Getting Your Rabbit Outdoors!

If you currently have pet rabbits, or are considering getting a rabbit, or rabbits, you should give some serious thought to bunny housing. Also, how about making an open ended wooden box as a place of refuge if startled (which tends to happen quite a bit with guinea pigs) and to allow them to get off the grass on damper days. Be cautious when if giving your rabbits cat toys, since some of them will be dangerous if chewed on. Make sure the toy is appropriate before you let your rabbit pretend he’s a kitty cat! The downside of this is that they are usually fairly small, so your rabbit won’t get much exercise.build your own rabbit run

As rabbit owners are becoming aware of the real needs of their pet bunnies, they are moving towards much larger, purpose built accommodations for them. Rabbit proofing includes lifting cables out of reach, plastering into the wall, encasing them in protective trunking from a DIY or aquatic store, or even having electrical sockets raised up the wall and turned upside down so cables project up and not down.

It used to be thought that this was a gesture made by the submissive partner, but it has been found that it is in fact the dominant rabbit that exhibits this behaviour. If it’s not possible to turn the rabbit house around then put something just in front to block any direct wind. The Hi-Rise Outdoor Rabbit Run has a full height stable door making it easy to throw in some treats. One idea in a large garage is use several runs joined together to make a rabbit area free from wires.

Since this is too short for most bunnies to stand straight up, I make each wall 2 panels high, tying on panels one at a time, then to each other. The photo above shows a large back tooth spur protruding into the cheek of the rabbit, making a large ulcer (the red colour is not blood, but the shadow from the flash!). Make sure that padlocks or bolts are used for fastenings on both hutch and run to prevent access by foxes.

Do not be tempted to completely cover the front as it is very important that air is allowed to flow in, and you are better to try and site the hutch away from prevailing winds so the rain does not blow in anyway. It is a worthwhile investment to buy a 6 foot hutch from the start rather than going through the expense of buying another bigger hutch later on. There are tiered hutches on the market with 2 or 3 floors. As long as your rabbit house is of good quality you won’t have any unwanted visitors.

Rabbits teeth continually grow therefore it is important to give your rabbit something to nibble on to keep them trim. It is a DIY hutch that has 4 stalls meaning that around 8 rabbits can get fit in it. You can use 2 x 2 plywood panels to fix the bottom frame the way you suppose to make the top frame. The hutch should be scrubbed out once a week with warm water and a mild disinfectant.

The tunnels give the rabbits the chance to eat grass, and the whole thing is at the back of the garden so it doesn’t take up room in the middle of the lawn – there is still room for the children or dogs to run about and the fence and shrubs give the rabbits some shelter. It will not have had a chance to build up a winter coat and will not survive outdoors.

Some rabbits that are overweight or have been overweight in the past have folds of skin around the genital area, making it almost impossible for the rabbit to eat the caecotrophs (the soft bunch of grapes” droppings that all rabbits re-ingest) directly from the bottom, resulting in them being caught up” in the folds of skin. This is a serious emergency and your rabbit needs to see a rabbit specialist vet ASAP.

If your rabbit is a proficient digger, you will need to line the run with chicken wire to prevent an escape. Place boards at the front of your enclosure to add extra privacy & to help stop your rabbit getting easily spooked. Also, it’s important to note that it actually can be cheaper for a first-timer to buy prefabricated wire rabbit cages and merely assemble them. If you let your rabbit have free range exercise around the house, increase the free range area gradually, until they are trained.

More importantly perhaps, neutering prevents uterine cancer in females and produces a calmer rabbit in both sexes. Secondly, the rabbit could be suffering from E. cuniculi which commonly causes urinary tract problems (a month’s course of panacur would at least stop the condition getting worse and may even make improvements, but all the rabbits in the vicinity would need to be treated at the same time). If you do not know what your rabbit has been given in the past as far as vegetables are concerned, it is best to start with something safe like celery. This is completely normal scent marking behaviour and usually increases in frequency if the rabbit is put into new surroundings.

Your bunny may be much happier with a companion, and we encourage anyone considering a second rabbit to do so. There are some rabbits who prefer to be only bunnies and enjoy the company of their human companions. The tunnel fits to the hutch by a plastic ‘clover leaf’ and to the run the other side with a mesh joining panel – all his owner had to do was cut a 4 inch hole in the hutch door and the run which can be easily be blocked up again. The photos below show what was achieved within around 30 minutes of this rabbit being placed in a run. Whatever you choose, it is likely that you’ll want some areas that are rabbit free.

If there are particular areas where you don’t want your rabbit to go the simplest thing is just to keep the door shut, however, there is a danger in this that the rabbit could get shut in or behind the door as you are going through it. A good solution is to use a baby gate. You should be able to find the wiring at any of the rabbit cage suppliers online.

In a CottonTails study of premature pet rabbit death, 7% were killed by foxes (Guard, 2012). They enjoy the freedom of exploring at a leisurely pace or taking a top speed run whenever they choose to. We provide cardboard castles for them if they feel the need to get away for a while. That way you can offer a chewing toy after saying no” to chewing furniture, for example, so the rabbit can still fulfill his urges” and gets trained to only chew what is allowed. The photo below the film clip underneath shows an adapted double level hutch with an added run fitted on to the front.