Pet Care Information - Rabbits
Rabbits are one of the most common pets bought for children, but many people do not realise that they have quite complex care needs.
If you are thinking of buying a rabbit for your child you should consider first what you want from your pet. Rabbits are strong and can be difficult to handle, so they may not be the ideal choice for a young child that wants something to cuddle.
They have very specific needs regarding their diet, housing and welfare, but they are intelligent social animals. They can be easily house trained and can learn commands by positive reinforcement. They can make great pets given the right family and environment.
Rabbit Welfare Needs - Summary
- An Appropriate Home - He needs enough space to stretch out when he lays down and to stand up without his ears touching the roof. He is a prey animal so he will want quiet dry places where he can hide on his own morning and evening to make him feel safe.
- Enough Space to Run, Play and Dig - Your rabbit needs a large secure exercise area where he can graze on fresh grass and run around. He requires stimulation in the form of toys, companionship and places to hide.
- An Appropriate Diet - Your rabbit needs to eat at least his own body weight of fresh grass or hay daily (not cut grass) to ensure a high enough fibre intake. You should provide your rabbit with a constant supply of hay (as much as he is able to eat). About 2 egg cups of pellets per medium sized rabbit daily and an adult sized handful of various green vegetables (see list below). Carrots, apples etc can be given as an occasional treat but hay/grass should be the mainstay of his diet. If you feed your rabbit too many treats he will not eat the hay and grass that is essential for his health.
- Fresh Clean Drinking Water 24 hours a day
- Company - Rabbits are highly social animals and require companionship to thrive. The easiest way to achieve this would be to keep at least 2 neutered rabbits together from birth. Give them space to hide alone if they need it. If you are considering introducing rabbits that don't know each other please get advice from your vet.