PDA

View Full Version : RSPCA recommended hutch size



AlisonA
12-08-2008, 09:12 AM
:wave:

Does anyone know where I can find info from the RSPCA on what they recommend as a minimum hutch size. I know they used to say 5*2*2 but I have vague recommendations they were upping this to 6*2*2 for the animal welfare act stuff...but on their website I can't find any specifics at all, just comments about making sure they have enough space, can stand up etc.

Can anyone point me to an RSPCA document which has actual guidelines in it??

Stator
12-08-2008, 09:19 AM
I guess because there is such a variation in rabbit sizes they have changed their advice to this:


provide a big enough living area for each of your rabbits
to lie fully stretched out in any direction, take a sequence
of hops, turn around easily and sit up on their hind legs
without their ears touching the roof

AlisonA
12-08-2008, 09:23 AM
Yeah that's all I've found too, but I'd have thought they'd at least have something 'solid' as guidance for the animal welfare act.

Personally I don't think their text there is helpful, because most people won't have any concept as to what that means and will assume that their silly pet shop hutch is ok.

mybunnies
12-08-2008, 09:26 AM
the bigger the hutch the better:)

Kay
12-08-2008, 09:26 AM
Problem is with that wording is that people who have a baby bunny from a pet shop will think that they have ample room and not think about when they get bigger! :?

Hopper
12-08-2008, 10:09 AM
My local vet has a poster up with the new animal welfare, it says on there about hutch size which is now a minimum of 6*2*2 like you said.

I will see later when i go to collect grouch if the vets ive used today has any up and get a copy to scan. Used different vets today aswell.

Rowan
12-08-2008, 11:33 AM
I think the RSPCA leave it to local branches to dictate, I may be wrong though. When I got my two from the RSPCA there was no minimal hutch size but their permanent enclosure had to be a minimum of 50 square foot, of which some had to be a shelter.

AlisonA
12-08-2008, 11:56 AM
Anyone know when these elusive guidelines on the animal welfare act are likely to be around? Surely that's got to give something.

There's an ebay seller who does have some great stuff but also has some 4*2*2 hutches and states that they are fully compliant with the Animal Welfare Act :?

Tracey8581
12-08-2008, 12:00 PM
I was told by the RSPCA at Chesterfield that the hutch for two rabbits needed to be at least 5ft.

Pegasys
12-08-2008, 12:29 PM
Hi I have this article:


The Animal Welfare Act and Rabbits Owners

The new Animal Welfare Act is a new piece of animal legislation that places a 'duty of care' on owners and guardians of all pets. This means that it is still against the law to be cruel to an animal, but now owners must also ensure that all the welfare needs of their animals are met. The law came into effect on the 6th April in England, and the animal welfare law is being improved as of the 27th March in Wales.

The new law makes owners and guardians responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met, including ensuring:

A suitable environment for all animals
A suitable diet for all animals
Animals exhibit normal behavior patterns
Animals are housed with, or apart from, other animals if necessary
Animals are protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease
The new Animal Welfare Act increases the minimum age at which a person can buy an animal to 16, and prohibits giving animals as prizes to unaccompanied children under this age.

Anyone failing to adhere to these stipulations may be banned from owning animals, fined up to 20,000 and/or sent to prison.

What rabbit owners should keep in mind...

Environment:
It's not acceptable to keep a rabbit alone in a small hutch, without the ability to exercise.
Hutches should be a minimum of 6 x 2 x 2 feet - ideally with an attached run to allow the rabbits to exercise.
Runs should be a minimum of 6 x 4 x 4.
Diet:
Fresh food and water should be available at all times.
Feed as natural a diet as possible, ie mainly hay or grass, with a small proportion of greens and rabbit pellets.
Changes to the diet should be made gradually to avoid gastrointestinal problems.
Behavior:
Allow normal behavior, including digging, running, playing, hiding, etc.
Allow daily exercise.
Provide toys that allow the display of natural behavior.
Companionship:
Rabbits are sociable animals and should not be kept alone, unless a houserabbit has adequate human company.
A male/female couple usually get on better together, but will both need to be neutered and introduced to each other carefully.
The companionship of another species, eg guinea pig, is not generally successful.
Healthcare:
Yearly myxomatosis and VHD vaccinations are necessary.
Regular heath checks are also advisable, this is when nails can be cut, teeth can be trimmed and general health can be monitored.
Regular checks at home are also advisable to check teeth and nails are not overly long, monitor weight and check for any parasite infestations, eg mites, flystrike. Flystrike is particularly common in the summer and rabbits should be checked at least once or twice a day.
For further information about the Animal Welfare Act visit:

DEFRA - www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/act/affect.htm
The Office of Public Sector Information - www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2006/20060045.htm

I don't know where it is from though :?

AlisonA
12-08-2008, 04:36 PM
Thanks for that - that's probably where I got my original 6*2*2 recollections from, but I now can't find anything that backs it up :evil:

I wonder if that was an old RSPCA press release, in which case I'll see if I can locate it somwhere in an archive!

rspcarabbits
13-08-2008, 09:20 AM
I think the RSPCA leave it to local branches to dictate, I may be wrong though. When I got my two from the RSPCA there was no minimal hutch size but their permanent enclosure had to be a minimum of 50 square foot, of which some had to be a shelter.

The Animal welfare Act 2007 is incomplete and sizes have not been set in stone so to speak yet.

We rehome to the above 50 square feet rule for two dwarf to medium buns up to around 2.5kg.

This area should be available to the buns 24/7 , be safe and secure( ie fully enclosed with a lid or roof) and include suitable accommodation within, that provides adequate shelter and protection from the elements.

