Rabbits are adorable and are one of nature’s cutest bundles of fluffy joy, watching them play and twitch their little noses can bring a smile to the face of even a grumpy person. Their overwhelming cuteness, fluffiness, and curious nature have captured the hearts of many coupled with the fact that they are trainable and make good pets.
Pet rabbits can be very flighty creatures, so entering a new environment can be very scary for them but because rabbits exist as prey animals in the wild they can often be frightened and mistrustful of humans and this can make introductions difficult at times.
Rabbits are prey animals, so all their instincts are geared towards running away and staying safe from anything that might want to eat them. A rabbit is a pet that needs a lot of patience and a quiet introduction to your home. Ensure you have new accommodation set up ready for their arrival.
You want your new pet to settle in and make himself at home and you want him to be totally at ease in his new home, the first step is patience. It will take him some time to explore and adjust to the new place. Until he has assured himself that there is no danger in the home, he won’t be entirely comfortable. There are a few things you can do to help with this process.
Below are some tips for helping your rabbits live in its new home, whether it be because you moved or because you are just introducing him to the family.
1. How To Settle A Rabbit Into A New Home.
a. The Rabbit’s Hutch should be put in Its Permanent Location.
The introduction of a rabbit to your home has to be a slow process. When you bring the rabbit into your home, the first thing you should do is put the rabbit hutch down gently in a quiet corner. This is especially true if you have baby rabbits with no mother. The cage should be a comfortable one, that has solid sides, spacious and has it set in a room with very little activity. If you plan on having a free-roaming house rabbit, a hutch is still very much important.
This is the rabbit’s safe place, his comfort zone and it’s the place he will always go whenever you can’t directly supervise his movements. Be sure to have his hutch stocked with all the comforts of home his litter box, food dish, water supply, solid place to rest, toys and a big hay pile.
A box or cover part of the hutch should be provided with a towel to give your rabbit a cosy feeling of additional safety.
If you relocated from another house, place things the rabbit is familiar with close to him, his meal should be set out for him in a clean corner of the hutch but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t eat it at the moment. He’s not familiar with his new home yet.
When a rabbit is not eating is when itis at its most vulnerable, he has to have a pretty safe feeling before he will really settle down to eat.
On the flip side, if he finds out that nothing will attack him when he does eat something, it can go a long way to calming him down as fast as possible.
b. Make Sure It’s Quiet When You First Introduce the Rabbit to the House.
The rabbit’s hutch should be placed, don’t forget a comfortable spacious hutch in a quiet corner of the house. This is where you’ll feed the rabbit and put it at night or while you’re away from home. Contingent on its previous experiences and individual personality, the rabbit may have to stay there for about a few hours and could even take up to a few days.
Wait until your rabbit is calm and relaxed, meaning that he starts eating well and he’s showing curiosity about his surroundings with no obvious health problems. You can then open the hutch’s door and let him venture out on his own. Don’t force him, and keep exploration to a room at a time.
In your rabbit’s first introduction to a room in the house outside the hutch, make sure it’s quiet and your rabbit has plenty of space to move and hide. Choose a spot that gets some regular, not-too-noisy traffic, where he can see and hear but not be trampled upon by your daily routines.
The area in your home should allow daily interaction and observation of the people in your household, the TV and radio off or turned down low and try to avoid sudden loud noises. Playing quiet, calming music can prove soothing and help them to relax, speak at a normal tone, and be careful not to shout for the first day or two.
The environment should be a stress-free one, loud music shouldn’t be played, no blaring TV or screaming children. Allow the rabbits to explore their new environment on their own terms. If you have any other pets, make sure they’re separated from the rabbit’s area of exploration.
If you own any dogs as pets, try to keep the dogs calm to avoid them barking so they don’t startle the rabbit.
c. Pick a Distance From Your Rabbit That Works for Him.
