Below is a list of the wrong ways to look after rabbits today & an explanation as to why they are wrong & how to correct it. By following what is listed below, you can be sure your rabbits will live a much healthier, happier life.
Don’t feed a rabbit Muesli type dried food
Why? Because rabbits will pick out the bits they like and leave bits they don’t like. The bits they leave will have certain vitamins and nutrients in and this will mean your rabbit is not getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need from their dried food. Muesli type mixes are also not a very healthy type of food to feed rabbits and can make rabbits obese.
Do feed your rabbit a good quality pellet as they will have all the vitamins and nutrients packed inside each pellet, so you can be sure your rabbit is eating what he needs to eat.
Don’t feed a rabbit lots of carrots
Why? Carrots are full of sugar and if fed in large amounts can cause your rabbit to become obese and will also rot their teeth.
Do feed carrots as a treat only. For example: two slices a day that are about half an inch thick.
Don’t feed a rabbit Iceberg lettuce
Why? Iceberg lettuce is poisonous to rabbits.
Do feed romaine lettuce instead, along with some dark leafy vegetables like Spring greens & kale.
Don’t feed a rabbit new foods in large amounts
Why? A rabbits stomach is very sensitive & if they eat too much of a new food, too soon, it can cause diarrhea and gas/bloat which could then lead to other health problems.
Do introduce any new foods very slowly, to allow your rabbits stomach to adapt to the change & to check the new food agrees with your rabbit.
Don’t leave a rabbit without any fresh hay
Why? Hay is the most important food in a rabbits diet. Around 80% of their daily diet should be hay. Rabbits get fibre from hay & this is needed to keep their stomachs working properly & to keep rabbits healthy.
Do give them unlimited amounts of hay, not just for bedding, but in litter trays also & provide lots of hay racks too. Make sure the hay smells fresh and is dust free. Try different types of hay to encourage rabbits that are not huge hay eaters. Meadow hay and Timothy hay are the most popular hay types.
Don’t keep rabbits in small cages/hutches
Why? Rabbits need space & lots of it! To keep them in a small hutch/cage is just cruel & will subject that rabbit to a very depressing life and lots of health issues also.
Do give them a home they can live a proper life in & enjoy it. The minimum requirement is a hutch no smaller than 6ft by 2ft by 2ft (although 6ft by 3ft by 3ft is much better) & attached to a run of 8ft by 4ft by 2ft. But always think the bigger the better! Lots of people create a rabbits home by using a shed or playhouse and attach it to a large aviary type run. Or have them as house rabbits! You can let them have the run of the house, when it is safe to do so, but also provide them with a safe area or room they can call their own.
*For more ideas visit Housing ideas
Don’t keep a rabbit all alone
Why? Rabbits are very sociable animals and need company to be happy.
Do keep rabbits as pairs if possible. Both need to be neutered/spayed & bonded properly. Some rabbit rescues can help with bonding bunnies or they have plenty of pairs that are already bonded for you. If you can’t have more than one rabbit, then it is a good idea to have your rabbit live in the house with you, so they have your company for long periods of time, more so than they would out in the garden alone.
Don’t let a rabbit roam around a garden alone
Why? Rabbits have many predators & no garden is 100% safe.
Do supervise your rabbit all the time when they are exercising them around the garden! Always supervise their play times as it only takes a second for a predator to attack.
Don’t think a rabbit is happy with nothing to do
Why? Rabbits are highly intelligent animals and need to keep their minds active, otherwise they will become bored and depressed.
Do always provide plenty of toys and areas for your rabbit to play in, like tunnels or items to jump around on. Rearrange things in their home on a regular basis to keep them entertained.
*For lots of ideas on keeping them entertained visit Boredom busters
Don’t think rabbits won’t need to go to a vet
Why? Rabbits will need yearly vaccinations against diseases and also health checks to keep your rabbit in tip top condition. A rabbit can suffer with many illnesses too, especially as their stomachs are so sensitive, so again visits to the vet will be necessary.
Do register your rabbit with a vet (ideally a rabbit savvy vet) as soon as you get them. Have them spayed/neutered if they have not been done and ask your vet about vaccinations etc
Don’t think a rabbit doesn’t need neutering/spaying because they live alone
Why? All rabbits don’t just have to be neutered/spayed to stop unwanted litters. To keep them healthy and reduce their risk of cancers later on in life, is also why they need to be neutered/spayed. It will also calm down their hormones and stop them from spraying too.
Do arrange for your rabbit to be neutered/spayed asap. Call the vet today!