Rabbits

Feeding

  • 80% of the diet ideally should be grass
  • 15% should be a good quality grass or Lucerne/timothy hay. However you can give hay ad lib.
  • 5% should be a rabbit pellet/grain (equivalent to one tablespoon of grain). Too much grain in the diet can result in bloating and abdominal pain.
  • Fresh vegetables and fruit are great for rabbits (e.g. spinach, kale, leaves of root vegetables, dandelion, chickweed). Cabbage/lettuce should be avoided as it can cause diarrhoea. Carrots and apples should only be given once per week as they are high in sugars which is not good for the teeth.
  • Chew toys are great for rabbits to wear their teeth down such as wood rabbit chews or cardboard boxes.

Housing

  • If you are planning to keep your rabbit indoors;
  • You can train them to a litter tray. Keep the litter tray in a quiet, private area of the house.
  • Wires/cables will need to be kept elevated as they will be chewed.
  • It is also advisable to give them a safe space where they can run and hide if they are feeling nervous.
  • Be careful introducing other pets to your rabbit, and always supervise any interaction.
  • For outdoor hutches;
  • Keep the hutch in a place away from contact with wild rabbits to minimize the risk of spread of diseases such as calicivirus or myxomatosis from rabbit fleas
  • It is also advisable to use mosquito netting to minimize the chance of contracting myxomatosis
  • Ensure your rabbit can go into a sheltered area of their enclosure. Rabbits can die very easily from heat or cold stress
  • Use sawdust or straw for bedding. An all wire floor is unsuitable as your rabbit will develop lesions on the base of their paws.
  • Clean out your rabbit’s enclosure daily to minimize infections on their paws

Companions:

  • Do not keep your rabbit in the same enclosure as a guinea pig, they can spread diseases between them and often the rabbit will bully the guinea pig!
  • Two females are good in an enclosure together or a neutered male and female

Vitals:

  • Life expectancy 6 – 14 years
  • Adult body weight 2- 6 kg
  • Can breed from; 4 – 10 months
  • Pregnancy 31 days
  • Litter Size 1 -12
  • Weaning 4 – 6 weeks

 

Health:

  • If your rabbit has not been vaccinated before your rabbit will require two vaccinations against calicivirus one month apart, followed by an annual vaccination. If your rabbit has been previously vaccinated an annual calicivirus vaccine is all that is required.
  • Your rabbit will benefit from biannually worming, especially if they are kept with multiple rabbits or in a hutch near wild rabbits.
  • Grooming and nail trims may be required biannually.
  • If your rabbit does not have good occlusion of their incisors they may need regular teeth trimming.
  • Once your rabbit reaches 6 mths old it is a good idea to get them desexed to minimize the risks of uterine or testicular cancers. It also eliminates the risk of pregnancy. However be aware that your rabbit can be sexually mature from 4mths old, so could potentially become pregnant at this age.

Handling:

  • It is important to get your rabbit use to handling from an early age to prevent them becoming nervous/flighty as they age.
  • Always support the whole body when you are carrying your rabbit and never leave them unattended on a table.
  • Rabbits have very powerful hind limbs and can do a lot of damage if they jump off a table.