Many people are under the wrong impression that bunnies are happy to be caged in a hutch in the backyard. Many times this poor neglected animal never gets fresh water and food, and is not able to become part of the family or have freedom to romp and play. Additionally, bunnies are usually the first pick for a starter pet for a child. Unwanted baby bunnies are born every year because parents think watching a bunny give birth would be a great educational experience for their child.

Neither could be further from the truth. Bunnies are not happy sitting in a hutch every day. Bunnies don’t make noise, they are quiet animals. They don’t bark or meow. All they do is grunt or cluck. I can guarantee they probably aren’t happy when left in a hutch day in and day out. What should a bunny do when he or she is locked in a cage? They just sit there, bored to death. Bunnies are one of the most abused animals today, being popular for animal testing and being chosen as a “starter pet” that is not taken seriously as a member of the family.

If you are going to get a bunny who will live in a hutch, even though this is not endorsed by Willa’s Ark, he should have a friend too. Bunnies form strong bonds to other bunnies, they are very social. Keeping a lone bun out in a cage is basically solitary confinement. Your “hutch bun” should also have 8 hours of play time outside of the hutch. This means opening his hutch during the day for him to come out, and gathering him up in the evening back into his hutch for safe keeping for the night.

A simple set-up of a hutch with a side opening door and some chicken wire and posts will do. Make a fenced in area around your hutch at least 8 feet by 5 feet. Build a ramp to and from your hutch so your bunny can go in and out. The fence should be buried about 8-12 inches to stop him from digging out, and it should be AT LEAST 3 feet high. An extremely simple set up is two pieces of plywood laid down back to back surrounded by two collapsible dog runs, purchased at any pet store. They are 16 feet long each, perfect to fit around two pieces of plywood. It is fast to put up and your bunny cannot dig out. Won’t you feel good knowing your bunnies have a nice house and play time too?! NOTE: Beware of predators in your area. Coyotes, dogs, raccoons, owls, and hawks will get your bunny with this set up. If you live in an unsafe area, your bunny should only be out when supervised. He should never be out all night.

Your bunny can live inside your house. Bunnies are becoming more and more popular as house pets and people are discovering just how fun and entertaining bunnies can be. For more information on house buns, go to our house bun training page.

Bunnies are not good starter pets for young children. They are fragile, and do not like to be held. They can be injured if a child squeezes tightly when they try to get away. If you want something for your child to learn to take care of, get him or her a plant, or a dog, a pet that is resilient and nearly indestructible. Animals are not inanimate objects for subtle abuse or neglect. Because they don’t make noise or protest does not mean they are enjoying the treatment they are getting. When a bunny is flattening itself on the ground with eyes bulging hoping to be able to endure the treatment without harm, it is a way that bunnies communicate, and he is saying “Stop! I don’t like it and you are not treating me well!”.

Bunnies are prey to most carnivores in the wild. The way they interact is not the same as how a cat or a dog would interact. They don’t like hands jabbing and poking at them, or being picked up or snuggled. Their nature is to have an escape route at all times. Being held goes against this instinct. They kick with their strong back feet, and deep scratches can occur when your bunny kicks. Some bunnies do like to be held, they are special bunnies, and it should be greatly appreciated if you have a bunny that will tolerate this.

Finally, having a bunny give birth is a terrible and inhumane thing to do. It is inhumane because there are literally thousands and thousands of unwanted bunnies born every year who are killed at animal shelters. By having an “educational litter”, you are contributing to their destruction. Also, if you really want to see what can happen when bunny litters get out of hand, go to our “About Us” page. We spend over $25,000 per year on food, spaying, and neutering expenses because we were not educated when we first got our bunnies. You would be surprised by how many people get into this same situation. It is very expensive to do the responsible thing, and easy to get yourself into a mess.