If you’ve come to this page, then the chances are that your looking for information as to how to look after rabbits. As a first time rabbit owner, this guide is to help you start out in the world of Rabbit care.
We will go through from the basic things you need to buy for your rabbit and look at how to look after them and give them basic care.
So lets go for it….
Essentials to buy for your rabbit
- Accommodation with a large run and place to stand and stretch out.
- Dust extracted wood shavings,
- Hay or Straw
- A water bottle with a bottle snug
- Rabbit nuggets
Your local pet store should be able to supply these things.
Additional things your rabbit will appreciate
- Rabbit toys
- Grass to graze on
- Somewhere to hide apart from their shelter
- A litter tray and litter
- Brush or Comb
- A bottle brush
- Additional books and educational DVDs on rabbits.
- Pet safe disinfectant
- Food dispensing ball or puzzle feeder
- Another rabbit to keep them company
Some things you may know about Rabbit care already
Rabbits make great pets to have for both adults and older children who are supervised.
Rabbits are not suitable for younger children because of the consistent care that they need.
Rabbits are very social and intelligent creatures. They are very inquisitive and can become friendly and confident around people if they are handled well with gentle care from a young age.
Contrary to popular opinion, rabbits are creatures that really do not like to be cuddled.
Rabbits need owners that are prepared to spend time with them, give them lots of space and lots of opportunities to play.
They can live between 8-12 years so are a long term commitment.
Okay so you’ve had the basics, let’s dive into some frequently asked questions. Ready??
Can Rabbits live alone?
Rabbits need company and shouldn’t be kept alone. They do enjoy the company of humans but it is no substitute for the company of their own species.
They are much happier when in the company of other rabbits. In fact, a good pairing is is a male and female that are both neutered.
Rabbits can live alone but they much prefer to live together.However, any attempt at pairing up a couple may need support and advice from a vet or an expert behaviourist.
Where should Rabbits Live?
- Rabbits need space to run around whether that is inside or outside.
- They need a shelter to rest, hide and to feel safety in an area where they can all rest together and have space to spend time alone if they want to.
- The exercise space or run should be big enough for your rabbit to run, hop around, jump, dig, explore and forage.
- The run needs places to hide, platforms to jump on and items such as toys, plant pots, boxes and tunnels to make things interesting for them.
- They need access to the run most of the day but ideally all of the time.
- They must be able to stand on their hind legs without their ears hitting the roof and be able to hop around and lie stretched out at a minimum.
- Their housing must be well ventilated, free of draughts and must give them protection from temperature extremes such as high winds, rain and snow.
- It must be secure to avoid them escaping and also to stop unwanted predators from entering as well.
- If their home is outdoors, it must be weatherproof and kept off the floor to prevent damp.
- If a rabbit is kept inside a home, they must have access to natural light and the room must be well ventilated.
- It is not a good idea to keep them in a garage that is being used because of fumes from vehicles.
Can Rabbits Live inside your home?
Rabbits can be kept inside a home as well but several considerations need to be made.
- They need regular exercise
- They need grass to graze upon.
- They need places to dig
- Their area needs to be free of wires, poisonous plants and anything else you don’t want eaten. They will chew everything.
- Using a large rabbit playpen can be a good way of them having unsupervised run time.
- Avoid mixing them with other pets, because of different habits and it can be very confusing for them.
What About Keeping Your Rabbit Warm?
- Rabbits need a variety of different items to make their lives comfortable and to make their bed on. These help to keep your rabbit warm.
- They need absorbent bedding materials such as newspaper or dust-extracted wood-shavings.
- They need dust-free hay or straw or shredded paper.
- During winter, ensure their shelter is well topped up with extra hay and barley straw. This will help give it insulation.
Cleaning out your rabbits accommodation
- Rabbits need their bedding replaced daily along with their litter.
- To clean it out, use disinfectant that is pet-safe.
- Whilst their accommodation is being cleaned, remove your rabbits to another location away from all areas that are being cleaned and are properly dried.
- By cleaning the area, you remove the scent from rabbits so try and place some used litter and bedding back into their litter tray to ensure their scent remains.
What Food do Rabbits Need?
- Rabbits require a balanced diet that mainly includes hay or grass which is always available to eat and helps them keep a healthy digestion not to mention grinding down their teeth.
- Specialist rabbit foods such as pellets or nuggets can also provide nutrition for your rabbits, but avoid muesli mixes as they will often just pick bits out of them and miss out on the best nutrients for them.
- They can also eat small quantities of fresh greens such as kale and broccoli but in small amounts as they can be gassy for them
- Fruit can be given to them but tend to be high in sugar so only feed in small amounts as well.
- Rabbits need access to fresh water all of the time which can be accessed from a water bottle. it’s a good idea to get a bottle snug as well to help keep the bottle cool and free of algae in the summer and prevent it from freezing in the winter.
Phew…. a lot to think about huh?
Rabbits are amazing animals and require a lot more than just being dumped in a hutch and left to sit there all day. There are many, many people all across the world who have fallen in love with bunnies and many amazing people who work tirelessly to ensure that they are well protected and looked after. Be that kind of owner 🙂
There is a ton of resources here to help you, not to mention on all kinds of other sites, in books, magazines and other places.
Invest time, energy and resource into your rabbit and make sure that you give them a good life. They’ll thank you for it, if not in words but in living a long life free from ailments and affection returned.
Any questions, just ask 🙂