PDA

View Full Version : Advice from house bunny mummies please :)



Sara0099
11-01-2014, 01:38 AM
From what I understand indoor bunnies are rabbits that live indoors but in a hutch/pen whereas house rabbits run free like a cat or dog would. Please correct me if I'm wrong!?

So if I've understood that correctly - at the moment I have 2 indoor rabbits. They are nearly 5 1/2 and very well behaved. They are used to being in a spacious indoor pen and I let them out to run around the lounge whenever I am home. The lounge is bunny proofed & they have plenty of toys!

I'd say they are out four evenings a week for around four hours. They are out for the majority of the day/evening three days a week - I always put them back in their pen if I leave the flat.

At the moment I'm contemplating buying this - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=355359341243731&set=a.309266595853006.68615.274922292620770&type=1&theater it's spacious and will keep mess to a minimum!! I know people who say bunnies are messy and stress about keeping the place tidy with them around but the three of us have managed so far!

I think I would prefer them just to have free run of the lounge 24/7 though, my worry is that I'm out 12 hours a day four days a week at work. The weekend and my one day off in the week I'm in and out but generally at the moment I'm home. Is this too long to leave them by themselves? When I'm here they tend to play a little, eat a little and sleep!

People who have house bunnies - are you generally home a lot? Do you worry when you go out?

I'm in two minds between getting rid of the pen altogether or buying this luxury new one! I guess I'm just interested in peoples thoughts and hearing from people who have house bunnies and how well it works for them etc?? TIA

nessar
11-01-2014, 02:34 AM
People use the terms house bunny and indoor bunny interchangeably, they both just mean a rabbit that lives indoors, free-range or not.

Those pens are great, Manor Pet Housing do some great stuff, my buns are outside at the moment but they used to be house bunnies and will be again in the future, and when I move I'll be getting that pen (but a bit bigger) for my buns as they're very neat looking. I say bigger as buns really need more space than that or loads of free-range time (min 12 hours I would say), as it doesn't meet the RWAF minimum size for permanent housing http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/ahutchisnotenough.htm

Free range would give them lots more space so would be the preferable option. I wouldn't worry about leaving them unattended - as long as you haven't got bottles of bleach or bowls of poisonous food or house plants lying around, they are perfectly safe. The risk is more to your electrical wires and furniture, but you've already bunny proofed and I imagine you know by now if they are chewers.

Neill
11-01-2014, 02:39 AM
We have had house bunnies for 20 years + Nearly always as bonded pairs. Over the years we have found the best set up is to let them have full access during the daytime but at night we put them away in a large dog crate . They seem to like this and actually put themselves away the same time each night. Being away at night keeps up with their litter tray regime, keeps down the mess in the house a bit as well. Although our bunnies have access to the house they never come out of the lounge/dining room as they dont like the slippy kitchen floors and hallway. The lounge diner is a large area at about 35ft x 15 so it gives them plenty of space. We have doors that lead onto a decked area which they get access to in the mornings .They soon beg to come back in as they are wimps.

My wife does come home during the day for dinner ect

Biscuit&lucylous_butlers
11-01-2014, 02:39 AM
Hi,

We have two house bunnies one we have had since April and one just a couple of weeks. We originally made a indoor hutch for under the stairs with a attached run, but as soon as he was litter trained we just left a little area where he has his food, drink and litter. Apart from a few mistakes by us in the way of forgetting to bunny proof a few wires we have never had any problem. He has however made under the single chair his quiet place where he likes to sleep and if he goes under there we know to leave him to it. As soon as the new arrival had successfully bonded we left her out too. Either we've been extremely lucky or you shouldn't have a problem..... However the new one is slightly messy but hoping that's something that will sort out as she gets used to everything


