Amanda’s top tips to help your Bunny lead a happy and healthy life!
Rabbits are highly social animals, meaning that they need company from other rabbits who have been carefully introduced to form a bonded pair/group.
Rabbits are a prey species and in the wild they rely on the company of other warren members, not only to keep warm in winter but also to warn them if predators are nearby. Therefore a rabbit housed alone will feel anxious and need to be on the alert for danger constantly, meaning they may never completely relax.
Unlimited, high quality hay and fresh grass is the foundation of a healthy diet for rabbits. This not only provides all the nutrients they need but helps to wear down their constantly growing teeth due to the course nature of the fibres, preventing painful overgrowth or sharp spurs on the teeth which can restrict the ability to eat. Hay and grass should total to at least 80% of your rabbits daily diet. This can also maintain a healthy gut and fulfil natural foraging behaviour to prevent boredom.
It is a common misconception that rabbits should be fed muesli, when in fact research has proven that feeding muesli to rabbits can lead to severe health problems. Such as; reduced gut function, teeth overgrowth, obesity and malnutrition due to selective feeding.
Rabbits should always be kept with the company of their own kind so a hutch must accommodate at least two rabbits comfortably. It should also allow them to make at least 3 hops and lie stretched out. This means a minimum of 6ft x 2ft. The floor space needs to be at least 2 feet from front to back. In a two-tier style hutch, floor space is lost to the ramp so that must be taken into account. Rabbits must be able to stand up on their back legs without their ears touching the top so the hutch must be at least 2ft tall.
Rabbits should also be provided with a secure run which should measure at least 8ft with a variety of toys and tunnels to provide mental stimulation and allow room to roam, graze and exercise.
Heat and flystrike
During the summer months, the hot weather can cause a variety of issues, including heat stroke and fly strike.
Heat stroke can be caused if a rabbit is kept in direct sunlight or hot temperatures with no area to shelter from or cool down. Ensuring rabbits have a constant water supply to drink from and providing frozen veg to nibble on, as well as placing frozen water bottles into their accommodation to nestle in to can help to keep them cool.
Flystrike is a devastating condition where flies infest and lay up to 200 eggs on the skin of the rear end which within hours hatch into maggots which thrive on feeding on the flesh of the rabbit. Flies are attracted to damp fur soiled with urine or soft faeces. Maggots can very quickly eat away large areas of tissue which can cause excruciating pain and infection which if left untreated for days will often require euthanasia. Ideally checking a rabbit’s rear end a couple of times per day can help early recognition of soiling or infestations.
We offer vaccinations to protect rabbits from myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease, both of which are diseases which can cause fatalities if contracted. We also offer veterinary health checks, neutering and nurse clinics which provide a nail clipping service as well as general advice on husbandry for both new and existing rabbit owners.
To book an appointment or for further advice, please call or book online:
Carnoustie – 01241 858600
Broughty Ferry – 01382 549600