Proper Keeping of Rabbits

Before you buy rabbits, you should think carefully about whether you can meet the housing requirements of rabbits at all. Read here what you should consider before getting rabbits and how to properly keep rabbits.

You are considering getting a rabbit. It is important that they know that these animals are not only cute but also place high demands on their owners. This includes not only the right care, the right cage, and species-appropriate employment, but also the right social partner. You can find out here how rabbits are kept and cared for in a species-appropriate manner.

A rabbit alone does not go

If you want to get a rabbit, you should consider from the start: rabbits can never be kept alone. They are very social group animals and need at least one other animal to interact with (cuddling, grooming each other, etc.).

Warning: guinea pigs cannot replace a rabbit partner for your animal!

Keeping rabbits: maintenance effort and costs

Essential aspects of keeping rabbits are the costs and care required for the animals. Rabbits can live eight years and older. For this long period of time, you assume full responsibility for the animals.

However, this does not only include daily, healthy feeding and cleaning of the enclosure. You should also set aside some time each day to interact with and observe your long-eared bats. In this way, you will notice changes in behavior more quickly, which indicate that you are feeling unwell or are ill.

In the event of illness, you should spare no expense or effort to ensure that your protégés receive veterinary care at an early stage. At least twice a year, the vet visit is due, as rabbits have to be vaccinated regularly.

Keeping of rabbits: free-range and enclosure size

Rabbits can be kept outdoors or indoors. The size of the rabbit enclosure is particularly important for both types of housing. Before you get rabbits, you should think carefully about whether you have the space for them: The “Veterinarian Association for Animal Welfare.” recommends an enclosure with a floor area of ​​at least 6m² for two rabbits, the size must be increased by 20 percent for each additional rabbit. You also have to set up the enclosure in a rabbit-friendly way.

The rabbit cages that are offered in pet shops usually do not even come close to meeting these dimensions! You have the following options for a species-appropriate rabbit enclosure:

  • a whole rabbit room that you design rabbit-safe and species-appropriate.
  • a combination of cage and exercise area (The exercise area is essential for keeping rabbits. Keeping rabbits in a cage without an exercise area is by no means species-appropriate! The exercise area must be accessible at all times and the cage should primarily serve as a place of retreat. This also applies to keeping rabbits outside.).
  • a self-assembled enclosure.
  • a ready-made enclosure of sufficient size (available from specialized dealers, often custom-made – but usually very expensive).

Here are some examples:

In addition, the rabbits need daily free range in the apartment or in the garden.

It is important when running freely in the apartment that all sources of danger such as electrical cables and poisonous indoor plants are inaccessible to rabbits.

Many rabbits will become housebroken if you offer them littered toilets. Nevertheless, something can always go wrong, and unfortunately, some animals never learn to use a toilet. Please keep in mind that these rabbits also need to be allowed to roam freely in the apartment.

Keep rabbits and other pets together

Before you get a rabbit, it is also important to clarify whether all family members or roommates agree. Maybe someone in the shared apartment doesn’t want to live with rabbits or has health problems that prevent them from living with them. A common reason for giving pets away is allergies. With the help of an allergy test, it can be clarified in advance whether an allergy to rabbits or hay is present.

Once these possible obstacles have been removed, the question remains whether other pets already live in the household:

Both cats and dogs are predators that have a natural play or hunting instinct. For this reason, you should only let dogs and cats with your rabbits under supervision. If your cat is chasing the rabbits or if your dog is barking at them, it is important to keep them away from your rabbits.
Since rabbits are very sensitive to noise, keeping them in a room with loudly screeching birds is not recommended.
Rodents such as chinchillas, pet rats, hamsters, etc. can live in the same apartment or room, but should always be kept separate (both in the enclosure and when roaming freely in the apartment).
Rabbits are often socialized with guinea pigs. However, this “emergency community” does not do justice to either of the two animal species. Guinea pigs and rabbits have completely different phonetic and body language and therefore cannot communicate with each other. This leads to misunderstandings and frustrations between the animals.

Compromises are not an option when keeping rabbits. If you do not meet these basic requirements, your rabbit can develop behavioral problems and become ill. Only when you have checked all of these points and found that you meet the housing requirements of rabbits in all points are you suitable as a rabbit owner. Then nothing stands in the way of harmonious coexistence with a happy rabbit.

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