To be indoors or not to be indoors… that is the question.
You might have always known rabbits to be kept outside in wooden hutches, but indoor rabbit housing is becoming just as popular. This brings the obvious dilemma of which one is really best for your rabbits!
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing a rabbit cage as you need to consider what would work best for both you and your bunnies.
In this article, we’ll take a practical look at the advantages and disadvantages of indoor vs outdoor rabbit cages, as well as the various considerations that will help you with your decision.
Benefits of Indoor Rabbit Cages
By keeping your rabbits indoors, you have better control over their safety and wellbeing. And even better, you get to spend an a-bun-dance of time with them!
However, it’s important to note that when we talk about housing bunnies indoors, we're not recommending to keep them inside a cage 24/7. Ideally, every cage should be open next to an area where they can roam freely and exercise to their heart’s content. Always while being under your close supervision to ensure their safety!
Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at the benefits in more detail.
Better Climate Control
It goes without saying that your home is going to be a more stable temperature for your bunnies as opposed to the outdoors.
Rabbits prefer moderate temperatures around 55° to 70°F (12° to 21°C) so they can be neither too hot nor too cold. In fact, they can become very ill if exposed to extreme weather conditions (more on this later). Just make sure that your indoor rabbit cage is placed away from radiators and direct sunlight.
To keep your buns cool as a cucumber in every season, you can opt for a C&C grid structure as it allows for great ventilation and airflow.
In the wild, rabbits are prey animals. This means that when kept outside, they are at risk of predators. Not only could this be fatal, but it also makes for a more stressful living environment for your poor floofers!
While they may need to get used to noisy hoomans and loud appliances, an indoor environment will always give your buns (and you!) increased peace of mind.
Of course, a house can still have its risks. But if you're housing rabbits indoors, you have more control over where they go.
You can use barriers to protect them from venturing into areas with electricals or anything else they should steer clear of. And add a lid to protect them from any other household pets or to safely keep them inside when you’re out of the house and can't supervise them.
Although, even with a lid, other household pets should only be allowed near your bunnies’ cage under close supervision.
Increased Interaction With Your Rabbits
Bunnies are incredibly sociable animals. They love to bond with their hooman companions and can easily get sad, bored, and lonely when they don’t get enough daily interactions. This can lead to some destructive tendencies and even more serious health conditions.
The reality is that regardless of how much you love your bunnies, you won’t spend as much time with them if they lived outdoors. This means less time spent keeping them entertained, and also fewer opportunities to spot any potential health issues early on.
An indoor rabbit cage, instead, allows you to interact with them whenever they hop out, and keep a better eye on their wellbeing.
Drawbacks of Indoor Rabbit Cages
In some special circumstances, there may be occasions where it’s not the kindest option to house your bunnies indoors - let’s take a look at some of these in a little more detail.
As we’ve stressed before, space is a really important factor when it comes to housing rabbits indoors. To ensure their hoppiness, it’s best to provide them with a whole bunny-proofed area for free-roaming and a large indoor cage where they can hide for a snooze, and generally feel safe.
While you can easily transform a spare room into a bunny haven, it’s a lot harder to materialize an extra room out of thin air!
So for those with limited indoor space, this could be a key reason to opt for an outdoor rabbit cage. Especially if you have one of the larger rabbit breeds, like a Flemish Giant, or plan to adopt a colony of bunnies - as both would require double if not triple the space.
An indoor rabbit cage will require daily and weekly cleaning to keep looking its best. You’ll need to spot clean it every day, and perform a thorough clean around once a week.
A full clean of an indoor bunny cage involves replacing dirty fleece bedding, and wiping down the base to keep it nice and hygienic for your demanding little floofs.
A C&C rabbit cage can help you turn this into less of a chore as it’s designed with ease of maintenance in mind. When you open the lid, you get full access to the whole cage and can reach every corner, to ensure the ultimate clean environment for your bunnies.
Other Aggressive Pets
As much as we'd love for everyone to get along, some pets might struggle to behave well in the presence of rabbits.
As a first port of call, you could consider keeping them in strictly separate rooms. However, failing this, a secure outdoor home may be a less stressful environment for your bunnies.
