Rabbits make wonderful pets, as they are very social animals. Rabbits can be housed together with other rabbits. A rabbit makes a great family pet, as children find then easy to care for and handle. Many people associate pet rabbits with being housed outdoors, but they can also be housed indoors. Each option has its own merits.
Housing your rabbit
Housing your pet rabbit indoors will help make it part of your family, in much the same way as a dog or cat, which in return will provide you with more interaction with your pet. If you decide to allow your rabbit to roam free in the house, you will need to make it rabbit proof. Things you will need to consider doing is keeping electrical cables out of reach, placing house plants in hard to reach areas. and adding protective coverings such as placing boards over areas the bunny might like to chew.
Buying a puppy pen is another great way to house your bunny indoors, as they are movable and can hold all the essential items that the rabbit requires. If you decide to purchase one, then ensure it is tall enough so that your pet rabbit cannot hop over it.
You can also decide to build a rabbit enclosure of your own, using whatever materials you see fit for the purpose. Although if this is the option you decide on, then remember that chicken wire should not be used, as your rabbit will chew it and it may hurt itself. All slats used to build an enclosure should be fitted close to each other, so the rabbit cannot get its head caught.
You can purchase a ready assembled rabbit hutch, which will need to be big enough to allow your rabbit to move about and house care items such as its food, water, and litter box. A cage with a door at the front would be the best to allow your pet rabbit to come and go as it pleases, yet it can be secured at other times.
Housing a pet rabbit outdoors
If you are going to house your rabbit outdoors, then you should try to buy a well-built, durable hutch. Ensure your hutch is lockable, and that it has a good waterproof covering. Although this will be a little more expensive, it will save you money in the long-term. Having a good quality hutch is important for the health of your rabbit, especially during the winter months. Having a run attached to your hutch will allow your rabbit to explore, get exercise, and remain secure in the garden. You should place the hutch out of strong sunlight, and in a well-sheltered position. Ensure your hutch has an adequate lining on the floor such as hay, as this will help prevent your rabbit from getting painful hocks.
What your pet rabbit should eat
In the wild, rabbits spend most of the day grazing on things like seeds, grasses, and roots. A pet rabbit’s diet should be as close to that of one living in the wild. You should try and feed your rabbit twice daily minimum. Hay will be your rabbit’s main source of food with a couple of handfuls of vegetables and fruit added in. The amount of hay that your pet rabbit will eat can be anywhere between 75-100 grams per day. Meadow or grass hay would be the best kind of hay to feed your rabbit. When feeding your pet vegetables and fruit, there are several types that they cannot have these include potatoes, rhubarb, and beans. Ensure all pieces of vegetables and fruit are of good quality. You can choose to use dried pellet food along with the other two main sources of food to feed your rabbit. This is a good all round diet that will ensure your rabbit is getting all the nutrition it needs. The amount of dried food for a fully grown average rabbit should be around 50 grams. There are two ways to tell if your pet rabbit is getting too much dried food, which include seeing pellets of dried food being left or your pet is putting on weight.
Games for you to play with your pet rabbit
Play is a great form of exercise for your rabbit. Rabbits are more alert at dawn and dusk, so these will be the best times to play with your pet. You can design your own obstacle course with the use of empty cardboard boxes, large tubes, and ramps and jumps made from blocks and rods. Provide the rabbit with items to jump on and off such as small stools. Giving the rabbit toys that they can toss and run about with is always a great game for him. Play hide and seek with food. You can hide the food within their hay. Your rabbit would love company, either playing with you, or consider keeping two rabbits, as there is nothing they would love more than to run and chase each other.
Grooming your pet rabbit
Rabbits like to be clean and will therefore keep grooming themselves regularly. There are several things you can do to help keep your pet rabbit looking in great condition. You should aim to brush your rabbit once a week. Use gentle strokes when brushing, and you may need to brush daily when the rabbit is shedding or is a long-haired variety. A soft bristle or pin cushion brush is best, as it will not hurt the rabbit’s delicate skin. If it is an Angora rabbit, you will need to brush it daily and keep its coat trimmed, as it is easier to maintain. Whilst you are brushing your rabbit, you need to check for any fleas. If you find any, you should apply treatment that can be obtained from your vet. You also need to check your pet rabbit’s nails, and ensure they are well-trimmed. It is best to do grooming little and often, as it can be difficult to see where to trim their nails if they get too long. A rabbit’s ears need special attention. They should be checked regularly for any build-up of wax or dirt, but never stick anything into the rabbit’s ears. A special cleaning solution can be obtained from your vet to clean them. Other things to check for whilst grooming are the eyes, feet for any sore spots, and the glands, which can be found under the chin.