How To Care For Rabbits
How To Care For Rabbits
If you're interested in owning a rabbit, or perhaps have one or two already, follow London Vauxhall City Farm's step by step guide to caring for your rabbit. Learn with VideoJug on how to look after these sociable animals properly.
Step 1: Housing and bedding
You can keep your rabbit indoors or outdoors. They need a large weatherproof home off the ground, out of direct sunlight and strong winds. The floor should be flat, not wire, and covered with a thick layer of straw or wood chippings, with extra for bedding. The enclosure should be escape-proof and safe from predators like foxes, dogs and cats.
Step 2: Handling
Rabbits are naturally shy and nervous animals, and need a lot of handling to make them easy to catch and hold.
Step 3: Diet
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems, and so a balanced diet is important. Half of a healthy rabbit's diet should consist of coarse hay and straw, to eat, chew and prevent boredom. Give each rabbit a handful of rabbit food mix or food pellets per day. Rabbit food mixes contain cereals, fruit and vegetable flakes and herbs. Pellets are not as appetising to look at, but each one ensures that the rabbit gets a balance of the nutrients it needs.
A good diet should also include occasional small chunks of fresh lettuce and carrots, and plenty of water.
Step 4: TOP TIP
To check that your rabbit is a healthy weight, run your hands firmly over it's back. If you can't feel it's spine easily, then it's likely that your rabbit is overweight. If it's too prominent, the rabbit may be underweight. Talk to your vet about how to manage your rabbit's diet.
Step 5: Exercise and play
Let your rabbits out to play every day in a large, safe area. As well as running and jumping, rabbits love exploring their surroundings.
Rabbits have evolved teeth that constantly grow to make up for wear and tear caused by chewing tough vegetation. A rabbit needs plenty of wood and straw to gnaw on to keep its teeth at the right length.
Step 6: Cleaning
Clean out your rabbit's hutch or home every day if you can.
Completely clear the old straw and wood shavings from their home, and refill.
Step 7: Grooming
Rabbit's can usually keep themselves clean, but they will benefit from occasional grooming. Small grooming brushes and mitts can be bought from pet shops. Sit down with the animal on your lap. Pick off any mud or droppings from the animals coat. Brush in the direction of the fur. Don't be too rough and be careful of the rabbit's eyes. Make sure whole animal is groomed and cleaned, including the belly. Rabbit's nails need to be trimmed occasionally, when they get too long. If you've never done this before, get a vet to show you how. Done badly, it could hurt the rabbit.
Step 8: Health
The eyes of a rabbit should be bright and clear with no discharge. The ears should be free of excess wax. The nose should be free of discharge. Gently pull apart its lips with your fingers. The teeth should overlap by only a small distance. The gums should be pink and free of discharge, ulcers or red areas.
By running your hands over the animal's body you should be able to detect any lumps on unevenness, and check for any fur loss.
If you spot anything abnormal, contact your vet as soon as possible.