Why Do I Need A Run As Well As A Big Old Hutch Then?


As well as spacious rabbit hutches, bunnies also need to get out and about outside the hutch to get exposure to sunlight to create vitamin D, which they need for good health (1). They also must have daily exercise – many people don’t realise the amazing truth about those small furry friends. Think of them like a small dog – well, that’s how much exercise they need every day (2). In many ways, they are not really a domestic animal – their behavioural patterns are still very much wild. have you ever seen a hare racing across a field? Rabbits really need to be able to run freely to feel contented and this brings us on to the topic of space.

Miss Blue Eyes by novablue

How Big Should It Be?

Since bunnies range on average from 1kg tiddlers to 10kg whoppers, there is no standard measurement in feet or meters for how much space they must have. One idea for their housing was for it to be at the very least four times as big as each bunny. This gives you some clue as to how big the rabbit run should be – yes, make it as beautifully enormous as you can possibly get it. The point is to get them out to exercise, if its only as big as their house or not much bigger, you will have wasted your money and time. It’s cost-effective to build one, there are some great bigger sizes in some pet stores but they can be expensive. Once you’re created a large space that you’re sure they can sprint about in, its vital to make sure it’s as safe as possible.

How To install It For Safety – Top Tips

If you run is outdoors, it should be sunk into the ground – bunnies of course burrow – and could well form an escape committee by tunnelling their way out (3)! As with the hutch check there’s nothing sharp poking out of the frame or mesh and attach a drip-feed water bottle. Be aware of who else uses the garden or house – other pets could frighten the rabbit by trying to play or worse still, trying to attack – think how greyhounds learn to race by chasing a symbolic ‘rabbit’ around the track. Cats are also notorious for perversely choosing the run roof as the prefect sunlouging spot and any predatory pet (snakes, for example) may also see your loved on as a little fluffy eyed cheeseburger. Don’t leave kids unsupervised – they may be perfectly loving in their intention to cuddle bunny or give him their sweeties – but poor handling techniques and feeding could injure your rabbit greatly. For everyone’s sake, make the run escape proof, predator proof, child proof and with water, without sharp edges and then think carefully about where you’re going to put it.

rabbit 5 by valcore45

Where To Put The Run

Some chemicals for garden treatment or home cleaning are poisons for pets (4). Plants to be aware of in this category include chrysanthemums, cowslips, geraniums, clematis, poppies, ivy, hemlock, laburnum, laurel, yuccas (5), buttercups and certain species of lilies. If you are using it outdoors, move it around regularly so your bunny can munch on fresh grass each day (and your lawn survives better). Don’t put it over or right next to electrical wiring, for example, cabling for a pond fountain – rabbits chew indiscriminately and many have died through electrocution from chewing electrical wires. So think poisons, grass freshness, and chew patrol – anything they can chew has the potential to cause  injuries through small parts poking their bodies – on the skin or in their gastro-intestinal systems.

Buttercups contain an acid which may harm bunnies

Buttercups contain an acid which may harm bunnies

Sadly, it isn’t quite as simple as getting any old commercially sold run although it really should be. Size, safety and location is essential to create that stimulating and liberating exercise run they desperately need daily. You can enrich the run with rabbit toys, tasty treats and little hiding places. These tips can stop you spending money on a run that is too small and instead create a safe, healthy haven that will enhance your rabbit’s health – you will literally change their whole world for the better.

Mike Holby

References:

1. BVA. Animal Welfare Foundation. Day to Day Rabbit Care [online]. Available at:

http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet/buying/rabbit.asp

2. RSPCA. Pet care – Ten things you may not know about rabbits [online]. Available at:

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=RabbitsPetCare&marker=1&articleId=1154077763133

3. RSPCA. Pet Care – Learn more [online]. Available at:

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=RabbitsPetCare&marker=1&articleId=1154077763099

4. ASPCA [online] Animal Poison Control Centre [online]. Available at:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/

5. EASE. The EASE Guide to Caring for RABBITS [online]. Available at:

http://www.link2content.co.uk/uploads/bva/rabbit.pdf

Photo Credits – great photos by:

Blue eyed rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Novablue Brown and white rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/valcore45 Buttercup flower http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Poofy

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Categories: Rabbit Run Info | Author: admin | Comments: 24 Comments |



Buying A Bunny – Avoiding Some Traumas


No self-respecting site about rabbit hutches or indeed any aspect of rabbit care would be complete without a word about where to get your bunny from in the first place. New rabbit owners can avoid some distressing scenarios – poor bunnies becoming sick or worse dying soon after they reach their new home. Some responsible breeders operate with high integrity and care for their rabbits– others churn them out for profit alone, with no regard for what happens after the sale or the animals’ care needs. This article explains one way to make sure you pay to have a bunny with a health check, get good advice on how to care for you rabbit and where to find these opportunities. There are some tips here to make the process a smooth as possible.

the rabbit by devinkho

Where Can I Buy A Health Checked Rabbit?

