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!
It’s cold and it’s only getting colder. We’ve had the first storm of the season and there are going to be more. While we are tucked up inside our cosy houses, many rabbits are left shivering in their small hutches. Sadly, many rabbits won’t make it through this winter, but you can do something to help by ensuring your rabbit is well cared for and sharing winter care advice to your friends and family.
Rabbit Care Tips for Winter Months
- Rabbits have lovely soft, warm fur coats and many breeds have a thick fur pad covering their pads to help them survive cold temperatures in the wild. However, wild rabbits live in underground burrows and the temperatures inside these burrows are much warmer than those in hutches. The burrows also protect rabbits from wind and rain. Domestic rabbits are exposed to colder temperatures, winds, rain, sleet and snow. Hutches can become cold, wet, damp and very draughty and these conditions can be life-threatening. Older rabbits may have conditions that are aggravated by the cold too. The temperature of the hutch should be between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. You can help create a suitable warm home for your rabbit by:
- Moving the hutch into an outhouse or shed
- Adding lots of extra bedding for your rabbit to burrow in
- Move the hutch out of the winds
- Protect the hutch from wet conditions with an insulating cover
- Use old carpets and coverings to insulate the hutch at night or when storms strike while ensuring enough space for ventilation
- Still provide enough space to move around and exercise
- Raise the hutch off the ground using the rabbit hutch legs or bricks. Raising the hutch will stop the base from getting damp and lengthen the life of the hutch.
- Store straw and hay somewhere that is dry. Straw and hay can easily become mouldy when it gets wet or damp. Always remember to check before putting the straw or hay into the hutch and throw away any that has become mouldy or damp.
- Clean the hutch throughout the winter. You might not want to go out and clean the hutch because of the weather conditions, but your rabbits need a clean home. Clean the toilet area each day and the whole hutch on a weekly basis.
- Add a cardboard box in the hutch to provide an extra warm sleeping area. Put lots of straw or hay inside the box and cut a hole in it for your rabbit to use as a door. The box needs to fit in the hutch but be big enough for both rabbits to use comfortably.
How will you help keep your rabbit safe and warm this winter? Share your tips with our followers on our Facebook page.
Rabbits Honoured on International Rabbit Day
Rabbits have been praised for the role they play in the rehabilitation of those who are dealing with mental health issues, fighting addiction and post-traumatic stress. Two bunnies have been celebrated by Gloucester House in Highworth. The two bunnies, Wilson and Ebby were named after the founders of the AA. Gloucester House, a Salvation Army Treatment use the 12 step programme at the facility.
Rabbits have been kept at Gloucester House for over 6 years. The centre decided to celebrate their bunnies to mark International Rabbit Day on September 24,2016. The job of caring for the rabbits gives people a sense of responsibility but they also provide comfort. They bring happiness to those who are working hard on overcoming their issues.
The Rescued Rabbit
Wilson was rescued from an unhappy home five years ago. The female rabbit was neglected by her owner who had addiction problems and she was living in fear. When she arrived at Gloucester House she was very withdrawn. Her life has since been transformed. The transformation is a result of a unique bond that was formed between Wilson and a user of the services provided by the centre.
The service user was combatting mental health issues, post-traumatic stress and addiction and was not finding it easy to communicate with people. He bonded with the rabbit, spending time petting her and before long Wilson would run up to the gentleman whenever she saw him. That warm and welcoming behaviour has continued and Wilson will run to greet lots of the people using the services provided by the centre. Ebby joined the centre this year and both of the two rabbits have formed a close connection. They are very close and will cuddle up together.
The rabbits are not the only animals that live at the centre. They also have a pond and an aviary that the service users take care of and maintain. Rabbits are kind and loving animals that provide comfort. The act of taking care of the animals and the affection they give to their loving owners play an important role in recovery.
Summer is about to leave us and soon it will be time to celebrate the autumn and all the delights that come with it. Your rabbits will have enjoyed many warm nights, plenty of dry days to enjoy the garden. Now we can expect darker and colder nights and a bit more rain. It’s time to get your rabbits prepared for the change. Here are our top tips on preparing your rabbit hutch for the autumn.
6 Tips to Get Your Rabbit Ready for Autumn
- Check over the rabbit hutch and look for signs of damp, leaks and holes. These will need to be repaired to help keep your rabbit happy, healthy and comfortable in the months ahead. If there are too many issues to fix you may wish to consider buying a new rabbit hutch. Remember to buy one that is large enough for your rabbit to stand on his hind legs, to stretch out fully and to hop at least three times.
- Move the hutch off the ground and position it in a south-west position to protect your rabbits from the wind. Find a position in the garden that provides natural protection from the elements.
- If you’re keeping an old hutch we recommend waterproofing the wood for the autumn. Choose an animal-friendly, non-toxic waterproof product available from DIY stores on the high street and online.
- Add extra bedding to provide your rabbit with a warm bed as the nights get colder. The amount of bedding should increase as the temperatures drop.
- Consider investing in a rabbit hutch cover to protect it from damage and also to provide your rabbits with an added layer of protection. Close the cover during the night and when the weather is particularly nasty, but remember to roll it up during day time hours or after a storm has passed.
- Don’t forget that rabbits need daily exercise, whatever the weather. Give them access to a run. There are many hutches available with built-in runs or runs that can attach to the hutch, along with standalone rabbit runs that can be positioned anywhere in the garden. Another option is to use a playhouse or a shed, on particularly wet or stormy days.
Don’t forget that rabbits need you to provide them with the best possible home in order to keep them happy and healthy. Spend a few hours doing the prep work now and your rabbits will be happy during the new season ahead.