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Can outdoor bunnies be as happy as indoor ones?

35 replies

CauliflowerBalti · 30/12/2018 21:59

We adopted a rabbit just before Christmas - unspayed (though she came with a voucher to be done), age estimated to be around two years old. The plan was for her to stay inside until spring, then move out into the garden in a 6x4 shed with attached large dog run. The rescue will help us pair bond her with another rabbit. Job done.

Only the bloody thing has turned out to be the most adorable creature EVER. She’s insanely affectionate and hilarious. We are all smitten.

We have two fairly chilled cats and a dog, and at the moment her v large dog crate takes up most of my son’s bedroom. Not a problem on a temporary basis; not ideal permanently. She free roams in his room all day and is litter trained. She has the makings of a gorgeous house rabbit but the logistics hurt my head a bit, with the other animals. This wasn’t the plan. The plan was outdoors!

But she loves us very much. And plans can change. But I just wondered - if she were outdoors, with a friend, in an enriched hilly/tunnelly, totally foxproof house (we would dig down and wire underneath it) - would she be as happy as when I’m scratching her forehead while having my morning tea?

Head says yes. She’d be happier, outside with a pal of her own species.

Heart says she’s my spirit animal.

Oof. Help.

OP posts:
purpleme12 · 30/12/2018 22:03

Oh that is hard. God I would love so much to have an indoor bunny (mine are outside)

They can definitely be happy outside by the way

Bunnybigears · 30/12/2018 22:06

Bunnys need company. If she goes outside you should get her a friend.

DrMadelineMaxwell · 30/12/2018 22:09

Our bunnies are a pair and are in an outside shed/kennel run like you describe. They seem pretty happy - but are happiest when allowed onto the lawn on warmer days when they leap about binkying like mad.

I'd be tempted to leave yours as an indoor bun though if it seems to be suiting her and she's happy.

CauliflowerBalti · 30/12/2018 22:13

Oh, I’d get her a friend. That was The Plan. The rescue will help us (or rather help her) choose a husbun. And then they were going to live happily ever after in bunny nirvana in my garden. I’ve been Pinteresting awesome set ups. I have a man on eBay quoting for the 12x6 run. The shed is there. I’m researching bunny proof insulation.

She has other plans. They mostly involve me being her Person (she recognised the house’s weakest link and swooped in) and scratching her ears for at least 2 hours a day. She dances with me when I go in to play. Stamps her feet when I stop playing.

I thought rabbits were supposed to be cautious and aloof. The rescue said she was grumpy and assertive. No one prepared me for this...

OP posts:
purpleme12 · 30/12/2018 22:30

Oh my god she sounds adorable

KiteMarked · 30/12/2018 22:37

My vote is for a bunny run that goes from the garden into your house through a hole in the wall. That'll work, right?

Corneliusmurphy · 30/12/2018 22:38

Absolutely nothing useful to add except to ask for pics, you know you want to... Wink

CauliflowerBalti · 30/12/2018 22:48

Pictures we can do. She’s a proper sweetheart.

Can outdoor bunnies be as happy as indoor ones?
Can outdoor bunnies be as happy as indoor ones?
Can outdoor bunnies be as happy as indoor ones?
OP posts:
CauliflowerBalti · 30/12/2018 22:50

She tolerates being picked up - so good for vets. Doesn’t like cuddles but I wasn’t expecting this - just being able to move her from a to b is fine. She sits on your lap on her terms, for hour-long rubs and scritches. She’s eaten a corner of carpet. I love her.

OP posts:
purpleme12 · 30/12/2018 22:56

She sounds amazing. Apart from the carpet eating! 😂

RockingAroundTheChristmasTree1 · 30/12/2018 23:00

Why don't you do a bit of both..our bunny comes in late afternoon/ evening to chill out in the lounge and sleep in front of the log burner. She stays in for about three hours and then starts getting cheeky, chewing and digging the corners of my extremely expensive carpet!! that is when she goes back to her house 😂

CauliflowerBalti · 30/12/2018 23:11

Rocking... is she ok with the change of temperature? Because that would be perfect.

OP posts:
RockingAroundTheChristmasTree1 · 01/01/2019 19:18

Sorry only just seen this..yes she was absolutely fine! It was a gradual thing though..stayed in the house and moved her to her new Wendy house for a few hours a day, and then upped the time over a few weeks. She is an Angora rabbit, so has about a foot of bloody hair! She really shouldn't like the house being hot..but still insists on laying in front of the log burner! We bought her a child sized Wendy house as her home outside, which has a small cornered off section full of she can get really cosy in there, if she was too get cold.
If it gets extremely cold outside..I will keep her inside for the night, but put her in the dog crate..otherwise there would be devastation by the time I woke up! Just do it gradually, it's sounds like you love your bunny very much, so you will know what's right 😊

Honeyroar · 02/01/2019 20:42

I thought it wasn't a good thing to swop them from cool to warm all the time. Their coat won't know how to cope.

