The Definitive Guide To Outdoor Rabbit Care
The safety and well-being of your pet rabbits are of optimal importance if you decide to keep them outdoors. Having ample protection from the elements and predators is your main concern. Do not think that if you are living in the suburbs there is no danger to your rabbits. You may argue that there are no predators in your area.
These, however, are not your typical predators. We’re not talking about coyotes and racoons. Your own dogs or that of a neighbor can be a possible source of danger. Potential threats do include birds, rats, and snakes. Even though there may not be any of these in your area, they have a keen sense of smell and can pick up on your rabbits from miles away. Considering the potential threats out there, keep your pet rabbits safe and provide proper housing.
Proper Housing to Protect Your Rabbit Outdoors
A sturdy wooden hutch is probably your best option as opposed to a wire cage, which is more suitable for indoor rabbits. A wire cage outside may not provide sufficient protection to your pet rabbit against predators. Predators will have a hard time entering a wood enforced hutch, even when you use welded wire mesh for the floor and sides. Building a rabbit hutch consisting of two sections is a better option. You can have the rabbit’s sleeping quarters well protected with a wooden floor and the outer section with two wires and one wooden side.
Just ensure that you construct it in such a way that it is easily accessible for cleaning and feeding. A catch tray is an excellent and easy option here as you can just pull it out at the bottom of your rabbit hutch. For bedding to make your rabbit comfortable, the use of straw or aspen bedding is recommended. Keep in mind when you use straw to change it regularly as it becomes moldy, which can make your pet rabbit sick.
Your hutch should not be directly on the ground either, raise it about 2 or 3 feet above the ground. If it is possible, secure the hutch to the side of a building, such as your outbuildings or even your house. A factor that is often overlooked in pet rabbit care is sufficient shading. You may think that predators are the only danger, but the sun is an even bigger threat to your rabbit’s survival.
Don’t Let Your Bunny Get Too Hot!
Protection from the sun is one of the first factors you must look at when erecting your hutch. A rabbit is sensitive to heat and direct sunlight is hazardous for prolonged periods. Make sure it is in a shaded area or gets very little direct sunlight when planning your rabbit’s outdoor home. Access to plenty of water and shade is very important. Many rabbits die from dehydration and overheating.
Cold weather is not dangerous to a rabbit’s health, but minimizing the harsh effects will keep a rabbit comfortable. Covering especially the front or two sides of your hutch is recommended. Use heavy plastic or thick materials, well out of reach of the rabbit or they will start chewing it. While you do this, remember you still want a well-ventilated hutch.
These are just a few of the major things to consider if your rabbit is outside. Keeping them safe is important, and a good living environment is important. After that just ensure they have enough hay, pellets, raw vegetables and fresh clean water.
Do you have any pet rabbits that live outside? What are some things you do to make it safer for them?
I have always loved rabbits. A rabbit was my very first pet. Since owning my first rabbit I have gone on to own many more. I look forward to being able to get my kids their very own pet rabbits.