When baby rabbits are allowed outside does not depend solely on their age. Weather and temperature also play a decisive role. In addition, safety must be taken into account.
In this article, we tell you what you need to keep in mind.
At the end, we will also give you 8 tried and tested tips for getting your baby rabbit used to being kept outside.
When are baby rabbits are allowed outside?
Although this question sounds simple and you surely expected an exact age, the answer consists of several parts.
First, development plays an important role.
Very young rabbits have sensitive digestion and can quickly become overwhelmed by the large supply of fresh foods such as grass and clover. In addition, just like the stomach and intestines, the immune system must be able to adjust and get used to the new influences outdoors.
Nevertheless, the stay outdoors is beneficial to the health and quality of life of your pet, if attention is paid to safety.
This includes, among other things, the temperatures!
Regardless of whether it’s freezing in the winter or hot in the summer, both can pose a danger. Therefore, it is best to use late spring to acclimate them to an outdoor enclosure.
Temperatures should be between 18 and 25°C initially. This way you do not risk hypothermia or heat stroke. However, you should avoid bright sun and rain.
It is also important that your rabbit has not only left the nest, but is also secure on its feet. Just like babies of other mammals, rabbits have to learn to walk. As a result, they are still quite wobbly in the first few weeks and can injure themselves more easily in moments of fright.
Between about the fourth and eighth week of life, they can already navigate well, so you can allow them short stays outdoors.
This is at least true if it is a secure enclosure.
If you don’t have a garden and you want to walk your rabbit on a leash, you should get him used to it first. You can find out how to do this here.
Can baby rabbits live outside in cages permanently?
Yes, this is definitely possible. But they don’t just need a safe outdoor run for it. An insulated hutch with sufficient space and protection against moisture and cold is just as crucial.
In addition, the animals must be able to gradually get used to being kept outside.
This is necessary, among other things, because of the many new stimuli. The smells and sounds are fundamentally different from those in the house or apartment.
In addition, there are greater temperature fluctuations, wind and rain, and snow. The body therefore also has to adjust to the new conditions. This is true not only for baby rabbits, but also for animals that have lived indoors.
If you take a few things into consideration and your rabbits only spend a few hours outdoors at first, keeping them outdoors can be quite advantageous. Because the animals have green food available at all times, the immune system is trained and you can offer them more space.
What are the dangers of keeping baby rabbits outdoors?
Although fresh air, more space and green food are key benefits, there are some outdoor hazards you need to be aware of. These include, but are not limited to:
- poisonous plants
- excessive amounts of green food
- Heat stroke
- insect bites
Baby rabbits are very sensitive and therefore more vulnerable. The risks of escaping or falling victim to a predator are also higher due to their small size. This is because rabbits can more easily fit through even small gaps and can even be considered prey by a domestic cat.
In addition, there are birds of prey, foxes, dogs, martens and raccoons. Even rats may try to kill and eat small rabbits.
So if you want to keep your animals outdoors, you must take appropriate countermeasures.
This includes securing under the wire or fence so that rabbits can’t burrow outward, nor can potential enemies burrow inward underneath. Low-reaching lawn edging stones are ideal for this purpose. A concrete border can also serve the purpose, but requires more effort.
Also, be sure to think about securing it upward.
Not only can your rabbits jump up while they’re playing or if they get spooked. Potentially dangerous animals can also enter by jumping, climbing or flying this way.
Insects, such as mosquitoes, can enter the enclosure at any time. Therefore, have your animals vaccinated early and regularly. Myxomatosis is transmitted by mosquitoes and is fatal in the majority of cases. So, before you let your baby rabbit outside, he should have a full vaccination protection.
8 Proven Tips: Keeping baby rabbits outside
If you want to keep all or part of your rabbit outside, you should take it one step at a time. The new stimuli alone in the garden or on the balcony could otherwise be overwhelming.
So give yourself and a rabbit time and use the following tips to help.
- change food slowly
In a meadow or lawn, there will be significantly more green food available to the rabbit.
Too fast a change can stress the digestion and cause pain, cramps and bloating. So before you take the animal outside, you should gradually adjust the stomach and intestines.
This is easily done by providing a little more fresh food or grass each day.
Even outdoors, you should prevent eating larger amounts at first. In the first week, half an hour to one hour per day is sufficient.
You can then gradually increase the duration. 2.
- observe your pet
Chirping birds, barking dogs, traffic noise or loud wind can scare your rabbit at first. Therefore, choose a time of day that is as quiet as possible. This helps the rabbit to find its way around and to get used to the new impressions.
Observe your pet throughout so that you can identify fear triggers and calm it down if necessary.
This will also help you to notice possible escape routes, stress and dangers more quickly. This will help reduce the risk of injury and optimize the layout of the enclosure.
- provide security
Even though the purpose of free-range is to give your animals more space and better movement, they can still get scared.
By providing a secure boundary, you are already providing protection from danger, but this will be perceived differently by the animal. Therefore create retreat possibilities.
Well suited are sleeping houses, a roofed shelter and hiding places made of branches and twigs.
If you plan to keep the animal outdoors for a longer period of time anyway, you can provide a hutch directly.
4 Avoid extremes
Your baby rabbit’s first outdoor experience should be a positive one.
Therefore, avoid extremes.
This includes not only rain, wind or blazing sun. When transporting your baby rabbit outdoors, make sure that there are not too many new impressions at once.
So practice lifting and carrying beforehand. Get your pet used to a carrier or a leash before you go outside for the first time.
- use the twilight
In terms of temperatures, light conditions and adaptation, the hours of dawn and dusk are best for rabbits.
So, in the beginning, it is best to take the animal outside during these hours.
Another advantage is that it is often comparatively quiet during the twilight hours. This will help your baby rabbit get used to the new environment.
- make the outdoors palatable
An enclosure in the garden is by no means available to every rabbit owner.
However, the balcony or a walk on a leash and harness can also provide variety and enrich life.
Does your rabbit still not dare to explore the surroundings?
Then lure the animal with small rewards. Fennel, carrots or some celery are good examples.
Offering treats also has another advantage: rabbits, like many other animals, only eat when they are relaxed enough to do so. So if it is interested in a leaf of parsley or dandelion, that is a good sign.
- think of water
Even for shorter stays outdoors, you should provide enough water in an enclosure. Ideally, you should equip the outdoor area with an easily accessible water bottle and offer water in a shallow bowl.
- be careful when walking on a leash
If a secure enclosure is not an option, you can walk your rabbit.
This requires habituation and patience.
In addition, you must be careful.
Especially in more densely populated areas or when there are a lot of dogs and cats, exhaust fumes, feces and the use of pesticides can be dangerous. This is especially true if you walk your rabbit on sidewalks or high traffic areas, near roads or in a park.
In this case, do not let it eat plants and pay close attention to the surroundings. An approaching dog, noisy children playing or traffic can frighten the animal and cause injury.
It is therefore better to take your rabbit in your arms early!
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
The website will draw have authors who are vets, pet owners, and local pet breeders. All who will contribute their fantastic knowledge which in turn will be able to help you i hope.
There is a lot of information on the internet so it may be hard to know where exactly is the best place to start learning. But we will write articles that get straight to the point, and give you all the information that you need with no fluff!
If you have any questions please leave a comment on the article, and i will reply to you!