Adopting A Bunny
Bunnies need a sleeping area, and a “fenced area” to romp and stretch their legs. It’s unhealthy to keep them in small cages for long periods of time. Rabbits are crepuscular, which means that they generally sleep during the day and during the night, but are ready to play at dawn and twilight. So, if you’re at work during the day, they won’t mind so much being in a cage. But they MUST be let out for at least several hours each day, both to exercise and to have social interaction with you. The nest should include a litter box with hay, and food and water bowls
Did you know? Bunnies can be litter trained?
Because bunnies can be litter box trained (yes, just like a house cat) some people even allow bunnies to romp freely around their house (under supervision). It’s always important to keep an eye on your bun because bunnies are born to chew! And they will chew on anything that is their height; this means baseboards, electrical cords, and furniture legs.
Bunnies as well and hamsters and guinea pigs need enrichment to keep their minds busy.
Toys & Enrichment
To keep your rabbit occupied and amused, offer toys such as:
Toilet paper and paper towel rolls
1/2 Paper cups (not plastic coated)
Newspaper and white scrap paper (ink isn’t harmful, just gives dirty feet)
Canning jar rings
Rolled oats box; cut off the bottom to make a tunnel for tiny rabbit. Be sure he won’t get stuck!
Soft drink can with pebble inside for noise
Rubber balls (unless your rabbit chews on them)
Wire ball with bell inside (sold in stores as a cat or bird toy)
Cardboard boxes (tape shut then cut small doors)
Old towels to push around and dig at
Have your rabbit spayed or neutered at about 4-6 months of age by a veterinarian experienced with rabbits. This will help with litter box training and general behavior. Do not leave your rabbit unattended outside as rabbits scare easily and can dig out of a fenced yard. Also, keep them from poisonous plants and pesticides. You can try an “H style” cat harness and a leash but begin in a safe and familiar area.
Your Bunny’s Diet
The majority of the house rabbit diet should be composed of grass hay (any variety). Grass hay is rich in Vitamin A and D as well as calcium, protein and other nutrients. Eating hay promotes healthy teeth and gastrointestinal tract and should be available to your rabbit at all times. Varying the type of grass hay or mixing hays is a great idea (such as timothy, orchard, oat hay, brome, etc). Avoid the use of alfalfa hay as the primary source of hay due to the fact it is very high in calories and protein, far more than the average house rabbit needs. Alfalfa is not a grass, but rather a legume (in the pea and bean family).
Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet and they provide additional nutrients as well as different textures and tastes, which are enriching for your friend as well. Fresh foods also provide more moisture in the diet, which is good for kidney and bladder function. The bulk of fresh foods should be made up of leafy greens (about 75% of the fresh part of the diet). Any leafy green that is safe for a human or a horse to eat is safe for a rabbit to consume.
Some bunnies may find this a rather “gassy” veggie. If diarrhea occurs, remove from diet Brussels Sprouts Carrot tops (organic) Chard Cilantro Clover Dandelion Greens (Pesticide Free!)
An approximate amount of Bunny greens to feed would be around 1 cup of greens for 2 lbs of rabbit body weight once a day or divided into multiple feedings a day.
Bell Peppers (green, red, yellow…)
Pea pods (AKA Chinese pea pods)
Squash: Zucchini, Yellow, Butternut, Pumpkin Various lettuces Romaine, butter, green leaf, Boston, bibb, arugula, etc. Avoid very light hearts