Rabbit care

Rabbit care

Did you know Rabbits are the most neglected pet? 

Here at The valley pet shop this saddens us greatly. Being the proud owners of 4 rabbits it really does make me realise how lucky my hoppy crew are. 

The animal welfare act 2006 sets out 5 basic welfare needs: 

*Suitable environment 

*Suitable diet.

*To be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns. 

*To be housed with or apart from other animals. 

*Need  to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. 

Even though the animal act has this set out in writing it does not specify the needs and certainly leaves housing/ diet and enviroment wide open for people to judge themselves or take advice from a few pet shops that have a very basic understanding of small pet husbandry. 

Hand reared baby rabbits

(Picture of one of 6 baby rabbits I hand reared earlier this year) 

Rabbits are not a cuddly pet. They are great to watch and to teach things too but they are not a pet that likes lots of handling. Our Rabbits love to follow us throughout the house, get involved with some daily activities and be in our presence but being prey animals they are not to keen on being picked up. With this in mind you have to ask if pet Rabbits for children are suitable? My children both have Rabbits and they are aged 12yrs and 7 yrs, however they both fully understand the needs and the care they need to give these animals. They do everything for their own Rabbits including cleaning, brushings, feeding and maintaining their mental stimulation but I'm always at hand to help and make sure the Rabbits needs are met. 

When it comes to housing the small indoor cages and basic hutches you can buy are not sufficient for Rabbits. They need room to hop, skip, jump, dig and scavenge, these are all basic instincts that they would show in the wild. To achieve this in the house our Rabbits are litter trained but are free roaming in a room too. They have a fenced of area in each of the boys rooms where they have dig boxes and enough room to exercise, they also have hides and tunnels with lots of food puzzles as mental stimulation. 

Feeding is also over looked when it comes to rabbit's and the biggest thing people overlook is their need for hay. A Rabbits diet should consist of more hay and dried grass than anything else. Our Rabbits go through around 5/6 kg of hay a week. They also consume 1, 4kg bag of nuggets and get fresh leafy greens every other day to maintain their health and diet balance. 

Before buying a rabbit there are a lot of things to consider.... 

* Rabbits are very sociable animals and love a companion.

* Rabbits are very intelligent creatures and love to have plenty of mental stimulation.

* Consider their housing. It needs to be on a larger scale and away from bad weather and harm. 

* Bedding needs to be natural and able to be eaten. We use hay, some dust free straw and shavings in their litter trays. 

* Hay and grasses should make up at least 70% of their diet. 

* Complete foods are good but cereal based foods are best avoided if you can. 

* Leafy greens or forgave boxes. 

* Fresh clean water should be available constantly. 

Rabbits as  companion pets are fabulous and they have the best little characters. They are quick learners and love to try new things. 

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