Pet rabbits can be very similar to wild Rabbit Care. They should be fed the same diet as wild rabbits.
For healthy teeth and gut health, rabbits need to eat a lot of high-quality fiber. Your rabbit may have problems with their urinary tract and teeth if you feed them the wrong food. Checking your rabbit’s droppings is a great way to make sure they are eating correctly.
Hay and grass
Rabbits should have unlimited access to hay. Grass-based products should comprise around 80%. Fresh and dried grass, meadowhay, and haylage are all acceptable options. Hay and grass provide all the basic nutrition they need, as well as many other benefits like maintaining healthy teeth, which will continue to grow throughout life.
Rabbits that don’t eat enough grass or hay may develop painful spurs, which can make eating difficult. Don’t feed your rabbit lawnmower trimmings. They can ferment quickly and prove to be very dangerous.
Rabbits can consume a small amount vegetables every day. This accounts for approximately 15% of their diet. This provides additional nutrients and vitamins for your rabbit, but also allows you to give them different tastes and textures. Be sure to thoroughly wash any greens and other vegetables before you feed them to your rabbit.
Safe vegetable for rabbits:
- Brussel sprouts
- Celery leaves
- Green beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Radish tops
Do not feed your rabbit
- Elder poppies
- Oak leaves
Modern diets only require 5% of pellets. Commercial foods used to be the base of most rabbit diets. Look for high-quality pellets, with high levels of fibre. Avoid mixed or muesli food, as they encourage selective eating.
As with humans, too many treats can lead your rabbit to become obese and have other serious health consequences. Excessive sugars and starchy treats can lead to digestive issues. You should avoid sweetened cereal sticks and milk-based yogurt drops, which are popular rabbit treats. You can instead give your rabbit a bit of broccoli or some coriander or mangetout.
Rabbits must have access to water at all hours. Because they are more convenient to drink from than bottles, bowls are preferred to bottles. It is important to change the water each day, and to clean out your bowls and bottles every so often.
Regular health checks are essential. Rabbits should be vaccinated for two deadly and serious diseases, Myxomatosis (VH) and RHD (Rapid Haemorrhasic Disorder (RHD), as soon their age is five weeks. For their protection, they need to be given booster vaccines every year.
Myxomatosis can be a very serious disease. It causes swelling, inflammation, and discharge around your eyes. It’s very unlikely that a pet who has not been vaccinated will be able to recover even after intensive treatment. Myxomatosis can be spread by insects but also through direct rabbit-torabbit contact. There are few ways to minimize your risk.
- Choose kiln dried grass or dust-extracted Hay
- Fit insect screens to outdoor enclosures
- Make sure your pets are flea-treated if you have dogs or cats.
- Keep wild rabbits out of your garden
You should ensure that there are no vermin or wild bird attractants in your hutches, runs, or hutches. Small-hole mesh is also recommended to keep any unwelcome visitors away
Viral haemorrhagic Disorder (RHD).
RHD affects only adult rabbits and hares. It is spread by saliva, nasal drainages, and feces. RHD can cause severe internal bleeding in rabbits and even death in unvaccinated pets. However, many pets show no signs of illness. RHD is easily transmitted from rabbits to other rabbits, humans, clothing, objects or even wind. It is important that all rabbits are properly vaccinated against this disease.
Myiasis (flystrike) occurs when flies lay their eggs on rabbits and then hatch into maggots. Flystrike is most prevalent in summer but can happen throughout the year. In particular, rabbits that have dirty bottoms from poor diet or wounds are at greatest risk.
You should immediately contact your veterinarian if you suspect your rabbit may have flystrike. This includes cutting away any affected fur and taking out the maggots with anesthetic. Although flystrike can often be fatal, it is possible to make a full recovery with quick diagnosis and treatment.
Apart from the prevention and treatment of pregnancy, neutering your rabbit can have many other great benefits. The male rabbits are more friendly towards people and other animals when they’re neutered. A large number of female rabbits will get uterine cancer if they aren’t spayed before the age of 2.
Rabbits can be very active and social animals. This means that they require plenty of space to run and jump, dig, stand up, and stretch out. Your rabbit should have a spacious living space, a secure shelter, and a place to rest.
Although many owners opt to keep house rabbits for their pets, it’s important to remember that indoor pets require just as much stimulation and space as their outdoor counterparts. You will need to prepare your house to ensure safety and security (many houseplants are toxic to rabbits). There will also need to be designated areas for sleeping and going to the bathroom.
Natural behaviour of rabbits is to live in large groups. You should avoid keeping more than one. Without social interaction, they can easily become lonely. It is best to pair a neutered male with a female. However, it can be challenging for them to have the same sex, especially if they are from different litters.
Some rabbits may display aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons that pet rabbits end-up in shelters. Due to their prey status in nature, rabbits can sometimes act aggressively. If a predator is attacking them, they will often fight back with their teeth, claws, and powerful hind legs. Pet rabbits exhibit less aggression than wild animals.
- A rabbit that hasn’t been socialized well can see human interaction as a threat to its health.
- Some rabbits can become territorially aggressive if their owners place their hand in the hutch to feed them.
- Hormones can cause unspayed rabbits to become aggressive during spring (their natural breeding period).
- They may become aggressive when they feel pain or discomfort.
It is essential to groom your pet rabbits regularly. To avoid matting, it is essential to keep their nails trimmed and clean. You also have the opportunity to check their health.