Recommendations for hutch type?

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Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by halfbloodprincess on Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:03 am

Binky has the living room all to himself, but he needs a 'base', and a an extra large litter tray in the corner is just not working any more and hay is trailed around too much. As he really only needs an enclosed space to do his business in and eat in, and perhaps be shut in for the night (I suspect he would feel safer if I did that as he can be nervous) have been thinking about getting him one of those plastic indoor hutches.

The problem is, I have already experienced a second hand version of this, and it was alright in some ways - thick plastic bottom, sturdy enough metal rungs - but the whole structure did not really stay together. The cage part was held together at the corners by silly little plastic corner pieces which 'clicked' in, and two big clips at the end which didn't really do much either. Now Binky is very passive and does not explore or try to escape things, so in reality this shoddy structure wasn't a problem, but it irritated me that it was not secure and the top cage part was only really sitting in place, not secured down.

What I want is a secure indoor cage. Can anyone recommend what brands they have used in the past which are good in this regard? It has to be available in the UK though, and ideally on ebay or amazon. I can't afford more than £50, and would be very pleased with something around £30, especially as Binky is a dwarf rabbit and will only be using this cage as a base. Something I have been looking at, and think I might prefer, is one of the models which has a clear plastic top as wella s thelastic base, instead of a cage, but I have not researched the pros and cons of those yet.

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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by halfbloodprincess on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:36 pm

Hmm. After researchng the indoor hutches with a clear plastic top, I can report back that they are usually small. Small enough that they would be more suited to a syrian hamster but not for a bunny if it is going to be shut up - at all, even if its only over night. Also, aparently they are heat traps. Additionally they do not open from the side, which means it's not suitable for a 'hop in, hop out' base.

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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by FluffSlave on Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:01 pm

Have you considered a large dog crate or something similar?

Willow had a dog crate as a base when she was in my room and it worked well as a base, and you can drape a fleece or blanket over part of it to create a darker, more secure area for them.

Obviously the size you get would depend on how often you'd be shutting him in there. If it was more than once in a while, unless it was huge, then it probably wouldn't be suitable.
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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by Sparky on Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:33 pm

How much space do you have to put it in? Often wooden hutches are better value, a more suitable shape, and just as good indoors as out.

We use mesh panels (C&C grid type) to make enclosures for the buns indoor areas. They're never closed but it does give them 'their' space and a place to contain the mess a bit.
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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:42 pm

I have a giant dog crate as a base for my 2 and I have fixed a shelf in there too.

Generally the indoor cages are pants. The best ones are the ones where the whole side lifts up but then they lack strength in the structure.

As Sparky said a traditional hutch is probably best. You can buy indoor versions online with flat wooden roofs. You can then use some garden shades paint to paint it an appropriate colour for your house. The benefit of this sort of hutch is you can use it as a bit of furniture to put stuff on if needs be.


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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by halfbloodprincess on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:39 pm

Getting an outdoor type hutch is a good idea. I have had one in use like that in the past, but it was huge and took up so much space. Maybe if I got a smaller one...

Same trailing problem with dog crates, I have tried that before.

I still like the idea of a plastic one though, as the wooden outdoor ones usually have low sides by the doors, meaning sawdust gets trailed around.

Truth is, I have seven pets in a one bed flat, and cleanliness is a real problem for me and using my old crappy plastic hutch was by far the tidiest when it came to keeping mess IN the hutch, which is why I wanted to update it rather than get a different type.

I will definitely look at the wooden indoor hutches though, they do sound appealing!

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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by Sparky on Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:28 pm

halfbloodprincess wrote:it was huge and took up so much space.
It needs to be pretty big if you are thinking of shutting him in it overnight. Don't forget rabbits are quite active at night. He'd need 6' x 2' x 2' as a minimum. You can't go smaller and double level, it doesn't work like that.

You shouldn't be using 'sawdust' (I assume you mean wood shavings) as most types give rabbits breathing problems. It might not be apparent but could be seriously shortening his life. I think they can also have an adverse affect on the liver. A decent bedding like Megazorb is much better, more absorbent and less smelly. Is he litter trained? Most rabbits litter train easily and then you just need a large, reasonably deep box like an underbed storage box or a large dog bed for the litter and a layer of hay. You'll get a lot less mess and trailing then Thumbs Up
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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:44 pm

I agree, shavings are not good for buns.