In our opinion this complies with all the elements of the 2007 Act in respect of being able to exhibit normal behaviour (crepuscular...ie mainly active twice a day) a suitable place to live and protection from injury.

We only rehome as pairs to live outside or to go to make up pairs.

It is confusing due to the lack of hard standards and different local rspca area's at present have a different take on what is required. These are our standards based on experience and with direct regard to the welfare of the rabbits we re-home.Whatever the final outcome these will be our minimum standards .....that is unless the final standards are in excess of these which is very unlikely

We respectfully recommend them to everybody as a minimum requirement.

p.s Am I correct in thinking your buns came from us....they look familiar!

Alan

Rowan
13-08-2008, 10:47 AM
Hi Alan,

Yes my two came from you (Whisper and Evan, now Lola and Teddy)! It was your requirements I was thinking of. The new enclosure was completed Sunday and they have now made the move outside!

I will take some pictures tonight to show you and to give a better idea to people reading this what your recommended minimum looks like (I'm a metric baby myself so think in metres!)

Rowan

Stator
13-08-2008, 12:20 PM
50square foot? You mean a 6ftx6ft (36sq ft) run would be too small for your rules?

rspcarabbits
13-08-2008, 03:14 PM
50square foot? You mean a 6ftx6ft (36sq ft) run would be too small for your rules?

Our 50 square foot rule would allow you to have your 6ft x 6ft run permanently attached to say a 6ft x 2 ft hutch = 48sq ft(we are slightly flexible) as long as all the other criteria were taken care of.

However its all about common sense and what is best for the rabbits ie. if someone came to us with a 4 story 6ft x 2 ft multi story affair with no run although it is the same technical area it still would not allow for a decent run in which the buns could run and binky and what not .....so the answer would still be no.

There is no easy way to define what is right but having such a simple guide we have found to be beneficial and even allowing for small downward sized accommodation ie 48sq ft it is still acceptable for two small to medium buns.

However there are many other factors that should be taken into account and I'm sure Rowan will back me when I say we go to great lengths to promote what is not only right for the buns but also what is practical for the owner too.

We demonstrate this where we are by having our own rabbit accommodation on display that is built to take trays for easy cleaning, owners can enter and stand upright in,solid roofs that allow all the run and hutch area to stay dry and finally lighting that allows easy access in winter months.

This sounds to some like an awful lot but of those who come out to see and listen, very few do not come back . A surprising number sell brand new hutches and runs they have already bought in order to get it right because they can see for themselves the benefits of getting it right over a long period of time and especially where young children are involved where they want a close relationship with the buns.

Yes we do employ a few sneaky tricks to facilitate this but the end result justifys the means and "I commend it to the house!".:lol:

Alan.

AlisonA
13-08-2008, 06:39 PM
The rabbit residence rescue are the same - she requires a 60sq ft run (used to be 50 but when the recommendations for hutches went up from 5ft to 6ft she just based it on 10ft long by the width of the hutch. Like you, she finds that once she explains her reasons, people happily find a way. I think one of the massive advantages Caroline has is that some of her buns are in 30ft warrens - yet with all that space, the bunnies still come up to say hello. It speaks volumes to people that space=happy, friendly bunnies!

So, in conclusion, there is no specific overall RSPCA hutch standard at the moment :?

Mackers
13-08-2008, 07:07 PM
Well I've had two buns from Alan in Norfolk and two from Caroline at the Rabbit Residence and they were all very happy little furry people having come from such caring rescues! I think they do a great job and I'm glad they won't back down on their basic requirements. If a potential owner is not prepared to provide 50sq ft, then IMO, they're not desirable as bunny mummies. When you actually look at 50 square feet on the ground, it's not that big - an 8x6 shed is 48sq ft after all. Flora and Parsnip, who came from Alan, have 83sq ft of surface area on a 24/7 basis and I'd honestly prefer them to have more. However, this is the best I can provide with the available space but I make sure they have daily access to the garden too. Caroline's bunnies are a bit luckier - being the first set of rescues - and they have around 180 sq ft on a 24/7 basis. Still not as much as they had with Caroline though! And as they say, size matters................:oops:

donnamt
13-08-2008, 07:10 PM
what about the space for house buns? them cages on sale are tiny :(

rspcarabbits
13-08-2008, 08:46 PM
what about the space for house buns? them cages on sale are tiny :(

House buns.....now thats a question.

What we look for standard wise is broadly similar to outside but without the measurements.

Let me explain....The rabbit(s) need a safe secure area where they cannot come to any harm and they can be shut away or segregated from normal life if need be. Free range house buns can come to a lot of harm and cause a good deal of damage unsupervised so this makes us nervous and if children are in the picture it is important that they can go somewhere and be unmolested at certain times ie friends coming round, parties or just during the day when they want to doze.

We try and look for a utility room, kitchens(with stair gates to the rest of the house) or areas especially set aside just for the bun(s) ....for instance my daughter has hers under a 7ft x 7ft stairwell with a large stair gate across next to the stairs . The buns if need be can be shut away but as with most house buns they are free to move around the downstairs under supervision when they are at home.....which is mainly in the morning and evening and this ties in with when the buns are most active.

They do not have a hutch as such just trays on a lono floor. They are quite fortunate as the stairs do provide a dark area towards the bottom but other situations possibly just dictate the use of a suitable upturned cardboard box with suitable holes cut in or similar. Weather protection is not an issue.

