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THE REALITY OF SMALL HUTCHES

hutch1 (26K)Treacle is a Rex rabbit, this is an average sized rabbit, not a giant.

Her body fills the whole living area of the hutch. She certainly canít stretch and run freely, and there are no toys, food bowl, hay rack in here.

In reality, all she can do is sit, and because the hutch is so small she is exposed to all of the weather conditions, be that wind, rain or hot sun.

This is a bad design as well as size because of the wire on 2 sides, the rabbit has very little shelter in here.

Rabbits need to run, jump, stretch up, dig and forage Ė itís cruel to keep a rabbit alone and in a hutch.

hutch2 (31K) This is why a hutch needs to be a minimum of 2ft deep. This is after one night of rain, the hutch is wet, the bedding would be wet and the rabbits would have to stay in the tiny bedroom area, where they usually go to the toilet, or sit in the damp bedding.

Some of the depth is lost because of the ramp, so only a few inches of dry floor space is available.

The rabbits canít escape the weather and elements in a hutch like this. So the floor space needs to be 2ft from front to back excluding the ramp area, in a hutch of this design.

hutch3 (35K) A hutch should accommodate 2 rabbits comfortably because they should be kept with the company of their own kind. It should also allow them to make at least 3 hops, lie stretched out and be able to stand up on their back legs without their ears touching the top.

This is a minimum of 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutch.

hutch4 (21K) And this is why a hutch needs to be at least 2ft tall, so that the rabbit can stretch up freely, and to perform their normal behaviours.

hutch5 (74K) This is a good environment for rabbits ó a 6ft hutch and 8ft run connected via a tunnel system.

See how the rabbits have two completely separate areas joined by a tunnel? Itís in a rabbits nature to explore and this system is ideal.

hutch6 (24K) This is the RWAF minimum recommended set up compared to a small hutch!

hutch7 (33K) This is what the RWAF and PDSA think is the minimum set up for rabbits ó a 6 x 2 x 2 ft hutch and an 8ft run.

The run has room for toys, digging places and tunnels. Rabbits can run and display normal behaviours in here.

rabbitrun (50K)

At rest Treacle (front) takes up 1 ft, one hop would take her to at least 2 ft, 2 hops to 3ft and 3 hops to 4ft so 4ft is the minimum to allow 3 hops. Look at Dexter behind, it takes him 6ft to take 3 unrestricted hops.

Quite simply keeping a rabbit alone in a hutch without the opportunity to exercise, display normal behaviour or without companionship is not acceptable. It does not meet any of the animals fundamental requirements, or any of the owners responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. A hutch needs to be as large as possible.

It is accepted that a hutch should allow a rabbit to do at least 3 hops (not steps) This is a requirement laid out in the Welsh Assembly Government's Code of Practice for pet rabbit owners issued under the Animal Welfare Act 2006

A hutch 1.2m long, and 0.45m (4ft x 1.5ft) wide gives a floor area of 0.54m2ó which is the Home Office minimum requirement for lab rabbits. Itís not too much to ask that retailers and owners don't sell or buy anything smaller than this for pet rabbits who may live 10 years in them, is it?

Please note that we are recommending a minimum of a 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutch and 8ft run, however please always think bigger is better and there are other ways of housing your bunnies

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