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 |



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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