Free Roaming Experiences

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Butterscotch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
247
Reaction score
190
Location
USA
Hello all!

I've had my bonded pair of rabbits for a year now. They are spayed and neutered and I'm very confident all hormonal issues are gone and they are litter box trained. I would like to begin the process of bunny proofing my home and I'm looking for experiences from those of you who free roam your bunnies. What are some good, bad, funny or scary situations that your buns have gotten into? I'm hoping to discover things I've missed while beginning to bunny proof my home. I've got the obvious things like power cords and cleaning products taken care of but what are some surprising situations that your rabbits have gotten into that you never thought about until it happened?

Thank you for any stories you share!
 

Hermelin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
1,954
Reaction score
1,645
Location
Sweden
My bunnies have been getting locked in the trash, running out from the front door, jumping out from the window, eating wires, destroyed a few shoes, getting stuck up on the bookshelf, stealing food from the plates, eating plants and so on. Nearly weakly I’m stumbling on my bunnies and not figurering out where they are when they go missing 🙄

So never lift your feet while walking around in the house when you have free roaming bunnies. Everyone that visits my home know to not lift their feet, so they will only shove the bunnies if they are in the way and always look on the floor if you are going to put stuff down, taking a step and so on.

I have too many rooms to look for a bunny and a few places I can’t look under or behind. They get under more things than you can think of and jump up on things. Just today one of my bunnies got stuck behind his cage, I thought I had bunny proofed it. Turn out he still managed to sneak behind but couldn’t get out. The bunny cage have wires behind it but the rest of the room don’t have any wires.

So it’s quite a lot of things to think about 😅
 

Apollo’s Slave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
1,120
Reaction score
1,085
Location
London, England
I’ve got one free roamed rabbit. I would like to say that I bunny proofed quite well, but accidents still happened, especially in the first few months. My rabbit is freeroamed in my bedroom (mainly) and gets run around time in my garden and the second floor of our house. In addition to the stories below, he’s chewed many wires, even ones I thought he couldn’t get to.

Good that came out of free roaming:
I got closer to my rabbit. We got a strong bond and I can spend a lot of time with him. I’ve found out what scares him and what makes him excited. What his favourite treats are. His favourite place to lay down.While these may not be any different from non free roamed rabbits, this is just my experience.

Bad that came out of free roaming:
I’ve realised that my rabbit is trouble! He had an annoying habit of digging the carpet (it’s subsided now that I’ve given him other things to dig). He managed to open my desk draw to get into all of my rabbit supplies that I had (toys, pellets, a brand new brush - all ruined). It was a work in progress but I ended up moving the supplies onto a storage thing.

Funny thay came out of free roaming:
I found out that my rabbit is a total brat (in a good way and I love him for it).
Example: I was eating a banana while doing my school work at my desk, and Apollo runs up to me. I give him a bite of the banana and he runs away to eat it. I finish the banana at the same time he finishes his piece and he runs back to me for more. I guess he realised that I ate it because he thumped with all of his might, it was so loud that my mum ran upstairs and thought that something had collapsed. And many other things of the sort.

Scary that came from free roaming:
My younger stepsister was eating a biscuit or something like that, in my room. Which she isn’t allowed to do anyway. A large piece of whatever she was eating dropped and she left it. Apollo, being Apollo, ran and grabbed it when she had left the room. I’m not too sure exactly what happened because I wasn’t in the room. My other stepsister didn’t see the biscuit until Apollo had it and she was scared to take it from him, by the time I got upstairs, he had eaten most of it. I didn’t know what to do, so I stayed awake all night and made sure he was eating. Luckily he was fine.
Young kids can be a little careless with things but this situation that I had was totally preventable. Since then, food has not been allowed in my room (unless I’m eating it 😆).
 

Butterscotch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
247
Reaction score
190
Location
USA
Thank you for the stories! I hadn't thought about having to watch where I step or keeping my food away from my rabbits. I've been known to leave a dirty dish out once in a while and I shouldn't do that if the rabbits can get to it and lick it. Thanks again!
 

Blue eyes

Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
7,372
Reaction score
3,692
Location
Arizona, USA
Here's a cute link that may let you know some of the mischief they can get into.

