and/or building dimensions and layout, area predators, the natural vegetation, available materials and the budget.
They are designed to hold small to large rabbit colonies comfortably in a natural ‘warren’ environment.
They are constructed to keep the rabbits in and the predators out.
What does a ‘Rabbitat’ structure entail?
- ‘Rabbitat’ structures should ideally be at least partially covered , the roof can range from traditional A-frame designs to open to covered with netting or wire.
- The interior should include benches, planters and ideally trellises.
- The benches and planters should be hollow with access holes resulting in tunnel-like hiding boxes for their homes/burrows. (This allows the rabbits to feel safe and avoid human contact if they choose to).
- The benches and planters can have hinged lids/sides for easy cleaning and emergency rabbit access , and they can have high backs to double as protection from line-of-sight predators and the elements.
- In some cases, the bases/boxes can extend into the ground to keep the rabbits cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Above ground boxes can be stuffed with straw.
- Edible plants can be incorporated as a cost-effective food/treat/enrichment source, with the plants caged/covered or positioned out of reach to prevent the rabbits from eating the roots.
- Food sources will include bales of hay and pellet feeders centrally located and undercover.
- Running water sources are ideal but not always affordable.
- Toilet areas should be as contained as possible. Feces will usually collect close to the hay, other toilet areas are still to be determined. (They do not like to soil their burrows so the boxes should not be overly messy).
- Ramps, steps and platforms can increase the footage available for roaming and provide access to a wider range of plants.
- If the area is too large to be encapsulated, the ground needs a network of tunnels and/or small shelters, bushes and bird flight deterrents like crisscrossed wires, flags and trees.
- Extensive ground wire or cover is needed to prevent burrowing while deep and high fencing is needed to keep predators from climbing or digging in.
- The structures must be double-gated and be inaccessible to unauthorized humans and other animals.
- Security ‘Bunny Cams’ will be incorporated or at least encouraged.
Who Will Host Them?
Farm properties can house a colony of rabbits in an unused stall of a barn, repurpose a chicken coop or a shed and attach a run or dedicate a small patch of land for a covered rabbit-specific enclosure.
Garden Centres and Farm Markets are always looking for ways to attract crowds and attention and installing a cute ‘rabbit village’ on their property will be a welcome addition and can replace abusive petting zoos.
Animal Shelters and Rescues
Shelters can house their unadoptable rabbits together in a ‘rabbitat’ for increased capacity requiring less space and less maintenance than cages.
Community gardens or community centres may have an interested organizational group or person who can take on the responsibility of a rabbit colony.
Institutions & Programs
Care homes, retirement centers and other institutions are often interested in diversions for their residents.
Backyard space can be used as a family project or a relaxing respite area with vegetation, benches and rabbits.