Rabbits require a very high fibre diet to ensure efficient digestion and prevent dental disease.
Their diet should consist of mostly of hay and grass, smaller amounts of fresh fruit & vegetables and even smaller amounts of commercial pellets. Pellets are not essential and shouldn’t make up more than 20% of a rabbits diet. Rabbits should also not be offfered cereals, grains, breads or biscuits etc.
Cardboard, untreated wood and fruit tree branches are essential for gnawing to help prevent dental disease (as well as provide some entertainment). Clean, fresh water must be available at all times, preferably in a sippy bottle as this prevents contamination.
preferably in a sippy bottle.Cardboard, untreated wood and fruit tree branches are essential for gnawing to help prevent dental disease and provide some entertainment!
Rabbits should be checked daily and have a full hands-on checkover once or twice a week. This will keep you up-to-date about your rabbits condition and allow you to catch any abnormailities early. Long-haired/fluffy rabbits need to be groomed regularly, often daily, and this should start at an early age. When doing checks of your rabbit it is also important to check for flystrike around the back end. Correct feeding and a clean environment are essential in avoiding this problem.
The Hutch – the bigger, the better for mental and physical health. Rabbits need to be able to stand up and stretch, and hop at least 3 or 4 times. A second storey and a den are a good idea. It should be made of a good quality wood. The floor can be wire directly on grass but wire is hard on rabbits’ feet so there needs to be at least 1/3rd solid flooring too. For bedding, lots of shredded paper and straw are suitable options. These must be partly or fully changed regularly when soiled, daily if necessary. Rabbits can actually be litter-tray trained which makes the hutch more hygienic and cleaning much easier! The hutch should also be positioned away from direct sunlight and potential stressors such as other animals and traffic.
Rabbits are very sociable animals and if handled daily from an early age can become great pets. They can be quite intelligent so exercise and entertainment are also important. Some suggestions include:
- treat balls
- old phone books for shredding
- dried pine cones
- a paddling pool filled with dirt for digging
- a playpen or supervised time out of the hutch
Rabbits can also be vaccinated for Rabbit calicivirus. This is an annual vaccine and is recommended for all rabbits as the virus can be picked up from the environment. For more information on calicivirus and the vaccine please contact us.