The indoor cages you see for sale in pet shops are like most accommodation you see in pet shops......not fit for pupose and we would never re-home to them. In fact I will stick my neck on the block and say most rabbit accommodation sold in pet shops, on the internet or made by budding diy'ers is either too small, fails to provide adequate weather protection or has been designed by somebody who clearly has little idea of what good rabbit accommodation consists of with regards suitability for the rabbits and as important..... the users.... in all weathers.

The problem is you see with rabbits you have to mostly provide for their complete environment and that can be expensive to do well. When you start to design with cost as the driving force or wether it will fit in the car then you are in real trouble.

If I ask mackers nicely and she does not get too embarrassed she will possibly put pictures on here of what we advised her to have made before we re-homed to her and also point out some of the design features.

Yes before you all scream....thats expensive...consider this... she can use it all year round, go in with her buns in all weathers sit down with them, give them a cuddle , a treat and change them in relative comfort. If children were involved they could too.

So on a value and usabilty scale over say ten years its cheap and if children were involved it sets an example they will understand and take with them to adulthood

so ......its over to you mackers and ps...parsnip and flora are two great buns that deserve such a home and I'm sure you will not mind me mentioning that in total we rehomed them buns 3 times!, firstly 5 years ago and they came back to us as the couple emigrated then for 6mths until the owner returned them to us as the next door neighbours dogs were stressing them and finally to you. oh and in the meantime flora had the worst case of skin myxo that we have ever seen on a nose that required surgury to close the gap!

Alan.

donnamt
13-08-2008, 09:03 PM
phew i was gettin scared my buns would get took away cus i cant give them 50sq ft locked up but when im home and then after that when ste is up till the early hours of the morning they are out and have the whole of the downstairs to run about in (two up two down terrace).... i just wish alvin could read this thread as he chooses to lie under the sofa which is smaller than the cage when hes free :roll:

pearl on the other hand takes full advantage of every bit of free time :love::love:

alvin and pearls home can fit in the car :oops::oops: but ive made it so that it can break down small enough :D when built up i can give them just under 30sq ft but thats to suit the room they are in.. when we move it will get bigger :D

Mackers
14-08-2008, 08:34 AM
Happy to post piccies of Flora and Parsnip's set up but I'm at work at the moment and can't access photobucket! Will do it this afternoon when I get home.

bunlover
14-08-2008, 09:34 AM
Anyone know when these elusive guidelines on the animal welfare act are likely to be around? Surely that's got to give something.

There's an ebay seller who does have some great stuff but also has some 4*2*2 hutches and states that they are fully compliant with the Animal Welfare Act :?

they are for gineau pigs...

bunlover
14-08-2008, 09:39 AM
also not wanting to sound daft but my buns have a 6x3x2ft hutch... which is attatched to a 6x6ft run when im out. at night i lock them in hutch(around 12 when i go to bed as then the run is an additional barrrier to foxes...there can never be too many. then in day and when i am home(bear in mind i work shifts and am home a lot) they are loose in the garden, and house... now i dont think mine have 24hr access to 50sq foot but they certaintly have a good life and plenty of room...nb dora is a nethie cross and arthur is a small lop. this seems odd that by rspca standereds i could never rehome even tho in my opinion i provide an excellent home...not trying to get anyones back up just concerend that many buns may be missing out on a good home due to this. ie surely it should be accessed on a personal basis?

lotsofsmoggies
14-08-2008, 10:07 AM
How do you work out square foot? :oops: Not very good with maths. I have for Charlie and Mocha 4ftx2ftx2ft two tier hutch attached to a 8 foot by 4 foot run. How many square foot is that? Peppa will have the same but wider by a foot.

Stator
14-08-2008, 11:20 AM
How do you work out square foot? :oops: Not very good with maths. I have for Charlie and Mocha 4ftx2ftx2ft two tier hutch attached to a 8 foot by 4 foot run. How many square foot is that? Peppa will have the same but wider by a foot.

You just multiple them for each piece then add them together :)

You have two levels and each level is 4x2 so each level is 8 square foot. That makes the hutch 16 sq ft.

The run is 32 sq ft (8 x 4). So 16 (hutch) + 32 (run) = 48sq ft total.

You will lose a little bit to the ramp inside the hutch however.

rspcarabbits
14-08-2008, 11:42 AM
also not wanting to sound daft but my buns have a 6x3x2ft hutch... which is attatched to a 6x6ft run when im out. at night i lock them in hutch(around 12 when i go to bed as then the run is an additional barrrier to foxes...there can never be too many. then in day and when i am home(bear in mind i work shifts and am home a lot) they are loose in the garden, and house... now i dont think mine have 24hr access to 50sq foot but they certaintly have a good life and plenty of room...nb dora is a nethie cross and arthur is a small lop. this seems odd that by rspca standereds i could never rehome even tho in my opinion i provide an excellent home...not trying to get anyones back up just concerend that many buns may be missing out on a good home due to this. ie surely it should be accessed on a personal basis?

Can I just make absolutely clear those standards are OUR standards and not necessarily those of other rspca local areas or rspca animal homes.

Each case in our area we take on its merits and with so many possibilities out there you have to have a starting point and as important you have to have some minimum standard which you can talk about.

Its also worth remembering if we only asked for 36sq ft someone would get upset if they were refused at 30 sq ft or 30sq ft and somebody only had 25sq ft. Our 50 square feet rule allows for this.

Alan.

rspcarabbits
14-08-2008, 12:00 PM
I should also explain that people who come to us have the following explained...

We have neutered all our bunnies, we vacinate for myxo and hvd. That means the local branch rspca has spent the equivalent of around 250 on the average pair. In return we only ask for a minimum donation of 10 per bunny or 20 the pair.

