Rabbits are great pets that have character, are extremely sociable, enjoy the company of humans and are a great way of introducing young children to pet ownership. They are quiet, clean and are easily toilet trained.
While rabbits love company, they can be left alone during the day and are therefore suitable for people who work or are away from home. A predator-proof enclosure to ensure their safety is essential. An appropriate enclosure is a hutch that is divided into two connecting compartments, one a wire mesh to allow access to natural light and fresh air, while the other is enclosed to provide protection against weather and a secure sleeping place. The floor of your rabbit's hutch should be covered with newspaper, with a layer of bedding material like straw, grass, hay or shredded paper for warmth, comfort and to prevent pressure sores on your bunny’s feet. Consider extreme weather conditions and ventilation when choosing a location for your hutch. Rabbits are extremely sensitive to the hot summer temperatures we experience in Australia and may die of heat stroke if their hutch is not in a cool, shady position.
Rabbits should have at least three hours outside of the hutch for exercising each day. Handling them will also be of benefit in keeping them tame. Feeding and nutrition is the most important factor in making sure your rabbit stays healthy. Many commercial rabbit foods don't contain enough fibre (18 - 20% is required) and are too high in fats and sugars. Rabbits are herbivores so their diet should consist almost entirely ( at least 80%) of grass and pasture hay (not luecerne) . Green leafy vegitables can be added on top of this grass and hay diet as well as a small amount of high quality pellets
Apart from providing a high fibre diet, chewing hay wears down their continuously-growing teeth and keeps them occupied, preventing boredom. Ideally,feed your bunny 80-85% hay and 15% veggies such as Asian greens or endive (lettuce and cabbage can cause diarrhoea). Treats such as fruits, root veggies(carrots), capsicum and pellets should only be offered in small amounts (1 - 2 tablespoons per day per rabbit). Fresh water should always be available using both a drip feed bottle and an open container.
Routine veterinary care for rabbits includes vaccination against calicivirus and desexing (females can become quite aggressive when mature and are very prone to reproductive cancers). Like all animals, rabbits should have regular veterinary checks, especially to check their teeth and claws. An annual health check in a rabbit is like a check up with your GP every 5-10 years!! It is very important to get your rabbit check each year.
If you notice any change in your rabbites, eating, pooing or general behaviour or you would like to book in a general health check up or vaccination please call the clinic on 9652 1338.