Spring has sprung and soon the most famous bunny of all is about to skip, hop and jump into our back gardens! But of course I’m not talking about Roger Rabbit, Thumper or Bugs Bunny (to name a few!) but the most egg-citing hare of all…. The Easter Bunny! That’s why I want to give you some tippity-toppity facts about our beloved small furries! Rabbits are commonly considered a good first pet for young children but un-fur-tunately many young pawrents soon find out that they actually require a lot of attention and looking after… so make sure you’re prepared before welcoming a new bundle of fluff into your life!
House rabbits are a great way to get the most from your pet. They can live cage-free in houses and be trained to poo in a litter tray just like cats! By having your rabbits in your house you can interact with them all the time and really get to know the love of a bunny ;-) There are some important points to note about house rabbits… 1. Most rabbits love to chew! Protect all cables with cable tidies or by placing a panel across wire and plug points to be inaccessible. 2. As rabbits are easily susceptible to stress, house rabbits are best in a calm house with no young children.
Rabbits don’t like being held much, and usually only on their own terms! Getting on the floor and interacting on his level will allow your bunny to trust you and start a great friendship. Through time, he’ll want to be with you and approach you to play rather than you approaching him. As rabbits don’t make much noise it’s difficult to know how he’s feeling, but there are some signs:
In rabbit society, there is always an “alpha”. When paired together, whether males with females, males with males or females with females, one rabbit will need to show dominance over the other. This can manifest itself in nipping each other, mounting each other, and full blown running around biting, boxing and fur flying!! But if you get your bunny neutered then most of these characteristics will die down. Some aggression can remain but please feel free to talk to our vets for great rabbit/bunny behavioural advice!
The most common reasons for aggression are fear, natural dominance and pain. Fear: Most fear is as a result of a lack of handling or a bad experience. They say elephants never forget – well neither do rabbits! If your rabbit shows fear aggression you can re-train them by increased handling- although this does take time and effort! Always make sure you approach a rabbit from the side so they can see you. Approaching from the front or back they may not see you and be surprised by your sudden touch and strike out in fear. If your rabbit has a history of nipping, approach him slowly with a clenched fist before you try to stroke him. Then slowly unfurl to stroke his head only until trust has been built up. Spending time with your rabbit in normal conditions will help you to understand when he’s not acting as usual. Increased aggression is one of the ways you may spot him acting out of character.
We recommend neutering males at 5/6 months old. Once adult, males will often spray their territory with urine. Benefits of castrating males are reduced aggression and the spraying should stop. We recommend spaying females also at 5/6 months old. Once adult, females have up to 80% chance of incurring uterine cancer. Benefits of spaying females are reduced aggression and vastly reduced risk of cancer.
Rabbits need lots and lots of fresh hay and clean water. Make sure that you re-fill hay and water every day, it should be endless! A handful of veggies each day is enough but no lettuce and only part of a carrot. You can also feed a tiny amount of fruit (bananas/strawberries) as a weekly treat. Good quality nuggets. Only a small amount is needed once a day. Use the dosage chart on the side of the pack for your size rabbit. Rabbit muesli is not recommended as it’s like junk food for rabbits and their weight will quickly pile on. Rule of thumb: If the food is all brown, it should be good for bunny. If it’s a mixture of colours it’s probably best to avoid! And of course their own poop! Rabbits have a special poop in the morning that looks like small brown bubbles stringed together and that smells very strongly! This is packed full of their gut bacteria and is essential for their gut health that they re-digest it to replenish stocks. They will also eat the odd hard brown pellet too – don’t be alarmed!
So there you have it! Our run down of the curious habits of bunny rabbits!
Wishing you a hoppin' good Easter! Best wishes, Judy.xxx
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