handling your rabbit
Your rabbit should be picked up and examined twice a day. Hold your rabbit gently but firmly to prevent injury from jumping out of your arms.
Rabbits need exercise to keep them healthy and happy and a large secure run or secure garden can provide this, as well as providing the opportunity to eat grass. Indoor rabbits should be allowed to exercise in a room free of dangers such as loose electrical wires as they like to chew and dig. Even indoor rabbits can benefit from going outside so they can absorb sunshine to allow them to produce Vitamin D in their skin to enable them to absorb calcium.
Rabbits can be kept outside in a secure dry hutch or indoors as a house rabbit. A hutch should be large enough to allow your bunny to hop from one side to the other, to stretch out completely and to stand up on its hind legs.
The hutch should be secure to prevent foxes getting in and your rabbit escaping. It should have ventilation to allow your bunny to breathe normally but be protected from the weather to avoid it getting too cold or wet. Bedding can be provided by good quality straw, hay, paper or shavings which should be changed regularly to prevent the hutch getting wet and smelly. Water should be provided fresh every day in a bowl and/or water bottle.
Feeding Your Rabbit
Why Feeding Your Rabbit Properly Will Help Keep Him/Her Healthy
Rabbits need to eat lots of fibre. Ideally this is provided by grass but good quality fresh hay daily is an ideal alternative. Also feed a variety of vegetables but feed all in moderation and introduce them gradually so that they don’t cause diarrhoea. Fruit is high in sugars and these upset the rabbits gut so should only be fed occasionally as treats.
The grass (or hay) and vegetables can be supplemented with small amounts of a complete concentrate feed, fed once a day. If you chose a muesli type food make sure your rabbit eats all of it because they will often leave the bits which they most need. A complete pellet feed avoids this selective feeding.
Rabbits on a low fibre diet such as one fed on a muesli type feed only are prone to health problems which can take several years to become obvious but are often irreversible. They can develop tooth problems due to poor enamel and bone softening leading to pain and difficulty eating and grooming, and abscess formation.
A runny eye(s) can be an early sign of dental disease due to blockage of the tear duct as it runs over the teeth roots when they overgrow. A wet chin occurs because the rabbit salivates more due to mouth pain. Rabbits normally eat the soft sticky faeces they produce overnight (called caecotrophs) to provide extra vitamins – teeth pain prevents this behaviour and the caecotrophs stick to the rabbits bottom and look like diarrhoea and make them at risk of fly strike
Rabbits are prone to fly strike (when flies lay eggs on the rabbit and these become maggots). This is a very painful and life threatening condition and large infestations can cause the rabbit to die very quickly. Immediate veterinary attention should be sought if this happens.