This is one of those topics you don’t bring up in polite conversation with rabbit owners…like discussing politics or religion. Many rabbit keepers have strong opinions in this area and they aren’t afraid to share them. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each setup, and more importantly how to give rabbits what they need no matter where they call home.
Pros of keeping rabbits indoors
The biggest pro to keeping rabbits inside with you is they are safe from predators (assuming your other pets are well-mannered). Keeping them inside also means they don’t have to live in harsh weather and for the most part, parasites are not a problem. Inside, you can easily monitor your rabbit’s health & play with them.
Rabbits are great house companions and can be happy in even the smallest home or apartment. They have sweet personalities and spending time with them can be a relaxing & entertaining part of your day. As prey animals, they are excellent at hiding pain or illness. The more time you can spend with your rabbit, the more likely you are to notice subtle changes in behavior that could alert you to a problem. When litter box trained and with a properly rabbit-proofed house, they can be allowed to roam the house like a dog or cat (although most people still keep a cage or secure area for when they are not there to supervise).
Cons of keeping rabbits indoors
Rabbits are very curious and their instincts tell them to dig, chew, burrow, and explore. These destructive habits could be unwelcome in your home when they chew the cord off yet another expensive electronic item, burrow through your couch, or chew up rugs, woodwork, or furniture.
Other pets in your household could pose a danger to your rabbits. They generally do well with cats and smaller dogs, but every animal is different. Some dogs (especially hunting or herding breeds) will never get used to having a prey animal in the house. If you are afraid to take the rabbit out of the cage to run around and socialize because you can’t trust your other animals, you are not doing it any favors by keeping it inside stuck in a cage. If you are concerned about rabbit damage or finding random piles of poop on your rug, you are going to be more inclined to leave the rabbit bored & inside a cage for days on end.
How to happily keep rabbits inside
Prepare your home for rabbits just like if you were bringing home a new baby. Secure cords out of the way and block access to areas (like behind the couch or under beds) where you might not want them to go. If it is too overwhelming to rabbit-proof your whole house, designate a “rabbit room” where the rabbit can have free reign and you can visit often.
Rabbits are very social, if you don’t think you can devote lots of time every day to hanging out with your rabbit consider getting a second rabbit. click here for tips on introducing a new rabbit Provide things your rabbit can chew on: blocks of wood, commercial rabbit toys, paper towel tubes, wicker baskets, cardboard boxes, etc.
Wild rabbits spend a lot of time digging & tunneling. An indoor rabbit will enjoy plush cat tunnels, contractor tubes, and a few cardboard boxes taped end to end. Provide them with some loose towels or old shirts for them to push around and burrow into. Give them some natural sisal mats to dig and tear apart. If your rabbit is kept busy mentally & physically in constructive ways, they will be less likely to take their boredom out on your furniture.
Pros to keeping rabbits outdoors
Keeping rabbits outdoors can allow more people to enjoy rabbits in their life. Some reasons people choose to keep rabbits outdoors include: living with someone with allergies, having a dog with a high prey drive, not having enough space inside for a proper rabbit room, or having a landlord with a no indoor pet policy.
Outdoor rabbits with a proper enclosure can live a more natural life – digging, tunneling, chewing to their heart’s content without damaging human property, and enjoying the freedom of living in the fresh air. Most people can provide a much larger area outside for a rabbit exclosure than can be provided indoors. Happy rabbits have plenty of room to run and access to dirt for digging.
Cons to keeping rabbits outdoors
Protecting your rabbits from predators & harsh elements are the biggest challenges to keeping rabbits outdoors. Serious thought needs to be given to keep them safe. Secure & dry housing is important to the rabbits, but you also have to be prepared to tend to your rabbits in all types of weather. Even in the snow, rain, & wind your bunnies need social interaction, food, fresh unfrozen water, and clean, dry, bedding. Keeping your rabbits outside means you must be committed to attending to them every single day, year-round in every type of weather.
How to happily keep rabbits outside
The first and most important step in keeping rabbits outdoors is to provide a large, predator-proof area for them to live. You should have wire buried around the perimeter to stop animals from digging or chewing their way in and the rabbits from digging out. Use strong, hardware cloth wire, not flimsy chicken wire which a raccoon or other animal could bend and break.