This is comparable to 20 ish per bunny or 40 per pair + the 250 neutering and vacination costs if they were to go to the average pet shop.

In other words a saving of around 270!!!!if they have their buns off us.

We then say that in return for this great deal we do expect and insist they go out to our minimum standards and as such we strongly encourage the money they save to be spent on accommodation in getting it right.

It may not surprise anybody who reads this that after this explanation is given to new keepers as a rule we have very few problems with them not providing the correct set up.

Those that refuse ,are unwilling to change or simply after cheap rabbits we simply will not re-home to .

We ourselves do not get paid and the welfare of the rabbit(s)is our only concern. What is right for them is paramount.:)

Alan

donnamt
14-08-2008, 01:32 PM
also not wanting to sound daft but my buns have a 6x3x2ft hutch... which is attatched to a 6x6ft run when im out. at night i lock them in hutch(around 12 when i go to bed as then the run is an additional barrrier to foxes...there can never be too many. then in day and when i am home(bear in mind i work shifts and am home a lot) they are loose in the garden, and house... now i dont think mine have 24hr access to 50sq foot but they certaintly have a good life and plenty of room...nb dora is a nethie cross and arthur is a small lop. this seems odd that by rspca standereds i could never rehome even tho in my opinion i provide an excellent home...not trying to get anyones back up just concerend that many buns may be missing out on a good home due to this. ie surely it should be accessed on a personal basis?


mine is the same alvin and pearl are out more than in because me and ste work different hours...and i like to think people would know im honest and love animals enough not to lie about their run about time.

i can also see the other side tho where people lie about how much out time buns get, and if i personally was to get bored of my angels they would be locked up in a 30sq ft enclosure so no way would they get the huge sprinting run they now do between the yard and thier cage via the kitchen and middle room. to have to take back a bunny that was promised all the freedom in the world that was really confined in a smaller than asked for space must be heartbreaking for the rescuer :(

Mackers
14-08-2008, 02:32 PM
Following on from Alan's request - here are a few pictures of the shed/run I had built especially for Flora and Parsnip's arrival. I took the pictures just now and I've not swept it yet today so please ignore the hay everywhere! Little people seem to like to throw it everywhere just to annoy me!

The shed is half enclosed and half meshed like a kennel/run (it's based on a dog kennel). I recently added the venetian blind (!) to stop the rain driving in through the mesh (hubby thought I'd lost the plot when I said I'd bought a blind for the bunnies!) The shed dimensions are 9'x5' giving a floor area of 45 sq ft. There is a ramp to an upper level of 5'x4' adding another 20 sq ft and finally I managed to squeeze a small 6'x3' run to the outside adding another 18 sq ft. The overall surface area is therefore 83 square feet but I still don't think it looks very big! Not compared to what Pea and Pod have anyway.


http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk224/smacknish/14082008099-1.jpg
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk224/smacknish/14082008102-1.jpg
http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk224/smacknish/14082008105-1.jpg

And just for comparision, here's a photo taken from an upstairs window showing Flora and Parsnip's accommodation in the foreground and Pea and Pod's 'warren' in the background.

http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk224/smacknish/21062008017.jpg

Lread
14-08-2008, 02:58 PM
This is fancastic, do your rabbits have access to the outside area at night?

I ask, because one of my rabbits Mow get very scared and stamps his feet at night and he is currently kept in at night. I'm not sure if it will make any odds if he was let out.

Louise

Mackers
14-08-2008, 05:23 PM
Hi Louise,

Yes, they all have 24/7 access to their inside and outside areas. Both runs are underwired and are built with weldmesh and are as secure as I feel I can make them. I've had Pea and Pod's warren-style enclosure for around 15 years and I've never (touch wood) had any problems with visiting vermin, aside from a few mice who live under the shed and the odd rat! The buns love to sit out all night but they do go in if it's raining. They even love to stay outside when it's about minus 10 degrees! However, they have the choice so I leave it up to them to decide where they're most comfortable.

Sue

donnamt
14-08-2008, 06:19 PM
oooooh your setups are amazing... id never be able to keep buns if i had em outside...the yard is tiny :lol::lol::lol:

Olibobs
14-08-2008, 07:09 PM
I saved mine from a breeder who kept them in rows and rows of tiny hutches - to the point they could not turn around. They now have a much bigger hutch (not to your measurements) and come into the large conservatory every day and then go back outside in the hutch at night. They can't go out in the garden for neighbour reasons. They are always kept clean, have all their jabs, toys and games aplenty. In the winter they are going to come and live inside the conservatory and I have got them very large indoor hutches, one each as they are not bonded. They are very happy and completely spoilt, to the point of having teddy's in their hutches to snuggle up to!

So by reading this thread - I am not good enough to have these rabbits? Had I gone to one of your sancturies I would've been refused? These animals were better off where they were?

I have so much fun with these animals and I adore them - I often come on here for advice and tips, and yet I mostly go away feeling guilty!!!

rspcarabbits
14-08-2008, 07:58 PM
I saved mine from a breeder who kept them in rows and rows of tiny hutches - to the point they could not turn around. They now have a much bigger hutch (not to your measurements) and come into the large conservatory every day and then go back outside in the hutch at night. They can't go out in the garden for neighbour reasons. They are always kept clean, have all their jabs, toys and games aplenty. In the winter they are going to come and live inside the conservatory and I have got them very large indoor hutches, one each as they are not bonded. They are very happy and completely spoilt, to the point of having teddy's in their hutches to snuggle up to!

