Pet Rabbit Making A Bedding Mess? Let’s Stop That!


Rabbit Makes A Mess With Bedding

No matter how cute and sweet your pet bunny is, if she is continually pushing her bedding out of her rabbit cage, it’s really annoying. It’s happened with our rabbits before and we have some tips and tricks that just might help you avoid the mess.

So, what can you do if your rabbit is kicking her bedding out of the rabbit pen? There are only two real solutions to change this behavior: 1) Change the kind of bedding, or 2) Change The Kind of Bed.

Before we look at changing bedding or bed, let’s “dig into” why your sweet bunny is “digging” in her bedding. 😂

Why Is Your Bunny Kicking It’s Bedding Out of The Pen?

There’s no research on why rabbits kick the bedding out of their beds, but I do have a theory.

I don’t think they are kicking it out or pushing it out. Instead, I think they are digging it out.

Rabbits naturally live in underground burrows. These burrows are holes dug into the ground that twist and turn until the open up into a small chamber that is the rabbit’s bed.

I believe that when a rabbit is digging at its bedding, it’s trying to make it’s bed either comfier or change the size of its bedchamber.

Makes sense, right?

The Most Common Rabbit Bedding

Most people use some form of small-bit rabbit bedding for their pet rabbit. Here is what the most popular kind in Amazon looks like.

Image of most popular rabbit bedding
The Most Popular Rabbit Bedding On Amazon > } (opens in a new tab)”>{ See on Amazon >> }

As you can see, this brand is made out of shredded paper, but materials for other brands of small-bit bedding include wood shavings and pellets made of various ingredients.

In my family’s experience, I think that using any of these small-bit beddings make it more likely that your bunny will dig in the loose bits. It’s almost like your pet bunny is trying to dig loose dirt out of their burrow.

Does that sound about right too?

Rabbit Potty Messes in Beds

There is going to be lots of talk below about absorbency, so let’s just get it out in the open.

Rabbits poop and pee.

Most rabbits can be potty trained to use a ‘litter box’, but even those are going to make messes elsewhere.

Many rabbits even go #1 or #2 in their sleep, so in their bed. Because of this, absorbancy and easy changing or cleaning of the bedding are important.

5 Alternative Beddings to Use to Stop Your Bunny From Digging The Bedding Out Of the Rabbit Cage

#1 – Hay or Straw for Rabbit Bedding

It makes sense to me that straw is more natural bedding for rabbits, as it’s more like the isolative grass that wild rabbits would drag into their burrows for warmth and comfort.

We have done this for particularly diggy bunnies and have found that our pet rabbits are way less likely to dig in beds of straw or hay.

When I say straw, I’m talking about wheat straw which is very affordable from any farm supply store in your area. Your rabbits are going to eat a little of this straw, but it doesn’t have a whole lot of nutritional value.

The downside of straw is that it’s not nearly as absorbent as the small-bit beddings that are so popular. This shortcoming can be addressed putting a layer of absorbent material under the straw bedding.

These could be as fancy as puppy training pads { See on Amazon >> } or as simple as a layer of cardboard, newspaper, or washable and reusable rags.

#2 – Hay Bedding for Rabbits

Hay is more expensive than straw and has way more nutritional value than straw. It’s used not only for bedding but for food for pet rabbits. If you use it for bedding, your rabbits will also eat their bedding, which is just fine.

I recommend Timothy Hay and not Alfalfa Hay.

Alfalfa is much higher in both protein and calcium than Timothy Hay and can sometimes be a little ‘hot’ for a rabbit.

How hot (how high in protein it is) depends greatly on the growing season and if it’s the first cutting and later harvests. It’s just too hard to know what you are getting with Alfalfa, so I just feed it as a small occasional treat and don’t give my rabbits free access to it.

Hay has the same downside as straw, and the same solutions outlined above work with hay bedding.

We have used hay for our bunnies’ bedding, and it’s the standard bedding for our bunnies that live outside in rabbit hutches.

#3 – No Bedding for Rabbits!

Some people don’t really have a bed for their pet bunny. Instead, they just line the whole cage with something to absorbant that then can easily clean.

I’ve seen folks use all kinds of things for rabbit cage lining, including:

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Carpet
  • Rugs
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Sheets
  • Bath Mats

This is a fine solution, but your bunny is still going to need some kind of ‘burrow’ to hide in sometimes. This can be as simple as a cardboard box with a hole cut in it, or as fancy as the ‘burrow’ I describe below.

#4 – Flannel Sheets for Rabbit Bedding

Honestly, my family has never used flannel blankets for rabbit bedding, but we’ve had a number of friends who swear it’s the best solution.

The pluses for this bedding is that flannel sheets are very absorbent as well as being warm and cozy.

The downside is that you are going to have to clean those sheets regularly.

That means that you’ll need to take the soiled sheet outside and shake out the bunny pebbles, then throw the whole thing in your washing machine…and probably as the only thing you’re washing.

#5 – Fleece Blankets for Bunny Bedding

This is very similar to the flannel sheets, but even more soft and comfy…and probably harder to clean.

Change The Rabbit Bed – Building a Bunny Burrow

As I said at the start of this article, I believe that the reason that pet rabbits push their bedding out of their bed is that they are digging in their ‘burrow’.

So let’s just help them out while also helping ourselves not have to deal with the mess all the time.

You can build a Bunny Burrow by starting with an enclosed box of your choice. It can be a cardboard box or a wooden box, but the top needs to be removable.

If you go with a wooden box, think about how you could put some kind of liner in there that would make cleaning it out easier. Maybe start with a litter box, and then build a box that the litter box fits in snuggly.

Then when it’s time to clean the bed, you just have to lift out the litter box!

Now get about 12″ of big PVC Pipe from the hardware store to build a tunnel into the bed. The size of the PVC will depend on the size of your pet rabbit.

Cut a hole in the box the size of the PVC Pipe and slide the pipe into the hole.

Now your bunny has a tunnel that leads into a nice dark burrow where she can feel perfectly safe, warm, and cozy. And you have fully contained bedding that will be super easy to clean out as needed.

As an added bonus, you’ll find that your bunny uses the top of the box as a place to hang-out and survey her domain.

Everybody wins!

Conclusions About A Rabbit That Pushes Its Bedding Out

First, keep in mind that this is a natural ‘habit’ and not some rebel behavior from your sweet rabbit.

Remember that all rabbits are different with different personalities and preferences.

Just because one pet bunny likes one kind of bedding, doesn’t mean that bedding is going to work for all bunnies.

Finally, remember to take care of yourself as well as your bunny. Constantly being required to clean up big messes might add more stress to your life than your sweet bunny can help you overcome.

With that in mind, it’s worth investing a little time and money into solving this problem once and for all with either a different bedding or different bed for your rabbit and your home.

~Stacey

Stacey

My name is Stacey Davis, and I and my family had rabbits for decades. Here on RabbitPros.com we share our love of rabbits, our experience, and lots of research to help you enjoy your pet bunny even more and as stress-free as possible.

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