Preparing for Your First House Rabbit

Bringing a new pet rabbit into your life is an exciting event. You’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared so that you and your new bunny can get off to a great start. Read how to prepare your home for the new arrival, and review our checklist of initial bunny supplies below!

House rabbit by the window

Are you ready for a 10-year (or more) commitment?

Rabbits make wonderful indoor companions.  They are clean, relatively quiet, and adorable! But before you jump into rabbit ownership, make sure a rabbit is a good fit for you.

Read our articles, Thinking about Getting a Pet Rabbit? and How Much Does a Pet Rabbit Cost? for a good overview of what owning a bunny would entail.  If you’re still ready to dive in, then read on!

1. Decide Where to House Your Bunny

The first step when you decide to bring a bunny into your life is deciding where the bunny will primarily live.  At My House Rabbit, we advocate that rabbits live inside the home with you.  This provides much-needed social interaction for the rabbit, along with protection from predators and severe weather.

A great place to house your rabbit is in a central area of your home. You can use a puppy pen to block off a corner of a living room or family room.


2. Decide on an Enclosure

A puppy pen provides ample space for a litter box, food/water bowls, a hay box, and a cardboard castle.  The rabbit also still has plenty of room to hop around in. Using a puppy pen is a better option than a cage because it provides more space, and it can be easily adjusted if you want to gradually increase the area to eventually give your bunny free reign in a bunny-proofed room (or rooms).  Because puppy pens have doors, it’s easy to let your bunny out of the pen for daily exercise.

But there are other options for rabbit enclosures, such as a bunny condo made out of wire storage cubes. Learn about all the housing options at Housing Your Pet Rabbit Indoors.


3. Set Up the Litter Box and Food Bowls

Bunnies like to poop/pee while they’re eating so a good idea is to have the hay placed near or in the litter box, so the rabbit is encouraged to jump into the litter box to eat. Here is an example of how to set up the hay feeder, litter box, and food bowls for your bunny. See Litter Training Your Pet Rabbit for more information.

Indoor rabbit housing area

An example of a rabbit area setup. This works for rabbits who are contained by a puppy pen or roam free in a bunny proofed room. A cardboard castle and other chew toys complete the area.

Make sure you have your hay and food pellets ready before your bunny arrives. Ideally, where ever you get your bunny from will give you a small supply of food so you can mix it in with the food you bought. This helps ease the transition.


4. Bunny Proof Your Home

Once you’ve set up the primary housing location for your rabbit, you’ll have to bunny proof the surrounding area where your rabbit will romp, rumble and play. All cords must be covered with wire protectors or lifted out of reach (at least 3-4 feet).

Your bunny will also be drawn to wooden furniture legs, books/stray papers, remote control buttons, moldings, rug corners, and basically anything else that’s potentially “chewable”.  If you don’t want those things destroyed, you will have to keep them out of reach or covered. Or you will have to carefully supervise all out-of-pen exercise time. For more tips, see our article, Bunny Proofing Your House.


5. Set Up Toys, Tunnels and Boxes

Bunnies are clever and curious. Make sure you have places for your rabbit to explore. They like tunnels and boxes to chew on and relax in. They enjoy chew toys to gnaw on or throw around.

Bunny play area


Bunny Supply Checklist

Review our Bunny Supply Checklist for everything you need before your bunny arrives!

  • Indoor housing
    Get a puppy pen 36 inches or higher so your rabbit can’t jump out. Buy on Amazon >
  • Wire covers
    Plastic sleeves can be neatly connected to your wall. Buy on Amazon >
    Flex tubing is another great option for covering and/or bundling wires. Buy on Amazon >
  • Furniture / baseboard protection
    Large split flex tubing can fit over wooden table or chair legs. Buy on Amazon >
    Furring strips, 2x4s or other wood panels can be used to cover baseboards.
  • Couch blockers
    Plastic guards that fit under your couch, bed, or other furniture can keep bunnies from going underneath and chewing on the underside of the furniture. Buy on Amazon >
  • Puppy pens / baby gates
    Puppy pens can help block off areas or confine your rabbit to a safe area of a room. Buy on Amazon >
    Metal baby gates can be used to block off rooms. Buy on Amazon >
    Storage cube panels can be attached to the bottoms of baby gates with zip ties if the slats are too far apart. Buy on Amazon >
  • Litter box
    A medium-sized cat litter box (no top) or a shallow storage container will do. Buy on Amazon >
  • Rabbit-safe litter
    Opt for a recycled newspaper pellet litter such as Fresh News. Buy on Amazon >
  • Food / water bowls
    Ceramic dishes are heavy enough so your rabbit can’t tip them over. Buy on Amazon >
  • Hay feeder
    This helps keep hay fresh and available to your rabbit at all times. If you have a puppy pen or bunny storage cube condo, you could use a wire hay feeder or a hay bag that attaches to the side. Buy on Amazon >
  • Hay
    Purchase hay by the bale from a local farmer (check local Craigslist ads) or order bulk hay online. (You can even order it as a “Subscribe and Save” on Amazon.) Buy on Amazon >
  • Pellets
    Get a Timothy hay-based pellet. Buy on Amazon >
  • Vegetables
    Rabbits enjoy fresh greens like romaine lettuce, dandelions, cilantro. See our article What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit for more veggie favorites.
  • Cardboard box
    Create a cardboard castle by cutting doorways and windows in a large cardboard box.
  • Chew toys
    Sea grass mats are acceptable to chew and can be used to cover areas. Buy on Amazon >
    Woven grass play balls are also a favorite for distraction. Buy on Amazon >
  • Nail clippers 
    You will need to regularly trim your bunny’s nails.  If your rabbit has dark claws, a small flashlight helps you to locate the quick and avoid it.  Buy on Amazon >
  • Chair mat (optional)
    You may want to protect your floor in the bunny area. Make sure to get a hard plastic one to resist chewing. Buy on Amazon >

Final Step: Have fun with your bunny!

About the Author

Abi Cushman is a veteran house rabbit owner and a contributing editor of My House Rabbit.

Soaked!

When she's not writing about bunnies for My House Rabbit, Abi writes and illustrates funny books for kids, including Soaked! (Viking, 2020) and Animals Go Vroom! (Viking, 2021). And yes, there are bunnies in them.

Learn more at her website, www.abicushman.com, or follow her on Twitter: @abicushman and Instagram: @abi.cushman.

Disclosure:

We participate in the Amazon Associates program, which means we earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for any qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

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