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Caring for a Rabbit - Diet, Exercise, Grooming & Health

DIET

Daily
Your buns should have fresh water, a high fibre pellet no less than 21% fibre, plenty of hay (Orchard Grass) and a good serving of fresh greens i.e. all types of herbs, green/red peppers and carrot tops

Weekly
A small piece of fruit i.e. apple or pear. OR a small piece of carrot.

Never give nuts, anything containing sugar, cabbage, lettuce or potatoes.

EXERCISE

All rabbits need plenty of exercise to keep their muscles healthy and their digestive system functioning well. Your buns should have at least 2 hours a day where they have plenty of space to run and that means being able to build up speed.

GROOMING

Your buns should be brushed daily. This is a great bonding time for you and your bun, plus it removes loose fur that would normally be ingested by the bun or his partner. This is why it is so important for rabbits to have a high fibre diet, as the fibre helps ingested hair pass through the rabbit's digestive system. A diet too low in fibre will cause major blockages and GI Stasis will set in. This is a condition where the normal movements of the digestive system, stops. Prevention of this condition is better than cure, as it can be life threatening.

I usually use a flea comb on my buns, as most cat flea preparations are deadly for rabbits. This last summer I used Advantage for cats which really helped get rid of the fleas.
Please speak to a 'rabbit' experienced vet when buying Advantage for your buns as they will help you with the amount needed for the weight of your bun.

NAILS

Once a month your bun should have his nails clipped. Free range rabbits that dig a lot usually don't need their nails clipped as they wear down. If you are too nervous to do this, you can get your vet to do this for you. When clipping your rabbit's nails, remember to look out for the blood vessel that runs close to the end of the nail. Be cautious and clip small pieces off at a time.

TEETH

Once a month check that your rabbit's teeth are not overgrown. The top incisors should overlap the bottom ones and should be white and straight. Signs of teeth problems are a wet chin. If your rabbit wants to eat soft food rather than pellets, this too could be a sign. It is so easy for teeth problems to go un-noticed. My Marge carried on eating, but when I touched her face, she would flinch. I knew this was a sign of something, not being right. Whenever you take your bun to the vet, get them to check the back teeth, as these can cause very painful problems if they are misaligned.

SPRAYING & NEUTURING

This is so important. If you think that you can let your rabbits just have one litter of bunnies, then think again. It won't stop there. The day she gives birth, if the male is present, and mounts her, she will fall pregnant again.
Females have a 75% chance of getting uterus, mammary or ovarian cancer if not spayed and males will become less aggressive if neutered. Remember to take your rabbits to a 'rabbit' experienced vet.


As an extra note

Remember that rabbits can live for as long as 12 years. Keeping your rabbit healthy will give him the best chance to reach this ripe old age. Nutrition, exercise and clean living conditions will help give your rabbit a long and healthy life.

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