Rabbits as Pets[edit | edit source]
Housing[edit | edit source]
Rabbits should NEVER be free roamed without supervision. It is important to have a properly sized wire bottomed cage for your rabbit to use as it's home base for times you can not monitor your rabbits activities. Free roaming should be supervised at all times.
Rest mats[edit | edit source]
Rabbits get friction from solid flooring which can cause sore hocks in Rabbits with narrow feet. Sore Hocks can be bred out of a line by selecting for Wide Well furred feet. Rest mats are used for extra Large Rabbits and Breeds like Rexes who are prone to getting sore hock due to there excessive weights, or thinner coat types and if a rabbit wants to get off the wire flooring.
Feeding[edit | edit source]
Feed your pet the SAME as a regular Maintenance feed for ANY rabbit. see the Rabbit Feeding Guide. Your Pets feed should consist of 80-100% complete balanced Pellets with a base protein of 15-17% higher for wool breeds, and a minimum Fibber content for 15%, up to 20% for wool breeds. Papaya enzyme should also be offered to wool breeds to assist with digestion and to prevent wool block.
Food[edit | edit source]
ARBA recommends feeding a complete balanced pellet as the main source of nutrition. Rule of thumb for selecting complete pellets for your rabbit should start with a baseline of 16% protein, 18% fiber, and a grass or legume as the first ingredient. Typically feed instructions will suggest you feed a measured amount to most adult rabbits rationed twice a day. Total daily intake should equal 1oz of pellet per lb of ideal adult body weight. Rabbits are crepuscular animals, active at dusk and dawn with a rest and digestion period during the day. ie:" a 10lb adult rabbit would receive 5oz of pellets in the morning and 5oz pellets at night.
A complete balanced Pellets should make up between 80% and 100% of a rabbits diet.
Some brands that have complete pellets are Heinold, Kalmblach, Manna Pro Sho . It is important to select a 100% completely balanced diet. No different than balanced kibble.
Enrichment[edit | edit source]
Rabbits NEED enrichment, many types of Toys Can be found in pet stores but there are many ways to give enrichment and stimulation to your pet. Forms of enrichment can be as simple as stuffing hay into paper towel rolls, or giving your rabbit safe wood toys such as Apple wood sticks or untreated pine blocks.
Housing rabbits together[edit | edit source]
Rabbits naturally do not bond. When a rabbit doesn't want to be near it's "friend" They can kill one another or cause severe injuries. Domesticated rabbits descend from European wild rabbits. European wild rabbits live in groups depending upon resources available. The more resources that are available, the less tightly they group, and actually prefer quite a bit of distance from the other rabbits. A literature review concluded that wild rabbits are either dominant or subordinate and the subordinate animals live in a constant state of stress and fear when in a group setting. Dominant animals require submission from subordinate daily, and if not performed, leads to violent fighting.
Domesticated rabbits allowed to live in colonies showed much aggression to each other, and the reviewers came to the conclusion that rabbits are very aggressively territorial animals and for their safety, should be housed individually.
A few studies have mentioned that pairs of rabbits may be doable but even then one will take the position of the dominate rabbit, and it is a precarious social structure.
Rabbits in reality are not social herd animals like horses or dogs, they prefer to be within View of other rabbits , but not nessicarrly in contact with other rabbits. They function best along defined territorial lines, with a minimum of 80 sqft as a personal territory Per rabbit. Although many, even when allotted this personal territorial space will violently expand that territory and fight , injure or kill any intruders.
Notes from housing studies recommended separating Rabbits before 80 days of age, as in their study they found that rabbits particularly bucks but also does that reached 80 days old while still in a group setting became very aggressive toward one another as they hit adulthood. Spaying and Neutering does not effect aggressive behaviors since typically their behavior is the way rabbits are wired as a species. Occasionally altering a rabbit will make it more aggressive as well as open it up for other types of cancer, skeletal muscular and hormonal issues.
.............. But not all rabbits can bond and most actually prefer to be alone. Even the studies that have been done had concluded two is the limit for most likely success, any more and it will be difficult and create a fear base society within the herd.
They have a very introverted dynamic, as far as socialization goes . This has been studied many many times always concluding that rabbit prefer being alone most of the time. they Tolerate others but that's about it.
So honestly no not all rabbits can or should be bonded.
Interaction[edit | edit source]
Interaction is important even with meat rabbits. Interacting daily with your Rabbits makes them calmer, and friendlier and reduces stress when taking to shows or on butcher day. Playing with your Rabbit Calmly, letting them come to you, giving treats, Grooming, are all ways to stimulate your rabbits. Supervised free roam time, Grooming, and supervised inter species playtime can be a fun outlet for your Rabbit.