Who doesn’t love rabbits? They’re so cute and fluffy, but there are a few things that you need to consider in order to keep your rabbit happy and healthy. Besides doing the basics right, remember that your rabbit also needs to see a veterinarian regularly, and especially if he is ill.
1. Fresh water
Would you want to drink water that has been out in the sun and wind for a couple of days –
especially if the water contains dirt? Neither does your rabbit. Ensure that he has clean water every day. This means that his water bowl should be washed every day as well. While you’re at it, also wash his food bowl after every meal.
2. Big house
Your rabbit’s enclosure should be at least 3x3m and his ears shouldn’t be able to touch the ‘ceiling’ of his cage when he stands on his hindlegs. The bigger the space, the better. Be mindful of where your rabbit’s enclosure is located. Don’t leave him out in the sun or in the cold all day long. He should be able to take cover in the shade if it’s hot, or be able to seek shelter if it’s cold.
3. Natural instinct
In his natural environment, your rabbit would be jumping around, running, digging and foraging for food. But, seeing that you’re feeding him, he doesn’t need to do all this to find food. It can become boring for him, but there is something you can do. Let him ‘forage’ for his food by hiding some of it in a container, like an empty toilet roll. This will keep him occupied for a while, and he’ll feel as if he is foraging for his food.
4. Ideal food
Contrary to what most people think, carrots are not an ideal staple for rabbits. Hay is much better for their gut and helps to keep their teeth short. Look at your rabbit’s size – that is the ideal size of the amount of hay your rabbit should eat every day. Be conscious of what and how much you feed your rabbit, so that you don’t overfeed him.
Rabbits are sociable creatures and they need friends. His ideal friend would be another rabbit that speaks the same ‘language’. Make sure that your rabbits are sterilised, though, so that you don’t get any nasty pregnancy surprises.
6. Poop master
Did you know that your rabbit can poop as many as 300 times in one day? That is a lot of poop and, if you don’t clean it up on a daily basis, you’re creating a health hazard. It is vital that you clean his cage – especially if you have more than one rabbit.
Lastly, ensure that your rabbit’s bum is clean. After pooping so much in a day, some solid waste could get stuck in his fur. By cleaning him, you will also prevent him from getting flystrike. This is when flies lay eggs in the fur around an animal’s bum. The eggs hatch into maggots and eat their ‘host’s’ flesh. It is a painful condition and can even be fatal.