I have kept rabbits since I was 10 years old and over the years have had many different types of accommodation – from indoor setups to traditional rabbit hutches and runs and even chicken coops – I feel like I have tried them all. Having said that, I have never found anything that suits me completely. Hutches break and rot (even when the wood is treated) so I decided to purchase an Omlet Eglu. Over the next couple of posts, I’m going to talk about my experiences with our new Eglu!
Price – How Expensive Is an Eglu?
Whilst there are lots of options for every budget in regards to rabbit setups, the initial outlay for an Omlet isn’t cheap. I wanted the biggest set up I could afford to give my rabbits maximum room and comfort so whilst you could go for a smaller run, it wouldn’t have met my needs. I didn’t want a run where I had to crouch down on the floor to clean, which is why I paid a bit more to get the 6ft tall option allowing me to walk in with ease. I went for the Outdoor Rabbit Run in the W1.8m, L1.8m, H2.05m (W6’, L6’, H6.8’) configuration with an Eglu Go. Although the initial outlay was pretty expensive, my justification is it should last many years.
Size – How Big is an Eglu?
With a floor space of around 80cm x 80cm, the Eglu isn’t quite big enough to shut your rabbits in overnight – Whilst the included assembly instructions specifically say not to do this, it’s not very clear on the website. I feel this needs to be made clearer to avoid people purchasing it and expecting to be able to shut their bunnies away overnight. It would be nice if Omlet could make an Eglu that was a bit bigger/longer for rabbit owners to do just this.
This means rabbits will need access to both the walk-in run and Eglu at all times to give them enough space to be happy. Remember that rabbits are crepuscular meaning they are most active at dawn at dusk so they won’t be asleep throughout the night like we do, which is why they need access to the run all the time.
What’s wrong with a hutch?
Hutches can be great however, they do need maintenance. Many hutches brought from pet shops are expensive and in my opinion, are made of flimsy wood. I once brought a hutch online that boasted about having strong wood, and whilst the front of it was strong wood, however, the floor and the back of the hutch were made of thin MDF! Unsurprisingly, the hutch didn’t last long. In fact, the roof ended up leaking one night and one of my rabbits caught pneumonia.
The other issue with a hutch is that the mesh on the front of the hutch has the potential to be pushed in by a determined fox unless its a thick gauge and either bolted or set in between the wood. Again, most standard hutches having flimsy wire which I don’t feel is tough enough and in many cases required my husband to fit an extra layer of chicken wire for extra safety.
Both wooden hutches and runs need routine maintenance. You will need to repaint the wood with a pet-safe wood treatment yearly. Also, the flooring and roofs will need replacing every few years. Bolts rust and become stiff meaning they need replacing. One of the most annoying things about wooden hutches is when the doors swell and they become hard to open or close. We used to keep a butter knife on top of our hutch in the winter to help jimmy the door closed! If the doors got really bad, we would have to shave a bit off the wood so they could close, but then in the Summer when the wood went back to normal, you would be left with a gap which can be draughty. In some cases when hutches have been moved, we’ve also found that doors don’t close as well as they once did.
Past rabbits of mine have chewed and nibbled on wooden hutches. Whilst some were just minor, cosmetic damage, we did have a rabbit who chewed a hole in the side of her hutch and could have escaped if she carried on!
We used to line our hutches with lino to protect the wood. Rabbit urine will soak into the wood and not only does it smell and can be hard to clean, but it also damages the hutch. Bunnies naturally like to dig and our rabbits have dug and scratched at the floor, again ruining it. Although adding lino prevents urine from seeping into the wood, rabbits can still scratch and pull at it, and if they eat it, it could harm them.
By purchasing the Eglu I should (hopefully) save money in the long run as we won’t be constantly fixing bits on hutches as run as they deteriorate in the bad weather.
Thinking ahead – Expanding The Eglu With A Run
The good thing about the Eglu set up is that it is solid. I have moved homes a couple of times with hutches and they seem to bow and come apart if you lift them up to move them. Whilst the Eglu set up isn’t light, it is easier to move than a hutch as it all comes apart. There is also the option to add to the run and buy more panels, which we are going to do when we have saved up a bit more money. I love this option as aviaries or dog kennels cannot be added to, but this can be easily modified. Because the run is made up of panels clipped together, if needed you can take it apart and even change how it’s configured (i.e. if you want the door to be in a different location, it can be done relatively quickly).
Omlet’s website is easy to navigate and view images and videos before you purchase, which I liked. There are also a lot of user photos and reviews to give you inspiration for your own set-up. As everything can be customised, you have to be careful that you have ordered the right thing. For example, we didn’t realise at first that if we brought the walk-in run, we needed to buy the Eglu separately. There is an option on the run to add an Eglu connector kit, but we thought this included the actual Eglu too. Luckily we noticed before placing the order however, this did increase the price significantly. We did email Omlete to ask a question and they were prompt and polite with their reply, so I am sure if you need to get help from them, it would be straightforward enough. The postage was about £20 and it came two days later via DPD which was brilliant, as they give you an hour’s time slot the morning of delivery.
It’s also not very clear what the difference is between the Eglu Classic and the Eglu Go. From what we can work out, it’s mainly aesthetic if you are using it for rabbits, but it does make a difference if you are keeping chickens as perches and egg racks can be added.
Extras on the website
Omlet does sell some extra items on their websites, such as food and toys. Unfortunately, they do stock muesli type food which isn’t good for rabbits – it’s high in sugar and rabbits will pick out the bits they like, leaving other bits meaning they don’t have a complete diet. New rabbit owners may not know this and could buy the muesli, unaware that’s it’s not great for rabbits.
At the time of writing this review, they do have Marriage’s Hypoallergenic Nutri Pressed Rabbit Pellets – quite honestly I have never heard of this brand. It would be better if they could stock Excel Rabbit Nuggets or Science Selective, both of which are well-known brands and recommended by vets.
They also sell quite a few natural toys, which is nice to see – as well as tunnels with anti gnaw rings (brilliant idea for nibbly bunnies!)
There is also a treat section. Again, some are natural treats and look good such as the Natural nettle roots, but unfortunately, there are also some sugary ones that I wouldn’t personally buy for my rabbits. The ingredients for the apple drops, for example, aren’t listed so you can’t see what’s gone into them. I’m also not sure I would give my rabbits a salt lick (and never have in my many years of keeping rabbits). If you feed your rabbits the correct diet of good quality hay, a small number of pellets and leafy greens, they shouldn’t have any use for a salt lick.
In general, the ordering process was fairly straightforward and easy to do. I could track the delivery on the DPD website meaning I knew exactly where it was and when it was likely to arrive.
Of course, ordering something is the easy part – Next comes the always-fun assembly! Check out Part Two of this review on Wednesday and see how I get on!