There are many things to consider when deciding if raising rabbits is the right choice for you, and where to house them is one of the most important factors. Here are some tips on how to raise rabbits outside successfully.
Benefits of Raising Rabbits Outdoors
Some people believe that rabbits should only be kept indoors, but there are many benefits to raising them outdoors.
For one, rabbits are natural foragers, and they will enjoy the opportunity to explore their surroundings, and nibble on fresh grass.
Additionally, outdoor rabbits will typically fare better in terms of overall health, since they will be exposed to more fresh air and sunlight.
Finally, raising rabbits outdoors can save you money on housing costs, as you won’t need to build or purchase a rabbit cage if you have a fenced-in area for them to live in.
Ultimately, there are many advantages to raising rabbits outdoors, and it’s something that any rabbit owner should consider.
How Do You Raise an Outdoor Rabbit?
Raising outdoor rabbits, whether for meat, fiber, or any other purpose (including as pets!) isn’t challenging.
However, there are a few variables you need to make sure you have covered in order to keep your rabbits comfortable.
Make sure your rabbits can be kept at the right temperature, have access to proper exercise and resting areas, and have adequate companionship.
Also make sure they can be kept away from potential escape routes or dangerous vegetation – and consider raising rabbit breeds that thrive in an outdoor setting.
Temperature for Rabbits Outside
The ideal temperature for rabbits kept outdoors varies depending on the climate and the time of year.
In general, however, rabbits should be kept in an area with temperatures between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a wide range, but it’s important to stick to it.
If the temperature gets too hot or too cold, rabbits can suffer from health problems such as heat stroke or pneumonia. As a result, it is important to provide rabbits with shelter from extreme weather conditions.
Additionally, rabbits should have access to fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your rabbits stay healthy and happy in any environment.
Proper Exercise and Resting Areas
The key to raising a healthy outdoor rabbit is providing them with a clean, spacious enclosure that has plenty of ventilation.
The enclosure should be large enough for the rabbit to move around easily, and it should have a solid floor that can be covered with hay or straw.
The walls of the enclosure should be at least two feet high, and the roof should be securely attached to prevent predators from getting in.
The enclosure should also include a shelter where the rabbit can retreat from the weather and hide from predators.
A healthy rabbit also needs a place to rest and feel safe. A resting area for a rabbit can be as simple as a small, enclosed space with soft bedding.
The important thing is that the rabbit has somewhere to retreat to when it wants to rest or feels threatened.
A resting area should be located in a quiet part of the home, away from loud noises and potential predators.
It should also be large enough for the rabbit to stretch out and move around in, but small enough to provide a sense of security. It can also be used by females when they are ready to have their young.
Keeping Them Away from Vegetation and “Escape Routes”
Some common household plants can be dangerous for rabbits if ingested. Some of the most common toxic plants include lilies, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, azaleas, and rhododendrons.
These plants can cause gastrointestinal upset, kidney damage, or even death in rabbits. If you have a rabbit outdoors, it is important to keep these plants out of reach.
You should also avoid using any chemicals or pesticides on your plants, as these can be harmful if ingested by a rabbit. Instead, opt for natural methods of pest control, such as companion planting or using diatomaceous earth.
Any pet owner knows that keeping their animals safely contained can be a challenge. This is especially true for rabbit owners, as rabbits are notoriously skilled at escaping from even the most secure enclosures.
If you’re worried about your rabbit making a break for it, there are a few things you can do to help prevent an escape.
First, make sure the enclosure is properly secured at all times, with no gaps or holes that a rabbit could squeeze through.
It’s also important to provide plenty of enrichment activities inside the enclosure, such as toys, tunnels, and hiding places, to keep your rabbit occupied and reduce the urge to escape.
Finally, provide plenty of fresh food and water inside the enclosure to discourage your rabbit from seeking out other sources.
Rabbits are social creatures that enjoy companionship. In the wild, they live in groups and form close bonds with other rabbits.
As a result, rabbits often fare better when they have a companion. That’s true regardless of whether you raise rabbits indoors or outside.
When choosing a companion for your rabbit, it’s important to consider compatibility.
