Rabbits are fantastic pets with plenty of character and sociability. They enjoy the company of humans and make great pets for introducing children to animal ownership. They are quiet, clean, and easy to train, making them an ideal pet for those who work or are often away from home.
To ensure your rabbit’s safety, it’s essential to provide a predator-proof enclosure. A suitable hutch should be divided into two compartments, one with wire mesh for natural light and fresh air and the other enclosed for protection from weather and as a secure sleeping place. The hutch floor should be covered with newspaper and bedding material like straw or hay to provide warmth, comfort and prevent pressure sores.
It’s crucial to choose a location for the hutch that considers extreme weather conditions and ventilation. In Australia, rabbits are particularly sensitive to hot summer temperatures and may die from heat stroke if the hutch isn’t in a cool, shady area.
Your rabbit should have at least two hours of exercise outside of the hutch each day. Regular handling and brushing to remove dead hairs and tangles are beneficial to keep your bunny tame and healthy. It’s also important to check for grass seeds stuck in their eyes, ears, and nose daily and ensure their rear end is clean and dry to prevent fly strike.
Feeding and nutrition are vital to maintaining your rabbit’s health. Many commercial rabbit foods lack enough fiber and contain too much fat and sugar. Rabbits are herbivores and need a diet consisting mainly of vegetables. Grass or hay is an essential component of their diet and helps wear down their continuously growing teeth while preventing boredom. Ideally, your bunny should be fed 85% hay and 15% vegetables such as Asian greens or endive (lettuce and cabbage can cause diarrhoea). Treats such as fruits, root veggies(carrots), capsicum and pellets should only be offered in small amounts (1 – 2 tablespoons per day per rabbit). Fresh water should always be available using both a drip feed bottle and an open container.
Regular veterinary care is crucial for rabbits. They should have routine check-ups, including vaccinations against calicivirus and desexing to prevent reproductive cancers in females. Calicivirus has been used to control and reduce the feral rabbit population in Australia since 1996, and healthy rabbits should be vaccinated every six months to help protect them.
If you’re considering getting a rabbit, it’s important to understand the responsibility that comes with their care. Providing a safe and comfortable home, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and veterinary care will ensure your furry friend lives a happy and healthy life. If you have any questions about rabbit care or need further advice, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us to discuss how to keep your rabbit in optimal health.
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