Crepuscular animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs prefer to be active at dawn and dusk. Runaround facilitates this without the owner having to remember to let the pets out.
Exercise is a key issue and the skeletal frame of a rabbit suffers without adequate exercise.
A wild rabbit would run about 5 miles a day! Exercise keeps pets warm and well.
Grass is the best rabbit and guinea pig food. It has natural protein and fibre and helps to naturally grind down the teeth.
In unpredictable weather a runaround allows your pet to seek shelter and shade when necessary. It is useful to place parts of the run under natural shade in summer as well as offering extra cool covers, brick or clay pipe or a shop freezer pad.
In winter try to position away from direct wind but in reach of daytime sunshine. Snow covering over canvas shaded tunnels should be left on as an insulator when it is very cold.
Your pets are not contained in one area which can confuse the usual predator, the fox who prefers the prey to be cornered. The tunnels are an uncomfortable fit for the fox and the doorways are designed for rabbit entry only.
Rabbits are natural diggers so it is a good idea to offer a peat dig box or to lay a tunnel over soft ground where you can dig a trench and place a mesh floor inside attached to the tunnel above making a secure but fun dig area. Frequent moving of the run alleviates boredom and can reduce this habit.
Rabbits need company and are ideally kept in neutered, bonded pairs, a doe and a buck.
When introducing rabbits runaround is helpful. You can have tunnels running side by side, make juctions to to create 'chatting walls' where they can socialise with each other even if they are housed separately. It is a good early introduction before you start putting them together for small periods. For rabbits that can't be housed together this can offer the best way of having a social life.
Rabbits aren't keen on being handled, they feel safest on the ground and as a prey animal regard being picked up as being captured for dinner! The independence that runaround offers increases their self confidence. When you do need to pick them up chivvy them along to a juction box where you have blocked the other exits. Have the lid off ready and gently pick them out.
For lots of excellent information on rabbit care go to Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund. www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk. By joining this fund you can help rabbits and receive up to date information on many aspects of rabbit well being and health. You can see the "Hutch is not enough' video we made with them by clicking below.