Rabbits are intelligent pets that are quiet and easy to care for. They live an average of ten years. Rabbits can be litter trained, taught to walk on a harness, and even be trained to complete agility courses.
A rabbit needs a large hutch, and also floor time to keep it in good condition. A rabbit that just sits around in a rabbit hutch won’t have a good quality of life and will get overweight. Your rabbit can be bedded with wood shavings, or newspaper pellets. When you choose your hutch, you may want to select on that has a wire bottom and a tray underneath. This will keep your rabbit cleaner, and make changing the bedding much easier. Your rabbit will be comfortable living on the wire floor, though you may want to give it a board to sit on so it is never at risk of sore hocks. Usually a well furred rabbit won’t have foot issues, though some breeds, particularly Rex rabbits, may get sore feet if they live on a wire floor.
To keep the rabbit’s food and water clean, and minimize waste, choose a J-Style feeder that fits through a hole in the hutch and can be filled from the outside. This allows you to give the rabbit plenty of feed, but keeps the rabbit from soiling the food because it can only reach a little at a time. You can give your rabbit fresh water in a bowl, or in a water bottle with sipper tube. If you plan to have a large amount of rabbits, you can set up an automatic watering system with special nipples that attach to tubing that is fed by a central reservoir.
Your rabbit should be fed mostly commercial rabbit pellets. It also will enjoy plenty of good hay, and fresh vegetables. Always change a rabbit’s diet slowly and never feed it cabbage or other similar vegetables because they may cause the rabbit to bloat. Rabbits are very sensitive to digestive upset and usually don’t recover if their digestive tract is disrupted.
You can train your rabbit to wear a harness by placing a properly adjusted, ‘H’ style harness on your rabbit and allowing it to run free in an enclosed area to get used to how the harness feels. Once it is comfortable in the harness, you can start putting a leash on it and slowly directing the rabbit where you want it to go. Since rabbits are a prey animal, they tend to move in a zig-zag pattern, and will have to be taught to move in a straight line.
Always be patient while handling, and training your rabbit. If the rabbit misbehaves, don’t punish it, it won’t understand.
When you allow your rabbit to run loose, ensure there are no cords laying around that it can chew. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t leave out anything poisonous that the rabbit could ingest. Anything you won’t not want a small child around should not be near your rabbit. This includes poisonous houseplants, and cleaning supplies. Rabbits are curious, and you don’t want them to get into something hazardous. Unless your rabbit is fully housetrained, you will not want to allow it to run on carpet. Rabbit urine tends to have a very strong smell that would be hard to get out of the carpet.
If you take the time to get to know your rabbit, you’ll find yourself with a great pet.