DIY Bunny (Small Animal) Cage: Bigger and Cheaper Than Retail

July 19, 2012

Guess what? We just got a bunny. Tomorrow is Lily's 8th birthday and Toots was her gift (she was already named when we got her but we might change it to Tootsie, the jury is still out on that). The kids have been bugging to get a pet but I'm allergic to cats and Henri is too small to have a dog in the house even a small one, so I thought a bunny would be a good comprise. They can be litterbox trained and have a little more personality than a hamster or guinea pig.
When I started looking into bunny essentials I found myself disappointed with the selection of cages, even the expensive ones. They all seemed small, cramped and really pricey. I felt bad for a bunny that would be trapped in that limited space. 
So I found this tutorial on building your own bunny cage out of storage cubes and thought I would give it a go. I made mine a bit differently (sans dowel rods) but you can look at both and see what you prefer). In all, this cage is 14 square feet and only cost me $47. The biggest retail cages are only 10 square feet. I found this cage on etsy which uses the same storage cube squares. Sells for $229! See breakdown and links below.
2 sets of Storage Cubes: $30 (with two $5 off per $15 item coupons)Psst.......Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons NEVER expire even though they have an expiration date printed on them. Collect them and use all at once. You can even use more than one per purchase (but you must use the mailers and not email printed coupons). I get them in the mail and store them for later. So handy around Christmas. BB&B has the best 'As Seen on TV' products.

Step 1: Decide how many storage box sets you'll need. If you make a 2.3'x2.3'x3.5' (2 wide, 2 deep, 3 high) cage, like I did, you'll need exactly two sets. If you have a little more space and want to go 3.5'x2.3'x3.5' (3 wide, 2 deep, 3 high) then you'll need 3 boxes. If you only do 2.3'x2.3'x2.3' (2 wide, 2 deep, 2 high) then you'll still need 2 boxes.

Step 2: Before you connect your entire cage, plan where you want the cage to open. I made openings at each level. So for every square that would lift open I connected the top corners with zip ties instead of the plastic connectors. I then used the mini clamps to keep the door shut. I also used zip ties to connect the corners that used the plastic connectors to make the cage more sturdy.

Step 3: Snap together cage. The kits come with connectors. Follow the instructions and make the shape you want. You could also just use zip ties to connect. It may be better to just use zip ties because the plastic connectors leave a space that don't align when you must use the zip ties for the cage doors. Plus, they are a pain in the butt to snap in.

Step 4: Add levels. This was the hardest part. If you're making a 3 high cage add 2 levels, one 1/3 of the way up and another 2/3rds of the way up. The top level can be three squares and the middle one can be 2 squares. Then add another square between the two levels so the bunny can climb up. You'll have to connect those with zip ties. Then if you're bunny is too small to jump add a ramp between the squares. I used other squares for the ramps but you can use thin wood or whatever you think is sturdy enough.

Step 5: Add the rubber mat to the levels. To make the cage floor comfortable but not absorbent I added the rubber matting. It was easily cuttable with plain scissors. Also use zip ties to hold them to the ramp and even the cage sides. The rubber matting was also helpful over the ramps because it had treads which makes it easier for the bunny to climb. Then I lay a towel on top of the matting. If you want to keep the towel in place but removable for washing try attaching velcro to the bottom.

Step 6. Secure the openings with the clamps.

Done! And one happy bunny. Now, anyone have any good advice for litter box training?

17 {comments}:

TechNubie said... Best Blogger Tips

This is wonderful! We have a rabbit at home too. You should exchange the drink bottle for a ceramic crock to reduce gas in your bun. And if you can cut the rubber mat with scissors, your bun will destroy it with only teeth in short amount of time! Good luck with your new pet.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@TechNubieThanks TechNubie for all your good advice! I certainly need it, I've never had a bunny before.

I actually don't use the drink bottle. I just have it leak into a drinking bowl. The bunny doesn't know how to drink out of the bottle yet anyway. But maybe I won't try to get her to if gas is a problem.

And I HAVE seen her already chewing at the rubber. It was only $12 so if it gets destroyed I won't be that upset. I'll just have to pick something that isn't absorbent like wood, sturdy and not too soft to eat.

Thanks again for all the advice:)

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@Kathleen FrancesMaybe tile would work.