OK, so that title is a little bit sly of us – but… One answer is rescue centres – although the process is correctly termed ‘adoption’ rather than characterised as a straightforward sale. A good rabbit rescue centre will give their rabbits a thorough vetinary check before allowing people to adopt them. Unscrupulous breeders may not provide you with a health history – or allow you to see the facilities the rabbits were bred and raised in. this is especially true with many pet stores – you simply have no idea where they beautiful baby bunnies in the glass cage came from. They may not have been socialised with humans when young, leading to handling problems as they mature. Rabbits are sociable and it’s often advised to adopt two to prevent them becoming miserably lonely – two poorly bunnies is doubly sad. The assurance of a rabbit whose health status if documented is high, next you need to consider whether you are able to provide a healthy environment for it.

bubs by rooling

Do I Qualify To Adopt A Rescue Centre Rabbit?

High quality rescue organisations will indeed be selective about who they allow to take their rabbits home. This is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself – you want to be sure that long-term, you have the lifestyle and capacity to properly care for your rabbit, to avoid distressing or embarrassing outcomes later down the road. Staff at centres should conduct a thorough interview with you but this is a two-way situation – for you to ask questions that can inform you as to whether this is really the right pet for you. And there’s no shame in deciding between you that perhaps this species is not right for you – rabbits are not low maintenance pets and whilst you may be a very caring person, perhaps you just don’t have the lifestyle to accommodate one right now. If you and the staff have come to a positive decision, you can move onto the formalities of the adoption process.

rabbits by oOlemon

Do I Get a Rabbit For Free?

Although policies vary by centre, the answer is generally no, as you have to pay a fee to cover the costs of administration for the adoption process. In many ways, this is still very good value, as it includes that all important health check. It may also include rabbit vaccinations – needed against many life-threatening diseases. The rabbit may also have been spayed – to prevent unwanted litters, which again represents good value as opposed to private vet’s fees. Despite perhaps seeming less imposing than a cat or dog to own, in fact, rabbits will cost you money in the long run with housing, runs, supplies and at least annual vet checks so the fee is justified. Once you’ve paid the fees, you’ll need a carrier to bring your pet home in and of course – a rabbit hutch.

rabbit by christa

Coming Home and Equipment

You will need AT LEAST the following minimum basics:

  • A rabbit carrier
  • A relationship with a vet who is knowledge about rabbit car
  • Spaying if this hasn’t been done
  • A large hutch – at least 4 times the size of the rabbit
  • A hay rack
  • Chew toys
  • Roll about toys
  • A rabbit run or rabbit proofed are of your home for daily exercise
  • Specialist rabbit food and hay

Once you’ve got these basics, you can move onto enrichment and creating the best life possible for your new pet. The staff at the centre can give you plenty of advice on how to care for your rabbit and shouldbe there for you on an ongoing relationship –although health care concerns need to go to your new vet. Rabbit adoption can be an excellent way to introduce a new rabbit to your home and save a rabbit who might in some places, end up being put to sleep otherwise for want of a good home.

Mike Holby

Clickable links to Worldwide  Rabbit Adoption Webpages – Including Whether Its Right For You And the Buns!

First of all, a general site for rabbit adoption with a huge page of country by country links at Rescue Me’s rabbit pages

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/sites

Now keep scrolling down for other rescues in your country:

North America – USA & Canada

Rabbit Adoption and Information network co-ordinates many rescue centres and provides advice in the USA

http://www.lagomorphs.com/mainpage.html

Petfinder co-ordinates many rescue centres which may have rabbits in the USA

http://www.petfinder.com/index.html

Zooh Corner Rabbit rescue works locally in California:

http://www.mybunny.org/us/us_1.htm

The House Rabbit Society facilitates adoption in many American states at this page:

http://www.rabbit.org/adoption/index.html

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the USA link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Ontario rabbit rehoming organisation online – Rabbit rescue

http://www.rabbitrescue.ca/

Nationwide Canadian adoption resource – Rescue Me

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/ca

Nationwide Canadian pet adoption resource – Adopt An Animal

http://www.adoptananimal.ca/

The Humane Society of Canada has a very small section:

http://humanesociety.com/component/mtree/Adopt%252Da%252DPet/Small-Critters.html

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Canada link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

UK

The UK’s Rabbit Rehome co-ordinates many centres and has advice at

http://www.rabbitrehome.org.uk/centres.asp

Pets Need you is an online resource for pet rehoming in the UK with a section for rabbits

http://www.petsneedyou.org.uk/rabbit_rescue_search.php

The UK’s nation-wide RSPCA conducts a full vet check for all their bunnies in need of homes and a full interview to help prospective bunny ‘moms’ and ‘dads’

http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect&pg=rehoming

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the UK link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

France

France’s Refuges Animaux has details of nation-wide adoption centres rehoming rabbits

http://refuges.animaux.ws/

Spain

Spain’s Animal Adoption Network may be able to assist:

http://www.spanimal.org/

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Spain link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Germany

