Indoor Hutches – The Modern Cool For Rabbits


Increasingly the trend in rabbit care is to keep the rabbit hutch indoors. This may reflect greater increases in urban predators attacking outdoor rabbit hutches such as the urban fox. It’s also probably due to greater access to information easily available on you home PC more recently. Owners may be choosing to house indoors also have a much greater array of products from pet stores to help them these days. This article aims to explore whether you can reasonably keep a rabbit indoors for your sake and theirs, the advantages of it and what you need to do if you want them to have the run of part of your home to protect it and them.

cadbury the rabbit by abigail

Is It Really Normal to Keep Them Indoors?

Rabbit hutches can be reasonably placed indoors without creating too much disturbance for your home environment. If you’re worried about a smelly hutch, good rabbit care involves cleaning the hutch daily in any case, which should prevent unpleasant odours. (It may be the case that the ‘rabbit hutch’ smell we remember from our childhoods was to do with damp hutches outside in any case?). In terms of normal, it certainly wouldn’t be out of step, as it’s defiantly a trend – with many people opting to allow their rabbits part of the house to roam freely in at some point during the day. So you can feel confident it’s not going to give you too many social problems, there should be no smell and it’s quite the modern way to do it these days.

What About Letting Them Run Free?

Some owners do this, the plus sides are fantastic interaction with your pet, to help the bonding process – for kids too, it can be more rewarding to feel that their bunny has a relationship with them. You may also find having them in the hutch and free running at times in the house helps you monitor for illness. A very humanist perspective is most people would like to do the right thing by their pets but they lead busy lives – perhaps simply having the rabbit around while you do the chores an easier way here. Free running has many advantages but you need some tips on rabbit-proofing the home before you attempt it.

bunny in the mirror by arancia

Chew, chomp, chew, nom….DANGER!!!

Move any electrical wires. Many bunnies have been fatally electrocuted by chewing electrical wires. You can buy tough vinyl tubing from a hardware store to house the wires in so they can’t get at them (1). In fact, anything they can chew could cause injury – as they chew, little parts can be created. This can ‘poke’ them both inside and out! You also want to keep curtains/drapes, hanging bedspreads, precious fabrics – not to mention the paper or plastic folders from your briefcase- well out of nibbling reach. Some household plants are poisons to them – keep all plants well away from them just in case (2). Once you’ve eliminated these hazards and protected your furnishings, think who else is around in the home.

Nom, nom, nom... ANYTHING I Can...

Nom, nom, nom... ANYTHING I Can...

Pets and Kids

Although cats, dogs and other pets may seem to get along just fine with Mr Bunny-Kins, never leave them unsupervised. Bunnies scurry about and this could excite a pet to ‘play’ or attack, causing injury or stress. No-one’s being naughty as such, this is what many breeds of dog, for example, were originally bred to do! Kids aren’t born with animal skills, they need you to teach them good handling – rabbits can suffer crippling injuries if inappropriately picked up or accidentally dropped. Again, no-one’s naughty here – kids ‘love’ their teddies – and you – by cuddling, they just need your tuition as to how to do it properly. NEVER lift a rabbit by the ears, this has caused major injuries. Having placed firm boundaries on the other pets and kids in the house, think about what your bunny might be coming into contact with.

Chemical Danger

Some household chemicals used to clean furnishings may be toxic to rabbits – if they choose to chew on the furnishings (2). You may find it useful to distract them by providing safe chewing toys for them – even a cardboard box full of hay will do (1).

Living more closely with your rabbit might help you spot life threatening diseases – did you know that if a bunny sneezes, it may have a condition that could lead to pneumonia? Younger rabbits under 1 year old usually need a closer eye kept on them for chewing, etc than older rabbits do but still, take no chances. There are, as explained, some distinct advantages that may fit in well with modern urban living – more foxes being around (or other predators, depending on your location), and having an easier way to interact with your bunny if you can’t spend long periods in your garden.

Morning mom!

Morning mom!

Kim Wryall

References:

1. House Rabbit Society. Living with a House Rabbit [online]. Available from:

http://www.rabbit.org/care/hrsbroGray.pdf

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

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

Photo Credits – fantastic photos by:

Rabbit on blue blanket  http://www.sxc.hu/profile/abigail Bunny with mirror http://www.sxc.hu/profile/arancia Chewing bunny- did you see what he’s done to that carrot? http://www.sxc.hu/profile/kirsche222 Black and white duvet-hogging bunny http://www.sxc.hu/profile/baron_bart

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Categories: Indoor Hutches | Author: admin | Comments: 14 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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