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Rabbit

Keeping rabbits

Food

Rabbits need to be fed a balanced diet which is high in fibre. This will help to support their growth, movement, and digestion, along with their general wellbeing. In caring for your rabbit, it is important that you maintain its diet and that you do not suddenly change its feed. Sudden changes in diet can lead to severe stomach upsets and even death.

Health

Rabbits feel pain in the exact same way as humans and therefore it is vital that you look after your rabbit’s health. Most potential health problems can be treated, or avoided entirely, if they are caught early and so you should seek veterinary advice if you spot any of the following signs of illness or injury:

Flystrike

A distressing, often fatal, disease to which rabbits are particularly susceptible It occurs when flies lay eggs on the rabbit’s body after being attracted to its dirty bottom. The eggs quickly hatch into maggots and attack the surrounding tissues, leaving painful sores in their wake. To avoid this, check your rabbit’s bottom daily and clean if necessary.

Oral Discomfort

A rabbit’s teeth can quickly grow to be uncomfortably long and as a result can become extremely painful. Hay should always be provided for your rabbit as it naturally helps to wear down its teeth. If you are concerned about your rabbits teeth, consult your vet for further advice.

Fleas

The fleas that can be found on rabbits are the same kind that can be found on other domestic animals. Symptoms can vary between rabbits but symptoms often include scratching of the neck and biting around the base of the tail. You should ask your vet for information on how to treat your rabbit and minimize the flea infestation.

Living Environment

Rabbits, whether kept outdoor or indoor, like big open spaces and their living area should be large enough for them to move around freely. It should be a play area for your rabbit to forage and explore, with tunnels to run through, platforms to hop on, and places to hide in.

Your rabbit will also need a big shelter in which it can make its home. This must be well ventilated, draught-free, and large enough for it to stand on its hind legs without restriction. If you have more than one rabbit, the shelter needs to be spacious enough for the rabbits to live together and socialise but also for them to spend time apart.

Handling

Rabbits are animals of prey and do not particularly enjoy being handled. They may wriggle, kick, and even bite you, if you try to pick them up. A rabbit needs to develop a relationship with you and learn that it will not be harmed when you handle it. To make your rabbit more comfortable, try sitting on the ground beside it and offering it small treats. You will quickly become associated with tasty food and your rabbit will feel more confident about being petted, stroked, and picked up off the ground.

When carrying your rabbit, you should hold it close to your body so that your pet feels comfortable and secure. There are different ways to hold your rabbit dependent on its size, and you should consult your vet to find out the most appropriate way for your rabbit.

What you’ll need
  • Hutch
  • Hay
  • Litter Box and Scoop
  • Food Dish and Rabbit Food
  • Water Bottle
  • Pet Carrier
  • Treats
  • Rabbit Toys
  • Brush

 

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