Whether your rabbits are kept indoors or outdoor, rabbit proofing is essential to ensure both the safety of your buns and the safety of your possessions! Being very inquisitive by nature rabbits love to explore, be that trying to squeeze through tiny gaps behind your sofa or trying to sneak behind a garden shed. Vigilance is the key to making sure they stay out of mischief!
Most buns love the feel of the wind in their whiskers but there can be many perils out there for rabbits that live outside. With vigilance and helpful rabbit proofing tips you can make sure that you rabbits outside environment is as safe as it possibly can be.
This is quite possibly the most important consideration when your rabbits live outside. Making sure that you have a secure perimeter will ensure that your rabbit will not escape.
Conduct a sweep of your garden and check for any weaknesses in the perimeter. This includes gaps under fences; even those that look small could prove disastrous if your rabbit decides to squeeze through it.
There are a few things your can do if you discover any potential breaches in your perimeter. This could include placing large heavy objects in front of them that can not be easily moved. For example you could place a heavy ceramic plant pot filled with soil in front of the gap. This will prevent the rabbit from simply pushing it aside, which they will do if it’s not heavy enough. For added rabbit satisfaction you could plant some rabbit friendly herbs like parsley or mint in the pots.
If the gaps in your perimeter are too large to cover with heavy plant pots etc. you could consider buying planks of wood that you can secure to you fence. Painting them the same colour as the fence will help prevent an eye sore.
If your garden has an iron barred gate that could prove a worthy option for a rabbit escape you might want to consider replacing it with a more suitable alternative like solid wood gates.
Alternatively if you didn’t want to go down that route you could buy some galvanised metal grid sheets which you could secure to your gate. This would ensure that you rabbit can’t simply squeeze through the gaps in the fencing and is a more affordable option than replacing the whole gate.
Having secure outside rabbit housing is absolutely essential. If the housing is not secure enough you could end up with either an escaped rabbit or worse case scenario predators, such as foxes breaking into outside accommodation.
There are a few options here including; covering the run with concrete slabs, burying galvanised metal horizontally along the perimeter of the run or securing galvanised metal sheets across the floor of the run. The latter being the least comfortable option.
For comprehensive ways to secure outside rabbit accommodation please visit our Outside Accommodation page.
Without realising it you could be harbouring many plants that if eaten could result in illness for your rabbits and may even be fatal.
Plants that seem to be completely harmless and are often a staple in gardens across the country can in fact be poisonous to rabbits. It’s essential that you make sure you know exactly what types of plants you have in your garden. If they are harmful then take the necessary steps to prevent your rabbits from eating them.
The best option would be to either remove the plants completely or replace them with non harmful plants.
For a list of harmful plants follow this link.
You may find that your garden has areas that you rabbit will love to squeeze behind. This could include gaps behind their housing and other out buildings. Domestic rabbits like their wild cousins love small dark enclosed areas that they can squeeze into especially if they are reminiscent of the warrens in the great outdoors.
Sheds with a rabbit sized gap next to the fence is the perfect example of this. Although this may not cause any immediate concern in terms of escaping from you garden it is less than ideal. Your rabbit could get stuck or you may find that your rabbit gets so comfortable that they don’t want to leave!
If this is the case then employing the same rabbit proofing tactics as in the secure perimeter section could do the trick. You could also look at providing your rabbits with bolt holes around the garden so they have some where they can go where they feel safe.
An affordable DIY option could include purchasing a plastic plant pot, large enough to comfortably fit a rabbit. Making at least one rabbit sized hole and ensuring the edges of the hole are smoothed down with sanding paper to avoid any uncomfortable edges. Creating safe and fun spaces like this around your garden will both entertain and provide a safe haven for your rabbits.
The urban fox can be seen throughout the day and night and there have been many fatalities at all times of the day reported of urban foxes killing free roaming domestic rabbits. The same can also be said for cats, like foxes, cats are predators and can and will attack rabbits. Ultimately the risk of allowing your rabbits to free roam without supervision can be fatal.
This is not an exhaustive list of rabbit proofing your outside spaces, but hopefully it provides enough ideas to make sure the basics are covered.