CARE AND FEEDING
Alabama Rabbit Rescue follows the guidelines of the House Rabbit Society. Their website is rabbit.org and it is a wonderful resource.
An exercise pen is perfect for housing your rabbit. It can be shaped as a 48 inch square, a rectangle, or a circle. It provides enough space for the rabbit when it is not out for exercise time. A water and food crock, litter box, and a hidey box all fit inside with room to hop and explore. A 30 inch tall pen works well for most rabbits.
Hay is the most important part of a rabbit’s diet. Your rabbit should have unlimited fresh hay every day. Quality pellets are also a part of the diet. Young rabbits up to six months of age need unlimited alfalfa based pellets and alfalfa and timothy hay. At six months of age, we transition to timothy based pellets and timothy hay or orchard grass. Heavy crocks are great for water and cannot be flipped, and we use smaller crocks for the pellets. Rabbits enjoy a daily salad with parsley, cilantro, lettuces except for iceberg, kale, and other veggies. You can find the list of safe veggies on rabbit.org. Avoid sugary treats!
Rabbits are easy to litter box train once spayed or neutered! The litter box should be large enough for the rabbit to sit comfortably and munch on hay while going to the potty. Most rabbits like their litter box in a corner and they will let you know where they like it best! We use newspaper to line the bottom of a litter box and put a layer of Care Fresh or pelleted pine bedding and then the hay. Rabbits do not like a dirty litter box, so it should be changed at least twice a week.
Toys and Hidey Boxes:
Just about every bunny loves a hidey box to “remodel” and jump on. A cardboard box is perfect and it needs two openings. Rabbits are prey animals and will rarely use a box with only one opening. Rabbits’ teeth constantly grow, so provide wood toys and untreated apple twigs for them to chew. This also helps to eliminate the destruction of baseboards and facings!
Because rabbits are prey animals, they are experts at hiding illness. The important thing is to know your rabbit and quickly pick up on any unusual behavior. Bunnies are such creatures of habit, so it is easy to see when they are not acting as they normally do. Gas pain can cause your rabbit to stop eating and sit in an uncomfortable position. Molar spurs are also a cause of pain and can cause a rabbit to stop or change their eating habits. The rabbit should be seen immediately by a veterinarian if it is not eating. Rabbits can spiral down quickly and it is important to act quickly to find the cause. Rabbit.org has much more information on rabbit health.