Whether she lives inside or out she needs a little friend of her own species. Couldn't you have two house bunnies?😜. My two live in a stable in winter but will go into a big grassy run with a hutch in summer (if we finish it!). Our original bunny was much friendlier than his mate, he still is. He'd have been a cool house bunny.

notsurewhatshappening · 02/01/2019 20:44

Ours are indoor/ outdoor bunnies. They come in for the evening and night and have a large run in the lounge with a hay box, litter tray etc. In the morning I put them out in the garden which is walled and also has a playhouse for shelter. They binky and zoomie like mad and nibble the grass, play in the bushes etc. When they come in they are tired out and just mooch about, happy to be cuddled etc. If temps drop below 3 degrees they dont go out as they javent grown axwinter coat.You could do a mix.

The idea of a husbun is mega cute 🐇

purpleme12 · 02/01/2019 20:53

No it's not good to swap them from inside and outside

houseofrabbits · 02/01/2019 20:53

Previous posters who have

StartingGrid · 02/01/2019 20:55

Your beautiful girl took my breath away a little there, shes the double of my girl who passed a few weeks ago. Indoors to outdoors daily is not a good idea as they will never know what kind of moult they need if your house is heated. My rabbits are all housebuns now partly as they've all aged (convenient when poorly) and partly as the UK cat killer has struck quite locally a couple of times and I've seen rabbits as victims so safety first.

If this is your first rabbit I must warn you, no matter how bonded the two of you are, when husbun comes along that will change... there is nothing nicer than seeing a bonded pair though and if you can handle the pair of them destroying your house in cahoots then you'll find them more entertaining than most of the stuff on TV. Once bonded neutral territory will be needed so bear that in mind as females are far more territorial than males and she will see your house as her grounds!

StartingGrid · 02/01/2019 20:57

Also PLEASE get her spayed ASAP, by age 4 80% of females are likely to have developed uterine cancer, plus she will need 4-6 weeks to heal before bonding

houseofrabbits · 02/01/2019 20:58

Sorry pressed post too soon! @RockingAroundTheChristmasTree1 it really isn't wise to move bunnies inside and outside especially in this weather. Also a dog create overnight is not enough space, rabbits need 60sq ft of permanent space.

Back to the original question....I have indoor rabbits, they live in the kitchen. We discussed moving them outside when we start a family but have decided to keep them inside. It's just lovely to be able to spend so much time with them and we easily notice if something is wrong with of them. So I would definitely lean towards indoor bunnies if you can rabbit-proof a room Smile

exLtEveDallas · 02/01/2019 21:23

We had both.
We started with 2 outside buns. DH built them a fab house and outdoor run. Then we lost one (scared to death by next doors dog, poor bugger). So we introduced 2 more.
In the winter they moved into DDs (heated) playhouse (still had lots of space because it was 2 storey) but went into the run when the weather was milder. In the spring we gradually turned down the heating in the playhouse until they acclimatised enough to go back out permanently.

Then, following a fight, one of the buns came indoors to recuperate. 2 weeks later when we tried to reintroduce her to the others she was having none of it. So she was the spoiled indoor bun and the others were the spoiled outdoor buns.

The only issue we had indoors was chewing wires. When we were in with her it was fine, but rather than lock her up when we were out we limited her to the kitchen, hall, landing and stairs and made sure there was nothing she could get into trouble with. She had plenty of (dog) chews but we did have to clip her nails regularly because she wasn't digging. Thankfully she never chewed the carpet but we did have to regularly replace the door stop!

The outdoor buns had one scare when a Red Kite tried to swoop on them, but DH solved that by attaching a couple of large tree branches across the run area.

They lived long and happy lives, and I often miss them. On the whole I think the outdoor buns were happier, but the indoor bun was the most 'tame' being the one handled most.

HerestoyouMrsRobinson · 02/01/2019 21:32

Sweet bunny.

Do you have a life size stormtrooper there?!

CauliflowerBalti · 03/01/2019 00:39

The stormtrooper isn’t lifesize - but it is pretty big! We also have superman...

Still in two minds. Love her to bits. Think she should have the company of her own species. Really not sure I can cope with two house rabbits on top of all the other animals. So she can go outside. But I love her to bits... you see?!

I think I’d be ok with her being more bonded with her husbun cos I had low expectations of affection anyway. I had no idea rabbits were so loving! I was expecting a more hands off pet. Like our tortoise. The joy is in watching him. He doesn’t give a crap about us. I assumed rabbits were too timid to be actively affectionate. And I have a friend with house rabbits who has always laboured the point that they are nervous, not good around children, advanced level pets... I was expecting to enjoy watching her and giving her a nice house. Not... this.

Will def get her spayed. I understand the risks.

Can outdoor bunnies be as happy as indoor ones?
Can outdoor bunnies be as happy as indoor ones?
Can outdoor bunnies be as happy as indoor ones?
OP posts:
CauliflowerBalti · 03/01/2019 00:41

Oh. And she watches tv. The rabbit watches tv. Brilliant.

OP posts:
blondeemily · 03/01/2019 00:48

This is lovely. It sounds like you are giving her an amazing life Smile

I don't think I could put her outside from what you have described. It seems she has settled into her your house too well.

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