Can A Rabbit Be Healthy Outdoors?


Many rabbit owners automatically place their rabbit hutch in the garden, or outdoor space, thinking this is a good environment for them. Experts in rabbit care give many cautions on using rabbit hutches outdoors , for practical health reasons. This article explores the ideal temperatures for their health, whether to house them in the garage or garden and whether the local climate is dangerous for them or not. This should help give you some guidelines for whether or not your rabbit is really suited to outdoor hutch living.

rabbit03 by ijansempoi

Over heating and over cooling dangers

Paradoxically, although bunnies are often seen in garden hutches, they actually can’t handle temperatures which are too hot or too cold. Their body temperature is 38.6-39.4 C in good health (1) and they need to have a cosy hutch to prevent them getting too cold – in essence, they’re hardy, but not that hardy (1, 2, 3) . Place the hutch out of the wind or draughts, and attach thick canvas to lower over the hutch as a night-time cover, and line it with substantial layers of newspaper plus untreated soft wood shavings on top for warmth. Move the hutch to the shade in hot weather. Keep the temperature ambient – some owners put the hutch in the garage instead to try to avoid extremely hot or cold conditions.

Garage Living

In colder weather, or even all year round, some try the garage. This has some advantages – it’s out of the biting winds and probably warmer than outside. However, it can still be cold and there may be fumes from the car to content with. If your garage is used for DIY projects, you need to be careful not to make your bunny breathe in fumes from any solvents or other chemicals you’ve been using. Your bunny may also get lonely in there with just the car for company. It all needs to be cosy as if it was outdoors, away from fumes and as naturally sociable animals, you may find your rabbit or rabbits crave company. Gardens may provide your rabbit with more company but hutches there need to be especially prepared for safety.

missing staircase by steve-oh

Garden Living

A sloping roof will help slough off rain but check nonetheless for mildew or mould formation. Part of the world of the garden is definitely predators, such as the urban fox. You need a very sturdy hutch to keep them out. Make sure the mesh on the front of the hutch is especially strong and exceptionally well attached. Predators such as rats are a reason to keep the hutch off the ground as well as damp. Even if predators don’t get in, bunnies have died of fright during predator attacks (2). An outdoor hutch must keep predators, rain and damp out, but may go a step closer to providing stimulation.

There are pros and cons to keeping the rabbit hutch outdoors or in the garage. Some owners simply opt to put the hutch in their house or in a porch where the door can be open to the house for more social contact. Although rabbits need their run in the daytime, at night, they must NEVER be left in an outdoor or garage run – this simply invites predators. Whilst many advice pages still talk about outdoor hutches, the safest possible option it is to ditch the traditional outdoor life and bring them in to rule out wild predator attack, bearing in mind indoor safety requirements too.

the fox by bully27

Kim Wryall

References:

1. EASE. The EASE Guide to Caring for RABBITS [online]. Available at:

http://www.link2content.co.uk/uploads/bva/rabbit.pdf

2. House Rabbit Society. FAQ: Housing. [online]. Available at:

http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/housing.html

Photo credits -fantastic photos by:

Blue eyed rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ijansempoi Garage – did you notice the missing staircase for the red door? http://www.sxc.hu/profile/steve-oh Fox http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Bully27

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Categories: Outdoor Hutches | Author: admin | Comments: 13 Comments |



Indoor Hutches – The Modern Cool For Rabbits


Increasingly the trend in rabbit care is to keep the rabbit hutch indoors. This may reflect greater increases in urban predators attacking outdoor rabbit hutches such as the urban fox. It’s also probably due to greater access to information easily available on you home PC more recently. Owners may be choosing to house indoors also have a much greater array of products from pet stores to help them these days. This article aims to explore whether you can reasonably keep a rabbit indoors for your sake and theirs, the advantages of it and what you need to do if you want them to have the run of part of your home to protect it and them.

cadbury the rabbit by abigail

Is It Really Normal to Keep Them Indoors?

Rabbit hutches can be reasonably placed indoors without creating too much disturbance for your home environment. If you’re worried about a smelly hutch, good rabbit care involves cleaning the hutch daily in any case, which should prevent unpleasant odours. (It may be the case that the ‘rabbit hutch’ smell we remember from our childhoods was to do with damp hutches outside in any case?). In terms of normal, it certainly wouldn’t be out of step, as it’s defiantly a trend – with many people opting to allow their rabbits part of the house to roam freely in at some point during the day. So you can feel confident it’s not going to give you too many social problems, there should be no smell and it’s quite the modern way to do it these days.

What About Letting Them Run Free?

Some owners do this, the plus sides are fantastic interaction with your pet, to help the bonding process – for kids too, it can be more rewarding to feel that their bunny has a relationship with them. You may also find having them in the hutch and free running at times in the house helps you monitor for illness. A very humanist perspective is most people would like to do the right thing by their pets but they lead busy lives – perhaps simply having the rabbit around while you do the chores an easier way here. Free running has many advantages but you need some tips on rabbit-proofing the home before you attempt it.

bunny in the mirror by arancia

Chew, chomp, chew, nom….DANGER!!!

