Laura has a passion for writing about many different subjects that she has personal experience in and always writes for her readers.
Should I Own a Rabbit?
Rabbits are lovely animals. They are inquisitive, interesting, and obviously very cute! They are social animals and enjoy living in company, so it is usually advisable to have a pair; just make sure they are both neutered if you don't want lots of baby rabbits! Rabbits are notorious for breeding, and it's not fair to have loads more brought into the world if you don't know what you would do with them, so avoid this if possible.
Rabbits tend to live 8–12 years, too, so make sure you're committed to this amount of time because they will become part of the family!
If you have the time and effort to give your rabbit the best life, please continue below for my handy advice and tips that I've learned over the years of owning a rabbit myself.
First Things First: Choosing the Hutch
Before bringing your new additions home, you need to make sure you have somewhere suitable and comfortable for them to live.
Wooden hutches from reputable pet stores/garden centres are your best bet. They are made from durable wood, that won't be damaged in bad weather, and will keep your rabbits safe.
Make sure it is big enough for both the animals and also big enough for when they grow. If not, please be aware you will need to purchase a larger hutch as they grow. Rabbits need enough space typically so that they can stretch up on their hind legs easily, and also do at least two hops in a row. Any smaller, and they won't be able to move comfortably enough.
There are also other items that you will need to provide the best home for your new pets:
- A water bottle
- A food dish
- Newspaper and sawdust for the base of the hutch
- Hay for their bedding, and for them to eat
- Toys, wooden tubes, or salt blocks
Rabbits are fun animals and will like to have things to occupy them whilst they are in their hutch. It is a good idea to get some wooden/cardboard tubes for them to play in. Your bunny will thank you for it!
Getting Set Up
To set up the hutch, I advise laying newspaper throughout the bottom. This helps to soak up any urine and stops the wood from getting as wet, which helps it last longer.
The next step would be putting down a thick layer of sawdust. This helps to provide and dry and comfortable environment for your furry friends. Rabbits will dig and flick this about, but it just means they are happy! Rabbits usually choose a corner as their bathroom, which makes it easier. And don't be alarmed; rabbits do eat their own droppings! They do it to get as many nutrients from their food as possible, and this is healthy for them.
After you have a good layer of sawdust, you then need to make up the bedding area. Use a good quality hay, and fill their bedding area. I usually fill this area three-quarters of the way up, especially when they are babies, to make sure they are warm enough. Rabbits eat a lot of hay; in fact, it is the staple of their diet, so always make sure there is plenty available.
Food and Water
Next, you need to provide food and water. You can give dishes for both, or use a dish for the food, and a bottle for the water. It depends on what your rabbits are used to and what you would prefer. I've always used a bottle, as it stops them from getting in the dish of water and making a soggy mess of sawdust!
Once you are happy with the setup, you can move your little ones in. Give them plenty of time to get accustomed to their new surroundings. If they came with some hay in their box from where you purchased them from, add this into their bedding, as this makes them feel more at home.
Staving Off Boredom
Like I mentioned previously, rabbits are fun animals and will get bored if they aren't given enough to interest them.
Signs that a rabbit is bored include gnawing the hutch's bars, over-grooming, hiding, and a reluctance to move. There are many other signs to watch out for. If your rabbit is behaving differently than what is normal, then make sure you investigate and make sure you are meeting your bunny's needs.
I would advise getting an outdoor run when you purchase your new family members. Rabbits need and love exercise, and getting to go outside on the grass is the perfect way for them to get rid of excess energy and stretch their legs. I make sure to put them out in the run as much as possible, every day if the weather is suitable. I include fun things within the run, including boxes, tunnels, treats, and their normal items such as their food dish and water bottle. I make sure to put some of the bedding hay in with them, in one of the boxes, so they have got somewhere comforting to hide in should they want to.
You will notice rabbits love being outside! They will run about, hop, skip and jump, and do twists in the air. These are signs that they are enjoying themselves, and they are happy! You will also spot they munch the grass pretty quickly, so you may need to move the hutch around the garden.
If you have rabbits with long, fluffy fur, then it is a good idea to groom them once a week. This helps stop their fur from matting and leaving them uncomfortable, and it is also a good bonding moment between you and your bunnies! It helps them feel safe around you.
You can use a soft brush; something like a nail brush for babies would be a good choice, as you won't pull or scratch them. I sometimes use a thin toothed comb to get out any tangles, but do so very carefully. They will not thank you if you are rough with them!
Everyone loves a treat, don't they? And rabbits are no exception! There are many things you can give your rabbits that will love you for. Always be careful that you are giving them the correct thing, and if you aren't sure, don't do it!
Foods rabbits can eat that you would have in your kitchen/garden:
- Dandelion leaves
- Cabbage (dark green varieties)
Please see the Rabbit Welfare website for a full extensive list of what foods are safe for your bunnies to eat, and other helpful information on caring for your pet rabbits.
Simple Enough, Right?
So, now you have an idea of what it takes to own a rabbit!
They really are wonderful animals and will provide you with hours of joy. They are friendly and happy, as long as they are cared for properly.
Make sure they have a clean home, and take the time to clean it out at least once a week, give them a supply of fresh hay, make sure they have their water changed daily, and give them fun things to do; no one wants to be stuck in a cage all day!
And enjoy your lovely new furry family members!
b on December 07, 2017:
they are so cute
:) Sarah on June 04, 2017:
I was just wondering, can rabbits eat leek because I found some treats/ biscuits (for rabbits ) some are made of carrots some are made of leek. So I just wanted to check if they are ok for rabbits because I am going to get a rabbit but I want to get the stuff first.
Laura Jacques (author) from Norfolk, United Kingdom on May 04, 2017:
Thank you! She is a sweetheart isn't she!!
simplehappylife on May 04, 2017:
Nice article :) What a cute bunny!
They respond to handling better if they are used to it. If your pet lives with you, this will be easier than trying to handle an outdoor rabbit. There are several important things to know before handling.
- Never pick a rabbit up by the ears. Ouch.
- Handle with great care. They have delicate musculoskeletal structures, with strength focused on the hind legs.
- As a prey animal, handling might not be comfortable. Gradual handling is best.
- Never try and restrain – They can suffer spinal injuries.
- Focus on stroking their heads – This reflects natural grooming behaviour.
How to pick up a pet rabbit is best done by putting one hand at the front and the other beneath the rabbit’s bottom – lift with care and bring next to your body.
How to Care for Your Pet Rabbit
Owning and caring for a rabbit is much different than owning a cat or a dog, as even pet bunnies are similar in nature—and therefore, require similar needs—as wild rabbits. Though a huge undertaking, if you care for your pet properly, you will find that your hard work will have paid off, as rabbits can live for as long as 8 to 12 years. With that said, while many parents believe that bunnies make great pets for young children, this is not generally the case. Rabbits’ needs are extremely complex, and you must consider everything from its living environment to its diet, and from cage companions to proper protection before even adopting one. Moreover, once you have a care plan in place, you must be vigilant with that plan and continue to provide adequate care for the remainder of your pet’s life.
Rabbit Behavior and Temperament
Rabbits are social, and with gentle handling, are generally quite tame, playful, and entertaining to watch. Rabbits often form very close bonds with their owners many rabbit owners spend evenings watching TV with their rabbit by their sides or interacting with their pet. Rabbits also have the great advantage of responding well to litter-training. They also do well with clicker training and can be trained to do special behaviors and tricks.
All of these qualities mean that rabbits do require a great deal of interaction with their owners and/or other rabbits. Daily playtime and exercise outside of their cage is a necessity. They do need to chew, so lots of safe chew toys should be provided, and any spaces where the rabbit is allowed to run must be carefully rabbit-proofed.
While they are generally quiet pets, rabbits are not a good match for active young children who may not be careful enough when picking them up or playing around them. While rabbits like to be near their people, it's also important to know that they often would rather not be held.
Rabbits are not ideal pets for children, partly because rabbits usually do not like to be picked up (though they do like being stroked and are quite social). Rabbits will usually be destructive if deprived of attention and appropriate toys. They also need to be spayed or neutered to cut down on behavioral problems and health risks.
It is crucial to have your bunny be spayed or neutered. Studies have shown that female rabbits who are not spayed have an almost 100 percent chance of developing uterine cancer. If you have rescued a bunny, this is usually already taken care of, but you can schedule an appointment with your vet if it has not been done.
Rabbits do not typically need baths, as they tend to clean themselves. However, they go through major shedding 2 to 3 times a year, and brushing them will prevent excess hair from being ingested. Your bunny could develop digestive issues if the hair is swallowed. Tuber brushed work great for long-haired bunnies to help smooth out tufts.
Author’s Bio: Lisa Eclesworth is a notable and dominant lifestyle writer. She is a mom of two and a effective homemaker. She loves to cook and create attractive projects with her family. She writes useful and fun blogs that her readers love and enjoy.