Outside Housing

Rabbits that live permanently outside lead a much shorter life than indoor companion rabbits.  A rabbit that lives outside has an average lifespan of 2 years, whereas an indoor bunny's average lifespan is between 8-10 years.

Most rabbits that are kept outside are permanently caged.  The cages that most people choose are the traditional 'hutch" that are sold in pet stores which are far too small.

Bored & alone
Rabbits are very social, intelligent and affectionate.  They need stimulation and interaction with their human friends.  When a rabbit lives permanently outside in one of these small cages, they can easily be forgotten and ignored.  There have been cases of people forgetting to feed their bunnies or know when they have been unwell and finding one or both bunnies dead inside the cage.

Prone to predator attack
As well as not getting that stimulation or interaction when a bunny lives outside, they are also prone to predator attack when you are not around.  When you are sleeping or are out for the day, other animals can enter your yard.  There have been way too many stories about rabbits being killed by the neighbour's dog or cat or a fox.  If a rabbit's cage does not have a floor, a predator can easily tip over the cage and kill your bunny.  If the wire can be cut with a pair of scissors, a dog or fox can chew a hole and get in.

Extreme weather conditions & insect attack
Rabbits living outside would never choose to live above the ground overnight.  When a rabbit lives in a cage, they are exposed to extreme weather conditions and terrifying noises & intruders.  Rabbit cages that are sold are also not insect proofed so mosquitoes can easily pass on myxomatosis & calici virus to your bunny.  Flies are also a problem and can cause flystrike in hot weather.

Rabbits would never choose to live alone.  Rabbits are not solitary animals and a bunny living outside in a cage by themselves would be terrified.  In a group or pair situation, one bunny would look out for the other so each bunny can warn the other of danger.  They also keep each other company, groom each other and are not prone to boredom.

This cage is too small.  The cage is not insect proofed, allowing mosquitoes and flies into the cage.  The bunny is living alone and the wire is too weak so predators could easily chew through & kill the bunny.
Metal cages should be banned!!  These heat up horrendously in summer and are freezing cold in winter.  Not only has this horrible cage have a wire floor which causes rabbits to suffer damage to their feet, the enclosure is not insect proofed and it is too small.

Please don't send your bunny to prison!  Consider your rabbit a part of your family and not just a living burden to be kept alive - the rewards are immense and the suffering and sadness is avoided

So what about leaving a bunny to roam free outside?

A life of running & hiding is not an ideal life for a domestic rabbit.  Predators can easily kill a rabbit that is roaming free.  Myxo & calici cannot be controlled if your rabbit can easily be bitten at any time.  Digging under fences and being chased by the neighbour's dog or cat is short life for a bunny.

So you have to house your bunny outside.  What can you do?

* Buy or build the biggest and strongest house as possible and position in a sheltered spot

* Weatherproof the roof
* Install a solid, non slip floor
* Enclose most sides
* Use the strongest metal grids for the open sides
* Insect proof all open sides, roof and walls where any bugs can enter
* Preferably the size of the enclosure should be big enough for you to stand inside

* The access door should open inwards

* The access door should start at your knee height (bottom of wall should be solid - guards against buns accidentally getting out & predators seeing buns from ground level)

* Ensure there is no access from under the floor of the enclosure (stops foxes scaring bunnies from underneath)

* Use strong locking device on door that cannot be knocked open

* Provide safe house inside the enclosure so buns can run inside and cannot be accessed easily if a dog/fox or person breaks in

* Provide clean towels to snuggle in
* Provide large litter tray filled with oaten hay
* Provide large ceramic water bowl (sometimes two)
* A blind or cover over the open section at night will ensure that your buns will feel safe & predators will not be able to see in & scare your bunnies when you are not around

Whatever you provide for your bunnies living outside, ensure it is the safest and most secure from predators, insects & extreme weather. 

In extreme weather, please bring your bunnies indoors so they can be as safe & secure as you choose to be.