Meet Remmy and Roy, our first additions to the homestead! We decided to get them mainly for our children’s enjoyment. Additionally, we will use their manure for garden fertilizer. Let’s talk about the basics on how to care for a rabbit. Firstly, you need to choose a suitable rabbit hutch depending if it’s outdoors or indoors. Secondly, understand what to feed the rabbit. Thirdly, be prepared to keep their cage cleaned regularly. Fourthly, remember to groom it. Lastly, give them plenty of attention.
Top Five Factors to Consider on How to Care for a Rabbit
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Choosing a Rabbit Hutch
A rabbit’s hutch should consist mostly of wire with a section made of wood to provide shelter from the cold and protection from potential predators. The enclosed wooden area should protect from any wind and wetness. Also, they need a shelter with proper ventilation to reduce the risk of serious respiratory infections. Additionally, there should be enough space for them to freely move about They should not be housed with any other livestock due to various parasites.
Predators, such as foxes and raccoons can break into the cage. For instance, an elevated hutch can reduce the risk of a predator digging underneath the rabbit cage. Therefore, keep predators in mind when finding a place for the cage outside. We chose to put the rabbit hutch on our covered porch in hopes of deterring predators and eliminating the ability to dig underneath on soft ground. Also, it allows us to have easy access to them for care and bringing them inside.
Feed the Rabbit a Proper Diet
A rabbit’s diet may be more complex than you think. The majority of a rabbit’s diet should be grass hay. Therefore, an unlimited amount of grass hay should be given to them. This maintains a healthy digestive tract due to the high fiber content. Additionally, they should be given a small amount of fresh leafy green vegetables. Pelleted food should be part of their diet in moderation. Consequently, overfeeding pelleted food can cause obesity and soft stool.
Choosing the right rabbit feeder can help you maintain the right balance of hay and pelleted food, rather than a feeder that can only hold pelleted food. Also, this rollin the hay dispenser can provide enrichment will eating.
Remember to keep the water bottle full. During the winter check the water regularly to prevent freezing. Consider getting a heated water bottle should it become a problem. Below is a list of various green leafy vegetables to feed your rabbit in order to maintain healthy gut bacterial flora.
What vegetables can a rabbit eat?
|Excellent Choices||Moderate Amount||Limited Amount|
|Beet Greens||Brussel Sprouts||Collard Greens|
|Bok Choy||Endive||Dandelion Greens|
|Broccoli Greens||Green Peppers||Escarole|
|Kohlrabi||Wheat Grass||Swiss Chard|
Keep the Rabbit’s Hutch Clean
It is important to keep the rabbit’s hutch clean and free from manure daily. As a result, this will prevent parasites from growing. Having wire on the bottom of the hutch will allow their manure to fall below, keeping the it relatively clean. Our rabbit hutch does not currently have wire on the bottom but we will be making changes. In addition, a pull out tray will make it easier to clean. The manure can be dumped in your garden for fertilizer. Using a liter scoop can make the task easier to remove any waste. After the hutch is cleaned spread fresh bedding in areas where needed.
Grooming a Rabbit
Grooming should be part of the basic care for a rabbit. This includes nail trimming and brushing. Depending on the breed of rabbit brushing and shaving may be more extensive. Nail trims should happen a couple times a month using a small animal nail trimmer. Consequently, if they grow too long it may cause a toe or foot injury.
Weekly brushing will remove excess fur that’s being shed, therefore, reducing the risk of ingested fur that can cause an intestinal blockage. Be gentle when brushing your rabbit because their skin is fragile. Use a plastic tipped slicker brush or bristle brush instead of metal tooth slicker brush. Basic grooming measures will help maintain the health and wellbeing of your rabbit.
Rabbits Need Attention
Giving your rabbit attention, especially if they are outdoors, is necessary because they are sociable creatures. Consequently, if the rabbit is left alone it can become destructive and depressed. Take time every day to give your rabbit attention. Most importantly, if you hold your rabbit regularly it will become happier and more tame. Consider getting a companion rabbit, ideally around the same age and size. This will give them one another to socialize with all day. Also, they should excise regularly. Bring the rabbit indoors to roam around or get a rabbit play pen to put in the grass for them to hop and graze.
In short, these are the top five factors to consider when learning how to care for a rabbit. I hope you find this helpful when starting your homestead journey. Getting a rabbit is a great place to start!
Rabbit Supplies Shopping List
- Rabbit Feeder: https://amzn.to/2LqkDHD
- Rollin’ the Hay Dispenser: https://amzn.to/2XFDy3x
- Rabbit Water Bottle: https://amzn.to/3srbwXH
- Rabbit Heated Water Bottle: https://amzn.to/2LpbdvZ
- Litter Scoop: https://amzn.to/39tmqU6
- Small Animal Nail Trimmers: https://amzn.to/3nJIU8C
- Plastic Tipped Slicker Brush: https://amzn.to/3nJmUut
- Small Corner Liter Pan: https://amzn.to/37Vuzk4