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com/m?id=1)

thumps_
11-01-2014, 06:28 AM
I have a house bunny who free ranges. I'm fortunate to have my own house so "bunny damage" is what I'm prepared to tolerate. Benjie has the habit of carpet digging if he wants to get through a closed door:roll: but that's confined to the bedroom only, & rarely happens now.
I don't worry at all if I'm out.
I agree with Nessar about precautions but they're what we do anyway.
With a pair I doubt if you'll notice any change in their present behaviour when you're out.
Benjie doesn't have a hutch or pen. He quietly lies under my bed when I go to bed, & is quiet as a mouse until I get up!

esupi
11-01-2014, 07:51 AM
Our indoor pair have free run on the landing 24/7. They are allowed in the lounge whenever we're home. I've contemplated letting them have access to the lounge all the time, but every now and then they do get it into their heads to chew a cushion or a book or the corner of the sofa or something and if we're not here to stop them obviously they could do a fair bit of damage. It wouldn't really bother me but OH hates that sort of thing so this works best for us.

If yours don't chew though go for it!

Sara0099
11-01-2014, 01:17 PM
I have no concerns about them making a mess or destroying the place while I'm out, but leaving them alone to roam around the lounge for 12 hours a day - is that a bit much?? Especially when they are used to being in a pen?

nessar
11-01-2014, 01:37 PM
I have no concerns about them making a mess or destroying the place while I'm out, but leaving them alone to roam around the lounge for 12 hours a day - is that a bit much?? Especially when they are used to being in a pen?

Why? What could happen?

We are so used to the idea of rabbits in cages that it seems bizarre to have them roam the house, the same thing that we wouldn't bat an eye-lid at if they were dogs or cats. Bizarrely it seems to be more acceptable mentally if the rabbit is giant as well :lol: It just seems a bit odd because it is not what you have grown up with in society, but there really isn't much of a difference between having a rabbit free-range than having a cat or dog.

I could go into the psychology of it all, but I won't bore you :)

cpayne
11-01-2014, 02:00 PM
Doughnut is an indoor bunny with a hutch and playpen set up. She has the run of downstairs when I am around then I started to think about leaving her out in the lounge/dining room as everything is bunny proofed. I forgot to shut the hutch one morning and she greeted me at the front door when I came in from work. Nothing was damaged, just had poops to scope up which are scattered mainly near her hutch and she had used her litter tray for wees. From then on I left her out and I put her in over night.

Rabbits are most active at dusk and dawn so now she is out for both of them when she wants a run around.

12 hours isn't too long, in fact the longer the better. I'm sure they would prefer to free range.

vicky_26
11-01-2014, 03:01 PM
My two bunnies have been house bunnies for around 4 months now (previously were in cages in the garden). They now have the back porch as their own and are not caged at all. My back porch is attached to my kitchen and I always keep the attaching door open so in theory they have the run of the back porch and kitchen. When I go out I close my kitchen door so they can't get in to the living room but it's open when I am around so they pretty much have the run of the downstairs of my house.

However, they pretty much stick to their own area! They do sometimes come in the living room but will tend to sit under my coffee table.... I had visions when I first brought them in that they would be running around all over the place but they don't really (they will occasionally have a mad five mins) so I guess it depends on the individual rabbit and their personality.

I did pick up that they don't like my wooden flooring so I have put some carpet down - thankfully an old bit in their back porch as they have started scratching and chewing at it - which I don't mind as it's an old bit but wouldn't be too impressed with if it was decent carpet!

Even with the carpet chewing I wouldn't change having them as house bunnies, I love that I get to spend more time with them than when they are outside, they have started grooming me since being indoors (so guess they feel more comfortable with me!) and I love it when I am watching tv and they come running in to the lounge for an explore.

mokwa32
11-01-2014, 07:58 PM
I have a large puppy pen home for my bun. Its huge and has a large cardboard castle in in (made myself :lol:) and a hide away hut, tri~tunnel, litter tray and other toys, still loads of space. Binx is active early morning and evening so he spends the day in his pen, soon he will have a wife to share his home. I let him out for 2-3 hours morning and 2-3 hours evening to explore the livingroom.......he wont go into the kitchen :?

