Help & Advice
As Timothy hay is so high in nutritional content, it is the ideal hay to feed your bun. If most of the dust has been extracted, it should be sweet-smelling, long stemmed and slightly green. The RSPCA recommends at least a ‘rabbit-sized’ bundle of fresh hay for each rabbit daily- the good news is, any un-eaten hay can be used as bedding so there is nothing to lose in making your rabbit’s home a hay paradise! Do also offer them a variety of safe, washed leafy dark greens or weeds daily as well. RSPCA recommends kale, cabbage, broccoli, parsley and mint as safe plants to feed rabbits. You could also flavour the hay by adding a few herbs like basil, rosemary or coriander. Monitor how their digestive system responds to new foods as their tummies can be very easily upset. Like humans, your rabbit must always have unlimited access to clean, fresh water – without water they can become seriously ill. The RSPCA suggests checking the water levels at least twice daily.
Alfalfa hay is high in minerals such as calcium and protein, and so it is ideal for baby rabbits from 3 weeks to 7 months. However, it does not have enough fibre to keep the digestion system of a fully grown adult rabbit running smoothly. Timothy hay is incredibly high in fibre, which means it is suitable for any rabbit over 7 months old. To ensure your baby rabbit does not get too fond of eating Alfalfa hay, you can mix a little Timothy hay in with their Alfalfa to slowly covert them over to Timothy hay.
There are many options to explore when choosing a place for your rabbit. A secure shelter such as a large hutch, cage or shed, that is attached to a traditional exercise run outside is ideal for the warmer months. Alternatively, an indoor pen or ‘rabbit-proofed’ room in your house or garage is another option. As they are a prey species, the key is that they feel safe in their home and have the companionship of another rabbit or two. It is important that whatever you choose, there is a lot of room for you rabbit to run about and explore!
I need to transport my nervous little bunny to boarding kennels, how can I maintain a calm and happy rabbit?
If you have a few rabbits that have a good relationship, pairing them up in the car for company is a good idea. It is best to familiarise your rabbit with the carrier before the journey by leaving it open in the run. This allows your rabbits to familiarise themselves with the carrier before the journey. If necessary, you can coax your rabbits into the carrier with a small treat – however they should never be pushed in! If the eating or drinking habits of your rabbits change after their journey, or the number of droppings decreases/stops altogether, you need to contact your vet straight away. This could be a sign that your bun could be ill!
Long stem Timothy hay is also essential for wearing down their teeth naturally. A shocking fact is that rabbits’ teeth can grow 8-10 inches per year. By happily chewing on our long stem Timothy hay, the side-to-side motion ensures that the natural wearing down of their teeth is maintained. This reduces the risk of sharp teeth, misalignment, cuts to the lips or gums, infections and pain while chewing. This can also lead to an expensive trip to the vet for teeth filing or extraction. A very nerve-racking experience for you and your bunny! Ensuring there is lots of long stem Timothy hay for rabbits to forage in is also vital to their well-being. Rabbits need to be stimulated, so foraging or teasing out hay from a tube or hay feeder is just the ticket to keep them fully entertained.
Your rabbit should ideally have the same amount of exercise as a wild rabbit or at least three hours of free-range time each day – this lets them have a chance to run about, mix with their buddies and generally hang out! It is important that rabbits living in hutches have long runs so they have the opportunity to exercise lots. The RSPCA suggests that for one or two compatible rabbits (2 kg in weight) should have accommodation that is at least 3m x1m x1m – this includes an exercise and a sleeping area. Your rabbits should have access to both the sleeping area and their run 24/7. Of course, house rabbits have the advantage of been able to run around the house during the day which gives them as much exercise as they need!
A large and secure environment is key to reducing boredom as it gives your rabbit mental and physical stimulation. They are unlikely to feel trapped and can run around, forage, or hide in their shelter if nervous. Platforms are also good as they allow your rabbit to scan the area in case of predators. The jumping up and down also keeps them fit and active. Of course they love to forage, so make sure there is plenty of fresh hay in their run 24/7. Cardboard boxes with holes cut out makes a great hiding place for your bun. Cardboard tubes can be stuffed with hay and healthy treats as part of their daily food intake. Don’t forget plastic and fabric tunnels- rabbits love them! Rabbits also love to dig so try and provide your rabbit with a digging box. Perhaps you could get a large plant pot or litter tray filled with earth or sand to ensure they have fun! It is best to rotate your rabbit’s toys to prevent them from getting bored. For further information why not take a look at the RSPCA’s advice on enrichment.
The RSPCA advises that you get your rabbits neutered, unless they are intended for breeding. They are much more likely to fight if kept together. Female rabbits that are not neutered are at a high risk of developing cancer of the womb.
Yes, this is completely normal. Rabbits tend to be lively first thing in the morning, late afternoon and overnight. Delightful, eh!
My rabbit's behaviour has changed over the last few days, he keeps over-grooming himself and doesn't move very much.
Any signs of a change of behaviour need to be taken seriously. Your bunny could be bored, ill, injured or distressed! Hiding, chewing cage bars, over-grooming, altered feeding or toilet habits, sitting hunched, reluctance to move and repeated circling are all signs that your rabbit could be stressed or scared. It is important be observant and to contact your vet if the strange behaviour continues.
If you can, we would advise that you should get your rabbit a microchip. Just as cats and dogs can, it is possible your rabbit may run off unexpectedly. A microchip will make sure you do not lose your friend for good!
Rabbits are usually very friendly and enjoy interaction with humans! Make sure you make lots of time to play and interact with your bunnies – they will love you for it.
Whilst rabbits are not aggressive by nature, they can bite, scratch or kick if nervous or frightened. This is most likely to happen when being handled by humans, so it is a good idea to begin holding your rabbits from a young age. This sets the foundation for lots of cuddles with your bun…yay!
If you spend enough time with your bun, it becomes easier to learn signs showing their different moods – both good and not-so-good! One key sign of anger is when your rabbit is standing in a tense position and is thumping their back legs on the ground, standing upright with arms out in a boxing position. Another sign is standing tense with their body down. Finally, an open mouth with their teeth showing is a warning sign that your rabbit wants peace and quiet.