What do I need when I bring my new bunny home?
Apart from the excitement of picking out your new bunny, you might be asking yourself “what do I need when I bring my new bunny home?”
It can be really fun to set up everything it will need to live a happy and healthy life with you. However, it can also be overwhelming and confusing for new owners when starting off. You want to make sure you are buying quality products that actually work and last.
NEW BUNNY KITS
To make it easier and stress free for first time bunny owners, we have put together New Bunny Kits.
The kits are available to purchase through our bun shop. Each kit includes Small Pet Select Food and Hay, a non drip bottle, clip on crock, litter and play items, a Birth Certificate, cosy fleece resting mat for your cutie to snuggle with and more.
Includes Small Pet Select Pellets, Small Pet Select Orchard and Alfalfa Hay, Small Pet Select Timothy Hay Cubes, Sherwood Recovery Food, Small Pet Select All Natural Pine Litter Pellets, All Natural Chew Toy Item, Birth Certificate and a Cottontail Creek Rabbitry handmade Plush Resting Mat (colors and materials will vary from pictured).
You get everything in the Starter Kit PLUS a Choco Nose no-drip Bottle and clip-on Crock, Litter Box, Hay Feeder, Small Pet Select Grooming Comb and MORE.
You can also buy some of the items separately through our Cottontail Creek Bun Shop or through our recommended Amazon Affiliate links page. We’ll talk about each of the items you’ll need below.
Our pick of 8 essential items you’ll need for your bunny
**This post contains affiliate links. In other words, every time you click through on one of these links and make a purchase, we will earn a commission on the product, but at no additional cost to you. Please see my disclosures page for more information.
Here are 8 basic necessities you’ll need for your furball.
- Housing: Cage and Pen
- Bottle or Bowl for Water
- Crock or Bowl for Pellet food + Rabbit Pellets
- Hay feeder + Hay
- Litter Box + substrate (stuff to absorb the urine)
- Cosy Resting Mat or Blanket
- Slicker Brush or Grooming Comb
- Chew Toys
#1. Housing: Cage and Pen
The goal when bringing a bunny into your home is for it to become a valued member of your family that can roam freely and safely.
The House Rabbit Society recommends at least 4 hours of quality running/play time per day. That means it should not be cooped up for hours in a small cage, or even in a pen.
Bunnies do like to have a safe space to retreat to. However, they also need space to run around freely.
When it comes to your bunny’s cage, bigger is always better. The cage should be able to fit it’s litter box, food and water. In addition it should also still allow for the bunny to lay fully stretched out comfortably.
There should be ample room for your bunny to move about horizontally or periscope vertically.
Ventilation is also important and for this reason I do not recommend the wooden rabbit hutches that are popular. While they do look more like furniture and are aesthetically pleasing, they are often dark inside and harder to clean. They can trap ammonia and generally don’t allow good air flow.
Solid bottom cages are best for your bunny’s feet as wire bottom cages can cause sores and are not supportive.
I really like and have used this Oxbow cage.
While I don’t really care for bottle or bowl that is included, I like how the cage opens up with the front door. It becomes a ramp so the bunny can go in and out freely to use it’s litter box (not included) or eat, drink etc. It also comes with a nice play pen that attaches to the cage giving it a larger living area that is still safe.
Below is an example of how one family set the cage and pen up for their two newest bunny additions.
As mentioned above, the Oxbow Cage also comes with an enclosure to make the area the bunny can access larger. This is great when the bunnies are young and you are trying to acclimate them to your home or potty train them.
The enclosure is big enough for a child or adult to sit and play with the bunny to aid with bonding. However, it would not be good for containing them once they are older. It’s not tall enough and they can easily jump it when fully grown.
Your bunny will benefit from a tall and expandable pen that s/he can run around in whether it be indoors or outdoors. In fact, we connect several of the pens together to make a really large area. It’s so fun to see our bunnies bounding through the grass, binkying and grazing in a safe environment.
Bunnies can jump up to 4 feet high so you want to make sure your pen is not too short, especially outdoors. Consequently anything less than 36 inches will leave you wondering where your new pet went if s/he is motivated enough to hop over and explore what’s on the other side of the pen.
#2. Bottle or Water Bowl
There are endless bottles in every size and shape to choose from online and in pet stores.
Some are spring loaded, some aren’t, some are top fill, some are glass vs plastic. Some, no matter what you do to try and stop it, never stop leaking! A bottle that doesn’t leak is a must.
It also needs to be able to attach securely to the side of the cage and have a wide enough opening to fill and clean easily.
Water Bowls are also an option but they should always be ceramic and heavy enough so that your bunny won’t tip it over and make a wet mess. They do need to be cleaned daily since food, debris and fur often makes its way in to contaminate the water.
Babies brought up in our rabbitry are accustomed to using a bottle like their mamas. Then, when they go to their new homes, it’s a much smoother transition if they are able to use the same one they used here.
