Although they are the third most common pet, rabbits are also one of the least cared for. They may easily survive for more than ten years if they are cared for correctly and are clever, readily picking up tricks and routines much as a dog would.
Every rabbit kept as a pet should go through a comprehensive examination of their health, including sterilisation and vaccination.
Continue reading if you need guidance or assistance with bonding your own bunnies, if you want to find a new home for one of your own rabbits, or if you wish to rescue a rabbit.
Shortcut To Useful Tips
Tips For Rabbit Adoption
- Please be mindful and do not rehome single rabbits unless they are going to be house rabbits. If you already have a neutered rabbit you can arrange a date with the rescue to try to bond your rabbit with the rabbit you would like to adopt.
- You should not adopt a rabbit in the lead-up to Christmas or Easter. We are against any animal being given as a gift, please ensure that you are adopting the rabbit after serious thought and not on impulse. This does not apply if you already have a rabbit and are looking for a partner for it.
- Your new rabbit should have their health/dental checked, neutered, vaccinated (myxomatosis, VHD and the new strain of VHD – VHD2), and given any treatment they need)
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How To House A Rabbit?
Rabbits are not designed to live in a confined space. In the wild, they cover an area equivalent to 30 football pitches. They’re not designed to live alone either – wild rabbits live in large social groups, foraging, grooming each other and huddling together for warmth. Rabbits living alone experience high levels of stress.
Domestic rabbits are not fundamentally far removed from their wild cousins.
They share the same need to run, jump, explore and share companionship with their own kind, so their accommodation must allow them to display these natural behaviors.
We recommend a minimum hutch size of 6′ x 2′ x 2′, which allows rabbits some room to move, stand on their hind legs and have enough space for the food, toilet and sleeping areas to be kept apart.
It is commonly accepted that a rabbit should have space for 3 hops, but it is commonly underestimated just how far 3 hops is – our tests show that 3 hops from an average-sized rabbit cover 6-7 feet!
A hutch should only be a shelter and not the only living space. It should be attached to a secure run of at least 6′ x 4′.
Even better (if you can) is to bring your rabbit into your home to be part of your family. Rabbits are easily litter trained but a lot of care is needed to ‘rabbit proof’ your home for their safety.
Telephone wires and cables in particular are tempting treats but can easily be secured out of reach. Many people have an area or room for their rabbits to enjoy their own space in safety when unattended which works very well.
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Basic Pet Rabbit Care
The first thing you should do when you get a pet rabbit is to bring it to the vet for a quick check-up. You want to make sure your rabbit is healthy from the start, and your vet can also give you some handy tips for rabbit maintenance. While you’re at it, you should look into getting your rabbit spayed or neutered. While this will cost you extra, it will help to keep your rabbit’s natural urges under control, especially if you happen to have more than one rabbit to keep it company.
When you bring your rabbit home, you should have a nice cage with all the trimming waiting. Rabbit cages come in all shapes and sizes and in general, you should always look for the biggest one you can find. Remember, the cage won’t just be holding a rabbit, it will also contain hay, food, and bedding as well. Rabbits can also grow quite big throughout the course of their lifetimes so you want to give them the maximum room possible to move around. It’s also a good idea to get a cage with a side door so that you can train your rabbit to enter and exit when it wants.
A rabbit won’t be a very finicky eater but that doesn’t mean you can just feed it anything. Stay well away from packaged foods that are heavily processed as these are very bad for a rabbit’s health. These items should be considered more as treats than a mainstay of a rabbit’s diet. In general, pet rabbits will also enjoy the occasional fresh vegetables and fruits, so you should supplement their diet with these things when possible.
Also, keep an eye on a rabbit’s droppings because this will help you to determine its overall health. If it is experiencing stomach problems then you will certainly see it by the size, shape, and color of the droppings. All in all, trust your instincts when it comes to rabbit care. Your rabbit will tell you in its own way when it is happy and healthy so if you see any signs of trouble make sure to act immediately.
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Pet Training: How To Train Your Rabbit
Have you ever thought about training your rabbit? I promise it can be done! Read further to learn how.
Owners must accept that rabbits will instinctively exhibit behaviors that you may not like but are second nature for your rabbit such as chewing furniture, digging up the carpet and marking the floor. This behavior is rare but does occur.
If your rabbit is chewing furniture consider purchasing a special spray to deter them from chewing. These are sold at all pet stores and shops such as Wal-Mart and Target. Also, be sure to provide your bunny with plenty of chew toys that you can purchase at the pet store. I like to cover the areas they like to dig with a bath mat or another large object to cover the area.
Rabbits have the urge to mark their territory with urine and certain fecal pellets. If you spay/neuter your pet this will eliminate this desire and will prevent the risk of ovarian cancer and unwanted pregnancy. To train your rabbit to use a litter box, make sure you pick one that is the right size for the bunny.
A tiny bunny will not want to use a gigantic litter box and a large rabbit will not enjoy using a litter box designed for a small bunny. Place the litter box in a corner in a private place that is quiet and will be relaxing for the bunny to use. It helps to put several poops in the litter box so they know that it is the designated area for them to relieve themselves
Rabbits respond extremely well to rewards so giving them treats for a job well done is the best thing you can do to train your rabbit. They do not respond when they are yelled at or hit and do not understand why they are being punished. Reward your bunny every time they do something great by giving them a treat. Immediately give them a treat as soon as they do the good behavior.
Being consistent when your rabbit does something good is key to great pet training. Make sure that your bunny knows why they are getting a treat. Make sure you use treats that your bunny loves because they will do anything possible to get that treat. My bunny’s favorite treats are pretzel treats designed especially for bunnies and lettuce.
It takes time to train your rabbit and the best thing you can do is to devote at least thirty minutes a day of quality time to training. If you consistently train them each day you will see the results. Your bunny will respond more to you, you and your bunny will be closer and you will see quicker results.
Once your rabbit has a skill down correctly begin to give the rabbit treats less frequently. In time, you will want to reward the rabbit with petting and toys and not food.