No matter if winter or summer: On the balcony you can conjure up a small kingdom for the rabbits. The balcony is especially suitable for city dwellers who cannot keep their rabbits in their flat because of the space or for other reasons, but do not have a garden.
It is important that the rabbits get enough space on the balcony. They should be allowed to use the whole balcony day and night – unless you have a very large balcony, so that you can fence them at least 6m².
Balcony housing examples with photos: Balcony enclosure collection
Fitting the balcony correctly
In order for the rabbits to feel comfortable on the balcony, they need an appropriate facility.
As with outdoor keeping, a shelter (a rabbit hutch that is windproof and rainproof) must be provided. In addition, the rabbits need a covered area. With balconies which are not (partly) roofed, a roofing for an area should therefore be tinkered. This area can also be lined.
In addition to the stable, houses and other shelters and elevated areas can be offered. Covered cat toilets in the corners are suitable for house-trained rabbits as a quiet place. So that it does not become boring the rabbits, they must be occupied with suitable furnishings.
The ground should be protected (if it is sensitive) e.g. with favorable PVC, which must be fastened however at the edges with strips, so that it is not gnawed on. Choose a rough PVC floor to prevent the rabbits from slipping. Concrete flooring is also suitable for rabbits, although it looks rather uncomfortable, they like it quite much. Also suitable would be carpet or artificial turf, whereby these can support the abrading at the paws, which leads partly to sore runs.
Safety on the balcony
In order to protect the rabbits from possible dangers, the balcony posture should be well planned in advance.
In the summer it is necessary to pay attention to the temperatures. Especially on south balconies it gets unbearably hot at noon. Rabbits need shade in the sun in order not to be exposed to the heat. Otherwise they suffer a heat stroke. However in many (straight narrow and closed) balconies even with shade the sun accumulates so extremely that the rabbits cannot live there. A balcony that is not facing south is therefore an advantage. But also with other balconies caution is necessary. Humid towels, which are hung over branches, cool Gehwegplatten to lie, a fan in such a way is aligned that the rabbits can also escape the wind, water bottles with frozen water and other measures make it more pleasant for the rabbits in the summer.
In the cold season, the same precautions should be observed as in the winter outdoor position. You can find more information here.
A safe balcony railing
Rabbits fit through the smallest cracks. Wherever they get their head through, the body often fits through. If required, the balcony railing can therefore be secured with grid elements, aviary wire and boards. A fall from a height of several metres is usually fatal. In addition, the border should be high enough so that no rabbit jumps over it. For rabbits who like to jump, a height of 1.20 m is sufficient, as long as they do not have any raised places next to the railing (roofs of the facility, etc.), so that the railing is lower from this point of view.
Safe from predators
If trees, cat ladders, climbing frames, climbing plants or other “entry aids” border the balcony (Attention: martens can jump about 2 m), it is necessary to secure the balcony upwards. Otherwise martens and foxes have easy play. Even on very rough walls they can climb high, but not on smooth house walls.
Also in the lower floors (terrace, lower 1st floor) the balcony must be protected from predators. In the upper floors, on the other hand, no protection against foxes and martens is necessary (if no climbing aids are adjacent). Down pipes can be secured with anti-marten brushes. One should also check whether a marten could perhaps come via a tree to the neighboring house and thus get on its own roof and then on the balcony (top floor).
It is possible to build a normal floor enclosure on the balcony (as for the garden), i.e. an approx. 1m high enclosure which is secured to the sides and upwards with wire.
The elements attached to the house wall can be folded down so that the walk-on balcony is marten-proof.
However, it is easier to fit a strip to the house wall and attach individual lattice elements to it, which can be hinged onto the balcony parapet or wall. So the elements can be cleaned and fed when the upward flap and the balcony is freely accessible. Higher enclosures are often problematic because they are rarely permitted. Many owners also attach cat nets, these offer (also in the higher floors) protection from possible dangers from the air, they are not marten-safe however and in addition they must also be approved.
Pay attention with the construction method and the material to marten safety! Many grids and wires are not safe.
The legal framework
May a landlord or the house community forbid rabbits on the balcony?
Rabbits per se may not be prohibited on the balcony unless they cause a nuisance to the neighbours (regular cleaning, quiet accessories!). It is also important to ensure that the railing is secured in such a way that no hay or litter can fly down (especially in windy conditions). Narrow aviary wire or a wood protection serve this purpose. Or it is scattered in such a way that nothing flies around. It is also important that the usual number is not exceeded. Therefore e.g. a rabbit breeding on the balcony or 10 rabbits on a balcony is not permitted. With two or three rabbits, on the other hand, you will not have any problems.
The house community or the landlord can prescribe also the total picture of the house front, therefore everything which is built beyond the railing (higher enclosures) is subject to approval! It is also important to make sure that the balcony is not damaged (clad in wood with aviary wire, seal floors) so that the rented property is not damaged.