Do you know what you should really be feeding your rabbit? Many rabbit owners think that daily carrots are fine or that a bowl of dry food and the occasional dandelion is enough. Stop the guess work, today we’re sharing advice on what you should be feeding a healthy adult rabbit.
Hay and Grass
Rabbits need to have daily access to a lot of grass and hay. The hay needs to be approximately the same size of the rabbit you’re feeding. Give your rabbit fresh hay daily and provide either dried grass or access to the lawn for grazing.
All that hay and grass will make your bunny thirsty. Daily access to clean water is a must. You should check and refill your rabbit’s water bottle or bowl at least twice a day to ensure they’re never left wanting. You may need to check the water more in the summer than the winter. However, do remember that water can freeze during the colder weather.
Provide a handful of washed leafy vegetables, weeds and herbs each day. Provide a variety for your rabbit that could include mint, kale, broccoli, and cabbage. When you find a new leafy green it’s advisable to introduce it to the diet in very small doses to avoid an upset stomach.
Pick a high-quality pellet and feed around 25g per kg of weight. Weigh your rabbit and write it down. You can use this to measure out the right amount of food that is required but also as a measure to see if they lose or gain weight. This type of food should never be the only food on the menu, but it’s a necessary addition that compliments the entire diet of the rabbit.
Carrots, Apples and Other Treats
The best treats to give your rabbits are their green leafy vegetable allowance. These treats can be used as a training tool or simply when you want to spend some fun times together. You can also feed carrots or apples but these should only be given occasionally and in small doses.
Visit your vet if you are worried about your rabbit’s weight or diet. The rabbit may require a new or different diet if they are ill, pregnant or nursing or are young.
The Internet is filled with what appear to be cute photos and videos and rabbits submerged in water. The rabbits often seem very calm and relaxed. You may even be mistaken for believing the rabbit is totally chilled out, just as we would be. The sad truth is that if you bathe your rabbit you are putting his life at risk.
Rabbits don’t submerge themselves in water in the wild. They generally avoid it, it’s not natural for them to go for a swim or sit relaxed at the riverside. Rabbits don’t like the water, it can make them panic and send them into a state of shock. Many rabbits die from the shock, which is why it’s so important not to bathe your bunny.
Another reason to avoid giving your rabbit a bath is down to their fur. Rabbit fur can become saturated. It clumps together, making it very hard to get the rabbit dry. As a result, rabbits can be left with damp fur, increasing risks with respiratory infections and even hypothermia.
Rabbits Don’t Require Routine Baths
There is no need to use baths as part of your rabbits grooming routine. They generally keep themselves clean and you can aid with regular dry brushing. On occasion, you may need to wash the rabbits’ behind. You should check for build ups of urine or poo. If you notice any build-ups you should wash the area to prevent flystrike and urine burn.
Never use a shampoo on your rabbit unless it has been subscribed by your vet. The shampoos strip away all the natural oils that are essential to help the rabbit stay clean and protect the coat. The rabbits will wash their fur and each other, there is no need to get involved.
Only Bath a Rabbit if Your Vet Instructs It
There are a few occasions when you may need to bathe your rabbit, but they are rare. Your vet may instruct a bath if your rabbit is unable to clean themselves. Some of the conditions that can prevent a rabbit cleaning themselves are:
- Dental problems
The vet will then prescribe a medicated shampoo and give instructions on how to keep your rabbit safe. It is vital that you follow their instructions to the letter.
Never Dye Your Rabbit
While most owners would never dye their rabbits’ fur, some do. This might seem shocking to you but it’s becoming more of a trend on social media. Rabbits have very sensitive and delicate skin. Applying any type of dye to your rabbit can result in very serious health conditions. You might think it looks cute but there is no reason to dye your rabbit, they are adorable enough as it is.
It’s always good to have your two pet rabbits bond; it has benefits on your rabbits’ well-being, and can make for cute photos! Within a rabbits relationship, there will always be one who has the power which can be mistaken for them not getting along, but this isn’t the same as your rabbits being in competition and having a dislike for each other.
If both rabbits are spayed and neutered, it will lower their aggression levels, therefore, will make them less likely to fight. Usually, it’s easier to help a neutered male rabbit and a spayed female rabbit to get a long but it can be done with two rabbits of the same gender.
