Rabbit Supplies Check List
Below is a check list of all the things you would need to purchase to bring home a new bunny. The rest of this page has links, photos and descriptions of each product and why we recommend them. At the Bottom of the page, you will find some optional accessories and information on treats for rabbits. Please also see the video tab above to watch videos of Ellie explaining and reviewing some of these products.
1. Cage & Garbage Bags
2. Resting Mat
3. Play Pen
5. Water Bottle
7. Pelleted Rabbit Food
8. Timothy Hay, Mixed Grass or Orchard Grass
9. Transportation crate or cage
10. Nail Trimmers
11. Litter Box if Desired
(See info below to see if this is neccisary for you.)
1. Indoor Cage
The cage is the most important item you will purchase. It will either make having a rabbit a wonderful experience or one that just seems like a lot of work. Purchasing the cutest cage on Amazon is not the way to pick out a cage! After years of helping people with their rabbit set ups, there is only one brand of cage we will ever recommend. Cages that have similar qualities and features usually still do not compare to the KW brand cages. Keep in mind, the cute wooden hutches you find online will get chewed on and you cannot get the urine smell out of wood. These are the worst cages to purchase, even though they tend to be the most popular. Cages with a plastic tub-like bottom with wire on the top of the cage requires bedding which is smelly and gets expensive. Click here to see a video review of a KW cage and why the others don't compare!
The minimum sized cage we would recommend for a Mini Plush Lop or Holland Lop is the KW 30 x 24 x 16-inch cage. This is a great sized cage and easy to accommodate in any home. There are larger sized KW cages as well, but a huge cage is not necessary for such small breeds. Wire bottomed cages are the most sanitary way to house a rabbit. The wire gauging used on the bottom of a KW cage has thick enough wire and holes that are close enough together than it is not uncomfortable or dangerous for rabbits feet and joints.
Click here to see our garbage bag trick! This trick lets you avoid spraying out the pan with soap and water at every cleaning and makes your pan last forever and never smell!
What makes the KW Cages Great?
This cage is by far the easiest to keep clean and the fastest to clean. The High-quality steel doesn't rust, and the built-in urine guards not only keep urine in, but also hay and food! Safe grid flooring, and a pull-out pan. The top of the cage can also be opened as an alternate entrance so you can reach in to get your rabbit from above. Plus, they are a great value for the quality of the cage. Order as soon as possible! They do take a few weeks to arrive from California.
Note: The Galvanized 1/2 x 1 Flooring standard option is what we would recommend.
Assembly is required but not difficult!
Wheels are also available on KW's website to attach to the bottom of the cage for easy mobility if desired.
Click here to see a trick for fast and easy cleaning
2. Resting Mat
A resting mat is important to have in a wire bottomed cage. Even though the option to sit on it is there, rabbits typically spend most of their time comfortably on the wire. You will see in various places online that a wire bottomed cage hurts a rabbits feet - this can be true if the holes in a wire bottomed cage are too far apart or if the wire is too thin. The KW cage we recommend has a comfortable wire bottom, but bunnies like to lay down too! This plastic mat by KW cages is a perfect addition to a cage and still allows droppings and urine to go through.
A towel, cloth or fabric cat bed or hide out is not the best option to put in a rabbit cage. They will chew on it, likely ingest parts of it and use it as a litter box. This resting mat may not look comfy to you or your cat, but it's a great resting spot for bunnies and they typically don't seem to confuse this with a place to go to the bathroom.
Click here to order KW Resting Mats
Note: We suggest putting 2 mats in a 30 x 24 x 16-inch cage
We suggest getting 2 or 3 as back up mats
3. Play Pen
Play pens are great for a number of reasons
- Rabbits do enjoy getting outside when the weather is nice, and a play pen is perfect for outside time.
- A playpen can be used to assist with litter training. Before a bunny gets to free roam the house, they need to become consistent going in one spot in their cage. Once they get good at this, you can put a playpen immediately around their cage to give them a little bit of freedom outside the cage, while still being close enough to the cage to easily choose to go back inside to use the bathroom.
- A playpen is a great way to bond with your rabbit and let them get acquainted with you during the first few weeks they are home. Kids and adults can sit in the playpen quietly and allow the rabbit to come up to them, sniff them and lick them while being contained in tight quarters with their humans and not able to run away and hide. This allows them to realize you are a friend and not dangerous.
Note: A Play pen is not a replacement for an actual cage. Some people do research online and think it's a good idea to just put a litter box in a playpen and use that as your rabbit set up. This is not a good idea and will end up being very messy and frustrating - even if you put linoleum or a board underneath, it will still be very messy.
4. Rabbit Toys
We have found the most inexpensive and most enjoyed toy is simply the carboard tube of a paper towel or toilet paper roll with hay shoved inside! Some toys advertised online for rabbits are not always safe. We would recommend only buying toys from websites that specifically cater to rabbits. Here are a few of our favorites.
5. Water Bottle
There's a ton of different kinds of rabbit water bottles. We prefer anything with a spout and ball. The bigger the bottle the less often you have to fill, so a 16 or 32 oz. bottle is convenient. The trick with water bottles is the cheaper it is, the more likely it will leak! Here is an example of a good water bottle.
