Litter Tray – The importance of finding the right tray
Your new bunny will need a place to do their business! When choosing a litter tray for your bunny, you should take into consideration the size, shape and anticipate that your bunny will like to dig in it so higher sides are desirable! We always recommend cat litter trays as opposed to classic rabbit corner trays, unless it’s a very large one, as they are too restrictive for a bunny to move about in. Adding a hayrack on top of the litter tray so that your bun can munch and poop is also suggested. Here you will find recommended items to suit every price range. Please be aware, often the most expensive are the most absorbent and are controlling if you are looking to have a house bunny!
STARTING THE PROCESS
By nature, bunnies choose one or a couple of places (usually corners) to deposit their urine and most of their poop. Litter training involves little more than putting a litterbox where the rabbit chooses to go. Litter training requires that you give your bunny a safe place they know will not be invaded by others.
- CHOOSE A LITTER TRAY
- CHOOSE YOUR LITTER SUBSTRATE
As mentioned above, we recommend a cat litter tray however a shallow storage box could also work well. Non-clumping pellet based litter is great as it is known to have the best odour control and is a /clean/option as shavings are more likely to be kicked out of the tray. It is important not to use clay-based or clumping litter as this is harmful to rabbits’ respiratory systems. Wood pellets work great too, and it is what we currently use in our rabbitry.
- PUT A THIN LAYER OF SUBSTRATE AT THE BOTTOM
- POOP N MUNCH
You only need a thin layer of substrate, just enough to absorb wetness. There’s no need to fill the litter box too high with substrate since rabbits don’t bury their droppings like cats. Plus, when you clean the litter box, you will need to dump the entire contents out each time which if you fill your tray with lots of substrates then you will unnecessarily go through a lot of litter if you deeply fill the box each time. Deep substrate also can encourage digging which you should try to discourage! Though it sounds odd, bunnies like to eat hay and poop at the same time. So to promote good litter box habits, we recommend you place hay either directly in the box over the litter or place in a hayrack or haybag hanging over or right next to your litter tray.
START SMALL! ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!
It’s easiest to develop good litter box habits by limiting your bunnies space at first. Use a puppy pen for example to confine your rabbit to one area, even if you intend to give him/her free reign of your home eventually. This allows your bunny to get acclimated to the area in the beginning. Once your bunny consistently uses the litter box, you can gradually expand the area. If your bun starts “forgetting” to use the litter box, then limit the space again until good habits resume. Nobunny’s perfect. Your bun will more than likely have a few accidents as they learn to use the litter tray. Always remember: bunnies do not respond well to physical discipline. They have been evolved to be easily frightened; never physically discipline your rabbit. You and/or your rabbit could end up seriously hurt and your rabbit will end up terrified of you rather than your loving companion. If your bunny has an accident, move the poops into your bunnies litter tray. The most effective cleaning solution for bunny pee accidents is white vinegar. It’s a good idea to get a spray bottle and fill it with white vinegar or vinegar and water solution.
COMMON PROBLEMS Q&A
Kicking litter out of the box
Some bunnies simply love to kick their litter out of the box. You can get a litterbox with higher sides or even a covered litterbox (with a hood) to help solve this problem. Also ensure your litter tray substrate isn’t too deep as this can encourage digging.
Urinating over the edge of the litterbox
Another problem is that bunnies will often back up so far in the litterbox that the urine goes over the edge. As mentioned before this is most likely with very shallow, or triangle corner trays. A solution would be to get a tray with much higher sides or even a covered top. Finally, another solution would be to get a “urine guard” to place around the back of the cage, to keep the litter from spraying outside of the cage.
What to do if your rabbit insists on using another spot?
Compromise. If your bun is continually urinating in a spot where there is no litterbox, put their box where they will use it, even if it means rearranging his cage or moving around your furniture. It is much easier to oblige him than to try to work against a bunny determined to poop in their spot!
How many litterboxes?
The more, the better! You can never have too many trays. Multiple trays are great especially if your bunny is a bit of a slow learner, or is especially obstinate about where they want the box(es) to go. As their habits improve, you can decrease the number of litterboxes and increase the floor space.