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Bunny Proofing Your Backyard: Keeping Pet Rabbits Safe Outdoors

Please welcome guest blogger Tabitha Strepthorne.  For our perusal, she has an informative article about letting your rabbit roam in your backyard.  While exploring your backyard and garden can be a great source of fun and exercise, there are opportunities for your rabbit to get into harm’s way.  She has some helpful tips and advice you can use to make sure your furry friend stays safe while still having a great time.  If you have any questions, comments or your own ideas for bunny fun, please let Tabitha and us know in the comments section below.  Have a great weekend!

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Whether you have a Netherland dwarf or an English Giant it is important to make sure that your pet rabbit gets the exercise he or she needs. Large, spacious hutches are great for keeping your rabbit in shape, and there are outside hutches available for sunny days. There are even rabbit harnesses that you can put onto the rabbit so that you can take your bunny for walks!

However from personal experience, some bunnies may not like the feel of the harness and they will chew through it.  Often outside hutches can seem cramped. So what to do?Rabbit

Why not make the entire garden your bunny’s exercise yard? If you have a colourful, green garden with a few nice patches of grass, it may be worth looking into bunny-proofing your garden. Unfortunately if you have a pond, chances are no amount of ‘bunny proofing’ will make it safe for your rabbit to run around the garden.

 

Fences and Gates


Bunnies are a lot like babies. If you take your eyes off them for a minute, somehow they will find their way into the strangest cubby holes, nooks and crannies. This is why it is important to ensure that any fences are fully staked into the ground, and that any gates have a rubber lining or a low hanging base to make sure that the rabbit doesn’t crawl underneath the gate and get out of the garden.

If you have decking it is important to board up any entrances to the decking, as if your bunny is at all adventurous they will try to find a way underneath. Beneath the decking is a great place for rabbits as it is dark and shady – perfect for the summer!

 

Harmful Plants


Most rabbits have an innate sense of danger and will be able to sniff out any potentially harmful plants. However rabbits have strong taste buds and can be curious, particularly young rabbits, so on occasion things can take a turn for the worse.

Certain plants are incredibly harmful to rabbits, so it is important to look these up online to make sure that your bunny is safe. A few examples of common plants that can be poisonous to rabbits are oak leaves, poppies and buttercups although a little bit of digging online will harbour a more complete list of poisonous plants.

 

Bedding and Water


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Bunnies can get nervous too! If you have a small garden and a young bunny, try placing some of its bedding in a corner of the garden. The bunny will gravitate towards the bedding as a source of familiarity and comfort, and as it gets more used to the feel of the garden the rabbit will then start exploring more and more of the garden.

The most important thing is ensuring that your bunny feels safe and secure while running around the garden. Make sure to put a bowl of water out for your bunny in a shaded area as they will become dehydrated. Weigh the bowl down with a few stones so that your bunny doesn’t knock the water over by running past it or jumping over it.

 

It is important to remember that nothing is foolproof! Although your bunny will be able to run and play it is crucial that you supervise them to ensure that you can take any action needed if your bunny starts getting into trouble or starts acting out. Like a small child, stay close to your bunny and be aware! With a safely bunny-proofed garden your rabbit can hop and run around to their hearts content!

 

11 comments

  1. avatar

    Hi!
    Our two year old beloved rabbit has free run of our garden during the day (he comes in every night before dark as there are foxes about) but tonight we discovered a hedgehog in the garden.
    How he got in is mystifying!
    Can you let me know if this hedgehog poses any danger or health risk to our rabbit? I believe they have fleas and ticks. Can they be transfered to our bunny?
    Thanks for your help.

  2. avatar

    Since your bunny is already outside all the time, he is already exposed to the dangers of fleas and ticks. If the rabbit went up to the hedgehog and the hedgehog got scared, he might have some small wounds from the spikes. Otherwise we don’t know of any other health risks, but check with an area vet to be sure! Thanks!

  3. avatar

    I had a little bunny when I was younger, but for some strange reason it kept pooping behind our TV! Haha. When I got older, I got another bunny that I’m absolutely in love with. He’s a nice addition to our family and often competes for longest ears with my basset hound.

  4. avatar

    If you’ve decided to house your pet rabbits outdoors, then your No. 1 concern is for their safety and well-being. Thank you for sharing! This is very informative and helpful!

  5. avatar

    I have a friend who’s got load of rabbits fenced in their backyard. I guess this is her foolproof way of keeping them safe. In the morning, she would let them run around as I guess there were about 15 of them. She also has 3 dogs inside the house so that would be a disaster keeping them all inside. – Ryder

  6. avatar

    I used to pet a pair of rabbits and they were kept in a cage placed in our backyard. I didn’t know that they require walking/hopping around and exercises just like dogs. I should’ve known better. Thanks for posting this article. – Ryder

  7. avatar
    jennifer sanchez

    I love your page because my bunny omg it so bad

  8. avatar

    Hi , live on the coast in central- northern California. Temps range from low 50 to 80 degs year round. I have a secure fenced backyard. But nite time critters travel thru…. osom, house cats, raccoons, and skunks. Can i get jack rabit to run free in the yard year round safely.

  9. avatar

    I found 4 bunnies in a burrow in my back yard. Is there anything I can do to keep them safe esp from snakes ? Wasn’t sure if I used moth balls if it would harm my bunnies ! Pls help

  10. avatar

    The best thing to do would honestly be to not touch/move them. If you are really concerned about snakes getting to them, you can purchase non-toxic snake repellants at a lot of home and garden stores.

  11. avatar

    Are house cats (and visiting house cats) a concern ?

    Can rabbits survive winter out?

    Which breed would be mest ?

    (Living in Denmark climate)

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