Bunnies are curious and tend to tip bowls over and play with them. So, heavy duty plastic crock feeders tend to be best for rabbit pellets. KW cages has a big variety of colors, too. Some people like to get a hay feeder to stick hay in but we personally do not use hay feeders. We keep it simple and just place a handful of hay in our rabbits' cages.
Note: We recommend getting the 20 oz. Feeder
7. Pelleted Rabbit Food
(See bottom of page for rabbit treat options)
Pelleted Rabbit Food & Hay Are the Most Important Parts of a Rabbits Diet
At Ellie's Rabbitry we use County Roads Rabbit food that you can exclusively purchase at Rural King in stores only. Country Roads comes in 50-pound bags which is not always a realistic purchase if you only have one or two bunnies.
We recommend Oxbow adult rabbit feed. Do not purchase the Oxbow young rabbit food as your rabbit is already being fed adult feed and sharing their diet as few times as possible is best. You can find Oxbow rabbit food at tons of retailers in stores and online. Tractor Supply, Rural King, Petco and most pet and feed stores carry Oxbow rabbit food. Online you can find it on Chewy's and KW cages to name a few.
We feed our rabbits 1/2 cup of pellets in the morning. Pellets are high in protein and when overfed can make your rabbit obese.
We give every buyer a baggie of "transitional" rabbit feed - which is a baggie of the Country Roads Rabbit food we feed. You will feed this to your new rabbit for three days and the remaining amount can be used to mix into your Oxbow rabbit food so it's a gradual transition from one feed to the other.
8. Timothy Hay, Mixed Grass or Orchard Grass
The biggest part of a rabbits diet
Timothy hay, orchard grass or mixed grass are all great roughage options for your rabbits diet. All three store well as long as they are in a dry place, and the more you buy, the better deal you get! Pick one and stick with it. Feed stores, such as Rural king, Tractor Supply or Southern States will have the best deal on hay. Many feed stores will sell a whole bail of Timothy hay for under $20 which is by far the best deal and it will sit well in your garage or under a patio or porch in a tarp and last for months.
Most choose to purchase online, below are a few options. Shop around for best price, brand is not necessarily important.
Not everything labeled hay is the same - be sure to not get Alfalfa hay, it is too rich and can cause diarrhea. Most pellets are alfalfa based, but because it is dry and in pellet form, it does not have the same effect as fresh alfalfa.
As far as how much to feed, every rabbit is a little different, but you can't overfeed hay. We feed hay every evening and it's usually roughly a loose ball about half the size of the rabbit. The next evening if they have not finished all of their hay, just add a bit more to get them through the night until you feed them their pellet breakfast. If it's gone, you can give them the full amount again. If you feel that your rabbit would like more than that approximate serving and will finish, go for it! After a couple weeks you will know how much their individual serving will be.
We do strongly recommend feeding twice a day - pellets in the morning and hay in the evening. When feeding both pellets and hay one time a day, they tend to finish quickly and feel like they are starving until they are fed the following day. Not only would be uncomfortable for the rabbit, they can also become "hangry" and irritable and start to chew on their cage and pace their cages.
9. Transportation Cage
A requirement for Pick-Up
A good transportation cage will minimize the stress of travel and it's required to take your bunny home! Laps are not ok, and neither are cardboard boxes. The best transportation cage is a small wire cage with a pan from KW cages. This cage eliminates the possibility of your rabbit having to sit in their own waste for the trip home. Unlike dogs and cats who typically avoid using the bathroom in tight quarters like a crate, rabbits won't think twice to go in a transportation cage.
A pet taxi crate for a cat with a towel on the bottom from Walmart will do, but I hope everyone will consider the investment of a good transportation cage. You will use it more than you think!
10. Nail Trimmers
Nail trimmers do not need to be fancy! Here is an Amazon link to a $5 pair that works perfect. You can usually find this same style of trimmer at Walmart in the pet section.
11. Litter Box's
May not be necessary for everyone
We hope that every one of our rabbits gets to be an indoor bunny,, which means they will need to be "litter trained!" But we prefer to call it cage training. Assuming that you get a KW cage, because it has a pan underneath, you can usually bypass getting a litter box all together and just encourage your rabbit to go in its cage. Rabbits tend to go in one corner of their cage, but even if they go anywhere in their cage, it's all just falling into the pan underneath. If you watch our "Bag Trick Video," you will see how this method is way cleaner, cheaper, faster and easier than going the traditional litter box route. Some people assume they need to get the KW cage and then get a litter box to put in the cage. This is just creating two messes for you to clean up. Even if the rabbit just goes to the bathroom in its litter box that is in the KW cage, you will still need to change the pan out underneath because it will have hay and some food in it.
The only reason you would really need to get a litter box is if you get to the point that you're free roaming your rabbit and you have a larger house with a lot of other exciting bathroom potentials for your rabbit to pick from. We have found that some people with larger homes that allow their bunnies to free roam will have a bunny that will sometimes find one other spot, usually pretty far away from their cage, where they just like to go! It's hard to change a bunny's mind once they find a bathroom spot, so it's usually easier just to put a litter box in that spot. It is usually in a corner behind furniture (they sometimes like privacy) so putting a litter box in one other spot is usually not too invasive in your home. Sometimes this also happens when people start free roaming their rabbits before they really solidify going in their cages.
