For those of you who have rabbits and keep them outside?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Willow's Meadow, May 18, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Songster

    Apr 16, 2010
    I am thinking about maybe getting 2-3 rabbits. Maybe!!!! I know if we did there would be NO WAY we could keep them inside. Can you guys post pics of your rabbits outside in there hutches/homes? I don't know much about rabbits. Could I keep them in our barn with the chickens or section of am area for them? What do they eat? Do you let the out like chickens or do they always stay in their home? Any links for rabbit info? Where do you/did you buy rabbits, from craiglist, a breeder?? What breed would be good for a breeder? How old should they be when you get them? I am a newbie to it. Just want some pics and info, that would be great!!!!

    I want to have them as pets. I am not going to let them loose! I am getting both answers on whether or not to let the with the chickens, should I or should I not? They WOULD NOT be on the ground next to the chickens. They would just be in the same barn, however the chickens would be in one side and the rabbits would be in a hutch of the ground. Would that work?
    Last edited: May 21, 2010

  2. Whitney13

    Whitney13 Songster

    May 14, 2010
    Malvern, AR
    I don't have any pictures but a couple years ago I had a pair of mini-rex rabbits. They were castor(kind of a reddish brown with black tips) colored. I bought them from a local breeder for $25 for the male and $30 for the female, they were show quality rabits. Then about 5 months later I moved out of my moms house so I had to sell them. I sold them to a little girl for her 4-H projects so I knew they would have a good home. The female rabbit was a very nice rabbit and I could let her out in the yard as long as I was out there and she would just eat grass and follow me around. The male on the other hand was name Jack the Ripper because he shredded anyones clothes who picked him up, so he pretty much stayed in his house. Their house was divided down the middle with a screened over hole so they could see each other but not get in with each other because I didn't want babies. Each side was about 3 ft x 3 ft but they were mini rabbits so it was plenty of space. Each one had their own little box that they slept in and plenty of toys and treats everyday. I would recomend these rabbits to anyone, they were really easy to raise and take care of.

    When I was little me and my brother were little(4 and 5) we also had a couple of lop crosses we got at a local feed store that lived in our house and slept in the chicken house with our bantam chickens.

    With rabbits it all depends of how they are raised as babies as to how they will be when they get big. You can house them in hutches and the size of the hutch depends on the size of the rabbit. If you were going to let them out of their hutches they would need to be in a super secure area that they could not dig out of. I have seen some hutches with little runs built off them and they put chicken wire on the bottom of the runs so the rabbits wouldn't dig out.

    A couple websites:

    lists all recognized breeds with pictures, my mini-rexes both looked like the one pictured.

    This one gives more info on the different breeds and has some other helpful info.

    This one is about rabbit hutches.

    If you need anymore websites or anything else just pm me.
  3. rebecky1305

    rebecky1305 Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Lansing, MI
    I don't have pictures either, but mine are in my garage in hutches. They get hay and buckeye rabbit pellets daily. In the winter I push the hutches (I have five) together in a circle. I hang tarps around them and put a heat lamp in between the hutches just to keep the water bottles from freezing. They really do not need heat in the winter as long as they are sheltered from the wind and rain. Mainly they just need to be kept dry and draft free. But mine are spoiled even if they are outside. Yours will do fine in the barn.
    I let mine out on occasion in a fenced in area but only when I can watch them. I have mine all seperate because I do not want lots of babies, so they only go out seperately.
  4. sydney13

    sydney13 Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  5. lcwilson2010

    lcwilson2010 Songster

    May 13, 2010
    my rabbits run free around the yard. there free ranging, and are the absolute happiest rabbits ever. i have 6 that im about to let out. born on April 1st of this year and there's already 3 running around now. my cages are attached to my coop and i don't have any pics of them but i do have pics of them running around in the yard if you would like to see them? let me know.
  6. ack123

    ack123 Songster

    Mar 9, 2010
    Please, please, please do not follow the advice given by the person above. Turning your rabbits loose is not free ranging it is setting them free, which is very illegal to do. Plus you take chances of them getting VHD, an extremely deadly disease that ha spopped in the US in the last couple of months, and they have no idea where it came from. Ferals are at extreme risk for it. plus its not ethical to set 8 week old rabbits loose! They can also be picked off by predators, and as mentioned disease. There are other diseases and parasites they can also pick up from local wild rabbits. not only that, when they breed, they can displace local wild populations and be extremely destructive. Here is one example of that. It is because of people that think its OK to let their pet rabbits run free. Providing they survive the elements, they can breed like crazy. Then you can end up in a lot of trouble with animal control over it. Because of people doing that, this university now has to find a way to exterminate. Now the animal rights groups want to pass a law in the area that bans the sale of un neutered rabbits. So if you think its ok to turn them loose like that, icw, think of who and what you are affecting. I know as a rabbit breeder I sure as heck wouldn't like to have a ban on them across the US(like they are trying to do in canada) because someone thought it was cool to let their rabbits run loose. And I don't want my herd getting infected with VHD because of it either! that is something that is not curable, and the government will step in and destroy your entire herd because of it. Free roaming rabbits are also not happy rabbits, since they are surviving, not thriving. I would never suggest to someone new to rabbits thats its ok to let them roam free.

    google vhd. you will come up with all kinds of stuff on it.

    Now to answer the OPs questions. You can house them in the same building. Just not where the chickens can get to them. They can pass diseases back and forth like coccidia and e coli. Make sure each bunny has its own cage. And that the area they are kept in is predator proof. Standard all wire cages work the best. And if you do want to let them out on some grass, here is one of many proper ways to do it. Do not let them out of the pens. Tractoring pens are the best to use. Just make sure you supervise them so they can't dig out of them. all of my rabbits are kept outside in a barn, in cages. Each has their own cage unless its a doe with a litter. Dog cages make nice tractoring pens. Sometimes you can find the grid shelves at goodwill. They make excellent animal pens. That's where I got mine from. Thats my niece petting the bunnies in the photos.!/album.php?aid=44368&id=1587164212!/album.php?aid=43612&id=1587164212


    thought I had some of the dog crates, but I guess not.