A rabbit that already knows you may find comfort in your presence, but one that doesn’t may just feel threatened if you linger too close. If you’re moving a long-time pet to a new home, chances are he’ll welcome your reassurance and attention, but if the pet is new he may see you as a potential predator until he learns otherwise.
For a new pet, simply go about your normal business in the house while he ventures out of his rabbit cage and explores. Eventually, he’ll get curious and come introduce himself to you, though it may take up to a few days. For now, make sure there’s nothing that can hurt him and be sure to keep an eye on him from a distance.
d. Be Careful When Introducing Your Rabbit to Your Other Pets.
If you own other pets, precaution must be taken at first appearance because most dogs are small animal hunters. Even if they’ve coped well living with cats before, the dogs may need to get used living with the rabbits. Close supervision with the rabbit and all other pets is really essential.
This isn’t just for the rabbit’s safety alone but also for the other pets because rabbits can also be powerful fighters if they feel they are in danger. The pets could be injured if the rabbit gets uneasy about the curious approach by the pets. The animals should be introduced through a spilt method first, then gradually, they can be put together but with extremely close supervision and a form of restraining order especially for larger dogs, this is really necessary.
Always have it in mind that cats and dogs are predatory animals, and rabbits are supposed to be scared of them but that doesn’t mean they can’t be able to live together if the right method of introduction is followed and if they are being introduced at a young age but don’t be surprised if them being good housemates could take some time.
When we humans add a pet to our family, we are ever ready right away to give generous amounts of love and affection to our new pets. Why rabbits feel nervous and scared when they just arrive is because they are just arriving in a strange place. But with time, feel relaxed.
Being patient with your bunny entails not rushing the rabbit, allow it to take its time. As with good housetraining habits, building a friendship may take time and patience.
Never feel discouraged if it takes your rabbit several days to feel at home in his new environ. Bunny needs time to adjust to their new environ as it may be experiencing new sights, sounds and smells for the first time and if the bunny scrabbles or nips it is because they are on their guard and defending their new space but with time this behaviour will stop.
Just give him time, space, and a relaxed atmosphere and he will definitely come around when he is comfortable with feelings.
For well-socialised rabbits, it takes a day for them to settle in, while for the non-socialised bunnies, it may take weeks to perfectly feel at home but sooner or later, they’re bound to accept their new home and fit themselves into their new families. The reason for all these is because the rabbit is a prey animal by nature, it is naturally a bit more flighty and a bit more sensitive to unfamiliar aspects of the new home.
If your rabbit is new to the household and isn’t comfortable being or petted because of unfamiliar sights or smell, don’t force it on him this will only lead to him being traumatized and could cause him to be scared of you in the future. If he’s not ready to be petted yet, caress him with your voice. Talk to him, or to anyone while in his presence.
Many rabbits seem to enjoy listening to their humans talk on the phone. In some cases, some rabbits never become used to handling because of their status in the wild as prey animals. If your rabbit won’t allow you to get close to him, there are ways which you can bond and soothe scared rabbit.
Always talk calmly to your bunny by using a soothing voice. Often talk with him and let him get accustomed to the sound of your voice. Rabbits are sociable animals and they get bored by sitting in their hutch all day. By mere talking to your rabbit, it will lay down and gently grind its teeth, this shows he has approved.
Do not yell at your rabbit. They are not other animals like your dogs and cats and shouldn’t be trained like the other pets because They won’t know why they are being yelled at and this would only scare your rabbit if you yell.
Guide to Rabbit Care & Getting them to Know You
You should open hand for your bunny to sniff, because If he is not used to being around you, through sniffing, he gradually becomes used to your smell, look and even your sound and then he becomes comfortable being handled by you.
Sudden movements shouldn’t be made around your rabbit because it could frighten him and send him running back into his hutch to take refuge. You can hang out with your rabbit in a rabbit fashion, by sitting quietly on the floor.