Two rabbits of the same size, age, and personality are more likely to get along than two rabbits that are different in one or more of these areas.
You should also take care to introduce the rabbits slowly and supervise their interactions until you’re sure they’re getting along.
In general, two is the ideal number of rabbits to raise together, but some rabbits do well with more companions while others prefer to live alone.
The best way to determine what’s best for your rabbit is to consult with a veterinarian or experienced rabbit breeder.
Which Breeds of Rabbits Do Best Outdoors?
While many rabbit owners keep their pets indoors, there are some breeds that do best when they have access to an outdoor space.
Breeds like the Flemish Giant, California Giant, and Checkered Giant are all well-suited to life outdoors.
They are large rabbits with thick fur coats that protect them from cold weather, and they are also good diggers, so they can make their own burrows for shelter.
Other breeds that do well outdoors include the New Zealand White, Satin, and Rex.
These rabbits have shorter fur coats that make them less resistant to cold weather, but they are very active and playful, so they enjoy having a large space to run around in.
Finally, the Dwarf Lop and Holland Lop are two small breeds that also do well outdoors. They are not as active as some of the other breeds, but they are very social creatures and enjoy being able to see and interact with other rabbits.
All of these breeds make great outdoor pest or livestock species, so it is important to choose one that will be compatible with your lifestyle and living situation.
What Do Rabbits Need to Live Outside?
Make sure you’ve checked all of these items off your list before you decide to move your rabbits outdoors. They need all of the following:
Feeding outdoor rabbits shouldn’t be much different than if you were raising rabbits indoors.
Rabbits have a digestive system that is delicate and can be easily upset. When feeding outdoor rabbits, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, hay should always be available, as it provides essential nutrients and helps to keep their digestive system moving.
If you keep your rabbits in portable hutches that sit directly on the ground, you can forego some of the hay, since they’ll be able to nibble on grass instead.
Second, fresh vegetables and fruits should be given in moderation, as too much can cause diarrhea.
And finally, avoid processed foods or anything with high sugar content, as these can lead to health problems down the road.
Shelter: Outdoor Rabbit Enclosure
The shelter can be as simple as a dog house or a box filled with straw. You can also buy or build a special rabbit hutch for this purpose.
In addition, the enclosure should have several hiding places where the rabbit can feel safe and secure.
When choosing a location for the enclosure, make sure it is situated in an area that receives plenty of sunlight and has good drainage. The temperature in the enclosure should be kept between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rabbits are very sensitive to heat, so it is important to provide them with access to shade and fresh water at all times.
Raising an outdoor rabbit can be rewarding, but it is important to do your research and provide them with everything they need to thrive.
Your outdoor rabbits will need bedding just as the indoor ones do.
There are a variety of different types of bedding available for rabbits, and it can be tricky to choose the right one. One option is hay, which is a natural material that rabbits enjoy chewing on.
However, hay can be dusty and may not absorb urine as well as other materials.
Another option is paper bedding, which is absorbent and good for rabbits who like to burrow. You can also find bedding made from recycled materials, such as newspaper or cardboard.
Whichever type of bedding you choose, make sure it is soft and comfortable for your rabbit to sleep in.
Of course, if you decide to raise your rabbits on “rabbit tractors,” or portable rabbit hutches that sit directly on the ground, you may not need to provide bedding at all.
This isn’t a viable option for the winter, as your rabbits will get too cold directly on the ground, but it’s a great way to fertilize your lawn and forego the need to put down bedding when you’re raising rabbits in the summer months.
Though they may seem helpless, there are actually many things that you can do to help protect outdoor rabbits from predators.
One of the most important things is to provide them with a safe place to hide. This can be accomplished by erecting a fence around their enclosure (even if the hutch is more or less contained).
In addition, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of predators such as tracks or droppings. If you see any evidence that a predator has been in the area, take steps to scare it away or remove the threat entirely.
If a predator does happen to be lurking around your rabbits, you might need to move them indoors temporarily.
Temperature and Ventilation
Make sure your hutch (or other rabbit housing) has good ventilation. Poor ventilation can cause the hutch to become too hot or humid, which can also be detrimental to the rabbit’s health.
