Health and Welfare
Rabbits are ideal pets for older children and adults, they’re inquistive, friendly and like to come out to play regularly. Rabbits can live on average 8 years sometime longer, both males and females make excellent pets although neutered male rabbits are generally more laid back and friendlier. Rabbits are happiest when they have another rabbit for company, they are very sociable animals. However, they should be neutered to prevent breeding or fighting. Neutered bunnies tend to live happier together. The best pairing is usually a castrated male and spayed female. Once neutered rabbits are happier and healthier and make better companions, they are calmer, more sociable and loving, their destructive and aggressive behaviour subside too.
There are several common rabbit diseases, many of which are contagious. It’s vital that your rabbit is vaccinated againstthe two deadly diseases known as Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD). A single injection for each disease will fully protect your rabbit, please contact your vet who can advise you on these vaccinations.
If you keep your rabbit outdoors, make sure your hutch is draught free and fully weatherproof. RWAF states that a hutch must be 6ft x 2ft x 2ft, the bigger the better really. Rabbits should have access to daily run a minimum of 6ft, again the bigger the better, they should have lots of toys, tunnels, plant pots, logs etc, trying to provide a more natural habitat to stimulate their needs.
When feeding your rabbits a good brand of pellets Supa Rabbit Excel is recommended daily, together with fresh vegetables and fruit, eg spring green, kale, broccoli, dandelions, apple and pear. Please visit the RWAF for a list of all vegetables which can be given. Large amounts of fresh hay to aid digestion and help grind their teeth down, preventing them from growing to long and becoming painful. Too much green food can upset your rabbits stomach, so be aware of this. Fresh daily water must be supplied too.
Regular grooming will strengthen the relationship/bond between you and your pets and it can also help to highlight any health problems.
Outdoor pets are susceptable to flystrike during the summer months, which is where flies are attracted to a dirty soiled bottom, most common reason, lay the eggs, then producing maggots which spread causing a tremendous amount of damage to the tissues. To prevent flystrike please ensure that bedding is dry, the rabbit does not have any wounds or ulcerated areas of skin and that there are no problems to prevent him taking caecotrophs (nightime poo). There is nothing more simple than checking your rabbit every 3 – 4 hours in the height of summertime.
Please ensure you provide your guinea pigs with secure accommodation that is large enough for them to exercise in and high enough for them to stand up fully on their back legs. They also need a large exercise area with a secure shelter where they can rest, feel safe and are protected from predators and extremes of weather and tempertaure. The housing needs to be well ventilated, dry and draught free.
Guinea pigs like to exercise so provide lots of tunnels, tubes and toys to play with, they especially like wooden toys/willow sticks to knaw on.
Guinea pigs are grazers and naturally eat only grass, herbs and some plants like dandelions and groundsel. They must have lots of grass/hay to aid the digestion system to function properly and to wear there teeth down. It is most important that they have sufficient vitamin c in their diet, fresh grass and leafy greens such as kale or broccoli are good sources of vit c. Only give carrots or apples in small amounts as a treat.
Guinea pigs are naturally sociable and normally prefer to be with another guinea pig.