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The British Rabbit Council Code of Practice

HOUSING

1. The most common form of accommodation is a hutch.

2. Most fanciers now keep their hutches in sheds; however there may still be fanciers who continue to keep their stock outside.

3. If rabbits are kept outside it is essential that:-
• The hutch is properly constructed to ensure that it is fully weatherproof.
• The hutch should have a slanted roof and be covered with roofing felt as ideally should be the sides.
• The hutch should be secure from predators.
• The hutch should be sheltered from the elements, not facing the prevailing wind or the strong midday sun.
• The hutch should be raised off the ground in a safe manner to avoid rising damp.
• Door catches should be secure.
• The front of the hutch should be constructed of a strong twill mesh.
• Consideration should be given to covering the front of hutches at night, thus protecting stock from the worst of the weather but still allowing adequate ventilation.

4. If rabbits are kept in a shed there are other considerations:
• Hutches will need to be of a proper and adequate construction.
• There must be an adequate circulation of fresh air.
• In the summer months it is essential to avoid excessively high temperatures building up in the shed.
• Waste materials should be swept up regularly and every effort made to ensure that the atmosphere in the shed remains “fresh”
• The use of good hygiene practice will avoid the build up of ammonia fumes in the air, it will also discourage flies and other insects so helping in the prevention of other conditions such as “fly strike”.

5. Whether rabbits are kept outdoors or in sheds there are some considerations relevant to both circumstances.
• Hutch size will be dependent on the breed of rabbit.
• The hutch must always be large enough for the rabbit to move around, stretch out full length or make the minimum of three consecutive hops.
• The height of the hutch must allow the rabbit to sit up on its hind legs.
• A hutch may be partitioned into two compartments one providing a resting area and the other an exercise area.
• Breeding hutches should always be large enough to comfortably house the doe with her young for the anticipated period prior to weaning.

6. Lighting
• Rabbits should be exposed to natural light as far as possible.