    One other thing not to do is to buy the cheapest brand of pellets you can find. They are often loaded with corn. You want a brand that is high in fiber, and low in protein. Two of the purina brands(show formula, and fiber 3) are corn free. Corn can cause bloat. Thats why you don't want them eating chicken feed.

    Also, I breed my own, and buy mine from breeders that also show their rabbits. Sometimes i will pick up one or two from a local auction barn. The best place to buy them from are at rabbit shows.

    They should also have fresh grass hay to balance off the pellet diet. Helps keep their gut moving. You will also want to get ahold of the guidebook to raising better rabbits and cavies published by the arba. . and storeys guidebook to raising rabbits. stay away from books provided by house rabbit society. Nothing but incorrect information that can harm your rabbit. Basically do as much research as possible before you get them. Also read up on diseases and how to check the rabbit for them. Some people will try to pass a sick rabbit onto you if you don't know what you are looking for. You will also have to self medicate them at one point or another too, being that most vets don't see them.
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  7. Thundrr-Chicken

    Thundrr-Chicken Songster

    Apr 20, 2010
    Dover, Ohio
    we are 99% done with it...

    we started with a shelving unit that i found on craigslist for sale... then we made doors... and wrapped the whole thing in hardware cloth... and i have dropping pans under the top 2 levels... we havent moved it to its permanent place in the yard yet... this is where we were working on it...






    as for exercise... we've been letting them out in the backyard.. its all fenced in... and we stay out there with them of course... then we wrangle them up and put them back in when we're ready to go back in ...

  8. LV426

    LV426 Chillin

    Jul 16, 2008
    First off what do you want these rabbits for? Are they going to be strictly pets? Meat rabbits? Show rabbits? Just a 4H project?

    Depending on your answer is what advice I will give. One thing I can say for sure is that under no circumstances should you just let your rabbits run loose in your yard. It's illegal for one. It's the same as not fencing in livestock which is punishable by law and can incur you fines. Not only that but it's not safe for you, your rabbits, the environment, and even your neighbors.

    In fact we just had a case here in Washington where a family was breeding rabbits and letting them run around their yard. They tunneled under the fence and got into their neighbors' yards and began eating their plants and vegetables from their garden as well as digging and damaging their yard. Well after repeatedly asking the people to keep their rabbits confined one neighbor took matters into his own hands and the next rabbit he caught in his yard, he chopped off it's head and then tossed it and the body back over the fence. Unfortunately the rabbit wasn't one of the meat rabbits that the people had let loose but their child's lion head bunny that had escaped his cage. So now both parties are up on charges. One for animal cruelty for killing the lion head and the other people are being charged with animal endangerment and failure to confine their livestock.

    This is why rabbits shouldn't run free. However if you want your rabbits to be able to go outside building them a rabbit tractor with a good wire base so that the grass can come through but the rabbits can't dig out is an excellent way of letting your rabbits have freedom and still keep them safe.

    Here is an excellent site on how to raise rabbits of all kinds and even shows how to build inexpensive pens and runs for rabbits using PVC.

    I bought my Rex from her and he's the best rabbit ever. :)
    I keep mine inside but he does go out into a pen that I made for him.

    If you just want a pet I also recommend Spaying or Neutering your rabbits. They stay calmer and more friendly. We just ha a case here where an unaltered rabbit had become aggressive and attacked his family and they turned him into the human society where he attacked a worker there and she had to go to the hospital because the attack was so bad. They were going to euthanize him but Rabbit Haven and several others ended up taking him in. Once he was neutered the aggression level dropped and he's now able to be adopted. It doesn't happen all the time but generally what's the point of keeping an intact rabbit unless you are breeding specifically for meat or show and even then only the best rabbits should remain unaltered or alive. If you decide to breed remember that you can't keep every rabbit or you will be up to your eyeballs in bunnies. So you will have to figure out what you will be doing with the excess bunnies. Culling for food or just because they are not up to standards is common. Also selling your rabbits but you may not be able to find a home for all of your bunnies and you are responsible for every rabbit you produce.
  9. ack123

    ack123 Songster

    Mar 9, 2010
    Quote:Its a commenter recommending turning themloose not the Op. Good information though.

    Do you have a link to case in washington by any chance. Would like to know and share with other groups about it. In case they try to pass any ordinances that would hurt those being responsible with their pets and breeding stock. Thats like what is happening in BC, and othe rplaces where there are no predators to pick them off. Some people were irresponsible by letting theirs run free, or dumping them on the campus, and everyone else is going to get punished for it. Its too bad about the lion head. Still, they should have caught and confined him. I wonder if the owner was ever reported to animal control about them before the neighbors took things into their own hands. It was ferals that they suspect that caused the last vhd outbreak.
  10. ack123

    ack123 Songster

    Mar 9, 2010
    *With rabbits it all depends of how they are raised as babies as to how they will be when they get big. You can house them in hutches and the size of the hutch depends on the size of the rabbit. If you were going to let them out of their hutches they would need to be in a super secure area that they could not dig out of. I have seen some hutches with little runs built off them and they put chicken wire on the bottom of the runs so the rabbits wouldn't dig out.*

    That depends what breed it is,and what its mixed with, the hutch size has nothing to do with it. unless you meant certain breeds require certain sized cages.. [​IMG]

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