Providing information about house rabbit care including

 diet, behavior, housing and much more!

 

 

Email:  connie@hopperhome.com

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Rugby.jpg (23381 bytes)"Hare"raising

 

It can be a 

hair raising experience!

If you got an Easter Bunny, below is a checklist for you. 

Rabbits are not low maintenance nor

inexpensive companion animals!  

Bring your rabbit in the house to make him or her part of the family like a cat or dog and enjoy his company for many years - up to 10 or more!  A young rabbit who is not spayed or neutered yet will be the most challenging to train and care for in your home.  It is why many cute "Easter Bunnies" are relinquished, abandoned or dumped by their new family every year. 

 

Here's what you need to do:

Have a sense of humor, a lot of patience and then...

 

Rabbit-Proof Your Home

  • Cover electrical and phone cords with tubing

  • Keep Household chemical, cleaners and other toxic chemicals in a latched cupboard

  • Place toxic plants out of reach (and this includes most houseplants)

  • Keep the toilet lid down to avoid drowning

  • Latch & close doors and windows (rabbits can jump)

  • Remove items from the floor that should not be ingested

  • Install child gates on doorways into rooms that aren’t “bunny proof” Note: they will chew right through a plastic gate eventually so try a wood or better yet, a metal gate instead

Temperature

  • 50 to 75 degrees – Rabbits can overheat and freeze!  See page of tips on keeping your bunny cool at Buns in the Sun on this website.

Housing

  • Large Cage or puppy x-pen with solid floor (if you have a wire cage cover the floor with a solid wood board, hay or towels at the very least to prevent a condition called "sore hocks."  Rabbits do not have pads on their feet like cats or dogs.  Cages with wires were originated with those breeding rabbits to be slaughtered within 12 weeks of age. 

  • The "cage" should be large enough for rabbit to stand up in, stretch and hop around - get the biggest cage you can find!

  • A good alternative is a puppy pen (x-pen) about 24" to 36" high with several 2 foot wide wire panels. There are lots of creative housing possibilities.  See the Bunny Digs page for ideas!

  • Bedding:  Timothy hay or straw or a Quiet Time kennel pad for older or disabled rabbits in one corner.

  • Locate the rabbit's home in a spot where there is activity – absolutely not a damp basement, garage or attic!

  • Get your rabbit out for exercise everyday for a few hours!  Or provide an area around their cage where they can run - put an x-pen around it. Many people let their bunnies have the run of the house like a cat or dog.

Food  (Also see Rabbit Diet)

  • Rabbits have about 17000 taste buds compared to humans with 10000 so they have very good taste and enjoy variety!!! 

  • Hanging water bottle or heavy crock water bowl – change water everyday and twice a day is best.  You can get crocks that attached to the side of a pen, too.

  • Timothy hay is absolutely necessary for digestion.

  • Alfalfa pellets - don't provide unless the rabbit is under 1 year old, sick or disabled.  Instead, buy the following: fresh Timothy Hay and Timothy Hay based pellets.

  • Fresh veggies including carrots and carrot tops, broccoli, radish tops, romaine lettuce, beet greens, turnip greens; mustard greens and small amounts of parsley.

  • Fresh fruit slices (small bits) as long as rabbit isn’t overweight such as apples (not the seeds), pears, or peaches/nectarines

  • Salt wheel

  • Chew toys like safe wood blocks, organic apple twigs, etc.

  • They can nibble on your yard if it is free of pesticides and poisonous plants 

  • Never, ever feed a rabbit popcorn, cereals and other human treats - they can cause serious digestive problems possibly leading to death.  For 6 pages of information on rabbit diet see Rabbit Diet-  There is information on diet, a diagram of the digestive system and lots more!

Litter - See page on Critter Litter

  • Litter pan – natural litter like timothy hat, newspaper based, even wood stove pellets

  • Do not use cedar chips or clay kitty litters since they can cause a blockage if ingested

  • Do put timothy hay in litter box since rabbits will graze on in one end and will not eat soiled hay.

  • Rinse pan with white vinegar to control odor and it sanitizes, too.  Change once a day or at least every other day.

  • Litter box train your rabbit.  See the HRS web page on Litter Training

 

Hints from the Hare Salon: See Grooming a Rabbit

 

 Fix those Rabbits!

I cannot stress this enough.  If you have a male and female rabbit pair:

  • A female rabbit can have a litter every 31 days! 

  • Females can become pregnant the same day they give birth. You do the math! Okay, I'll do it for you: with only 2 bunnies in each litter in one year that will equal 288 rabbits.  Rabbits can have up 4 to 6 bunnies per litter.

It is a scary thought and scarier in reality!  See your vet about when to spay or neuter, between 4 and 6 months old for both males and females depending on the breed.  

See Too Many Rabbits for more information on how to sex a rabbit.

Photo Credit:  "Rugby" from San Diego HRS.   

 

 

 

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