Hay bungalows for rabbits

Rabbit caregiver researches how rabbits live in the wild and then comes up with an innovative idea: Hay bungalows! The bunnies love them.
By David Dickson

Hansel and Gretel almost had the ultimate weekend getaway at their fingertips. A cozy place to unwind, beautiful scenery, edible countertops … if it weren’t for that blasted witch trying to mess with a good thing! At least they pulled a fast one on her in the end, but that was also their last brush with a house they could eat. Lucky for the rabbits at Best Friends, they get to live the dream without any potion-brewing cackling in the background. And it’s all thanks to one rather ingenious caregiver.

Researching how rabbits live in the wild

 Woman holding a bunny Annick Popowich, one of the rabbit caregivers, likes to try to replicate natural environments for animals as much as possible. For the rabbits under her care, she did some special research on how they live in the wild. She learned a bunch.

For one thing, rabbits like to burrow. Anybody who’s visited the rabbits at Best Friends and witnessed their network of tunnels can certainly agree on that. They also like to hide out in soft places, preferably with something to nibble on every side.

Hay bungalows for rabbits

 Bunny hay bungalow

Using her research and employing a little creative thinking, Annick came up with a simple structure that the rabbits can’t get enough of: hay corners.

Each of the rabbit play areas has rigid fencing with plenty of holes to allow breezes through. The caregivers shove sticks through the holes in the corners. Then they drop down a great big pile of hay and let the rabbits burrow in these hay corners to create all sorts of entrances, tunnels and hidey holes with the sticks providing a support system for their artwork.

The piles aren’t so big that a cave-in would be dangerous, but the rabbits do appreciate when their hard work stays put. Those sticks come in handy. All the while, the rabbits-turned-construction-workers get to nibble at the walls to their hearts' content. The hay corners are easy to build, and, they allow the rabbits to do so much of what comes natural to them. Clever thinking, Annick! The rabbits can’t thank you enough.

Photos by Gary Kalpakoff

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