When you start free-roaming, remember that it is important to start small and only gradually increase the space. It should take some time to go to full roam. This prevents territorial disputes (with bonded buns), potty accidents, etc. Expand the space in increments over several weeks.
 

Butterscotch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
247
Reaction score
190
Location
USA
Here's a cute link that may let you know some of the mischief they can get into.

When you start free-roaming, remember that it is important to start small and only gradually increase the space. It should take some time to go to full roam. This prevents territorial disputes (with bonded buns), potty accidents, etc. Expand the space in increments over several weeks.
I never thought about territorial disputes. Thank you for mentioning that!
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
8,424
Reaction score
2,635
Location
Utah, , USA
Be especially diligent about protecting electrical wires. A while back a member on here had a rabbit that chewed an unprotected electrical cord without them realizing, and it started a fire. Luckily they found it right away and were able to put it out.
 

Mehidk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
423
Reaction score
504
Location
Bay Area, CA
I free roam only when I'm home and when I'm in the room. If I don't, she'll hop on my bed and pee if I've pissed her off which happens on days when I have to cut her nails lol. Also make sure ALL wires are either hidden or protected.

Pros to free roaming:
I love watching her do zoomies and binkies. It also gives her a chance to stretch out because rabbits should be getting at least a few hours to exercise. While I'm at work, she's in her hutch (which she can still comfortably lay in), but I still feel bad that she's in there for hours at a time. I just recently ordered a larger X-Pen so that way she can still roam around to a certain extent for while I'm at work and then free roam when I get back home.

You get more opportunities to bond with your rabbit. I love being able to sit there and just hang out and Trixie will come around to me and head bump me to pet her. She'll nestle herself into her loaf position and start her teeth chatter/purring.

Escape stories:
There was a time that I had opened my bedroom door and walked to the other room to put something away and she had snuck out into the adjacent bathroom door. When I walked back into my room, I didn't see her but figured she was in her hidey tunnel. As I lay down, I'm realizing it's too quiet in my room so I started looking for her and she was nowhere to be found. I said "Trixie come!" multiple times and I started hearing the wooden floors in the hallway scrape. I open the door and sure enough, she stood there, coming to me when she heard me say "come!" and when I told her to go "inside", she hopped back into the room like nothing happened lol.

Another time was when I went out to the kitchen to prep her dinner and I guess I didn't shut the door all the way and she went into the living room. I walked back into my room and sure enough she wasn't there. I said her name and my mom ends up responding in the living room "she's out here!". I walked back out and she was on the couch with my mom, being curious and seeing what my mom was doing. What's funny is my mom is more afraid of the rabbit than the rabbit is of her. 😂
 

osgoodmg

Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
16
Reaction score
7
Location
Canada
We realized we need a feeding station on each floor and a litter box on 2 of the 3 floors.
Artie started chewing the basement couch so I put an old cotton sheet on for him to safely chew.
Books have to stay off the floor or put into a vinyl bag. If we just put them in an opened tub, he'll jump up and chew away.
He has manged to climb onto the lid of the old hot tub in the basement then was too scared to jump down. We couldn't find him for about 5 hours as he was quietly huddled as high as he could get into a dark corner. This was scary for us as well.
 

Oreo and bella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2020
Messages
62
Reaction score
21
Location
Leicester
Mm not to sure of this is 100 per cent free roam but I did have my two rabbits together there both girls and sister and they started fighting there two years old previous owner had one spayed because the vet advised them that one would be enough which is wrong anyway I had to become a DIY person never did it before managed to make both rabbits separate pen there in the spare room so door was shut every morning got up I see both bunnies In the morning I could find one of them one of themmmanaged to pull the mesh up and escaped her pen lol she wasn't happy when got her back in I had to sort it out and re do it shows you learn things every day am still In a prosscess to make them both lot more bigger
 

Mehidk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
423
Reaction score
504
Location
Bay Area, CA
Thank you everyone for your stories! I appreciate all the feedback. I think I'm going to start small by allowing them access to half of my living room at first. I'll see how they do there first.
That's perfect because that's the preferred method anyways. Sometimes when you give a rabbit too much space in the beginning, it can be overwhelming and sometimes they'll even forget their litter habits and you'll have to start all over with training again.