Benefits of Outdoor Rabbit Cages
Despite the many benefits of keeping your bunnies indoors, there are some circumstances in which it’s acceptable to keep them permanently housed outdoors.
It’s a More Natural Environment
The first obvious advantage is that an outdoor rabbit cage provides the closest natural environment for bunnies.
Rabbits are naturally very curious creatures and will always have behavioral needs to dig, burrow, chew, and explore - all of which they can do to their heart’s content when housed outdoors (as long as you keep any dangerous plants and objects away from them!).
Within your home, these instincts are likely to prove unpopular - especially when it comes to your brand-new couch or your TV cables! While you can bring in accessories that encourage these natural behaviors, it might be easier to consider outdoor housing if you can’t bunny-proof your space.
Extra Space For Larger Breeds or Colonies of Rabbits
Some bunny parents might simply have more space outside than indoors for their rabbits. This could especially be true if you're trying to house a larger rabbit breed or whole colony.
And, as we know, bunnies are at their hoppiest when they have plenty of room to zoomie and binky.
Drawbacks of Outdoor Rabbit Cages
As much as your bunnies might enjoy the constant fresh air, there are a few things you should bear in mind when opting to house your bunnies outside.
In the wild, rabbits live underground in warrens, at a temperature of around 50°F (10°C). In front of extreme weather conditions, they would escape them by hiding inside these warrens.
Rabbits kept in outdoor hutches have no way to avoid the elements. If temperatures rise above 80°F (26.5°C), your bunnies could suffer from it and have a heatstroke. This is a condition that can quickly turn from bad to worse - potentially proving fatal.
Freezing temperatures don’t agree with our furry friends either. Rabbits left out in cold spells for long periods of time are at risk of hypothermia or even frostbite. In both instances, you’ll want to promptly move your rabbits indoors.
Risk of Predators
Keeping your rabbits outside also puts them at risk of predators. Wild animals that are determined to find a way into your rabbit’s hutch are likely to succeed - a terrifying ordeal for your poor floofs!
Even if your hutch withstands the attempts of animals on the hunt, this will undoubtedly cause your bunnies a whole lot of stress.
Less Interaction With Your Rabbits
Rabbits that are kept outdoors will naturally spend less time around you and could end up being unintentionally neglected. So you’ll want to make a point of scheduling time each day to hang out with them. That way, nobunny gets forgotten!
As we’ve already discussed, keeping your buns indoors will instead naturally lead to better rabbit care and more daily interactions - a win-win in our opinion!
Considerations When Choosing Between Indoor and Outdoor Housing
If you're still on the fence as to which rabbit housing option sounds better for your buns, check out our indoor rabbit cage guide and ask yourself these questions:
- Can I meet the space requirements of my rabbit's breed and size? If you’ve opted for a larger or giant breed, then carefully consider whether you have enough room indoors for them to live their best lives.
- What is my current living situation - would I struggle to provide my bunnies with a safe area for free-roaming? Do I already have another pet that wouldn’t live amicably alongside my buns? For any ‘yeses’, an outdoor hutch may be the only reasonable solution.
- Do I live in an area where there are extreme weather conditions in summer and winter? If so, you’ll definitely want to consider housing your buns indoors or at least bring them inside temporarily during warmer and colder months.
- How much quality time will I realistically be able to spend each day with my rabbits? If the answer is very little, you’d be better off keeping a colony of rabbits outside so that they can keep each other company. However, you should still make an effort to spend time with them whenever you can!
Also, here’s another thing to remember: indoor rabbits should spend some time outdoors too. In fact, the hoppiest bunnies will be the ones who get to go outside on the regular, safely enclosed in a spacious outdoor playpen. This gives them the best of both worlds while still maintaining a high level of safety for your bunnies!
In short, indoor rabbit cages are our personal preference in the majority of cases. This is because you can control their environment more effectively and spend more quality time with your sweet floofs.
However, you may want to consider secure outdoor rabbit housing in some circumstances. Especially if you plan to house multiple rabbits or larger breeds!The main takeaway? This is a decision that is individual to you, so you should base it on both the unique needs of your bunnies and your family’s situation. If housing your bunnies indoors sounds like the right option, then hop over to our gorgeous range of indoor rabbit cages and accessories to kick-off the creation of your bunnies' pet palace!