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Old 04-21-2017, 09:35 AM   #1
Floppy91
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Default Question about free roaming a baby rabbit

Hello,
I am considering getting a new baby rabbit (from someone I know, who bought a m/f pair from a pet shop thinking they were both boys!)

I have done loads of research into rabbits and their needs and understand that they are expensive and live for a long time and need hay and food and neutered and vaccines and insurance etc and this is all fine.

My question is about free roaming. I want my rabbit to be free roam, at least in my bedroom and hallway. I am getting a baby gate on the kitchen as there is no door, and will cover it with pet safe panels from a (useless) hamster play pen (that they could climb out of).

The rabbit I'm planning on getting is a baby (9 weeks), can I free roam it from the start? At least in my bedroom? I understand it will take a while to house train the rabbit, there's only one cable to cover in my bedroom. Only issue is the wooden floors but can easily get rugs put down. Will this be unsafe or a disaster for a baby rabbit? I am still planning on getting a cage but I really do not want to keep it cooped up. Is it much different from having a baby kitten? Cos you just let them loose in your house and they damage stuff and might pee on the floor because it's a baby? (I don't have a kitten don't worry).

Thanks


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Old 04-21-2017, 07:11 PM   #2
Aki
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It depends on the rabbit. In my experience, does are cleaner than bucks, but my rabbits all got the litterbox thing after a few days when it comes to pee (poops are harder but also not that hard to clean up). The thing is that with hormones (from 3 months old until neuter / spay) the rabbit can begin to spray pee on purpose on the furniture, walls and... well, you or other people. It happened to me with my youngest buck and that was no fun.
If you want your rabbit to roam in several rooms (which is good!) it might be a good idea to invest in a second litter box so the rabbit doesn't have to go too far to find a place where to do his business.
Your rabbit will probably destroy things (then again, my parents' cat killed their couch ^^). Be very careful with electrical cords and don't leave anything on the floor - if it's on the floor, it's fair game (it might sound obvious, but it includes shoes). I've always had hardwood floors and my rabbits never damaged them (I've had rabbits for more than 10 years and they are free to roam about 16 hours a day). They are a lot more likely to damage carpets.
Rabbits like to dig, but they do that with soft-ish things and never on the floor in my experience - I give mine cisal mats or plain old cardboard boxes (with 4 openings, rabbits like to have several 'emergency exit'). It helps to wear their nails and keeps them occupied and active.
Tapestry is a big no-no, though. If you've got some, the rabbit will kill it, no question about that.
If you look for informations about rabbits and that you haven't read it already, the house rabbit society is always a good reliable source - the diet part is especially useful, as it can be a bit daunting to figure out what to give and how at first :
http://rabbit.org/category/care/


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Old 04-29-2017, 10:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floppy91 View Post
Hello,
I am considering getting a new baby rabbit (from someone I know, who bought a m/f pair from a pet shop thinking they were both boys!)

I have done loads of research into rabbits and their needs and understand that they are expensive and live for a long time and need hay and food and neutered and vaccines and insurance etc and this is all fine.

My question is about free roaming. I want my rabbit to be free roam, at least in my bedroom and hallway. I am getting a baby gate on the kitchen as there is no door, and will cover it with pet safe panels from a (useless) hamster play pen (that they could climb out of).

The rabbit I'm planning on getting is a baby (9 weeks), can I free roam it from the start? At least in my bedroom? I understand it will take a while to house train the rabbit, there's only one cable to cover in my bedroom. Only issue is the wooden floors but can easily get rugs put down. Will this be unsafe or a disaster for a baby rabbit? I am still planning on getting a cage but I really do not want to keep it cooped up. Is it much different from having a baby kitten? Cos you just let them loose in your house and they damage stuff and might pee on the floor because it's a baby? (I don't have a kitten don't worry).

Thanks
If you trust your bunny to use the litter pan, you can start slowly expanding their running area. If an accident occurs, you can either reduce the running area till they use the box again, or place another litter pan in that area. I'll say, compared to dog pee, rabbit pee isn't that bad compared. Start slow with your bunny. Some take to being free really well, and use their boxes diligently, from my experience it's usually males. All the females I've had, have been a bit persnickety about their litter pans, and being loose often gives them opening for accidents.
If you are able too, buy an army tarp, or plastic tarp, and put it on the floor, and only allow them to go within that area until they are litter trained properly. If you start young, and teach them about the rules of running free, it's really good for them. Although to much room for a baby bunny can be intimidating.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:08 AM   #4
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If you live in the US, there are no vaccines for pet rabbits.

If you want bunny to free roam -- do NOT start out roaming. That will only cause bad habits to form. Rabbits are very, very stubborn so you want to be sure you do it correctly from the start. Training them the right way is much, much easier than trying to un-do or reverse a bad habit.

Bunny should not free roam until potty trained so be patient. Until he's trained, he can be let out in a limited area near his cage on a heavy duty tarp just so that you can interact. Some rabbits litter train when young, some don't. Rabbits actually train easiest once fixed. Those that do seem to litter train when young, often forget those potty habits with the onset of hormones. So one may think bunny is trained and then he suddenly starts peeing everywhere. Your bunny is just a few weeks away from hormones.

The pen you plan to use to block the doorway should be a minimum of 30" tall. Shorter, and bunny will be able to hop over it.

Even a free roam rabbit should have a cage -- even if the door is kept open. It makes them feel safe to have a place of their own. Plus you need a place for litter box, hay, food, water, etc. Getting the cage set up from the start is most important. Getting them used to and comfortable in a cage the day you bring him home is an important step in helping bunny to acclimate. That cage will become his "safe zone," the area he feels is his. This is a good thing. You want your rabbit to take ownership of his cage. This helps him to litter train and ultimately helps him to be good when free roaming.

I detail how to gradually let bunny free roam here at my website. But don't be concerned about confining bunny to his cage for a bare minimum of the first 48 hours he is home. This is good for him and helps him to settle in.
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