Even though not many are aware of it, it is not unusual for rabbits to use a litter-bin. In fact, they’re in many ways as obsessed to be clean as cats are. Rabbits are by nature hygienic and if they are to choose themselves they often select a corner of their cage for littering – of that reason they are easy to litter-train. Grown-up rabbits are in most cases easier to deal with than younger in this matter.
An important condition for a good result:
Sexually mature rabbits have different needs of marking their territory. Most rabbits do this by spreading poo around their area, regardless if this is their own cage or your living room floor. Some rabbits even mark their territory by urinating while making a short jump in order to spread their message over as large an area as possible. This is especially for male rabbits, even though it may occur among female rabbits as well.
The marking of a territory is a different thing for rabbits than using a litter-bit, or a designated area for such, and in many cases castration/sterilization is a necessary measure in order to make them sufficient house-clean. Castration is regarded as one of the prime means of making a rabbit understand how to use his/her litter-bin.
|Recommended external litterature|
A rabbit’s digestion requires a constant intake of food – in other words much time is spent eating. Hence this, it has been proven than a combination of a litterbin and a hay-basket is a success. This can be done in a variety of ways, and it does not have to be an engineered solution. A simple concentration of hay in immediate surroundings above the litter bid is ok, but has in mind that it should be separated so that the rabbit does not poo and urinate in the food supply! In this way one make sure that time is spent in the litter-bin, and one restrict the spreading of hay.
Inside the cage
It does seem that rabbits seek absorbent material when they are going to urinate. Because of this it is useful to have material suitable for this in the litter-bin, so that not the entire cage turns out to be a large toilet. Avoid using paper and woven towels inside the cage in this training period, as this may be mistaken for an absorbent material (of which it rightfully is, but a messy one). Many rabbits can however have such materials after they have been litter trained. That is, of course, if they don’t chew on it, and subsequently eats it.
If the rabbits constantly have accidents urinating in the cage outside the bin it is important to wipe this up as soon as possible. A useful tip is to leave some paper used in the cleaning of this in the litter-bin, so that the rabbit associates them with each other.
This is also the case for the “out-of-the-bin” poos as well – put them into the bin so that it makes sense. This concept might take some time, some rabbits get it overnight, but most need more time. Some of the very young rabbits are almost impossible to get to understand the actions outlined here, so, in such tricky cases, one might wait until they are around three or four months old, or even better, after castration/sterilization.
The litter-bins sold in pet stores are usually too small. The usual triangular one that’s sold everywhere, is generally much too small. A grown-up rabbit will not be comfortable in it, so many in the Forum have opted for a bin designed for cats. That said, any rectangular plastic crate-shaped device can be used - off hardware stores, IKEA or equivalent. One important aspect is the height of the sides, as high pressure liquids could spill over! So remember to have this in mind. Remember also that it should be comfortable to enter, i.e. not too high.
Outside the cage
Easy access to the cage is paramount when time is short to reach the toilet, so a ramp or equivalent is good if the cage does not stand on the floor. If the rabbit have much space to roam around outside the cage, it might be a good measure to make an extra litter-bin outside the cage. Rabbits are like humans, they like the easy way, so this might prove the favorite bin.
Have in mind that many rabbits tend to be relaxed litter-wise it they have much area to roam around, so a gradually area-expansion plan might prove best for all parties.
If the rabbit is not too easy to learn the concept of the litter-bin, extraordinary measures like physically lifting the rabbit into the bin when one see that he/she are about to do the business have proven a success for many. The nuisance of this makes in most cases logic for our little friend.
Even after rigorous training accidents will occur, so don’t take this too hard – even the most avid house-clean rabbit occasionally make mistakes.
Most rabbits are very conscious with the urine-matters; dry poo’s however, tend to be more easily spread around.
In many case this is the case if it’s a new place, i.e. one have to tell whose living here, and if one smells another rabbit somewhere; even more important to tell whose living here! Lastly, one can encounter a choosy rabbit that simply tell the owner that it’s time to change the litter-bin! Enough is enough human!