The rabbits should have an exercise run that is at least 35 square feet per rabbit and at least 2 feet high. Making it 6 feet high will allow you to come into the enclosure and visit with them. Ideally, the enclosure will be covered on top to prevent aerial predators. They should have a secure, weatherproof house that is at least 7 feet long x 2 feet wide x 2 feet tall (this is enough for 2 large bunnies to be secured at night). You should be able to lock them in the house at night when the predator danger is highest and when you will be away from home for an extended time.
Rabbits that are housed outdoors should NEVER be kept alone. They are social creatures and will be sad if they are stuck in an enclosure all by themselves most of the time. Giving them a bunny playmate is necessary. Two females can get along, as well as two males (they will get along better if they are both neutered). Males & females also can get along but please make sure they are both fixed!
Outdoor rabbits should be kept near your home, not off in the woods so you can easily check on them and tend to them. Their exercise run should be accessible to them year-round for several hours every day, so in harsh weather you may have to cover the sides or roof. Having the run weatherproof & human size will make it more enjoyable to tend to and socialize with your rabbits year-round. In the winter, you will have to find a way to keep their water from freezing, you can either change it a few times per day or buy a heated water bottle. Either way, it is necessary to always have liquid water available to them.
Rabbits are adorable and make wonderful pets. They can live very happily inside or outside with the proper care. You could keep your rabbit in your house, never let it out of its cage, and never visit with it aside from basic care. That does not make you a good rabbit caretaker just because the rabbit is inside. You can keep your rabbits in a secure, roomy outdoor enclosure with lots of time for exercise, and visit with them every day tending to their needs both socially & physically. That does not make you a bad rabbit caretaker because they live outside. Every situation is different, and both can be good or bad.
My rabbits for many years lived outside in a roomy enclosure attached to my house. When we moved we were able to give them a large area inside the barn where they can live and play. I have two 120 square-foot stalls for my rabbits (one for girls and one for boys) to run around. In addition, they have nearly 400 square feet in a secure outdoor area. We would never have that amount of space to dedicate to them inside. There are benches where my family and I can sit and visit them, and plenty of places for them to dig, hide, jump, and climb.
They are very used to humans & are friendly. When they hear the clink of the gate they come running to see us. I have litter box trained my outdoor rabbits (click here to learn more about litter training) so that I can also bring them inside to visit. It makes it easy to socialize with them more even if the weather isn’t the best.
In short, ensure your bunny gets plenty of exercise, give them quality food, lots of hay, clean water & bedding, and lots of love and you are being an excellent bunny companion 🙂
We’ve done both. I agree, it just depends on your own preferences and setup. We kept our angora inside just because IMO it was too hot for her to live outside in Florida. She did great inside. However, my preference is still for keeping rabbits outside. I just don’t have that much space inside the house.
I have a rabbit named Rozalina but she is all alone without a friend,we can’t get her a friend what should I do? Could you please reply
Does she live inside? You can certainly keep one rabbit as long as you are providing companionship by playing with & interacting with her every day. If she is inside, this will be easier to do. Let her out of her cage to explore with you and spend time playing with her or cuddling with her. Rabbits like living with other creatures – they don’t necessarily have to be other rabbits 🙂
Thank you for your wonderful site. I am going to be welcoming two german angoras into our family next week and am having new bunny mommy anxiety. I just can’t seem to settle on a good housing set-up. I would like to give them a large (100 sq ft) outdoor enclosure with a safe home inside it so that they can truly live freely and enjoy life, but I am afraid that their coat will become unmanageable living outdoors. I am torn between the fear of them living miserably in too small a space and the fear of them getting horrible mats. We live in a temperate climate with our fair share of rainy days. Do you have any advice?
Congrats on your new bunnies! My girls live outside year round. They have access to their outside enclosure almost every day. The days I don’t let them out is usually during and after rain – because like you I don’t want their fur to get nasty. But we don’t get a ton of rain. If you anticipate this being a problem, I would consider making the roof of the enclosure out of solid panels. If you really get a lot of rain and you want to avoid mid splashes you could also have rolled tarps or drop cloths tied at the top of the walls of the enclosures. Then you could unroll them when it rains to allow the buns outside without them getting all wet. Good luck!
I have 1 rabbit and am trying to decide on getting another. My husband wants them outside and will build an enclosure for me. My question is what about fly strike and predators. I live where there are hawks, coyotes etc. My dog will tell me if something is outside but what about heart attacks. I can’t decide whether to give up my one rabbit (I’ve had her 4 months and got her spayed) or get a neutered male and accept they’ll be outside. This article helps but I still feel such guilt about putting her outside. I got her at the pound.We have plenty of room for an outside hutch. Can you send me drawings/ pictures for my husband.
