Any rabbit owners out there who can offer advice please?(5 Posts)
We're building our own outdoor rabbit hutch/shed and run but I've got a few questions if anyone can help please.
1) we have a very large area in our garden of soil which will become his run area and we're going to lay real turf down. Obviously I don't want him or any predators to burrow in/out and so I want to continue the mesh frame of his run onto the floor as well. Would it be okay to lay the mesh over the grass or would that not be very nice for our rabbit? I want him to be able to graze on grass (he'll also have a hay area/basket) but I don't want the mesh to be uncomfortable for his feet?
I have seen some runs online which have mesh flooring but I'm not 100% sure on whether it's comfortable or not so can anyone advise?
2) the rabbit we are getting is nearly 2 yo. We're taking him on from my brother. He isn't neutered but is litter trained and tame and he doesn't spray urine. I want to get him neutered but will this be more stressful for him due to his age?
3) lastly I want to adopt a female bun for company (who will be spaded if not already done so). What's the best way to bond them? I don't want him to be lonely. Although he is tame and comfortable around us he wouldn't necessarily hop on our laps for a stroke.
Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
1. If the turf isn't down yet, dig down about 2 inches and lay some good quality mesh, fix the edges to the base of your run and fill back in then turf. That allows for a bit of digging but no escaping! Be aware that you'll need to returf regularly if they have constant access to it, they're very very good at grazing.
2. At 2 years old he's really still just a baby and there should be no issues at all with neutering. I've known bucks who were 7-8 years old be neutered successfully.
3. Best option is to find a good rabbit rescue near you with already spayed females and experience with bonding. If you don't have one of these, you'll need to quarantine your new girl for at least 2 weeks (plus time of at least 4 weeks to let her heal from spay surgery if she's not already spayed) and do loads of reading on bonding. There are many different methods, which method works best entirely depends on the individual rabbits.
We used something like this about a foot under the turf. I suspect it's nicer on their paws than mesh but they can't get through it. We also dug the chicken wire about a foot into the ground and under the above just in case - they're determined buggers!
Plan to spend a loooooooong time over the bonding process. I had to split mum and one kit from the other two kits last year due to illness, and couldn't put them back together for six months (wanted to wait for the weather to improve as the poorly two had been in the house). They started off in the kitchen for an afternoon, then in a dog cage (but with the two pairs separated by a mesh divider) for two weeks and then a final week together in the cage. They then went into their shed. However, there was still chasing and low-level aggression for a few months and they didn't totally relax for about six months. It was incredibly stressful (for me, let alone them!).
1. You can either lay the mesh under, but I would have quite wide square holes to allow the grass through and to be more comfortable. Or you can bury the mesh down about a foot or so.
2. I would get him neutered as he will pester even a spayed female. His age will be fine.
3. He will definitely need a friend, and a similar age female will be the easiest to bond. She will need to be spayed.
There is lots of good detailed advice online about how to bond.
It may takes months, or it may only take 1 day. Apparently introducing a female to an existing male is the easiest combination.
Expect some mounting and fur pulling behaviour.
We had mesh on top of our run (with grass poking through) in our temporary run last summer but they didn't like it. In their new, permanent run we laid heavy duty mesh on the floor of their outdoor run, ripped a few inches of soil on top and sprinkled grass seed. It grew into a good covering of grass and they love it.
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