Housing Your Rabbit Outside: How to Keep Them Healthy and Happy

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

18 August 2014

Big floppy ears, twitchy little noses, and fuzzy tails- rabbits really are one the cutest critters around. Cuteness overload aside, rabbits are an ideal pet- they provide educational opportunities for kids, are low-maintenance, and an affectionate, entertaining and sweet companion.

When people think of rabbits, many think of them as a dear little inside pet, but it is actually best if rabbits are kept outside- in the confines of a safe hutch of course!

Rabbits have a very sensitive respiratory system, and what may not bother other indoor pets- dust, cleaning products, musty air etc, can adversely harm their systems.

Not to mention the poop! Rabbits are known to be quite the ahem, ‘poopers’. While their manure might be great for the garden, when restricted to a small indoor area, it can emit an ammonia producing odor- not good for humans or bunnies.

Keeping rabbits outdoors provides them with a little extra freedom and fresh air to hop about until their hearts content (while your house remains smelling sweet!).

However, with the elements and predators coming into play, if you’re wanting to keep your floppy eared friends in their favourite domain- the great outdoors, there are a few things you need to think about, to make sure they stay happy, hoppy and healthy.

children feeding rabbits through a wire mesh fence

1. Predators

Unfortunately, rabbits are hot property for many sets of unwanted jaws- dogs, cats, large birds, snakes and foxes all take quite a liking to bounding bunnies. While many of the animals simply wish to ‘play’ with your furry friend, the mere sight of them can be a stressful experience for a rabbit, and if not housed in a secure hutch, can spell disaster.

To keep rabbits out of harms way of pesky predators that could be lurking about, it is important that their hutch is made from a sturdy, heavy timber and fitted with a predator- proof galvanised wire mesh - chicken wire and cheap pine won’t cut it. Their home sweet home should also have sliding bolts, locks and padlocks to help ensure inquisitive bunnies stay in, and vicious visitors stay out.

Rabbits are quite delicate little creatures, and it doesn’t take too much to spook them- even a dogs bark can leave a timid rabbit a little shell shocked. This is why it is essential that heir hutch has a little protective area they can escape to, if they’re are feeling particularly vulnerable for any such reason.

Luckily, The Hoppy Hotel, The Wiggle Den and The Rabbit Den, are all made with rabbits safety and needs  in mind, so you can have peace of mind that your bunny is blissfully bouncing about inside and out of reach of an baddies!

Power up your rabbit predator prevention and surround your hutch area and play space with portable electric fencing.

2. Climate & The Elements

Rabbits are known to be quite sensitive to differing climates, in particular extreme heat, so it is important that they are given the care needed to keep the healthy rain, hail or shine, hot or cold.

The sun is one of the biggest dangers to your pet rabbit. Ensure that their rabbit hutch is located in an area that will get some shade, this way they can escape the harsh heat without retreating inside their hutch. The hutch should also be well ventilated, with open/shut windows, so they don’t overheat when they’re hanging out inside. Rabbits should always have an ample supply of cool, fresh water to keep them cool, calm and collected- especially on particularly hot days.

While the cold may not be as dangerous for rabbits, it’s important to take the necessary steps to minimise its effects. Ensure that the hutch is located in a draught-free area, and that it is well-ventilated- fresh air is vital no matter the weather. If things are starting to get a little chilly, add some extra straw to the hutch- this will keep bunnies warm, comfortable and cozy.

The Hoppy Hotel, The Wiggle Den and The Rabbit Den are all well ventilated and designed to keep your furry little friends cool in summer and warm in winter, and also gives them a safe and secure place to hide should it get a little wet out!

3. Space to Hop About

Rabbits can be very inquisitive and energetic creatures, so they require plenty of space to hop and bound about (if they don’t get a little exercise they will get bulging bunny bellies!). However it is important that this space is secure so their rabbit adventures aren’t interrupted by a daring dog or cheeky cat!

The Wiggle Den and The Rabbit Den both have an extended (and secure) run area, so rabbits are free to bounce about in the sunshine and fresh air, and you don’t have to worry about a pending attack from a pesky predator.

Raising bubbly and bouncy bunnies in an outdoor environment should be stress free, and with a safe and secure rabbit hutch it can be. The Hoppy Hotel, The Wiggle Den and The Rabbit Den, are all designed to provide for a rabbits needs and safety, and will give you peace of mind knowing that your bunnies are able to live safely in the great outdoors- the way nature intended.

So, what are you waiting for? Hop to it!

Sources and further reading

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