Are You a New Rabbit Owner?

August 28th, 2011

Both children and adults have discovered the joys of owning a pet rabbit.  Rabbits make great pets because they are cute, cuddly, smart creatures and are relatively inexpensive to care for.  The more you learn about rabbits as a species before adopting a pet, the better you can plan for bringing your new furry friend into your home.

Rabbit Personalities

Rabbits are smart and playful animals.  They love to play games, jump around, relax, sun bathe, eat, and sleep.  Because rabbits are so inquisitive and playful by nature, they can get bored if left to themselves for too long.  Rabbits often turn to chewing when they are bored.  You can prevent this by making sure that your rabbit has toys to play with and gets enough exercise.

Feeding Your Rabbit

Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system so you have to be careful in choosing what you feed them.  Rabbits are herbivores, meaning their diet consists entirely of plants.  To make sure your pet gets all of the nutrients he or she needs, it is important to supplement your pet rabbit’s diet with some variety. Most pet stores offer a complete rabbit food pellet and fresh vegies such as carrots can provide important vitamins for your pet.  Rabbit hay is an important source of magnesium for your rabbit.  A varied diet will also keep your rabbit from getting bored and may help prevent him from developing destructive chewing habits.

Shelter

Rabbits make convenient pets because they can be housed inside or outside. Whether you are thinking of keeping your rabbit in your house with you, or in an outdoor rabbit hutch in your yard, it is important to make sure your rabbit has enough space.  It is usually recommended that you allow three square feet of space for each rabbit living in your hutch.

 

Indoor Hutches

If you have decided to have your rabbit live indoors, hutches are a great way to expand their living space without just letting him run free in the house.  Keeping your rabbit in a hutch will keep him safe and prevent damage like chewed carpet and electrical cords.

 

Outdoor Hutches and Rabbit Hutches with Runs

 

Outdoor rabbit hutches and rabbit hutches with runs are a great way to give your pet more space to roam without the danger of being exposed to predators.  Oftentimes, a rabbit can start to get depressed if it is kept indoors or confined to a small cage for an extended period of time.  Building an out door hutch with a spacious run will allow your rabbit to get exercise and stay healthy.

 

Keep Your Rabbit Healthy

Rabbits, like peopling, needing to go to the doctor for regular check-ups.  Check with your veterinarian to see how often you need to bring your pet in for a physical.  Be sure to ask about flea prevention for your rabbit as well as what regular shots and vaccines should be administered.

Grooming

Rabbits are generally clean animals by nature.  However, you can buy a small brush to groom your rabbit.  It is an especially good idea to groom long –haired rabbits and keep their coats from developing tangles.

 

Socializing Your Rabbit

Rabbits are shy and timid by nature. Interacting with your pet and playing with him on a regular basis will make him more sociable and friendly.  Housing your pet with another rabbit to keep him company can also make him feel more secure and out-going.

 

Enjoy Your New Friend

Healthy and happy rabbits make the best pets.  By providing proper, food, shelter, and socialization, your rabbit will soon become a well- loved member of the family.

 

What is a Natural Rabbit Diet?

August 19th, 2011

In the wild, rabbits are voracious herbivores, meaning that they only eat plants but they eat a lot.  Taking a look at how wild rabbits eat can offer a helpful window into the proper diet for our domestic friends because wild and domestic rabbits have similar nutritional needs.

What do Rabbits Eat?

In the wild, rabbits mostly eat grass, weeds, and flowering plants.  During the winter when food sources are scarce, some rabbits may take to chewing on tree bark.

What Nutrients do Rabbits Need?

Because a rabbit’s diet consists mostly of fibrous cellulose, or plant fibers, it is sometimes difficult for rabbits to digest all of the nutrition in a food source.  For that reason, it is important to supplement your pet rabbit’s diet with some variety.  Root vegetables such as carrots can provide much needed vitamins and rabbit hay is an important source of magnesium for your pet.  A varied diet will also keep your rabbit from getting bored and may help prevent him from developing destructive chewing habits.

When do Rabbits Eat?