To ensure that the hutch is well ventilated, it is important to choose a model with wire sides or to add ventilation holes to an existing hutch.
Finally, rabbits are sensitive to temperature changes, so the hutch should be placed in a shady spot and out of direct sunlight.
Hygiene Steps When Caring for Outdoor Rabbits
When raising rabbits outdoors, it is important to take special care to maintain good hygiene. This includes regularly cleaning the hutch, as well as the surrounding area.
The hutch should be cleaned out at least once a week, and more often if necessary. All bedding material should be removed and replaced with fresh material.
The hutch should also be scrubbed down with a mild soap and water solution on a regular basis.
Rabbits are pretty self-sufficient creatures and don’t require much in the way of veterinary care.
However, because they are exposed to the elements, outdoor rabbits are more susceptible to infections and parasites. As a result, they may need to be dewormed more often than indoor rabbits.
In addition, outdoor rabbits should be vaccinated against diseases such as myxomatosis and rabbit hemorrhagic disease, which are common in wild populations that your rabbits might accidentally come into contact with outside.
Finally, it is important to monitor outdoor rabbits for signs of illness or injury, as they may not be able to seek help on their own.
By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure that your outdoor rabbit enjoys a long and healthy life.
Can Rabbits Live Outside in the Summer?
While rabbits are naturally adept at surviving in warm weather, there are a few things to consider before making the move outdoors.
For one, rabbits are susceptible to heat stroke, so it’s important to make sure they have access to shade and fresh water.
In addition, outdoor rabbits are more vulnerable to predators and parasites, so it’s important to take steps to protect them.
Additionally, rabbits can cause extensive damage to your summertime gardens, so it’s important to keep them well-fenced.
With proper care and precautions, however, rabbits can enjoy a happy and healthy life outdoors during the summer months.
How to Care for Outdoor Rabbits in the Winter
When the temperature starts to drop, it’s important to take extra care of them. Here are a few tips to help the rabbits stay warm and healthy all winter long.
First, make sure their enclosure is well-insulated. This will help to keep out the cold drafts. You may also want to consider adding a heat lamp to their enclosure.
Just be sure to give them plenty of space to move away from the heat if they start to get too warm.
Secondly, provide them with plenty of hay.
This will not only give them something to nest in, but it will also help keep their digestive system moving. Third, make sure they have access to fresh water at all times.
Frozen water can be dangerous for rabbits, so you may need to check their water dish several times throughout the day.
By following these simple tips, you can help your outdoor rabbits enjoy a healthy and happy winter season.
Can Pet Rabbits Live Outside?
As pets, rabbits are the perfect choice. They’re relatively low-maintenance, gentle creatures that can make great house pets. But what about keeping them outdoors?
It’s obvious that you might keep meat rabbits (aka livestock) outside, but when it comes to pet rabbits, the answer isn’t as clear.
While rabbits are often thought of as indoor animals, there are some benefits to letting them live outside.
For one thing, rabbits naturally prefer to live in burrows or warrens, so being outdoors gives them the opportunity to behave more like they would in the wild.
Additionally, rabbits that live outdoors tend to be healthier and live longer than those that are kept indoors.
They get more exercise and fresh air, and they’re less likely to develop health problems like obesity or heart disease.
Of course, there are some challenges to keeping pet rabbits outdoors. They’re vulnerable to predators and weather extremes, so their enclosure must be well-secured.
And they may require more care than indoor rabbits, since they’ll need to be monitored for fleas, ticks, and other parasites.
Overall, though, with proper care and attention, pet rabbits can thrive when living outside. Follow the same tips as you did above when deciding how to raise rabbits outside – even if they are your pets!
Can I Raise Rabbits in My Backyard?
If you’re thinking of giving rabbit farming a try, or are just looking for some tips on how to raise rabbits outside, we hope the information in this post has been helpful.
Raising healthy and happy rabbits is definitely possible with a little bit of effort, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
Rebekah is a full-time homesteader. On her 22 acres, she raises chickens, sheep and bees, not to mention she grows a wide variety of veggies. She has a huge greenhouse and does lots of DIY projects with her husband in her ever-growing homesteading endeavor.