With the beautiful days, it’s decoration time for our dwarf rabbits! Many owners who have a garden tend to share it with their young companions; It’s an excellent idea! However, you should take precautions so that your rabbit can live outside, in the garden, in complete safety.
Temperatures are getting warmer, which means that many rabbit owners release their furry companions into their gardens to roam on their own. The outdoors will enhance the dwarf rabbit and allow it to have fresh, nutritious food (grass, dandelion, alfalfa, etc.) and do it as much as possible.
But the garden is not without dangers for rabbits. Toxic plants, predators, parasites, heat stroke… How do we find out and how do I protect my dwarf rabbit who lives outside in a garden? Freedom for rabbits..yes..but with taking certain precautions for their safety.
What are the risks of my rabbit who lives abroad?
The garden is a kind of adventure for our dwarf rabbits confined to their cage all winter. Unfortunately, bold little ones can run into some risks when reaching for the lawn:
Poisonous plants for rabbits in the garden
They are a lot in parks and our urban rabbits are not always able to be wary of them. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most common poisonous plants:
- Ivy, Wisteria, Virginia creeper, Clematis
- Boxwood, holly, yew
- Cherry or rose laurel
- lily of the valley, daffodil, tulips, lavender, peony, carnation, saffron, poppy
This list is quite long and contains plants that are found in almost all gardens. Depending on the amount ingested, these plants can cause more or less serious poisoning ranging from sudden death to temporary diarrhea.
Watch out for fruits falling from trees, if they are not poisonous, too much can cause indigestion.
And yes, our domestic rabbits remain prey, especially if they are small. Watch out for foxes, weasels and other weasel species. Since they are more nocturnal hunters, it is recommended to bring rabbits indoors at night. Be careful, the fox is quite capable of opening a fragile hut. In some areas, birds of prey and snakes can pose a threat.
Finally, dogs, and to a lesser extent cats, can also be a danger to our dwarf rabbits. In particular, hounds will find it difficult to resist their instincts and be able to mortally wound a small animal without giving you time to react. When it comes to cats, rabbits usually know how to keep them away. Be careful, if your rabbit is young (rabbit or small breed).
Dwarf rabbits, accustomed to the thermal comfort of our homes, are less resistant than their wild cousins to temperature extremes. It is not recommended to take out the dwarf rabbit to a temperature below 15 ° C. In case of extreme heat, make sure your companion gets to a shady spot to prevent him from getting heat stroke. Dwarf rabbits, especially those with darker coats, are very susceptible to heat stroke.
Diseases and parasites that attack rabbits
In the garden, the dwarf rabbit is most susceptible to myxomatosis (transmitted by fleas and mosquitoes). Likewise, if wild rabbits gain access to their territory, they may be exposed to HDV (hemorrhagic disease). Both of these diseases are deadly, but there are vaccines.
How do I protect my rabbit in the garden?
In the face of these real risks, there are solutions to secure your garden:
Set up a barn in the garden for my dwarf rabbit
The rabbit enclosure solution has many advantages: it allows you to restrict access to poisonous plants, protect against predators (if the enclosure is strong enough) and restore your rabbit more easily!
Care must be taken when installing the enclosure in a place protected from drafts and providing a shaded corner in the event of a heat wave. We recommend burying the wire mesh 30 cm deep. Rabbits jump very high, the height of the enclosure should be at least 1 m 20. One finds in the trade of rabbit sheds with a roof, more effective against predators.
The enclosure also has an escape feature if the exterior is not well sealed. Many rabbits are lost each year due to “escape” from their garden.
Bring my bunny at night
Highly recommended for rabbits who usually live indoors and who would find it difficult to tolerate the freezing temperatures at night. And it is necessary if you do not have a well-enclosed cottage, resistant to Sieur Renard and Damoiselle Weasel.
Vaccinate a dwarf rabbit to protect it from diseases
Vaccines against myxomatosis and VHD1 and 2 (the two different types of hemorrhagic disease) are necessary. It is necessary to make two injections, separated by a few weeks. You can also ask your veterinarian an antiparasitic to prevent your rabbit from getting fleas.
My rabbit is gradually getting used to living in the garden
It is necessary to take out the dwarf rabbit gradually. First, accustom him to this new environment; Rabbits are somewhat fearful animals, preferring a quiet moment to have him discover his enclosure. On the other hand, if your pet is not used to eating fresh grass, it is best to go gradually to avoid digestive issues.
By following these few precautions, your dwarf rabbit will be able to enjoy the garden without danger. Fan-shaped ears!
Read also: My rabbit is attacking me: why and what should I do?