Keeping Rabbits Happy
Keeping Rabbits Happy
Rabbits! They're cute, fluffy bundles of love! They’re also very sociable creatures, who need specific nutrition to keep them happy and healthy. There’s certainly a lot more to them than meets the eye!
Rabbits are social animals, meaning they are happier when housed with another rabbit for companionship.
It's important that the correct companion is selected for your rabbit. Typically, rabbits from the same litter will get on well together - though it is important that males and females are neutered to stop future litters.
Female rabbits from different litters tend to match well as companions. Male rabbits from different litters may fight. Neutering rabbits from different litters can help to improve relationships between them.
Matching rabbits so that they are similar in size helps to stop any bullying and keeps everyone in harmony in the bunny household.
Rabbits need daily enrichment to keep them mentally stimulated and active every day. Enrichment will improve your Rabbit's mood state and reduce behaviour problems. Here are some ideas to keep your rabbit happy and active...
Scatter feeding and/or hiding your rabbit's meal. Feeding this way will encourage natural foraging in your rabbit. Scattering of food can be introduced in your rabbit's hutch, in the garden (if they have safe access) or, if a house rabbit, in the home.
Introduce rabbit brain games and activity feeders.
Introduce tunnels for your rabbits to hide in. Being a prey animal, they instinctively like to hide - it makes them feel safe. You can hide food, hay, green and treats in the tunnel to encourage foraging behaviour.
Introduce boxes for your rabbits to explore. Rabbits love to have different heights in their environment. Again, hiding food in and around the boxes, will encourage natural behaviour.
Rabbit runs are a great way to let your rabbit have access to run, jump and hop about. It’s important they have access to shade, food and water while in the run. Not all gardens are safe and secure for rabbits - a run is a safe and secure alternative.
Sand pits! Rabbits love to dig and burrow, so let them do it! It may save your grass! Giving your rabbit access to a sand pit will satisfy their need to burrow.
Rabbits need a safe, comfortable home where they are protected from the weather and a safe place to rest. If your rabbit is housed in a hutch, the height of the hutch needs to allow the rabbit to stand up on its back legs. The width of the hutch must allow your rabbit to hop from side to side 3 times. Your rabbit will need separate areas for toileting, eating and sleep. If you have more than one rabbit, you will need a bigger hutch.
It can be helpful to have the hutch lined with newspaper to mop up any urine and this will help when cleaning the hutch. OSCAR recommend using hay or recycled newspaper as bedding for a rabbit hutch.
Make sure your rabbit’s hutch is kept out of direct sunlight or cold. The hutch may need moving, depending on the time of year, to keep your rabbit out of the way of harmful weather. Be aware in the summer months that your rabbit's hutch will need to be well ventilated and in the winter months remember to add extra bedding to keep your rabbit snuggly and warm.
Rabbits are known as Fibrevores. This mean they require two types of fibre (daily) in their diet – digestible and indigestible.
At OSCAR we recommend rabbits should follow the Burgess Excel 5-step plan. Read more about rabbits and their dietary requirements, here.
Do you need further advice?
If you need any further advice, please contact the OSCAR Helpline Team on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.