Rabbit making mess in cage

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rustyrabbit

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When my rabbit was very young she ate all the hay I gave her and didn't make a mess, or poop much, but as an adult she spreads her hay around the cage and cleaning up after her is an industrial task, being a poop factory. I want someone to look after her for a month but it'll be difficult given the mess she makes.

Her main hutch is one from eBay and I've built a wire extension next to it of the same size to move around. Its an outside cage as the weather is mild where I live.

The hutch has a slide out litter tray built in and she poops in one corner of it in a pile so it can't be slid out, and its a lot of work to extract and the mess means the entire cage needs serious cleaning out.

I'm wondering if I could do something like a cat litter tray. Do rabbits poop where they eat? If so should I build a hay hopper and the litter tray together? Also, any idea why she spreads the hay everywhere? She has to pull it through the hopper before spreading it.

The image below shows the cage, the built in litter tray and the mess spread down the ramp (with the litter tray removed).

rabbit hutch mess.png
 

Flakes

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Rabbits poop where they eat. Dortmund uses a litter box just like a cat would.
 

Mehidk

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I use a large cat litter tray in the hutch (used indoors). 2/3 of Trixie's is filled with the paper pellets, and then the remaining 1/3 is hay. I clean her box either every 2 or 3 days. She's actually particular where she needs new litter placed over the old stuff each day. If I don't, then she'll spread out her hay as well (she's so clean lol). They do eat hay and poop at the same time. If your rabbit is pooping/peeing in the one specific corner, you can train her to go into that corner only by putting the tray there. Place some of the poops in there and eventually she'll figure out that the tray is her bathroom. As long as she's exclusively peeing there is when she's litter trained. She will still have occasional poops in random places but that generally means she's marking something as her territory. I've only had Trixie for about 2 months and she's litter trained, and I've only had to pick up a small handful of stray poops.
 

Blue eyes

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How easy or difficult it is to maintain a rabbit cage depends completely on how it is setup. Some setups require much more effort and time to maintain.

The larger the cage, the easier it will be to maintain (sounds opposite, right?). And, yes, rabbits can and do litter train quite easily. The key is to have a large litterbox set up with hay on top of the wood pellets.

The cage you have now is actually the main part of the problem. Not only is it small (even considering it has the 'same size' exercise area), but it is not easy to access for cleaning. Check the first post on this thread for size recommendations.

A large plastic storage container (about 16" x 23") is a good minimum litter box size. This size allows bunny to hop in and enjoy his hay while he's in it. That tends to minimize any hay mess. A few rare bunnies will like to dig it out. In that case, a grid is placed inside the litter box, on top of the wood pellets.

Once litter trained, you could add a cat bed or other soft material for bunny to lay on. He is probably spreading the hay to create a soft place to lay down. Many rabbits even enjoy laying on top of the hay in their litter box. That's just fine. Just don't add the bed until after he's trained or he may decide to use the bed as a litter box.
 
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rustyrabbit

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OK thanks for those replies. I'll likely add a weatherproof external removable litter tray and hopper, but need to nut out the design.
 

rustyrabbit

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Some of those cages are bigger than my courtyard! Missy is able to run the length of both joined cages (she does a full circuit when I appear with food) so she's not cramped and can stand tall if need be. I'll add a temporary external run cage as well now she's full size.

Does anyone have photos of a combined litter tray and hopper that is rain proof? I guess it would need a clear roof.
 

Blue eyes

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@Theo has almost the same cage you have and has used an ex-pen to create a larger space. There is some room for running around with this set up:
upload_2020-1-30_19-16-2.png
 

Lionheadloady

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That is way too small of a cage for your bunny. Bunnies need a large enough space to run and binky and flop. She may be purposely making a mess because she is trying to tell you she is bored. An expen is about 30-100$ and is cheaper than all these hutches, while giving your bunny the necessary space it needs. Please consider eather as others said adding an LARGE expen to your cage or just a big expen which will be way easier to clean than getting into the nooks and crannies of a hutch.
 

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