Rabbits Rabbits make fun and lovable pets. They are quiet and do not need a whole lot of room, making them great apartment pets. A bunny can be a wonderful addition to your family.
- Fun facts: Rabbits can be litter box trained just like cats!
- Bunnies range in size from the tiny 1.5 lb Netherland Dwarf to the huge 20 lb Flemish Giant. Rabbits can live up to 12 years with proper care!
- They are not rodents at all, but actually “lagomorphs”.
- Female rabbits are called “does” and males are called “bucks”.
- Basic supplies: -Cage or hutch should be 4 times the size of the rabbit stretched out. We don’t recommend the use of outdoor hutches simply because with their acute vision, hearing and smell, a rabbit can sense a predator even in the next yard over and can cause the rabbit to panic and injure themselves or even die of shock.
- -HAY (75% of their diet!) Timothy hay is the best and healthiest for a rabbit. -Pelleted food (alfalfa based for 1st year of life, timothy based after 1 year mark)
- -Food bowl -Fresh leafy greens
- -Water bottle with fresh water provided daily -Cage litter (such as Carefresh, CellSorb, or aspen wood shavings)
- -Chew toys for stimulation and to satisfy their natural gnawing instinct
- -Brush and small animal/cat nail clipper
Extra add-ons: -Litter pan big enough for rabbit to turn around in -Litter training pearls -Salt licks, balls, stuffed toys, paper towel rolls -Harness and leash -Treats, often made of dried fruits or seeds, to be fed sparingly
Basic care: -Rabbits can be kept indoors our outdoors, but an indoor environment provides a closer connection with your bunny and is safer. If you are keeping a rabbit in an outdoor hutch, make sure it is safe from the reach of predators and that the rabbit has places to stay warm or cool down. Water bottles can freeze, so make sure to check this regularly in the wintertime. -Your bunny’s cage should be cleaned weekly. -This can be helped with litter box training, which comes easily for most rabbits with a little patience. (Make sure you put the litter box where the rabbit is going to the bathroom the most, and add some droppings to the pan. Add hay on top to encourage the rabbit to use the box. Litter training pearls are a type of litter helpful for encouraging a rabbit to use a certain spot, and once trained you can stop using them)
-Hay is a huge part of their diet, which should be supplemented with pelleted food. After rabbit is 1 year old, limit to 1/4 cup pellets per day, with unlimited hay
. -Rabbits can be kept together depending on their personalities, and as long as they are spayed or neutered. Fixing your rabbit can stop territorial behaviors, prevent breeding and dominance aggression, and help with the litter box training process. -After a rabbit is 6 months old, greens should be added to their diet. Examples of good veggies to feed include romaine lettuce (never iceberg lettuce
- it causes digestive problems), parsley, and dandelion greens.
-Nail trimming should be done whenever you notice your rabbit’s claws are getting long. If left undone it can cause problems with their feet. Look for a pink worm-like shape inside the nail (that is the “quick”, or blood vessel/nerve in the claw) and cut at least 1 cm before it to avoid hurting your rabbit. Here at Pet Mania, we provide this service for free if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself. -Rabbits should be groomed with a brush (such as a brush for a cat) but never bathed. Rabbits are very clean animals and a bath is both unnecessary and stressful for the bunny. Sometimes they just need help getting extra fur off or de-matting, especially if a longer haired breed.
-As a general rule, rabbits don’t care much for being picked up. They will mind it less, however, if you support its bottom with one hand and its upper body with your other hand. With this technique, the bunny will feel secure.
- Possible Health Concerns: -Since rabbits are prey animals, in the wild if they were to show pain they would easily be picked off. Therefore rabbits are very good at hiding health problems, so be aware of your rabbit’s behavior to see if it changes.
- -Their teeth never stop growing, and a healthy rabbit wears them down by eating hay. However, if a bunny has a crooked tooth, it may not wear properly and may need to be filed or trimmed by a veterinarian. A sign of this problem is that your bunny is not eating nearly as much as it used to.
- -Uterine cancer is a common killer of female rabbits. Spaying your doe prevents this from happening and can add years to your rabbit’s life.
- -CEDAR wood shavings should never be used as litter for rabbits or other small animals. This type of wood releases an oil that is absorbed into their skin and can be toxic.