Caring for a pet rabbit doesn’t come for free. First, you will go to a pet shop and buy a rabbit. Then you need to buy a rabbit cage. Bunnies cannot eat human food as many of them pose health hazards to them, so you will buy bunny food. You also need to buy rabbit-safe wooden toys for him. These small animals need extra care. If not taken good care of, they can become sick, and BOOM! Medical expenses. Oh, never forget they need to be groomed. Trimming the over-grown fur and cutting the nails and teeth that never stop growing demand some of the money you have saved for the pet.
It would be better to plan ahead after buying a rabbit and becoming short of money to take proper care of them. Start with the first basic thing like how many rabbits you will keep, single or a pair, and plan to save money for sudden medical expenses accordingly.
A house is the basic essential of life. Even wild rabbits build their hideaway in the form of tunnels or warren. The same goes for the pet rabbits. They need a safe and secure place to live freely. It is where the bunny cages come into the scene. To plan according to your finances, let’s find out the costs of rabbit cages.
How Much Does a Ready-made Rabbit Cage Cost?
There is not a fixed price for ready-made rabbit cages. Visit a shop or surf online, you will find a variety of cages, and each of them comes with a different price. For example, there are some extremely simple cages that are just like a rectangular box covered with a wire mesh. They cost about $100. You can also buy cages that also have some accessories like a removable tray, an elevated feeding area, and a ventilation door. The accessories are sometimes sold separately. These are available in the range of $150 to $200.
Some cages have a small house for the pet. The cage is double-storey, and there’s a ramp on the ground floor for the rabbit to jump up to the upper floor. They usually have more space and can accommodate more bunnies. The upper storey is completely surrounded by an insulator that can protect them from cold while sleeping. There’s also a small window for ventilation. While the lower storey is open, giving a rabbit easy movement for exercise and playtime. Such cages have a price of $250 or more.
How Much Does Building a Bunny Cage Cost?
If you don’t want to spend money on the cages sold online because you think they are not suitable for the pet, you can create a perfect home for him yourself. Who knows your rabbit more than you? You can create perfect bedding out of his favorite hay. You can use sturdy material to make the enclosure strong and durable. You can provide them with a large area giving them maximum comfort. You can divide the hutch into small sleeping, feeding, and exercising areas. In fact, you can give them the best living area where they have easy access to everything.
Materials Required for the Cage
For making a rabbit hutch, you need the following materials:
Wooden bars are usually needed to build the frame of the rabbit hutch. For the supports, you can use wooden dowels or bars, but they must be sturdy enough to bear the weight of the hutch. The length and width of the wood will depend upon the size of the hutch you want to make. When shopping for wood pieces, you must always look for the smooth and even ones. If the wooden bars have uneven ridges or show cracking edges, do not buy them.
Untreated and dried pine, spruce, or willow wood are usually preferred for rabbit furniture. These are nontoxic if rabbits lick them, and the dried ones are usually resistant to moisture and weather conditions. You can use these to make frames or posts of the rabbit hutches indoors and outdoors. Some other types of wood, like cedar, are toxic for rabbits and should not be used in hutches or any other rabbit furniture.
You will also require thin wooden bars to build a door frame and plywood for the door itself if you want to install a wooden door to the hutch. For this purpose, you can easily get away with a smaller piece of wood, such as a 1 by 1-inch plank. You can use good quality plywood for roofing and flooring too. 1 piece of plywood that meets the dimensions of the hutch is enough for each of the floor and the roof. MDF should never be used in rabbit hutches as it is extremely toxic for the rabbits. It contains different types of volatile organic compounds like urea and formaldehyde, severe irritants of the lungs and eyes. If consumed, it can be hazardous for the rabbit.
Plastic is used for making the floor and the roof of the hutch. Sometimes the hutches are made entirely of wood; in that case, it is not needed. But it can be used when only the frame is made up of wood.
Rabbits start chewing the plastic if they find any in their habitat. Though chewing won’t harm their teeth, it can cause health hazards if some pieces are ingested. It affects the working of the digestive system. As plastic is not digestible, it can block the intestinal pathway. Symptoms of intestinal blockage include abdominal pain and loss of appetite. The rabbit becomes lethargic and refuses to move or play. If the chunks were extremely small, it might be possible that the rabbit excrete them along with feces. But if the pieces are large and the condition becomes severe, it can put its life at risk.