Just last week, I got the larger X-Pen so now I use the smaller x-pen to cover up the corner where my router/wires are so she has no access to it and the larger x-pen surrounds her hutch. Her hutch now stays open 24-7 so she can run around freely to the extent of the pen while I'm at work. Then when I come home, I just open one side of the x-pen so she can free roam the remainder of my room when I'm home. I can tell that she's much happier now because of the extra zoomies she's been doing at 4am 😂 .
 

Cloverhouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
102
Reaction score
77
Location
South Carolina
I could write a novel about adventures with house bunnies. I've had them for decades, back before it was cool and before the house rabbit society and girls on YouTube were here to tell me everything I was doing was wrong.

It's good to understand basic bunny psychology. They are prey animals. They need clear running areas and they will chew anything that sticks out in these areas. Wild rabbits tend to live in areas will tall grass and they maintain clear tunnels to run from predators. Anything that grows in those paths through the grass must be removed. This is why rabbit chew cords. They treat them the same way they would treat a vine growing in their path. They cannot help but follow instinct. Old houses with outlets in the floor boards are problematic they put cords right in the bunny's path. Newer houses tend to have the outlets higher up, makes keeping cords out of sight line easier.

Bunnies also chew and chin mark things that stick out. The edges of furniture, book spines, etc. They also burrow and like to eat their way into the backs of couches etc.

One way to combat that is to buy long boxes and keep the couches away from the walls, with the box tunnels behind it. For smaller breeds corrugated plastic drain pipes make excellent tunnels.

The thing to remember is that you can't easily train a rabbit out of most behaviors, because as prey animals those are life-saving behaviors and deeply ingrained. So it's best to plan ahead and think like a rabbit.

Chewing and digging and creating pathways are what they do. Throw a stick, small box or blanket in one of their pathways and it will occupy them as they work to remove it. They like lots of cubbies to hide in, and many rabbits also like climbing into things so they can scan the area.

I create bunny castles out of boxes for them to climb on and play in.

Years ago when my daughter was small we made a dollhouse and her bunny moved right in. Lol.

If you need to redirect a rabbits attention, a can with some pebbles or coins in it is helpful. Shake it, the noise will startle them and they will stop what they are doing for a minute so you can step in. They like to chew things that contain salt or minerals. Shoes, sometimes wall board, anything that's been outside and has dirt on it, and sadly some types of paint.
Giving them a salt/ mineral block can help, but I find it necessary to keep shoes out of sight.

Some bunnies like to pee on upholstered furniture. I have never found a way to break them of this habit if they are one of those. In that case I use the shake can every time I see them jump on the couch or chair, or use a long length of crumpled paper on the couch when not in use. Some rabbits see the paper and think it's a barrier, and some don't like the sound it makes when they jump on it. It's simple but has been surprisingly effective.

Mostly I just accept that life with rabbits means a hole in the back of the couch, chewed corners and hay on the floor. I find the trade off more than worth it.
 

Blue eyes

Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
7,372
Reaction score
3,692
Location
Arizona, USA
Thank you everyone for your stories! I appreciate all the feedback. I think I'm going to start small by allowing them access to half of my living room at first. I'll see how they do there first.
Since there have been a number of questions recently about free-roaming, I've completed a new page on my website that is a free-roaming how-to. If interested check here:
 

Butterscotch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
247
Reaction score
190
Location
USA
Since there have been a number of questions recently about free-roaming, I've completed a new page on my website that is a free-roaming how-to. If interested check here:
You have a great website, Blue Eyes, thank you! The free roaming tutorial was very helpful and your bunnies are SO CUTE! I'm amazed that they don't chew on that lovely black table.
 

Butterscotch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
247
Reaction score
190
Location
USA
I think I'm going to have some issues with my tiny doe. At one year old, she's just over 2 pounds. She has always been my troublemaker. She's the climber, the chewer, the fearless adventurer. I have 29" tall ferret play pens for them now but I need to buy taller play pens that they can't jump or climb over. I think my doe might be able to get her head through the bars of the taller play pens. I don't want to buy them and find out the hard way that she can injure herself this way. Look at how small she is! They are both dwarves.

20200329_045922.jpg
 
Top