Gwen said... Best Blogger Tips

Your new bunny is very cute! We've had our bun for 4 years now, but I remember wondering about how to litter box train him too. Definitely get her spayed, if you haven't already. Especially in female house rabbits, spaying can prevent terrible diseases, plus it helps a lot in the litter box training (and prevents marking like spraying...). The easiest and possibly most long term effective way to litter box train your bun is to keep an eye out for where she tends to leave her poos. Bunnies naturally like to have one spot as the "bathroom" area because of their warren lifestyle in the wild. Once you figure it out, put her litter box there. If it's hard to tell at first, just put the box where there are poos and transfer the poos from the floor to the box. Once she gets good and used to the box being the "bathroom" and not just the area (about 2 weeks of consistent box use), you can move the box to wherever she can get to and she'll keep going there! A caveat to moving the box; if the box is in a place that she really doesn't like or is afraid of for some reason, she won't go there consistently. Also, many bunnies like to "graze" on pellets or hay while in their litter boxes. Sometimes putting a little crock of pellets or some hay inside the box or right next to it will help. For example, we use a little hollow stump we bought at Petco to hold our Tuzi's pellets and it always stays in his box.

This is long, I know, but you may also want to be careful about how much of the rubber mat your bun is eating. We recently discovered that our bun has a genetic digestive disorder and eating non-foods triggers it. Cardboard might be a good alternative, because it is ok for bunnies to ingest paper. If you're interested, I've posted a couple times about our bun on my blog:

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@GwenThanks for all your advice! I JUST put a litter box in the bunny cage. She loves it. But she loves it a little too much. She got in it and I see poo in there but she hasn't gotten out since. She's using it as a bed/toilet. When she does get up she's going to have litter and poo stuck to her fur. Ugg. What to do?

I have a friend who stopped by and said all she ever had to do to train her bunnies was to put a litter box in. That's it. Trained bunny. Hmmmm.

Maybe offering her a soft bed would help?

La Vie DIY said... Best Blogger Tips

Sooo my husband promised me a bunny after we saw wild babies at his parents' house. But then a friend said they really stink. Can you weigh in on the stink factor in a few weeks??

Gwen said... Best Blogger Tips

That's great that she likes her box! Bunnies tend to see their litter boxes as a safe place, so they like to spend time there. As she gets used to her new surroundings, she'll come out and spend less time there. Also, normal bunny poo is pretty dry- basically compacted hay. So it should not stick to her when she gets out. :)

@Auna Kay, bunnies who have not been spayed/neutered or who have chronic digestive problems can be smelly. However, healthy buns are really scent free (especially as compared to cats and dogs!). Even a neutered/spayed bun's litter box is not too smelly. I have allergies and am also highly sensitive to smells and we only change Tuzi's litter box about twice per week!

kp said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh I love bunnies! I had mine trained to go back to her cage to do her business and that way I only had the cage to clean no the cage and the litter box. When she was young I'd get her out for a little while, and then put her back in the cage until she did her business. One thing I found with my bunny is she would usually drop a few pellets before peeing, so I knew if I saw pellets I'd better get her back. Once her business was done I'd get her out again and repeat repeat repeat. But once she got it down it was amazing!

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@Auna KayYes, sure. I'll try to remember to post again here. If I forget though just email me, I've been cleaning the cage multiple times a day but that will probably wane as time goes on. Although I'm trying to litter box train her and I'm hoping that will help.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@Auna KaySo far, there is no smell at all. But then again, she's only been in there two days.

laura said... Best Blogger Tips

The chewing on the mat will be an issue. Ours chewed EVERYTHING. He used to hop around our apartment and eat wires and buttons and wood and whatever he could get ahold of, and then go to his corner and do his business. George was awesome! Except for the attempted mating with me. That wasn't!

But I agree with another commentor about tile. That may be a good way to go, instead of the rubber mat. And having chew toys is a good idea. Ours just liked cardboard tubes.

Good luck, bunnies are awesome pets!

Alicia Leigh said... Best Blogger Tips

Just thought I would throw this out there--maybe your bunny is doing fine with her litter training, but if she seems like she isn't quite getting it, you might consider cleaning the cage LESS often. In my experience, it was helpful for there to always be a few poos in the litter box at first, I think it helped remind them where they were supposed to go. I've litter trained three rabbits, and they always caught on within a day or two, provided I left the box just a little messy. Hope that helps! Enjoy her!

Bargain Hoot said... Best Blogger Tips

Kathleen, That is so creative!!! Love the zip tie idea. I was wondering how you were going to create the doors. ... xo
ps. little bunnies are so cute!!

Claudia said... Best Blogger Tips

So cute Kathleen, I used to have a ferret and purchased a 3ft cage for her it was about 100, we're planning on adopting two ferrets and i think we'll be doing this!!! So cute :)

Ryan & Cynthia Clan said... Best Blogger Tips

so fun. We got 4 chickens this year and my husband said next year we'll add a bunny to our growing pet farm (we also have a dog). So I can't wait to read more about your new life with a bunny. Hopefully it will help me gear up for getting one :) Oh, and are you keeping the bunny as an inside pet or outside?

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I had visited your website which was really good Animal Cage

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Nice information.. thanks

Pet Cage

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