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Care Sheet for Domestic Rabbit

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Care Sheet for Domestic Rabbit

Post by Vandraco aka Bronzecat on Mon 1 Feb 2010 - 21:46

Rabbit Care sheet

Welcome to the joys of rabbit-keeping!
Very Happy Rabbits can live for a healthy 12 years if neutered or 8 if otherwise.
An indoor rabbit will develop more personality than an outdoor rabbit. Be warned! Indoor rabbits are much more spoilt too, and do really become like a member of the family like a cat or dog.
If acquiring a single rabbit, I would highly recommend a male as they have more character and are more placid than the female.

ENCLOSURE:
Outdoor: If a rabbit is being kept outside a waterproof enclosure is needed: - ideally a rabbit hutch. Though if this is not available then a Wooden Dog House will do. The hutch should be at least 2 foot long and this will be suitable for 1 adult rabbit. A run can be attached, or even the whole garden can be used. Be sure to cover any holes, as they are fantastic escape artists!
Indoor: If the rabbit is being kept indoors, which nowadays they are, the rabbit can be left to go anywhere he/she pleases or it can be kept in an Indoor Dog Crate large enough for the size of rabbit with a pen for exercise.

Sawdust for substrate and a big stack of hay for grazing on will be needed.

The rabbit will need daily exercise. A minimum of ½ an hour is recommended although more is better. Bear in mind a rabbit can run 50MPH, and they are extremely athletic.

FEEDING:
Dry Foods: Two choices here. Pellets or Muesli. I highly recommend the pelleted form. If rabbits are fed muesli it will pick out the bits it likes missing vital nutritional elements. Pellets are basically Muesli compressed.
Treats: Rabbits love treats. Anything is safe enough apart from meat, chocolates and ice-berg lettuce. Though you should be wary of some plants too.
They also like a range of fruits and veggies. So try most stuff and if they don’t like they will let you know with a disgusted sniff...!

TOYS:
From little teddies to rattles; - They love digging, grooming and tossing things around. A funny example is a shoe. They will put it in their mouths and toss it around. They also love little teddies, which they snuggle up too and groom. Most cat or dog toys will do fine. Just be sure to check that any fluffy toys dont have eyes or noses that may come off and get eaten by the rabbit.
Old cardboard boxes work great too; they will chew it all though, till there is nothing left.

LITTER:
Although it may not be known, rabbits can actually be litter-trained, like a cat or dog. After acquiring a litter-tray, put a good 2” of cat litter (non-clumping kind) and then put a stash of hay on top. It will slowly realise this is where he is suppose to do his business as rabbits generally do their business whilst grazing on hay.
They might occasionally spray if not neutered to mark their territory.

GROOMING:
Rabbits will need to be groomed every 2 days in spring and summer as they moult really badly. This is them shedding their winter coat. In Autumn-Winter they will need to be groomed once a week as there winter fur grows, to prevent any matts in fur.

HEALTH:
Rabbits should get regular check-ups by the vet. You can get insurance for them too. I would recommend every 6 months or sooner even. They should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and VHD regularly.

TEETH:
Their teeth will continually grow throughout their whole lives so they will need to chew on wood sticks, cardboard etc to keep them trim.

NAILS:
Using a rabbit nail clipper, clip their nails. Do not go further than the red blood vessel.

ONE OR MORE?:
Rabbits are social animals but can happily live on its own with a human, but if you won’t be able to bond with it, then he will need a rabbit companion.-
MALE AND FEMALE= Millions of babies instantly! Or if neutered this will be the best match.
MALE AND MALE: If together from a young age they will be fine, if not they will have to be introduced to each other very carefully or it will result in a death of one, if not both, due to aggression.
FEMALE AND FEMALE: If together from a young age they will be fine, if older then they will need slow introductions.

TRAINING:
A rabbit can be trained to recognise its name. And accept commands like ‘stand’, ‘come’, ‘stop’.

CHARACTERISTICS:
Binky: This is when a rabbit jumps in the air in excitement!
Circle running: when a rabbit is happy or excited it will run around you in circles.
Begging: a rabbit will stand on its toes when it’s begging, you can only give in!
Thump!: If a rabbit is scared he will thump his back legs to alert fellow rabbits or his human companions.
Chew Chew Chew: Rabbits are notorious chewers, so make sure the area where it will be living is rabbit proof, as you do not want it chewing all your cables. They also like chewing fabrics, so again, make sure anything like this is not in view.
Head Nudge: If a rabbit wants to be stroked he will nudge your hand then out his head under it, demanding a stroke!
Chin Rub: They will often rub their chins on items, to put there scent on it.

I hope you enjoy your pet rabbit! Very Happy

Care sheet kindly supplied by Aly_starh Very Happy

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Vandraco aka Bronzecat
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