If you recently got a rabbit, and among the several questions roaming about in your thoughts, there is the disturbing question of how exactly to house it. Inside or out? You have just come upon the article that would guide you through making a decision. In this article, I’ll be bringing to light the most suitable method for housing your rabbit.
Can Rabbits be Housed Inside or Outside a Home?
To get things clear, rabbits can be housed indoors either in a free range (house rabbit) or a cage. They can also be housed outside in an area that has been fortified against predators. Your choice on which housing method to go for would ultimately depend on what makes you comfortable.
Which is the Best Option?
In line with the above, there are some things to consider about indoor and outdoor housing. Keeping rabbits outside can give them the freedom to enjoy the cold temperatures which are great considering the fact that they have thick fur and they can also bond with the environment by digging tunneling or chewing. On the downside, it can be unsafe when the weather is freezing. There is also the scare of predators as they are considered easy prey for animals at the top of the food chain. On the other hand, bringing them inside will help you bond with them and keep them safe. There is however the issue of the fact that they are curious creatures who literally dig, burrow and chew whatever they come by and if your house is not rabbit proofed, you might come home to an ugly wreck.
So what then is the way forward? In answer to that, in this article, I’ll be doing an in-depth exploration of the housing options in light of their merits and demerits and I would be providing answers to possible questions. This should help you figure out what’s best for you and your rabbit.
Housing Your Rabbit Inside
To start you off, let’s take a look at the pros of inside housing.
Pros Of Inside Housing
If you stay around your rabbit long enough, the first thing you would observe is the fact that it is really a social animal and a great companion. Due to the fact that rabbits have such sweet personalities, the moment your rabbit is comfortable in an environment you can be sure that it would discover a way to keep itself entertained. For this reason, housing your rabbit inside is a good idea especially if you are willing to create ample time to buddy up with it. This would enable it to be better socialized and it would consequently be easier to manage. What’s more, housing your rabbit indoors and giving it the company it desires instead of letting it stay out and burrow until it gets bored would give its mental well-being and health a boost.
Next up, rabbits are known to be prey animals. Because of this nature, as a form of protecting and defending themselves, they hide sicknesses and pain. They do this so effortlessly that if you have not bonded with them, it is impossible to know when they are in need of medical attention. So the more you spend time with your rabbit and let it into your personal space, the more likely you are to see through its concealing skills, notice slight changes in its behavior and know when it is in need of a vet.
Lastly, housing your rabbit indoors helps keep it safe from predators. Now you may ask, how about getting a secure area outside, the type that predators can’t break through and placing the rabbit within it?. The problem with this is that, even if the area is a fortress, your rabbit would probably die from the fright of a predator towering over it and taunting it. So the best thing you can do is take it in. Additionally, if your rabbit is litter box trained, and your house is rabbit proofed, you can let it run free in the house knowing full well that you won’t come home to see your house in a mess or poop dropped all over your rug.
Having covered that, let’s take a look at the demerits.
Cons Of Inside Housing
We do know that rabbits are very curious creatures and they like to dig, burrow and chew. Now for a house with a bunch of expensive things and cables, letting a rabbit stay indoors sure seems like a bad idea. There is the possibility of you returning to a terrible mess. Such as eaten cables, furniture with holes in them and so on.
Secondly, having other pets within your house and housing a rabbit indoors can be equal to you preparing a disaster. This is because rabbits are easy prey to animals higher than them on the food chain and there sure are a lot of those animals. However, if your other animals are cats or smaller dogs, your rabbit might be safe with them. On the other hand, if you own an animal such as a dog with a high hunting drive or a herding breed, it would be rather difficult if not impossible to make the dog view your rabbit as a home buddy and not food.
Thirdly, rabbits lose excess weight by regulating their body temperature. So, if your house is consistently warm, it is unable to do this and in due time you are likely to have an overweight bunny as a pet.
Lastly, bringing your rabbit indoors comes with the need for you to train them to get accustomed to household noises, smells or sight so they don’t get frightened or stressed out.
With that said, how exactly do you comfortably keep rabbits inside?
Irrespective of the above-stated disadvantages, housing your rabbit inside is possible if you take the necessary steps to ensure your home is suitable for rabbit housing. So prepare for your rabbit like you are getting things ready for the arrival of a baby. One way to get this done is through rabbit proofing your home. You can find out how to get that done here. Also if your rabbit is not trained, you can purchase an X-pen or a large cage to keep them confined when you’re not home or when you are sleeping. Having said that, if rabbit proofing comes off as being too much to handle, you can assign a room for your rabbit where it can stay and live in absolute luxury. With this done, you can also visit regularly to keep it company. If you are unlikely to have enough time to hang out with your bunny, then you might need to get a second rabbit. This is because rabbits are social and if you leave them locked up with no company they would dive into depression really fast.
