How to litter train a rabbit

In a space of one year, I have tried several types of litter for my rabbits. My main concerns when finding litter was absorbability, odour control, safety, ease of use and price! Very soon after I got my rabbits, I tried litter training them. Well, it’s not so much that you teach them something but rather that you take advantage of their habits. So what I will do here is give you a quick lesson on litter ‘training’, talk about rabbit litter trays and then I will give you my opinions and ratings for the litter types that I have used in the past in my quest for the ultimate litter. I will also include information on other types of litter that I have not used and a link to the sites I gained that information from, if you wish for further reading.

Spot that rabbit corner

If you were not aware that rabbits will use a litter tray, then you may have noticed that your rabbits used one corner of their home as a main toilet area. Litter training is simply finding the corner your pet likes to urinate on the most and sticking a tray there with some of their droppings and wet litter. It really is that simple. You will find that at the beginning, they may occasionally use other areas but will mainly urinate in the corner with the tray. They will still leave droppings in many areas but large clusters will hopefully be in the tray. Just pick up the stray droppings and throw them back in the tray.

Word of warning, if you have not neutered/spayed your pet, they may leave a large amount of droppings scattered around.  This is a mark of territory and is done by wild rabbits. A week after I had my boys neutered, they were using the tray 99% of the time for droppings. When I let them out to play, they will always run back to their litter trays to do their business. Even when I took them to visit my sister’s cats (yes, cats! Summer is the same size as my sister’s cats and they get on really well!) and I placed a litter tray they had used before in the hall way, they would still make their way back to the tray. Rabbits really are clean animals when given the chance to be.

Training free ranged rabbits

If you have free ranging house rabbits then I would suggest you confine them to one room till they are used to using a tray and slowly build on the number of rooms they have access to. You will probably have to buy several trays to put around the house at first which you can slowly reduce till you know which tray they will use. If they forget to use the tray (when I mean forget, I mean a large cluster of droppings or urine, not a stray dropping) then reduce the number of rooms they have access to. Before you know it, you will have no mess!

Cleaning the litter tray

It is easy to clean a tray, use a litter scoop (cat trays and cat scoops work fine in this regard) that has gaps big enough to let litter through but not so big that the droppings go through too. With some sifting action, you will be able to get rid of most droppings without wasting litter, but be sure to scoop wet litter out first! This works really well for my bigger rabbit Summer but Nibbles the Dutch bunny has very small droppings in comparison. Instead of sifting, I push all litter and droppings to one end of the tray (after removal of wet litter) and I tilt the tray slightly so droppings roll to the other side of the tray. I keep shoving the litter around so droppings will roll down. It’s impossible to get every dropping but it’s the best method I have at the moment since the litter and the droppings are the same size and no scoop will work. These methods works for my old litter (Back 2 Nature) and may not work so effectively with other types. With Megazorb, which I am using now, I just scoop out the areas with loads of droppings.

How to choose a good rabbit litter tray:

There is a variety of small animal litter trays available on the market nowadays. Some are corner trays, made to use less space in a cage or hutch. Varieties include litter trays with high backs to prevent rabbits from urinating over the top – rabbits often urinate with their tail held high and this can sometimes cause them to urinate out of the tray. A cheap alternative to high backed trays is a washing up bowl. These are generally big enough for a medium sized rabbit and if you have a giant breed, you can look at storage boxes. Others come with hoods so if your bunny likes to play with litter or flick it around; the hood will keep the mess contained. Cat litter trays can be used for rabbits; they come in a variety of sizes so just pick one that will fit your bunny comfortably. My rabbits like to sleep in their tray so I picked a cat litter tray, standard size. We did start with a corner tray but that got rejected. I did not pick a high backed tray as when my buns sleep in their trays, they like to place their heads on the edge of the tray. This is all personal preference, so work out what your rabbit will use. It is easier to find something your bun is comfortable with than to force them to use something they don’t want to. Read my other post about choosing Rabbit Litter Types.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *