CANNINGTON
08 9458 1970
BIBRA LAKE
08 9418 6619

Rabbits


Rabbits make a great pet for those looking for something that is undemanding and easy to keep. They come in a range of sizes with various coat lengths, so there is sure to be one to suit your needs. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in choosing the best rabbit for your needs, along with answering any questions you might have. We stock a wide range of rabbit hutches, food and accessories so you are sure to find everything you will need to set up your rabbit's new home. With an average life-span of 8 years your rabbit is sure to become a treasured friend.


Housing

A wooden hutch with a removable tray is a great home for your rabbit when it is outdoors. It is important for your rabbit's health and well-being that they are not be left in the sun or in drafts. Your rabbit only needs 15 minutes of filtered sun light a day and could very easily become dehydrated if left in the sun for too long. When keeping your rabbit indoors there are a variety of plastic hutches available to make cleaning easy. Your hutch should be at least three times the length of the full-grown size and your rabbit and twice as wide. Rabbits love space so the bigger, the better, as their hutch is where they will spend most of their time. You will also need to provide a 'hide-away’, which is an area where your rabbit can hide and feel safe.

The bottom of the cage can be lined with a thick layer of newspaper with a thin layer of hay on top. Sawdust and shavings should be avoided as it causes respiratory issues and could make your rabbit sick if they eat too much of it. Your rabbit's hutch should be cleaned regularly and cleaning it twice a week really keeps the smell down. Rabbits can be toilet trained! A litter tray lined with wood or paper based kitty litter works best. Training is easy, simply collect the fresh droppings and place them in the tray, over time the smell will attract your rabbit to toilet in the tray (Rabbits instinctively toilet in the same place)


Summer Time

Rabbits hate the heat, so having an indoor hutch for summer will help keep them happy and cool. If the weather is warmer than 30°C, bring your rabbit inside if possible during the day. If you are unable to bring your rabbit inside, place a 1lt frozen water bottle in the hutch each day. Your rabbit will lie next to the bottle to cool off and the condensation on the bottle will provide cool drinking water. It is a good idea to have a few bottles in the freezer and rotate them as they thaw. Remember rabbits cannot sweat and heat stroke is deadly.


Food

There are numerous brands of rabbit food available and the choices can be daunting. The 'Rabbit Mix' and 'Rabbit Pellets' Pet Magic offers are both nutritionally balanced, with the mix providing more variety. We recommend having both types available to provide your rabbit with a complete diet. Rabbits love to eat and they need food available all the time. It is also completely normal for your rabbit to eat their first droppings of the morning, these look wet and unlike the normal "pellet" droppings. While this is often surprising the first time you see it, it is essential that your rabbit be allowed to do this as it aids their nutritional intake.

Fresh water is an essential at all times, and should be provided in a bottle to help it stay clean.

Rabbits love treats but you should be careful which ones you allow your rabbit to eat. Here are a list of treats that are safe to feed to your pet rabbit, along with ones to avoid. Remember that they are treats and should be provided in small quantities along with their complete food.

SAFE: apple, pear, strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, capsicum, carrot, orange, Chinese greens, sprouts, Acidophilus yogurt (goats yogurt which can be purchased at most grocery stores).

AVOID: lettuce, beetroot, rhubarb, oxalis, potato, cabbage, tomato, cucumber, eggplant, beans, onion, cherries
Mineral stones and wood chews are good entertainment for you rabbit while helping to keep their teeth filed down. They also aid in providing a complete nutritional diet for your rabbit.


Enrichment

Rabbits are fine when kept alone, particularly males, but you need to spend time with them everyday, as rabbits love company. Purchasing a younger rabbit will allow you to make a strong bond with them and provide you with a life-long friend. When purchasing two rabbits, it is best to buy them at the same time, as rabbits will often fight when introduced at differing times. For your rabbit's safety, do not leave them out of their hutch unsupervised.

Males and females should not be kept together unless you want them to breed. Your Small Animal Veterinary specialist is able to sterilise your male rabbit.

It is important that young children are taught to handle rabbits gently. An uncomfortable rabbit will bite if needed. When holding your rabbit ALWAYS support the back legs, if you don't your rabbit may "Kick-out" and this can cause it pain and sometime paralysis.

You can take your rabbit for walks using one of the many leashes and harnesses available at Pet Magic.


Grooming

Rabbits need little grooming as healthy rabbit will groom themselves regularly. If you find that your rabbit needs a little tidy-up try wiping them over with a damp cloth (no soap!) along with an occasional brush to help keep their fur healthy. If your rabbit gets really dirty you can bathe them in a good quality Small Animal Shampoo. Just remember not to bathe your rabbit more than once a month as it may lead to skin irritations.

Rabbits have teeth that grow all the time. Because of this your rabbit needs to wear their teeth down by chewing. Mineral stones and wood chews do the trick by cleaning their teeth and maintaining a healthy tooth length.

Just like their teeth, your rabbit's nails also grow and may need trimming occasionally. Small animal nail clippers are available, but should be used very carefully.


Breeding    Male: Buck    Female: Doe

A female Rabbit can fall pregnant at 6 months of age with gestation usually just over a month. Usually 5 babies to born, but some litters can be double this size! After the birth, a female rabbit may fall pregnant again within a week. The father can become stressed around the babies and may kill them as a result so it is best to remove him from the mother and babies.

During and after pregnancy make sure you give the mother and babies plenty of fruit, vegetables, yogurt* and extra vitamin supplements. Pregnant or lactating females need extra Vitamin C, which they get from vitamin drops and offering oranges daily.

Weaning occurs at around 5 weeks of age. The babies can go to new homes once they turn 6 weeks old. NO YOUNGER

Note: A female Rabbit can have up to ten litters a year if not controlled!


Health - "Prevention is the Best Cure"

There are two main diseases (Both mosquito borne) that your rabbit will be vulnerable to. The best prevention for both diseases is to have the hutch encased with fly mesh.
•    Calicivirus (Cah-li-si-virus): This illness is very quick (within hours, often with no symptoms), and is always fatal. There is an annual vaccination available at most Vets. It is best to ring ahead as the vaccination will often have to be specially ordered.
•    Myxomatosis (Mix-o-ma-to-sis): This illness is slow (days of symptoms) and is always fatal. If you believe your rabbit is infected, take your rabbit to the Vet as soon as possible. Unfortunately there isn't a cure, but the vet will be able to provide your rabbit with some comfort.

Rabbits need to be wormed every 3 months. We use and recommend Aristopet® Small Animal Wormer as it has a pleasant taste and is an easy oral treatment.

Rabbits need to be treated against mite and lice every 6 weeks using Aristopet® Small Animal Mite and Lice Spray. A small spray on each rabbit in the cage is necessary. At the same time spray the cage and any hide-aways you may have as well. However, don’t spray food or water bowls. If your rabbit is not treated regularly they can become infected with mange, which is painful and needs veterinary attention.

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Rabbit Care Sheet 3.05MB