With that done, you should also find ways to meet their burrowing, digging and chewing cravings. So get items like commercial rabbit toys, blocks of wood or cardboard boxes that they can chew on. Also make available plush cat tunnels, natural sisal mats, old shirts, loose towels and contractor tubes that they can dig and burrow into. Before they go to bed at night, you can give them fruit snacks or vegetables. The key is to Keep them occupied physically and mentally. With this done, you would have no problem housing them indoors. Lastly, ensure that the room temperature is regulated. You don’t want a fat rabbit on your hands after a while do you?
With that said, let’s explore the possibility of housing your rabbit outside.
Housing Your Rabbit Outside
If you are living with a person that has rabbit related allergies or if you don’t have enough room to opt for indoor rabbit housing, then outside housing can be your go-to option. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this option.
Pros Of Outside Housing
For starters, due to the fact that rabbits are such social animals, keeping them outside would make it possible for more people to share in the fun of having a rabbit around. There is also the fact that it has the opportunity to bond with the natural environment by chewing, burrowing and digging away. It also enjoys an amazing outdoor temperature which helps it regulate its body temperature and stay in shape. Lastly, outdoor housing would mean ample room for your rabbit to hop around freely.
Cons Of Outside Housing
Keeping your rabbits outside might seem like a great idea except for the fact that your neighbor’s dog or other predators hungry for a quick meal might see your rabbit as a prospective game. There is also the fact that you will need to check on it regularly in all types of weather and give it some social interaction and clean bedding, food, and unfrozen water.
In line with the above, let’s look at how you can comfortably house your rabbit outside.
How Do You Comfortably House Your Rabbit Outside?
The key to comfortably housing your rabbit outside is to create a large area for them to live which should be fortified against predators. Strong hardware cloth wire should be buried around the enclosure. Also since rabbits are social and it’s not advisable to live your rabbit to itself, a second rabbit should be gotten. Having said that, when building the rabbits living area it should be measured at 8 square feet. The exercise run should then be measured at a minimum of 35 square feet and should be two feet high. They should be allowed to use the run at least five hours a day. Furthermore, you should build a safe weatherproof enclosure that is measured at 2 feet tall, 7 feet long and 2 feet wide. So your rabbits can have their fun irrespective of the weather. What’s more, when you’re not home or during the night, ensure to keep your rabbit within the predator-proof enclosed area. Hours that you are home, remember to give it some social interaction and clean bedding, food and unfrozen water. Lastly, if you are willing to go the extra mile, create a two-story condo inside their living space and connect the floors to a ramp. They will absolutely love you for this!
Is It Advisable To Use Wire Floor In Your Rabbits Cage?
Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits have no padding on their feet, so it is not advisable to use a wire floor in their enclosed area. Doing so would hurt their feet and in an attempt to escape the pain, your rabbit would be inspired to stay in its litterbox and this is unhealthy. Instead of using wire floors, you can opt for slatted plastic floors or solid floors. Alternatively, if you don’t wish to go through the stress of seeking out appropriate flooring for your rabbit’s cage, ex-pens are easy to come by and are absolutely rabbit friendly.
How Long In A Day Can Your Bunny Run Free
This is the point where you should know that although rabbits are social, they are not exactly hyperactive in that they have the tendency to get worn out easily. Rabbits are crepuscular. Before you ask what that means, it means rabbits play at dawn and at twilight. They prefer to take the rest of the day to sleep. So giving your rabbit five hours in a day to run free is just right. Those hours should preferably be scheduled in the morning when you are ready to go to work, and in the evening when you return home. Also if you choose to let them run, ensure they are not within the reach of predators such as your neighbor’s dog.
Are There Any Procedures To Follow Before Keeping Two Rabbits Together?
To keep two rabbits together, they must be de-sexed and must be introduced properly. Also, you should pair them up as a spayed female and neutered male. Furthermore, because rabbits are gregarious, companionship is essential for their well-being.
Why Are Rabbits Likely To Chew Holes In The Carpet And Furniture?
Rabbits do this when they are bored. If there is a particular spot your rabbit loves chewing on, cover it up using a spare piece of carpet or blanket and offer your rabbit cardboard, apple, newspaper or willow wood to chew on.
On a final note, having a rabbit comes with a lot of responsibilities because they are more delicate than other household pets. However, once you put your mind to it, caring for a rabbit and picking the right housing option becomes easy.