An indoor rabbitry has a few challenges. While it’s wonderful to be able to go in any time, spend time with the bunnies and free time is spend hoping around the bunny-proof rooms, it also has a unique set of challenges. The biggest…smells.
As anyone with a rabbit can tell you, their urine smell is pretty hard to miss. And we’ve gone through quite a few options. to come up with…finally…a set-up that is working well.
In addition to the two large German Angoras that live in their bunny condo’s. The two cottontails, Cooper & Emma have an x-pen and are litterbox trained. Since Cooper is 8-9 years old he doesn’t enjoy roaming around much anymore and prefers to just stay in his area.; it’s really only Daisy and Doc, the two Angora’s that take turns running around the house. So, this leaves one litterbox and two big cages (and I mean really big cages) that need to be cleaned…and that can mean a lot of smell.
It is known, or at least suspected, that high protein diets make the urine smell worse. Because the two angoras are fiber rabbits, they are on a high protein diet. Given the amazing amount of “wool” that they produce at each shearing, it sure seems to be working. They are fed Kings rabbit feed and supplemented with Dr Cheekes YQ.
What didn’t work
- Pine Shavings: Very economical. I filled the litterbox and the tray of each of the cages. However, I found myself having to dump and replace all three twice a day. I bought a really large bag from the local feed store. While economical and very convenient, the smell was still way too much for indoors.
- PDZ Refresher/Sweet PDZ: I really had high hopes. It comes in a granular formula and in large bags for horse stalls. I was ready to be impressed…and… that was the closest I got to being impressed. Honestly, it simply wasn’t much better.
- Well, okay, I can’t honestly say that it’s working. But, I think it’s working. I ordered this air cleaner from Amazon. I’m going to say that it’s working. Actually, I think it is. I run this little guy 24/7 and the filter has picked up quite a bit of “stuff” and it certainly can’t be hurting.
- Lime: I sprinkle lime powder in the bottom tray of the cages. The litterbox doesn’t get any since I don’t think it would be safe for my elderly rabbits to jump around in. But for the bottom tray of the cages, it’s working VERY well. It’s a great helper to the main litter. I pick it up from the local feed store.
- Cat litter: I’m still playing with which brands. So far the lightweight and dust free clumping versions of Fresh Step and Advanced have worked. The Fresh Step has been better at odor control so far. I’m down to cleaning once a day and I’ve even skipped a day and it hasn’t been terrible. I scoop, add a little more litter and sprinkle lime on the top. Since rabbits tend to go in the same areas. There’s really only a few places in their three foot cages that need scooping. I’m trying more brands, but want to stay with the lightweight and dust free. Let me know if anyone has had great success with their cats. (Noah, our large Ragdoll cat, has a wonderful self cleaning litterbox. If they could invent a way to do this for the rabbits, I would be in heaven!)
- Cage deep-cleaning: Once a week…well, okay, maybe a little less depending on my schedule, the cages get a deep cleaning. The flooring is pulled out and washed with bleach and water. The sides of the cage also get cleaned with a safer cleaning solution.
I have heard that wood stove pellets in the tray absorb odor but I have yet to try this. It might be worth a try, but I’m not too optimistic that it cat beat cat litter. Between all of this you can’t even tell there’s a rabbitry in the house. And, given that it is in the same room as my fiber studio, it is really important to me that it smells great in there. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to spend as much time as they can in a fiber studio with fresh smelling, cuddly bunnies!