Following my three-part review of the Eglu go (see parts one, two and three here), as promised I have written a follow-up blog to see if it lived up to expectations and kept my rabbits warm and dry over winter. I purchased the Eglu Go with the large outdoor walk-in run.
How easy is the Eglu part to clean out?
As mentioned in my previous Eglu Go review, the design allows you to lock your rabbits in the run area whilst you clean out the inner part by turning the door of the Eglu, to stop them from escaping when you take the door off the back. I got my rabbits into the routine of feeding them their breakfast in the run area whilst I cleaned out the Eglu part, meaning I could lock the swivel door so my rabbits were safe, which has worked mostly well.
The issues with the swivel door is hay and straw getting stuck in the doorway, meaning it won’t always shut properly and so you have to go into the walk-in run, clear the hay and then shut the door from the outside as you cannot reach the inner door from the back entrance of the Eglu. Although you can put hay in the hayrack and the Eglu is meant to keep them nice and warm, I like to give much more hay than can fit in the hayrack because rabbits need a constant supply of hay to stay healthy, and lots of straw for bedding to allow them to snuggle down and feel comfortable. This also causes a problem when you try to pull the inner tray out to clean as the bedding can get caught as you remove the tray which can be a bit annoying.
The other issue is underneath the pull-out tray, in my case, is the lawn and as you pull the tray, it opens onto the grass. if any hay or straw falls on the grass when you remove the tray and you don’t clean it up (hard to do as it’s a very small space for a human to crawl in!) the bedding rots and goes black which is unpleasant. Furthermore, you have to be very careful closing the Eglu door as again, hay and straw can get caught in the door which means you don’t get a proper fit.
The floor of the Eglu Go has a raised platform for the bowl to fit in, but I find this annoying. It takes space away from the rabbits and means it’s hard to put a litter box in if you wanted to and gives them less space to lay down. Although three rabbits can fit in the Eglu, it really is too small on its own to give them shelter throughout winter, so we did have to make many adaptations with a lot of trial and error.
Rain, rain go away! Come on back another day
We originally positioned our Eglu next to the tallest fence in the garden and nearest our house to give the rabbits as much shelter as possible from the elements. I think there was only one occasion where the Eglu got really wet in the heavy rain, but 9 times out of 10, I would say the bedding stayed dry. The rest cannot be said for the rest of the run unfortunately which flooded on several occasions making me very worried about my rabbits.
The first thing we tried was tarpaulin (click here for USA link) around the sides, held on with pegs (USA link) to keep the sides secured and U pegs (USA link) to secure it to the ground. This was a panic fix by me as heavy rain was coming and it was all I had to hand to shelter them! It sort of worked, but it looked so ugly and the strong winds kept blowing the pegs off and made the tarpaulin blow around which was pretty noisy. I was constantly checking them throughout the night and even ran out in the rain at 2am to cover them up after the wind blew the pegs off.
Clearly, this wasn’t going to work, so I purchased these plastic covers from Omlet and some clear tarpaulin (USA link). We first tried the plastic covers horizontally, but there were gaps and it didn’t keep them as dry as I wanted. We then tried having the covers hanging vertically on each side and held them on with bungee cords (USA link). We cut the see-through tarpaulin for the door so we could still use it as a stable door and the rabbits would have light. Eventually, after (a lot!) of trial and error, it does keep the rain out. In the nice weather, I can roll the plastic covers up and the rabbits get fresh air, and then roll them down when needed. It means I stay dry too when cleaning them out in the elements and it does stay warmer in there too. I don’t think it looks very nice and I am looking forward to the nicer weather when I can have all the sides rolled up.
Do the rabbits stay warm?
The actual Eglu itself does seem to keep the heat in as advertised. I purchased the Extreme Temperature Blanket to go on the Eglu go over winter to make sure the rabbits stayed warm and snug. The cover is really easy to put on and off – it just clips around the base of the Eglu and you can still open and close the swivel door and open the back of the Eglu for cleaning etc without having to remove the cover each time. The cover coped well over winter – even with snow! The only problem is the Eglu itself has become discoloured – I’m not sure if this was due to the cover or the sunlight, however it is a shame as I have only had it for a year.
