Bringing Bunny Inside

Here are some common questions from people who just brought their rabbit indoors from outdoor living. We strongly recommend keeping your pet rabbits indoors, and offer advice on a smooth transition to bringing bunny inside.

Is it normal for a rabbit to poop everywhere—and will he ever stop?

Yes—and yes. Your rabbit is simply doing what comes naturally in a new area and marking his/her territory. This sort of behavior is almost completely hormone based (some rabbits will mark any new area they are introduced to, but this behavior generally subsides after a few days or so), territorial—and natural for the unaltered rabbit. Having your rabbit spayed or neutered will almost entirely stop this behavior and make him/her much easier to litter box train.

I just started feeding my rabbit hay and vegetables and his poop seems to be too soft, is this okay?

Changing your rabbit’s diet can cause a change in the feces, especially if done too quickly. Generally, adding a low protein grass hay such as timothy, oat or orchard grass does not cause GI tract upset, but change is change and sometimes their bodies simply need time to adjust. To make sure you don’t cause your rabbit gut problems make all dietary changes slowly, as indicated in our diet literature, starting out with approximately two tablespoons of greens and graduating—over a month—to 2-3 cups per day – per five pound rabbit.

My rabbit chewed up my television cords, the drapes, the couch and my ear phones, and I think he tried to eat the cat. Is this normal? Will it ever change?

Chewing is natural, fun—and an important rabbit behavior that we want to redirect, not stop entirely. But take heart, there are several things you can do to protect your bunny—and your house:

  1. Bunny Proof your house! There are many simple, inexpensive ways to make your house safer for your rabbit—and from your rabbit! Cover your electrical cords with plastic tubing (slit lengthwise so you can stuff the cord(s) inside), using plywood strips behind wall units and under couches are just some of the things you can do. (Tubing and plywood can be bought at most hardware stores.)
  2. Have your rabbit spayed or neutered. Unchecked rabbit hormones can cause bunny to act-out in all sorts of ways, like marking his or her territory with urine and feces, or chewing up your favorite shoes simply out of sexual frustration.
  3. Offer your rabbit a variety of chew and play toys! A rabbit’s teeth grow continuously throughout its life and it must chew on things to help keep them filed down. If your rabbit is not encouraged to chew, his or her teeth could grow too long and cause your rabbit pain, as well as make him unable to eat. Wooden chew toys, cardboard digging boxes and plastic baby keys are just some of the toys your bunny may enjoy.
  4. Spend time with your rabbit. Be sure she lives in a fairly busy section of the home, where the family spends the most time. The more time you spend with your rabbit, the more the rabbit will learn and blossom. Teach her right and wrong, talk to her, let her know—by voice or by the use of baby gates and barriers—where he can and cannot go. Don’t just bring bunny in, plop her down, expect all to go well and then be disappointed in the rabbit if she makes a mess of things! Puppies, kitties and children need training, time and patience—and they get it without question—why offer anything less to your rabbit?

Remember that bringing your bunny inside is a new and exciting experience. Rabbits are very curious and love to investigate, so until you know your rabbit’s habits – short, frequent, well-observed play times will make it a happy learning experience for everyone.

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