How to Care for your Pet Rabbit
Rabbits are cute and fuzzy but require a lot of care. Whether you plan on keeping them inside with the family or outside in a hutch, know how to make them a happy addition to the group.
Choosing your Rabbit
Any potential rabbit owner needs to look beyond the fuzzy fur and look closely at the animal before purchasing him. Look for obvious signs of illness like bald patches, runny or rheumy eyes, discharge in the ears, fecal matter in the hind fur and problems walking. Also, look at teeth to be sure they are even and not overgrown.
If you don’t plan on breeding then buy same sex rabbits to share the same hutch. Mixing will undoubtedly result in a bunch of little baby bunnies running around.
The Rabbit Cage
A rabbit needs a suitable place to stay. The cage or hutch needs to be large enough for them to move around and get exercise. Also, they need a place to burrow and eat and also to do their business. If you use an outside hutch, make sure that the rabbits are well-protected from the elements should it rain, snow or get too hot outdoors. You may consider having a space in the garage where you can bring the hutch inside in inclement weather.
Cleaning is not fun but it is a necessary evil. On a daily basis, remove any soiled hay from their cage. Half eaten fresh food should also be removed before it rots. Inspect water bottles or bowls and change water daily.
Check litter boxes daily. If you have more than one rabbit, you may definitely need to empty it each day. Litter training your rabbits will make cleaning easier throughout the life of your pet. You will still need to make a habit of regular cleaning to avoid their strong urine smell and your rabbit getting sick.
Feeding your Rabbit
Bugs Bunny might only eat carrots but your bunny will need a bit more. Rabbits can eat pellets that are commercially sold but need fresh vegetables to supplement their diet. Choose a variety of greens (mustard, kale, dandelion, turnip and spinach). Avoid rhubarb, iceberg lettuce, potatoes, beans and cauliflower.
Hay is also a good source of roughage for their diets. Choose grass hays like oat. Alfalfa is a good nutritious hay for baby bunnies. When they are older, you can switch to other grass hays.
Fresh fruit can be given as a treat but not too often. Try one or two tablespoons a day. Commercial treats are not necessary to their diet and can make them overweight.
Rabbits love the company of their families even if they don’t like to be picked up much. Learn to care properly for your rabbit so they can enjoy a long healthy and happy life.
For general rabbit care, check out Animal-World’s Rabbit Care page!