Rabbits are delightful, intelligent and interactive critters - the more attention you give a rabbit, the more rewarding a pet it will be. They can be trained to perform simple tricks, come to their name, and use a litter box. Rabbits make excellent pets as they enjoy human company, are cheap to maintain, they have relatively small space requirements, and won't need walking or cause noise to disrupt the neighbours. I am frequently contacted by new rabbit owners who are surprised at how friendly, affectionate and interactive their new family member is!
PREPARING FOR YOUR NEW BUNNY
To prepare for your new addition, you will need the following essentials:
ARRIVING HOME - THE FIRST 48 HOURS
Bringing home a new pet is an exciting time, and naturally we want to spoil them with love and attention to welcome them into the family. It's important to remember that whilst we are excited, little rabbit is just a baby and the experience of leaving his mother and siblings for a new and unfamiliar environment can be stressful. Being a prey animal, they may experience more stress than pets such as dogs/cats. Rabbit will need a little time to adjust. To help a new rabbit settle, give them some quiet time alone where they can learn to feel safe and secure. I recommend setting them up with their feed, hay and water in their new hutch, and having minimal cuddles for the first night home. Give the transition feed provided by the breeder. Make sure that other pets dont harrass rabbit. Rabbits are naturally curious, and so it wont take them long to start moving around in their space, indicating that they are feeling adventurous and ready for more interaction with the family. You might like to consider having the hutch inside and leaving the door open to allow rabbit to come out when he is ready. After the first few days, its a good idea to start handling rabbit more frequently and begin introducing them to household noise, activity, and other pets (in a controlled and supervised way). Young children can benefit from sitting down and cuddling bunny inside a blanket while they get used to each other.
Avoid / Never Feed
Carrot & tops
Citrus leaves & branches
Tomato (fruit only)
Cos / Iceberg lettuce
Onion / chives
Tomato leaves & vines
CAGE & BEDDING
ONE RABBIT OR TWO?
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Recommended age to neuter/spey:
MINI LOP / MINI PLUSH
NAIL CLIPPING SERVICES AVAILABLE. Please see the Nail Trims & Other Services page for details.
BONDING & INTERACTING - HOW TO ENJOY YOUR BUNNY
A great starting place to help you understand your rabbit's behaviour is available here: www.wikihow.com/Bond-With-Your-Rabbit
Once you begin to recognise their body language, you will be able to respond in a helpful way to help strengthen your friendship. Getting down on their level, talking in a quiet and calm tone, and moving slowly (no sudden movements or grabbing!) will all help win their trust. Rabbits are prey animals, hence are naturally programmed to be wary. Luckily they are also super inquisitive, so with gentle interaction we can draw out this aspect of their personality and end up with a cheeky and confident friend.
Calici-virus (also known as RHD - Rabbit Haemorraghic Disease) is a highly contagious disease that causes internal bleeding resulting in a painful death. The good news is that rabbits can be vaccinated against two of the three strains of calici-virus in Australia. This is generally done over the age of 10 weeks. Please see our Calicivirus section for more information. You can contact me regarding discounted vaccination options.
Myxomatosis is also highly contagious and most often fatal. This is predominently carried by blood sucking insects such as mosquitos and ticks. Whilst there is a vaccine, unfortunately the Australian government has not authoirised its use within Australia - this is because its a 'live' vaccine which means immunity can be passed on and could result in a wild population carrying immunity. At this time, the best way to protect your rabbit is to control the insects in its environment - eg. flyscreen hutches, use Coopex (a residual insecticide).