Can houserabbits play in the garden?

We are sometimes asked about letting houserabbits play in the garden, especially in cold or wet weather.

Our Specialist Veterinary Adviser Dr Richard Saunders has provided this advice

General: I would say that all rabbits outside in runs should have a hide box area with at least 2 exits, to retreat into if feeling insecure, as well as for protection from extremes of cold or wind.

Low temperatures: assuming they are healthy rabbits in social groups or pairings, with no significant areas of missing fur etc, if they are able to move around freely and are protected from rain and wind, they should be OK in runs down to about 5C. Below that, access to a well insulated indoor area, whether attached to or within the run, or both, must be provided. Rabbits in poor body condition, or with missing fur, or sole animals, must be provided with shelter before temperatures get down to 5C.

High temperatures: OK, assuming the rabbits are not obese, and do not have respiratory disease, and have shade and plenty of places to keep cool.”