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To keep the rabbits in the house?(52 Posts)
It’s been years since I had rabbits (outdoor), have agreed to let DD (6) have some pet rabbits and yes, I am aware it will be me and DH looking after them and yes, I have had rabbits before and know how to care for them.
I see on Mumsnet a lot of people have house rabbits and I love the idea but I am curious about how it can actually work?
For example, how do you stop chewing them everything in the house?
Can you really litter train them?
I would prefer to have them living in the house rather than outside but anxious about my house!
No idea, but make sure they have enough outdoor time so that they can dig. Rabbits need to be able to do that.
They litter train really well. The chewing however, is a bit of a nightmare.
I know two people that did this. One the rabbit ate the phone wires and it cost a lot of money to fix, so that was that, and another who litter trained them and had them successfully for years.
Ime you will fail at wire chewing prevention....
You can use soap or wax to deter them from chewing eg skirting boards, and you need cable protectors. Lots of hay, and an indoor hutch for when you can't supervise them.
Hi, we have an indoor rabbit. She’s in a cage when we’re out but allowed out when we’re home. She’s litter trained.
She did chew wires at first (we have no house phone because of her) but she seems to have grown out of this now.
She’s lovely. She jumps up on the settee next to you and snuggles in. I would recommend a house rabbit.
We had two. Still dearly missed. They had a run in our basement for a while but we brought them up and we cohabited happily for years. They were easily litter trained but as I sit here typing, I can still see little teeth marks on the kitchen table legs. And one Christmas went we through three sets of tree lights.
They are such lovely creatures. Ours would grind their teeth in contentment.
We had an indoor rabbit many years ago, a gorgeous French lop. I have to admit we didn't succeed either in litter training him or deterring him from chewing wires. In the end we still kept him indoors but he was only allowed the run of the place when we were home. A shame as we had wanted him to be properly free around the house like a cat or dog. I've never had another rabbit, partly because I don't like the idea of keeping it outside, at risk from foxes and the elements, but it didn't work well for us indoors - and partly because ours died quite young (4) from a kidney infection. He didn't respond to the vet's treatment and it was heartbreaking.
We have a house rabbit, he has free run of the living room all the time and most of the rest of the house when we are not in bed. The only reason we shut him in the living room at night is if we don't he comes upstairs and jumps on our bed at an ungodly hour wanting fed the minute the sun starts to come up! He has a litter tray with his hay rack in it but no cage. He is completely litter trained and to be honest we had little to do with it, he trained himself. He doesn't chew skirting boards or furniture but I think this might be unusual. He can chew through a cable in seconds though so we have to be very careful not to leave any lying around. He's great and is quite affectionate but it's very much on his terms - he will come over when he wants attention. He lives more like a cat than you would normally expect a rabbit to really.
Litter training is easy. My rabbit used to visit the house and always shared the litter tray with our kitten. They snuggle like cats too. But. The chewing will destroy your house. My outdoor rabbit has a 14ft run with a little underground burrow and a hutch. She comes out for cuddles but it's easier than her living inside the house.
I had house rabbits for years. Well, they started off as shed rabbits, but when they got old and frail I brought them in. My advice? Don't do it. I loved my rabbits so much, and the bond I developed with them being in with me was fantastic, but it's really not practical when you have a nice home and children. After my lovely old boy died at 12 (bear in mind you could still have these rabbits when your daughter leaves for uni - you need to be ready for long term commitment!) I had to have my carpet and underlay ripped up and removed. Their litter training was always a bit hit and miss, but as he got old my last boy just took to peeing on the carpet. I cleaned it up of course, but it permeated, and the stench was terrible. They chew anything they can reach (I must have gone through 3 or 4 laptop cables and as many phone chargers. The cupboard doors, skirting boards, all my bedroom furniture and the lower 2 shelves of bookcase books are permanently spoilt) they nibble houseplants and any dropped food they find (possibly toxic!) and even if you have some magically reliable littertray users and you don't have too many droppings to deal with, I promise you, PROMISE you, you will find hay in places you didn't know hay could get. Moulting time is also interesting, with clouds of fluff blowing around the room. There are 'bunny proofing' steps you can take, but this is kind of like 'baby proofing' x 10. Everything they can possibly reach (and heck can they jump!) will have to be permanently put away, house plants will need to be reconsidered, anything heavy that could fall on them will need rehoming. Can you trust your DD to keep all toys away? I had my puppy get hold of my wooden dolls house people when I was little, absolutely broke my heart! You can work out a space consuming fancy enclosure but rabbits are so active they hate being cooped up, especially at night, and will chew and scrabble in their attempts to get out.
My advice, and it's what I'll do if/when I have buns again, is to get the biggest shed you can afford/have room for. Have a carpenter knock up a matching aviary style enclosure to go infront. Be sure to bury wire mesh under the grass so they can't dig their way out. Hook up the shed with electricity so you can have a light and a heater out there (so much cosier mucking our on winter's evenings!) and furnish the shed to make it seem room-like and cozy - armchair, rug on the floor, curtains at the window, that sort of thing. You can treat it like a summer house in the summer and as a snug little den in winter, so you'll be spending far more time with them than if they were just in a hutch at the bottom of the garden, but your house and your belongings will remain intact.
