Angora rabbits are a popular breed, famous for their soft and fluffy wool. While they are often kept as indoor pets, many people wonder if they can live outside. No one's living space or situation is the same - SO - please remember, this is only a guide with recommendations. I am more than happy to chat with you about what might be best for YOUR specific situation.
Without further ado, lets explore the pros and cons of keeping angora rabbits outside and what you need to consider before keeping your bunny outside.
Plenty of Space: Outdoor living can provide your bunny with more space to explore and play. With a larger enclosed space or fenced area, they will be able to hop and binky to their hearts desire.
Access to Natural Environment: I am a huge fan of nature and trying to honor natural environments. When your bunny is kept outside, they can* have access to grass to eat, bushes to chew, and dirt to play with.
Health Benefits: Fresh air and natural light, which can help maintain their overall health and well-being.
Climate Concerns: Depending on where you live, the weather could be an issue. Angora rabbits have beautiful wool and thus are susceptible to hot and damp conditions. They tolerate the cold much better than the heat as long a they have protection from the wind and access to plenty of food and water. It can be difficult to provide adequate protection from the elements if you are not prepared before hand.
Predation: If your bunny has a good size run, this can exposes angora rabbits to potential predators such as hawks, foxes, and other wild animals. You will need to have a secure and safe outdoor habitat to keep your rabbit from danger.
Health Risks: While exposure to fresh air and natural light is great for your bunny, it can also expose them to parasites, diseases, and other health risks. You will need to keep an eye on your bunny's health. Depending on your location, it may be best to give your bunny vaccines to help protect them from illness.
What does this all mean, what is the ideal set up?! How can I have the best set up inside and outside?!
Climate: If it is going to be too cold or more importantly, too hot - you will need to have a plan in place of what to do then.
Cold Temperature Ideas
Shelter: Ensure they have good shelter from the wind and if their enclosure is metal, I'd provide something wood or plastic for them to rest on. They may choose to be out in the wind and that is ok, as long as they have the option to get away from it.
Warmth: This can be done a number of ways - heat lamp in part of the enclosure, bringing them in a temperature controlled space like a garage or outbuilding or just bringing them inside on really cold nights. I'd be careful of temperature shock though if you are planning on putting them out first thing in the am - Maybe keep them in your basement where it is cooler but still warmer than outside.
* I'd also suggest not trimming your bunny's wool while its really cold (or damp) unless you can provide them with a space that is warmer.
Hot Temperature Ideas
Shelter: Ensuring that your bunny's space gets good air flow. This can be with an open fence enclosure where the air can naturally move and/or stimulated by a fan.
Cooling: Again this can be done a number of ways: Frozen water bottles can be placed in their living space so that they can choose to lay next to them if they wish. Moving them to a cooler area - basement, garage or temperature controlled space during he hottest parts of the day.
*Trimming down their wool before it gets too warm is a good idea too. I'd be careful not to do it when it is the hottest as that could shock their system too.
Housing: You will need to provide a secure and safe outdoor habitat for your angora rabbit. This should include a sheltered area for them to escape from the elements and a secure, predator-proof fence to keep them safe from danger.
Indoor Housing Ideas
I LOVE allowing bunnies time to free range, hop and roam to their hearts content.... BUT I do think they need to be supervised to an extend. I do not recommend allowing your bunny to free range while you are not home. I have heard 2 too many stories of bunnies chewing down on electrical cords to say its a good idea. So, Your bunny having their own space is a great idea. There are two main options for this.
Rabbit cage: If your bunny will be able to free range most of the time this is a "takes up less room option". I do recommend 36x36 to ensure your bunny has good space but you can have all their food, water, resting board and some toys in there if you like. Some even put a litterbox in there too but if your cage has a pan or try - it is not necessary if you choose not to.
Play pen: If free ranging will be more of a special occasions kind of thing - I'd recommend a cage with a play pen attached OR just a larger more open enclosed space. Bunnies like to hop, play and run - giving your bunny space to do so will make them happy.
Outdoor Housing Ideas
A hutch with an attached covered run would be awesome! This would provide your bunny room to explore, hop AND have protection if they choose. However, these are angoras so this would probably mean dirty wool. If you are looking to harvest their wool then I'd recommend a wire cage that has good cover from precipitation but also allows for air flow. I'd then have a run or enclosed space where I could put them to get their exercise.
No matter the living space, You will need to make sure that your rabbit has access to a consistent supply of food, water and hay - especially in more extreme temperatures. Health monitoring is also important for all rabbits, but especially those kept outside as they may be exposed to something.
So, while angora rabbits can live outside, it requires some planning. Please reach out if you have questions or want to talk through your specific space so that you can provide the best for both you and your bunny!