Hello! I have two 3 year old mini lop rabbits and they are both indoor pets. One of my family members that lives with me is extremely allergic to rabbits and so the rabbits have been staying at a friends house for the time being. I am thinking of moving them outside in a shed that I don't use anymore. I am planning on getting them both their own outdoor hutches and using them as breeding rabbits. I have had one sucessful birth from another one of my does so I know what I am doing on that part of the matter but how do I transition them? It is an unusually warm winter where I live so I was hoping to get them out there in the next month or two. The shed is about 6 feet tall and 12 feet long. It has a front, back and sparse top. I have to do a bit of repairing but in the end it should have a top, sides and front. For the bottom I am planning on just keeping the dirt. I am outside all the time with my garden and the dog. I really don't want to loose my rabbits. I guess my question is, how do I transition them from indoors to outdoors? All help is appreaciated!
Indoor Rabbits To Outdoor Rabbits?
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You don't want any drafts on them, just like with birds, especially at first. If your weather is warm and the shed is enclosed on all 4 sides you are probably OK. I have known of rabbits freezing to death... but this was a sudden change, the weather was *very* cold and to make it worse, the owner had sheared the rabbit (it was an Angora). If you can not enclose the shed, you could try covering the cages especially at night. In the day you want the light, but at night you could cover. Or, you could keep them in the garage/porch whatever at night, and put them in the shed in the daytime.
It would be best if you could start this a little more in the spring. But if you can't, you can't. However if you are careful you should be OK.
- POOF Goes the Pooka
I agree with Zoomie - while the weather is mild now, that doesn't mean you won't get spells of "normal" winter weather, and depending on where you live, that may be tough even on rabbits habituated to the out-of-doors. If you can wait until Spring, or at least until Spring is just around the corner, it might go easier on the rabbits. In addition to what Zoomie said, I would include plenty of hay in the cage for the rabbits to snuggle in, especially when the weather is on the cooler side. Of course, you will need to change at least some of the hay every day, since rabbits have a talent for getting hay into the "dirty" corner and peeing in it, then sitting in the soiled hay.
Incidentally, you mentioned using these as breeding animals, and said they are 3 years old. Most does experience a significant drop in fertility by their 3rd birthday. If these rabbits are like most house rabbits (rather lazy and somewhat overfed) it may prove to be frustrating or even impossible to get offspring from them.
I am partnered with @Abster2 and she is a very experienced animal owner. She takes exellent care of her pets. I am holding her rabbits for her until she can figure something out for them. We are actually unsure of the mini lop doe's age, but we assume that she is around 2 years old. I have tried breeding her in the past, but the breeding was unsuccessful. The only explanation that I can think of for this is age, but it is possible that it was just a missed breeding. Thanks for your help and detailed responses! you have helped me greatly in the past. I now have 3 gorgeous kits. Thank you! @Bunnylady @Zoomie
Edited by Sienatiger - 12/26/15 at 7:26am