Showing him that he can hop over to you, taking few get acquainted sniffs and gentle nibbles, and then hop away again. This hands approach paves the way to a hands-on friendship, especially when it’s with shy and traumatised rabbits. As his nervousness reduces, her curiosity increases.
A little rabbit treat can be placed, it could be a spring of parsley, or carrot, an apple and few toys can be placed next to you, on the floor to make his visiting time enjoyable. You might want to say your first few worse calmly to your bunny, telling him how happy, content, calm, and delighted you feel in his company and you can also imitate what he does, by pretending you are a rabbit.
When he responds by grooming himself, it means you have succeeded in winning him over. And will have no reasons to worry about rabbit health, as your bunny will become more adventurous and feel safer.
A feel-at-home house rabbit makes a quiet, good-humoured pet that’s perfect for older adults and busy professionals. Unlike cats, rabbits will take a few days to settle in. He may choose one hiding spot that he has deemed safe, or he may just creep around the house.
Either way, he should be allowed his space to do so because once he is wandering around in the open more and doesn’t feel tensed up or shy’s away from his new family, he is fairly well acclimated and can be better absorbed into the family and the everyday workings that go on in his new household.
2. How To Care For Rabbits Indoors.
a. Your Rabbits Should be placed In A Cool Place.
The area in your home where the rabbit hutch is placed should be where there is a level of daily interaction and observation by people in the household. The alternative option would be to get a rabbit hutch for two rabbits. At least that way, they can keep each other company.
Make sure the rabbit hutch is kept in a room with a comfortable temperature because most rabbits need a stable temperature between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 15.5 to 21.1 degrees Celsius.
Anything higher or lower than the range could be harmful to your rabbit’s health. The rabbit’s cage should be kept away from direct sunlight. The adequate shade should be provided in order for his environmental temperature to be regulated and this would keep him from having a high temperature.
b. Your Rabbit Should be Fed Proper Diet.
Ensure you feed your rabbit a proper diet always and also at the right time. Do not starve your rabbit, the best way to gain your approval is by feeding him the things he needs the most. Feeding your rabbit the proper meal makes him to always be active and in good health.
Rabbits Should be fed constantly with grass hay, like timothy grass Botanical name (Phleum pratense) or can be substituted with bromegrass Botanical name (Bromus), to ensure his gastrointestinal health.
Ensure your rabbit is fed with a pellet food formula with a minimum of 15 to 19% protein content and 18% fibre content. Rabbits who are six months old and above should be given between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of pellet food per five pounds of body weight daily. This a ten-pound rabbit should be given between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of food every day.
Your rabbit can be fed with fresh leafy greens, for example, dark leaf lettuce, turnip greens, and carrot tops. Rabbits should get at least a minimum of two cups of leafy greens per six pounds of body weight. This means for a 12-pound rabbit, it should be fed with a minimum of four cups of leafy greens every day.
Ensure that your rabbit has constant access to fresh and clean drinking water, either from a rabbit bottle or from a sturdy bowl that won’t be easily tipped over. are often preferred by litter box should be provided in the cage for the rabbit. Endeavour to always clean the hutch daily.
c. A Safe Area To Play Should Be Provided.
Your Rabbit should be provided with a room to play because exercises is a very important part of a rabbit’s life and playtime is often the best exercise. If your rabbit’s hutch isn’t big enough to allow him to jump and run around, an enclosure should be built for him to run and play. Play areas should be rabbit proofed.
Rabbits are animals which like to nibble on anything, precautions must be taken if you want your Rabbit to stay indoors, so they don’t cause harm to themselves.
All electrical cords should be removed and anything dangling to be investigated in order for the rabbits not to chew on because electrical wires which can be very dangerous.
Your rabbit should be supervised any time he is outside of his cage because rabbits are curious animals and can easily get hurt by finding their way into dangerous places. Provide your rabbit plenty of toys, this could make them occupied and distracted so as not to go to dangerous areas. Rabbits love to play and nibble. They need toys that allow them to chew, dig, and hide. Empty cardboard boxes make excellent starter toys.