Iv opened the pen in the daytime and he wont come out, quite happy to stay in his space. But I have 2 mature russels so he has to share the time with them, they like a lie in bed, so when they are snoozing, binx gets out. Im at home with my children, I dont work, stay at home mum as my kids are little. So my kids dogs and buns have to work together and have to share time, but we are all happy. You sound like a wonderful bunny mummy, im sure they are very happy with what they have.

But the large puppy pen is excellent. :wave::wave::wave:

Hele
11-01-2014, 08:22 PM
Our indoor pair have free run on the landing 24/7. They are allowed in the lounge whenever we're home. I've contemplated letting them have access to the lounge all the time, but every now and then they do get it into their heads to chew a cushion or a book or the corner of the sofa or something and if we're not here to stop them obviously they could do a fair bit of damage. It wouldn't really bother me but OH hates that sort of thing so this works best for us.

If yours don't chew though go for it!

I think this is perfect, they have plenty of running space 24/7 and probably view the lounge as almost a 'treat' I often find that having a space they are let into acts as enrichment and causes lots of excited running around and binkies :p

My guys have their own rooms, but get let out into the hall most days for a bit of a run around, the hall is tiny compared to their rooms, but always gets them running about and lots of binkies :love:

For the OP I think if you are not worried about them destroying your room then let them out! They will still be alone for the same amount of time, but will just have more space to chill out in whilst waiting for you to get home!

*lily*
11-01-2014, 08:24 PM
Louie freeranges the whole hiuse 24/7 whether we are home or not!

He has a liking for wires so we protect these with a puppy pen when we are out or in bed.

benjiboom
11-01-2014, 11:27 PM
Benji is a housebun, when he first came indoors he had a large cage but we never locked him in we just had it as his base, he is allowed to free range all day but if i nip out i lock the living room door because i worry he may find a way behind the tv if left to his own devices in there even though we have bunny proofed. However 4 months later he has adopted the dining room table and chairs as his base, he sleeps on the chairs during the day, so i have given him a large underbed storage box filled with hay so he has a safe place thats his and we no longer need the cage. Benji never goes up the stairs i think he is scared of them;) i love having him indoors, he's like a little dog and follows me around from room to room!:love: He has a litter tray in each room and never has an accident, he's fantastic!!

Sara0099
12-01-2014, 01:23 AM
To be honest I'm pretty happy for them to roam free in the lounge, space wise it will be great not have this big pen in the middle of my lounge LOL. And I think it would be good for them too. I'm pretty much bunny proofed but if I decided to let them out permanently I would definitely go around the lounge doublechecking everything! I have a family member who is putting slight doubts in my mind about getting rid of the pen and having them roam freely. Her concerns are as follows -


- While jumping on/off the sofa they could fall and hurt themselves & be alone all day in pain. I'm out at work 12 hours a day.

- Although I will be bunny proofed as best as I can, what if they get through some cables and hurt themselves?

- They won't have their own little place to go back to. Their 'home'.

- They will get used to being out so will it be unkind to put them back in a pen when I have workman/decorators in the flat as I will be doing up certain rooms.

- When I let them out to play they frequently go back in their pen on their own accord, they have a choice. By removing the pen have I've taken their choice away?

- What happens when I go away on holiday? My lovely parents come over and feed them usually but would I need to put them in a pen or leave them with free range of the lounge?

- Animals need to know the human is in charge, so if the pen (their space) is in the lounge (my space) they know that I am their boss. If I take the pen away, will they not see me as their boss anymore and think we're equals?


