All rabbits needs lots of love & attention & should be picked up & cuddled at least twice a day. However for the first day in their new home they should NOT be handled & just left in their hutch to quietly get used to their new surroundings as they will feel a little disorientated, nervous & could easily be stressed.
After a couple of days 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 & then returning them to the cold may give them a chill. However if you are going to keep your rabbit as a house pet, as long as you allow your rabbit to adjust slowly to a heated house they will be fine, placing them in a cool room to begin with is a good way of doing this.
Your rabbit’s hutch should be placed in a shady part of your garden, away from direct sunlight & if possible near to the house 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 & waterproof cover or a made to measure hutch cover, to keep it free from frost, cold winds & driving rain.
The hutch should be lined with a layer of wood shavings & straw put in the bedding area. It must be cleaned out at least once a week & treated with an animal friendly cage disinfectant. 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, this can be a nasty death for a rabbit. We advise you use a Fly Strike treatment during the summer months to help prevent this. We do offer a service to supply & apply the treatment for you.
If you have an outside run you need to make sure that there is adequate shade for your rabbit & 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 to make it feel safe. You should also avoid putting them out on wet grass during the winter months (Oct to Apr) as it is not good for them & they could get a chill. If you have a patio you can put the run there & on a dry day your rabbit can still have a run around.
Your rabbit will need to have vaccinations against Myxomatosis & Viral Haemorrhagic disease (VHD-1) and a second vaccination 2 weeks later for VHD-2, these should be done by your vet after your rabbit has settled in for a week or so. Make sure the vet gives you a vaccination booklet with a record of the vaccination dates etc. Your rabbit must NOT go outside in a run until it has had its vaccinations or it will be in danger of catching a disease.
Your rabbit will need to regularly be given anti-parasite treatment every 6 weeks and worming treatments every 6 months We offer a service to supply and carry out these treatments for you or you can purchase them from your vet.
Your rabbits claws will need clipping approx every 10 weeks. We do offer a claw clipping service. If you wish to do this yourself, please make sure you have the correct claw clippers & are shown how to do it properly as it is very easy to harm your rabbit if done incorrectly.
We advise you to have your rabbit spayed or neutered; bucks from the age of 16 wks & does from the age of 6mths. These operations must NOT be done before your rabbit reaches the correct age as it will be very dangerous for them!
Your rabbit should be fed a small quantity of food twice a day, about an egg cup size portion. They have been reared on ‘Burgess Excel Pellets (Dwarf/Junior) which is an extremely good feed which is recommended by vets. They must continue to be fed this food. It is available from us and readily available in most pet shops. If you wish to change to another food this should be done gradually. You can also give a small amount of treats every day.
Rabbits must always have hay available to eat as this is essential to wear their teeth down & provide the fibre they need in their diet. They should also have a special dried grass; Readi Grass, which is part of the diet they are used to.
You are able to get all the rabbit supplies you need from us. You can see details on our 'Supplies & Equipment' page.
They are used to having a small amount of vegetables daily, there are details of greens suitable for rabbits on my website 'Food & Nutrition' page. When introducing any new vegetable or treat it must be done slowly & in small amounts. Their drinking bottle should be filled with fresh water daily.
I hope you have lots of fun with your new bunny and if you have any problems or questions please contact me, we are always happy to offer advice and support. It would be greatly appreciated if you could email us photos and updates of your rabbits’ progress, we love to hear how they are getting on.
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'.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has a directory where you can look for a recommended rabbit vet local to you. http://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/find-a-vet/
The Rabbit Welfare Association is an extremely good website with plenty of useful information and advise http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/resources/index.php