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Old 03-10-2008, 04:26 PM
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Indoor rabbits to outdoor rabbits?


First, I want to make sure everyone knows I'd rather keep my bunnies indoors. But alas, there are reasons which might mean I'll be forced to turn them into outdoor bunnies.

My parents hate animals. (I don't know why, don't ask me!) My mom dislikes the smell of small animals, and she has been pushing me to find another home for my beloved bunnies in 6 weeks when I move from London back to Toronto. (I just got them! I'm not giving them up!) So, my plan is to get a job in the city asap and find my own place to move out and take my buns with me. I just don't know how long that will take.

So after a lot of arguing, my solution right now is to convince my parents that I can successfully turn my buns into outdoor rabbits and have them live in the backyard. I'd like to build an outdoor hutch with a connected run for them to use. I'm not entirely sure what to do about it in the winter, since it can drop to -30C in Toronto on some days/nights, but since there are several months of summer coming, I'm not going to worry about it yet.

How difficult would it be to build a hutch/run from scratch myself instead of buying one? How expensive compared to buying one? It doesn't get very hot in Toronto, but is max 30C okay for bunnies? (only occasionally gets that hot) My backyard is large, fenced in, and in the middle of the suburbs, so there is very little chance of there being nighttime predators other than an occasional raccoon. And best place to put the hutch? I was thinking along the back edge so it's opposite the house and I can see it from any of the back windows, but we have a cedar hedge. Would that be harmful in any way because of the smell of the trees?

I'm still searching the net for more hutch info.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:22 PM
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After a few hours of research, I came up with this prelim sketch of my hutch plans. Don't know if I'll actually build it, but just in case.



Need to use bunny-safe outdoor wood. Hardware cloth for the bottom of the living room area on the left, and maybe the same 2' x 2' metal drawer that came with the cage they're in now for the bottom of the sleeping area. Going to attach shelves inside both sections. Litterbox in living room (maybe one in sleeping room?), cat pillow in sleeping room. Front will open completely with 2 doors hinged on the outside edges. Back wall will have an open mesh for good weather and can be sealed with a wood panel for cold or wet weather. Both halves of hutch separated by a wall with cat flap? Hopefully it will keep buns insulated but still ventilated during cold season if they must stay out there. (I hope not, but I don't know)

Run will be 5'6" x 4', with a 2-foot wide gate so I can get in and out. 3 feet high, it will stand 2 feet up the side of the hutch so that I don't have to make a top, meaning I can sit in there with buns. If the hutch is higher than the run fence, they'll jump from the doorway and over the side of the fence. Having one side of the run measure 5'6" is so that I can comfortably lie down with them (I'm 5'3 lol). Cover the bottom of the run with hardware cloth and then layers of straw so they can't dig out.

Is that good for 2 bunnies? Really wish I didn't have to make these plans at all and just keep them inside, but mom's being difficult about even letting them live in the basement.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:51 PM
Dragonrain Dragonrain is offline
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Why is your mom so against keeping them inside? As long as you clean the cage enough, they really shouldn't smell bad at all.

I can't be much help, I've never built an outside cage ever and my rabbits have always been indoors only - but I just thought that I'd mention that rabbits deal with cold alot better then they deal with heat, you'll have to worry about the hot summer months more then you would have to worry about the cold because rabbits can very easily die from heat stroke. Make sure that your outdoor cage has plenty of shade and doesn't get to hot - don't put it in direct sunlight and make sure the rabbits always have fresh water so they don't get dehydrated.

And about the predator thing - still try to make your cage as secure as possable. I know a person who kept an outdoor rabbit in the city, thought it would be safe from predators since they're were no wild animals around - but then a stray dog got into the fenced in yard, broke into the cage, and attacked the rabbit.

I know there are people with outdoor rabbits here, hopefully one of them can be more helpful.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:16 PM
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I keep my rabbits outdoors. Their hutch is inside a dog kennel to keep it preditor proof. We have a dog that we keep outside when we are not home. A tree fell down on our fence and our dog kept escaping, so we had to put her in the house when we went somewhere. We were gone for only 3 hours. When I came home, I found she had killed my much loved cockatiel that I have had for 16 years. I don't know how she got him out of his cage, but his cage was not distroyed. That was a month ago and I am having trouble getting over my loss. Sometimes the most dangerous preditors live in the house! My rabbits are much safer outside.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:43 AM
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My mom is really stubborn, and despite trying to explain to her that I've developed a routine of cleaning the bunnies' cage and litter every other day, and the scented litter is working well to battle possible smells, she won't listen to me. They don't even leave droppings on the floor when they run, they would rather hop back in their cage to use the litterbox! They hardly even use the litterboxes in the run area. I'm surprised they're so clean when they weren't even let out to run by their old owner.

