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How long can you leave a rabbit for?

(22 Posts)
RufflingFeathers Tue 09-Jan-18 09:50:41

We recently inherited an adult dwarf lop eared rabbit, who we love. We have a small enclosed garden that he has the run of during the day, we put in back in his hutch at night.

We've got a dog and other small animals that we re-home when we go away, but since we got the rabbit we've not had reason to leave him.

QUESTION: Could we leave him for a weekend in the back garden with plenty of food and water?
Is the reason we put him into his hutch at night because of safety? (foxes etc?). In all our decades here we've never seen or even heard of anyone who has seen a fox - like literally never, so I'm not too concerned about that.

We're total novices at the rabbit thing ! any advice welcome. He's a hardy thing - has been fine out even in the -8C that we've had recently (obviously wouldn't leave him alone if it was cold, as had to change water every couple of hours!!)

What do other people do when they leave rabbits????

2pups Tue 09-Jan-18 10:05:47

My rabbit was ok in his hutch for a 2 night weekend - he used to have 2 water bottles. I only left him very occasionally.

He also had loads of food.

Not sure I would trust a run. My friend lost 2 rabbits to a fox and has never seen foxes around.

Another option might be neighbours. Teenagers are usually very good bets - especially if the pet is outside they only need a side gate key or no key.

We had a teenager care for our Guineas before and was very happy with the £££.

bunnygeek Tue 09-Jan-18 12:03:13

I honestly wouldn't leave a bun over a weekend. Anything can happen. Have you got neighbours who could look in on him and check for frozen water?

You can't just leave a heap of food in front of them as there's a risk they'll try and eat it all and you come home to a rabbit with gut stasis/sloppy poop or they've passed on sad

They should never be left to free range in a garden unattended. A fox only needs to visit once. Large birds of prey, crows, magpies, cats, rats or stray dogs, also people (including the M25 cat killer), are risks to rabbits. The one and only time I saw a fox in my old garden was at 3am when it was chewing on the front of the hutch! Fortunately it was a very expensive and padlocked hutch, it didn't get in, and I swiftly upgraded them to a even more expensive bunny shed. They're now indoors and elderly.

A run would only be secure if it's very big, very heavy, padlocked and dig proof. All metal ones folding ones aren't predator proof.

RufflingFeathers Tue 09-Jan-18 12:50:18

Thanks for replies.

I'm not sure if I'm being naive re foxes. Surely it's possible that there aren't any/many in our area??? Does anyone know or are foxes everywhere ? (we're in central Scotland)

The bunny has free-reign of the garden from dawn until dusk - completely unattended, although I generally am in and out of the house. I just don't like the thought of him being kept in his hutch all day long if we were away overnight.
Of course I could organise someone (but it means house keys/storm doors etc, we have no entrance to the garden except through the house)

Just interested to hear what other folk have done. And I suppose I'm talking about the one-offs rather than general pattern of life !! e.g. we very occasionally leave our dog in the house for 6hrs. Not ideal, and I often organise someone to stop by if I know it'll be that long, but she's a mature dog and is absolutely fine.

Just trying to gauge what the rabbit-equvilent is !!

bunnygeek Tue 09-Jan-18 14:02:50

To be fair mine are alone for most of the day when we're at work. But I wouldn't leave them alone for more than 7-8 hours. Mine are free-range house rabbits now. When they were outdoors at first they had a hutch and run, then a shed and run, all secure and about 72 square foot in total. Never just a hutch on its own.

Foxes are everywhere and can turn up at any time, especially when kits mature as their parents will drive them out of their territory and your garden could be the next territory they find. They are sneaky and elusive, that said I've seen one trotting down the middle of my road in broad daylight, they're not just nocturnal hunters either.

Have also heard of buns being attacked by crows and bold domestic cats which can result in serious injury - especially if the bun is chased. Heard of one poor bun who was chased by something and ran headlong into a fence, breaking its neck sad

Hauntedlobster Sat 13-Jan-18 12:54:07

I’m city centre in Glasgow OP, see foxes often. They’re far less scared of people here and just stoat by. In the country I’ve never seen them but know they’re there because pets keep dying!

Rudgie47 Sat 13-Jan-18 12:58:56

No dont do that the foxes will have him.
Get your neighbour or friend to look after him and he needs to be in the hutch at night. Foxes can smell for miles and will know hes there already.

Wawawaa Sat 13-Jan-18 13:01:17

Never leave a rabbit outside unsupervised because of foxes and cats. It's best to keep them indoors with free run of the house. Their litter trays don't smell but you have to change it regularly as you would with a cat, and have a quick daily hoover of the bits of straw that gets stuck to them and ends up on the floor.