So by reading this thread - I am not good enough to have these rabbits? Had I gone to one of your sancturies I would've been refused? These animals were better off where they were?

I have so much fun with these animals and I adore them - I often come on here for advice and tips, and yet I mostly go away feeling guilty!!!

According to Al murray .....living by no rules at all and your french....living by too many rules and your german!:lol:

So what should we be? and how should we decide what to re-home to?. I'm always open to new reasoned idea's that are easy to apply, practical and within the 2007 Animal Welfare Act...so what do you suggest?...and yes I know its not complete yet but the principals are laid down... so have a go!

Mackers
14-08-2008, 08:41 PM
Olibobs - I suppose that compared to where your buns came from, what they've got now is fantastic and they have a much, much better quality of life. It's possibly not ideal but then we don't live in an ideal world.

However, seeing things from Alan's side of the fence, they keep their rescue buns in a fabulous set up and each pair has plenty of space in which to stretch their legs. They would be doing their rescue buns a dis-service if they rehomed them to anywhere less spacious. A more old-fashioned 'rescue' keeping buns in 3 foot hutches, would possibly be happy to rehome a bun or buns to a 6 foot hutch with no run permanently attached as it would be still be twice the size of the temporary home. I don't know, I'm not a rescue so I'm only guessing. But I can see why Alan would not be prepared to rehome to anything less than he can offer himself. And as he's pointed out, that's just his rules and potential bunny mum's are more than welcome to look elsewhere for a new bunny if they feel they can't meet his criteria. I think that's pretty fair.

Stator
14-08-2008, 09:20 PM
I saved mine from a breeder who kept them in rows and rows of tiny hutches - to the point they could not turn around. They now have a much bigger hutch (not to your measurements) and come into the large conservatory every day and then go back outside in the hutch at night. They can't go out in the garden for neighbour reasons. They are always kept clean, have all their jabs, toys and games aplenty. In the winter they are going to come and live inside the conservatory and I have got them very large indoor hutches, one each as they are not bonded. They are very happy and completely spoilt, to the point of having teddy's in their hutches to snuggle up to!

So by reading this thread - I am not good enough to have these rabbits? Had I gone to one of your sancturies I would've been refused? These animals were better off where they were?

I have so much fun with these animals and I adore them - I often come on here for advice and tips, and yet I mostly go away feeling guilty!!!

There are a lot of people on this forum that provide amazing enclosures for their rabbits, but not all of us can provide that sort of thing. I'm sure if we all had unlimited money we could build some huge bunny castles :)

I think things are different when a rescue is trying to rehome rabbits. They often don't know the person who is going to be taking on these rabbits so they have to take extra special care that the rabbits needs will be met. By asking for large hutches and runs they are helping to make sure the new owners take the rabbits seriously and are willing to put in the effort. If a new owner comes to them and says "it's okay, we will bring them indoors all the time" or "we will let them around the garden 6 hours a day" then the rescue will probably be thinking "they will soon get bored of that and the rabbits will be stuck in the hutch all day" and in a lot of cases they will be right. It doesn't mean that everyone would be so lazy but they have to guard against those that might.

I wouldn't go away from here feeling bad about anything, your rabbits sound like they have a great home :)

Rowan
15-08-2008, 10:22 AM
I agree with what timb0h says about why rescues have to chose a set figure and stick to it. Some people are wonderful with rabbits and will happily move them into a bigger run or into the house every day for a run around (sounds like you're one of these, Olibobs) but there are others who won't when the novelty wears off or when the weather's bad. Alan has to guard against this or else he probably wouldn't sleep at night worrying if he has made the right decision to rehome!

I think the 50 square foot requirement is a good thing. I was planning an enclosure of 6x6 foot before I contacted Alan, so it made me increase what I would have otherwise provided. As Alan has said, they are prepared to negotiate and take the full picture into account when there are good homes waiting. They are also more flexible with requirements for house buns as they know outdoor buns can be easier to ignore due to them being "out of sight, out of mind" (for a minority of people, of course, not all). I'm sure given the amount of bunnies they recieve and ultimately need to rehome, they don't set any standard lightly.

This is Teddy and Lola's set up. 50 square foot sounds a lot but I would add that by the time you've added tunnels etc, there is less space. My two still come out every night for some speed binkying!

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii253/lemonshoelace/DSCF3309.jpg

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii253/lemonshoelace/DSCF3311.jpg

rspcarabbits
15-08-2008, 11:42 AM
[QUOTE=Rowan;2646263]I agree with what timb0h says about why rescues have to chose a set figure and stick to it. Some people are wonderful with rabbits and will happily move them into a bigger run or into the house every day for a run around (sounds like you're one of these, Olibobs) but there are others who won't when the novelty wears off or when the weather's bad. Alan has to guard against this or else he probably wouldn't sleep at night worrying if he has made the right decision to rehome!

I think the 50 square foot requirement is a good thing. I was planning an enclosure of 6x6 foot before I contacted Alan, so it made me increase what I would have otherwise provided. As Alan has said, they are prepared to negotiate and take the full picture into account when there are good homes waiting. They are also more flexible with requirements for house buns as they know outdoor buns can be easier to ignore due to them being "out of sight, out of mind" (for a minority of people, of course, not all). I'm sure given the amount of bunnies they recieve and ultimately need to rehome, they don't set any standard lightly.

This is Teddy and Lola's set up. 50 square foot sounds a lot but I would add that by the time you've added tunnels etc, there is less space. My two still come out every night for some speed binkying!

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii253/lemonshoelace/DSCF3309.jpg

Hi Rowan

Its great to see two of OUR buns in that enclosure.....its safe secure of a good size and allows them to express their natural behaviour when they want to .

