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How often do you clean out your rabbit pans?

We spot clean and empty our pans 2-3 times a week. We use kiln-dried horse bedding pellets that contain zeolite in them to help with odor control. If you can’t find pellets with zeolite in them they typically do just fine as long as they have been kiln-dried. This is a common choice for many rabbitry’s. Some just use newspaper, and some use peat moss in their pans which is fantastic at odor control. However if dust is a concern dry peat moss can leave a layer of dust that can be undesirable in some situations.

Regular cleaning of rabbitry pans is crucial for maintaining a healthy, clean, and thriving environment for your rabbits. This practice goes beyond mere aesthetics; it directly impacts the well-being of the animals and overall efficiency of your rabbitry operations, especially if you have Angora Rabbits!

Linda Cassella two time Best In Show winner of the ARBA National Convention used to say she cleaned her cages more than she cleaned her rabbits, and that keeping your cages and pans clean was paramount to keeping your rabbits clean. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to ever find a dirty pan or cage in Linda’s rabbitry. Her rabbitry cleanliness was impeccable! All the time! Her Philosophy in keeping cages clean had a lot to do with her success on the show tables. Her winning motto was “There are no shortcuts!”

Linda Cassella pictured at the 2005 ARBA National Convention in Indianapolis with her winning rabbit H&B Reflections of Silvertone, Sr. Colored Doe

Linda Cassella pictured at the 2012 ARBA National Convention in Wichita with her winning rabbit Silvertone Glorious, Sr. Colored Doe.

Here are some important reasons why keeping your pans cleaned out regularly is absolutely crucial to maintaining a healthy herd!

1. Disease Prevention:

Dirty pans create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Regular cleaning helps to prevent the spread of diseases among rabbits, especially reducing the risk of respiratory infections that can be detrimental to the entire rabbitry.

2. Odor Control:

Accumulated waste in pans can lead to unpleasant odors that not only make the environment uncomfortable for both rabbits and caretakers but also attract pests like flies. Seasoned breeders everywhere can attest that clean pans significantly contribute to odor control, creating a more pleasant and sanitary space. Plus your rabbits wool won’t absorb all those nasty pan odors and will present better on the judging tables. No rabbit judge enjoys handling a smelly rabbit!

3. Respiratory Health:

Ammonia is an unfortunate and common byproduct of rabbit urine, and when pans are not cleaned regularly, it can build up and significantly affect the respiratory health of your rabbits. Proper ventilation combined with regularly cleaned pans helps to minimize the concentration of ammonia, promoting better air quality.

4. Behavioral Benefits:

Rabbits are known for their fastidious cleanliness, a dirty living space can cause stress and behavioral issues. Regular cleaning provides a more comfortable and secure environment, positively influencing the behavior of your rabbits and promoting their overall well-being.

5. Ease of Management:

Clean pans make it easier to monitor the health of your individual rabbits. It facilitates the early detection of potential issues such as changes in digestion, diarrhea, or abnormal urine, enabling prompt intervention and prevention of the escalation of health problems or disease.

6. Reproductive Success:

Maintaining a clean rabbitry contributes to better reproductive success. A clean environment reduces stress on breeding rabbits, positively impacting conception rates and the health of newborn kits. How would you feel about breeding and raising young in a place that consistently smells like a sewer? Professor of Animal Sciences and Lifetime ARBA Judge, Dr. Scott Williamson, has something good to say about this specific subject in the following Best In Show podcast with links posted at the bottom of this article. We think you’ll really enjoy that episode!

7. Efficient Waste Management:

Regular cleaning allows for efficient waste management. It helps caretakers keep track of the amount and consistency of waste produced by each rabbit, aiding in the development of effective waste disposal strategies. In addition, it keeps your neighbors happy, and they are less likely to report your rabbitry to the local animal control authorities for unpleasant smells. We’ve all seen the horror stories of those situations on social media. Don’t end up being one of those breeders!

8. Extended Equipment Lifespan:

Pans and other equipment in the rabbitry are subjected to wear and tear due to constant exposure to waste. Rabbit urine is very caustic to metal surfaces and can eat the protective galvanized zinc coating right off the metal allowing it to more easily rust. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance contribute to the longevity of equipment, saving on replacement costs and ensuring a well-equipped and functional rabbitry.

In conclusion, the importance of regularly cleaning waste out of rabbitry pans cannot be overstated. It is a fundamental aspect of responsible rabbitry management that directly influences the health, behavior, and overall success of the operation. Investing time and effort in maintaining a clean and sanitary environment is not only a reflection of good animal husbandry and what kind of breeder you are but also a key factor in the sustained success of a responsible and well run rabbitry.

How often do you clean out your rabbits pans?

What are your favorite tips and tricks to keeping your pans spotless?


Here’s the link to that great Best In Show Podcast with ARBA Judge, Dr. Scott Williamson we mentioned above.

We think you’ll find this entire podcast valuable but if you’re pressed for time and you’d like to hear the specific part we mentioned above skip to 56:00 minutes into the podcast to have his perspective on clean pans hit home!

Special thanks to Allen & Briony for continuing to create high quality rabbitry content for our listening pleasure!

Professor of Animal Sciences and Lifetime ARBA Judge, Dr. Scott Williamson, shares how rabbits remained with him from a child, to graduate student, to professor, and to his role as a father. He shares tips from his decades of expertise and lecturing in animal sciences to explain the complexities of rabbit reproduction for the everyday breeder.

Best In Show, Apple Podcast Link:

Best In Show, Spotify Podcast Link:

Best In Show, Google Play Podcast Link:


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