Every rabbit needs a place to call home; but for an owner, creating the perfect living space can be a bit of a head ache. How big should a hutch be? What's the best materials? Is indoors better than out? If you want the best for your rabbit, but you aren't sure what it is or where to get it then, hopefully this website will answer a few of your questions.Yur rabbit will spend most of it's life in its housing so it's important that the accomodation meets all of its needs. The wrong accomodation can cause health problems such as muscle wastage, obesity and spine deformities. A lack of space for exercise and appropriate stimulation can also effect your rabbits mental well being leading to behaviour problems such as cage chewing and aggression.
WHEN you're thinking about buying a pet, one of the first things to consider is where the pet will live. Will your dog live with you inside, in a basket in a corner by your bed? Or will it live in a doghouse outside? What's the appropriate sized cage for your guinea pig? What does your hamster need in its cage? Can a bird cage be too small?
Pet stores all around have a host of homes for each kind of pet, and you can even make your own, if you're creative enough.
For example, a large crate can be converted into a sweet pad for a guinea pig and a bird cage can
retrofitted for your hamster.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a home for your pet.
2. If you have a guinea pig, space is important. It's not recommended that you buy hamster cages for your guinea pig, as the pig needs more space. And because your guinea pig will be happier being around other pigs, you'll probably be buying more than one pig, and so, the larger the space the better.
3. If you have a hamster, it will be more interested in having exercise space, than in as much open space as a guinea pig. Hamster cages are more readily available locally than guinea pig cages. Just make sure that you outfit your hamster cage with something like an exercise wheel.
4. If you have a pet rabbit, as it is for the guinea pig, bigger is better. Your cage should be at least four times the size of your rabbit if you want to keep it happy. Your rabbit may like getting out and hanging out in your house quite a bit, so provide a door where it can go in and out. Note that like cats, rabbits can be potty trained, so having them around your house may not be such a problem.
Remember, when choosing a cage, what is important is that your pet is comfortable and happy. Don't put an active pet in a cramped space where it will be miserable; or in a cage with exposed wires where it can get hurt. Also, make sure the pet has comfortable bedding appropriate to that pet's needs, and that you keep the cage clean.
Rabbits are mammals which belong to the Lagomorph order that also includes hares and pikas (Lagomorph means 'hare-shaped'). They are similar to rodents in that they have incisor teeth that continually grow.
Rabbits form the Family Leporidae under which there are over 50 species. The rabbit species widely kept as a pet is Oryctolagus cuniculus and within this species various breeds have been developed by enhancing different characteristics through selective breeding.
Rabbits are herbivores (plant eating) and have a high reproduction rate. They have long ears, powerful hind legs with long feet and a short, furry, upturned tail.
Rabbits are most most active at dawn and dusk and often nap during the day.
The best place always to buy a rabbit is directly from a private, hobbyist or show rabbit breeder but this may not always be possible and therefore many rabbit owners buy their first rabbit from a pet shop. However, it should also be remembered when looking to buy a pet rabbit that many rescue homes also have rabbits looking for new homes.
Private, Hobbyist and Show Rabbit Breeders
The advantages of buying a rabbit from a private, hobbyist or show rabbit breeder is that breeding has usually been carefully planned and thought through with regard to producing robust, healthy rabbits of good temperament. Show breeders, in particular, will have pure bred rabbits and will have aimed to produce rabbits that are of good size and a good example of the breed in accordance with the breed show standard, with the intention of keeping some of the young rabbits themselves for showing and selling the surplus rabbits that they don't keep.
Private, hobbyist or show rabbit breeders also regularly handle their young rabbits and so any rabbits they sell are usually confident about being handled. There is also have the opportunity to see the parents and be given the exact date of birth of the rabbit it is intended to purchase.
Another option when seeking to buy a rabbit is to obtain one from a rescue organisation. Many rabbits unfortunately become homeless through no fault of their own every year due to the owner's inability to care for the rabbit properly, or a change in their circumstances.
Rabbits will have usually had a veterinary check on arrival at the rescue organisation and treated for any ailments to ensure they are healthy before being offered for rehoming. Often their temperament will also have been assessed to ensure their suitability as a pet for a new owner.
Depending on the rescue organisation any potential owner may be required to complete a series of forms, be interviewed or even receive a home visit to assess their suitability as a potential rabbit owner. The rescue organisation's primary concern is to ensure the correct placement of the rabbits in their care with a suitable new owner able and committed to caring for the rabbit properly.
Many pets shops also sell rabbits and this is often where many people buy their first pet rabbit. Although some pet shops may acquire their rabbits from private breeders, the majority obtain their rabbits from commercial breeders to ensure a constant supply. Rabbits supplied by commercial breeders are usually the result of mass breeding programmes aimed at quantity rather than quality and bred purely for profit. The rabbits have not usually been handled any great deal before or after arriving at the pet shop and no information regarding their date of birth, parents, etc is known by the pet shop.
