Rabbit Care Guide
Rabbits make excellent pets. They are available in quite a number of variations, including short fuzzy hair, like the Rex, long-haired, like the Jersey Wooly, dwarf lops which are small, and rather large breeds such as Artic Hares.
- Rabbits are very curious critters. They are also very ardent chewers. In general, it is best to keep your rabbit caged when not supervised.
- Provide a roomy cage, six times the size of the adult rabbit.
- The door must be large enough for the litter box, and toys should be provided in the cage.
- Wire cages are readily available and work well by allowing the feces and urine to fall through the cage. However, it will still be necessary to keep the cage and the bedding clean.
- Rabbits that are allowed to come in contact with their urine for long periods of time can suffer urine burns (sores) on their hocks. Place a resting board covering a part of the cage floor for the rabbit's comfort.
- When lining your rabbit's cage, kiln-dried pine shavings or paper shavings are preferred. Cedar, pine or chlorophyll shavings should not be used.
The pleasures of being outdoors include fresh air, sunshine, and freedom to run, chew and dig. But for a rabbit, being outside can also be dangerous, most importantly from predator attack. Such attacks primarily occur at night, but can also happen in the daytime.
Hutches and cages do not provide enough protection to make it safe to leave a rabbit outdoors 24 hours a day. Even if the predator is not able to get into the cage, the rabbit may panic, injure herself, or die from shock or heart attack. Raccoons can open hutches. Coyotes, owls, hawks, possums, cats and dogs are also threats. For safe daytime exercise, we suggest a pen within your fenced yard, one with a top, bottom and sides. We strongly urge you to bring your rabbit in at night.
Proper handling of your rabbit is essential. Always support the hind end of your rabbit when you pick it up. Never pick up a rabbit by its legs or ears. Rabbits will frequently injure their backs when picked up without supporting the hind end.
Handle your rabbit often when it's young, to increase its acceptance of affection when it's older. Pet him on the broad area on top of his nose to help him get use to you. Never let him jump from heights.