Easter is focused around rabbits and at Raystede Centre For Animal Welfare we endeavor to help people find the perfect pair of rabbits for them and also educate people on the best way to care for them.
Rabbits are the UK’s third most popular pet, however, they are also the most neglected. There are currently over 67,000 in rescue centres around the country. We always encourage people to adopt rabbits from us rather than buy them. We character assess each rabbit, they are neutered, vaccinated and we then match them to their perfect homes. We also offer ongoing support and advice for the duration of the animal’s life.
Rabbits are an 8-12 year commitment and they are an animal with complex needs that are all too often misunderstood. Although rabbits are small, the commitment is more like owning a cat or a dog.
As a ‘cute’ small animal, they are often purchased as a lone first pet for children but as a prey species they do not enjoy handling, preferring all four feet to remain on the ground to feel safe.
Rabbits need friends: Rabbits are social creatures, they require companionship of their own kind. We have a Rabbit bonding service at Raystede where owners can bring their lonely single rabbit to us and we will pair them up with one of our rescue rabbits. Our professional staff will keep both rabbits together and ensure the pairing works well. Once the rabbits are bonded, the owner can take them home.
Facts: Rabbits must have constant access to hay as their teeth continually grow, eating hay allows their teeth to be worn down, preventing dental issues which are very common.
Carrots contain far too much sugar to be fed regularly. They should be given to rabbits as a rare treat and cut to the size of a 2 pence piece and given once a week at the most.
Leafy green vegetables and herbs are a much better alternative.
A hutch it not enough: A rabbit must be able to take 3 hops in its enclosure and be able to stand on its tiptoes. It is also vital to ensure your rabbits are safe from predators. The majority of pet shop hutches are too small, flimsy, and do not fully protect our pets from being harmed. Alternatives include converted sheds and wendy houses or opting to have free-range house rabbits. If housed outside, they must be able access a secure enclosure so they can exercise by leaping, hopping and binkying.
There may be an even higher demand for rabbits this Easter time as it coincides with the release of Peter Rabbit in Cinemas. We are urging people to speak to us before welcoming rabbits into their home. We will be able to give advice and help potential owners decide whether rabbits really are the right pet for them.
ADOPT DON’T SHOP- If after lots of research, you are certain that a rabbit is the right pet for you, why not visit us. Adopting rescue rabbits allows them a second chance and generates space for more unwanted Rabbits. Please help spread the word that rabbits do need friends and a lot of space, hopefully we can work together to prevent even further neglect to these wonderful creatures.
By Kelsey McCann – Animal Care Assistant