Keeping a pet rabbit for the first time can be both challenging and fulfilling. If you’ve just become a rabbit owner, you might be struggling to keep up with all the new things coming your way. In this blog post, we will explore some important things you should consider if you’ve just become a rabbit owner. Owning a pet can be a lot of fun and rewarding on many levels. Keeping an indoor or outdoor housed pet like a rabbit means that it is much easier for you to care for it on a daily basis; however, there are still lots of factors to consider if you have just become a rabbit owner.
Firstly, perhaps, you think, it’s a cheap and easy pet to take care of? Maybe you’re a parent hoping to give your child something special and educational. If so, maybe you think the perfect pet is a rabbit. After all, they’re cute, cheap to buy and easy to take care of…right? However, most people who have experience with rabbits as pets will tell you that this is not the case.
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Things You Should Consider If You’ve Just Become a Rabbit Owner – Cost of Looking After Rabbits
Initial Set Up Costs
- Two Rabbits (never keep just one as they get lonely)
- Neutering of 2 rabbits
Total Cost = $900-$1200
Monthly Costs of Looking After a Rabbit
- Good quality food
- Fresh Vegetables
Total Cost = $90-$110
On top of these costs are common extras such as dental costs and vaccinations which your vet will recommend. Remember that rabbits can live for about 10 years so these costs have tp be considered for a rabbit’s lifetime coming to over $10000.
Children and Rabbits?
An important thing you should consider if you’ve just become a rabbit owner is Rabbits are easily spooked and startled, and will often go into a frenzy when they’re scared. This can lead to aggressive behavior that can cause scratches to your child or yourself.
Kids are often too impatient to wait for a rabbit to calm down when it’s upset. They have to learn to have the patience to wait for a rabbit to settle down before picking it up, and they have to learn to avoid startling it in the first place. Rabbits are also extremely messy. They are notorious for causing destruction with their constant digging and chewing. Rabbits also generate a lot of waste, and they are prolific breeders.
Decide on your Rabbit’s Housing Situation
A rabbit is a very social creature, which means he’ll appreciate having a friend or family member around all the time. If you have small children, though, it’s best to have the rabbit in a cage or hutch. Rabbits generally don’t like to be held and with their long nails, they can easily scratch a child.
Keep your rabbit’s cage in a location where he’ll get lots of attention and have easy access to food, water and his litter box. If you have a rabbit hutch outside, make sure it has a roof and walls. Rabbits are very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and like other small animals, they can’t regulate their body temperature on their own. If you live in a warm climate, you can keep your rabbit outside in a hutch and let him roam around your backyard freely.
Allow For Rabbit Digging for Mental and Physical Well-Being
Rabbits are natural diggers and will dig whether they are inside or outside. A bunny’s instinct to dig is triggered by a variety of stimuli, including boredom, being curious, needing to eliminate or just for fun. When a rabbit digs in a cage, though, it can cause serious damage to their feet and joints.
Digging in the wild is important for rabbits because it allows them to prepare their nests, extract minerals and vitamins from the soil, and to create underground pathways that they use to defend themselves against predators.
Rabbits in the wild look for the nearest tunnel to hide and feel safe. Domestic rabbits are no different so placing tunnels in their pens/runs and hutches will offer the little fellas a more fulfilling space.
Ideally rabbit homes, provide these furry pets with plenty of digging materials to mimic conditions they’d find in the wild. Use digging materials like wood chips, cardboard or paper-based products that are easy to clean up and that don’t contain harmful toxins or dyes that could be harmful to rabbits.
A digging box of top soil, too, will allow your rabbits to play out their natural instincts and keep them occupied.
Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, claim that a rabbit hutch is not enough for a happy life for rabbits. Their research shows that an enclosure size of area of 3m x 2m x 1m high for a pair of average sized rabbits, should be the minimum standard. The 3m (8.8 Feet) x 2m (6.5 feet) measurement should be floor area that the bunnies can tread not including hutch space and tunnels. These measurements apply to outside as well with rabbits having no problems living outdoors if they have a comfortable sleeping area.
That’s why when you build new housing for our rabbits, you should make sure it includes plenty of room for jumping, digging and running. These activities are crucial to the mental and physical well-being of pet bunnies. They also help them maintain their natural instincts so they can live more fulfilling lives.
