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Are You Meeting Your Rabbits’ Needs?

All owners need to make sure they are meeting the following five things to provide their rabbit with the best life and to prevent health problems.  The five welfare needs are listed under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006; have a read through and make sure you’re doing all you can for your rabbit:

Housing

Create a suitable housing environment for your rabbit. Many hutches are too small for rabbits. Check to see that your rabbit is able to lie down and stretch comfortably in all directions and that they’re able to stand up on their back legs with ease.  The hutch should also be long enough for the rabbit to do three hops at least.

You must also provide a suitable run in addition to a large rabbit hutch. The run needs to be situated on a grassy area in the garden so they’re able to graze and exercise while being protected from threats and predators.  The run needs to allow your rabbit the freedom to run as and when they please and therefore should be connected to the hutch.

Health

Rabbits need to be registered with your local vet, neutered and vaccinated against disease.  Create a routine that involves regular grooming and check them for signs of illness each day.

Companionship

Rabbits are naturally sociable; they like company and can become bored and stressed without it. Ideally rabbits should be bought in pairs and should not be housed with guinea pigs. The best combination is a neutered male and a neutered female.  If you have one rabbit already you’re recommended to gradually introduce a second rabbit.

Diet

Provide your rabbits with fresh quality hay each day along with fresh greens in the morning and evening. Avoid feeding rabbit muesli and choose a suitable nugget food once a day, but no more than one tablespoon full.

Behaviour

Rabbits get bored easily and it is the owners responsibility to prevent boredom. You can do this by:

  • Providing suitable living space that provides enough space to run, play, graze and dig.
  • Providing company for the rabbit.
  • Providing safe boredom busters such as chews and toys.
  • Providing training to stimulate the rabbit.

Visit the PDSA website for further information on the five welfare needs of rabbits.

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