Whether you are a going to be a new rabbit owner, or you have owned rabbit’s before, there are some good tips in this article that might help. Looking after your pet rabbit doesn’t need to feel like a chore, I should and can be fun and rewarding. I have owned rabbits for years and enjoy everything about these wonderful, loving and entertaining animals.
I will cover most areas of rabbit care briefly and elaborate in more detail in separate posts, so if any areas are of particular interest to you just follow one of the links within the post.
Breeds of Domestic Rabbits
There are many different breeds of rabbit being keep as pets across the world. You should always try to identify what type of breed you are buying when you first purchase your pet. Each breed has different characteristics, temperaments, looks and requirements. So obviously it is best to know what you are going to be dealing with.
If you are buying from private owners there is a chance they might not know exactly what breed of rabbits they have. Pet stores and breeders however will know. They should be able to provide you with some history, background and if breeders, some paperwork. This will make your life a lot easier, but I appreciate the casual rabbit owner just wants a no-fuss common pet rabbit.
So, What Do Pet Rabbits Eat?
OK, we have all seen the TV shows and cartoons. Rabbits eat carrots and lettuce right? Well, they do enjoy carrots and lettuce, but they enjoy it a lot when they get a wider range of foods. Ideally their diet should resemble what they would find in the wild. Here is a good breakdown of a healthy diet plan for rabbits and some of the foods they can eat:
Hay and Grass
Your rabbits should have access to hay all the time. This is why you often see hay used in a rabbit’s hutch for bedding and feeding. In healthy rabbits hay and grass literally makes up between 80-90% of their overall diet. When providing the hay and grass for your rabbit try and keep the supply fresh and good quality.
Pellets are commonly found in pet stores. I recommend a handful a day in your rabbits bowl, they are high in fiber and very good for their digestive systems.
Rabbits love almost all vegetables, just try to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get unwell from any particular vegetables. If they do then don’t even give them that vegetable again, it’s nothing to be concerned about, some rabbits just don’t agree with certain veggies. Try to use 2-3 different types of vegetable in a mix for them, this keeps the rabbit interested in it’s food, gives them a wider range of nutrients and different textures. Giving them good food is a big part of looking after your pet rabbit and will ensure they live a healthier life.
Everyone loves treating their pets, I know I do. But as a responsible pet owner you must make responsible decisions. Don’t overdue the treats, rabbits do have a sweet tooth and will try and eat way to much if it’s easily available.
Always have fresh water available for your bunnies.
Your Bunny Needs Exercise
Rabbits are active animals. If your rabbit was in the wild it would run up to 3 miles in a day. Personally I recommend giving your pet as much free time as possible each day. You should either have a rabbit run, a large and secure garden or give your rabbit the freedom to run around your house. This way they can get some exercise and practice jumping too.
Remember to make sure your garden is secure. As most owners will testify a rabbit can move very quickly when it wants to and will fit through the smallest of gaps. It is not fun chasing a rabbit around, or trying to pull them out of tight spaces when they don’t want to move.
Choosing Your Rabbits Home
You have three different types of home to choose from;
Indoor/outdoor cages are similar as you would see small pets kept in. They are generally plastic bottom with steel bars. Good for small or young rabbits and east to move around and transport.
Indoor/outdoor hutches are a lot larger, generally made out of wood and can accommodate large or multiple rabbits. It is easier to make an area for bedding and a separate area for feeding, usually over two or more floors with a ramp for your bunnies to move around.
Is Looking after Your Pet Rabbit Difficult?
Not at all! Pet rabbits are fun for both children and adults. The important part is having all the necessary equipment, hutch, a run, food etc. You can have a lot of fun setting up obstacles and courses in your garden for them to run though. They are soft and lovable to hold, but do have sharp claws and teeth, so a little caution and care is needed when handling. If you handle them from a young age they will be much more tame and familiar with you, and are fairly inexpensive as pets. So, don’t make looking after your pet rabbit a chore, have fun with it. Spend time getting to know your rabbit, understanding what it likes to eat and when it likes to be played with. Treat it like a member of the family, and it will treat you like one too.