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Rabbit Needs

Rabbits are fairly easy to take care of. They need basic shelter, food and water like all other animals in addition to 'stretch' time (time to roam outside of the cage) and possibly some grooming (especially for longer haired rabbits, or during molting seasons).

The Rabbit Cage or Hutch

Rabbits need a cage or hutch to live in. If your rabbit is indoors, a simple wire cage is adequate, if living outdoors, they need a hutch, or a cage that also has an enclosed house/nest area to get relief from the outdoor elements.

It's best if your cage/hutch is at least 5 times larger than the animal itself and has a height tall enough that the rabbit can stand up on its hind legs without bumping his head on the top of the container. (A standard gauge is 1 square foot of space for every pound of your (adult sized) rabbit is (or will get).

The rabbit house should also have bedding in it. This gives your rabbits a clean, warm place to sleep as well as helping to reduce smell and moisture. Bedding can be made from newspaper or wood shavings. Keep in mind, though, that the more dust-free your bedding is, the better it is for your rabbit.

If your cage/hutch has a metal floor, there needs to be some part of it that is solid. This is because a rabbits feet are tender and constantly standing on the wire could cause problems for him. It's better to have a place the rabbit can retreat to rest his feet.

If housing your rabbit outside in a hutch, take precautions to ensure that your housing is preditor proof (from dogs, raccoons, etc.) and weatherproof (warm in the winter, cool in the summer).

Routinely clean out your cage to keep your rabbit healthy and keep the smell down.

Rabbit Food and Water

Rabbits ideally need two food dishes. One is for dry food, such as rabbit pellets or hay and the other for moist foods. These dishes should be sturdy, as your rabbit may knock them over or chew them up if they're not. You can get clip on dishes that keep the food in place as well as ceramic dishes that can't be easily knocked over or chewed up.

You will also need a water bottle with clean water always available for your rabbit. Buy the largest clip on water bottle you can find that's made especially for rabbits.

Don't put water in a bowl. This will just create problems for you because your rabbit will get the water dirty as well as splash it all over the cage, creating a soggy environment.

See this list of things you should and shouldn't feed your rabbit for more specific guidelines on food.

Socialization

It's important that you spend time with your rabbits daily. Let them out of their cage to roam around, play with them, etc. If keeping your rabbits outdoors, don't keep them in an isolated part of the yard where you won't readily go visit. Rabbits need socialization. Because of that, consider keeping at least two rabbits if they're going to be outdoor pets.

Rabbit Toys

Yes, toys. Your rabbit will need some toys in his cage! You don't have to spend a fortune on toys for your rabbit. A toy could be something as simple as a recycled round oatmeal container, or leftover hard plastic baby toys such as teethers (but not the kind that have liquid in them). Hard cat or dog balls or bells work as good toys as well. And of course, you can always buy specially made rabbit toys at the pet store.

Keep a small selection of toys for your rabbit and rotate them regularly to stimulate play and ward off boredom.

 

More information about rabbits:

Raising Rabbits

Diet for Rabbits

Rabbit Facts

Bunnies for Pets

Rabbits for Meat

 

 

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