Frequently Asked Bunny Questions
1. What are the ideal living conditions for a rabbit in suburbia – cage or fenced garden?(I know that they can dig holes underneath a fence.)
- I like the idea of a safe part of a garden that is fenced off, with a secure cage in this enclosure at least 1.5m x 1m per rabbit. This way he is safe at night from any predators. Remember to put a lock on the cage and never let your rabbit stand on wire floors. A good idea is to leave his cage open during the day so he can come and go and has his food available at all times.
2. Is his cage big enough? (1.5m x 1m)
- This cage is big enough, but your rabbit will need extra exercise every day.
3. What does the ideal rabbit-housing look like, i.e. measurements?
- Your rabbit’s area where he can exercise should be big enough for him to build up quite a bit of speed when running. There should also be a grassy area, where he can browse. Remember if your rabbit is outside at night he needs to have an area where he can keep away from the cold and rain as well as preditors. This is very important. The cage/house should also be raised off the ground in case of heavy rain.
4. What does your rabbits’ housing look like?
- My 2 are in an enclosure, where there is a wooden hut with a wired in veranda covered in mosquito netting.
5. Will I eventually be able to tame my rabbit and how do I go about doing this?
- In general rabbit’s don’t like to be held, but rabbit’s love to have their heads’ scratched. Remember that they are a prey species, so are very nervous of sudden movements, especially above them. They have excellent long distance vision, but there close up vision is not so good, so rather bend down to your rabbit’s level, so as not to frighten him. Start off by scratching his head and then placing your hand under his nose. Once he gets comfortable with you, he will lick your hand and even nudge you letting you know that you need to carry on scratching his head.
6. I am not sure if he gets enough stimulation by sitting in his cage all day. What can I do to remedy this; are there playthings available for rabbits?
- As said earlier, rabbits need a lot of time out of their cage, but this is not always possible when their owners are out. Rabbits love to chew pieces of untreated wood, fruit tree branches (make sure there are no poisons sprayed on the tree), an old telephone directory, grass runners and hay. Toys like baby rattles, cat balls with bells inside and even the cardboard from a toilet roll will also keep them very occupied.
7. I would like to let him out of his cage, but am afraid that he will run away and end up as road kill on the busy road, unlike his ‘skilled’ parents. How will I know if and when he is ready to run loose? (I want to be able to put him back in his cage again at some stage.)
Start off slowly introducing him to your garden. Your garden should be fully fenced, with no way for him to escape. Watch him slowly and let him work out his territory. You will find that he will trace his steps, just making sure that his familiar surroundings are still there. Some rabbits are difficult to catch once they are running free. You need to have a plan on how you are going to catch him, before you let him out.
8. I’ve heard that some people have “house rabbits”; rabbits that live in the house and uses a litter tray. Is this a preferable option and how will I know when my rabbit is ready for this?
- Even though my rabbits are outdoors, they still use a litter box. The litter box should always be placed in the same position, as rabbits hate change. Using a litter box makes it a lot easier for the rabbit owner when it comes to cleaning his cage. Even from an early age, all rabbits will learn to use a litter box. If you want to keep your rabbit indoors, he will still need his own space. Rabbits chew electrical cords, so should be supervised when having their daily run.
9. Are there certain foods and plants that are poisonous to rabbits?
- I think that rabbits have an inbred knowledge on what plants they should and should not eat, but very often their owners are the problem. Never give your rabbit anything with sugar, anything starchy like bread (even whole-wheat), cabbage, lettuce and corn.
10. What kind of vegetables can I feed my rabbit?
Rabbits can eat any of the green/orange/red peppers, carrot tops and a weekly small serving of apple or pear. Go easy on carrots, spinach and turnips.
11. Must I feed him only at particular times or leave food out at all times?
- Rabbits are not like cats and dogs where they get fed once or twice a day. They need food at all times and need a high fibre pellet such as Bunny Chow to prevent any digestive problems. In the wild rabbits would live on grass which is very high in fibre, so they should have a bowl of Bunny Chow pellets and Orchard Grass available at all times. They must also have at least one serving of veggies/herbs a day. Remember to introduce new veggies, one at a time.
12. What type of herbs can I give my rabbit?
- Once a week I buy my 2 rabbits a big bag of herbs from a herb supplier. This bag consists of, fennel, dill, basil, chervil, coriander, parsley, sage and rocket. I feel herbs are the best bet when giving your rabbit fresh food.