The German section of Rescue Me is at this page:

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/de

Netherlands, Belgium,

There are shelters listed at Rabbit Pal’s website – click on the Netherlands or Belgium link on the adoption page

http://www.rabbitpal.com/shelters

Other Countries

There is a huge list of resources for many countries worldwide at Rescue Me’s website -

http://rabbit.rescueme.org/sites

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has a country by country list of rescues:

http://www.wspa.org.uk/members/findmember/Default.aspx

Rabbit Pal – links to worldwide rescues (Australasia, Europe, elsewhere):

http://www.rabbitpal.com/rabbitpal_com_welcomes_you

IMPORTANT: This article is provided for information only and links are provided in good faith – we cannot endorse nor be responsbile for the content or practice of external links and rabbit rescue organisations. If you have any concerns about rabbit health or welfare, please contact a knowleagble vet. For information on whether your lifestyle can successfully accomodate a new rabbit, please seek professional advice from an appropriate care organisation. Sorry for sounding like a little lecture guys -now that’s out the way, we hope you liked the lovely photos – here’s the genius photographers behind them:

Three bunnies on grass – top photo http://www.sxc.hu/profile/devinkho Bunny on hind legs http://www.sxc.hu/profile/rooling Black and white rabbits http://www.sxc.hu/profile/oOlemon Close up of beautiful rabbit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/christa

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Categories: Getting A Rabbit | Author: admin | Comments: 38 Comments |



Flystrike – A Gross and Killer Disease


This is an issue that is definitely related to any discussion of rabbit hutches. Flystrike is a frankly horrific disease which rabbits are particularly prone to. Any rabbit affected by it should be rushed to the vets as it’s 100% an emergency and can kill untreated. This article aims to briefly explain what it is, when it happens, tips for prevention and what to do if you suspect it. You should get an idea of the territory that could save your rabbit’s life.

What Is Flystrike?

It happens when flies lay eggs onto the rabbit’s skin, usually around the anus or sometimes the feet. The eggs hatch rapidly, possibly within an hour or two, into fly maggots. The maggots then need something to eat – and start to eat into the rabbit’s skin. As if this wasn’t bad enough, this action means they give the rabbit diseases, which can become serious or kill if untreated. Flies laying eggs in this way is a serious problem – and it happens more in some places than others.

in the shade by lusi

When Does It Happen Most?

The link is simple – hot weather, more flies, more flystrike. So if you live somewhere there are plenty of flies, be super aware. However, don’t assume it’s just an issue for folks who live in sunny climes, even in places like the UK with its notoriously understated summers, flies can and do still attack. It also affects guinea pigs, but is most associated with rabbits. Knowing the danger season can help, as can some preventative measures all year round.

Prevention Tips

Hang a fly-strip near the hutch – but not anywhere your bunny or other pets could have a go at nibbling it (yeuch- not to mention danger from the chemicals). Cleaning the hutch is a must, do it daily because flies are attracted to urine soaked and dropping-clad fur and hutch materials. You can ask vets to recommend a safe disinfectant cleaner for the hutch. They can also recommend specially formulated products which you apply to the rabbit to directly guard it – NEVER use household fly sprays or human insect repellents for rabbits or their houses, cages, runs or materials in them. A diet very rich in grass may cause softer, prolific droppings which attract flies. Check rabbits at least twice daily, especially feet and rear ends. Ask your vet if they have any extra tips. If you’ve done all the prevention methods you can find, but you still suspect flystrike, this is time to drop everything and take the rabbit straight to the vet.

slain syrphid fly by hejboel

Suspected Or Actual Flystrike

If you find any sore patches, or see maggots or strange looking little patches on your rabbits skin, the safest advice is rush it to the vets. You can remove maggots but we recommend getting the vet to do it – they’re very experienced, can give your rabbit a calming sedative – (and are frankly speaking much more likely to be calm than any of us here would be faced with maggots on our bunnies) making it a less harrowing procedure for the rabbit. They can treat the condition swiftly, calmly and administer any necessary antibiotics and provide good advice.

medical care by egahen

Flystrike is horrible but can be dealt with. Its usually green bottles, although other flies will have a go as well (1). Getting on top of the situation is essential and good hutch hygiene goes a long way towards this.

IMPORTANT: Please only see your vet if you have any concerns about rabbit care – this isn’t intended for diagnosis or treatment advice and can’t replace a vet’s expertise under any circumstances. Many thanks.

Kim Wryall

References

Galens Garden. Fly strike (Myiasis) [online]. Available at:

http://www.galensgarden.co.uk/herbivores/health/flystrike.php

Photo Credits

Sunny day with parasol http://www.sxc.hu/profile/lusi Fly http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hejboel Thermomiter and pills http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Egahen

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Categories: Flystrike | Author: admin | Comments: 102 Comments |

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