Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK, however their needs and requirements are still largely misunderstood by owners.
Unfortunately, a lot of rabbits that are adopted go on to be left in hutches at the bottom of gardens, largely forgotten about.
Unlike dogs or cats, rabbits can’t pester you for food or attention when they’re locked away – and for many, once the novelty has worn off they leave their rabbits to lead bored, lonely and miserable lives.
If you’re considering getting a pet bunny, be sure to think long and hard about it. Pet rabbits can live for a decade and so you’re making a serious commitment.
If you’re ready to own a rabbit and are sure you can give them the time and attention they deserve, here’s what you need to know.
Hutch and Run
The first thing you will need for your rabbit is a hutch.
Something secure, sturdy and big enough for the rabbit or rabbits you plan on adopting is essential.
It’s important to stress that a hutch alone is not enough for your bunny and they need to be able to get outside and enjoy some exercise.
Invest in a good quality rabbit run, ideally you will link this up to the hutch so your rabbit can come and go as they please. You can buy tunnels specifically for this purpose which can be fitted to the hutch and then to the run.
Due to their complex digestive system, your rabbit needs constant access to fresh Timothy hay, you can buy this from any pet store. This helps their digestion to keep moving and prevents blockages.
On top of this you can feed your rabbit pellets which will contain everything they need nutritionally – follow the pack guidelines for portion sizes.
Muesli style feed isn’t recommended as rabbits tend to pick out the bits they like which can leave them lacking nutritionally.
You can also feed your rabbit fresh fruit, veggies and herbs – just be sure to Google things first to check if there’s anything they can’t have – for example they can’t have iceberg lettuce due to its high water content, and fruit should be given in moderation since the natural sugars can be bad for their teeth.
Rabbits love leafy vegetables like:
- leafy salads
- if you grow your own vegetables, you could give some to your rabbit!
Rabbits are naturally clean and will clean themselves regularly. You just need to give them regular brushings to remove loose hair, this stops them from ingesting too much of it during cleaning which can be dangerous.
Pet rabbits can also develop long nails, so using a pair of claw clippers, give these a cut back every few months to keep your rabbit in ship shape.
Make grooming part of your routine, it can be a great way to bond with your bunny and is beneficial for them physically too.
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