Hi Tori, just because your bunny lives mainly outside you don’t have to feel like you are abandoning her. Make your rabbit enclosure large enough for you to walk into and put some seating in there so it’s comfortable for you to go out and visit. Even though my rabbits live outside, I still bring them inside once a week or so for grooming and playing. It is true that having them live outside does put them at higher risk for things like fly strike and predator attacks. In the warmer months, I hang a couple fly catching bags around the enclosure, and obviously make sure to keep the area clean so there are not piles of feces to attract tons of flies. As far as predator go, you will want to be sure to lock your bunnies securely in their hutch at night. During the day you can let them into their outdoor run if you have enclosed it in wire. Be sure to bury the wire down a couple feet so they don’t dig out under the fence. You can see pictures of my enclosure here: https://www.thecapecoop.com/photo-tour-of-our-rabbit-yard/
Thank you so much!! That hutch looks more like an outdoor home- I would feel much better about it. I have a corner like that on our house too. I sent it to my husband’s email and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. He did say if I keep them outside I can get another bunny to keep company. I have to say I’ve already bonded and this is an emotional issue for me- so thank you so much for replying so fast.
I think ultimately when deciding on keeping rabbits indoors or outdoors, you need to evaluate the rabbits needs over anything else. Agreed that you can have a rabbit indoors or outdoors, living happily. However, the environment needs to be safe. Whether this means a heavy duty rabbit hutch for outdoor living or a bunny proofed home for indoor rabbits.
I have a rabbit living indoors, we are a family of 6 people (7, if including my brothers gf) and most of the times during the day and even at night there’s someone around in the house.
Our rabbit used to be very jumpy and cute, but recently he’s been away and hiding in the basement and generally seems as if he’s dressed. My mom says it’s fine and that he’s just spoiled haha.
But to me, this might be just laziness or perhaps he wants to be freed? He’s been with us ever since he was a cute little baby, and actually, he’s been hiding mostly during the day, that’s not new.
The new thing is that he now starts hiding in the basement and doesn’t interact with us.
Only sometimes he comes back up.
Btw – it’s also winter times now and quit cold compared to summer, when he just arrived to our house.
During summer it’s 30-35celcius degreeea, now it’s 10-15 degrees.
Could it be a reason?
It’s hard to say, but my first thought is you might want to bring him in for a check up. Rabbits can be really good at hiding illness and pain and sometimes hiding or a change in behavior can be a sign they are in distress. Have you tried going down in the basement to hang out with him? Maybe he is feeling a little overwhelmed upstairs and looking for a quiet place. Forcing him to come upstairs will only stress him out, so visiting him on his terms will hopefully let him enjoy your company. Rabbits tend to sleep a lot during the day and are more active in the evening, but if he is always secluding himself I would bring him to a vet just to rule out any health issues
Thank you for a great blog and your bunnies are so beautiful!
I have two gorgeous happy bunnies who live outdoors in an 18 ft run attached to a ten ft shed (which they have the full run of and access via a cat flap.)
I agree bunnies are best kept outside – for their sakes – as they have access to fresh air and live a much more natural life.
They also need access to hay 24/7 and that causes such a mess that I don’t feel that is really possible keeping them indoors. I find it quite sad to see these rabbits kept inside as it is often in much smaller areas. Mine also love to lie in a sunny spot in their run – they love to sunbathe!
Thanks Alison! Sounds like your bunnies have a great set up! They really need a lot of room to run about and dig so I agree keeping them outside is healthiest (and less messy for their human friends!) ?
Thank you so much for all the help and info. My rabbit family has grown now that I am understanding rabbits better. I bonded a male (also from animal care and control) with my same age female and she is happy and bouncy. My husband will build an outdoor ‘bunny mansion’ 10 x12, multiple layers with electricity run over that way in case it’s needed and will let me have them inside until it’s done. I’ve become more attached since he is supporting my decision and now I call them ‘my family”. I wouldn’t have been able to have them without the support of this blog and understanding them better and knowing each rabbit has their own needs and where there’s a will there’s a way.