Keep in mind that getting your rabbit to only go to the bathroom in their cage usually only happens AFTER you get them spayed or neutered.
Click here to go to the Rabbit behavior page to read more about cage training and litter box's
Click here to see our video on cage training
If you do decide you need a litter box or choose to use a different set up than we recommend and need a litter box, the KW cage is by far the superior choice!
Holland Lops shed year-round much like a cat, and Mini Plush Lops molt twice a year. To avoid the hair sticking to you and your furniture, it's a good idea to brush your Holland Lop periodically and your Mini Plush Lop while it molts to minimize hair everywhere! A bristle brush is best and most gentle and does not need to be fancy. Here is a good Amazon animal brush. Brush gently as bunnies to have thin, delicate skin.
Hidey Houses are appropriate for rabbits that have already been well socialized and are very used to their people. Putting one in a cage with a new baby turns into a crutch because they will automatically run inside whenever you come to get them out of their cage.
Baby rabbits need to learn you are a friend and not a predator and having a hidey house makes that process take longer. Once they are well acquainted with you, a hidey house can be a fun additional to a rabbits play area. We recommend getting a metal one like the hidey house in the link below and not grass or hay based hidey houses because they destroy those pretty quickly and shouldn't be a part of a rabbit's diet.
Harness & Leash
Rabbits are more fragile than a small dog or cat, so we would only recommend getting a leash if you don't have small children. A hard yank, being drug or getting a leash wrapped around a rabbit can be really painful and dangerous. If careful and responsible, a leash can be really fun for you and your rabbit!
Getting your rabbit to wear a leash does take some practice and must be started at a young age. You can start by just letting your rabbit hop around freely with just the harness on for short periods of time. Then work your way up to longer periods of time with the harness on, then add the leash and let them drag it around. Eventually you can hold the leash and the rabbit will begin to understand the concept. Some rabbits love field trips outside with a leash and a few would rather just play in a pen. They are not always fun for every rabbit, but we would suggest give every rabbit a chance to see if it's something they enjoy.
Rabbit Treats & Controversial Greens
When purchasing a new baby rabbit, do not buy anything to feed it other than hay and pellets as listed above. " Treats" are not appropriate until they are closer to 16 weeks of age and even then should be fed sparingly. Rabbits have very simple digestive systems and stress alone can cause a lot of stomach upset including stress induced diarrhea which can be fatal because bunnies dehydrate so quickly. Keeping their diet simple with pellets and hay ensures they will have the best chance of feeling well as they adjust to a new home.
Treats are TREATS! They should not be fed in large amounts. In fact, we feed our bunnies one treat once a week. It's always something from the below " Good Treats" list and it's always in small servings. Feeding bunnies fruit every day adds a lot of sugar to their diet, so we only do it once a week to ensure they stay at a healthy weight.
We would not personally recommend buying processed store-bought rabbit treats in packages. These are processed and its much like us eating fast food. Plus, they are expensive!
Greens - Yes or No?
This is a passionately debated topic online, among breeders and even veterinarians. We personally choose to not feed fresh greens, and this is why:
Every rabbit reacts to greens differently. Some can eat greens all day long and some can eat a few leaves of lettuce and get bloat. Most rabbits are fine eating greens here and there, but we feel it's better safe than sorry and do not feed fresh greens at all. You will find that a lot of rabbits that appear to be able to eat fresh greens often take a nap after a serving or seem tired. As much as they enjoyed the few minutes of eating the leafy greens, they then feel the after effect which is building gas in their gut. They usually recover and don't have long term negative effects. But sometimes, a rabbit can eat greens for years and then randomly one day get severe bloat after eating the same greens in the same amount that he's always had for all those years. Bloat can be deadly and it's hard to identify the problem before it's too late.
Fresh leafy greens are very rich which is what causes bloat and sometimes loose stool or diarrhea. Something people forget is that hay, orchard grass and mixed grass ARE leafy greens! But they are in dry form which makes them far less rich but still very nutritious. Pellets and hay are really the only things rabbits need in their diet - but treats from the below list are fun for them and us!
Some might then ask..."All wild rabbits eat ARE leafy greens!" So why are they so bad for domestic rabbits? This is very true, all wild rabbits eat are fresh greens! But a wild rabbit is literally thousands of generations removed from domestic rabbits. Domestic rabbits have been eating the food we make for them for thousands of generations and their digestive system has evolved accordingly. We have evolved the domestic rabbits gut to accommodate and function off of dry pelleted foods. This was ultimately done so we could keep domestic rabbits and conveniently feed them through the winter which enabled them to produce year-round when fresh greens were not available.
Good Treat Options
Fed sparingly in small portions two or three times per week maximum
Fruits other than citrus
- Cheri's without the pit
- Any variety of squash without seeds
- Steel cut oats
If you have apple or other fruit trees in your yard, bunnies love to nibble on sticks or small branches.