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We’re hopping mad for these little guys.
Care tips for your small furry friends.
Guinea pigs and rabbits make excellent pets. They’re inexpensive, and with the proper care and handling, can become very loving and affectionate companions.
Outdoors, rabbits will need a hutch preferably located in a sheltered area. Ideally, it’ll have two sections — a fully enclosed area for protection from the weather and for sleeping, and an open section for activity.
It is important to ensure the hutch has good ventilation and allows your rabbit to avoid direct sunlight. Rabbits are sensitive to extreme heat and can be susceptible to heat stroke if not monitored – we recommend popping a frozen water bottle or other cooling aid in to their environment on very hot days.
Hutches come in different sizes, but at a minimum it should be long enough for three hops (approx. 1.5 – 2m) and high enough for them to stand upright on their back legs.
Rabbits love to hop around, burrow and chill out under a bush or tree. For a healthy, happy rabbit, it is ideal to provide free range play time for your bunny in a secure environment on a daily basis, such as a play pen – we have a great range in store.
If you live in an area where Myxomatosis is present (your local vet clinic will be able to inform you), ensure your rabbit is kept in a mosquito proof enclosure. Mxyomatosis is very contagious and there is no treatment or vaccination to protect against it. If your rabbit is free roaming outdoors, try to keep them away from water where mosquitos are likely to be breeding and limit their access outside at dawn and dusk, when mozzies are most active.
Many rabbits are actually “indoor pets”. In this case, rabbits just need a secure cage to restrain them at night or when you are not present. Litter trays can be provided as rabbits can be trained to use these, just like a cat. Wood or paper-based cat style litter is often used, or at Happy Pet Place we use and recommend Mini Hemp natural Hemp Fiber based litter as it is super absorbent, dust free, and 100% natural and compostable.
As previously mentioned, rabbits love to exercise and enrich themselves with normal bunny behaviour when kept outdoors, so for indoor rabbits be sure to provide lots of items for exploration, chewing, and allowing them to replicate their natural outdoor activity. Bunny Snuffle Mats, Sea Grass tunnels, grass playballs, we have a whole range of products at Happy Pet Place to enrich their lives.
Not only do rabbits love to chew, they actually have to do it. Rabbit teeth grow continuously and they need to chew to wear them down so the mouth closes properly.
As such, rabbits can chew carpet, furniture, shoes, their own bedding, and more. So it’s important to provide them with suitable gnawing toys. We have a fantastic range in store, as well as other stimulating enrichment toys they can enjoy.
Rabbit stomachs are very sensitive so there are a few things to note when it comes to their diet. Your rabbit must have a constant supply of fresh water and be fed a daily diet of hay and high-quality rabbit pellets (with ratio 80% hay and 20% pellets), and fresh veggies.
You can offer broccoli, carrots (small amounts only), cucumber, brussel sprouts, capsicum, dandelion greens, and parsley. Certain fruits can also be given as a treat, such as bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries and raspberries. Additionally, your rabbit can be fed fresh grass, however if your pet is under six months old it should not be fed much grass as it causes gastrointestinal upsets.
Rabbits should not be fed cabbage, cauliflower, raw beans or rhubarb as these cause gut issues and discomfort. When giving fruits, only feed small amounts (one – two teaspoons) as it can cause diarrhea and make them fat.
It takes weeks for a rabbit’s digestive system to adjust to a new diet so any changes should be done slowly.
Ensure fresh water is available in special, non-drip bottles with stainless steel nozzles, as wet bedding may cause moist dermatitis and the parasitic disease coccidiosis.
Socialising & handling.
Rabbits are highly sociable animals and ideally should live with another desexed rabbit. However, they’ll also love a cuddle with you! Rabbits should be held securely with one hand under the chest and the other cradling and supporting the back legs and rump.
Young children are often (unintentionally) too rough or firm with rabbits. Always supervise children when they handle rabbits, and ensure they never pick them up by the head, neck, or ears.
It is important to vaccinate rabbits against calicivirus, which can cause untreatable internal organ damage, and symptoms are often unnoticed before the animal succumbs. Vaccination can be carried out from 4 weeks old with kittens, your vet will give the best advice depending on the age of your rabbit.
Rabbits should be wormed every three months with a small animal wormer, and undergo regular examination for fur and ear mites. Mite and lice sprays can be used in minor outbreaks; however veterinary treatment must be sought if the condition worsens.
Nails can grow very long and sharp, so they need to be checked on a regular basis and trimmed as necessary — especially if you have young children who may be scratched.
Rabbits do not tolerate heat well and can die if severely overheated. On very hot days, provide relief through frozen plastic bottles of water, or a fan and frozen fruit and vegetables.
Desexing has many benefits aside from preventing unwanted breeding. With Female rabbits neutering will reduce the potential risk of getting endometrial cancer, and desexing males will limit aggression. Being highly social creatures, males and females live very well together if both are desexed.
The Happy Pet Place regularly has rabbits available for adoption, supporting local breeders of note with whom we have a long standing relationship – based on their ethical breeding policies, genuine passion for rabbits, and their commitment to regular handling & socialisation of the rabbits prior to arriving here in store. We also seek to help local adoption agencies where we can. Pop into the store to meet these little guys and ask our knowledgeable staff any bunny questions you may have.