Free-Range Rabbits?

Larson Chicks

In the Brooder
May 17, 2015
22
1
36
East Idaho
How long till rabbits are use to their new home? We just found a rabbit and am wondering when I can let it out to wonder around. Once its accustomed, will it wonder back to its home, like chickens go back to their coop at night? We have a fenced in backyard but it might be able to get through, or under the fence.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,763
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Wilmington, NC
Rabbits will establish territories and figure out where good cover and other resources can be found. A rabbit that is allowed to roam freely might return to its hutch, or it might decide that there are other places it would prefer to be, and go there. If your fence isn't rabbit-proof, there is a good chance that your rabbit will crawl or dig under the fence and go visit the neighbors (who may not welcome it). And of course, any time your rabbit is not in a secure area, there is a greater chance of some predator killing it (which is why a certain group put out a poster with the words, "when you turned your rabbit loose, you didn't "make him free," you made him lunch.")
 

Wyandottes7

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
20,586
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Rabbits can take weeks or months before they are used to their home and the people and animals that surround them. However, rabbits do not have "homes" that they go back to, like chickens do. They don't have a homing instinct to sleep in one place each night. A rabbit will most likely just run off in your situation. They love to dig and would likely tunnel beneath the fence or squeeze under it.

If you want to keep this rabbit, I suggest getting a cage for it. They are much happier in a secure cage, free from predators and the elements.
 

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
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Melrose Park Illinois
If it is a wild rabbit, he will try to split when given a chance. Fenced in yard will keep him contained, but of course he may look for a possible opening. Wild rabbits do not do well in captivity. A family member of mine tried it a few times to rescue little rabbits he though were lost, and they just kept dieing. He got some from the pet store, kept them outside in cages, and they thrived. They were of the domesticated variety.
WISHING YOU BEST. Maybe your experience will be different than ours.
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Free Feather

Songster
5 Years
Aug 1, 2014
1,768
117
168
Southwestern Pennsylvania
I definitely disagree that a caged rabbit is a happy rabbit. Rabbits love to roam and eat grass all day, far away from commotion, with room to run and places to hide. I had free range rabbits, but I live out in the jin weeds so I did not worry as much about neighbors and people. Predators and roads can be an issue, but trust me, mine never would have picked a cage even if it can offer predator protection. A happy medium is a pasture with a fence apron on the inside and out if you can, to keep the rabbits from digging out and the predators from digging in. You can just let them loose, but some males will leave, and you can count on a predator loss here and there (and they will breed like rabbits). Will not be as friendly either. The choice depends on what your goal are with the rabbits. Mine were for enjoyment, I love to watch free range rabbits out in the yard. It will not work for everyone, though. Besides the occasional male, mine all stayed in the yard and would eat apples and treats out of my hand, but I made pets of mine. I do not know if you could train them to sleep in one place at night. I bet it would not be as easy as getting chickens to, but it sure would make them a lot safer at night.
 

Larson Chicks

In the Brooder
May 17, 2015
22
1
36
East Idaho
Awesome thanks you guys. It is obviously a pet and not wild. I think I'll let it out while we're outside in the summer but keep it on the kennel, which is 10x10.
 

jak2002003

Crowing
Oct 24, 2009
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Thailand
Make it a large covered rabbit run... one you can move around the garden. You can let it run around free when you are there to watch it.

Letting a domestic rabbit 'free' is cruel and will end up in disaster at some point... most likely a dog killing it when it escapes your yard... or a car.

As a pet animals you have responsibility for it... its not responsible to let it wander about without supervision.... sure it might be a nice idea.. but we are living in the real world.. and a rabbit is a prey species... that's whey they have so many babies as most will meet a nasty end.

You would not let a toddler free range without supervision.. even through he or she might be happier wandering around exploring rather then being in the house or play pen.
 

Chickerdoodle13

The truth is out there...
12 Years
Mar 5, 2007
6,820
403
331
Phoenix, AZ
Awesome thanks you guys. It is obviously a pet and not wild. I think I'll let it out while we're outside in the summer but keep it on the kennel, which is 10x10.


That sounds like a good idea to me! I prefer my rabbits to be in enclosed pens or hutches. There's too much heartache with free range rabbits, though I have known a few people to have ok luck with it.
 

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