Rabbits deserve their reputation as great animals – they are friendly, inquisitive, content to play with their owners and can happily be held and stroked. With the correct diet, care and handling you and your rabbits will have a long and happy time together. In the sections below we will introduce some of the most important things you need to know in order to enjoy the experience of being a rabbits owner to the full.
Foraging and chewing will keep your rabbit physically and emotionally stimulated.
Whether your rabbits live indoors or outside, a hutch with a run permanently attached is the perfect home. The hutch itself is really only the rabbits bedroom. They should have access to a run at all times so they can choose to be inside or outside as they wish.
The hutch should be high enough for your rabbits to stand on their back legs, stretch out fully, and with enough floor area to allow a minimum of three to four hops in any direction. You’ll need to get a bigger hutch the more rabbits you have. There should be separate eating and toilet areas. If you have more than one rabbit, there should also be somewhere for them to be alone from each other – after all we all need our own space sometimes!
Line the floor with newspaper and cover the lining with bedding material such as straw or dust-free wood chippings. This helps to absorb urine and keep the hutch comfortable.
Rabbits are clean animals by nature, so make a separate litter area, deep-sided and lined with newspaper and hay, which you should change regularly.
The hutch should always be dry, well-ventilated and kept cool. Heat can be fatal to rabbits. Indoors, avoid sites next to radiators. Outside, avoid south-facing walls and direct sunlight. In the colder winter months, add extra bedding to an outdoor hutch and move it into a garage.
Rabbits have complex digestive systems. Food is passed through their gut and this is how caecotrophs are produced, rabbits then eat the caecotrophs and the food is re-ingested.
Rabbit’s teeth can grow at a rate of 3mm per week and this is why eating lots of grass and hay helps to wear their teeth down.
Rabbits leave scent markings which extreme cleaning can remove. This may cause them stress, but hygiene is important. Spot clean soiled areas when needed, but change all bedding and clean thoroughly every two or three days – always leaving a small corner untouched so it smells familiar. It’s also important to consider the surroundings when your rabbits are out of the hutch.
Rabbits love to chew and gnaw, so when they’re living indoors, the house needs to be rabbit-proofed. Wires are an easy target, so metal ducting may be useful to cover them up. Also, be aware of wooden and laminate floors which can easily cause your rabbits to slip, injuring the lower back.
For outdoor rabbits, it’s important to rat-proof the area where they’re living. Fear of predators – like dogs, foxes and birds of prey – can cause stress, so try to minimise it. If a neighbour has a noisy dog, for example, house your rabbits as far away as possible. Ideally cover the hutch at night so that the rabbits cannot see outside should any predators enter the garden. You should also make sure the garden is free of plants that are poisonous to rabbits.
If you have a question, please email us or call us on 0800 413 969. Our dedicated consumer care team are available to answer any questions you may have. If you are concerned about the immediate health of your pet, please seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible.Email us