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Outside adult rabbit - litter training

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evolve77

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Hi

We have a nearly 3 yo rabbit who lives in our backyard only, locked in his cage at night. So far he hasn't been toilet trained, but he goes in a spot near his cage, so this is a mess that my daughter doesn't clean often enough - yuk! He doesn't tend to wee or poo in his cage overnight, and we rarely find poo anywhere in the garden that he has access to during the day. We want to fix up the area where his cage and the poo pile are and don't want him to re-use it as his toilet once we have invested in putting in paving and decorative gravel. We would like to use a litter tray - but how to get him to use it and what do we put in it??
 

Blue eyes

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Once you put down paving and decorative gravel, he will no longer recognize the former place he used to potty. Nevertheless, you may want to either put the new litter box in the same place he used to go, or, if you want him to go in another place, the spot you choose should somewhat mimic the former area. They often choose a spot that is somewhat secluded or in a corner. So see what may have attracted him to his current chosen spot to get an idea of what kind of place he likes for pottying. For example, it may have a wall on one side or a covering overhead or be out of site of an area with lots of activity.
 

Lauraeli

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What is the best litter to use in an outside litterbox? I'd think it would freeze into a solid block in the winter and be hard to clean
 

evolve77

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Thanks Lauraeli, maybe where you are, but I'm in south-western Australia where we don't get frost and overnight minimum is at the very lowest about 2 degrees centigrade, so freezing won't happen.
 

Lauraeli

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Oh not relevant to you then I suppose 😄 I haven't figured it out for my own sake as I'm building an outdoor hutch and run for my indoor bunnies and they may need a litterbox out there too. They will have a cat door to go in and out as they please.
 

mamaflora

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I had thought it was not safe for bunnies to be outside, that they could even become frightened to death by a predator trying to go into the pen. I love the idea of giving them outside time but had figured no because of this teaching I had heard. Folks think it is safe to have a bunny outside? Or spending significant time outside unattended?
 

Hermelin

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What is the best litter to use in an outside litterbox? I'd think it would freeze into a solid block in the winter and be hard to clean
Use paper pellets it won’t really get stuck but sometimes it will still freeze. But it’s a lot easier to clean away than other litters myself have tried.

I have outdoor bunnies and cold winters ☺
 

Hermelin

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I had thought it was not safe for bunnies to be outside, that they could even become frightened to death by a predator trying to go into the pen. I love the idea of giving them outside time but had figured no because of this teaching I had heard. Folks think it is safe to have a bunny outside? Or spending significant time outside unattended?
It all depend where you live and how safe cage you can build. Some places it won’t be safe to have outdoor bunnies but myself have seen outdoor bunnies really enjoying living outdoors. Myself had a bunny that was really stressed indoors and became destructive, when she lived outdoors she would binky, dig huge burrows and sleep like a log. She loved winter time spending many hours out in the snow, she would rather sleep in the snow than up in her hutch.

Myself don’t have a safe run and I lock my bunnies into the hutch during the night/evening. I only need to worry about foxes and birds, the cage is too high up for a fox to get into the cage. But I have always people at home so the bunnies aren’t alone and my neighbours dogs always run loose, so no foxes dare come to the neighborhood during the day which makes it a bit safer running around in the run attached to the cage.

My bunnies are used with the dogs and cats in the area, they don’t give a care to them. What scare them are the drunk mooses that stumbles into the yard every autumn 🤣
 

mamaflora

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Love your story of all the animal life - sounds amazing! I laughed out loud about the drunk mooses. :)
I think I will start by some outdoor time with us monitoring.
I have only had the bunnies a month so just learning about proper care.
My bunnies...don't chew stuff they are not supposed to - it's amazing.
They are seemingly relaxed and happy, except when my four-year-old gets a little too excited about them.
We have only seen two binkies so far though. Hope we can help them get binky happy!
Thanks so much!
 

