Irrespective of the size of the enclosure, rabbits need varied exercise in the apartment or in the garden every day. Here you can find out what you should consider when letting rabbits run free.
Even the largest rabbit enclosure is boring in the long run. Aside from that, rabbits love to scurry around, twist and jump in the air. They can only do this if they have a space of several meters at their disposal. That’s why rabbits need free exercise every day.
This is what free-range rabbits should look like
Free-range rabbits, whether indoors or outdoors, should meet a few basic criteria. These are:
- Ideally, the rabbits can decide for themselves whether and when they want to explore the apartment or room. The enclosure should always be open during the free run so that they can withdraw into it at any time.
- Since rabbits are crepuscular, it makes sense to allow them to run around in the morning and/or evening. They usually spend the day resting. During this time, the animals are not disturbed as much as possible.
- A toilet with litter should not be missing in the run. Some rabbits also use the cage as a litter box. If your long ears aren’t housebroken yet, you can teach them to use a toilet.
Avoid danger to rabbits when running free
If your rabbit is given free rein in the apartment, you should bear in mind that rabbits will nibble on all the furnishings in the apartment, i.e. wallpaper, carpets, furniture, electrical cables, etc. Even if they run free under supervision, the animals are so fast that you cannot intervene in time before, for example, a cable is bitten through.
Since you can hardly make the whole house rabbit-proof, it is best to only give the rabbits a part of the house or a room. For this you can, for example, use outdoor enclosures for rabbits that are available in pet shops. With the help of the grid elements, part of the apartment can be separated.
If the animals are allowed to move around in an entire room, a board about 80 cm high can be placed in the door frame. Rabbits don’t usually jump over such an obstacle. You, in turn, can leave the room at any time without the animals being able to slip through the open door.
You should also pay attention to the safety of your rabbits when they run free in the garden. Offer them protection from heat and rain and ensure that the freewheel is escape-proof and predators have no access (if necessary, protection from birds of prey, e.g. by a net). Also, watch to see if your rabbits start digging. Then you must also make the freewheel escape-proof downwards.
Activity for rabbits when running free
If the safety of the rabbits is ensured, you can provide more variety and meaningful employment opportunities, especially during the run. Offer your darlings different caves and hiding places. Self-made wooden caves and tunnels can even be turned into real adventure playgrounds.
You can also set up ramps, for example by leaning a wooden board about 25 cm wide against a wooden tunnel or flat-roofed cottage (at an angle of no more than 30 degrees). Rabbits like to hop up and down on it. Other furnishings such as fabric and Raschel tunnels, cork tubes, and cardboard boxes are popular activities for walking through and hiding.
Some long-eared dogs also like to jump over hurdles. Simply set up two to three small obstacles (e.g. books) and lure your animals over with a treat. Run your hand (with the treat) over the obstacle and use the word “hop” to encourage your rabbit to jump. With a little patience, some rabbits learn that the reward (the treat) follows the jump.