Where pet rabbits are kept is both an emotional and pratical decision, which does come with regional issues. If you live in the hot, humid south like I do, you really need to think twice about where you’re keeping them. Rabbits of any breed don’t tolerate temps much above 75 degrees. They’re very well insulated with those fine, thick coats. It’s especially hard on Angoras, and unless you can provide fans and monitor them very frequently to change frozen tiles/water bottles, there is a good chance they’ll die when temps/humidity start to soar. For me it was a no-brainer to keep my EAs & Lionheads inside. I don’t like to be outside for very long when it gets hot. Much nicer to do rabbit chores in the AC. I also don’t have carpet in my house and do my chores every day. My 4 bunnies have a pen complete with litter box and entertainment. They get their playtime while I clean. If you live in an area where it rains a lot, it is imperative to make sure your rabbits are kept dry. Messy coat is the least of your problems if your rabbit gets wet. It can take hours & sometimes days for them to dry out, making them more susceptible to fly strike. The insulation of their coat is also comprimised causing them to be chilled.
All excellent points! If you wouldn’t be comfortable walking around in a couple heavy wool sweaters imagine how your bunnies feel!
I desperately want bunnies. I’ve been pushing for nearly 4 years with my husband lol. I’m wondering about outdoor enclosures. We live in Canada where the winters are cold and summers are crazy hot. I know he’s not fond of the idea of bunnies in the house with th dog, cat and 3 kids lol but I so badly want them!!!!! Is it acceptable to have their home insulated and be able to leave them out in the winter still?
My bunnies live outside all year. I am not quite as cold as Canada, but we definitely have times when it gets into the single digits for extended periods. If you can get them an insulated shed where they could run around even when there is tons of snow on the ground that is great. Long haired Angora rabbits like the ones I keep actually do really well in cold temperatures, it’s the heat that is more dangerous for them. Pop a little seat in there so you can go out and visit with them everyday and they will be fine!
Hi – we have a minilop – she was born Dec 2016. We have has her since Feb 2017. She is Buns – she is so cute – she has lived in NJ, and DE. She is currently in my basement. She has a large fencing around her – about maybe 4 ft x 8 ft – she has towels, cardboard box, cage (her potty), tunnel to run through. She is my 22 yr old’s pet but we have her for summer – it is cool in basement. I sit down there with her every night for 1 -2 hours – We have a hutch type thing my daughter bought online – thishttps://www.amazon.com/Advantek-Stilt-House-Rabbit-Hutch/dp/B0087BI9KW/ref=sr_1_3?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1530034572&sr=1-3&keywords=rabbit+hutch
would she be safe in this just during the day?
She should be safe in this during the day. You might want to either put it on a deck or concrete, or cover the bottom in wire, so that she can’t dig out underneath the bottom rail
How far down is your hardware cloth underground?
We have it buried 2 feet down
Are you aloud to keep bringing your rabbit in and out
Eg live/sleep outside in a hutch and then bring her inside to play and also have a play pen inside as well ?
Definitely! My bunnies live outside and sleep outside but come inside to play and for grooming all the time. Because they are litter trained, I put down a little dog piddle pad and they are pretty good about getting most of their waste on there when inside.
My son just rescued some rabbits and we are going to keep them. I’ve never had rabbits so I’m doing a lot of reading and trying to learn all I can to make sure I give them the best care. They will be outdoor rabbits. We just bought a large enclosure for them. My question is how do I teach them the difference between their litter box and bedding??? Because they are going to be outside I am figuring I will have to provide some hay for them to sleep on and keep warm in the winter. I read that you also put hay in their litter area. Any suggestions for set up would be a great help. The enclosure we bought has a nesting box so I figure that will be the area I try to get them to sleep. Is there a bedding other than hay that I should use? There is a tray area that I am going to set up as a litter box.
Hi Karen, congrats on your new buns! I use hay in my rabbit’s sleeping/bedding area and in their litter box I have paper pellets. Rabbits are really smart, and like cats, like to keep their waste in one area away from their sleeping area making them good candidates for litter box training. You might want to check out my post on litter training rabbits for more tips https://www.thecapecoop.com/litter-box-training-rabbits/
Hey! I’m getting a bunny in a few days I’ve purchased a hutch but I’m also wanting it to live inside as well so in winter it can come in side in a little playpen if it’s too cold and then it can also come inside during hot days in the summer? do you think this would be okay to alternate between indoor and out door living ?
That would be fine! My bunnies live outside about 90% of the time but when it’s super hot or super cold (or when a big winter storm is predicted) I bring them in – and they do just fine with it!
