Here at Tailster, we love rabbits! How could you not? They’re small, cute, and fluffy – and we could watch them hop around the garden for hours. They’re just so funny!
For many, rabbits are their first experience of owning a pet. Far from the demands of a dog, or the classic ‘gold fish from the funfair’ story, parents often settle for rabbits as a furry compromise between a much wanted dog and a definite “no!”
Rabbits are great – they’re good natured, easy to handle, and have surprisingly big personalities. We all know the benefits that animals can have on children’s development, and rabbits are a great way of teaching children key skills for later life. And it’s likely that you’ll fall in love with them too…
Rabbit Behavioural Traits
As we already said, rabbits have great personalities, and can keep themselves occupied for hours. However, to do this they need the right equipment and conditions so that they feel secure and comfortable in their environment.
Here are the key considerations to make when furnishing your rabbit’s environment:
- The Hutch – Most rabbits will live in a hutch, which will provide the key conditions that they need. It’s important that rabbits have plenty of space to exercise, as well as a place where they can hide and ‘escape’, should they feel afraid. Hutches are readily available from the majority of pet stores and provide the adequate space that rabbits need.
- Toys – Rabbits have a lot of energy, and love to run around. It’s a good idea to allow them time to exercise in a more open space where possible, and you can buy special ‘runs’ to keep them contained in the garden, if you’re concerned about them being secure. Keeping a few toys in their hutch, however, will give them a means to play and busy themselves when it’s not possible to be out in the open.
- Get The Right Materials – You’ll want to lay something on the base of the hutch so that it’s easier to clean. This will also double up and something that your rabbit can dig in, so it’s important that you choose a good material. Many people like to line the hutch with old newspaper, then cover it with sawdust, which is kinder on their paws and allows them to dig.
- Hay – Rabbits need access to good quality hay. Not only does this make for a comfortable bed that will keep them warm in the winter, it’s also vital for emotional well-being. They’ll also snack on hay, which helps to maintain their digestive system. It’s probably the most important part of their hutch, so make sure you choose a good type and give them plenty of it!
Setting Out Your Rabbit’s Territory
As with all animals, rabbits like to mark their territory. However, you don’t want them to be doing this all over the place, or they’ll soon end up living in their own filth. Like with cats and dogs, you need to get them house trained – it’ll keep them clean and help prevent infections, and it means that it’ll be easier for you to clean the hutch.
It’s a good idea to provide your rabbit with a litter tray for them to use as a toilet. However, it can often be difficult to get them to take to it. A good way to encourage them is to fill the rest of the hutch with toys and treats, which will encourage them to use the remaining free space as a toilet.
Keep at it, it’ll pay off in the end!
Daily Rabbit Upkeep
Rabbits will need to be fed and watered daily as part of their care. Water, in particular, is essential, and it’s a good idea for the first few days to monitor how much they drink, just be sure that they have enough and that it’s fresh. Ideally, provide fresh water every day, but every second day is a definite must.
In terms of your rabbit’s diet, it’s worth consulting a vet in the early stages to ensure that you’re not over or under feeding them. Whilst rabbits are not particularly greedy, it’s vital to keep them in good health to avoid further health problems and expensive vet bills.
If you keep your rabbit outside, it’s important that you monitor the weather and have plans in place for rainy and stormy days. It’s a good idea to keep a sheet of tarpaulin
Otherwise, make sure you give them plenty of attention. Rabbits are social creatures, and giving them 10 minutes of your time here and there will make them feel loved and keep them content.
It’s important that your rabbits are never left alone for long periods, so if you’re away for any lengthy periods of time it’s vital that you have care in place for your rabbits. Here at Tailster, we’ve a variety of approved carers who can tend to your pets’ needs while you’re away, meaning you can have a stress free break whilst your bunnies are being cared for. Similarly, if you’re as obsessed with rabbits as we are (we bet you are really), why not sign up to become a Tailster carer? Earn cash and cuddle rabbits – sounds like a good deal to us!
Rabbit Health Concerns
Unless you plan on breeding your rabbits (in which case you should seek veterinary advice), it’s a good idea to have them neutered. Not only will this help prevent any unwanted bunnies, it can also have positive effects on health, as females are at high risk of womb cancer and males are prone to aggression.
Aside from this, here are some other common health problems that occur in rabbits, and the signs to look out for:
- Make sure you give your rabbits a suitable flea and worm treatment. These are readily available, and are usually a one-off monthly treatment that you can do at home easily. It’s imperative that you protect your rabbit in this way, and it’s not too expensive so well worth the precaution.
- Monitor their eating and drinking habits to make sure that they’re maintaining a consistent diet. If you notice a change in their habits, it’s a good idea to speak to a vet if only to double check that there are no underlying issues.
- Rabbits are prone to issues with their teeth and nails, meaning they often have to be modified to prevent painful overgrowth. This is a common problem in rabbits, and should only be rectified by a vet. Therefore, it’s a key consideration to make before committing to a rabbit, as regular procedures can soon become expensive. However, it’s vital that you correct the problem to avoid further discomfort.
Love And Trust Your Rabbit
Finally, it’s important that you build up a loving and trusting relationship with your rabbit, and that you enjoy your time together. There’s no point in having a pet rabbit if you’re not going to give them endless cuddles and snuggle up in the winter.
Rabbits are great in the house! Once they’re used to being inside, you’ll find that you’re bringing them in every chance that you get. Make sure you find a secure space for them (with no cables to chew through), and they’ll love bouncing around and exploring the new environment.
Trust us, while rabbits may seem like small, funny bundles of fluff, they’re adorable creatures full of personality. You’ll soon fall in love!