TAKING HOME ONE OF OUR RABBITS
Here’s what you will need to know if you take home a rabbit or guinea pig:
Rabbits make great pets. They are friendly, social animals who enjoy bonding with the family and are fairly low maintenance. Their life expectancy is 6-10yrs.
Rabbits enjoy the companionship of another bunny, especially if being left alone during the day. You can keep two of the same sex together or two opposite sexes, however they should be de-sexed to stop unwanted litters and behavioral issues (at 5-6 months of age).
A rabbit’s diet is one of the most important components of keeping them healthy. Their diet should consist of a variety of foods.
- Meadow hay or fresh grass should make up 80% of their diet (a constant supply should be provided). There are hay-holders available to keep it off the ground so it does not become soiled.
- There are a variety of vegetables that are good for your bunny to eat (around 2 packed cups of a variety of leafy greens, per kilo of body weight, daily). Try: broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, beet/carrot tops, Brussel sprouts, spinach leaves, bok choy, Asian greens, dark leafed lettuce varieties (never iceberg lettuce), parsley dandelion, coriander, milk thistle, clover, basil, dill, mint etc.
- Treats may be offered in small amounts. You can provide high quality treat bars, roller treat packs and most fruits and root vegies such as carrot and sweet potato. Don’t ever feed your rabbit chocolate or sweets.
- High quality rabbit mix or pellets should be available in small quantities. Feed in a ceramic bowl to stop spillage and chewing of the bowl.
- Small animal vitamin drops should be used weekly.
A water bottle will keep water clean and cannot be knocked over (changed daily, you may need 2 in summer).
Salt-licks or mineral stones should be placed in the hutch to provide essential minerals and salts. Replace as necessary.
Rabbit’s incisors constantly grow and need to be kept trim to avoid dental issues. Flavoured wood chews and gnawing toys should always be available. Bitter lime gels and sprays can also be used on the hutch and electrical cords in the house to prevent unwanted chewing.
A hutch should be long enough for your bunny to hop 3 times and high enough to stand up. Wooden hutches or white (reflect sun) metal hutches can be used. Your bunny will need plenty of time out of his hutch for exercise. You can add a purpose-built run for exercise space or train your rabbit to walk on a harness and lead.
Straw should be used as bedding in the hutch. Change weekly and use Hutch Clean to sanitize.
Toilet training rabbits can be done using a corner litter tray and organic litter. Place the litter tray in a corner of the hutch, sweep up some of the droppings and place in the tray. After a while your bunny will use this on his own.
Your rabbit will need to have an annual vaccination.
Small animal wormer (placed in the water bottle for two consecutive days), is used every three months to protect against intestinal worms. Mite and lice spray (sprayed directly on to the animal) should be used every two weeks during the warmer months and monthly during the cooler months.
Grooming your rabbit is important in establishing a bond and also to prevent fur balls (rabbits can’t cough them up) and overheating. Brushing with a soft bristle brush or slicker brush should be done weekly. Detangling brushes can be used to remove knots.
Bunny shampoo can be used and nails should be trimmed and filed using special small animal nail scissors, monthly.
Rabbits do not tolerate heat well. Ensure the area you keep them in will not become too hot, they should always have a cool shaded area.
This information is only meant as a guide. Do not hesitate us with any questions.