Rabbits are the most neglected pet in the UK with around 67,000 in rescue centres around the country.
They are very misunderstood pets, often being bought on a whim or as “starter pets” for children.
Rabbits are incredibly friendly, loyal and playful animals and with the proper care can have long, happy lives.
Every Bunny Needs Somebody
Rabbits are extremely social animals and must be kept in pairs or groups, we do not rehome rabbits on their own.
If you have a single bunny, we offer a rabbit bonding service, which acts like a rabbit dating service. Once approved, we match your rabbit’s personality up with a compatible rabbit, you then need to bring your rabbit into Raystede for a couple of weeks. Bonding rabbits can be a tricky business so the process is supervised by a member of the small animals team. Once we are happy that they are all loved up you can take them both home. This service costs £30, please ask a member of the small animals team for more information.
Housing for Rabbits
If you are keeping a pair of rabbits outside they will need a hutch measuring at least 6ft x 2ft x 2ft.
A shed or Wendy house is a good hutch alternative as it gives rabbits more space.
If you are housing them indoors, they will need to be able to roam freely around the house, much like a cat or dog would. They will need an area to keep their litter tray, food and water bowls.
Avoid using sawdust as bedding for your rabbits this can cause respiratory and liver problems, all you need is newspaper and plenty of hay.
Rabbit Exercise & Enrichment
Rabbits are very active and need a run of at least 10ft x 6.5ft x 3ft, preferably attached to the hutch.
The run will need to be secure so they can’t dig out of it and so predators (such as foxes) can’t get into it.
You will need to provide lots of toys for your rabbit to play with. Tunnels are great as they mimic a rabbit burrow. If your rabbit likes to dig then you can provide them with a digging pit (a large litter tray or children’s sand pit) and fill it with soil and sand.
The Best Diet for Rabbits
A rabbit’s diet should consist primarily of grass and hay – Give this to them in unlimited quantities as they like to graze throughout the day.
Rabbits should also be given approximately a handful of fresh vegetables every day. Examples of suitable fresh foods for rabbits are: kale, spring greens, parsley, basil, broccoli & carrot tops (not carrots as they are very high in sugar).
Rabbits can also have around an egg-cup (50g) of good quality pellets per day. Avoid muesli-type foods as they are very high in sugars, often contain foods that rabbits shouldn’t eat and lead to selective feeding.
Rabbits should have access to fresh, clean water which should be changed daily.
Rabbits have a lifespan between 8-12 years, depending on breed.
It is important to vaccinate your rabbit every year against Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease.
Rabbit’s teeth constantly grow so it is important to provide them with plenty of grass and hay to wear down their teeth. Signs of overgrown teeth include weepy eyes, drooling and weight loss.
Rabbits need to constantly eat to keep their gut moving. If they haven’t eaten for over 12 hours they need emergency veterinary treatment.
80% of un-spayed female rabbits get uterine cancer so it is vital to neuter your rabbit.
Rabbits from Raystede are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and they come with 4 weeks of free insurance from Petplan. We are also on hand to provide advice and information about the best care for your rabbit.