Housing your rabbit in an exercise pen (commonly known as an x-pen) can be a big improvement over the idea of a cage. With a cage your rabbit's space can be limited and he can become frustrated at being in a smaller space when you are away or asleep at night. X-pen living gives bunny more space, while still keeping him safely contained, during those times when you are not at home or need to keep bunny enclosed. Even for "jumpers" x-pens can be a good choice, simply by attaching some shade cloth (found in garden centers) or special-made wire tops made by pen manufacturers.
Bunny's x-pen not only holds his litter box, water and food dishes, but it can also hold a Cottontail Cottage, toys, and most anything he desires. What really makes them great is:
1) You're getting more space for your money (x-pens cost the same or less than most rabbit cages).
2) Bunny has more room to roam and feels "freer" while still in a safe place.
3) Pens are flexible and can be configured in any shape to suit your available space.
4) They are easy to clean and portable, too.
Below are photos of a variety of "x-pen" setups for bunny.
Honey's pen is situated in the family room, next to the sofa. Honey is a "jumper," so the family has purchased a 36" high pen. She has a big box of hay, her stuffed toys, and her ball. She is quite comfortable and gets a lot of attention in this location. They have placed a piece of indoor/outdoor
carpeting under Honey's pen to protect the floor.
Adventurous bunnies, Bebe and Buddy, have a Cottontail Cottage "entrance" to their x-pen home. They live with a dog that they love, but sometimes they just need to get away to their own, private space. They climb up the cottage, through the window, and down the ramp into their safe haven. This pen is situated behind the sofa in the family room.
This x-pen is configured in a square, 48" wide on each side. It's been placed onto a special-built platform to contain any mess and protect the hardwood floors. You can also see that a square of indoor-outdoor carpet has been placed onto the floor to protect it. This pen houses a group of three bunnies, Calli, Bebe and Oliver, including their Cottontail Cottage playhouse, a really large litterbox, and still plenty of room for toys and the necessities of life. The pen is 24" high as these bunnies are not inclined to jump out.
Molly and Miles have an x-pen attached to the outside of their cage,
creating a large "front yard." Their cage door is never closed, so they
can come and go as they wish. These two bunnies live in mom's office,
where they get plenty of attention.
In this photo, the typical 30" high x-pen has been configured for a long space, behind a sofa. Again, the owner has built a platform for the pen to keep any mess contained inside. Each of these pens shown on this page have doors that "swing" open, allowing bunny to come out for play time. The platforms are easy to build; plywood cut to size, a sheet of linoleum remnant cut to size and stapled to the plywood, and a "frame" stapled on top of both to provide a "lip" that keeps everything in side and anchors the pen. An easy project that
won't take more than an hour or two at most.
Here, the homeowner has had a custom pen built to size for this little niche in the family room. The wire is PVC coated and easy to keep clean. Again, her husband has constructed a platform to anchor the pen and protect the floor. Baxter & Scooter have a large litter box full of hay, and a plastic tote, turned upside down with a "door" cut into it, makes a fun place to hide or perch on top.
Here, the homeowner has used a standard "lawn pen" available from KW cages. It's dimensions are 42" square, and the wire is green, PVC-coated. It contains all the comforts of home, a soft towel, cardboard playhouse, and a hay rack that bunnies access from the second floor of their playhouse. Pergo floors are not easily damaged (as long as bunny is good about using his box), so nothing extra has to be placed under the pen.
Sources for the materials seen on this page are:
San Diego House Rabbit Society, Bunny Supply Store: We sell 24", 30", and 36" x-pens from our store.
KW Cages, Santee, California (San Diego County)
Precision Pet Products: Their x-pens can be purchased online from a variety of retailers. Petco has them on sale periodically, online.
Midwest Homes for Pets: Available online from a variety of retailers.
Most pet supply stores
Many rabbit rescue groups also sell x-pens for rabbits. Contact your local rescue to find out where you can buy an exercise pen for your rabbit.
Materials for platform:
- Plywood, linoleum remnants, 2"x2" wood trim, indoor-outdoor carpet
- Purchase at Home Depot, Lowe's, Orchard Supply, Dixieline, etc.
Other links to x-pen housing ideas: