When spring arrives with its sunny warm weather, it's only natural to want to spend more time outdoors. This is true for you, and it is especially true for pets. Even though experts recommend that rabbits be kept primarily indoors where they are safe, here's how you can make an outdoor roaming range for your bunny to get some fresh air and exercise
The family pup may be just fine outside in the yard for hours, but your bunny needs someone to look after her. Lori Morton-Feazell, Director of Animal Care, Education and Compliance at Petco, says, "Pet rabbits should never be kept outside or left unattended because there are several dangers such as temperature, other animals, or even people." That doesn't mean you can't let your bunny roam, it just means that you need to ensure her safety.
Rabbits are gentle creatures that fall in the prey category. Dogs, cats, and wild animals can kill your bunny, making safety the primary consideration in an outdoor roaming range. An enclosed pen can keep rabbits from being easy prey, but they still need your attention to protect them from aggressive animals. Further, make sure your yard keeps predators at a distance since rabbits can literally have a heart attack from the stress of a predator being too close. In addition, Morton-Feazell says, "Ensure that the area is free of pesticides and other hazards that could hurt your rabbit."
Assess your backyard for an area that will protect your rabbit from the weather. Make sure the pen is located where the rabbit always has access to shade. This is especially important in hot weather since rabbits don't sweat and need cool water, ventilation, and shade in order to cool down. In the winter, make sure you place extra bedding so your rabbit can stay warm. Rabbits also burn more calories in cold weather, so place extra food in the pen, too.
Since the point of the roaming range is for your bunny to get some exercise, make it large enough that she can move freely.
If you plan to be with your bunny while she is outside, you can get by with a wire pen, but understand that this means constant supervision. Not only does a basic wire pen offer little protection, rabbits can easily dig underneath and escape. Build a pen that has a wire or solid bottom, and cover it with straw to make it comfortable.
If building a pen is out of the question, consider the Trixie Rabbit Hutch ($341) with an outdoor run, which offers shelter and roaming space, or the Homcom Deluxe Backyard Rabbit Hutch ($230) that has a spacious shelter and two roaming areas.
Your rabbit needs ready access to water, food, and toys. Consider a water bottle over a water bowl, which can easily get tipped over. Give your bunny fresh food every day and throw out old food. And don't forget the toys. "Rabbits love to play with toys, so offer them a variety of things to choose from," says Morton-Feazell. She recommends products like Peter's Hay Tumbler for Rabbits to keep her occupied.
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