Whats more it allows you to go out and be with them ,change them, cuddle them , sit with them whatever the weather.

Providing excellent rabbit accommodation is about so much more than simply the rabbit(s). You at the end of the day have to use it too and the vast majority of outside rabbit accommodation you can buy in pet shops, on the internet or whatver simply does not take these factors into account.

I know its expensive to set up and this is where rabbit ownership often falls down......compared to dogs and cats the prospective owner has to spend far more setting up in the first place to get it right and this message is often lost . You simply cannot do it cheaply when you are talking about outside rabbits .Anywhere selling rabbits and poxy small hutches for them to live in with a starter pack all for under 100 really is a non starter.

There are cheaper ways for the diy competant person to set up but for the average person who is buying in all their accommodation ready made you have to be looking in the region of 300- 350....minimum!.Vector in the price of two neuterings + two sets of vaccinations for two buns and the cost of the buns in the first place if you obtain them from breeders, pet shops and the like and the total bill comes to around 600!!!!!!!

What pet shop is going to be that honest with you?.

Both mackers and rowan came to us and we advised them honestly and accordingly , like we do all new keepers.On average it takes approx 90 mins to explain just the basics to any new owner and demonstrate the advantages of getting it right and user friendly in the first place .I'm willing to bet over the lifetime of their buns they will thank us a thousand times over for the time and trouble we took especially when its raining ,blowing a gale and its change time !.

I should add... we are not alone in doing this...most good rescues aspire to do just the same and give just the same advice simply because the welfare of the rabbits comes first and we know from experience what happens when people get it wrong.

Alan.

Olibobs
15-08-2008, 12:05 PM
I fully appreciate that all rescues should and must do this - and 100% support this. All I wanted to point out is that whilst some rescued buns don't live in amazing enclosures like these - some have been taken from a disgusting and horrific existence and are now happy with a loving and caring family, who give these animals tons of love, affection, clean enviornments and fun.

http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/showthread.php?t=142909

This is the hutch I have and funnily no-one has said anything negative on this post about it being too small..............

BUT if I did come to a rescue, I may be refused. I am going to bow out gracefully here as I am not going to meet your expectations of me, despite giving these animals a home (which I thought was a good thing!) and raising my child to love and respect these creatures.

But thank you for all the help and guidance you have given to me - I do appreciate it.

Stator
15-08-2008, 12:18 PM
I fully appreciate that all rescues should and must do this - and 100% support this. All I wanted to point out is that whilst some rescued buns don't live in amazing enclosures like these - some have been taken from a disgusting and horrific existence and are now happy with a loving and caring family, who give these animals tons of love, affection, clean enviornments and fun.

http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/showthread.php?t=142909

This is the hutch I have and funnily no-one has said anything negative on this post about it being too small..............

BUT if I did come to a rescue, I may be refused. I am going to bow out gracefully here as I am not going to meet your expectations of me, despite giving these animals a home (which I thought was a good thing!) and raising my child to love and respect these creatures.

But thank you for all the help and guidance you have given to me - I do appreciate it.

I don't think anyone is saying that Thistle Hall can't be a good home for rabbits. Unless my eyes deceive me that is Thistle Hall in rowans photos. However Thistle Hall on it's own isn't big enough for rabbits, they need more space to be able to exercise. It sounds like you are providing that, so I wouldn't worry about it. Noone here has said that you shouldn't be keeping rabbits.

Rowan
15-08-2008, 02:23 PM
Yes, it's Thistle Hall in the photos. When Teddy and Lola lived indoors this was their overnight base (with the fennel fold run attached - approx 3 by 3 foot), so in many ways their set up then, with their free run in the evenings was similar to your Olibobs and was approved.

http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii253/lemonshoelace/DSCF2393.jpg

There is no doubt your bunnies are better with you Olibobs than where they were before. Don't feel guilty for being a good bunny mum.

Mackers
15-08-2008, 05:06 PM
Absolutely agree with what everyone's said about Olibobs. Your bunnies are in a much better place now with you than they were before so it's a great thing that you've done. I'm sure there are very few people who can honestly say they've got the 'perfect' set up. After all, how many of us can allow our bunnies 24/7 access to an acre of pasture and hedgerow? I think that as long as we constantly strive to do the best for our little furry friends, we can't go far wrong.

LuceMarbles
15-08-2008, 05:41 PM
Wow those are some amazing set-ups. Its funny but our house buns occupy, by their own choice, an extremely small area by comparison for most of the day BUT when they're ready to run and binky they take up most of the ground floor! I can't wait for them to learn about the stairs!

Don't give up Olibob, I agree with Mackers. Your children will gain so much from being with sensitive parents who show understanding. My children have grown up with cats, hamsters and rabbits. It was my son who begged me for another rabbit when all our pets had died, he spent increasing amounts of time with his friend just to be close to his rabbit - he's 18yrs old!

Now we've started again and my son is brilliant with our lionhead, grooming her daily, seeing both bunnies have been fed their greens etc. He was never forced to look after the pets nor was it ever made his responsibility he just grew into wanting to care for them.

Both my kids help out voluntarily with our pets and show compassion. Go for Olibob and don't look back. You can always improve/extend as you find time to anyway.

ctrob
15-08-2008, 10:16 PM
I'm in a bit of a bind as our local RSPCA has declared the hutch I've bought as unfit for bunny habitation over the phone :(.

