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Rabbit living in the garden

(14 Posts)
AlmaMartyr Sun 18-Jan-15 14:09:19

Hi, looking for a bit of advice on rabbit housing. Our back garden is quite small and pretty enclosed so I've been toying with securing the bottom of the fences with chicken wire and letting the rabbit roam free out there (with a suitably sized hutch as well so it can be safe and warm!). I have no idea if this is sensible or not, or whether the rabbit would eat all my shrubs etc. I am quite a keen gardener so don't mind a bit of tidying up but would rather not have all my plants gobbled up - I don't have a veg patch out there so that wouldn't be a risk. Any advice? I'm only contemplating at the moment and wouldn't want to do anything that would be bad for the rabbit.

AlmaMartyr Sun 18-Jan-15 21:55:07

Actually, have Googled a bit and don't think it's a good idea. MIL has a suitable (large!) hutch and run so will go with that.

headinhands Sun 18-Jan-15 21:58:54

My bunnies are free range during the day but contained to the summer house at night. They have a nibble of everything they can and you'll soon find out what they don't like so can fill up your beds with those.

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Sun 18-Jan-15 23:34:01

Don't do it. Rabbits are prolific diggers and mine have escaped under many sections of our fence over the years.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Sun 18-Jan-15 23:39:30

We allowed our rabbit free range in the garden. Whenever she escaped she always came back home. She could get the better if any cat in the area too.
She ate quite a lot of the garden plants though :-(

NiceCupOfTeaAndALittleSitDown Mon 19-Jan-15 00:06:23

I'm going to come along with a different view point I'm afraid.

I volunteer at a rabbit rescue. Free range rabbits are highly at risk of predators. Trust me, if you have never seen a fox it doesn't mean they are not around, and cats too. I have lost count of the number of people that have come to our rescue wanting a partner for a rabbit that has lost it's partner to a fox.

Midori1999 Mon 19-Jan-15 00:49:44

There's definitely a risk from foxes. I don't let my bunnies free range at all where I live now for that reason, much as I'd like to. I feel the risk of foxes is too great, even if I am in the garden and I couldn't stand it if one of my bunnies were taken, especially if I could have prevented it. Where I lived previously I did allow them to free range if I was in the garden with them, but I don't even do that here. However, as they get no free range time I have spent an absolute fortune on accommodation for them and they have a 10ft x 5ft kennel and run which is connected to a 12ft x 12ft aviary with a 24ft pipe and another run will be connected to the aviary in the summer.

Some people are aware of the fox risk, but feel that the benefit of free ranging outweighs the risk of a fox taking a rabbit. I can completely see where they are coming from but it's not for me. I do also think a lot of people underestimate the risk from foxes.

FernieB Mon 19-Jan-15 03:00:11

Is this for a single rabbit you already have? Or are you thinking of getting a rabbit? If you are thinking of getting a rabbit, please don't just get one. They need company so should live in pairs especially if outdoors.

headinhands Mon 19-Jan-15 19:04:02

Yeah, I am aware of the obvious risks but for us, we would rather have that risk and let them enjoy some freedom. They don't dig and are inside when it's getting or is dark. It would be awful if one/both were taken, but hate the thought of them being confined.

LineRunner Mon 19-Jan-15 19:06:13

Also don't think a warm hutch will protect a rabbit from sub-zero temperatures.

AlmaMartyr Mon 19-Jan-15 22:57:59

Thanks for the advice all. I think we've decided that they'd be best off enclosed and maybe allowed free roam during the day under supervision sometimes. It doesn't get too cold here so hopefully shouldn't be an issue but I used to keep guinea pigs and learnt lots about keeping them warm over winter and they were always toasty so that should be sufficient?

Fernie - we're getting a pair smile

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Mon 19-Jan-15 23:01:10

My rabbits have always been fine in the winter and actively love playing in the snow strange things.

But for them to be fine they're kept outdoors all year and only brought in if they've had surgery they're both massive compared to their summer fighting weights at the moment. All fur and fat for winter. They'd make cracking pies

NiceCupOfTeaAndALittleSitDown Mon 19-Jan-15 23:44:56

It's all of your choices to let bunnies free range, but please - don't turn your back even for a second if you do. I know of someone that let her bunnies out while she cleaned out their house, one dragged away and another with a broken neck that died pretty soon after. She'd never ever seen a fox in her garden and had lived there for 10 years.
Not being provocative in any way, but I couldn't risk that with mine. They have plenty of indoor space - a shed outside rather than a hutch so don't need it for exercise so they have a run when they do.

Kavanne Thu 22-Jan-15 01:44:52

I recommend you look at the Rabbit welfare association and fund (RWAF) website for guidance on minimum hutch and run sizes for the welfare of your buns _ and please adopt from a rescue if you can! Rabbit rehome is a great website for finding local rabbits in need of new homes

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