BASIC RABBIT CARE AND REQUIREMENTS
There are so many unwanted rabbits at sanctuaries all over the UK that desperately need a home.
Rabbits like to live in pairs or small groups, always make sure the rabbits are neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Never keep a rabbit on its own, they are gregarious animals, and love companionship. If you already have a rabbit and are looking to introduce another one do so carefully. Introduce them gradually and on neutral ground. A trouble free permanent relationship seems to be a neutered buck and a female.
We suggest around 8 sq ft which is 4 foot long, 2 foot wide and 2 foot high, as being the very minimum night time area required for a pair of average size rabbits. (Do not be tempted to settle for less just because the rabbits are babies, they will grow rapidly, and you cannot always be sure how much they will grow.) The rabbits new home should be made of sturdy wood suitable for outside use and the sleeping area should have a waterproof roof.
Most of the rabbits that come into rescue are pathetic, redundant pets, who, like most of their kind, have been permanently hutched, sometimes for years. They have never felt the sun on their backs,the earth beneath their feet, or the pleasure of any movement other than a couple of miserable paces in either direction.
The absolute minimum exercise area for a rabbit is 32 square ft. The bigger the better if you have more space. The rabbit should have access to the exercise area all and every day, along with a partly enclosed shelter with a dry floor to use if they want to. It is important they have this choice.
Make sure hutches and exercise areas are fox and dog proof. Foxes are strong and very clever at breaking nto inadequate hutches and runs.
Ensure the hutch does not get damp. Line the hutch with newspapers and plenty of hay on top. Clean out frequently, it keeps bunny clean, deters flies,nobody wants to sleep in a dirty bed.
FOOD AND WATER
Rabbits are rodents so their teeth are constantly growing. Hard nuggets are the best for your rabbit. They provide all the nutrients a rabbit needs and eating pellets allows your rabbit to wear down their teeth. Provide bunny with untreated wood to gnaw. They love apple bark. Never feed yellowing or mouldy vegetables. Green fruit and roots should never be given in vast quantities to rabbits. It is wise when offering anything new to give only a tiny amount first to make sure it does not upset your rabbits system. Hay is a good food for rabbits and they should have some fresh hay for eating every day. Make sure your
rabbit has a constant supply of clean fresh water.
COMMON ILLNESSES OR CONDITIONS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Check bottoms are clean. No diarrhoea. Left untreated it could be fatal as they have a very delicate digestive system. If your rabbit does have diarrhoea, take away its food especially greens and give only hay and water. If it doesn’t clear, take the rabbit to the vets as soon as possible.
Rabbits must be vaccinated against myxomatosis and V.H.D. This should be done every year, evenif you have a house rabbit.
THESE DISEASES ARE FATAL.
Check the rabbit has a dry clean nose. Listen for sneezing and check for signs of discharge. If any of the above symptoms are noticed, take bunny immediately to your vet.
SPAYING AND CASTRATION
This is a good idea for your rabbit. It prevents "accidents" as well as calming the rabbit. It is beneficial to get female rabbits spayed as there is a risk of ovarian cancer after the age of
Check they are not overgrown.Keep claws clipped
Overgrown teeth (malocluded)
Check front teeth are not misaligned or protruding out of the mouth. Usually bad front teeth can indicate problems with back teeth. Have the rabbit checked regularly.
Mites are microscopic parasites which affect the top layer of the rabbits skin.The symptoms are scaly white flakes on the skin. The rabbit may be scratching a lot, the skin can become inflamed and sore and the rabbits fur frequently begins to moult.The rabbit needs to go to your vets.
Abscesses are common in rabbits. Routinely check for abscesses if you feel a swelling get it checked out.
This is particularly horrible . A fly lays eggs on your rabbit, usually in its bottom or if it has an open wound.The flies tend to go for poorly or unclean rabbits. There is a product on the market to combat this called “Rearguard”. It is applied to the rabbits fur, it doesn’t kill the flies but stops maggots developing. It can be purchased from your vets.
The small patches of white on the fur of this rabbit are fly eggs that would develop into maggots
A severe attack of fly strike
If you require any advice regarding rabbits please call us