A common problem among rabbit owners is uncontrollable chewing, which often results in damaged and broken things, especially inside the house.
If you’ve got a wooden hutch, chances are that your bunny has already started nibbling on it. Don’t worry, though as it’s not too late to put a stop to it. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your rabbit from turning its hutch into a chew toy.
Why Do Rabbits Chew Their Hutch?
let’s talk about why rabbits love to chew. It’s not because they’re trying to be naughty or destructive it’s just part of their natural behavior.
The reason behind this habit is the fact that rabbits need to chew constantly to prevent their teeth from overgrowing, which is a common rabbit condition that can lead to death when untreated.
Aside from chewing on hay, rabbits use different things to make sure that their teeth are maintained in the proper size.
With this fact, do you really have no choice but to let your pet chew on house items or even its cage? No, you do not need to sacrifice your hard earned things just to maintain your pet’s health.
So, if your bunny is chewing on its hutch, it’s not trying to make you angry and it’s just doing what comes naturally.
Fortunately, there are various effective tips and methods that you can employ to prevent or minimize your pet’s urge to chew on things that it should not.
How To Stop A Rabbit Chewing Its Hutch?
Improve Food Choices
As mentioned earlier, the most effective food item to keep your pet’s teeth at proper size is hay. Hay must compose 70% of a rabbit’s daily diet. This healthy food naturally chips down rabbit’s teeth to the proper size.
Aside from hay, you should include fruits and vegetables that your friend can chew throughout the day. A highly suggested food is carrot, which will keep your pet busy with chewing when served in tiny pieces.
In addition to food, toys made specifically for rabbits can do the trick. If money is not an issue, you can buy special rabbit toys that are readily available in local pet shops.
Aside from keeping your pet’s teeth at the proper size, these toys also develop its mental and physical skills. On the other hand, if you are experiencing budget constraints, you can opt for common house items such as cardboard boxes and plastic balls.
Often, these items are already on their way to the trash can, so you are basically spending zero dollars. In fact, you can also use the inside carton of paper rolls and link them together to make an elaborate tunnel.
Rabbits are some of the most active animals due to their very high energy supply. When this energy is not used, your pet can turn into various activities that can cause disaster such as chewing and nibbling.
To avoid this problem, always make sure to allow it to do various high energy activities such as running around. In addition, you must let it out from its cage a few hours each day to stretch its legs and interact with humans and other animals.
When these requirements are not met, your pet will probably develop boredom and turn to other activities such as chewing and nibbling.
High-Quality Cage or Hutch
Your pet will spend most of its time in a hutch or cage, which is why it is very vital to buy one that is sturdy and of high quality.
Some hutches and cages are made of wood or chewable materials, which can be easily damaged or destroyed by your pet when its chewing and nibbling become uncontrollable.
As a solution, it is best to pick a hutch that is made of steel. Aside from the fact that your pet will not be encouraged to chew it, this type of hutch will serve as an added protection against various predators especially when you are planning to place it outside.
Prizes and Praises
Who would not want to receive an award or prize for a job well done? Your pet also deserves a treat or two every time he displays good behavior.
After successfully training your pet to avoid chewing on things, you must give it price or reward. These reinforcements can be as simple as a soft pat on the back, or as exciting as rabbit pellets.
Also you can also keep your pet busy while inside its cage by playing a simple game of hiding and seek. Hide treats and prizes in various areas of its cage or hutch.
Aside from keeping your pet occupied, this game will also make your pet feel that you are giving some of your time to develop your relationship.
Providing Plenty of Chewing Alternatives
If you don’t provide enough chewing alternatives, your bunny will just go back to chewing on the hutch.
Here are a few things you can give your rabbit to chew on instead:
Rabbits need hay to maintain their digestive health, but it’s also a great chewing option. Make sure to provide a constant supply of fresh hay.
There are tons of wooden toys on the market that are specifically designed for rabbits to chew on. Look for toys made of untreated wood, as treated wood can be harmful to your bunny.
Rabbits love to play in and chew on cardboard boxes. You can also stuff the boxes with hay to make them even more enticing.
Willow sticks are a popular chew toy for rabbits. You can buy them at pet stores or online.
If you have an apple tree in your yard, you can cut some branches and give them to your bunny to chew on. Just make sure to wash them first.
Making the Hutch Less Tempting
Even if you give your bunny plenty of other things to chew on, it may still be drawn to the hutch. After all, it’s right there in front of it. So, you need to make the hutch less tempting.
Here are a few ways to do that:
Cover the edges
Rabbits are especially drawn to the edges of things, so covering the edges of the hutch with metal or PVC strips can help deter chewing.
Place toys, boxes, and other items around the hutch to give your bunny other things to focus on.
Spray with bitter apple
You can buy bitter apple spray at pet stores or online. Spray it on the areas of the hutch that your bunny likes to chew on – it tastes bad and will discourage further chewing.
Even with all of these preventative measures we have mentioned, your bunny may still try to chew on the hutch from time to time. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on it and correct any bad behavior.
If you catch your bunny chewing on the hutch, simply say “no” in a firm voice and redirect its attention to something else. Don’t yell or hit your bunny it won’t understand what it did wrong and it will just make the problem worse.
With a little bit of effort and a lot of love and of course a lot of patience, you can help your bunny develop healthy chewing habits and keep its hutch intact.
Jacob Mathew, the rabbit guy. He’s been working with those cute little buns for several years and he knows a lot of things about rabbits, if not everything.
Jacob loves cats and bunnies more than any other animals. Read my full bio