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Groucho in his litter box made for one bunny.

   

"Hay, this is my box!"

 

So why not use wood chips or clay litters?

 

Love that fresh woodsy smell from pine or cedar chips?  I did until I found out there are phenols in the softwood shavings.  These aren't in hardwoods in the same quantities as softwoods such as aspen making it safer.  The phenols cause problems for the rabbit's liver, respiratory system and there also seems to be a cancer connection, too.  For me, that was enough reason to choose an alternative.

 

litterbox.JPG (25882 bytes)

 

First the box:

Cat litter boxes work just fine.  There are several sizes to choose from depending on how big your rabbit is and how many bunnies need to use the box.   

By the way use a litter box, even if the rabbit is in a cage.  The cage should be large enough to hold the litter box and have room for the bunny to move around.  The wire floors in cages are terrible for sensitive rabbit feet causing a condition called "sore hocks."  Save yourself and the bunny problems and use a litter box.  It is the first step in litter box training them by starting in their cage or condo.  (See Bunny Digs for housing options.)

 

AVOID THESE LITTERS!

Hopperhome CANNOT recommend:

 

SHAVINGS (WOOD) - Pine or aspen shavings may contain some phenols and oils.  Cedar is toxic to rabbits.

CORN COB - Can cause digestive blockages. 

CLAY - Cat Litter both clumping and non-clumping.  Can cause life threatening blockages if ingested.

SHREDDED OFFICE PAPER toners can be toxic.

KENAF - Highly absorbent and used for horse bedding. Fiber plant from east-central Africa.  Not a lot of sources.  Need to drink plenty of water when ingested to avoid blockages according to one website for horses. Too fluffy and dusty.

 

What I do - I use timothy hay and newspapers and sometimes I will use the crown animal bedding especially since I have taken care of rehabilitating rabbits.

 

Litterbox2.jpg (20662 bytes)First, I line the bottom of the box with several layers of newspaper.  

 

Until my rabbit, Rosemary, was spayed she found it irresistible and ripped it to shreds.  Typical unaltered teenage bunny behavior!   Solution:  Drill holes in the bottom of an identical litter box and put wood spacers on top of the newspaper in the non-drilled box with the newspaper layers on the bottom.  Then put the drilled box in over the one with the newspaper in it. The urine runs down into the second box and the paper absorbs it.   OR you can use a cat litter box that is perfect for this problem and keeps your rabbit's feet dry, too.

See the Lift 'n Sift for cats, but purrrfect for rabbits.  

 

litter3.JPG (346475 bytes)Second item, is fresh timothy hay.  The rabbits love to graze on it.  They need it for their digestion everyday. I change the box every other day so it doesn't have a chance to smell.  The rabbits only use one end of the box for the bathroom and the other end for grazing.  It works very well. Also, you can get a hay dispenser and hang it over the litter box to make their area cleaner.  Sometimes I put in a handful of oat hay or straw hay in the box for variety. (Yes, they are spoiled rabbits.)

 

Okay, you say, but isn't timothy hay expensive?  Not when you buy it in 9, 25 or 50 pound boxes or especially when you can buy it by the bale at a feed store.

 

Order from Oxbow Hay online.  Their hay is very fresh! You can also order it from American Pet Diner online. I store the hay in plastic containers with holes drilled in the top so it doesn't get moldy.  When I worked for "corporate America" hay was delivered to my work via UPS since I'm not home to get it during the day.  I'll do anything for my bunnies including having people "moo" in the elevator!  Living near a feed store and having a dry garage for storage is even cheaper.  Always check the hay for freshness and make sure it is timothy hay and not grass hay.  I can't always use a bale so I donate some to my rabbit vet, to the shelter or give to other rabbit fans.

 

Rinse the litter boxes with white vinegar to control odor if needed after you clean it.  The newspaper on the bottom makes hay removal from the box less messy since the layer of paper even if it is soaked comes right out leaving no hay in the box to rinse out or go down your drain.

 

Be sure and change it out every other day to keep down odor.  I change it everyday in the summer.  

 

Litter Box Train Your Rabbit.  

See the HRS web page on Litter Training

 

For a litter box for older rabbits or rabbits recovering after surgery see the Hi-Bac litter box from PetSmart.

 

The Rabbits and Human Review Litters:

 

Hopperhome rabbits Rosemary and her mate, Mr. Bumble, did a very unscientific review of litters.  Along with their human, they offer their biased point of view on the litters below:

 

GRASS/STRAW PELLETS

ECO-Straw

Critter Country

Clean'n'Comfy

The Human thinks it is clean, absorbent, no dust, really do control odor and can compost.  Not cheap.

Rosemary Rabbit Thinks:  Not my style since I like to graze real hay.  My mate, Bumble, seemed to enjoy Eco-straw best.  Get it from: www.oxbowhay.com


RECYCLED PAPER

Yesterday’s News

Carefresh

Crown Animal Bedding (Best Buy!)

The Human thinks it is dust free, controls odor, good urine absorption. Expensive (exception: Crown Animal Bedding - get at feed stores). No benefit for teeth.  Need to have hay available in hopper for necessary fiber and dental health.

Rosemary Rabbit Says:  Ink stinks! Bumble will eat anything and it stuck to his feet and turned them black except for Crown Animal Bedding brand from the feed store.

 

CITRIS PEELS

CitraFresh
The Human thinks it is:  not dusty, safe, absorption not as good as other litters.  No fiber benefit for digestion.

Rosemary Rabbit Says:  Citrus!  Get the smelly stuff out of my pen.  Again, Bumble will eat anything and after the first day, he didn’t eat anymore.  No romantic time grazing together!

 

HAY

Timothy Hay

Grass Hay

The Human knows:   Happy rabbits, best used over newspaper lining to absorb urine.  Good compost. Excellent for nutrition and dental health.  Cheap – buy it by the bale for $10 to $20 at a feed store.  Messy.  Get a litter box with high sides.
Rosemary Rabbit Says:  I enjoy hours grazing with Bumble in our box.  Loved the chewing.  Can dig and redecorate litter box all day.

 

FOOD PELLETS

The Human thinks it has:  odor control and absorbs urine okay.  Need a hay hopper for benefit to teeth and for fiber necessary to diet.

Rosemary Rabbit Says: Fat, who me? Bumble never stopped eating.  We have no self-control. 

 

Photos on this page: HopperHome's own mini-lop, Groucho.

 

   

 

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