Outside enclosures for rabbits!

Rabbits love activity. No wonder they’re always racing around, jumping or burrowing in the wild. That’s why there’s nothing better than providing the little hoppers with an outside run during the summer months – with lots of opportunities for keeping busy. The animal experts from Maxi Zoo  know what it’s about.

From the middle of May you can let your rabbits live in the garden over the next few months without worrying. So that they’re comfortable with it, you first of all need enough room for the outside enclosure. Four to six square metres of area is ample for two to three rabbits (never keep a rabbit on its own – they are gregarious animals!) The enclosure should be positioned so that during the day one part of it is always in shadow, regardless of where the sun is at the time. Otherwise the rabbits could possibly suffer from sunstroke. Ideally, a part of it should be roofed over. That also offers them protection from the rain. Sand and tree bark mulch is recommended as a floor covering. Earth can easily become muddy when it rains.

Fenced in and secure

The outside enclosure must of course be fenced in such a way as to be escape-proof and that no (hostile) animals can penetrate from outside (minks, cats etc). There is special rabbit wire available for this. This serves not only as a visible fence but also puts the brakes on burrowing. Let the mesh wire into the ground to a depth of 30 to 50 cm so that burrowing bunnies aren’t suddenly sitting on the other side of the fence. Rabbit wire placed over the enclosure prevents cats, for example, from gaining unauthorised entry.

Homely and diversified

Every outside enclosure needs a little refuge where the animals are able to retreat. It mustn’t be too big but should offer enough space for all the animals at the same time. Natural wood is best suited for this. The roof should be removable to allow for regular changing or topping up of straw, hay and water. Position the den so that its entrance isn’t facing the weather side then the animals won’t be in a draught or get damp.

The biggest enclosure is meaningless if it doesn’t offer diversity. For burrowing, provide a box with sand, a cat toilet is also suitable. Provide some furnishings onto which the rabbits can climb – a tree stump, an upturned box, a DIY sun canopy or something similar. The branches of fruit trees or bushes (e. g. willow, hazelnut) will entice them to nibble and play around. Be absolutely sure that there are no twigs from stone-fruit trees – e.g. plums – these contain substances in their bark which rabbits are unable to tolerate. Cork tunnels are ideal for scrambling into and through. Large roots and hollow tree trunks also make great hiding places. If you constantly change the opportunities for activity, your long-eared friends will love it as they do not like to be bored.

Fresh and healthy

On the subject of food, your rabbits need everything outside which they had inside: fresh green feed (e. g. dandelions, plantain, carrot heads) fruit, vegetables and hay. Please don’t give them cabbage as the animals get bloated from it and this can lead to a dangerous situation. If you provide hay in a hayrack, this should be covered for safety reasons to prevent injury should the animals jump into the rack. Fresh water must be given every day in a bowl or bottle. You should organise the feeding place so that you can easily reach it for filling.

Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts