Rabbits are delightful pets that require specialised care to live happy and healthy lives. This guide provides comprehensive information on housing, feeding, handling, and veterinary care for rabbits.
Rabbits can be housed inside or outdoors.
Bedding: Use materials like hay, straw, or shredded paper. Avoid all wire floors. Change regularly.
Indoor Considerations: Rabbits chew on cords and furniture, so it's essential to rabbit-proof your home.
Multiple Rabbits: It's best to keep more than one rabbit as they're sociable. Suitable pairings include two females, male & female, or neutered rabbits. Do not pair guinea pigs with rabbits due to behaviour and health reasons.
Toilet Training: Rabbits can be trained to use litter trays. Suitable litters include hay, straw, or some cat litters (avoid clay types).
Play and Exercise: Provide toys and let rabbits exercise regularly.
Also, ensure they get unfiltered natural sunlight frequently.
Treats: Limit to 1-2 tablespoons per rabbit daily. Examples are most fruits, carrots, sweet potato, and capsicum.
Avoid: Cereals, nuts, seeds, corn, beans, peas, bread, biscuits, sugar, and chocolate.
Water: Always provide fresh water, bowls are better than bottles.
UV Light: Try to provide unfiltered sunlight to provide essential UV light to rabbits which is important in Vitamin D metabolism.
Supplementary Chew Objects: Offer wooden chew blocks, cardboard boxes, and ensure hutches are rabbit-safe.
Pellets: Many commercial rabbit pellets do not meet necessary nutrition. If used, consider them treats or choose high-quality brands like ‘Burgess’ and ‘Oxbow’.
If making any dietary changes, do this gradually to avoid digestive upsets.
General Handling: Start from a young age. Support rabbits from their fore and hind quarters. Never hold them by their ears.
Height and Safety: Rabbits are fearful of heights, and it's safer to hold them at ground level. They can kick strongly, causing potential harm to the handlers and themselves.
Hygiene and Precaution: Wash hands post-handling and avoid carrying scents of other animals before handling your rabbit.
Routine Check-ups: Newly acquired rabbits should get a veterinary check-up, especially if introducing them to others.
Grooming and Maintenance: Coats might require grooming, and nails may need trimming.
Vaccination: There are a number of viruses in Australia that can harm your rabbit. We can protect rabbits from both the RHDV1 strain and the RHDV2 strain of calicivirus.
Desexing: Recommended at 4-6 months of age for both sexes. This is essential for does due to high rates of reproductive tract cancer. It can also prevent other diseases and behavioural issues.
Insurance: Consider pet health insurance for your rabbit. There are some that are available for rabbits.
Monitoring: Regularly observe food intake, body condition, eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and toileting behaviour.
This guide is meant to help rabbit owners ensure their pets lead a happy and healthy life. Always consult with a veterinarian for specific concerns or questions about rabbit care.