To promote your rabbits getting along, put them both in a neutral area where neither of them has marked their territory. Put newspaper on the floor of the area and let the rabbits mingle for at least 20 minutes. If the rabbits start being aggressive towards each other, spray them with water which will distract them from fighting and they might stop in the long term when the initial scare of the water spray is over. When you separate them and put them back into their cages, reward them with a treat.
After about a week of repeated 20-minute interactions, put their two cages close to each other: close enough so that they can still see each other and interact but not too close that they can fight. Since rabbits are territorial animals, they will mark their territory on their own cages so if one enters the other rabbits’ cage, this may lead them to fight. Do avoid letting rabbits enter each other’s cage.
Feed them together, they’ll get used to each other and associate each other with a positive thing (the food). Continuously, give them treats together. Don’t leave them together if you aren’t present.
Return the rabbits to a neutral space for 20 minutes a day, changing the neutral location every few days. Remember that your two rabbits becoming friends may take a while. A sign that your rabbits are getting along is if they start grooming each other.
When your rabbits have shown that they are no longer going to fight, you can put them in the same cage, such as the 6ft Chartwell Double Luxury Rabbit Hutch. Rabbits living together has shown to have many benefits on your rabbits, such as if one gets sick, they’re likely to recover quickly if they’re living with another rabbit.
The rabbits can live together permanently after they stop fighting. But ensure that they have separate food and water bowls so the competition over food doesn’t encourage a fight.
Check Your Lawn for Bunnies Before You Mow!
Most of us expect wild bunnies to be cuddled up safely in a deep, safe burrow. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the bunnies can be huddled up on top of the lawn. These cute bundles of fluffiness are sometimes hidden beneath old patches of dead grass. They can easily be missed and gardeners can easily kill the poor bunnies without realising they are there.
A new video has been shared on social media and on news sites to highlight this problem. Areas of dead grass on your lawn could very easily become a nest for wild bunnies. It is important for all gardeners to check all cuttings and old grass to ensure it’s wildlife free. The video has been created by Ontario Animal Removal, a company based in Canada. It’s has been viewed millions of times and it is hoped it will help save the lives of many bunnies around the world.
If you find some bunnies you might be tempted to move them to a safe place. This is not ideal as they will be separated from their mother. You could also pass over your own scent so the mother would not recognise them. The best thing you can do is put off mowing the lawn and waiting for the mother to return. In time the mother will move the bunnies to a new location and you’ll be free to mow the lawn once more. Bunnies do grow up very quickly and you shouldn’t have to wait more than a couple of weeks for them to move on.
Don’t panic if you don’t see the mother. She will spend a lot of her time away from her bunnies, finding food. It’s not unusually for the mother to only visit the nest a couple of times during the day. Keep a close eye on the action from a safe distance. Call your local rescue centre or the RSPCA if you would like some advice.
Rabbit grooming is a fantastic way of building a bond. It’s an important part of being a rabbit owner that needs to start as soon as your rabbit has settled into their new home. Grooming should take place all year round and continue throughout the life of your pet. While grooming can help build a strong relationship together, it does play a more important role in the health of your pet.
A Quick Health Check
As a rabbit owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your rabbit is healthy. When symptoms arise you can take appropriate action to help your rabbit return to full health or get the help they need. Grooming is vital as rabbits often don’t show obvious signs of illness, or they’re hidden beneath the fur. Taking the time to groom allows you to look for fleas, any injuries or cuts, bites, mites, fly-strike, and lumps. You can also ensure the nails and teeth aren’t overgrown too.
Summer is Coming
Rabbits need grooming even more frequently in the summer months. There are several disease risks that increase as the weather heats up, such as myxomatosis. Take this time to really strengthen your bunny grooming game. Make sure you give your rabbit a complete check over and don’t stop at running a brush over your bunny’s back. Update your grooming kit with a new brush, and nail trimmers and don’t forget the flea and tick treatment. If your rabbit is not used to grooming we recommend providing a few healthy treats to reward them for being good for you. Be calm, quiet and gentle with no sudden movements. This will help your rabbit to feel at ease.
Don’t Neglect the Rabbit Hutch
It’s also important to stay on top of the rabbit hutch cleaning. Flies, fleas, and mites bring life-threatening diseases with them. A dirty hutch can encourage these insects and bugs, increasing the risk of your rabbit becoming ill. Don’t leave the grooming to your rabbit and remember to fully clean the hutch once a week and spot clean once a day.