These were some of the questions my sister had. She emailed them to me earlier and I never actually read them until I was typing this post out. To begin with I just ignored & dismissed her concerns and questions, but now seeing them written out in front of me and having to put them into this post, her questions have put doubts in my mind. I just want to do what is best for them and what I think makes them happiest but now I feel like I'm going to upset them by taking away their home and comfort and safety :(

Biscuit&lucylous_butlers
12-01-2014, 01:35 AM
Most of those questions are purely what ifs. Your rabbits aren't likely to hurt themselves jumping on and off your sofa etc. however they def need a base. Some where to escape if they need to that's quiet. As I said earlier ours go under the arm chair and love it there. We also have the mini area under the stairs for food and drink and litter tray so they have their constant areas. They really aren't a problem and I think they are much happier not having a cage. We also leave them out when we go on holiday but we have a very bunny friendly friend who comes over and spends time with them every day.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com/m?id=1)

nessar
12-01-2014, 03:08 AM
Answers below :) hope this helps.


To be honest I'm pretty happy for them to roam free in the lounge, space wise it will be great not have this big pen in the middle of my lounge LOL. And I think it would be good for them too. I'm pretty much bunny proofed but if I decided to let them out permanently I would definitely go around the lounge doublechecking everything! I have a family member who is putting slight doubts in my mind about getting rid of the pen and having them roam freely. Her concerns are as follows -


- While jumping on/off the sofa they could fall and hurt themselves & be alone all day in pain. I'm out at work 12 hours a day. Very very unlikely, rabbits are great at jumping. I've never heard of it happening with something as low as a sofa.

- Although I will be bunny proofed as best as I can, what if they get through some cables and hurt themselves? Again this is unlikely - extension cables pose a bit more risk but normal wires are often bitten through in one go - doesn't even touch their mouths usually. When my two were indoors, off the top of my head they have had about 7 phone chargers, 4 laptop chargers, 2 usb cables, 2 lamps, 1 fishtank light, 1 printer cable and 3 extension leads. Barney seems to look for them to bite :roll: a lot of these were before I learnt how to bunny-proof. They are both fine and never seemed to get shocked. If you are worried, you can get emergency cut out plugs for your sockets, only cost a few pounds.

- They won't have their own little place to go back to. Their 'home'. If you want, keep the pen, just have it open. Or let them find their own place. It is a nice idea to keep a corner or somewhere for them where they won't be disturbed, whether that be a pen or just a corner with their food and litter tray and somewhere to hide, particularly if you have kids.

- They will get used to being out so will it be unkind to put them back in a pen when I have workman/decorators in the flat as I will be doing up certain rooms.
How soon and for how long will they need to be in the pens? If it is going to be more than a few days and is only a month or so away, I'd maybe keep the pen for now but have less time in it. If they'll just be in it for a couple of days or a few hours at a time or it's a while away, don't worry about it. It's a bit like saying you'll keep a dog in a kennel all it's life just so it doesn't feel sad when in a kennel when you're on holiday.

- When I let them out to play they frequently go back in their pen on their own accord, they have a choice. By removing the pen have I've taken their choice away? If you are worried, keep the pen but have it open. The pen is a cage that you are putting them in, you will just be removing the barrier to freedom, not their space and stuff altogether.

- What happens when I go away on holiday? My lovely parents come over and feed them usually but would I need to put them in a pen or leave them with free range of the lounge?
That's up to you, and ultimately down to how much you trust them around your furniture and how able your parents are to catch them for health-checks etc. See my kennel metaphor above.

- Animals need to know the human is in charge, so if the pen (their space) is in the lounge (my space) they know that I am their boss. If I take the pen away, will they not see me as their boss anymore and think we're equals?
Rabbits aren't dogs, and many will not regard you as the boss (like cats won't). They don't need to, either, as they aren't dangerous if they don't. Rabbits don't seem to include humans in their social hierarchy in the same way as other rabbits from what I've observed, they acknowledge us as a separate species. Of course, our body language is so different anyway and their hierarchies are complex so it would be silly to try (to establish yourself as boss you'd want to stop stroking them for a start). Although in very lonely single rabbits and hormonal unneutered rabbits I have witnessed some attempt at forming some form of basic hierarchy i.e. cage aggression. Upon making them free-range/a much much larger space this actually can solve the problem.

