Top Tips For Keeping Your Rabbit 'Hoppy' & Healthy6th Apr 2023
Spring and Easter, particularly, is a time many of us associate with rabbits, and this often means interest in rehoming or buying bunnies may increase.
We would like to share some advice on the importance of caring for pet rabbits’ needs, to help spread awareness about rabbit welfare and to show that, together, we can make sure our sweet companions are as ‘hoppy’ and healthy as possible.
It is vital to ensure that rabbits have plenty of space in their home to explore and enjoy all the wonderful things they like to do, including hopping around, sitting up high and stretching out for a relaxing nap in the sunshine.
We recommend that rabbits’ housing is at least 3m x 2m x 1m high – these dimensions are considered by Rabbit Welfare Association to be the minimum requirements to allow a rabbit to live safely and comfortably. A traditional hutch alone does not allow enough space or stimulation and we encourage rehomers to use less restrictive housing, which gives the rabbits plenty of space to roam and live their lives to the fullest.
Not only does neutering a rabbit help with introductions to a potential new companion, but it means no surprise babies!
Neutering is good for health reasons too, as sadly female rabbits are prone to uterine cancer and there are very limited options available for them after this happens. It also helps with hormone levels, which means it can often contribute towards reducing aggressive behaviour and urine / territory marking.
Plenty of enrichment is a big bonus for rabbits, and it’s a great way to ensure they have lots of mental stimulation and for their new families to build up a bond with them.
Some examples of enrichment and activities that can make our bunnies truly ‘hoppy’ include:
Adding tunnels and digging boxes to their enclosures
Providing them with treat balls
Using old cardboard boxes and newspapers to create hiding places and items for them to rummage under
Rabbits thrive on having another rabbit for company, and the process of bonding a pair is very important, to make it as successful as possible. Like us, rabbits can be quite particular about their companions and it can sometimes take a couple of tries to find the right one.
Here are a few tips that you may find useful during this process:
Make sure all rabbits are neutered and fully vaccinated (similar age is preferred too)
Take a minimum of 3 days for the bonding process (we allow about a week for introductions)
Stop the introduction if there is any continued aggression through the barrier within the first 24 hours
Practice scent-swapping (swapping toys and bedding between their enclosures) so they can get used to each other’s scent
Use Pet Remedy during introductions, which offers a calming scent
Our team at Church Knowle are always pleased to help with any questions you may have, and to offer any advice about bonding and rabbit welfare.
If you are interested in rehoming a pair of rabbits and taking the responsible steps to providing them with a loving, ‘fur-ever’ home, please click here and contact the centre directly, who will be delighted to help.