Outdoor Rabbit Cages
If you live in a region with a moderate climate, you may find that your pet rabbit enjoys being outside. Outdoor rabbit housing is a great way to enjoy your pet and keep him or her happy, without introducing any dirt or odors into your home. The primary considerations you need to make are for the protection of your rabbit or rabbits from the elements as well as climate control. Rabbits are very tolerant of cold weather, but they cannot handle heat. Sometimes placing the cage or hutch in the shade is not sufficient. Here we’ve identified some health and safety solutions for your outdoor rabbit cages.
You never want to leave your rabbit in direct sunlight. If you can’t find a shady area in the yard, consider building a roof over the hutch much like the one on your own house. You may find cages that already have waterproof asphalt or tiled roofs to give great protection from the sun. Building a cover out of similar material is an easy way to convert a pre-existing indoor cage into something that is suitable for the outdoors. Another option is to keep the hutch in a covered patio or porch area that is attached to your house. Again, this will ensure that your rabbit has shade throughout the day, year-round.
Wind & Rain Cover
To protect your pet from the wind, rain, and anything else nature can stir up, you should use an outdoor rabbit cage with a solid top and at least one or two solid sides. The solid construction will act as a wind block without limiting overall ventilation, and the solid wall will give your rabbit a comfortable place to sit during storms or windy days. If you live in a mild climate with infrequent rain, you can probably get by with a solid roof and a 4-6” splash guard along the lower edges of the cage. This provides enough protection if your rabbit needs to hunker down in the corner of the cage, but it is also easy to clean, and keeps the cage feeling very light and open.
Can It Get Too Cold?
In very cold climates, your rabbit’s fur may not be enough to keep him or her warm while outdoors. Talk to the breeder to find out what the lower temperature limits are for your pet, and move your rabbit indoors immediately if the temperatures drop within 5 degrees of the recommended limit. Even if you keep your pet outdoors 99% of the time, you really should own a small indoor cage in case of emergencies.
You may also put a small enclosure, such as a wooden box or empty cereal carton into the outdoor cage where your rabbit can sit to conserve body heat. You will find that rabbits or litters who share a cage will often huddle together to generate more warmth. Another option that some pet owners use are short lengths of PVC pipe capped off on one end to provide additional shelter and isolation from the cold. This may not be the most attractive cold-weather solution, but they will do the trick and are fairly cheap.
Any outdoor rabbit cage should be versatile and durable. You want your pet to feel safe regardless of the weather conditions. Give some consideration to the permanence of the structure. If you have the room for it, an enclosed rabbit hutch can give your yard a bit of character. Ventilation is important for reducing odor as well as your pet’s health. You never want to cut off the supply of fresh air or let the enclosure feel stuffy.