I still didn’t feel like the rabbits had enough indoor shelter with just the Eglu, so I purchased a dog kennel (USA link) to give them somewhere else to go if they wanted. It has been a big hit and I put different hay in there for them and they go in and out often and even sit on the top. I know I have said it in my previous Eglu Go review articles, but I really wish the Eglu part was bigger to give the rabbits a larger and warmer indoor space. It’s really frustrating that the Eglu itself isn’t bigger as it would solve so many issues.
Did the grass turn into a mud pit?
Short answer – yes, very quickly! This was really disappointing as I wanted the rabbits to have access to the grass at all times, but the weather making everything wet and the rabbits running over it turned it into a muddy wallow a pig would be proud of. It also meant the rabbits tracked mud into their Eglu and it really wasn’t working. Not only that, they dug in between the underfloor mesh leaving trip hazards for me! It was also problematic when they pooed on the grass as it took me ages to clean it properly as the poops got stuck under the wire and it was very time-consuming!
We quickly gave up the idea of having grass and got paving slabs to lay on the floor. Unfortunately, they don’t fit exactly and it leaves a cross in the middle, but it means the rabbits get a bit of grass growing through. It also means I can brush up any stray poops that don’t make it into the litter tray. The only downside is the slabs need a good scrub to keep them clean and hygienic – I use a short bristled brush like this (USA link) along with disinfectant to scrape off any stuck poops!
I think the grass turning to mud would be an issue for any walk-in run and although the unit can be moved around the garden, it’s not an easy job because you have to take it mostly apart, and move it between two people.
Is it fox proof?
So far, so good! We do get visiting foxes and I have seen scratch marks around the run from a predator and there is no damage to the Eglu or run at all. The wire skirt has kept the bunnies safe from anyone burrowing in and the underfloor mesh has stopped them digging out. The rabbits have the Eglu to hide away in and acts as a good bolt hole if they do get spooked.
The sliding bolts that come with the Eglu run use gravity to lock into place, but knowing we have foxes in the area, I wanted a more secure lock for peace of mind. I did ask Omlet if they made anything for extra security, but sadly they don’t for the walk-in run. To solve this issue I got a retractable cable padlock (USA link) that I can wrap around each door and the side to keep it firmly closed.
Omlet does make a lock for the Eglu called the Eglu Go Security Bracket which can be attached to the inside of the Eglu and a padlock fitted for extra security – we have used a combination padlock (USA link) so we don’t have to worry about searching for a key! This prevents the door from opening even if the turn handle isn’t locked completely, giving me peace of mind that the bunnies are safely locked away.
We have since moved our Eglu from the front of the garden to the back and it took two strong men to lift it, showing that it really is sturdy. By moving it, we got to really check out the security of the whole run and all the clips are still attached and secure. Even though the floor mesh has been covered with paving slabs over the harsh winter, I can happily say that the mesh hasn’t rusted or worn and looks just as good as it did when we first put it together.
Eglu Go review – the conclusion
In conclusion, there are lots of things that could be improved with the design. If Omlet made a bigger Eglu for rabbits, this would be great as it is too small and they definitely cannot be shut away for any length of time. It would also be good if you could buy sides that securely fix to the sides of the run for the bad weather as it would look nicer and be better for the job – something made out of insulating material would be ideal.
I personally don’t agree with the claim that rabbits can live in it all year round as it is – you need to add the roof panels as sides to keep them dry. Omlet does now make side panels, but they look similar to what I have done with the clear plastic so I imagine there will still be trial and error in getting it waterproof. The good points are it is easy to extend the setup if you want to and there are extras you can have, such as the porch door which seems like a good idea if your bunnies are quick!