It would be better to use hard plastic to avoid such conditions as it’s difficult to chew. To prevent rabbits from chewing it, you can give them safe chewable toys that are neither too sturdy to be chewed nor easily broken into pieces.
The floor of the cage can be made out of wood as well as plastic. If you are afraid that the bunny will chew up the later one, then go for wood. All you need to do is make sure that the wood is smooth and is not scratchy. On this floor, you can make comfortable bedding for the rabbits. Rabbits often eat their bedding, making it safe and tasty. For this purpose, you can use different types of hay available for this purpose like timothy hay, alfalfa hay, oat hay, meadow hay, herbal hay, orchard grass hay. Depending on what your bunny likes the most, you can choose the bedding for him. After some time, you can also change it to let the rabbit have different tastes. You can also pick the mixed bedding hay available in the packages.
Separating the bedding from the litter area will help them learn that bedding is for sleeping, playing, and doing some exercise. Gradually they learn to keep their waste away from the bedding. Moreover, it creates an environment similar to their warren and helps them feel safe and secure.
Rabbits are crepuscular and fall asleep during the middle of the day. These are the hours when people accomplish their tasks with full enthusiasm. An open space might not be suitable for them to sleep as the outdoor noises can disturb them. Keeping warm bedding in the rabbit enclosure can help them get better sleep during these hours.
Chicken wire and welded mesh are the two main types of wire mesh often used for rabbit cages. We recommend using welded mesh instead of chicken wire as the former is more sturdy and durable. Weldmesh is made up of squares or rectangular grid systems that are welded together at each junction. Since it is welded at each joint, it is much stronger than most ordinary wire meshes and ensures that a single break of joint does not affect the surrounding joints. The chicken wire or netting is the hexagonal pattern of grids formed by the twisting of the wire. One break of the joint in the chicken wire can cause untwisting of the surrounding joints, resulting in breakage. Thus welded mesh is stronger and hence more suitable to contain rabbits.
The main purpose of the wire mesh is to permit air and light to pass through it, hence keeping the hutch ventilated and bright. On the other hand, the chicken wire should be rigid enough to act as a barrier between the rabbits and the predators outside. If it isn’t strong enough to protect the rabbit from the attack of a fox, a cat, or some other predator, it is of no use. Moreover, the mesh should be neat and solid to give the hutch a clean and aesthetic look. A bowed and wavy wire mesh isn’t appealing to the eyes. Therefore, a welded mesh is preferred over the chicken wire because it fulfills all these requirements slightly higher. When buying a wire mesh, look for a lower gauge wire. The lower the gauge of a wire, the thicker it is. Usually, a wire mesh of 19 gauge is sufficient. But if you want extra protection, 16 gauge wire will be perfect, though you will have to pay a few more bucks for sure.
If you don’t like a complete wire mesh covering the sides of the cages, you can add aluminum pillars instead of it. These pillars serve the same purpose and keep the pets inside their living area. But you need to be careful of some things in this case too. For instance, you cannot leave too much space between the pillars as the rabbit can get its neck stuck in between the pillars. Try minimizing the distance.
Aluminum pillars are not recommended as they can lead you to do some extra cleaning. Sometimes bunnies eat too hastily and can drop some of their food or the bedding on the floor outside the cage. You need to pick those every time in order to keep the house clean. If you are not keeping the rabbits indoors, these pillars can attract predators in the outdoor environment, and the bunny remains scared almost the entire time. If there is enough space between the pillars, a cat can put its head inside the cage and eat away the baby rabbits.
Rabbit Safe Paint
You can easily find a pet rabbit licking or eating a wall. Out of boredom or hunger, he inserts his teeth into the walls and starts chewing them. There are many other reasons behind it, like bunnies trying to wear down their long teeth or seeking the owners’ attention. If your furry friend comes to like the taste of the paint, licking off the walls may become his habit. It is not safe for these small animals. Paints have many chemicals in them that are toxic to your pet’s health. Most paints have volatile organic compounds (VOC) and result in toxic fumes. They can cause health hazards like irritation, dizziness, and respiratory disorders like lung inflammation and difficulty breathing when inhaled even a bit.
