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What do bunnies need to be happy?

Bunnies are adorable, fluffy pets that can bring immense joy to their owners. However, ensuring your bunny’s happiness requires meeting some important care requirements. By understanding your bunny’s needs for proper housing, diet, grooming and more, you can help it live a long, fulfilling life.

What kind of home do bunnies need?

Bunnies need a spacious home base to hop around and play. The minimum recommended enclosure size for one bunny is 4′ x 2′ x 2′, but bigger is always better. This gives them room to stretch their legs and engage in natural bunny behaviors like running, jumping, and standing on their hind legs.

Bunnies should be housed indoors to protect them from predators, temperature extremes, and other outdoor dangers. Make sure to bunny-proof the area by removing electrical cords and blocking access to unsafe spaces. It’s also important to provide plenty of hiding spots – bunnies feel most secure with places to duck into when frightened.

The enclosure flooring should be solid and non-slip – options like linoleum, tile, or untreated wood work well. Avoid wire flooring which can injure bunny feet. Line the floor with a thick layer of hay and/or puppy pads to absorb messes. Spot clean daily and change out all substrate weekly.

To make a bunny feel at home, provide boxes or tunnels for hiding, willow balls or untreated wood blocks for chewing, and ramps or platforms for climbing. Make sure to include a litter box lined with puppy pads and hay as bunnies enjoy munching on hay while using the bathroom.

Outdoor housing

If housing your bunny outdoors, protect it from the elements and predators. A suitable outdoor hutch should:

  • Be raised off the ground to protect from moisture and pests
  • Have a covered top and enclosed sides
  • Provide shade from sun and shelter from wind, rain, and snow
  • Have around 7-8 square feet of interior floor space per standard sized bunny
  • Be constructed of good quality, chew-proof materials like wood or wire

The hutch should be attached to a large, predator-proof outdoor enclosure or run for exercise. Outdoor housing still requires ample daily supervised playtime indoors or in a secure pen.

What should bunnies eat?

Bunnies are herbivores, meaning they only eat plant materials. Their diet should be made up of:

  • Unlimited grass hay – Timothy or Orchard grass
  • Leafy greens – About 1 packed cup daily per 2 lbs body weight
  • Limited pellets – No more than 1/4 cup per 6 lbs body weight
  • Occasional fruits and veggies – 1 tbsp treats per 2 lbs body weight
  • Fresh clean water – Changed daily

High quality hay should make up at least 75% of diet, providing fiber and nutrients. Introduce new greens slowly to avoid digestive upset. Limit sugary fruits and starchy veggies as treats. Avoid lettuce, seeds, nuts, grains and human junk food which can cause health issues.

Suggested feeding schedule

Here is a sample daily feeding schedule for an average sized, 6 lb adult bunny:

Time Food Amount
Morning Greens 1.5 cups
Morning Unlimited grass hay Free choice
Noon 1/4 cup pellets 1/4 cup
Evening Greens 1.5 cups
Evening Unlimited grass hay Free choice
Treat Fruit or veggie 1 tbsp

Provide hay in a rack to minimize waste and freshen water daily. Monitor your bunny’s weight and adjust portions to maintain ideal body condition.

Grooming and health

To stay happy and healthy, bunnies require regular grooming and veterinary care. Here are some key tips:

  • Nail trims: Trim nails every 6-8 weeks to prevent injury and overgrowth.
  • Brushing: Brush long haired breeds weekly to prevent matting and wool block.
  • Shedding: Brush shedding bunnies daily during molting seasons.
  • Teeth: Seek veterinary dentals for overgrown teeth which requires anesthesia.
  • Vet checks: Seek annual exams and immediate care for any signs of illness or injury.
  • Spay/neuter: Alter your bunny around 6 months old to reduce problem behaviors and cancer risk.

With good preventative care, the average indoor bunny lives 8-12 years. Be observant of your pet’s eating habits, energy levels and droppings to detect potential health issues early.

Signs of a healthy bunny:

Parameter Normal
Appetite Good, eats frequently
Attitude Alert, responsive
Posture Relaxed, ears up
Droppings Round, brown, moderately firm
Breathing Regular, no noises or effort

Contact your vet immediately if you notice lethargy, appetite changes, diarrhea, abnormal breathing, limping, or other signs of illness. Do not delay seeking care.

Enrichment and exercise

Keeping your bunny engaged and active is key for both mental and physical health. Recommended enrichment includes:

  • Daily exercise time in bunny-proofed space or outdoor run
  • Cardboard boxes, tunnels, cat toys to explore and destroy
  • Rotate novel toys to prevent boredom
  • Obstruct access to food or treats to encourage foraging
  • Provide branches, wood blocks, or linings to dig and chew
  • Social bonding time (for bonded bunnies)

A lack of stimulation and exercise can lead to destructive and unwanted behaviors like digging, chewing, aggression, hyperactivity, and excessive vocalization. Make sure your bunny friend gets adequate daily activity tailored to their energy level!

Exercise needs by breed

Breed Exercise Needs
Lop Moderate
Dwarf Moderate
Rex High
Mini Rex High
Dutch High
Himalayan Low-Moderate

High energy breeds like Rex rabbits need upwards of 4+ hours of daily supervised playtime. Monitor your individual bunny’s activity preferences regardless of breed.

Bonding with your bunny

Bunnies are very social animals that thrive when they have a close bond with their owners. Here are some tips for connecting with your bunny friend:

  • Spend time at their level in the enclosure daily
  • Hand feed treats to associate you with good things
  • Pet gently around the head, cheeks, shoulders, and back
  • Respect boundaries and do not force interactions
  • Learn your bunny’s body language
  • Speak softly and use your bunny’s name
  • Consider adopting a bonded friend if away often

Over time and with lots of patience, bunnies usually become receptive to being held or cuddling. Allow them to come to you and provide treats during handling to build positive memories.

Bunny bonding tips

  • Pet forehead and cheeks
  • Provide favorite greens by hand
  • Sit at bunny level when possible
  • Get down on the floor for playtime
  • Avoid loud noises and sudden movements
  • Set up safe cuddle spots with hiding spots

With time, consistency, and respect, the trust between you and your bunny will continue to grow. The resulting bond is extremely special and rewarding!


At its core, keeping bunnies happy is about providing a spacious, enriching habitat, proper nutrition, vet care, exercise, and affection. While bunnies have some unique needs, they make wonderful pets for owners willing to put in the time and effort. When cared for properly, bunnies become cherished, long-term companions that bring immense joy into people’s lives for years to come.