Rabbit Awareness Week 2017
The theme for the11th annual Rabbit Awareness Week has been announced. This year the main focus will be on the importance of feeding fresh grass and hay to help the dental, digestive and emotional health of these wonderful pets. Rabbits need to eat plenty of grass and hay. In fact, 85 to 90% of the diet needs to be fresh grass and quality hay. Is your rabbit getting enough? Shockingly, the PDSA 2016 report showed that only 30% of rabbit owners questioned gave their rabbits constant access to hay. Therefore, it is hoped that the campaign for RAW 2017 will educate rabbit owners and help improve the lives of one of the most poorly looked after pets in the UK.
You can help by spreading the news with your friends and family and ensuring your rabbits get enough hay and grass. The hashtag #hoptohay is being used on social media sites to help spread the word. You can also find out all the latest news on the 2017 Rabbit Awareness Week by visiting their website. There will be plenty of events taking place all over the country.
In Other News
Vets Urged to Help Improve Rabbit Welfare
Veterinary professionals are being encouraged to take part in an online survey in a bid to improve rabbit welfare. Vets and veterinary nurses are being asked to contribute to the survey being run by The University of Bristol’s Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group. The group hopes to gain an understanding of the perception of pain in pet rabbits and understand how rabbit pain is being treated in clinics.
Researchers aim to improve the welfare of rabbits by improving the understanding of pain in rabbits. The questionnaires are available at the following links and they take about 15 minutes to complete.
Rabbit owners are becoming more aware of the conditions that are considered adequate for their pets. Sadly, there are far too many domestic rabbits being kept in cages that are far too small. Gradually, the situation is changing, thanks to improved information and social sharing. The lives of domestic rabbits are improving, but now the fight is being turned towards rabbits that are raised for food.
The EU has been encouraged to make changes that will improve the lives of over 340 million rabbits. These rabbits are kept in very small cages that are old fashioned and that measure less than two sheets of A4 paper. It’s heart breaking to think about, but it’s something that people should be made aware of. Rabbits are social animals and they are also born to run, rummage, hop and jump. Living in such terrible conditions leads to numerous welfare problems and diseases.
Regulations are now in place for the protection of veal, poultry chickens and pork but rabbits have been ignored. Mr Eck is fighting the cause for these rabbits that are being raised for food in Europe. Currently, the European Commission has denied that rabbits need to be provided with the same treatment as other farm animals. Let’s hope that with continued pressure, rabbits lives will continue to improve in the future. Learn more about the topic by clicking here.
Give your rabbit an extra hug today and ensure they get enough exercise on a daily basis. Remember to check over their hutch over the next few days to ensure it’s in good condition after the winter battering. Repair any leaks and check that your rabbit hasn’t outgrown the hutch. Your rabbit should be able to lie down fully, hop 3 times and stand up on his hind legs.
Many rabbit hutches are too small and by no means rabbit friendly. Here are some things to consider before you buy a cage or accept one being offered for sale online or in local classified ads.
- The bigger the hutch the better. At least the hutch should measure H2 x W2 x L6 foot.
- The hutch needs to be big enough for your rabbit to fully stretch out and lie down in all directions. Your rabbit should also be able to stand up on the hind legs and still have room between the top and their ears.
- Your rabbit should be able to take three hops across the length of the hutch.
- The rabbit will need space for food, sleeping, and toilet in different areas of the hutch.
- Raise the hutch off the ground to stop it getting damp and too cold.
- Weatherproof the hutch to protect it from all year round weather.
- The sleeping area should be filled with dry straw or hay. Add extra hay during colder months.
- Place wood shavings or newspaper along the entire length of the hutch.
In addition to the hutch, your rabbit will need a rabbit run. These should not be seen as an optional extra – unless you have a fully safe and secure garden that you are happy for your rabbit to have free range in. A rabbit run is essential for providing additional space for your rabbit to spend time in and get essential exercise.
- Rabbit runs need to be safe from predators and secure so your rabbit cannot escape.
- Ideally, your rabbit run should be attached to the hutch so your rabbit is able to gain access to the extra room as and when they want to.
