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View Full Version : Should I lock them up? (Are free roaming buns lazier?)



dumblepaws
30-12-2014, 05:32 PM
Someone mentioned today that free roaming bunnies are lazier than bunnies that are alternately contained and loose... 'Cos the bunnies who are contained/lose know when to be active and are ready to race round and investigate when they have out time - whereas permanently free bunnies lay around a lot more

Wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this?

Mine currently have a 6ftx2ft hutch with permanent access to a 6ft x 10ft run and do spend a lot of time just sitting. They're also mini rexes so I don't want them to get overweight as it may lead to sore hocks. They get breakfast in a treatball so have some exercise, and it seems a bit mean to lock them in overnight - especially as they wouldn't go to the toilet in their hutch so would hold it in all night - so i don't think it would work for them, but it was just an interesting idea which i hadn't heard before

Alibunbun
30-12-2014, 05:34 PM
I don't really know the answer to your question but I have noticed, because Indi had be in a smaller enclosure after her op, she is much more active when let out rather than when she's constantly got a large area - she lays around a lot more and rarely binkies and she has loads of space.

Jack's-Jane
30-12-2014, 05:37 PM
You may find that they do move about a lot during the night. But you may not see this as you are probably asleep. Your set-up sounds great and personally I would not want to start locking them in at night.

tabithakat64
30-12-2014, 05:38 PM
My bunnies have a 6x2 hutch with 24/7 access to a 6x8 run. But get really excited during their free range time so are definitely more active then.

MimzMum
30-12-2014, 06:57 PM
If I had proper space and not so many hazards in my home my bunnies would all be free range...provided they got on of course. They are currently and for the foreseeable future all singles and I have cats who they need supervision from. All their playtime is on a one at a time basis so they keep me busy! ;)

Fiver is my minirex and he has chronic sore hock but I believe that is the fate of most if not all rex types because their fur is less dense than other buns'. He still manages a good clip during exercise time and as long as there's no open sores on his feet he seems comfortable. Gotta keep up on his nails though, which must grow a mile a minute! :(

I don't think your buns are lazy...just supremely happy and relaxed because they are not 'cooped up'. :)

mini lop1
30-12-2014, 07:05 PM
You may find that they do move about a lot during the night. But you may not see this as you are probably asleep. Your set-up sounds great and personally I would not want to start locking them in at night.

This rabbits are more active at night as soon as lights go out here Mabel binkies around settles then early dawn more mad dashes

Vegan_Bunny
30-12-2014, 07:09 PM
I have three free range buns and Fiver (7) and Xena (older bun) are pretty lazy but I'm almost certain this is because of their age. Fiver used to be a lot more active and he does still have his mad moments but not like he used to. Shadowfax (about 2) is a different story. She races around every morning; binkying about and flying from one end of the room to the other. :lol: She's most certainly not lazy!

I think it just depends on the buns. :) I get my three out in the front room for a bit of a change of scenery and some days they will all have a binky about but most of the time they sit in their litter trays eating hay or just sit in front of the tv. :roll:

Tamsin
30-12-2014, 07:51 PM
I'd disagree, whilst bunnies are often very active after being confined, the time a free range rabbit spends rambling has the potential to add up to more exercise overall. What's actually happening is because they've been restricted from the run they want to stretch their legs a bit, but also they need to check out their territory for new things, invaders, re-scent mark etc.

The problem isn't how much space they have to access, it's that the space is too static. Think how much a wild rabbit's territory would change day to day - different weathers - rain, mud, snow, other animals going through, a branch falling from a tree, different cover depending on the time of year - bare branches in winter, thick growth in spring. Now compare that to your average rabbit run, and they can go years with virtually no change at all.

I think the better solution would be to encourage them to be more active in their space. For example, how would your bunnies answer these questions...

Is there a good place to sit where you can see your whole home? - If yes, why bother patrolling.
Can you reach your pellets without moving more than three hops from your veggies? If yes, no need to forage.
Has anything you haven't seen before turned up in the last 24 hours? If no, nothing new to investigate.
If you went for a hop, would you see anything different to when you went for a hop yesterday? If no, no point to hopping about.
Is every whim catered for by your loving human? If yes, lay back, relax and don't bother getting out of bed.

tabithakat64
30-12-2014, 08:42 PM
Makes perfect sense Tamsin

MimzMum
30-12-2014, 08:48 PM
Tamsin, that is a fantastic point of view post! I can just see my bunnies thinking exactly like that! :lol:

Miss Binky Bunny
31-12-2014, 12:12 AM
I have to agree Tamsin. Free ranger with access all areas here minus bedroom in day and living room at night, goes to check those entrances first as soon as the others are opened - meaning if bedroom access to pen is open in morning, but pen access to living room is shut, she'll run right around to try to get in to pen from living room, and vice versa. Just came back from exact opposite set up - penned in for majority of time with further access limited to certain times of day. Would run around crazy to check out the new territory. Then once decided all was safe and explored, would just go back to pen, or flop out to watch tv. I'll keep pen open during day at home and she'll just flop in pen area next to my chair or doze on her living space base platform until close to next feeding time. Or investigate where I've gone if I leave the pen area. Even if she's feeling lively in the daytime, what she does is go on a digging splurge for hours in her boxes and tunnels. Otherwise activity is highest around 8am and from after 8pm till around 1-3am (winter hours, a lot earlier on summer morns and later on warm summer nights.) Come 1.30-2.30am it's under my bed and thumps if I wake her up, or she shifts to the end of my bed, until around 7-8am.

sunnibunny
31-12-2014, 12:17 AM
Brilliant perspective Tasmin.

dumblepaws
02-01-2015, 10:12 PM
I think the better solution would be to encourage them to be more active in their space. For example, how would your bunnies answer these questions...

Is there a good place to sit where you can see your whole home? - If yes, why bother patrolling.
Can you reach your pellets without moving more than three hops from your veggies? If yes, no need to forage.
Has anything you haven't seen before turned up in the last 24 hours? If no, nothing new to investigate.
If you went for a hop, would you see anything different to when you went for a hop yesterday? If no, no point to hopping about.
Is every whim catered for by your loving human? If yes, lay back, relax and don't bother getting out of bed.

That makes a lot of sense - so I just need to keep making life difficult for Waffs & DP :)
Thanks everyone for you input - will feed it back to the person who said it as I think it is quite an interesting point

thanks

yaretzi
02-01-2015, 10:16 PM
The difference in level of exercise and how it affects the rabbits physiologically is negligible compared to the welfare benefits of the animals being able to choose for themselves what to do with their time. Letting animals plan their own day has been proven to reduce the stress of animals in zoos and other collections, so it should correlate fairly well over to pet animals. Planning their time is mentally stimulating and it's a natural thing for them to do, and humans aren't as good at knowing what is best for an animal compared to the animal itself. I would definitely always let an animal choose its own activities... and if they are getting too plump or too skinny to cope with their daily activities I would adjust their food accordingly instead of dictating what an animal should do with its time.