I know it may seem like a good idea as wild rabbits live outside- its natural, right? Not for a domestic (pet) rabbit. Caging her outside has numerous adverse effects- on her health, including mental health, and temperament. Domestic rabbits need people- they are social creatures. Rabbits that are housed outdoors often can be forgotten about, so to speak. They are not inside where people can see and interact easily with them. Picture yourself living in the backyard in a tent and weren't allowed to leave. You get one visit per day to receive food and water..and maybe a pat. Lonely, right? How about when those cold winter winds start blowing at your tent? What if there predator animals lingering around threatening to get you? Doesn't sound so great. Now, not to say that some experienced rabbit owners don't do a good job providing a safe and weatherized habitat for their outdoor rabbit. And they may even spend time every day with him/her. Ultimately, however, we recommend that your beloved pet rabbit be housed indoors where he/she is enriched by being a part of your family, staying warm, safe from predators, and being happy and social. Check out the MSPCA's webpage for rabbit care and nutrition tips.
|Einstein-I'm a girl!|
Recently here at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm, we have seen an influx of rabbits that were either found outside as "strays" or pet rabbits that had been housed outside and became unsocial from lack of human interaction. We have also taken in many rabbits that were bought at the Topsfield Fair where new owners are most likely not counseled on how to care for or socialize their rabbit. Take Einstein, for example. Einstein is an adorable five year old female (oops-owners were told she was a he), a lionhead mix, who was housed outdoors. Her outdoor 3 foot by 2 foot hutch was only cleaned once per week and the owners did not handle her or spend much time with her. The result is a shy, undersocialized rabbit. Their dog would constantly bark at her whenever he was outside. This must have made the poor girl so stressed. This prompted the owners to surrender her, maybe a decision for the best. Here she allows us to pick her up and is docile and sweet. We have confidence that she will make the right owner a wonderful and loving (indoor) pet! Click here to visit her petfinder page.
Popeye, a male Netherland Dwarf rabbit, was found in someone's yard and brought to us. I wonder if his previous owner thought it was a good idea to set him "free." Its possible that many people believe that that is a good thing- sending them back to the "wild." The problem, of course, is that they are not wild and do not know how to survive outside. They become sitting prey for their many predators such as hawks, fisher cats, etc. They also may be inept at finding food and could fall prey to extreme weather.
Rabbits can be a very fun and interactive part of their family! Many of our rabbit adopters have their rabbits free-roaming in their house (after being litterbox trained) and socializing with their cat or dog! If you are unable to take this route, be sure to give the rabbit at least one hour total per day outside of their cage so they can get exercise and be social with the family. They love snuggling with you as you watch television, too. Rabbits can get bored staying so long in a cage, so giving them playtime outside of their cage is very enriching for them. Rabbits can also be clicker trained which is fun and enriching for kids, too! Rabbits are smart and curious animals that, for the right family, will make a wonderfull addition to your home! Click here
Here at Nevins Farm, we currently have over 25 rabbits available for adoption- a larger-than-normal number. Our adoption fee at $75 covers the spay or neuter, a health check, and nail trim (and future nail trims here at our shelter). We also have our "Rabbit Go Home Pack" available for sale that has all the supplies to get you started with your new rabbit. Our experienced adoption counselors and small animal volunteers are here to provide excellent advice in caring for your new pet. To see some of our available rabbits, click here. For questions, feel free to email me, Michelle, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 978-687-7453, press 8, and dial extension 6101. Also, check out the video below of Lucky, another one of our adorable rabbits available for adoption.