What You Need To Know Before Getting A Rabbit.
Rabbits are probably one of the cutest pets you could ever have! They’re cuddly, playful, and have lots of personality! If you’re planning to expand your family by adding a new fur-baby into the mix, and are looking to get a rabbit, then this article will give you the tips and guidance you need before bringing your new bouncy friend home!
What is the best age to bring home a new rabbit?
The best age to bring home a rabbit would be after they’ve reached 3 months old. This ensures that they’re no longer relying on their mothers for nutrition & sustenance. The earliest age you could bring a new bunny home would be around 8 weeks old, but at this age they still might not be fully weaned off of their mothers. Bunnies under 8 weeks old are too young to be separated from their mothers.
How can I tell the gender of a rabbit?
If you’re planning to get more than one rabbit, and need to ensure they’re the same gender to avoid reproduction, you can tell a rabbit’s gender after they’ve reached 3-4 months old. How do you know if it’s a boy or girl? By checking their genital region between their hind legs, the most obvious indication as to whether you have a male or female rabbit will be if you find that your rabbit has testicles. However, if your rabbit's testicles have not descended, it would be best to have your rabbit checked by a vet in order to properly gender them to avoid them breeding, as your vet will know exactly how to check and how to properly handle your rabbit as they’re being gendered.
What age can I neuter my rabbit?
Rabbits can be neutered between 3-6 months old, but it is always best to check with your local veterinarian first to ensure your rabbit is ready. Having your rabbit neutered doesn’t only just prevent them from breeding, but also may help avoid any health risks later on in their lives, for example, female rabbits have a higher chance of contracting reproductive diseases if they’re not neutered before they turn 3 years old.
Getting set up for your new rabbit:
Rabbit-proof your house:
If you’re planning to have your rabbit have free range of your house, or just to have a specific area planned out for your rabbit, you’ll need to make sure your home is a safe space for your bunny. Most importantly, is having all electrical wires covered by either plastic tubing or sleeves to prevent your rabbit from chewing on the wires. Certain legs of furniture (like your bed, chairs or table) will have to be covered, so that your rabbit doesn’t chew and damage your furniture in the process. Make sure you have no plants around your house that could be potentially harmful to your bunny. You can also use pet gates to close off specific areas you’d rather not have your rabbit have access to.
Your rabbit’s cage should be at minimum, 4 times bigger than your rabbit. This gives your rabbit comfort and space to move around if they want to. Your cage should also ideally be large enough to fit a litter box, a bed, or even toys, without your rabbit feeling cramped or claustrophobic.
Keeping your rabbit’s comfort in mind, you’d need to consider the flooring. The ideal floor would be a flat, solid floored cage, so that your rabbit can walk around comfortably without hurting their feet like they would on an unpadded wire flooring.
Speaking of flooring, every rabbit needs bedding in their cage. Either natural wood chip bedding or even soft bedding. Thankfully we provide an assortment of bedding for rabbits that can be used in their cages. PremiumSpan bedding offers lemon and apple scented varieties, or just the plain natural version if you’d prefer. Chipsi's range of pet bedding has natural wood chips, colorful or plain plant fiber-based soft bedding, to even scented wood chips! The options are yours to explore when it comes to what type of bedding your new bunny would prefer!
For their litter box, consider using the Savic Gizmo litter tray as it is shallow enough for your rabbit to climb into when the rim is removed and is small enough to fit into their enclosure. As for the litter, LindoPet Litter for Small Animals is a natural and absorbent litter that is ideal for rabbits and other small pets.
There are plenty of options to consider when deciding what food you’d like to feed your rabbit. If your bunny is under a year old, then Beaphar Care+ Junior Rabbit Food would be the best choice as it provides your growing bunny with all the nutrients and vitamins they need to mature healthily. Care+ is also available for Adult Rabbits and Senior Rabbits, so your bunny could stay on this diet their whole life if they enjoy it! If you’re looking for a high-fiber diet to ensure your rabbit has a healthy digestive tract, then consider Zupreem Timothy Naturals Rabbit Pellets made from dried Timothy Hay. Science Selective Rabbit Food also offers options for both adults and mature rabbits and provides a scientifically formulated, natural & healthy diet for your bunny. Your rabbit should be fed at least twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening/afternoon.
Hay for your rabbit:
There are many options when it comes to choosing hay for your rabbit. We have 4 different types of hay available for your rabbit in our shop, and each with their own benefits; Alpine Hay, Meadow Hay, Grass Hay, Timothy Hay. What are the benefits of feeding your rabbit hay? Hay provides your rabbit with the necessary natural fibers to keep their digestive system healthy. Hay is also beneficial for your rabbit’s dental health and helps to keep their teeth “filed” down, since a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing. Hay can be left in the cage throughout the day, there’s no limit to how much you have to feed your rabbit per day, as it should be left up to them to graze on the hay provided throughout the day.
Caring for your new rabbit:
Rabbits tend to bathe themselves, like cats do, but still need a bath every now and then if they start to smell or get a bit too dirty. Rabbits do, however, require regular brushing at least once to thrice a week depending on the length of their coat. The shorter the coat, the less frequently you’ll need to brush them. Rabbits also require regular nail clipping every 6-8 weeks, in fact, if their nails get long, it can cause discomfort and pain. When clipping your rabbit’s nails, be cautious not to cut too short as you may cut the quick of their nail, which is a blood vessel that can be spotted by shining a light onto their nails.
A good shampoo to use when you do need to bathe your rabbit would be Beaphar Guinea Pig and Rabbit Shampoo which is specially formulated for the coats of rabbits, and helps maintain their natural skin oils and fur texture. If you find your rabbit is losing fur or is dealing with itchy and irritated skin, consider using Bunny Nature Care Gel to help soothe any irritations and encourage fur growth.
Rabbits can get bored too! They’d also need stimulation like a cat or dog would. That’s where having toys will come in handy! The Little One bluebell treat toy is great for helping keep your rabbit’s teeth down and also a good source of fiber for your bunny. The Oxbow Loco Ball provides your rabbit with enrichment and encourages physical activity. The Bunny Nature Snuffleboard is a board you can use to hide treats for your rabbit, and they’d have to sniff them out to find them! This is a great source of mental stimulation and enrichment.
Speaking of treats, you’ll need to make sure you have something to spoil your bunny with! Thankfully there are plenty of options for rabbit treats! From flavored sticks & branches for your bunny to gnaw on, to treats with flavored fillings. By giving your bunny treats regularly, you’re automatically increasing their happiness! Treats are also a great way to train pets, and might be a good way to encourage your bunny to learn tricks or behaviors!
With this guide you’re ready to take on the fun experience that is rabbit parenthood! Make sure you give your bunny a lot of love and attention during their life with you! They’ll love you unconditionally!