These were some of the questions my sister had. She emailed them to me earlier and I never actually read them until I was typing this post out. To begin with I just ignored & dismissed her concerns and questions, but now seeing them written out in front of me and having to put them into this post, her questions have put doubts in my mind. I just want to do what is best for them and what I think makes them happiest but now I feel like I'm going to upset them by taking away their home and comfort and safety :(
You're not taking away anything from them, you are simply giving them their freedom. If you think they would prefer a base, keep the pen, just keep it open. Nothing to stop you doing that, many housebuns have a base to call their own, that contains their stuff, so they can retire to it if family life gets too loud/busy and know they won't be bothered. Getting lots of exercise, particularly in the early hours of the morning when they are most active and humans are asleep, is fantastic for their mental and physical health (not just muscles and bones but exercise improves gut motility too, which is so important).

tigerlilyb84
12-01-2014, 11:42 AM
Hi Sara,

I have 4 indoor buns in our dining/living room! We have a dog crate as their base with their hay, water and litter tray in. When we're out, I pen off half of the room so they only have access to the 'dining room' - this end has no wires or sofa etc which they could damage. They can get onto the dining table if I don't push the chairs right in so am careful with that but other than that it is safe and they have plenty of space. When I'm home I let them roam around the other side of the room too plus down the hall and upstairs under supervision. I'd let them in the whole living room all day when I'm out but our oldest bun jumps up on our window sill and knocks things over so and they sometimes chew the coffee table. My boyfriend's amazingly patient with having them in the house but think we'd struggle if things kept getting damaged so this set up works as a perfect compromise for all :-)

PS tried to upload a photo but no idea how to do it on here sorry!

Sara0099
12-01-2014, 03:03 PM
Thank you for your replies! At the moment I have what I usually describe as a giant hamster cage lol - attached is their run. The 'giant hamster cage' has the litter tray for food and water. The attached run has their toys and a wooden house - it's big enough to climb on or go inside. Ideally I would just get rid of the run and keep the rabbit cage which would have their food water and litter tray so in that respect nothing will change. They would still have their little house and toys.

Ideally I'd like to lose the pen for space saving reasons & of course for them. At the moment they like to go and sit behind the sofa and in various hideaways in the lounge! Once the pen has gone I'll be getting a dining table which I'm sure they'll love to sit under!

I know how to look after my rabbits and know a lot about them, what's best for them etc. And like I previously said - I had dismissed practically everything she said or had an answer for everything she said. But there was something about seeing the concerns written down in black-and-white in front of me. Just made me feel like I was making the wrong choice. Made me question myself I think.

Beau Belle
12-01-2014, 06:38 PM
Hello :wave:

We have three indoor/free-ranging buns. They have their own bedroom, into which they can retreat and rest anytime they feel like it. I don't allow visiting kids in there without supervision ~ it's the bunnies' room and as such must be respected (no shouting, no grabbing bunnies, no feeding them unsuitable foods etc). The bunnies spend most of their time in their room, but will make regular trips to "human space" in case strokes and/or treats are on offer. Occasionally, they'll hop up on the sofa or check out what's under the hoomins' bed.

My partner works shifts so if he's a home (awake or asleep), we leave the door to their room wide open. If no one is at home, I'll push the door to ~ just in case ~ and we'll reopen when we get back home. I don't like the idea of them free-ranging every room when we're not around (it's all bunny proofed, but you never know).

It works very well for us. :thumb:

annabolic
18-01-2014, 01:39 PM
I have two indoor rabbits, Dot and Jim. They live in a large puppy pen in the living room and are let out free range in the living room if I'm in there - I've only had them for a few weeks so we're still finding a routine but at the moment they tend to be out for an hour or two in the evenings. Apart from a few droppings here and there they haven't had any accidents and will always pop back into their pen to play with toys, eat hay or use their litter tray.