- The ideal minimum suggested size for a rabbit run is H2 x W6 x L8 foot.
- Your rabbit should have enough space to run and not just hop inside the rabbit run.
- Be prepared to move the run based on weather conditions. It will need to be out of the wind and out of direct sunlight.
Take a look at the rabbit hutches and rabbit runs in our shop if you’ve realised that your rabbits’ housing is not adequate.
The colder weather has arrived and parts of the UK have ‘enjoyed’ snow and gales during this week. It’s not pleasant out there but that’s no excuse to neglect pet rabbits. You might want to stay inside and feel that your rabbit will be okay for one more day, but he won’t. Rabbits need looking after in all weather conditions, and hutches need cleaning out, often more frequently during the winter.
Groom Your Rabbit
Rabbits grow lovely thick coats when the temperature drops. Therefore they will need to be groomed to help keep them happy and healthy. Thicker and longer coats can become soiled and matted quickly. Stay on top of this problem with regular grooming sessions – which are excellent for bonding as well as for care purposes. Pay particular attention to the underneath area of the coat.
Remember, rabbits don’t hibernate in the winter. If you notice that your rabbit has become limp, more sleepy than usual or if you haven’t seen them out and about in their hutch, you should take your rabbit to the vet.
Hutches should ideally be raised off the floor to stop the base from becoming damp. Check over the hutch for any areas of repair and stay on top of replacing damp and wet shavings and bedding. You can waterproof the hutch using a product that is non-toxic and pet-friendly. Waterproofing the hutch will work to prevent the wood from rotting and it will stop the hutch from getting damp. It’s advisable to waterproof the hutch every couple of years.
Use a hutch cover to help keep the inside of the hutch and your rabbit dry during downpours, gales and snow storms. Always allow for ventilation, your rabbit needs to breathe!
We often add a thicker duvet to our beds during the colder months. Your rabbits will also be feeling the cold more and they too need the equivalent of a thicker duvet. Use more bedding and consider cutting a cardboard box and slotting it into the bed area of the hutch for additional insulation. You can also use newspaper to line the floor for some added warmth.
Play With Your Rabbit
Rabbits often get a lot more attention in the summer. Make an extra effort to spend time playing and talking with your pet. They love exercise and company as they are social animals. Give your bunny access to a large outdoor run and sit talk to them while you’re cleaning out the hutch and during feeding times. You can even bring your rabbit indoors for play time, but choose one of the cooler rooms in your home and don’t forget to rabbit proof the space first.
Don’t leave your bunny out of the fun, they love treats just as much as you! Today we’re sharing 5 Christmas gifts your rabbits will love to find under the tree (or in their hutch) on Christmas morning.
A Lot of Soil!
Most people don’t like their rabbits to dig in the garden and for good reason; they do like to make a mess. However, rabbits simply love to dig and will spend many hours digging when given the chance. Give your rabbit a low planter full of soft soil with some turf on the top and your rabbit will love you forever. Place the Christmas gift in a container that will fit comfortably in their safe enclosure, hide a few treats in the grass and watch the fun commence.
Delicious Meadow Hay
Rabbits need loads of hay during the winter months. This gift gives your bunny warm and tasty hay that is perfect for sleeping in and eating. Meadow hay is softer than other varieties, making it even kinder on their tummies, it’s super tasty and a great source of vitamins too.
Rabbits enjoy hiding and they like cosy spaces. You can satisfy both of these demands with the Chube animal play toy. They come in different sizes so you can find the right size for your rabbit. These tubes are completely rabbit friendly, they can hide or they can chew if they want to. They’re also environmentally friendly and made from vegetable parchment, which is bio-degradable too.
Your Cardboard Boxes!
At this time of year, many of us are buried in cardboard boxes from all the deliveries we get. Make good use of the boxes by creating a fun toy for your rabbit. Cut holes in the boxes and put them together to form a maze, a big house of even a Christmas tree! Get creative and let your rabbit run wild in the cardboard playground.
We hope these ideas will inspire you to treat your rabbit this Christmas. Remember you could always give your rabbit the gift of a new home. This is the perfect gift if your rabbit hutch is in poor condition or your rabbit has outgrown its home. Check out our suitable rabbit hutches, here.
We’d like to thank you all for your support and custom over the past 12 months. Merry Christmas everyone!