Bunnies are earresistably cute, with their soft noses, long ears, and floofy tails. No surprise they’re amongst the most popular pets in the UK, right after dogs and cats, because - let’s be honest - nobunny compares to these hoppy companions.
But the sweet floofs aren’t easily contained by a cage. They’re full of bunny beans and love to zoom and binky. The secret to truly happy rabbits? Letting them roam freely in your home. Come find out about the life of Kavee's own free-roam rabbit, the gorgeous Coco, and why you should free-roam your rabbit, plus the dreaded question - how to toilet-train your sweet buns!
Head over to our rabbit glossary to learn the A to Z for bunnies!
1. How do free-roaming rabbits live?
A free-roam rabbit lives in a home with their pet parents and bunny friends… but here’s the twist: they don’t live in a cage. Free-roam house rabbits hop about their pet parents’ home whenever they like. They are free to roam, you might say.
Some bunny owners keep their free-roaming rabbit in the bedroom, or they use a special room as the free-roam rabbit set-up, just for their rabbits’ rapture. Most of the time, they keep the free-roam rabbits on carpet as the comfiest option for the floofs (and ourselves when cuddling the buns!). Others let their beloved bunnies run around the entire home - as long as it’s safe for them to do so.
Coco, Kavee's free-roam house rabbit, has a room to binky in, and goes on daily adventures in her bunny parents' home. The bold bun is a master at chewing important cables, so her hoomans are on constant bunny watch.
One thing’s clear: any free-roaming rabbit set-up is a huge improvement on the pet shop rabbit cages in the olden days. So is it safe to say that free-roaming house rabbits are happier? Let’s find out!
2. Are free-roam rabbits happier?
You may think it’d be tricky to tell if a bunny is hoppy, but we’re confident that a free-roam rabbit set-up equals happier rabbits. Why? The answer is simple: more room to binky!
Bunnies are well known for their binkies - happy hops straight into the air, with their hind end twisting in a different direction. So much fun to watch! When they stay in small cages, and even most hutches, rabbits don’t have the space to binky to their hearts’ content. If you can’t show you’re happy, it’s hard to feel it, right? It’s not like they can clap their hands...
The space a free-roaming house rabbit has in a bedroom, living room, or entire home, means they can move around a lot more. From zoomies to slow hops, the constant movement helps them stay hoppy and healthy - in more than one way. Not only is it easier for free-roam house rabbits to stay a healthy weight, they also have stronger joints and muscles and can reduce the risk of bladder stones, all because the rabbit free-roams! It’s also a great way to maintain healthy gut movement (so important!) in your furry friends. But the benefits don’t end there.
Rabbits are smart cookies, and if they get bored… well, let’s just say some bunny parents have to replace their wallpaper regularly. Bunny parents who keep their free-roam rabbit on carpet can face the same problem.
When rabbits get to free-roam, there’s naturally more to explore and keep them busy. Experienced free-roam rabbit owners, like Coco's bunny parents, add toys and enrichment to their homes to keep their buns entertained - and the wallpaper safe. Coco's room and toys are moved around regularly, so she explores her free-roaming rabbit set-up with fresh eyes and leaves her hoomans' valued possessions alone.
But how do you keep your free-roaming house rabbit safe?
3. How to keep your free-roam rabbit safe
When you’re getting your free-roam rabbit set-up ready, try to see the world with their eyes. No, really! Look for tight spaces the free-roaming rabbits could get stuck in and cables they could chew. Are there areas you don’t want them in, for example near an office space with lots of wires, the hob in your kitchen, or steep stairs?
A word of warning: rabbits should never share a space with other animals, especially when the other animal may chase them. Unfortunately, that means that dogs and cats should be kept completely separate from your bunnies.
Coco, like other rabbits, goes through a constant cycle of eat, poop, binky, sleep, repeat. This means that your free-roaming house rabbits wants fresh food and water wherever they are. If they're moving away from their bunny room, remember to bring snacks and water for your free-roaming rabbits. You wouldn't want to see sweet Coco get hangry!
The first step to keeping your beloved bunnies safe in your home is understanding how they behave. And once you’ve learned to think like a bun, it’ll be much easier to bunny-proof your home for your free-roam house rabbit!
4. Bunny-proofing your home for beginner bunny parents
The first rule of bunny-proofing club is… Hide all cables! Free-roam rabbits love to chew, but when they bite into a wire, you’re not just risking your gadgets. A live wire can seriously hurt your sweet friends.
So how can you keep your buns separate from all wires? You can block off wiry areas with home-made fencing (C&C grids are great for this!), or move the cables, so your free-roam rabbit can’t get to them. But here’s the tricky situation: bunnies can stand on their hindlegs, so it’s important that the smart floofers can’t reach the wires under any circumstances. Take it from Coco's hoomans, who had to replace a cable or two (or ten!) since their furry friend moved in.
