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Know How To Raise Happy, Healthy Bunnies

Rabbits are beloved by many, but caring for one as a pet is a unique challenge that some people might not be ready for. If you or a family member is thinking about raising bunnies, make sure you're prepared first, starting with these fundamental tips.

Housing Your Rabbit

Rabbits can be kept inside or outside, depending on how you want to raise and care for yours. Either way, it's important that your rabbit has room to hop around. An outdoor hutch should measure at least 4 by 2 feet with 2 feet in height. Indoors, you can give them free rein in a bunny-proof room or set up a big enough pen or rabbit cage. Make sure to keep the pen, hutch or cage lined with good bedding and equipped with a litter box, and set it up in a quiet area safe from other animals, especially if outside.

Bunny-Proofing Your Home

Pet rabbits are prone to chewing on anything they can reach, whether out of boredom or curiosity. Even if you have an outdoor rabbit, it's best to keep your home secured to prevent damage and protect your pet:

  • Cover all wires, cables and cords with plastic sleeves, or keep them about 3 feet off the floor.
  • Use plastic guards to protect floorboards and the legs of wood furniture.
  • Close off areas, such as underneath beds, that you don't want your bunny hiding in.
  • Keep houseplants out of reach, to protect both them and your rabbit - some houseplants can be toxic to rabbits, so do your research.

Watching Your Rabbit's Health

The ideal diet for a pet rabbit should consist primarily of hay: alfalfa for baby bunnies, timothy or oat hay for adults. Supplement this with washed leafy greens and fresh water, and limit pellets, fruit and root vegetables.

As prey animals, rabbits instinctively hide signs of injury or illness. Keep an eye on your rabbit's daily behavior to watch for changes in eating, drinking, pooping or playtime. Make sure you know a local rabbit-savvy vet for both regular checkups and health emergencies.

Managing Bunny Stressors

Your rabbit's emotional well-being is important, too; make sure they have a low-stress environment, and let them out to run around and play at least a couple of times a day. Cardboard boxes, newspapers and toys also let your rabbit entertain itself. Groom rabbits regularly, but don't bathe them, as that's highly stressful for them. If you have other pets, keep them away from your rabbit until it's acclimatized to your home, and even afterward, they should mingle only under careful supervision.

Understanding Your Rabbit

Though they usually aren't vocal, rabbits have their own way to tell you how they feel. Happy rabbits flop onto their sides or make dramatic leaps through the air (called binkying). When curious, they sniff and nose around their surroundings. Bossy rabbits nudge or "dig" on you for attention and nip or kick their back legs at you when unhappy. Growling, a hunched posture and thumping indicate fear or aggression, and loud teeth grinding means discomfort or pain. If your rabbit screams, that's a sign of serious pain - go to the vet immediately!

Rabbits have unique needs and quirks that make them a bit difficult for those used to cats and dogs. However, when cared for properly, they can be charming, excitable and affectionate pets.

Turn to us for the supplies you need to ensure your bunnies are happy as can be.