Rabbits molt their fur from time to time. A good slicker brush can help remove excess hair. Rabbits should not be bathed unless they are unable to clean themselves. Toenails should be trimmed every few weeks. We suggest using scissor trimmers as they are easy to use.
Rabbit Shopping List:
In the event your rabbit should need to travel with you, a rabbit friendly carrier is advised. Boxes should be avoided as they soil easily and the animals will chew through them. Dog and cat carriers can be used if they have an opening at the top. Front entry carriers can cause injuries to legs and toenails. Wire sided carriers with a lid are very safe and provide an excellent way to transport your animal cleanly and safely.
p Cage p Travel Carrier p Exercise Pen p Bedding p Feed p Water Bottle p Food Dish p Toenail Clippers p Brush p Hay p Treats p Litter Pan (if you plan to potty train) p Toys p Educational Materials
Information provided by: 253-630-3330 www.reberranch.com
Kim Connolly Animal Encounters www.animalencounters.com
Caring for Your Pet Rabbit A helpful guide to caring for your pet from your friends at Reber Ranch and Animal Encounters.
Pet Rabbit Basics Caging
One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need for your rabbit is a cage. If your new rabbit will be housed outdoors, you will need to select a hutch that provides plenty of space and is easy to clean. Hutches should have features that provide protection from the weather and ease of access for the owner. Indoor cages can have either solid or wire bottoms. Solid bottoms are ok for small breeds, but larger breeds of rabbit will most likely be happier and cleaner on wire as their droppings can fall through the wire into a collection pan. Other things to consider when selecting a cage: Size - be sure to select a size that your full gown animal will feel comfortable in. Baby rabbits can grow rapidly and some breeds will quickly outgrow a small cage. A good size calculator is that your rabbit should have about one square foot of space per adult pound of body weight. So a four pound rabbit would do fine in a 24”X24” cage. If you select a wire cage, urine deflectors are a good choice. These are metal covers that wrap around the cage and prevent urine from leaking outside. If your cage requires bedding for either the bottom, or dropping pan, there are several good choices available. White shavings, Carefresh, or wood pellets are all safe and convenient. Never use pine or cedar as they can cause respiratory problems. If a wire cage is selected, make sure you provide a bed or resting mat for your rabbit to get off of the wire periodically.
The most important thing to consider is the protein content in the food you are buying. Rabbits need between 16-18% protein for small to medium sized breeds that are still growing. After six months of age, they can be switched to a 16-17% protein matinence diet. Some small breeds and elderly animals may do well on a low protein diet of 14%. Check with your rabbit savvy vet before making any drastic changes in your animal’s diet. Rabbits need hay as a source of fiber for proper digestion. Chewing hay also helps keep their teeth filed down. Use only orchard grass or Timothy hay. Alfalfa hay is too high in calcium. Treats can be introduced to rabbits slowly. Avoid treats with high amounts of sugar. If your rabbit is fed a quality pelleted feed, additional salt and minerals are generally not needed in the diet. Your rabbit will need a food dish. Crocks that attach to the side of the cage are a good choice, as are bowls that are heavy enough to keep from being overturned and wasting food. Gravity fed J-style feeders are a good choice for growing animals. When choosing a water bottle, make sure that is an appropriate size for your fully grown animal. We suggest a water bottle with a wide mouth or top filling option. This provides a large opening Educational Materials: for easier cleaning.
Rabbits need plenty of exercise to remain healthy and happy. Indoor or outdoor animals will enjoy playtime in a rabbit proofed area. Exercise pens are a great and portable way to provide this for them. Rabbits should never be left unsupervised outside in pens as predators may be a problem or rabbits may dig out. Toys, especially ones that can be chewed, are enjoyed by all rabbits. A rabbit’s teeth grow throughout their life, so providing access to objects they can chew safely is important.
Raising Better Rabbits and Cavies, published by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association, is an excellent resource.
A Kid’s Guide to Raising and Showing Rabbits; written by Nancy Searle, is an informative, child friendly book.