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Let me just explain that this article will detail how to keep PET rabbits IN the garden, it’s not about keeping WILD rabbits OUT of the garden.
Although one of the major points is building a rabbit proof fence, and I’m pretty sure they’re two way fences, so I guess it doesn’t matter which side of the fence the rabbits are sitting on.
Also, if you’re letting your rabbits out in the garden, you need to ensure that wild rabbits aren’t coming into the garden too, since they can be carrying diseases like RVHD (1 and 2) and Myxomatosis. My rabbits have had their vaccinations, but that’s not a 100% guarantee that they won’t get the disease.
Get a rabbit-proof fence
Rabbits can jump REALLY high, so I’d go for something that’s over 150cm/60 inches high. You also need to make sure it sticks into the ground, otherwise your rabbit may dig out. 15cm/6 inches into the ground should be ample.
Your rabbit isn’t desperately trying to get away from you, they just seem to like escaping from things.
If you already have a wooden fence, you can use wire mesh at the bottom to discourage them from digging.
Before letting your rabbit have free rein in the garden, check very carefully for any holes. Rabbits can squeeze through surprisingly small spaces, so block up any gaps just in case.
We don’t let our rabbits out into the garden very often (to be fair, it’s rarely nice enough weather), but when I do, I prefer to have them in an x pen. We live next to a busy road and I don’t want to risk any accidents.
X pens are pretty cheap and durable, so you could get a couple to increase the space. If you’re after a lazy way to mow your lawn, just move the xpen to a new spot every time.
Supervise your rabbit
We don’t have a lot in the way of predators in the UK – for example, I don’t need to worry much about hawks swooping down and taking my rabbit. The birds of prey we do have prefer to scour the roads for carrion. Fair enough.
Still, I wouldn’t leave my rabbits outside unsupervised. Perhaps I would if I had a big, sturdy, run but I don’t. Perhaps when I’m rich.
The most likely threat to your bunny are cats and dogs. You may not usually get them in your garden, but your rabbit is basically bait. Be ready to scoop up your bunny and take them in.
Side note: if your rabbit can’t get to your garden under their own steam, take them in a box. That way you don’t have to carry them (they’ll kick and scratch if they’re not used to or don’t like being picked up) and if you see a predator approaching it’s easier to cover the bunny with a box than it is to pick them up – especially if you’re panicking.
This may sound like an overreaction, but I’m VERY risk averse, so I like to have all escape routes covered.
Remove any poisonous plants
There’s an easy, tedious way to do this, and a more technical way.
The technical way is to examine every plant, determine whether or not it’s poisonous (using either Google or your dad) and then remove any of them that may pose a threat to your rabbit.
NOTE: ground elder is a pain in the bum in the UK – it spreads quickly and is impossible to kill. It’s also a member of the carrot family, so your rabbits will eat it with gusto. You’re welcome.
The easy way is to just remove all plants that you’re not sure about, or block them off from your rabbit using netting or wire mesh.
Or, you could train your rabbit to walk on a harness, but that’s not something I can guarantee your rabbit will tolerate. I’ve only ever tried once and she HATED it (she wriggled out in approx 0.05 seconds) and I never tried again.
Check for holes under your house/decking
You don’t want your rabbit disappearing under your house and setting up shop. You also don’t want to be offering lettuce at midnight in a desperate attempt to get your bunny back inside.
Rabbits like dark holes – that’s why they love going under the bed – so if they see one they’ll gravitate towards it. Check thoroughly before releasing your beast.
Remove anything you don’t want chewing or that is dangerous
You know the drill by now – if a rabbit can chew something, they will.
Clear the garden of tools, rubbish, toys…anything that your rabbit poses a danger too or that poses danger to your rabbit.
Is it recommended that house rabbits go outdoors?
There is a chance that indoor rabbit’s don’t get enough vitamin D but you can remedy that by ensuring that they have access to a room with a window. If you’re worried, you could probably get a supplement to add to their food.
I don’t think going outside is necessary for a rabbit’s wellbeing. I was very excited when we moved to a house with a garden, because I thought my rabbits would be super excited.
Turns out that they don’t really care. They like eating the grass and dandelions and having ample room to zoom – all things you can provide indoors.