Furniture such as a double swinging door or impact traffic door, reclining or rocking chairs, and setting up sofa beds can get your bunny trapped or injured if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Make sure you are cautious of where they are before you move anything heavy. Wooden furniture or anything chewable can be a target for rabbits, including books and furnishings so, keep the rabbits of the area
Breakables should be kept away. Broken glasses or ceramic that can cut or otherwise injure your rabbit should be cleaned up immediately. it’s also worthwhile thinking about moving anything that might have monetary or emotional value out their reach.
Heights. Rabbits are better at reaching heights than getting down, and a tumble can easily result in sprains or broken bones. Make sure your rabbit can’t access any heights to keep them safe and on solid ground.
A good rule for Indoor care of rabbits is that if anything you have looks like it might be fun to play with or chew on, your new rabbits will go for it, It is always best to play on a safe side and thoroughly check your home for anything anywhere that could be a danger to your pet. If you can’t move potential dangers, narrow baby gates can be a great investment to keep your rabbit in safe areas.
Can Rabbits Find Their Way Home
Your pet getting missing is one of the most worrying experiences, nobody likes the idea of their pet being lost and alone. Unfortunately, rabbits can be curious animals, master escapologists, their curiosity in nature rabbit sometimes results in unsanctioned explorations outside of the home.
One thing you should bear in mind is to never assume that your rabbit will find her own way home. Rabbits have a less finely honed sense of direction than other animals. Search for your missing pet, leaving her hutch open for a possible return.
These will create a memory in your rabbit’s mind. Play music that he is familiar with and lay down her favourite food. That’s how he will recognize familiar smells and sounds, and follow them. This then creates an emotional connection in the mind of your rabbit, He will be able to quickly seek the comfort of the familiar but do not rely on your rabbit having a good sense of direction.
Instead, appeal to his emotional memories. This helps attract your pet’s attention and draws her home.
Burrowing animals especially can be able to trace their way back through a sense of direction and location, gotten from familiar sight, smell and hearing. This is most likely because the rabbits know the place he calls home and there he receives food and love, so he would definitely trace his footsteps safely.
How To Care For Outdoor Rabbits.
When you have decided on if your bunny should be an outdoor rabbit, there are certain things to be done before he lives outdoor and when he already living outdoor. Rabbits who stay outdoor need an environment that is spacious, secure, clean, dry, not too hot or cold, well-stocked with food and water, and not isolated from regular contact with humans and any rabbit friends.
1. A Proper Hutch Should Be Provided.
Preparing a proper hutch is essential for an outdoor rabbit because, after the day to day exercises by your rabbits, the hutch is his comfort zone and shelter. The days of thinking it acceptable to keep a pet rabbit in a small, isolated hutch are in the past. Rabbits need a dry, clean, well ventilated, safe, well placed, and relatively roomy home to live in.
Extra security should be provided and good quality straw bedding will minimise the risk of waking up to an unhappy bunny.
2. Feed Your Rabbits A Proper Diet.
A rabbit should be fed properly, not just with carrots alone, rabbits require lots of hay and diet diversity. Every day, add leafy greens which offer important nutrients. Add various vegetables including carrot and some fruits to the mix.
Rabbits should be fed hay, this should make up about 75% of its diet.
Pellet food should also be a part of the rabbit’s diet. The rabbit should get at least 1 ounce of hay based feed per 1 pound of their body weight once a day.
3. Keep an Eye on the Weather.
An eye should be kept on the weather to avoid the bunny from overheating during hot weather and freezing during cold weather.
Bunnies are at risk of overheating in the summer, so ensure there is plenty of shade and ventilation in his hutch.
Place your rabbit’s home in a shady area, it should have a roof or screening material properly insulated. Make sure the enclosure is well-ventilated to prevent overheating, freezing plastic water bottles can be provided and put in the enclosure. This will provide your rabbit with some cool spots to lounge.
