Rabbit hutches are enclosures designed for rabbits. Hutches can also be used for other small animals, such as chickens and mongooses. The purpose of a rabbit hutch is to provide a safe, healthy space for a rabbit to live in, whether it is enclosed in the hutch at all times or allowed to roam during the day and shut up in the hutch at night. There are several different styles, many of which are available from stores which carry rabbit keeping supplies.
Several functions are served by a hutch. The first is the creation of security for the rabbit. Rabbits are naturally very nervous animals, and they like to have a safe space which includes a nesting box so that they have an area to retreat to if they feel threatened. Rabbits will tend to be less emotionally strained if they have a thoughtfully-constructed hutch which includes a hiding place, and this can eliminate behavior issues and health problems caused by stress.
Rabbit hutches are also designed to keep rabbits healthy and happy. They are typically elevated from the ground to make them difficult for predators to reach, and the design creates an environment with a stable temperature. Rabbits do not appreciate radical temperature fluctuations, so they need a space which stays reasonably warm most of the time, and they also require adequate ventilation to be healthy. Depending on the design, rabbit hutches may need to be used indoors or in a barn, or they may be safe for use outdoors.
Some hutches are designed to allow urine and feces to fall through wire flooring which covers part of the bottom of the hutch. Others include a litter box. Wire flooring can be harmful to the feet of rabbits, so litterboxes are often preferable from the perspective of the rabbit's health, and litterboxes are also easier to clean up. The design of the hutch typically includes a mix of wire siding for ventilation and wooden or plastic siding to keep the rabbit warm.
At a minimum, every pound (roughly half kilogram) of rabbit needs a square foot (930 square centimeters) of space in a hutch. When selecting rabbit hutches, people should make sure that the cages are big enough, and that the cage will leave the rabbit some room to grow, if it is a young animal. Some other things to think about include how people access the cage, with a door along the side or top, and an inquiry into the security of the latch, as poorly made latches can fail. People can also build rabbit hutches to custom specifications.