Rabbits are crepuscular meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk.  In the wild, rabbits do most of their grazing in the late afternoon – around 6 pm.  Although your domestic rabbit does not need to worry about avoiding extreme heat in the middle of the day or avoiding predators while he eats, pet rabbits are still internally wired to eat more at dawn and dusk.  This means it is a good idea to make sure your rabbit has food in their cage in the evening.
Remember

Although most breeds of pet rabbits were domesticated years ago, they still mirror many of the eating habits and needs of their wild cousins.  In learning more about the eating habits of wild rabbits, we can hope to better understand the needs of our own furry friends.

 

The Best Kept Secret To Keep Your Rabbit Healthy

August 13th, 2011

 

Rabbits may seem like low maintenance pets, but they are actually complex creatures.  They are highly intelligent and love social interaction, physical exercise, and mental stimulation.  If you are keeping your pet cooped up in a cage all day every day, you could be making him sick.

Exercise

Even if you keep your rabbit in an indoor hutch, it is still a good idea to take your rabbit outside to get some exercise. This will insure that your bunny stays happy and healthy. Without exercise, the rabbit can become depressed, stressed, and even sick.

Safety

It is however, not a good idea to just let your rabbit wander around outside unattended.  They can dig under fences and escape, eat something poisonous, or be attacked by predators.  An outdoor rabbit run is one of easiest, stress-free way to exercise your rabbit.

Predators

When considering what kind of rabbit run to build or buy, it is important to think about you’re your local predator population.  For example, a fox-proof rabbit run is a must if you live in an area where foxes are a native species. Foxes are clever and crafty and can often learn to manipulate flimsy latches on rabbit hutches and tear through chicken wire panels. To make your rabbit run fox-proof, use sturdy building materials and lock latches into place.  If you have the yard space to install a permanent rabbit run, you can build a very secure run for a fairly low price.  Because foxes can dig and rabbits burrow, it is recommended that you either pour a concrete floor for your outdoor rabbit run or install heavy duty mesh sides that are buried 3 meters into the ground.

Other Hazards

In addition to keeping your pet safe from predators during his exercise time, you will also want to make sure he can’t eat anything that will make him sick.  Avoid building your run next to poisonous plants or areas of the yard spayed with pesticides.   Unnatural hazards such as electric wires can also be a danger for your pet.

Remember

Remember, keeping your rabbit well exercised will result in a calmer, friendlier, healthier pet and lead to a better experience for you both.

 

Rabbits of the Week

August 2nd, 2011

These pictures come curtesy of Pamella Whitham in California.

 

Two of Pam's Rabbits and her grandchildren

 

 

 

Ten Amazing Rabbit Facts

July 30th, 2011

Cute rabbits in their burrow

Rabbits are curious creatures but make loving pets, as long as you understand them. Bellow, we have shared our favorite facts about rabbits so you can better get to know your furry friend.

Fact #1: Wild rabbits sleep in burrows.

It’s no surprise that rabbits like to dig.  If your rabbit is living in a above- ground hutch, you can provide a box with a hole cut in the side to give your rabbit the feeling of living in a burrow.  If your rabbit lives on a ground-level hutch with a run, make sure have re-enforced the ground to prevent him from burrowing out and escaping.

Fact #2: Bunnies can’t throw up.

Rabbits cannot vomit.  This is important to keep in mind when picking out food for your pet.  Rabbits are grazers by nature and do best with a steady supply of low calorie food throughout the day.   A mix of rabbit pellets and fresh roughage like carrot tops or radishes usually works well.  It is also a good idea to feed your rabbit some hay because hay serves as a good source of magnesium for your pet.

Fact #3: Neither wild nor domestic bunnies hibernate.

It is a common misconception that rabbits hibernate; they are awake and active year round.  That being said, rabbits are sensitive to external temperatures, so do not leave your rabbit unattended in extreme heat or cold.

Fact #4: Getting your rabbit spayed or neutered can reduce aggressive behavior.

Bunnies can become aggressive and destructive if they are not altered.  If you are keeping a rabbit as a pet, you should get it spayed or neutered as soon as possible to avoid this behavior.

Fact #5: Bunnies can jump 36 inches and higher.

It’s probably no surprise that rabbits are good jumpers, but did you know they can jump over 3 feet high?!  It is important that if you house your rabbit in an outdoor hutch with a run that all parts of his hutch are covered from above.  Lightweight chicken wire will do the trick as far as making your hutch secure, but it is also important to provide shade and shelter from direct sunlight.  Covering a section of your rabbit’s out door run with a tarp can do the trick, but more permanent, wooden roofs usually work best.