I think I'll have to padlock the hutch doors. Giving them shade won't be too hard, since I have a big shed and a very tall hedge and I was going to place the hutch in a corner of the yard next to the shed and against the hedge, so they should have shade from either one most of the time. Maybe I'll have to make the legs taller to make sure the raccoon that frequents our backyard can't get in there. My neighbors are strange and no one has pets. I've never even seen anyone walk a dog on my street. O_o
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:05 PM
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Sarah, Good luck. I don't know much about raccoons, but I know they can climb trees, so they could cause your rabbits some problems. Perhaps you could put your rabbits in the shed at night in a dog cage when the raccoons come around. I used to have pet ducks that I would put in a shed every night, and then I would let them out every morning. Not an ideal situation, but my ducks were safe that way.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:35 PM
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Ive seen minks, foxes, cats, dogs, woodchucks and deer in my back yard, and I know there are racoons too by my house. Ive had outside rabbits for 8 years and they have never been attacked by anything! I think the most important thing to have is a strong, sturdy hutch that is well above the ground. But IMO there are smaller things that pose a bigger threat than predatorrs- like disease and flystrike. I had a bun die from flystrike a long time ago, ad its definatly not fun! Just make sure your buns stay healy and very very very clean, and thay should be fine!

My parents wont let me keep Smudge permenently inside, cuz everyone is caonvinced that bunnies smell (Thats only Oreo! Smudge never smells!) an dmy dad doesnt really like Smudey anyway. They say if Smudge is gonna be indoors, its gonna be in a different home. But the good part about outside is its much more interesting to them, and it makes their imune systems stronger. And you can make them really big cages! You just gotta make the most of it I guess.
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:12 PM
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Hope you dont mind but, I'm gonna use your plan!

I think for two bunnies it would look satisfactory but for Ruby, oh she'd love it.

Right now she is in one of those little wire cages that I bought at the pet store (yea I know big mistake)

If you mind, I can find another plan but I've been searching for quite some time now and I think I've given up hope :[
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:09 PM
Tessa83 Tessa83 is offline
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I've always kept my rabbits outside or in the garage. The ones I have now, the cage is in the garage (it's a 2 level cage).
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:10 PM
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Is it I problem moving the rabbits from outside to inside. I probably won't, but that would be fun.
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Old 03-28-2008, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photoesque View Post
Hope you dont mind but, I'm gonna use your plan!


Go ahead! It's posted for sharing. It's pretty simple, and I'm going to stick some wooden platforms and ledges inside as well. Don't forget to calculate the angle of the roof (I hadn't done it yet when I made the diagrams to post). Do a hypotenuse calculation to get the short edge of the roof.
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:35 PM
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I recently had to make my indoor bunnies into outdoor bunnies due to allergies and I was devastated. I thought they wouldn’t make it outside but I found an easy, cheap, and safe way to make the transition.

I wanted to build them a shed but I had trouble finding plans I liked. So I looked around and found a shed at Canadian Tire. It was 6 by 8 feet with an 8-foot height and came with a triangle roof, windows, vents, shelves, 2 doors that swung open, a metal twist lock, and a plastic grip floor. It cost about $600 but when I looked into making a rabbit shed on my own the materials for it ended up being over this cost. The shed is a hard plastic and came in panels. It was great, it only took an hour to assemble and was very sturdy. I also really liked the plastic floor because it kept my rabbits off the cold ground and it was really easy to clean. After I built the shed I put a couple huts inside, some toys, and I put straw down on the floor to give my rabbits extra warmth. I wanted to be able to keep the shed doors open in the summer so they could have sun and fresh air so I decided to make a gate in front of the shed doors. I went to Wal-Mart and bought metal shelf squares. They came in a pack of 12 or so and also came with round connectors. I made 2 walls (holding them together with the round connectors and zip ties) and then screwed each wall to the inside sides of the shed (right behind the shed doors). I then got some clips and clipped the 2 sides together in the middle, so when I took off the clips I could open and close it like a gate.

Here’s a tip: The metal shelf squares are great to make a home made indoor cages. We built ours about 4 by 3 feet and put 2 levels in.

In the wintertime I hung a light in the shed for some extra light. In the summer I bought an animal playpen so they could run around on the grass, and I also bought a tent cover for the playpen so they were protected from too much sun and predators.

If anyone has any questions or would like to see pictures I’d be more than happy to help. I know it was hard for me to figure things out. So don’t be afraid to ask!
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:00 AM
moonchild moonchild is offline
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Sweetpea, I would really like to see some pictures. Could you post some?
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:40 PM
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Pictures of the shed


Here are some pictures of the shed. Sorry they're a little blurry I had to take them at night. My bunnies are both very dominant femals so I divided the cage into two, but you could just make the gate a one door. Mines a two gate door. I also put in a pic of the outdoor playpen with the tent top.

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Old 11-03-2008, 10:43 PM
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I can't make those work, do you have them on flickr or someplace? I'd love to see- I'm keeping my bun inside but I'm still designing her "real" house & ideas are good.

Thanks!
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level cage, pet store, wild animal, wild animals, wire cage, wire cages



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