Hermelin

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@mamaflora just make sure the area you let your bunnies go on won’t have sprayed chemicals and make sure you have no poisonous plants. My bunnies run only have grass and dandelions in it, so only safe plants which they can eat.

Setting up a makeshift run with a sheet or net as a roof will make it a bit safer to run around in a better controlled area. I know US is quite different compared how it is in sweden and the environment depending on which state.
 

mamaflora

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Thank you! Yes we just have grass in the spot where I would put the pen. And I found one with a roof that can be attached, a mesh wire pen with mesh wire roof.

Thank you for the tips! I still think I will only let them out there when I am nearby. We are in the city but there are lots of gardens and lots of wildlife around.
 

mamaflora

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Also we never spray. We are the sort of folks who deal with bug pests as naturally as we can. The bunnies just give us more reasons to be careful!
 

Blue eyes

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Thank you! Yes we just have grass in the spot where I would put the pen. And I found one with a roof that can be attached, a mesh wire pen with mesh wire roof.

Thank you for the tips! I still think I will only let them out there when I am nearby. We are in the city but there are lots of gardens and lots of wildlife around.
If you have indoor rabbits and have only had them for a month, don't be in a rush to let them outside. They are still adjusting to their new life in your home and taking them outside will give them a certain amount of stress. I'd wait another month or so. Plus, New Orleans is probably really humid now anyway?

There are dangers that need to be guarded against for outside time. You don't really need a roof on the pen though. You should be out there very close to them anyway (as you've mentioned). So that will keep birds of prey away.

Here is a page from my website that goes over considerations before allowing your rabbits outdoors.
 

Lauraeli

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Use paper pellets it won’t really get stuck but sometimes it will still freeze. But it’s a lot easier to clean away than other litters myself have tried.

I have outdoor bunnies and cold winters ☺
Thank you! That will mix easily with the wood pellets they are already using in the house, so it would be easy to get them used to it. I didnt even know they made paper pellet litter. It sounds perfect
 

Blue eyes

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I didnt even know they made paper pellet litter. It sounds perfect
Petsmart carries Yesterday's News pelleted paper litter (be sure it is unscented). Petco carries their own brand of pelleted paper litter. :)
 

Hermelin

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Thank you! That will mix easily with the wood pellets they are already using in the house, so it would be easy to get them used to it. I didnt even know they made paper pellet litter. It sounds perfect
I think wood pellets will also work good, myself can’t get wood pellets if I don’t do an hour drive. So I have never tried wood pellets outdoors, but they should also work good maybe even better than paper pellets. I’ve never compared them before.

Myself use compostable paper pellets which make it easy for me to throw onto the compost and also good to the environment because it’s made of recycled paper.

During winter time clean during the not coldest time of the day and if you get wet snow that’s a good time to clean the litter box because it won’t be as frozen.
 

mamaflora

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Thank you for this advice. Yes I was thinking about the heat after I wrote earlier. I will wait until it cools off in October.
 

evolve77

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We live in a house with a decent sized backyard and secure fences and gates. We do have a concern about the neighbours cats getting in and hurting the rabbit, but this is an ongoing neighbourly issue (in the front yard is a cat trap, just haven't caught it yet....) We have possums visiting, but they won't hurt the rabbit and he is locked in his cage and night, and the door is open in the daytime. There are foxes around, but they have never bothered the rabbit. Otherwise there is no threat and he has plenty of space to run around, grass and shelter from the rain, and is much happier than he would be inside. For us, rabbits are an outside pet as I don't want the house with fur everywhere or having to deal with litter trays inside. My children would gladly have the rabbit inside, and have regularly snuck him inside for cuddles.
 

Lauraeli

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Personally I love having the bunnies inside. When I lived by myself Mr Bunny was a house rabbit and regularly had run of the living room.

Now that I have dogs, the buns prefer to hang out in their room, which is just off the kitchen. I'm building an outside addition to give them more space and it will serve double function since my partner has hay allergies, I can move the hay outside.
 

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