How to keep happy rabbits
Lifespan: 8-12 years
Enclosure size: at least 70 square feet, on one level, 24 hours per day
Groups of more than two will need a larger enclosure
Time requirements: 2 hours daily
Must not be kept alone
Must be neutered to prevent cancer risk and hormonal issues
Here our some of our tips to ensure your rabbits are happy, safe and content.
Rabbits can thrive indoors or outdoors with correct precautions. As with all animal homes, the bigger the better! An enclosure of at least 90 square feet on a single level, secure for them to have access to 24/7.
They must never be shut into a hutch or cage, even at night or when you are out.
Completely bunny-proofed. No access to wires or things you don’t want to get chewed!
High enough to allow rabbit to stretch up and binky around
Plenty of tunnels, things to dig, forage through and chew on
Secure from predators. Remember foxes are clever and can rabbits can dig
A lone rabbit isn’t a thriving rabbit. You shouldn’t keep rabbits alone, same species companionship is a necessity. Humans cannot ever make up for rabbit friends as we simply cannot speak their language. Studies have shown they value companionship nearly as highly as water and food!
Rabbits can really thrive in pairs or groups as long as care is taken when bonding. We are happy to advise on bonding and guide you through the process. Never put two unneutered rabbits together, both need to be de-sexed several weeks before introductions.
Veterinary care and diet
Rabbits are exotic animals and will need a specialist vet for any treatment that may need over the course of their lives. If you’re in Edinburgh, this will most likely mean taking them to The Dick Vet’s Hospital for Small Animals. Non exotic specialist vets are simply not knowledgeable enough to treat more unusual pets.
Diet is also a very important part of rabbit health. You will need to do research before taking on rabbits. The basic diet is made up of these elements:
A good varied grain based Unlimited high quality feeding hay. Rabbits should be eating at least the size of their body in hay every day, ideally more!
A healthy range of rabbit safe herbs, greens and forage. Fruit and vegetables are a nice occasional treat a few times per week
An egg cup size portion of quality, high fibre, rabbit nuggets per day. Do not feed muesli style mixes as these are linked to obesity and dental problems.
Rabbits are intelligent animals who need to be kept busy with natural behaviours. You’ll need time and creativity to keep them occupied with activities, challenges and tasks. This doesn’t need to include expensive shop bought toys, there is so much you can make with very simple household items. Here are some common ideas:
Creating a digging box
Branches and wooden chews
Teaching them tricks and commands
Creating food challenges using dog logic toys
Changing their enclosure layout regularly
How much time and money do rabbits need?
Allow at least 2 hours per day for play and interaction plus daily cleaning and feeding. Enclosure cleaning and rearranging (which will need to be done around once per week) can also take over an hour depending on size and the number of rabbits in the group.
Rabbits can be fed quite cheaply if you are able to forage for rabbit safe plants, grow your own herbs or buy in bulk. Buying greens and herbs from the supermarket can create a notable increase in your monthly food bill.
Hay costs can add up quickly and you could be spending £30 per month on hay for a pair of rabbits.
Rabbits are prone to health problems such as digestive problems such as GI stasis and teeth issues. They are highly likely to need veterinary attention at some point over the course of their life span. These appointments and treatments are just as expensive as a dogs or cats would be and you should be prepared for a £500 – £1000 vets bill if your bunny is taken unwell and you’re not insured.
Enrichment for rabbits doesn’t have to be fancy custom made tunnels and expensive toys. Dig boxes can be made cheaply using paddling pools or storage boxes, rope and toilet roll tubes can keep them just as busy if you are creative!
Contact us either by email, Facebook or by filling in a contact form stating a bit about yourself, which animal(s) you’d like to apply for and your background.
If we think you might be a good fit, we will send you a link to our online application form to learn more about the home you have to offer.
If your applications look okay we will need photos of your intended set up at this stage. This will be followed up by an in person or virtual home check.