The problem with plastic sides is the buns can't get out easily and safely. You will want to just leave the side open for them to hop in an out.


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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by halfbloodprincess on Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:58 pm

Yes its wood shavings, I call it sawdust for some reason.

I have slept with Binky in a huge hutch beside my bed at night for some time and I can assure you he sits in one spot for the entire night and barely moves so I don't think he needs a huge space for the 5-6 hours he might be shut in, but in any case I am unlikely to shut him in most nights. To be honest I like to keep him out as much as possible (wch is why I'm moving him to hs own room), but if I have friends staying over from time to time, they probably won't be as comfortable as I am with a small animal running around the room while they sleep. (I only had to shut him in his hutch in my bedroom because I had cats in there and didn't trust them together while I slept. Don't worry, I will still try to get a large hutch, but not like my old one as it was just too big and did not match the rest of my house, it took up way too much space and made the room seem small and poky.

Re the high sides - I didn't come across that problem with the old plastic hutch, even though Binky is a dwarf. The gate sort of flipped outwards and became a ramp, and he didn't seem to struggle in and out. If it is a problem, I'll just make some steps for it I suppose.

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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by halfbloodprincess on Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:06 pm

*hang on, just re-read the sawdust/woodshavings thing. I buy mine from Pets at Home and it says that its for rabbits, so that must mean it's okay, right? Or at least doctored to be suitable? I don't know if most people here are American or British or whatever, but if you don't know, Pets at Home is quite respectable, they are quite stringent with making sure pets they sell go to owners who know what they're doing and have the space and time for them, and they give out loads of pamphlets and interview you briefly before selling you animals. They are good with advising an what products are best for animals, so I have trusted their branding which advertises the bedding for rabbits. Are ALL woodshavings bad? I have heard that before but assumed that the stuff Pets at Home sells was fixed to be suitable for bunnies.

Eek I'm kind of worried now as other bedding types are very expensive

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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:21 pm

We are mostly British here. Unfortunately Pets at Home don't have such an untarnished reputation with most people on the forum for lots of reasons. The stores are only as good as their managers and a lot of the managers only see the bottom line and not the animals. There are lots of things that pets at home sell that I would take issue with as they are not good for rabbits such as yoghurt drops, really poor quality hay, dried corn cobs, small cages and hutches and shavings. There have been links between shavings and respiratory problems in rabbits and other small animals. However shavings are completely superfluous in a rabbit set up. They do not absorb liquid and odours as well as other products, they don't keep the animal warm and they aren't good to eat. However they are brilliant at being tracked all round the house on the bottom of a bun's feet. A house trained bun should not need a covering of shavings all over the floor of a hutch, just a litter tray with something absorbent in it. There are lots of good litters out there - yesterday's news, smartbedz, fitch, megazorb, auboise are all good and will stay drier than shavings and absorb the smell better too. My pair just like a rug to sleep on and have always shunned any proper bed but other buns like something snuggly like a doughnut bed. For an outside bun it would be important to fill a sleeping area up with hay for warmth, but house rabbits just don't need this so a hay manger above the litter tray will do them fine.



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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by halfbloodprincess on Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:28 pm

I use a carpet in my other bunnys hutch area, with a litter tray with pellet litter just as you say. Binky is being difficult with litter training however, so we have to use something else. It is true that I don't really like the way hutches are advertised as suitable for a rabbit without underlining the whole 'hutch is not enough' message at Pets... but that sadly seems to be standard. I have always been impressed otherwise, our local Pets. is usually brilliant.

Are newspapers bad to use to line the hutch instead? Shredded or otherwise. I will definitely have to look into an alternate litter type though.


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Re: Recommendations for hutch type?

Post by FluffSlave on Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:02 pm

halfbloodprincess wrote:I use a carpet in my other bunnys hutch area, with a litter tray with pellet litter just as you say. Binky is being difficult with litter training however, so we have to use something else. It is true that I don't really like the way hutches are advertised as suitable for a rabbit without underlining the whole 'hutch is not enough' message at Pets... but that sadly seems to be standard. I have always been impressed otherwise, our local Pets. is usually brilliant.

Are newspapers bad to use to line the hutch instead? Shredded or otherwise. I will definitely have to look into an alternate litter type though.

I use newspaper on top of my buns litter tray bedding, and I also sometimes bed them on shredded newspaper, but when shredded it has to be changed at least every other day 'cause it's not absorbent at all Thumbs Up

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