The hutch was advertised as 46" x 26" deep and is double level, hence I though I was well in excess of the 10 sq' I'd been advised as the minimum. It's also got a nice cosy removalable jacket for bad weather. Once I'd constructed it, I discovered the creative marketing as the internal dimensions were only 41" x 21.25", but this is still just over 12 sq'. The main problems are that's it's apparently not long enough for a bunny to stretch out , and each level is only 18" (plus the tray depth), which doesn't meet the 2' criterion.

The trouble is that it's assembled, in the garden and I can't really send it back now. Even if I could I'd end up paying restocking, postage (it's too heavy for parcel force...) etc and they'd sell it to someone else instead. I could sell it on ebay maybe, but the same applies. Ironically, it's also the biggest hutch the shop sells. If guidelines are to be applied to consumers it would make sense to place an obligation on suppliers to ensure all their products meet the guidelines. That way people won't buy the 'over-sized' model only to find out it's actually under-sized...

In the meantime I've got the materials in to construct the run, which is the one part my rspca contact is happy with. Unfortunately the local branch believes in locking up bunnies at night so it doesn't mitigate enough.

Anyway, due to the space we have and the size the timber/mesh comes in, I've planned a roughly 12' x 8' x 6' run, ie 96 sq ft. Possibly a bit large considering the hutch (which will be located within). Ideally I would like to make this fox/bunny proof and give the bunnies the run of it.

Assuming I can manage to secure the run, this would appear to exceed rspcarabbit's minimum criteria, but if we fail to get our local branch's approval then we won't be able to rehome a rescue, which was one of our main aims. As such we'd end up relying on unwanted litters before rescue or worse buying a pair, which given the number of unwanted bunnies would be sad too.

Ideally I'd get the run secure (it will have a roof, it's more stopping the digging that I'm concerned with) and persuade my local rspca that giving the our bunnies access outside the hutch 24x7 isn't such a bad idea. If it's local policu/dogma then that may not be possible. Alternatively a friend's neighbour's rabbit had babies recently (d'oh!) and we could see if they've found homes yet and whether they'd be suitable.

donnamt
15-08-2008, 10:59 PM
I'm in a bit of a bind as our local RSPCA has declared the hutch I've bought as unfit for bunny habitation over the phone :(.

The hutch was advertised as 46" x 26" deep and is double level, hence I though I was well in excess of the 10 sq' I'd been advised as the minimum. It's also got a nice cosy removalable jacket for bad weather. Once I'd constructed it, I discovered the creative marketing as the internal dimensions were only 41" x 21.25", but this is still just over 12 sq'. The main problems are that's it's apparently not long enough for a bunny to stretch out , and each level is only 18" (plus the tray depth), which doesn't meet the 2' criterion.

The trouble is that it's assembled, in the garden and I can't really send it back now. Even if I could I'd end up paying restocking, postage (it's too heavy for parcel force...) etc and they'd sell it to someone else instead. I could sell it on ebay maybe, but the same applies. Ironically, it's also the biggest hutch the shop sells. If guidelines are to be applied to consumers it would make sense to place an obligation on suppliers to ensure all their products meet the guidelines. That way people won't buy the 'over-sized' model only to find out it's actually under-sized...

In the meantime I've got the materials in to construct the run, which is the one part my rspca contact is happy with. Unfortunately the local branch believes in locking up bunnies at night so it doesn't mitigate enough.

Anyway, due to the space we have and the size the timber/mesh comes in, I've planned a roughly 12' x 8' x 6' run, ie 96 sq ft. Possibly a bit large considering the hutch (which will be located within). Ideally I would like to make this fox/bunny proof and give the bunnies the run of it.

Assuming I can manage to secure the run, this would appear to exceed rspcarabbit's minimum criteria, but if we fail to get our local branch's approval then we won't be able to rehome a rescue, which was one of our main aims. As such we'd end up relying on unwanted litters before rescue or worse buying a pair, which given the number of unwanted bunnies would be sad too.

Ideally I'd get the run secure (it will have a roof, it's more stopping the digging that I'm concerned with) and persuade my local rspca that giving the our bunnies access outside the hutch 24x7 isn't such a bad idea. If it's local policu/dogma then that may not be possible. Alternatively a friend's neighbour's rabbit had babies recently (d'oh!) and we could see if they've found homes yet and whether they'd be suitable.


theres loads of rabbit rescues out there hun who will be crying out for you to take a pair of buns from them.. please dont let one branch of the RSPCA put you off from adopting... 96 sq ft sounds amazing to me :D

Mackers
16-08-2008, 11:28 AM
Absolutely agree - try another local rescue.

ctrob
17-08-2008, 04:06 PM
Thanks for you support! We'll keep looking :).

AlisonA
17-08-2008, 04:24 PM
Oh dear it sounds as if you've been having a bit of a nightmare! I totally agree with you that suppliers should also have to meet the guidelines, it's a crazy situation that they can sell you something that could be construed as being illegal for someone to use in that manner!

I'm sure some rescues would consider your setup providing that the buns had permanent access to the run (can you cover some of the run so they have more space protected from the weather?) - and also many private individuals use the rabbit rehome website to list their own animals, so you may find that someone there may be more flexible.