At the moment I'm not confident enough to leave them free-ranging when I'm not in the room to keep an eye on them - after a few failed attempts at bunny-proofing I've put some bricks under the (quite high) sofas to block them off because there are cables underneath and mine also like to dig the carpet so it's easier to just block. I haven't worked out yet whether the bricks are heavy enough to stop the bunnies getting past but I'm really hoping so as I've run out of ideas! The other problem for me is that I have quite a high shelf (about 4 and a half feet) next to the sofa. They keep trying to get onto it and I'm scared that if they do they could fall off and hurt themselves - the sofa is on one side of it, which is how they try to get up, but the other side is a sheer drop into their pen. Am I being paranoid or could they hurt themselves if they get up there?

SJH
18-01-2014, 02:00 PM
Oh dear! Inquisitive buns. :D

I'd say a determined bun, or two of them could move the brick :(

They could also make it onto the shelf although I doubt they'd fall. More likely they'd jump off and probably be ok (although it's a fair old jump) or just stay there awaiting help! The more worrying thing might be the surface they'd jump onto. Carpet with some grip or wood with no grip? The former should be ok. The latter does risk slipping and thus injury.

Hope that helps :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com/m?id=1)

annabolic
18-01-2014, 02:06 PM
They are definitely both very inquisitive - they're medium sized so not as strong as giants but I'm slightly worried they could move the bricks. I'm just keeping a close eye on them for the moment! The shelf is painted wood so quite slippery. Unfortunately at the moment I can't see any way I'm ever going to be able to leave them alone for more than a couple of minutes because although I've done my best to bunny-proof there always seems to be a gap or a weakness or a danger somewhere :(

nessar
18-01-2014, 06:52 PM
They are definitely both very inquisitive - they're medium sized so not as strong as giants but I'm slightly worried they could move the bricks. I'm just keeping a close eye on them for the moment! The shelf is painted wood so quite slippery. Unfortunately at the moment I can't see any way I'm ever going to be able to leave them alone for more than a couple of minutes because although I've done my best to bunny-proof there always seems to be a gap or a weakness or a danger somewhere :(

There are risks in everything, and to be honest you are more likely to die when you go outside everyday, from a car-accident or something, than they are of slipping off a shelf to the extent they kill themselves. Most of the time when buns slip, they'll turn it into a jump and land perfectly (although I would remove any glass ornaments/sharp objects from under the shelf just in case). It's like, if you have kids, would you keep them inside their whole lives to keep them safe, at the cost of their own quality of life?

Of course, another option is to move them into a room where you feel they would be safer or extend their pen. Whatever you decide, the Rabbit Welfare Association minimum guidelines for housing state that they need 24 hour access to an area of at least 44 square feet.

I have found that whilst buns CAN do some things, you can stop them doing things purely by not making it something desirable. For instance, I know from experience that my two buns can jump over a 2ft 6 inch barrier, because they did when I had them in a small pen indoors once when I was moving house. But I also know that I can leave their outdoor run (that is 2.4ft high) open for hours and they will not jump out. They won't jump out because the run is big enough for them (8x6ft) and there is nothing that they particularly want on the other side of the barrier. Equally, I know my bigger bun can move bricks if he really wants to (I have them holding up planks of wood in the garden to block off the gap under the fence). But he won't, because I have provided better things for him to do. I have found the best form of bunny-proofing is when you remove their desire to want to get at something. Provide lots of space at all times and change over enrichment activities to keep them interested in the right things. Make sure they express all the natural behaviours - running, jumping, periscoping, chewing, foraging, tunneling and digging. This will keep them from looking for less constructive things to do.

And make sure you don't keep anything interesting or food/drink related on anywhere (e.g. the shelf) where you don't want them to go. Or alternatively, just move the shelf higher/away from the sofa so it is not accessible.