Fact #6: Bunnies can snore!

Don’t be alarmed if you hear your rabbit snoring away in his hutch.  Such noises do not necessarily indicate a breathing problem.  If your pet is otherwise active and healthy, he’s just snoring.  However, if you notice your rabbit has labored breathing while awake or seems slow and listless, you should contact your vet.

Fact #7: Wild bunnies are native to every continent except Australia and Antarctica.

Wild rabbits are hearty creatures and have developed the ability to survive in most climates.  That being said, domestic rabbits are sensitive to extreme heat and cold.  They can dehydrate fairly easily.  Makes sure you always provide your pet with fresh water and place his or her hutch out of direct sunlight.

Fact #8: Rabbits are most active early in the morning and at dusk.

Rabbits are crepuscular meaning they are most active at dawn and twilight. This means it is good to make sure your rabbit has food in their cage early in the morning and in the evening.  It is also a good idea to put toys like chew boxes in your rabbit’s hutch in the evening to keep your pet occupied and prevent damage.  If you keep your rabbit in an indoor hutch, you may want to avoid placing it in a bedroom or anywhere that early morning scuffling could be a nuisance.

Fact #9: A group of bunnies is called a herd.

Rabbits are by nature social animals and do well when living with one or two other rabbits.  When housing multiple rabbits, be sure to allow at least 3 square feet of space per rabbit

Fact #10: Less than 10 percent of all abandoned wild baby bunnies survive.

This statistic is largely due to the vast number of predators a wild rabbit can encounter on a daily basis.  To keep your pet rabbit safe, make sure any hutches are built with strong materials and wire that will not easily bend.  Above ground hutches (at least 3 feet tall) offer an extra measure of protection against dogs and coyotes.

We hope that you have enjoyed our top 10 list of amazing rabbit facts.  Do you have any facts about bunnies that you would like to share?  Leave them in the comments and we’ll post the best ones.

 

Rabbits in the News

July 27th, 2011

Have you guys seen this month’s issue of Hobby Farms?  They have a great article about raising rabbits in colonies.  You can check it out here.

Look at this great article on rabbits!

How To Pick The Best Rabbit Hutch For Your Pet

July 19th, 2011

It can be a little overwhelming trying to pick out the perfect home for your pet.  There are probably as many kinds of rabbit hutches as there are rabbits! So what should you look for when you’re choosing a hutch for your rabbit?

 

Size

 

Rabbits do best in at least 3 square feet of space per rabbit.  You can have a couple of rabbits share a hutch but make sure hutches housing rabbits are bigger in size.  If your hutch is outside, it should be at least 3 feet of the ground to keep your pet safe from predators.  You can see plans for outdoor hutches here with more detailed specifications. If you want an indoor rabbit hutch, you can have the hutch resting on the ground.  We have plans that show multi level indoor rabbit hutches here for you to get some ideas of what you may want your hutch to look like.

 

Material

 

You want your rabbit hutch to be durable and long lasting.  Many hutches are made of wood.  While these hutches are simple to build yourself, they are not that portable, and usually need to be left in one location.  Wood hutches often do not hold up that well outside in rain and harsh sun and can begin to warp after time.  Rabbits can also chew on wooden hutches.

 

A good alternative to traditional wooden hutches is a PVC hutch.  We have a post on PVC hutches here. PVC hutches are light and durable. And can easily be constructed in whatever shape you want.  If you get a hutch that has cage wire wrapped on the inside of the posts rather than around the outside, you can prevent your rabbit from chewing on the frame of the hutch.

 

Access

It is important to make sure your rabbit has a home that is accessible for you but guards against dangerous predators.  You want to be able to get into all corners of the hutch to clean it or grab hold of your pet if necessary.  Also, the more accessible your pet is the more likely you are to take it out and socialize it.  However, your hutch should be out of the way of predators and high enough off the ground to make an attack unlikely.

 

What factors did you consider when purchasing or building your first rabbit hutch?  Let us know and we’ll post the replies!

 

What do you need to know before adopting a rabbit?

July 9th, 2011


Are you thinking about adopting a rabbit but unsure if it’s a good match for you?  Rabbits make great pets, but there are definitely some important factors to consider before bringing a furry friend home.  Although rabbits can be litter box trained and adjust well to indoor life, rabbits need a fair amount of care and attention.