Rowan
18-08-2008, 10:02 AM
Wow your set up sounds great! 96ft is loads of space and many resuces would be more than happy with what you will provide. You are right to roof it if you can, it'll stop foxes and cats getting in and will make you more attractive to rescues if it's secure. I used those corregated plastic panels from B&Q. They were 6 foot long and very easy to fix in place. Like you say, perhaps your local branch would reconsider if you can make the run 100% secure, so the bunnies don't need to be shut in at night? If not, there are lots of bunnies needing homes and I'm sure you'll find the perfect two! Good luck and please post some pictures of your new bunnies when you find them :wave:

deez
18-08-2008, 02:23 PM
wow what a mine field! i was hoping to rehome a couple of bonded rabbits, planning to have a hutch in bedroom- the six foot type, and let them have free run of bedroom and landing! but not sure if thats good enough. i do however have a kennel and pen area for the dogs- which they have never used, which is 9 foot by 9 foot by six foot high. but this means gonna have to have a major rethink.

sweety
21-08-2008, 06:25 PM
Hiya

My single dutch does is in a 5.5ft by 2ft wide, 2ft high

My biggggggggg lump of a bunny who is a silver ,martin and 4kg
is in a 6.5ft by 2ft by 2ft

My nasty evil neighbour reported me for no reason to the RSPCA and when they came and told me there were no worries, they said that my hutches were ample enough.

They said that the rabbit should be able to stand up in the cages and seemed more concerned at that than actual lenghth.

They take a while to clean out though, I can actually get inside Duchesses :lol:

sweety


sweety

deez
21-08-2008, 08:17 PM
just been to local rspca and they have recommended a 'lavender lodge'(?) as its longer and taller the thistle hall, although only one level- attached to a run of about 6 foot ideally. they showed me the catalogue from p@h and said the runs arent big enough.

Stator
21-08-2008, 09:00 PM
LL is a good hutch. If I remember correctly, it's the only one sold by P@H that is approved by the RWAF. It's on special offer now too, 80 on the web :D

Could you possibly make a run yourself? Not quite as tricky as making a hutch :lol:

deez
21-08-2008, 09:34 PM
i got a 9x9 dog pen! just gotta put wire round the bottom and its a huge run! but also need dog crate cos want them mostly to be house buns.

rspcarabbits
22-08-2008, 09:31 AM
[QUOTE=sweety;2656721]Hiya

My single dutch does is in a 5.5ft by 2ft wide, 2ft high

My biggggggggg lump of a bunny who is a silver ,martin and 4kg
is in a 6.5ft by 2ft by 2ft

My nasty evil neighbour reported me for no reason to the RSPCA and when they came and told me there were no worries, they said that my hutches were ample enough.

They said that the rabbit should be able to stand up in the cages and seemed more concerned at that than actual lenghth.

They take a while to clean out though, I can actually get inside Duchesses :lol:

Just curious.....what do your bunnies do for exercise? and what is your take on the 2007 animal welfare act that states all animals should be able to express normal behavoiur.....this means essentially that rabbits being crepuscular should be able to exercise at times suited to them ie. early morning and evening.

Does your set up allow this?

Alan.

sweety
22-08-2008, 10:51 PM
My rabbits come out most days, they have the run of the garden, I dont pen them up as they cant get out of the garden and I leave the back door open and they come in and out of the house!! If the weathers bad, they have the run of the lounge.

Pebbles is up about 4ft high but duchess can come in and out of her hutch as its low enough for her to do so if she wants to. Pebbles is lazy, although she likes to come out, she cant be bothered sometimes and I have to drag her out :lol:

I bought mine from happy hutch company and to be honest, the rspca thing done me a favour as it just confirmed to me that they have enough space.

They can both literally run up and down the straight bit of the hutch and jump about like they do.

Originally pebbles had her neutered brother in with her, but he died so shes now got the whole cage, although the rspca said that it was fine for two.

If I had the perfect garden, id not even cage them, id have a big shed and they would live in it, ive never liked caging rabbits or gpigs so I give them ample space .

I either let them out first thing in the morning or early evening.

Im happy they get exercise.


sweety

gemmam
24-08-2008, 08:25 AM
Hi,
I find these threads so interesting as everyone on here (quite rightly) has such strong ideals re bunny housing yet the vast majority of bunnies in real life don't have anywhere near these standards of housing. I do think this forum can be a little intimidating as people aren't very tolerant of those who don't meet these standards (and yes, I know everyone will say it is because they are interested in the welfare of the bunny). I hold my hands up and admit I haven't got it quite right for my bunnies yet as my pair are only in a
6'x2'x2' with the same size run under, i.e. 24 square feet. Whilst they have free range in the garden every day for a minimum of 4 hours (usually more, up to 12-13 hours), it seems this would not meet the requirements of rescues which makes me feel bad. Also it doesn't allow them to be out at dawn when as Alan says they naturally want to be active, although they are out til dusk when they are ready to go in. I do intend to upgrade their housing when I move house to give permanent access to a larger area, hopefully still with free range time daily.

Anyway, enough waffling! I was wondering what the guidelines would be for a group of bunnies space-wise, e.g. 3, 4, maybe 5 bunnies?

Bluesmum
24-08-2008, 05:58 PM
There are so many different ways of keeping buns!!Blue has a 6 1/2x3x4 hutch in the utility room which hes only in at night once I go to bed. Hes a house bun, and whenever I'm home he has full run of downstairs (I've had to put a baby gate on the stairs - bad Blue!!) Whenever I'm out of the house hes shut in the kitchen (which is attached to the utility). He has a run for outside too, its a pair of puppy pens that I've joined together. Hes never out on his own and whenever I do take him out, all he does is sunbathe and munch a little (soooo LAZY).
When I went to the RSPCA when I was on a hunt for a bun, I was told that I couldn't have a house bun because I had a full time job :shock:
How would I be supposed to pay for him if I didn't??? I understand that in the cases of dogs and cats this is an issue but for a bun? As far as I'm concerned, Blue is a lucky bun, and spoilt rotten!
I wouldn't have it any other way.