Rabbits love to stay in a comfortable cool hutch all year round, provision of plenty of water is very essential.
4. Predator Proof the Garden
Domesticated rabbits can simply die from the shock of seeing a predator, It’s worth noting that rabbits can quite literally be scared to death, so keep them safe in the hutch and the predators out of sight.
When a rabbit is kept outside, extra measures should be taken to ensure that you don’t lose your bunny to hungry lurkers. Make sure other animals can’t get in and your bunny can’t get out because predators can be lurking at any time of the day. Loud and surprising noises like fireworks are just as dangerous to your bunny so consider taking your bunny inside on time like that.
5. Remove any Poisonous Plants
It doesn’t matter how pretty your garden may look, if you want your bunny to be an outdoor pet, some of your plants which may pose a risk for your little companion, or even prove fatal should be removed. The most common poisonous plants such as ivy, foxglove and rhubarb, buttercups, lilies, aloe, begonia, daffodil bulb, Easter lily, and geranium etc.
Do not forget anywhere your rabbit will be, take care to secure electrical wiring and keep it out of tooth range.
6. Checking on Your Rabbit
Check on your rabbit at least once or twice a day, and spend some time with it, replace the water and food. Soiled, damp, bedding will encourage flies, which can bring on maggots that can infest your rabbit and cause flystrike, which can cause fatal illness
Mites, droppings, excess food and general dirt can prove a health risk to rabbits no one wants to live in those kinds of conditions. Fresh digs should be constant, the rabbit will be grateful for them.
Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Care.
Caring for Netherland Dwarf rabbits is similar to the care you would provide for any rabbit. However, such a small and tiny is usually a bit more delicate, so it’s important to take special care of your Netherland Dwarf to keep him as healthy and as possible.
Although Netherland Dwarf rabbits are one of the tiniest breeds of rabbits, they can be housed in a hutch or allowed to roam about freely. Netherland dwarfs are tiny but playful, they possess high energy levels and are consequently very active. Even with their small size, they still need a lot of room to live in, as a result, they require more space than most of the other small-sized breeds of rabbits. Their hutch should have many toys to play with and places to climb.
The New England Netherlands Dwarf Rabbit Club (NENDRC) recommends a minimum cage size of 18 x 24 x 14 inches. However, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) advises a bigger cage dimension of 4 x 2 x 2 feet, which provides even more space for exercise.
The hutch should be cleaned often and scrubbed frequently at least once a week for the rabbits to be in good health.
Netherland dwarf rabbits are cheap feeders, half a cup of food is enough for them because of their small size, it keeps them healthy and nourished for a day. Netherland Dwarfs love apples and bananas and veggies, however, this breed of rabbits has a very sensitive stomach and are therefore not free eaters. If they are overfed or fed the wrong food, they can experience diarrhoea to death. They are however allergic to all nuts, cabbages, and lettuce as well.
Rabbits as pets do not necessarily need any vaccinations but still, there are severe which your rabbits should require protection from. The diseases include viral hemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis. VHD is highly contagious as well as deadly. Myxomatosis is spread by lice, mosquitoes, and ticks. The pet vet can advise accordingly on the necessary vaccine and the intervals of vaccinations.
Just like any other pets, Netherland dwarfs need protection against mites, tick, and fleas. Internal worms which affects the nutrition of these rabbits, deworming them every six months will aid in keeping them healthy.
Flemish Giant Rabbit Care.
Who wouldn’t love a Flemish giant bunny, they are like the gentle giants of the rabbit breed, they grow up to the weight of 12-15 pounds, Flemish giant rabbits are docile and relatively laid back pets, they are known as the king of rabbits due to their long life span, personality and size.
Flemish giant rabbits are the oldest and largest breed in existence. When you own a Flemish giant rabbit as a pet, there is a specific care routine you need to give to your pet
Learn to hold him properly.
