There are many thoughts and opinions on the best location to house a rabbit. Many people will claim animal cruelty to house a rabbit outside, while others exclaim that its only natural to house a rabbit outdoors. However, the best answer may not lie with the rabbit, but rather with the rabbit owner.
Lets address outdoor housing first. One of the most common concerns about housing a rabbit outdoors is the cold weather. Rabbits actually do better in the cold than they do in the heat of the summer. Consider the fact that they wear a fur coat 24/7. The elements pose certain challenges for the rabbit owner. Proper care must be taken in both extreme heat and extreme cold.
The heat may be on of the more difficult elements for a rabbit. Rabbits can get heat stroke. In hot weather we like to use frozen water bottles to lay next to the rabbits to keep them cool. Air circulation will also help. Fresh water is important at all times. A fan can also assist in air circulation.
Cold on the other hand presents an entirely separate issue. The main challenge is keep the rabbit free from the elements. A draft free shelter can keep your rabbit from freezing, and keeping the rabbit dry is a must. Rabbits need fresh water at all times, and freezing weather make this task difficult. In cold weather a rabbit owner will need to check water several times throughout the day.
Exercise is also necessary for outdoor housed rabbits. Its easy for a child to forget the rabbit that isn’t in their site all the time. If these precautions are taken, your rabbit can be easily and successfully housed outdoors. There tends to be more issues with an owner being willing to care for the outdoor rabbit, than there are problems with the rabbit handling the elements. Remember, wild rabbits survive the elements all the time.
Indoor rabbit housing presents its own unique set of issues. The first that comes to mind is the aroma. Rabbit dropping are not the issue, its the urine that poses the biggest problem. Cages must be cleaned on a consistent schedule, at least once a week. Problems with urine spraying can cause stains on carpets.
Rabbit need exercise. Outdoor runs are easy to create. Indoor rabbits still need exercise, which would require a rabbit safe environment. Rabbits like to dig and chew. A digging rabbit can tear up a carpet rather quickly. Chewing on wire can quickly become a fatal activity. Rabbit proofing can be much like child roofing your house.
Rabbits can be litter trained, which takes time and effort. However, that would be better than constantly picking up rabbit droppings.
Rabbits can be successfully raised indoors or out. The question is not
where the rabbit will do better, but rather where you the owner will be
more successful at meeting your rabbits needs. Are you willing to go out
into freezing cold weather to change your rabbits water? If not, keep your
rabbit indoors. Are you willing to rabbit proof your home? If not keep your
rabbit outdoors. You the owner must weigh the positives and negatives of
where to house your rabbit.
Three Little Ladies Rabbitry