I love having rabbits. It has definitely been a great learning curve owning 5 of the little buggers but it has been super enjoyable and lovely to have them. The last time I had a rabbit, I was about 5 years old and my Dad one day, told me that my rabbit had ‘run away’.  He was trying to be kind to me but in truth, my Dad went out to the hutch and found that my rabbit had died.
It’s pretty common for rabbits to be found in this way but my husband and I did our research, learnt what our rabbits’ behaviours are and even looked at what foods they should eat to avoid our rabbits ever being in pain or discomfort alone.
If you are thinking of owning a bunny, here are some tips on how to love, feed and groom your rabbit.

Feeding

The secret to your rabbit’s heart is food! They love it and can eat ALL DAY! We found that our rabbits love dark green food like kale, spring greens etc. But before you go mad, have a look online as some greens they shouldn’t have and some are ok. Also monitor their sugary food intake as too much high sugar fruit/veg isn’t great for them. Here are some products from Broadreach Nature that are suitable for rabbits which are digest
ion-based and designed to maintain a healthy gut, which as you know is so important for bunnies with them being prone to GI stasis.

Grooming

Rabbits can enjoy being groomed. It’s best to do this every couple of weeks as they can have a large build-up of fur in their hutch and sleeping area. They normally shed their fur in the spring, ready for summer and throughout but at the start of winter, their fur will thicken up.
Rabbits claws should also be regularly trimmed and your vet can do this for you. If you want to tackle this yourself, you can buy scissors for claws and have a look for a website/video that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

Health

The one sad fact about rabbits is that if their health deteriorates, it will happen very quickly.  It’s good to learn what your rabbit’s behaviours are so when they aren’t themselves, you can spot it quickly. Common illnesses in rabbits can be to do with the stomach area or water infections but unlike cats and dogs, these illnesses can kill a rabbit in 24 hours. If your rabbit isn’t behaving as normal, please take them to the vets. Ways of telling your rabbit may be in pain are if they are not moving around much, they are grinding their teeth or they are screaming in pain. I know it’s horrid to think about but it’s good to be aware so you are prepared.

Male or Female?

Now one very important lesson we learnt is that rabbits are very hard to read in terms of what sex they are. Unless you have a vet that specialises in rabbits, most of them do get the sex wrong and if you have two rabbits, it can lead to you have multiple rabbits.
We originally thought we had two sisters but it wasn’t until we saw nests in our hutch with rabbit fur mixed in with straw that we discovered my rabbit was in fact a boy and we had babies on the way.
If you do end up in the same situation as us, these are the facts:
🐰 Rabbits can start mating at 3 months old
🐰 The female rabbit is pregnant for 1 month
🐰 The male rabbit can impregnate a female rabbit the day she gives birth
🐰 Have the male rabbit castrated first and then separate him from the female for 10 weeks (He can still impregnate her during this time)
🐰 Once the female has given birth to her last litter, she can be taken to the vets to be neutered (highly recommended as females left unneutered are at greater risk of getting cancer)

Are there babies in the hutch?

If your rabbits have had babies, don’t worry, the mother will feed them with her milk once a day. You just need to check that there are no dead kittens in the hutch. If your rabbit trusts you, she will let you handle the babies. If she is distressed, give her some space and try not to handle the kittens until they are moving around on their own. The infants will eat what the adult rabbits eat in their own time so just carry on feeding them as normal but avoid anything like rabbit nuggets or any hard or high in sugar fruit/veg.
 
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