A rabbit’s natural instincts drive them to dig because they are prey animals who need to make hiding places underground as a defense mechanism from predators. Jumping and running on grass or wood chips allow them to explore their environment safely without the risk of running into a wall or other unsafe surfaces that could cause injury or panic. If you can’t offer enough space for a rabbit to stand erect on its back feet as it would in the wild, forget about owning rabbits.
Why Jumping Is Important for a Rabbit’s Health
Rabbits are natural jumpers. But in a traditional indoor hutch, their instincts to jump and explore are often hampered, especially if they live in a small cage. Being unable to jump can cause a host of health issues for rabbits, including obesity or malnutrition, joint and bone issues, poor muscle development and cardiac issues.
When you design and build your new rabbit housing, you should take into account all of the activities that are important to a rabbit’s health and wellness, including jumping. Look at the flooring you use, how high the walls are and how low the ceiling is and make sure that rabbits have plenty of space to jump, explore and be themselves. By giving rabbits plenty of room to jump, we are not only providing them with ample space, but we are also helping them stay healthy by giving them the freedom to live more like they would in the wild.
Be Aware of Vaccinations and Spaying/Neutering
Rabbits are very social animals and they should be kept with other rabbits. This, however, is only possible if they are spayed or neutered. Rabbits can be spayed or neutered at any age, but they should be done before they reach sexual maturity, which is around 3 months old. Rabbits are very sensitive to anesthesia, so make sure you visit your veterinarian who has experience with spaying and neutering rabbits. Also, be sure to keep your rabbit up to date on his vaccinations. Rabbits can contract a variety of diseases and parasites, so it’s important to keep your rabbit protected from these health risks. Visit your veterinarian to find out what vaccinations your rabbit needs.
Feeding Your Rabbit
A simple guide to feeding your rabbit healthily is as follows:
- 85% grass or feeding hay
- 10% greens
- 5% good quality nuggets
Being herbivores, rabbits have a unique diet and nutritional needs that must be met by you, the new owner. A rabbit’s diet should primarily consist of hay, high-fiber greens such as kale and romaine lettuce, along with other safe fruits and vegetables. This guide will help you understand what your rabbit should be eating to stay happy and healthy.
Safe Fruits and Vegetables for Rabbits
Rabbits can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, however, some are better than others. Here are some fruits and vegetables that are safe for rabbits to eat:
- Fruit: Apples are a safe option for your rabbit though it’s best to avoid too many seeds. Carrots, grapes or a slice of apple should be given as a treat once or twice a week only.
- Mango: Rabbits can eat mango, however, it is important to remove the pit and skin.
- Mint: Mint is a great source of vitamins and minerals for rabbits. It is safe to feed to rabbits, however, it is important to make sure it is fresh.
- Mixed Vegetables: You can feed your rabbit a mix of different vegetables, including dandelions from the garden and broccoli. However give small varied portions.
Common Poisonous Plants Not to Give a Rabbit
Most house plants can be toxic to rabbits so please don’t allow leaves to drop off into your rabbits enclosure.
Common Outdoor Plants and Flowers That Rabbits Should Avoid
Aconite, Celandine, Corncockle, Foxgloves, poppy, ivy, buttercups, bluebells, Cowslip, Dock, Ragwort, Deadly Nightshade, Fool’s Parsley, Henbane, Hedge Garlic, Ivy, Spurge, Traveler’s Joy, Tree Lupin, Wild Garlic and Wood Sorrel.
In Conclusion – Things You Should Consider If You’ve Just Become a Rabbit Owner
Things you should consider if you’ve just become a rabbit owner are not simple but varied and important, financially costly and a responsibility you can thrive at with enough passion and determination. Rabbits are herbivores, and they have a unique diet and nutritional needs that must be met through their food.
A rabbit’s diet should primarily consist of high-fiber greens such as kale and romaine lettuce, along with other safe fruits and vegetables. Their homes should not be cramped hutches without space to follow their natural instincts of running, jumping and digging. Diets of rabbits are important and need constant attention while a good Vet nearby will help immensely.
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