The post you shared really amazing. I just read your post. Thanks for sharing your informative post.
Hey:) I have wanted to get a bunny for a long time, and my mom has finally almost given in, but I watch this youtuber who knows a lot about bunnies, and she says to never keep them outside and to free roam them inside. My mom said no to a bunny running around inside the house because we have two dogs and a cat. I do think it’s harsh for them to never get any sun, but the youtuber has a lot of good reasons for them to stay inside. What should I do?
This is something every bunny owner has to decide for themselves. There are definitely lots of great reasons to keep a bunny inside, other than your dogs & cats, they will be safe from predators. But your dogs & cats are valid predators. Will your bunny be able to roam around inside your house with your other animals or will she be stuck in a cage 24/7 because she isn’t safe outside of the cage? It is also easier to spend time with your rabbit when they are inside. I honestly think rabbits can live happily both outside & inside when done properly. If you keep your rabbit outside you will want to get more than one though. She will be very lonely outside all by herself. If your mom is objecting to one bunny, two bunnies might be a harder sell. If you keep your rabbits outside you need to be committed to going out there every single day to spend time with them, feed & water them, & and clean their enclosure. Even when it’s raining or snowing. Depending on the climate where you live you might also need to bring them inside if the weather gets too hot or too cold. The heat is a bigger issue for them than the cold. So you are doing the right thing by researching both sides by diving in. I personally think keeping rabbits in a secure, roomy, outdoor enclosure is preferable to keeping them inside in a small cage. So unless your mom is going to allow the rabbit to at least “free range” inside your bedroom and you can keep the door closed at all time to keep your other animals out, you are better off keeping them outside. You might enjoy this article on how to set up an outdoor enclosure https://thecapecoop.com/setting-up-an-outdoor-rabbit-space/
I politely disagree outdoor housing should on,y be in a HUGE shed with no mesh so they can look outside so no hutches only wooden huts that they can’t see predators and the floor cannot be exposed due to rhdv
Totally valid points. I absolutely agree they should not have exposed wire floors, it’s bad for their feet and leaves them exposed for predators from below. And with the current expansion of rhdv in wild rabbits in the US that is also something to keep in mind. Since writing this article, we moved and our new house has a huge barn. So our rabbits are now housed in a large horse stall – so mostly wooden walls with just a couple windows to the outside. I haven’t noticed a difference in their behavior in regards to being less stressed about seeing predators than they were when living in their hutch. They seemed equally happy in both locations. But I am not inside their heads so it’s hard to say for sure. They definitely appreciate being able to be outside of their hutch even when it’s pouring rain though! I was going to add an outdoor run for them, but with rhdv I think for now they will be staying in the barn for the foreseeable future
Liz I laughed when I read about burrowing thru the couch, I have 2 indoor lion heads and they made an intricate tunnel in an unused futon…I was getting out my Halloween decor and they were coming in and stealing the packing paper and shoving it in their futon tunnel I just laughed it was so funny ….they were really serious about it…the funny party is now my cat uses it too lol
lol they really do love burrowing! One of my cats also enjoys burrowing and has scratched a hole in the underside of the box spring on my mattress and she likes to hang out in there
I had two bunnies for about 3.5 years and last summer I gave a bunny to one of my friends, they had a setup and a spacious hut for her outside. Now we only have one rabbit that lives outside, but I am trying to get my father to let me get a friend for her. I am also going to try and ask him to join the hutches together and make a bigger one. ( after researching I realized I should probably get a bigger hutch) Can they live together? Is this a bad idea? The temperature range of my climate usually doesn’t reach below 10 degrees Fahrenheit and usually not above 95 degrees. Critiques?
Hi Livy, yes I would recommend if possible you get her a friend. Rabbits are very social and like to have companionship. You can read more of my tips on colony raising rabbits here: https://thecapecoop.com/colony-raised-rabbits/. They might not take to each other right off the bat, but in the long run both bunnies will be happier with a friend. If you could figure out how to combine the hutches, that is an excellent idea! For two rabbits, it would be best if they had a secure hutch that is at least 6 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall with at least part of it being enclosed where they can hide away. Then for an exercise run area, you should aim for 70 square feet for two rabbits. So a space about 7 feet by 10 feet would be great. Here is a link to my general rabbit page, I have lots of articles on setting up rabbit areas 🙂 https://thecapecoop.com/backyard-rabbits/
Thank you so much! It’s winter so I’ll probably have to wait until theres a little more daylight, but it’s good to know you think it’s a good idea!