#3. Food Crock
We like to use crocks/bowls that clip to the cage. This prevents the bunny from knocking its bowl and pellets over. Some bunnies love to toss the bowl around like a toy, which means food wastage and a big old mess.
If you choose to use a bowl that rests of the floor, just make sure it’s a heavier ceramic bowl that your bunny won’t knock over.
We recommend the Choco Nose bottles that are marketed for small dogs and animals. The spout is larger than the pet store bottles for small animals. When using this, we’ve noticed many of our bunnies can’t wait to drink their water as quickly as possible.
If you buy the Chose Nose water bottle and food crock combo pack, you’ll get a matching crock that you can buy here. It is also included in our Deluxe New Bunny Kit.
If you prefer to buy the bottle and a crock separately, we suggest these that you can buy here:-
To purchase the Crock alone, click here.
To purchase the Bottle alone, click here.
#4. Hay Feeder and Hay
We have used these 2 hay feeders which can be clipped above your bunny’s litter box.
To learn about different the types of hay and our recommendation for where to purchase, visit our page on what to feed your bunny.
#5. Litter Box
You will need a box (or sometimes two) if you wish to litter train you bunny. You will also need an appropriate substrate that goes in the box to effectively absorb the urine and any odor.
This is the litter box we use for the majority of our herd bunnies. It has a way to clip it to the side of the cage so it stays in place. It also has two sides to prevent pee messes.
There are several litter boxes on the market with similar “grates”. However, this is the best one we’ve found. It lets the bunny poop drop through without getting stuck on top of the grate because the holes are too small. It is also the best box we’ve found that is a decent rectangular size. The grate actually stays securely in place in the bunny’s chosen litter corner.
There’s nothing worse than the bunny doing a wonderful job of using its box but then lifting the box’s off because it isn’t secure, only to then dig in the box making a huge mess on the floor.
The other option I would suggest (which our free roam house bunny uses) is this cat litter box. It does not have a grate, but since it is much larger with a dome, the bunny does it’s business with privacy. Any of the absorbent pellets (or your choice of substrate which we’ll get into below) always seem well contained. That’s been our experience anyway.
Litter Box Substrate (what absorbs the Bunny Pee)
We mentioned substrate that goes in the litter box earlier. We recommend Small Pet Select’s all natural pine pellets that you can purchase here:-
What to NOT use in litter box
It is really important that you DO NOT use cat clumping litter as that is poisonous to bunnies.
I also do not use paper pellets, or soft small animal bedding. That will just trap a lot of odor and will not absorb as well as the pine pellets. As a result, you will have to clean the litter box much more frequently and using more product.
Let’s face it, it’s a job that no one can possibly say they really look forward to.
With the pine pellets, a cup of the pellets is all you need. When the urine gets absorbed it breaks the pellets down into granulated shavings.
After 3 or so days (depending on the size of your bunny) you can just dump the contents out. Then make sure to rinse the litter box if you need to, and put a fresh cup of pellets. Easy, painless and relatively inexpensive.
#6. Cosy Resting Mat
Bunnies enjoy a place to rest and relax just as much as you. There are different resting mats to choose from including grass mats that are popular. They are natural and provide another outlet for your bunny to chew.
We found that they are best once your bunny is fully potty trained as they are not very easy to clean if the mat gets soiled.
We also really like resting mats made of plush or quilted fabrics. Our resting mat quilts are handmade at our rabbitry and come in two perfect sizes for Netherland Dwarfs and Holland Lops.
We have lots of different cute patterns made from flannel, fleece, plush blanket and minky that are available to purchase in our bun shop.
#7. Slicker brush or grooming comb
A good slicker brush or grooming comb is necessary. Bunnies molt a couple times per year and benefit from regular grooming weekly.
Bunnies like to clean and groom themselves, but unlike cats, bunnies cannot regurgitate any hair they have ingested. It is, therefore, necessary to help remove any excess fur especially during their high shedding periods.
Grooming your bunny also is a wonderful way for you to spend time bonding with them.
Here are the items we recommend that you can purchase through Amazon:
#8. Chew Toys
Bunnies love and need toys to chew on. Firstly it helps prevent boredom (and chewing items they shouldn’t). And secondly, it is also necessary to help keep their teeth from over growing.
All natural wood toys are a great choice. Below are just a few examples of some of the wood toys that our bunnies enjoy playing with and chewing.
Small Pet Select is one of our favorite places to get our bunnies’ toys as they have a nice large selection. We’ve included some all natural chew toys in our Starter Kits.
Well those are our 8 essential items we think will have you all set when you’ve brought your bunny home with you.
There are other additional items you might want to consider later on which we’ll discuss in another post.
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Hi, I’m Beth, the owner of Cottontail Creek Rabbitry. I’ve put together these articles to provide useful information about bunnies for any pet owners and would-be pet owners. I’m also a professional musician and teach piano and violin to students. You can find out more about lessons at my Piano and Violin Studio website.