Southampton Rabbit Rescue
Caring for your rabbit
There are many different breeds of rabbits all originating from the wild rabbit. There are now over 200 different breeds of rabbits. All breeds of rabbits can make good pets although some are more suited than others. This is dependent on individual’s circumstances. I.e. docile, sociable, gentle etc. Rabbits can live for many years anything from 3 to 15 years and so this is something you must be prepared for.
There are many different types of food that are available to eat which are all balanced diets. Rabbits can eat a variety of vegetables and fruits these include, apples, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, swede, banana, raisins, turnip, and parsnip. You must make sure all of these are fresh ad washed before giving to your rabbit. The fruit and vegetables should only be given in small amounts and what hasn’t been eaten should be removed after an hour or so to avoid attracting flies. Fresh water must be provided at all times and should be changed daily. Water bottles and bowls much be cleaned regularly to maintain good clean water.
Rabbits can be kept outside in a hutch although they need an area in which they can get away from the wind, rain and other weathers and another compartment which has a wire front to let in light and air is needed for good health and comfort. The roof should be covered with felt to make it waterproof. The hutch can have a run attached to it so the rabbit can graze. This can be left open during the day and then closed again at night or when the rabbit is alone.
Chipping or Wood Shavings can be used on the floor with straw for their bedding area.
Hutches must be cleaned out regularly to make sure that the rabbit is comfortably and healthy. They are clean animals that will choose a toilet area in their hutch. Some rabbits will use a litter tray which again needs to be cleaned out regularly. The hutch should be thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of bacteria. The hutch should be aired and dried properly before putting the rabbit back in.
Rabbits can be house trained, but there are some safety measures that must be taken. The cables and electrics must be hidden to prevent them being chewed. A stair guard should be in place to prevent the rabbit having any accidents and also to help stop the chewing of furniture. Wooden chews should be provided as this may help prevent this from occurring. To house train a rabbit cat litter tray can be used to keep a toilet area. The faeces can be picked up and placed in the litter tray and the rabbit trained by placing it in there in a calm a regular manner until they establish this habit.
If your rabbit is going to come into contact with other rabbits, wild rabbits or people who handle rabbits you are advised to have them vaccinated against myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD). Both very unpleasant and common illnesses which if contracted can prove fatal. A vet will administer the new combined vacination for around £45.00 per injection. The new strain of RHD2 (A mutated strain of RHD) can also be obtained from your vet and should be administered a minimum of 2 weeks after the combined vaccination..
Picking up your rabbit should be done with one hand under the body and the other hand holding the hindquarters securely. Young children should not be encouraged to pick up a rabbit as breakages can occur causing great distress to the rabbit instead encourage them to stroke and talk to the rabbit this way building up a confident relationship. The rabbit must be protected from other animals in order for it to continue to be confident and friendly.
Generally a rabbit that is fed a good quality diet and has plenty of exercise will remain quite fit. The problem with rabbits is they are usually very well or very sick. Any rabbit that isn’t eating is a concern and so an immediate visit to the vet is required. Watch also for signs of diarrhoea or rabbits that aren’t passing droppings. Seek veterinary advice immediately, if left your rabbit could die.
If you have any questions or are worried at all then please contact us.
Sue's Higher Diploma in
Rabbit Care & Behaviour
Awarded - August 2009