Move any electrical wires. Many bunnies have been fatally electrocuted by chewing electrical wires. You can buy tough vinyl tubing from a hardware store to house the wires in so they can’t get at them (1). In fact, anything they can chew could cause injury – as they chew, little parts can be created. This can ‘poke’ them both inside and out! You also want to keep curtains/drapes, hanging bedspreads, precious fabrics – not to mention the paper or plastic folders from your briefcase- well out of nibbling reach. Some household plants are poisons to them – keep all plants well away from them just in case (2). Once you’ve eliminated these hazards and protected your furnishings, think who else is around in the home.

Nom, nom, nom... ANYTHING I Can...

Nom, nom, nom... ANYTHING I Can...

Pets and Kids

Although cats, dogs and other pets may seem to get along just fine with Mr Bunny-Kins, never leave them unsupervised. Bunnies scurry about and this could excite a pet to ‘play’ or attack, causing injury or stress. No-one’s being naughty as such, this is what many breeds of dog, for example, were originally bred to do! Kids aren’t born with animal skills, they need you to teach them good handling – rabbits can suffer crippling injuries if inappropriately picked up or accidentally dropped. Again, no-one’s naughty here – kids ‘love’ their teddies – and you – by cuddling, they just need your tuition as to how to do it properly. NEVER lift a rabbit by the ears, this has caused major injuries. Having placed firm boundaries on the other pets and kids in the house, think about what your bunny might be coming into contact with.

Chemical Danger

Some household chemicals used to clean furnishings may be toxic to rabbits – if they choose to chew on the furnishings (2). You may find it useful to distract them by providing safe chewing toys for them – even a cardboard box full of hay will do (1).

Living more closely with your rabbit might help you spot life threatening diseases – did you know that if a bunny sneezes, it may have a condition that could lead to pneumonia? Younger rabbits under 1 year old usually need a closer eye kept on them for chewing, etc than older rabbits do but still, take no chances. There are, as explained, some distinct advantages that may fit in well with modern urban living – more foxes being around (or other predators, depending on your location), and having an easier way to interact with your bunny if you can’t spend long periods in your garden.

Morning mom!

Morning mom!

Kim Wryall

References:

1. House Rabbit Society. Living with a House Rabbit [online]. Available from:

http://www.rabbit.org/care/hrsbroGray.pdf

2. ASPCA [online] Animal Poison Control Centre [online]. Available at:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/

Photo Credits – fantastic photos by:

Rabbit on blue blanket  http://www.sxc.hu/profile/abigail Bunny with mirror http://www.sxc.hu/profile/arancia Chewing bunny- did you see what he’s done to that carrot? http://www.sxc.hu/profile/kirsche222 Black and white duvet-hogging bunny http://www.sxc.hu/profile/baron_bart

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Categories: Indoor Hutches | Author: admin | Comments: 14 Comments |



Buying A Bunny – Avoiding Some Traumas


No self-respecting site about rabbit hutches or indeed any aspect of rabbit care would be complete without a word about where to get your bunny from in the first place. New rabbit owners can avoid some distressing scenarios – poor bunnies becoming sick or worse dying soon after they reach their new home. Some responsible breeders operate with high integrity and care for their rabbits– others churn them out for profit alone, with no regard for what happens after the sale or the animals’ care needs. This article explains one way to make sure you pay to have a bunny with a health check, get good advice on how to care for you rabbit and where to find these opportunities. There are some tips here to make the process a smooth as possible.

the rabbit by devinkho

Where Can I Buy A Health Checked Rabbit?

OK, so that title is a little bit sly of us – but… One answer is rescue centres – although the process is correctly termed ‘adoption’ rather than characterised as a straightforward sale. A good rabbit rescue centre will give their rabbits a thorough vetinary check before allowing people to adopt them. Unscrupulous breeders may not provide you with a health history – or allow you to see the facilities the rabbits were bred and raised in. this is especially true with many pet stores – you simply have no idea where they beautiful baby bunnies in the glass cage came from. They may not have been socialised with humans when young, leading to handling problems as they mature. Rabbits are sociable and it’s often advised to adopt two to prevent them becoming miserably lonely – two poorly bunnies is doubly sad. The assurance of a rabbit whose health status if documented is high, next you need to consider whether you are able to provide a healthy environment for it.

bubs by rooling

Do I Qualify To Adopt A Rescue Centre Rabbit?

High quality rescue organisations will indeed be selective about who they allow to take their rabbits home. This is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself – you want to be sure that long-term, you have the lifestyle and capacity to properly care for your rabbit, to avoid distressing or embarrassing outcomes later down the road. Staff at centres should conduct a thorough interview with you but this is a two-way situation – for you to ask questions that can inform you as to whether this is really the right pet for you. And there’s no shame in deciding between you that perhaps this species is not right for you – rabbits are not low maintenance pets and whilst you may be a very caring person, perhaps you just don’t have the lifestyle to accommodate one right now. If you and the staff have come to a positive decision, you can move onto the formalities of the adoption process.

rabbits by oOlemon

Do I Get a Rabbit For Free?