They litter train really well. I kept mine in a big cage and let him out when we were around to watch him which was most of the time as I work from home. You can give them toys and the right kind of (small) branches/ sticks (apple tree is good)/ wood to to chew in their cages. I let mine out and he groomed himself and slept on the sofa more than anything. Maybe wire covers are a good idea. Mine didn't do any damage in the house but he was probably an exception.
Oh they are just the loveliest little friends. Mine was my best buddy until she left us at ten years old. Litter trained beautifully and ridiculously quickly, super tidy, not smelly (I find cats and dogs quite smelly!) and so so so much fun.
In general they do require more work than most people think in that they can have quite sensitive tummies and can go from totally fine to critically ill very quickly if there are digestion issues.
That's part of the reason I loved her being an indoor bun because I could see any changes very quickly - I work from home.
They are definitely meant to live with a bunny friend but that wasn't possible in our case due to her mum and siblings being ill and then being very people focused as she hadn't had a chance to mix with other buns at a young age.
She was honestly THE loveliest most fun and loving pet I've ever had, I wouldn't change a thing and I'll remember her fondly forever 🐰
It’s a risk as some can be incredibly destructive, even with toys to amuse them and lots of space. Mine loved wires and carpet. They can also be surprisingly noisy when they want to! However, they are wonderful companions and I loved them keeping me company in the evenings inside and getting all the extra cuddles. If you can handle the extra work to keep your possessions safe then it might be worth it for you.
Hmm, lots of different experiences here.
Not terribly reassuring re wires/furniture I must admit.
Though I am not surprised.
At the moment, I am thinking to buy an outdoor hutch but have the bunnies free range pretty much all day in the garden (it is secure and safe with no dangerous plants) and in the house (supervised) if they behave themselves.
So their hutch would be just for nighttime/if we are all leaving the house and they will be unattended.
How safe? Absolutely no way cats or foxes can get in? How will you stop the buns digging out? What about birds of prey? I had the fright of my life when my house rabbit was slobbed out in a patch of sunshine on my bedroom floor, and a bloody great buzzard landed on the (open!) windowsill. Thank God I was also slobbing out, right there on my bed, because I saw the way he was watching my rabbit and practically licking his lips! It was terrifying, but a wake up call! Even crows will kill a rabbit.
How safe? Absolutely no way cats or foxes can get in?
There isn’t any way fixed or cats can get in I don’t think, angled mesh at the top of 6 foot fences.
How will you stop the buns digging out?
Hmm, good point.
What about birds of prey? I had the fright of my life when my house rabbit was slobbed out in a patch of sunshine on my bedroom floor, and a bloody great buzzard landed on the (open!) windowsill. Thank God I was also slobbing out, right there on my bed, because I saw the way he was watching my rabbit and practically licking his lips! It was terrifying, but a wake up call!
I’ve only seen the occasional kestrel, they can’t lift up rabbits surely?
Even crows will kill a rabbit
Ours has been exclusively indoors since we got him four and half years ago, and free range 24/7 for most of that time (we gave him a year’s probation). Litter training not a problem, though every year he does get spring fever and leak a bit, mostly around his tray. Yes, he can get nibbley on the woodwork from time to time; wires not a problem as we’ve tucked them all away. He did completely wreck a pair of drapes. All is forgiven, as we love him to pieces.
I guess I have a lot of similar experiences and opinions to the other posters here (had 3 exclusively indoor buns).
I can’t help being a Debbie downer tho...
A rabbit of any kind is not really suitable for a six yr old child. They generally don’t like to be picked up or held, they are fragile (if someone tripped over the rabbit for instance...), they can incur steep vets bills, they are easily stressed.
Managed the right way they are an amazing pet indoors. But they command much more time and effort than say a cat would.
I've had various house rabbits over the last 20 years, and I agree that whether they want to chew through cables etc. is very much luck of the draw. I've had those who have shown no interest right through to a small madam who even chewed the TV remote buttons!
They've all been litter trained although my current old boy has lost his training and now pees on the carpet. I don't get annoyed as I know he doesn't mean it.
He has free reign over the house but doesn't go upstairs anymore as his back legs aren't what they were. He also doesn't like the laminated kitchen floor - probably much the same reason.
If you're prepared to have some damage and destruction, they can be wonderful and loving companions. Bear in mind that they should be in pairs (unless there's a good reason).
You cannot leave your bunnies outside unattended all day!! Even small birds can attack them and it is completely unsafe. They love to dig, explore, run and eat. If you want them out in the garden then you have to put a lot of work in. We have 2 wonderful house bunnies who we have built an outdoor hutch and run around that is safe and large enough for them. Inside we have bunnyproofed the rooms they can go into and they love it. One chews a few bits but nothing dramatic, the other is just happy to eat lots of toys hay and sticks.
Please consider and do some more research before looking into leaving your bunnies outside.
They are such wonderful animals and I cannot imagine life without them.
You have to bury wire cage material underground to stop bunnies digging out. And the enclosure should be massive- at least three full bunny hops in either direction (the RSPCA came to talk to the school I work at about animal care and I never realised until then how horribly cruel we'd unintentionally been to the rabbits we'd had as kids. Poor things had no digging space at all.
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