Also, what pairing would you recommend? She is not spayed and she is a dutch rabbit. Should I get the same breed?
Also, is there a flooring that could go in the run? Im not too sure my dad is excited on figuring out how to bury chicken wire. lol
I’ve thought about putting my girl up for adoption because she’s alone. her room mate passed away and I’m in no position to get another friend for her right now. Do you think it’s bad that she’s alone? Should I think more seriously about putting her up for adoption. I know I’d have to be extremely selective and not just give her to anyone.
Hi, I recently bought a baby rabbit for my kids yesterday. In my mind I thought we will keep her outside where she can hop freely and be safe. And we’ll occasionally bring her in to cuddle and play, but the kids will play with her mostly outside. I thought she would be alright because we don’t have any larger animals near by. But then the Pet Store Associate said the smell of it may attract predictors. Now I’m worried about Owls, hawks, snakes & cats that will attack it. I don’t know what to do with it. We had a nice temporary set up for her in the backyard but then my husband was like a Hawk might eat her while we sleep, and I was scared she might attract snakes. so I brought her inside and put her in a storage tub for the night. I don’t know what to do with the rabbit now. I don’t want her in the house permanently but I want her safe and not attract predators to our backyard
They are correct, the smell of prey could attract predators. There are unfortunately lots of animals that would love a rabbit meal, especially a small baby rabbit. Rabbits are also very social creatures so if you keep them outside they really should not be kept alone, they should have a companion animal with them. If you do not want the rabbit living indoors, you have a couple options – you could give the rabbit back to the store or you could make a predator safe area for her live (and preferably get her a second rabbit of the same sex for a friend). She will need a secure hutch where she can spend the evening hours when the predator risk is highest. Surrounding the hutch you can make her an exercise pen using hardware cloth wire. I have a few articles on how to set up rabbit areas that you might find helpful
and to check out all my rabbit care articles, click here: https://thecapecoop.com/backyard-rabbits/
Hello I need some advice for my rabbit. He has plenty of space and I make sure that he has everything he needs but I do not have time to interact with him. He doesn’t like going outside nor does he like other rabbits. When I have the time to interact with him I do and he is very social but I think he gets lonely.
Rabbits are very social and they really do not like to be kept all alone. I would get him neutered (if he isn’t already) and then get him a neutered friend. It usually takes about a week of them living side by side but in separate areas to get used to each other. After that introduction period you can let them be together and within a few days you should notice social grooming and a big difference in his happiness levels 🙂
We currently have one male male bunny who is fixed. He is inside and has a hutch and a play area. My daughter is joining 4h to show him so I can’t get him fixed but I do want to get him a friend. Who getting another male be a bad idea? Should I get a female but have them in separate cages and just take them out to play but make sure they don’t mate? What do you suggest?
Male rabbits that are not fixed can be tricky to bond. Their hormones are going to be telling them to fight all the time. You could try it with one fixed and one not fixed male, but unfortunately the intact male is likely to bully the other guy. You will likely have the best luck with getting a female. Unless you want to risk an unplanned litter, you should get the female fixed. Rabbit mating literally takes about 5 seconds, so you would have to be VERY vigilant to catch that!
Hello. We have been approached by a neighborhood teen and her mother who have bunnies but can no longer keep them in their rental house and do not have a yard. They have asked if they can keep them on part of our land ( they have 2 hutches each about 6′ x 2′ ). The proposed area is by a shed that has an eave overhang to provide some protection from wind and sun. The problem is that we live on a state park in MD and have a lot of foxes, snakes, raccoons, owls and hawks as well as coyotes and a rare lost bear. I cannot see how they can protect them from the predators. It also regularly soars to 90 degrees here in the summer. They tell us they will walk over daily to care for the rabbits. I am terrified that the bunnies will have heart attacks or suffer undue stress from the constant predator visits and the weather extremes. Also that the rabbits will attract even more predators closer to our home. We want to be nice neighbors but I am afraid that the bunnies lives will be cut short and that I will be contributing to it by allowing them to live on our land. I have been reading a lot about the predator stress and weather issues and I am not sure it is smart to move the bunnies outside as we head into winter even putting all of the other issues aside. My additional fear is that the family will lose interest and I will be left with the rabbits and have to rehome them. Any advice? Thank you.