Although policies vary by centre, the answer is generally no, as you have to pay a fee to cover the costs of administration for the adoption process. In many ways, this is still very good value, as it includes that all important health check. It may also include rabbit vaccinations – needed against many life-threatening diseases. The rabbit may also have been spayed – to prevent unwanted litters, which again represents good value as opposed to private vet’s fees. Despite perhaps seeming less imposing than a cat or dog to own, in fact, rabbits will cost you money in the long run with housing, runs, supplies and at least annual vet checks so the fee is justified. Once you’ve paid the fees, you’ll need a carrier to bring your pet home in and of course – a rabbit hutch.

rabbit by christa

Coming Home and Equipment

You will need AT LEAST the following minimum basics:

  • A rabbit carrier
  • A relationship with a vet who is knowledge about rabbit car
  • Spaying if this hasn’t been done
  • A large hutch – at least 4 times the size of the rabbit
  • A hay rack
  • Chew toys
  • Roll about toys
  • A rabbit run or rabbit proofed are of your home for daily exercise
  • Specialist rabbit food and hay

Once you’ve got these basics, you can move onto enrichment and creating the best life possible for your new pet. The staff at the centre can give you plenty of advice on how to care for your rabbit and shouldbe there for you on an ongoing relationship –although health care concerns need to go to your new vet. Rabbit adoption can be an excellent way to introduce a new rabbit to your home and save a rabbit who might in some places, end up being put to sleep otherwise for want of a good home.

Mike Holby

Clickable links to Worldwide  Rabbit Adoption Webpages – Including Whether Its Right For You And the Buns!

First of all, a general site for rabbit adoption with a huge page of country by country links at Rescue Me’s rabbit pages

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/sites

Now keep scrolling down for other rescues in your country:

North America – USA & Canada

Rabbit Adoption and Information network co-ordinates many rescue centres and provides advice in the USA

http://www.lagomorphs.com/mainpage.html

Petfinder co-ordinates many rescue centres which may have rabbits in the USA

http://www.petfinder.com/index.html

Zooh Corner Rabbit rescue works locally in California:

http://www.mybunny.org/us/us_1.htm

The House Rabbit Society facilitates adoption in many American states at this page:

http://www.rabbit.org/adoption/index.html

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the USA link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Ontario rabbit rehoming organisation online – Rabbit rescue

http://www.rabbitrescue.ca/

Nationwide Canadian adoption resource – Rescue Me

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/ca

Nationwide Canadian pet adoption resource – Adopt An Animal

http://www.adoptananimal.ca/

The Humane Society of Canada has a very small section:

http://humanesociety.com/component/mtree/Adopt%252Da%252DPet/Small-Critters.html

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Canada link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

UK

The UK’s Rabbit Rehome co-ordinates many centres and has advice at

http://www.rabbitrehome.org.uk/centres.asp

Pets Need you is an online resource for pet rehoming in the UK with a section for rabbits

http://www.petsneedyou.org.uk/rabbit_rescue_search.php

The UK’s nation-wide RSPCA conducts a full vet check for all their bunnies in need of homes and a full interview to help prospective bunny ‘moms’ and ‘dads’

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=rehoming

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the UK link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

France

France’s Refuges Animaux has details of nation-wide adoption centres rehoming rabbits

http://refuges.animaux.ws/

Spain

Spain’s Animal Adoption Network may be able to assist:

http://www.spanimal.org/

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Spain link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Germany

The German section of Rescue Me is at this page:

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/de

Netherlands, Belgium,

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Netherlands or Belgium link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Other Countries

There is a huge list of resources for many countries worldwide at Rescue Me’s website -

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/sites

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has a country by country list of rescues:

http://www.wspa.org.uk/members/findmember/Default.aspx

Rabbit Pal – links to worldwide rescues (Australasia, Europe, elsewhere):

http://www.rabbitpal.com/rabbitpal_com_welcomes_you

IMPORTANT: This article is provided for information only and links are provided in good faith – we cannot endorse nor be responsbile for the content or practice of external links and rabbit rescue organisations. If you have any concerns about rabbit health or welfare, please contact a knowleagble vet. For information on whether your lifestyle can successfully accomodate a new rabbit, please seek professional advice from an appropriate care organisation. Sorry for sounding like a little lecture guys -now that’s out the way, we hope you liked the lovely photos – here’s the genius photographers behind them:

Three bunnies on grass – top photo http://www.sxc.hu/profile/devinkho Bunny on hind legs http://www.sxc.hu/profile/rooling Black and white rabbits http://www.sxc.hu/profile/oOlemon Close up of beautiful rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/christa

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Categories: Getting A Rabbit | Author: admin | Comments: 38 Comments |

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