 

Where to Get Your Rabbit

Many people buy a rabbit from a breeder or pet store.  This may make sense if you are looking for a certain breed of rabbit but there are many rabbit rescue organizations that offer rabbits in need of a good home.  One advantage of adopting through a rescue organization is that they will often let you participate in a “trial adoption” where you can take home a bunny and see if his personality meshes well with the rest of your family members.  Your local SPCA may also have some rabbits available for adoption.

 

Housing Your Rabbit

It is possible for your rabbit to run loose in your house if you have taken care to rabbit proof your home.  Rabbits love to chew on electrical wires, carpet, and floorboards.  A sometimes safer option is to house your rabbit in an indoor hutch and then let him run around when you are home to watch him.  We have some great instructions on building a simple indoor rabbit hutch here. If you live in a fair weathered area with few predators, you can also build an outdoor rabbit hutch, or to give your furry friend more space to run around, a rabbit hutch with runs.  Just make sure that if you are keeping your rabbit outside you take careful measures to protect him from predators or extreme weather.  NEVER leave the hutch in direct sunlight all day or your rabbit could overheat.

 

Keeping Your Rabbit Company

Rabbits are social creatures and do well with a friend or two.  Rabbits who are not neutered rabbits frequently fight when paired with another rabbit of the same gender, so it’s a good idea to fix your rabbit to cut down on unwanted aggression.  Socializing your rabbit will keep him from getting bored and can help cut down on chewing, as well as maintain his mental happiness and health.

 

Other House Hold Pets

Since rabbits are prey animals, it’s generally not a good idea to leave them alone with dogs. Rabbit owners have had better luck bonding rabbits with cats but you should still only socialize cats and rabbits under socialized conditions.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you decide if a rabbit is the right pet for you. To stay up to date on the latest rabbit news, find us on facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/pages/How-to-Make-a-Rabbit-Hutch/150623371677321

 

Congratulations Georgia!

July 2nd, 2011
georgia winner

Georgia is our rabbit of the week!

 

Congratulations to Georgia, our Rabbit of the Week!  Send us pictures of your pet and we’ll post our favorites!

3 Important Tips about Caring for your Rabbit

June 25th, 2011

outdoor rabbitRabbits make great pets for young children and adults alike. They are generally low maintenance and can be very loving and a lot of fun to watch hop around. Although rabbits are a lot of fun, it is important to remember that they have certain needs as well. Your pet needs a safe hutch, proper food, and plenty of exercise. Below we have compiled 3 important tips for caring for your pet rabbit.

Food

It is important for rabbits to have a high-fiber diet. They love to eat dry food, hay, fruits, and vegetables. A varied diet will keep your pet from getting bored and ensure that she has a nutritionally balanced meal plan. Dry pellets that can be found at your local pet store usually contain most of the nutrients your rabbit needs to thrive, but adding fresh fruits and veggies to the mix will keep your pet entertained and happy. Hay is an important part of any rabbit’s diet because it is a good source of magnesium and calcium. You can also treat your rabbit with special toys like chew sticks, twigs, and chew toys to keep him from chewing on his hutch.

Housing

Rabbit hutches are probably the most used housing option for pet rabbits, and they come in many forms. In previous posts we talked about indoor rabbit hutches, outdoor hutches, rabbit hutches with runs, and even how to build your own rabbit hutch. We have some simple construction plans available here as well.

When choosing a hutch for your rabbit, the general rule is that you should allow 3 cubic feet per rabbit. You can have a couple or rabbits living together in one hutch, just make sure that there is enough space. Another important factor to consider when selecting a hutch for your rabbit is how well the hutch will protect your pet against predators. This is particularly important if your rabbits are outside.

Exercise

Many first time rabbit owners complain that their rabbits are destructive. Rabbits often turn to chewing when they are bored. You can prevent this by making sure that your rabbit has toys to play with and gets enough exercise. As we mentioned in our previous article providing your rabbit with chew toys is one way to help keep her entertained. You can also create a play area for your rabbit by trying out rabbit hutches with runs, or larger playpens inside the house. Exercising your rabbit often will ensure that your pet maintains strong physical and mental health. 

We hope these tips have helped get you on the right path to caring for your rabbit. Once you have housing, food, and exercise taken care of, everything else will just fall into place. Are there any other tips we forgot? Let us know and we’ll post them here!