There are many ways you can stop your pet from chewing the walls. Still, as a preventive measure, you need to use rabbit-safe paint. Not for the entire house but at least for the room in which you will be keeping your rabbit and for his hutch. Acrylic paints are safe for pets. Moreover, it’s better to buy the paints from a brand that enlists all the ingredients. Paints labeled with a tag of “Low VOC” or “Zero VOC” are safe for painting bunny cages.
Things to Consider While Building a Rabbit Cage
Not only does the material affect the cage cost, but there are many other factors that contribute to a great extent. Some of these factors are listed below:
Style of the Hutch
The styles of the rabbit cages and hence their prices differ widely. Ready-made rabbit cages will differ from one brand to another and are available in a variety of shapes and materials like metal, plastic or wood, etc. These can be partitioned or stackable ones, suitable for more than one un-neutered rabbit living together. If you want a portable rabbit cage, you can opt for foldable ones. You can either go with a rabbit pen which is merely an open, large, and partitioned space for your bunnies, or a rabbit run which is usually a moveable and closed space where your rabbit can live, run and play freely.
Size of the Rabbit
For what breed of bunnies you are going to build a cage affects cost a lot. Although a rabbit is a small animal, many breeds of the species are quite large in size. Pet lovers know it better. There are some cute small rabbit breeds whom we can call dwarf bunnies, need less space and hence a small cage. They include Holland Lop, Lionhead bunny, Mini Lop rabbit, English Angora, Netherland dwarf, Jersey Wooly, Brittania Petite, and many more.
There are many bunnies that are quite large sized. They need large rabbit cages and hence demand more money. These breeds include Giant Angora, Giant Chinchilla, Flemish Giant, the Checkered Giant, Continental giant rabbit, and many more. Large rabbits need more area for exercise, feeding, and other activities. You need to spend more on their cages.
Number of the Rabbits
One can keep a single rabbit as well as a pair. Caring for one rabbit takes less time; hence most people prefer a single rabbit. But it’s better to keep the bunnies in pairs. Just like humans, they need a partner with whom they can share their happiness and sadness in their own ways.
You think a single rabbit needs less care, but that’s not how it is. A single rabbit often remains depressed and feels lonely. His owner is his everything. While two rabbits start bonding among themselves and depend less upon the owner. Depending on this scenario, whatever choice you make will affect your finances accordingly. For example, a rabbit hutch for a single rabbit will be small and hence requires less money. On the other hand, two bunnies need a larger cage hence more money.
Location of the Cage
The location of your rabbit cage will surely affect your budget. For example, it will cost you more if you want to build a hutch outdoors. It is because you have to make some additions while preparing a rabbit hutch for outdoor use. For example, you will have to make sure that the hutch has been posted to raise it above the ground to protect your furry friend from predators. In addition, you will need more sturdy and high-quality material to make the space more secure for your pet. Most of the deluxe outdoor rabbit cages available in the market or online cost you somewhere between $200 to $250.
On the other hand, a small indoor rabbit cage will need less material and hence will cost you less. Even the mid-quality material will suffice as less security is needed in the indoor environment. If you want to save your budget, you can convert a cozy corner of your room into a rabbit space. You can even transform an old cupboard into a great place for your pet. Just make sure the cupboard or the corner you are using is rabbit-proofed. An average indoor rabbit cage is usually between $50 to $100.
Cost of Customizing the Cages
Whether you want to keep the rabbit cage simple or design, it depends on you. The latter choice costs you more money. The customization will affect your budget more. For instance, if you want to add extra shelves for keeping the rabbit food, toys, or water bottle, it will cost you more. An addition of a pull-out tray will make cleaning easy but will affect your budget.
Rabbit cages range from being cheap to highly expensive. Their price depends on many factors, like the material used in the construction. The better the quality of the material, the more expensive the cage. Similarly, a small bunny needs a small cage, while a larger bunny needs a larger cage. A small cage costs less while a larger cage costs more.