All rabbits need lots of love & attention & should be picked up & cuddled regularly. However for 24 hours in their new home they should NOT be handled & must be left in their hutch to quietly get used to their new surroundings as they will feel a little disorientated, nervous & could easily be stressed. When they have settled in you can start handling them, which must be done with confidence or your rabbit will sense it feel insecure & start wriggling. Do not mistake this to meant that they do not like cuddles, they just need to get used to you & you them.
If your rabbit is living outside when taking them indoors in the winter try not to keep them in a warm environment for too long, as they may get too hot & then returning them to the cold may give them a chill. If you are going to keep your rabbit as a house pet, allow your rabbit to adjust slowly to a heated house by placing them in a cooler room to begin with.
Your hutch must be cleaned regularly & treated with an animal cage disinfectant. The toilet area must be cleaned away daily & using a litter tray is the best way to keep things clean. An outdoor hutch should be in a shady part of your garden, away from direct sunlight & if possible near to the house so it is easily accessible. In winter if you are not putting your hutch in a garage or shed, ensure you cover it at night with a blanket & waterproof cover or a purpose made hutch cover, to keep it free from frost, cold winds & driving rain.
An outdoor run must have adequate shade for your rabbit & a supply of water. If your rabbit gets too hot it could suffer from heat stroke as rabbits cannot sweat or pant to help bring down their body temperature. Giving them a ceramic tile to lie on and a frozen bottle of water wrapped in a towel to lie against will help. It is a good idea to have a shelter in the run that the rabbit can hide in if it feels afraid and avoid putting them out on wet grass during the winter months as they could get a chill, its best to use a patio or dry area instead.
Your rabbit will need to have a vaccination against Myxomatosis, RVHD1 & RVHD2 which should be done one week after collection. Make sure the vet gives you a vaccination record booklet. Your rabbit must NOT go out in a run until 2 weeks after their vaccination or it will be in danger of catching a virus. Even if your rabbit is being kept indoors it will still require vaccinations as the diseases can be carried in on your feet and clothes.
You will need to check your rabbit’s bottom is kept clean to avoid flystrike, this can be a nasty death for a rabbit. We advise you use a treatment during the summer months to help prevent this which we can supply. It should not be applied to your rabbit until at least one week after they have had their vaccination.
Your rabbit will need to be given anti-parasite treatments which we can supply or can be purchased them from your vet. The anti-parasite spot-on should be given 3 days after collection and will need to be re-applied every 6 weeks. The wormer should not be given until at least 8 weeks after the vaccination and is then repeated every 6 months.
Your rabbits claws will need clipping approx every 12 weeks & we do offer a claw clipping service. If you do it yourself please make sure you have the correct trimmers & are shown how to do it properly as it is very easy to harm your rabbit if done incorrectly.
You should have your rabbit neutered; bucks at 15 weeks & does at 6 months. These operations must be done by an experienced vet and mustNOT be done before your rabbit reaches the correct age as it will be very dangerous for them! Bucks living in a pair must not be done any later than 15 weeks as they are sexually mature & will be able to mate a doe or could start to fight with another buck.
Your rabbit should be fed approx1 egg cup of ‘Burgess Excel Pellets (Dwarf/Junior) pellets twice a day, one handful of dried grass in the morning & constant supply of hay placed in a rack off the ground. These foods are available from us. Hay is the most important part of a rabbit’s diet and they must have access to an unlimited supply, making up to around 80% of their diet. It is essential for wearing their teeth down & providing the fibre they need in their diet to keep their digestive system healthy & moving.
They are used to having a small amount of vegetables daily, the chart of suitable greens for rabbits can be found on my website. Introduce new vegetables slowly & in small amounts. Their drinking bottle should be filled with fresh water daily.
If you go away on holiday please make sure you leave your bunny with someone who is reliable & knows how to look after rabbits. We have a Holiday Boarding Service where you know your rabbit will be well looked after and we would be happy to help. We love having our fur babies back to stay!