All rabbits needs lots of love and attention and should be picked up and cuddled at least twice a day. For the first day they should not be handled and just left in their new hutch to quietly get used to their new surroundings as they will feel a little disorientated and nervous and will easily be stressed. After a day or so when they have settled in you can start handling them, a small square of carpet is an ideal mat to place on your lap to avoid any scratches whilst getting used to your new rabbit.
If your rabbit is living outside when you take them indoors in the winter try not to keep them in a warm environment for too long, as they may get too hot and then returning them to the cold may give them a chill. However if you are keeping your rabbit as a house pet as long as you allow your rabbit to adjust slowly to a heated house they will be fine.
Your rabbit’s hutch should be placed in a shady part of your garden, away from direct sunlight and near to the house if possible so it is easily accessible to you. In winter if you are not putting your hutch in a garage or shed, ensure you cover it at night with either a blanket and waterproof cover or a made to measure hutch cover, to keep it free from frost, cold winds and driving rain. The hutch should be lined with a layer of wood shavings and straw in the bedding area. It must be cleaned out at least once a week and treated with an animal cage disinfectant which kills bacteria. In the summer the toilet area must be cleaned away daily due to the risk from flies. You will need to check your rabbit’s bottom is kept clean to avoid fly strike which can be a nasty death for a rabbit.
If you have an outside run you need to make sure that there is adequate shade for your rabbit and a supply of water. If your rabbit gets too hot it could suffer from heat stroke. It is also a good idea to have a shelter in the run that the rabbit can hide in if it feels afraid.
Your rabbit will need to have vaccinations against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic disease which can be done by your vet after your rabbit has settled in for a week or so. It is also advisable, especially in the summer, to use a mite and flea spot on treatment and a worming paste both of which are available from your pet shop or vet. You will also need to keep an eye on your rabbits’ claws as these will need clipping approx ever 8 weeks. This can be done by your vet or by yourself using pet nail clippers available from your pet shop, however I would ask your vet to show you how to do it before you try.
We advise you to have your rabbit spayed or neutered; bucks should be done from the age of 16 wks and does from the age of 6mths.
Your rabbit should be fed a small quantity of food twice a day. I highly recommend ‘Burgess Excel Pellets (Dwarf/Junior) which is available at most pet shops. You can also give a small amount of treats every day, such as sunflower hearts, Shreddies and peanuts. Rabbits must always have hay available to eat as this essential to wear their teeth down and provide the fibre they need in their diet. Their drinking bottle should be filled with fresh water daily and attached to the front of the cage.
You can also give a small amount of vegetables to your rabbit on a daily basis. They are used to having carrots, spring greens or cabbage but there is details of other suitable greens for rabbits on the 'Food & Nutrition' page. When introducing your rabbit to any new vegetable or treat it must be done slowly and in small amounts to check it agrees with them.
If you go away on holiday please make sure you leave your bunny with someone who is reliable and knows how to look after rabbits. If you have trouble finding someone I do provide a rabbit boarding service.
There are some very good books you can purchase on caring for rabbits. Many can be purchased from the Fur & Feather Magazine Bookshop: http://www.furandfeather.co.uk/shop.htm
One I can highly recommend is 'Rabbitlopaedia - A Complete Guide to Rabbit Care by Meg Brown and Virginia Richardson'.