Being a big breed of rabbit, it important to know how to lift your rabbit, and place it in your arms. A rabbit which is big in size and weighs up to 12 to 14 pounds or more for really big size should be lifted in the right manner because failure to do so can make your bunny uncomfortable. His back and hindquarters should be supported when lifting him up.
This is a crucial part of properly holding a rabbit and should not be overlooked not lifting him up in the right manner or just through his head alone, makes all his weight to lay on his lower part of his body and this could lead to breakage of his bones.
Be gentle but firm.
Don’t squeeze the rabbit, but make sure that your hold on him is firm enough that he won’t fall or squirm out of your hands. Use the minimum amount of restraint necessary to keep him safely in your arms.
Due to their sizes, it takes more time to take care of them compared to smaller breeds of rabbits.
Flemish giant rabbits should be provided with enough food daily, they require a high pellet and at least 16% protein, they can also be fed hay in the bay, timothy hay.
- Their litter box gets dirty easily, and it should be cleaned frequently.
- Flemish giants are prone to ear mites, and fur mites. They should be taken to the vet if such cases are observed.
- They also do not handle heat well, air condition a room or a fan should be placed to keep them cool.
Care For Angora Rabbits.
Angora rabbits are easy to care for, they don’t require vaccinations and it doesn’t cost much to feed them. Keeping Angora’s well-groomed is the biggest chore in order to maintain a coat of fur that is matt free and clean.
The care for Angora Rabbits is just like the care for any other rabbits. Which entails feeding, comfortable home, spacious hutch, and so on
Most angoras will naturally shed their coats 3- 4 times a year, that is approximately every 90 days. Grooming regularly keeps their coats free from mats, cleans up debris, enables you to know problems on time and helps reduce the risk of a wool block on the animal thanks to the removal of loose hairs.
The hair should pull should and not require a force of any kind to remove. When you start seeing clumps of wool sticking to the cage or the rabbit dragging strings of wool behind it, then the wool is probably ready for harvest.
Trimming Of Nails.
Angora rabbits Nails should be trimmed often, If the nails are not properly trimmed on a regular basis they can grow too long and they would start getting caught on the floor of their home, Their long nails can cause broken toes and rip off bloody nails, the longer the nails are neglected, the longer and quicker the nails will grow and even make it harder to keep the nails at a more manageable and safer length.
Nail cutters can work well, dykes can also be used as long as you do not cut the quick, the rabbit will be fine. If accidentally the quick Is cut, styptic powder or cornstarch can be applied to stop it from bleeding.
Prevent Wool block.
The natural self-grooming process for an Angora rabbit is the same as for a cat, they lick their coats to keep it clean and When their coats start to shed, they will most likely ingest any loose fibres. Unlike a cat, your rabbit will not be able to regurgitate the fibre from its stomach and this causes a large build-up which will clog its digestive system and intestines.
When this happens, your rabbit will stop eating its food and drinking water because it thinks it is already full. If left untreated, your rabbit will starve to death. One sure sign of wool block, besides a loss of appetite, is when your rabbit’s faeces become very small and dry.
The stool of a healthy rabbit is large, round, and moist. In extreme cases, defecation and urination will cease altogether. Full attention should be paid to your Angora rabbits to know how your rabbit is eliminating wool that are too long for harvest.
Full attention should be paid to your rabbits to avoid
1. Fur mites are commonly found in Angoras. They appear as dandruff in the wool. This condition can cause itchiness, scratching & wool loss. Fur mites are easily treated with Ivomec, Cydectin or Revolution.
2. Fleas leave little black specks in your rabbit’s fur along with less noticeable white specks. Fleas feed off of a rabbits blood by biting. The bites are extremely itchy. The same method for treating fleas can be applied for fur mites.
With proper care & attention, your rabbit can live a long & happy life providing you with luxurious fibre to spin