Rabbits can live happily outside, but every situation is different. Where you back up to a state park, the threat of predators is obviously much higher than a standard suburban backyard. They can have heart attacks just from being scared. A 6×2 hutch is a fine inside space, but it’s not enough if it’s the only space they have to move around in. When keeping rabbits outside they should have access to a protected hutch (that can be locked up securely at night) AND an exercise run of about 30 square feet per rabbit. It’s really not a great life for them to be kept in a cage, alone, all day and night. Where you live near a state park, the exercise run should be made of hardware cloth on the sides, a hardware cloth or solid roof, and the wire would need to be buried at least 2 feet into the ground all around the perimeter to deter digging predators. A proper hutch would have at least part of the space completely enclosed with a solid floor, roof & walls. They need somewhere to hide and feel safe. If the entire cage is wire, a predator can pull at their feet from the bottom or sides. It is also not good for the rabbit’s foot pads to live on wire all the time. So I appreciate that they are trying to find a way to keep their pets and you are very nice for considering allowing them to be kept in your yard, but it sounds like they might need to give some more thought to the setup to make sure the bunnies have everything they need to be happy & safe
Thank you so much for responding. The hutches do not have much run area but they do have enclosed wooden spaces with floors at both ends for shelter. The girl (13 almost 14 yrs old) says she will come by daily to clean, feed, exercise and play with them. I just worry about the predator stress and temperature extremes. The hutch wire was more of a dog crate look and the holes and spaces looked big enough certainly for snakes or possibly paws of predators to enter so my husband suggested they use a mesh also. The hutches are raised about 5-10 inches from the ground. Is that sufficient and I assume the mesh should go underneath the wire cage on the bottom also? There are two males in one hutch and a female with 7 babies in the other. I really appreciate your experience and help. I love animals and would hate to see any little animal be scared or suffer. We have rescued cats and we feed all of our wild birds , squirrels and chipmunks.
I have a rabbit that lives outside in a hutch and I have a few questions about how to keep her warm. Currently she has two boxes with hay and straw inside. I am working on putting plexiglass on the sides of the hutch to block out the wind. I have also been looking into heating mats and lamps for her. Do you think she is warm enough without them, or would it be a good idea to buy a heating element? I live in Pennsylvania, so it is pretty cold outside and we are expecting snow. Also, I bring her inside sometimes where I have a small pen for her so that she can warm up. I keep her inside for a couple of hours, but I’m not sure if it is hurting her or helping her. Is it shocking her system when she goes back outside? Really I’m just asking for advice on how to keep her warm. The last thing I want is for her to get sick. She is a Dutch rabbit and her fur isn’t very thick.
(Yes this is the same Livy from a year ago:)
Hi! My name is Abby and I might be getting a bunny, and I was wondering if it would be bad if the bunny was living in my room? But I would get a harness and leash for it so I can take it outside, but do you think that it would be a good idea to do that? And also are bunnies aloud to go outside in the winter time?
Your bunny could certainly live in your bedroom as long as you can give her enough space to run around. Rabbits can be mischievous and will chew cords and furniture, so you will need to be sure the place she is living has been “bunny-proofed”. Many people keep rabbits in their house and let them have free run around the house, like a cat. You could do that in your room as long as you make it safe for her. Or you could section off part of your room as the “bunny area”. I’ve seen people use wire shelf dividers or playpen panels to do things like that. Then you could let her out to run around when you are home to supervise her. And rabbits are fine outside in the winter. If you rabbit lives full time outside, they will start putting on weight and growing a thicker coat in the fall naturally. If they live inside all the time, they won’t get that natural cue, so you should keep outside time to short exercise times in the winter so they don’t get too cold
Love this topic! I think the debate over whether rabbits should live indoors or outdoors is a complex one and depends on many factors. I believe that it is important to provide your bunny with a safe and comfortable environment that best fits their particular needs. After that you should consider their individual personality some bunnies may prefer the outdoor life while others might want all the cuddles they can get indoors!And, My bunny loves to cuddle so I stay her indoor but of course I also let her enjoy the outdoor experience.
I absolutely agree, people get hung up on those that keep outdoor rabbits poorly. But there are also tons of people that keep them indoors poorly (stuck in a small cage all the time with no interaction). The most important thing is that the rabbits are happy and well cared for! Enjoy those bunny cuddles 🙂