TOP TEN TIPS
Rabbits are prey animals and can easily view us as a threat – this often leads them to hide from us or bite us when we try to interact with them. Ensure that the breeder of your rabbit handled the rabbits from as young as 10 days of age, research has shown that these rabbits are less likely to be become fearful of us. With a big breed of rabbit this is particularly important in case that fear leads to aggression!
Rabbits require a well-balanced diet, a large area to live and exercise as well as daily social contact.
Make sure that your rabbit has some companionship. If you introduce similar sized rabbits to each other at an early age (6 weeks), they can form strong relationships.
In order to overcome any fighting between rabbits in adulthood castrate males and spay females.
Larger rabbits, such as British Giants or French Lops, require much larger hutches than those available through the majority of pet shops. The hutch should be large enough for them to stand on their back legs and take at least three or four hops in any given direction.
Give your rabbit the opportunity for lots of exercise – keeping it in a small hutch can result in physical and psychological damage. Rabbits are very curious and love to leap and run around. Provide a hutch with a run as well as offering regular exercise outside the hutch.
Never pick your rabbit up by the ears or the scruff of the neck as they will then start to associate being handled with discomfort and avoid contact in the future.
Rabbits should be fed a diet that is high in fibre and low in sugar – small amounts of green vegetables and a large quantity of hay is ideal, supplemented with some extruded pellets. Their digestive system does not respond well to sweet treats or even high quantities of fruit or carrots.
Rabbits have very fragile spines and must be handled with care. When a rabbit is picked up, one hand should be under its bottom at all times.
All rabbits are easy to litter train if you want a house rabbit. But if you are keeping your rabbit in a hutch make it part of your daily routine to remove soiled bedding and damp newspaper and to check your rabbit’s rear end for any dirt or faeces stuck to the fur.