PET RABBIT CARE

PET RABBITS

If you are considering a pet rabbit, also consider the time involved and the long-term commitment you are making. Rabbits are intelligent, inquisitive, can learn their names, love to play, need daily care and a clean place to live. Don't buy a pet rabbit unless you are committed to spending time with it and are aware of what's involved in raising a happy bunny.

MALE OR FEMALE?

Male rabbits or "bucks" are usually the most curious and friendly, but this isn't always the case. Unaltered females or "does" can sometimes be just as friendly, although as they reach sexual maturity they can sometimes become nervous and territorial. Spaying/Neutering your bunny will usually remedy this problem.

HOUSING

Does from the same litter can be housed together, if given enough space. It is best to keep each rabbit in a separate cage. It is less stressful for the rabbits, since they are territorial. If you neuter your rabbit, a buck and doe should be fine together. If you are willing to spend the time needed to bond your rabbits, they will happily groom each other and keep each other company. It is really sweet to see. Litter-mates tend to bond more easily, but altered rabbits also bond well. I use stackable Havahart Rabbit Hutch Kits (24"x24"). The smallest cage suitable for a dwarf measures 24"x18"x14". It is obviously better, if you can provide more space for your little bunny.

INDOOR RABBITS

This is the best way to keep your little bunny. Rabbits like attention and outdoor rabbits can often become neglected. A good indoor rabbit cage will have urine guards along the bottom sides of the cage. You should choose a cage that works best for you. If you choose a wire bottom, it would be a good idea to provide a resting area for the bunny's feet. A board or mat will work, but be sure to keep it clean and dry to avoid illnesses. The cage should be cleaned out at least once/wk.

OUTDOOR RABBITS

Rabbits can adapt to outdoor living, provided they are given daily attention. Rabbits do well in cold climates, but need to have shelter from the weather. An outdoor rabbit hutch must have an enclosed space for the rabbit to retreat to in cold weather and wind. In the summertime, it should be shaded enough to keep the temperature below 90 deg. Rabbits can suffer from heat stroke and die from heat exposure. If it is an extremely hot day, you can spray the cage down with water to keep the bunny cool and/or provide a frozen water bottle for them to lay against.

LITTER BOX TRAINING

Rabbits can easily be litter trained. By the time a rabbit is 6 months old, he/she has usually determined which area of the cage is the "bathroom". Rabbits usually pick a spot in the corner away from the food dish. Do not put the litter box into the cage until this spot has been determined or they will likely use it as a bed. You can purchase a rabbit litter box and place it in that area and it won't take long for your rabbit to associate that box with the "bathroom". You can then let your bunny run around a larger area with a couple of litter boxes available. This makes clean-up much easier.

FEED

I use Manna Pro purchased at the Tractor Supply Co. My Dwarfs eat 1/4-1/2 cup of food daily. I will provide you with transitional rabbit food when you purchase your rabbit. You should purchase a high quality rabbit feed with 15-16% protein. You will have a healthier rabbit with a better coat and the higher quality feeds reduce odors. You should also provide some timothy hay (not alfalfa!) every day or every other day for your little bunny to chew on. Rabbits need the extra fiber and the chewing keeps their teeth down. You can buy the hay in cube form for easier storage. The rabbit feed is packed with nutrition so this diet is all that the bunny needs. If you give your bunny veggies and fruits, please do so sparingly and introduce it slowly since it can cause digestive problems. Rabbits can be picky eaters and don't like a quick change in diet. Mine love quaker oatmeal (dry), parsley, and dandelion leaves.

WATER

You can use a water crock or bottle, it's up to you. If you are going to keep the bunny outside in the winter, a crock might be better. Make sure the crock or bottle remains clean and the bunny has fresh water at all times.

TOYS

Rabbits are very intelligent and enjoy playtime. You should provide them with cat balls, tennis balls, empty toilet paper rolls, oatmeal containers or something that they can pick up, chew, run around with and push. One of my rabbits goes everywhere with his little cat tennis ball. Remember that you can't be with your rabbit 24/7 and they get bored. Just a simple toy like an empty toilet paper roll can provide hours of playtime.