If buying a rabbit from a pet shop it is important to find a pet shop where the staff are confident in determining the sex of rabbits, and that males and females are housed separately to avoid buying a pregnant rabbit.
Any potential purchaser that is unhappy with the overall condition of the pet shop, the condition of the rabbits offered for sale, or the lack of knowledge of the pet shop staff should look elsewhere to buy a rabbit. It is no fun buying a unhealthy, pregnant or weakly rabbit and then dealing with the problems this presents afterwards - it can cause a lot of heartache, not to mention additional finances.
Although pet shops selling pets are licensed in most countries there are times when a potential purchaser may encounter a shop where the conditions that the rabbits are kept in or the condition of the rabbits offered for sale may cause extreme concern. In such cases a report can be made to an Animal Welfare organisation or the local authority for investigation.
As with any pet, keeping a rabbit requires a commitment to care for it during its life which could be 5-10 years or longer. The commitment required in caring for a rabbit includes not only routine feeding, care and time spent with the rabbit but also the provision of veterinary treatment if the rabbit becomes ill which can be costly. Although proper care will go a long way to ensuring that any rabbit remains happy and healthy there may still be times when prompt veterinary treatment is needed and once a rabbit is ill it can deteriorate quickly. However, some insurance companies do offer veterinary insurance cover for pet rabbits.
A common cause of death in female rabbits (does) is uterine cancer which can often spread to other organs before it is diagnosed. This can be prevented by spaying if the rabbit is not intended for breeding and is best done when the rabbit is between 6 months and 2 years of age.
Rabbits can be kept outside or indoors as they make good house pets, being easily litter trained. The decision as to where the rabbit is to be kept will affect the type of Cage or Hutch required for the rabbit.
Canna has a rabbit problem. A big one. Just four years after this small Inner Hebrides island was cleared of a major rat infestation that had threatened its important sea-bird population, its 19 (human) residents are now having to contend with a burgeoning community of rabbits. "There's millions of them. I risk breaking my ankle by stepping on a burrow every time I go out to hang up the washing," says Gunn.
The chef at the island's only restaurant admits that he is also having to get creative with his rabbit recipes. "We've got a lovely rabbit liver pâté on as a starter," says Aart Lastdrager, co-owner of the 16-seat Gille Brighde. "And then rabbit pie made with a bacon-and-white wine sauce. We do have rabbit on the menu every day, but it is fantastic meat. And it has no food miles."
The problem is which vegetables to serve with the rabbit. "Everything gets eaten," says Lastdrager.
"It's devastating," says Geraldine MacKinnon, who runs the only farm on the island. "The warrens undermine the stone walls. I hardly used to see rats when we had the rat problem. The rabbits are far worse."
Despite the protestations of the residents, Dr Richard Luxmoore, senior nature conservation adviser for the National Trust for Scotland, which owns the island, says: "There's no evidence of a correlation between the rat eradication and the swelling rabbit population. We plan to continue controlling numbers by trapping and fencing."
Gunn has got different ideas. "Maybe we could sell them to people in London. We could market Canna rabbit as a delicacy."
Rabbits are herbivores (plant eaters). In the wild, their main diet is grass although they also eat a range of other vegetation including leaves, twigs, and tree bark. All these foods have something in common: they are high in fibre but low in nutrients. To cope with this, rabbits have evolved a specialised digestive system that can process plant fibre and extract the additional nutrients locked inside (something that most animals, including humans, are not able to do).
Having such a specialised digestion system has drawbacks. Whilst it’s very efficient at processing high fibre food, the wrong types of food or sudden diet changes can easily disrupt it throwing the whole digestive system out of balance. This can have serious consequences, the most common include:
Diet is also a factor in other health problems, such as:
Whilst diet is not the only factor in preventing illness and disease, it plays an important part in maintaining your rabbit’s health and well-being. By feeding the right foods, you can prevent a whole range of health problems and in doing so lengthen your rabbit’s lifespan.
The types of food you feed and the manner in which you feed them also affect your rabbit’s behaviour. Wild rabbits naturally spend over two-thirds of each day moving around their territory grazing. When pet rabbits are fed too much concentrated food, which is quick to eat, they often become bored and develop behaviour problems because they do not have any activities to fill the hours that would usually be spent feeding. With no appropriate outlet for foraging behaviours, such as striping bark from trees, they can become destructive behaviours, like wallpaper striping and cage chewing. By making your rabbit’s diet and feeding pattern more natural, you can encourage your rabbit to exercise both its brain and body, helping to maintain a healthy weight and prevent boredom.
Please note: you should never make sudden changes to your rabbit’s diet. Even if your rabbit has a ‘bad’ diet, suddenly changing to a ‘good’ diet can do more harm than good. Changing or introducing new foods should always be done gradually.