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.

Cage Maintenance

  • 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.

Handling

  • 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.

Grooming

  • 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.

Exercise

  • Allow your rabbit time out of the cage daily.
  • Provide a safe enclosure.
  • Always supervise your rabbit.

Safe Toys

  • Untreated wood.
  • Rawhide balls.
  • Metal jar lids.
  • Bells.
  • Cat balls.
  • Golf balls.
  • AVOID toys that can be chewed and swallowed.

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