Some bunny owners get solid cable guards to stop their companions from doing something they’ll later regret. But wires aren’t the only household objects in danger of getting the bunny treatment in your free-roam rabbit set-up…
Carpets and baseboards are also any free-roam rabbit’s favourite for a quick digging-slash-chewing session, especially in corners. Like many free-roaming rabbits, Coco has a favourite corner she likes to spend time in because it makes her feel safe. For your home’s sake, you may want to protect these areas from your bunnies’ advances. You can put down a fleece liner to protect the floor in your free-roam house rabbit’s favourite corner, especially if you keep your free-roam rabbit on carpet. Many bunny parents also cover the baseboards and furniture with cardboard or cat scratcher mats. Blocking these areas with fencing also works well, but your floofs can get cross if you keep them from their comfy corner.
And finally, if you’re new to free-roam rabbits, make sure to double-, triple-, four times check that no dangerous items are in your floofers’ reach. This includes yesterday’s movie night snacks, your latest houseplant purchase, and any appliances, like fans or heaters.
Now that you see the world with your free-roaming rabbits’ eyes and have bunny-proofed your home, let’s move on to another crucial part of having free-roaming house rabbits… Litter training!
5. Litter training free-roam house rabbits
Just like guinea pigs, rabbits are serial poopers. They poop around 200 to 300 times a day. Doesn’t really sound ideal for a free-roam rabbit on carpet who hops around your home, right? The secret to a clean home alongside your free-roam rabbit set-up is litter training your bun buns - so they go potty in the toilet area, just like our lovely Coco is demonstrating here. Follow these steps for an (almost) mess-free home with your sweet floofs:
1. Place a litter tray in your free-roam rabbit’s toilet area
Free-roam rabbits love a clean space, so they naturally choose a toilet area - clever, right? Watch your buns to find out where they like to go to the bathroom, and place litter trays there. Coco's tray is in a corner because that's where she feels safest. If you scoop some of their poop in the tray, your free-roam rabbits know where to go next time.
2. Use several trays to start with
Whether your bunnies are used to the free-roam lifestyle or exploring their fresh freedom, it’ll take them a while to figure out the best potty spots. If you place a few litter trays across their room to roam, your buns are less likely to have accidents. Once they get the hang of the trays, you can slowly remove them one by one until only one tray is left. Remember to leave a little bit of messy litter in the tray when you clean it daily, so your free-roaming rabbits just have to follow their fluffy noses.
3. Clean up accidents immediately
Coco's hoomans have a top tip for litter training your free-roam rabbits: get rid of any accidents as soon as you can. Rabbits follow their own scent, so any mess on the carpet could lead to more mess. Keep your home extra clean while litter training your free-roam rabbits!
There are lots of different types of bedding for your buns' litter trays, and Coco the Kavee bunny likes dust-free, recycled paper pellets best - for herself and the environment. Soon, you’ll only be cleaning dust bunnies from your carpets. Hoppy litter training!
6. Keep your bunny busy… or else!
Your free-roam rabbits are full of bunny beans. That means they want to hop, binky, dig, chew, and play - in between snacks and snoozes, of course. It's in their nature to do all of these things, so bunny parents, beware! If you don’t invest in enrichment in your free-roam rabbit set-up, your free-roam house rabbits may just re-do the interior design for you…
Great ideas for busy bunnies are safe items to chew, like the cardboard treat Coco is devouring, large tunnels to explore, and a digging area. A cardboard box stuffed with hay, safe toys, and treats can offer hours of entertainment for your sweet buns and yourself.
When your free-roaming house rabbits aren’t busy digging, they may want some downtime in a little bunny haven. Remember that they feel safest in corners? If you set up a bunny den in a quiet corner of your home, your bunnies can be snug as a bug whenever they need it. The ideal quiet corner includes food, water, a toilet area, a comfortable snooze spot, and somewhere for your free-roaming rabbits to hide.
With plenty of enrichment and a bunny haven, your free-roaming rabbits are ready to hop!
7. Healthy, Hoppy Hares in your Home
One thing that many new free-roam house rabbit owners forget about is their pets’ healthcare. Of course, the annual check-up is important for all bunnies, but what about flea treatment? Vaccinations? Neutering? Those things are just for outdoor rabbits, right? Nope!
Fleas can travel on clothing (yes, yours!), so preventative treatment for your floofy friends can save you a lot of trouble. Similarly, myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD) can reach your free-roam rabbits via insects and textiles, including shoes and other clothing. Keep them safe by booking the buns in for regular vaccinations with your trusted vet.
And our top tip for any bunny parent: get your sweet floofs neutered! Spaying or castrating your free-roaming house rabbit has health benefits, getting rid of any risk of cancer in the reproductive organs as well as unwanted and phantom pregnancies. They also make it much less likely for your sweet buns to show hormone-induced behaviours, like aggression and spraying (marking their territory… not a pleasant smell!), and they often bond better with their hoomans.
Make sure to ask your bunny-savvy vet about the right care for your precious pets.
At Kavee, we think free-roam rabbits are the future. Although bunny-proofing your home and toilet-training your free-roaming rabbits takes a bit of work, your sweet friends will be happier and healthier with all this extra space - take Coco's word for it.