The Scoop

Rabbit Care: The Basics

Rabbits can make great pets, but they require different care than traditional cats, dogs, and even pocket pets. We'll start off with the basics: housing, enrichment, and food. 

Housing

A pet rabbit can live inside your home with you, or in its own rabbit-safe home outdoors. Every rabbit and home is different, so you need to determine which is best for you and your bunny. As long as they have a safe area to call their own, plenty of room to move around, and toys to play with and chew on, they will be happy bunnies!

Many people allow their rabbits to have free roam of the house, with a special area dedicated for them when they want to retreat away from the humans and other animals in the household. These bunnies should be well-trained to use a litter box and not dash out the door when people are coming and going.

If you have other pets at home, it may be best to keep your rabbit in as enclosed space like a cage or tall play pen when you are not around to supervise and ensure playtime between your pets doesn’t get rough.

Ideas for an indoor rabbit habitat:

  • Indoor rabbit hutch
  • Indoor rabbit cage
  • Dog crate or kennel

For playtime or creating a larger rabbit habitat, open top puppy pens or buildable wire shelving units are both easy and affordable solutions.

Enrichment

Rabbits like entertainment and fun just as much as you do. Luckily, there are plenty of toys designed for rabbits and many ways you can DIY very simple yet effective enrichment for your furry friend. Keeping your rabbit busy is a good way to keep him from getting into (or chewing on) something he shouldn’t.

As natural foragers, you can keep your rabbit well-nourished and entertained with activities that encourage him to reach high and dig around low for hay and fresh chopped vegetables. Empty toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay and sliced veggies strung up from the side of the cage and two super simple ways to provide fun and a tasty healthy treat all at once.

Tunnels and things to climb on are other good forms of enrichment for a rabbit habitat that your rabbit will appreciate and take to naturally. These can also can give them exercise or a place to hide in for privacy or a quick nap.

Food & Water

Unlike what you see on cartoons, rabbits can not live on carrots alone! Veggies are an important supplement to your rabbit’s diet, but you must provide a good quality fortified rabbit food too. There are many different varieties of rabbit food available on the market, and you will have to find the right one for your rabbit’s taste and your lifestyle. There are natural diets, diets made of mixed pellets and other nutritious ingredients, diets made of only pellets, GMO-free diets, and many more.

A few important tips to remember when selecting a diet for your companion:

  1. Timothy hay should be the very first ingredient in an adult rabbit diet, or be at least in the top three. Timothy is an ideal high-fiber hay for adult rabbits with healthier amounts of protein and calcium to meet their needs at this life stage.
  2. For young rabbits (less than 1 year old) or pregnant/nursing mother rabbits, the main ingredient should be alfalfa hay instead. This legume hay has higher calcium and protein levels that are needed for young, growing rabbits and mother rabbits still feeding their babies.
  3. Diets should be fortified with essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain your rabbit’s overall health and wellness.

In addition to a high quality diet, rabbits need access to unlimited amount of high fiber hay every day. Hay provides important roughage that is needed to maintain good digestive health, and also helps rabbits wear down their teeth as they chew on the rough strands. Timothy hay and orchard grass are both options of grass hays for adult rabbits. Alfalfa hay can be given as an occasional treat too, but should be the main hay given to young bunnies and pregnant/nursing mothers.

Treats can also be provided, as long as they are treats made for rabbits and not a treat that is designed for human consumption. Good treats for rabbits are those that are crunchy (such as Sunseed AnimaLovens Happy Hearts), and help keep your bunny occupied and engaged for a while (like Sunseed Vita Prima Snappers). 


For more info on caring for rabbits and other small animals, check out the rest of The Scoop!

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