Rabbits are very sociable so will need to be in the living room with you (or the room where you spend the most time), especially if it's a single rabbit. I used to leave mine when I was at work and she would get really glum at being left alone all day. Ideally get a pet sitter in to feed, change water and spend a bit of time with it when you're away. They usually only cost about £10 a day, so not a huge expense...

endofacentury Sat 13-Jan-18 13:21:10

I used to put my rabbit with a lady that did rabbit boarding and was quite reasonable. I live in a big city and there are lots of foxes about, I see them most nights after dark. I wouldn't risk it. Is there any bunny boarding near you?

Nasreen Sat 13-Jan-18 15:11:14

I wouldn't leave a bun over a weekend. Anything can happen as they are really sensitive creatures. Bunny boarding or ask someone to come over regularly to check. He would also be really lonely. Rabbits are very sociable and need stimulation from adults or from their own kind.
The bunny boarding near me is £6.50 per night for a single rabbit, quite reasonable really. As you say, you re home your other pets.

Nasreen Sat 13-Jan-18 15:13:31

P. S rabbits can die from fright. They only need to get spooked by a fox/ large bird or something. Remember they are prey animals.

Hauntedlobster Sat 13-Jan-18 23:53:40

Let me know where you are via pm- I can give some places who do bunny boarding. If you’re near me I’ll happuly take him FOC - I’m in a flat though so won’t be ideal.

Icantreachthepretzels Sun 14-Jan-18 00:02:16

Could you move him inside the house for the weekend? I have house bunnies and they're OK to be left for a night or two. If he was inside he's be safe - then its just a matter of making sure he has enough food or water.

But keep him trapped in one room - bunnies have a tendency to wee all over everything if they're suddenly given much roomier digs.

Icantreachthepretzels Sun 14-Jan-18 00:04:18

food and water even

WhatShallIDoWithMyself Sun 14-Jan-18 00:13:36

I have two rabbits who live outside in a two tier hutch with a long run attached over warmer months. It is all secured down in case of foxes but I would never allow free roaming of the garden without supervision. Never seen evidence of foxes trying to get in but I have heard foxes in the area.

How does he currently feed? I.e. if you check a few hours after putting his food out, will it all be gone? Because mine always have some left midway between morning and evening feeds, I have felt ok to leave them for up to 36 hours (one morning to the evening the next day) with all the food they'd normally have plus piles of hay everywhere. I wouldn't leave for any longer though as water will start to go off, veg will start to go off and most importantly it would be too late to detect any problems with them.

Ragusa Sun 14-Jan-18 00:13:49

A not cheap solution (around £80) is a bunny tunnel linking a covered dig-proof run to a shed, housing a hutch.

Jn my experienxe, He will likely do ok in that sort of setup if it is not freezing and fresh water, straw, pellet and veg is provided.

Most outdoor hutches are unsafe unfortunately, and as such bunnies should be enclosed proprearly at night. We are riddled with foxes here and I would presume foxes or other critters (stoats? Weasels? Dogs/cats/ large birds) will also be lurking.

RufflingFeathers Mon 15-Jan-18 19:40:12

Thanks for all the replies - I'd not thought about bunny-boarding.
Funnily enough, shortly after starting this thread my husband saw a fox whilst out on a dog walk !! so am eating my words somewhat and will definitely not take any chances with our precious fur-ball !! thanks for all your ideas

Passthecake30 Mon 15-Jan-18 21:06:12

Mine go to the boarders... £6.50 for the two of them, per day. Some have a minimum of how many days they can stay, but you could always pay the minimum (3 days I think?) and collect early

NewMummy579 Mon 15-Jan-18 21:19:11

OP I'm central Scotland and get visited every night by 3 foxes!

Merrz Tue 16-Jan-18 09:56:02

Personally i would leave him in the hutch, he will be fine for a couple of days. I know it's not the best when he's used to getting free rein of the garden all day but it's safer than leaving him out and also it's a one off not like he's stuck in a hutch constantly or every weekend. Re the food situation, as long's he has plenty dry/pellet food and water he will be fine, watch with fresh food though, don't put too much in because he will likely eat it all in one sitting and upset his stomach. If you put him to a boarder the chance's are he'll be in a cage/hutch for the 2 days anyway, at least you would know someone is checking his food/water though i guess.

bunnygeek Tue 16-Jan-18 10:53:22

He really needs checking on at least twice a day. What if the water freezes solid or leaks out? What if he stuffs his face on too many pellets and goes into stasis? I've seen one of mine go from absolutely fine to severe gut pain that needed medication in 20 minutes.

Polkadotties Sat 20-Jan-18 09:41:16

Wouldn’t leave my two. When I went away recently my mum came twice a day so they had their normal routine. Appreciate it must be harder if you don’t have someone who can do this

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