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Rabbit Hutch Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

After buying or building your rabbit hutch, the first thing you should put in your mind is – “this is my pets house”. And just like your home, it will need regular maintenance and cleaning to keep it safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, your rabbit can’t do the maintenance and cleaning of its home on its own, and it can’t even “repair”. So it’s 100 percent up to you to make sure the hut remains in good condition.

The following 3 tips will help ensure better protection and health for your pet rabbit(s) and save you money by extending the life of your hutch.

1. Protect your Hutch from day one.

Wooden rabbits are mainly made from organic and biodegradable materials that need regular maintenance to extend their lifespan. Once the hutch is in your front door and before you put the new residents in, you should immediately apply some sort of protective coating to the wood so that it is very waterproof. Only then should you put it outside. When buying a hutch, check if some sort of waterproofing is already included.

2. Perform regular maintenance

As we said before, your pet depends entirely on you to keep their home in good condition. To save time and avoid last-minute “help that falls apart” scenarios, you should do simple maintenance checks every two months and an annual in-depth maintenance. The annual check should be done during the summer months. This is because wood is porous and absorbs water/moisture during the fall and winter months. In the summer, the wood dries out and better accepts the protective coatings you can apply.

The majority of protective coating products on the market today are water-based and non-toxic, but it’s something you should always be sure to clarify before you buy. Don’t forget that rabbits are pets that like to chew, nibble, and scratch, and as the years go by, you’ll find that their hutch is also “chewed up,” especially on the inside. Therefore, first of all, make sure that the coating product is non-toxic, and then do not apply it indoors. Also keep your pet away when applying the product and allow enough time for it to dry completely before returning it to the kennel.

Normally, the roof is the part that suffers the most in a rabbit hutch. This is because it takes the biggest hit during the cold/wet winter months, as well as during the hot summer months. These edges cause the wood to constantly expand and contract, and naturally lead to cracks that will destroy the hut’s insulation from the elements. That’s why annual maintenance is so important.

The regular bi-monthly checks you should do mainly include things like checking that the latches are working properly, that the wiring has no holes (or is loose), that there are no protruding nails that could harm the animals, etc. .. All simple things that will only take a few minutes to check and fix, but ensure you have fewer headaches down the line.

One important thing to watch out for is mildew as it will affect not only the hutch itself but also the health of your rabbits. So, if it is detected, treat it immediately.

When choosing which rabbits to buy, you can also consider the future maintenance factor in your selection. A hut with a removable roof is the most versatile. This will allow you easy access to the interior for cleaning and re-coating. Look for a design that will require as little maintenance as possible other than seasonal resurfacing. Plastic hutches will be durable and come with a near-maintenance-free ticket, but make sure they are suitable for your animal and friendly to the planet. However, wood is still the main choice, much more adapted to its function and looks much better.

3. Keep the hut clean

This is where the oohs start to appear. Yes, you have to clean the hut. It’s like mowing the lawn. If you don’t do it regularly, it will be much harder to do it in the future. The easiest way is to just set a regular day and time for the task and do it. You will find that after the third or fourth cleaning the work will become a normal routine and will not create any difficulty on your part. And in your cabin it’s outdoors, don’t put it “out of sight, out of mind” or you’ll regret it later. Indoor hutches will usually be cleaned more regularly, otherwise they will start to smell…

Cleaning is one of the best ways to keep your rabbit hutch in top condition because it will prevent many unwanted problems such as organic moisture from the animal’s droppings and even uninvited guests such as insect infestations.

Use a wire brush on the outside of the hutch to remove all debris, fur, leaves and twigs. Do this to the cage wire as well. This will prevent debris from accumulating, prevent moisture build-up, and prevent the cage wire from rusting. When brushing, be careful not to damage the coating you have applied to the outside of the hutch.

Cleaning the inside of the hut will depend a bit on the type of installation. First of all you should remove the bedding, which will probably be shredded newspaper or wood chips (do not use pine or cedar wood – harmful to animals). This is a simple pick up and throw routine. However, these revelations will reveal the biggest problem in your cleaning routine…rabbit urine! This urine will soak into the wood floor and develop an ammonia smell that is harmful if not treated properly. For this you can use bleach or vinegar (both diluted in water, of course). Vinegar is not so aggressive for animals, because its smell does not stay as long and it is a more organic product. In any case, be sure to rinse with clean water and allow time to dry before reinserting the rabbit(s).

On the other hand, if your hutch has a floor enclosure, then be sure to clean up all the droppings, as a build-up means one thing… vermin.

If you follow these 3 tips, a good outdoor rabbit should last you for years and years. It only takes a few minutes of your time each week and an hour or two each year for in-depth maintenance. Nothing that will not be fully compensated by the joy of having healthy and playful rabbits all year round.

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