Basic Rabbit Care
Topics include Signs of a Healthy Rabbit, Signs of Distress, Food & Water Requirements, Housing & Cage Requirements, Cage Maintenance, Handling, Grooming, Exercise, and Safe Toys.
Signs of a Healthy Rabbit
- Clear, bright eyes.
- Alert behavior.
- Clean nose, clear of mucous.
- Clean ears, free of parasites.
- Upper teeth should overlap the lower teeth.
- Smooth, well fleshed body.
- Dry round fecal pellets.
Signs of Distress
- Rabbit is hiding in a corner or unusual place.
- Rabbit is sitting in a hunched position.
- Rabbit is losing weight.
- Rabbit is not eating.
Food & Water
- 16% protein pellets should be fed 1 oz. of pellets per 1 lb. of body weight.
- Small handful of Grass or Timothy hay 3-4 times per week.
- Petromalt or papaya should be fed 1 time per week to prevent fur blockage.
- Fresh water should be provided at all times.
- Pellets should be stored in an airtight container.
Housing & Cage Requirements
- Wire cage 24” x 24” minimum with a 1” x 1/2” wire bottom.
- Place E-Z Mat, plywood, or sheetrock in cage as a resting area.
- Rabbits may be kept indoors or outdoors.
- Cage must be in a draft free, protected area, with adequate ventilation.
- DO NOT place cage in direct sunlight as it can be fatal.
- Clean the cage a minimum of once per week.
- Clean feeders a minimum of once per week.
- Clean water bottles/crocks a minimum of once per week.
- Clean resting mat or change plywood/sheetrock as necessary.
- To pick up your rabbit, place one hand under its chest and the other hand under its rump.
- Lift the rabbit up to your body and place its nose in the crook of your arm.
- Hold the rabbit with one hand supporting its rump and the other hand over its back.
- Be gentle when handling your rabbit.
- DO NOT hit or tease your rabbit. Unkind treatment can make your rabbit aggressive and mean.
- DO NOT pick your rabbit up by the ears.
- Rabbits need to chew to wear down their teeth. Provide a limb from an apple tree for this purpose.
- Rabbit nails require clipping from time to time. You can use human toenail clippers to clip the tip of each toenail.
- DO NOT use dog products on rabbits.
- Rabbits do not need baths, they groom themselves.
- You can brush your rabbit, especially when they are molting.
- Rabbits do not need shots.
- Allow your rabbit time out of the cage daily.
- Provide a safe enclosure.
- Always supervise your rabbit.
- Untreated wood.
- Rawhide balls.
- Metal jar lids.
- Cat balls.
- Golf balls.
- AVOID toys that can be chewed and swallowed.