Rabbit Awareness Week 2020- (RAW)

This article is by Katy Louise Reynolds. She can be found at @hoppy_ever_after_

More information available at Rabbit Welfare Association

1. Diet

2. Environment

3. Behaviour

4. Companionship

5. Health

Hay helps to wear down teeth. High quality, dust free/ extracted hay should make up 85-90% of your rabbits diet. It should be freely available and fresh. Also offer a small amount of high quality pellets (not museli style). It is important not to overfeed. Follow feeding guidelines to prevent obesity.

Fresh greens (approximate size of the rabbit's head) each day.

Herbs, lettuce (romaine), kale, spinach, carrot tops, and fruit as an OCCASIONAL treat.

Fresh water from a heavy bowl, that cant be tipped over at all times. Rabbits will drink as much as a dog!

Whether inside or outside, rabbits' housing should be protected from cold/ heat, wind and rain. Rabbits need plenty of space and enrichment opportunities to be stimulated and happy. Rabbits need a minimum of 10ft x 6ft x 3ft high.

Rabbits need to be able to display their natural behaviours as they would in the wild.

Ensure housing offers spaces to hide, jump, stand up on back legs.

Offer a companion- Rabbits should be kept in pairs- not alone. Research has shown that rabbits value companionship and food equally.

Ensure opportunities for enrichment. Encourage foraging by hiding food, sprinkling herbs over hay, etc.

Tubes to hide in, boxes to climb on, stacking cups, balls (You can find meat balls to make them work for their pellets). Rabbits are intelligent and playful.

Rabbits are highly social. Usually the best combination for pairings are a neutered male and female.

Bonding can be a very lengthy process but if you adopt from rescues, they will often assist/ advise with the process.

Rabbits hide when unwell, as they are prey animals.

Rabbits need to be vaccinated against Myxomatosis/ RVHD, both life threatening diseases.

Gut stasis- Where a rabbit's digestive system shuts down or stops. Can be fatal for rabbits. If your rabbit stops eating or passing stools it is an emergency and they should be taken to a rabbit savy vet immediately.

Flystrike- Where flies lay eggs on rabbits' soiled fur. This is an emergency. Maggots will chew into the rabbits' skin. Check bottoms daily and take to vet immediately should you spot eggs/ maggots. A good, balanced diet helps to prevent.

Dental disease- Rabbits teeth continually grow. Lots of high quality hay can help to prevent. if a rabbit is eating less, take to the vet for a dental examination

Insurance- Rabbits and vet bills can get very expensive if they become poorly so insurance is always worth considering.