Mental and physical stimulation keeps your rabbits healthy and fit. Read here how you can promote the fitness of your rabbits with animal-friendly toys and meaningful activities.
Jumping, running, digging, scratching, nibbling, and hiding are all part of rabbits’ natural behavioral repertoire. The rabbits should also be able to keep up with these activities as pets, otherwise, they may develop behavioral disorders. Both the enclosure and the free-range should be designed in such a way that the animals can live out their natural behavior as well as possible.
Furnishings for rabbits to play and feel good in
You should be particularly creative with the interior design of the enclosure so that the rabbits can move around in their enclosure and follow their natural behavior patterns. Provide your bunnies with various cave-like hiding places such as spacious houses and large tunnels made of wood, cork, cardboard, and fabric. More ideas for rabbit-friendly furnishings:
Rabbits also love elevated seating (such as flat-roofed houses and tunnels) that they can access via shallow ramps. This need is met, for example, by the rodent corner by Resch.
For the well-being of the rabbits, sleeping places can also be made comfortable by padding them with old blankets, sheets, towels, and patchwork rugs. Comfortable grass beds are also available.
The animals also like to use towels and blankets to scratch in them. Large digging boxes* with sand or earth are even better. Alternatively, a box can be filled with scraps of paper or straw.
In principle, the enclosure must be large enough for the rabbit to move around a lot. Rabbits are also happy about elements that they can jump over.
Food games for rabbits
You can satisfy your rabbits’ passion for nibbling with the help of suitable gnawing material. Branches from unsprayed fruit trees and bushes, such as apple and pear trees as well as blueberry and currant bushes, are very popular. The leaves are eaten fresh and dried and make a good contribution to a healthy diet. Untreated wicker baskets and rings as well as straw/hay nests and mats are also suitable. Grass balls with a bell* can encourage rabbits to play.
The animals are also allowed to nibble on cardboard boxes and rolls of cardboard. To challenge the animals, even more, you can hide food such as hay or carrots in the cardboard tubes. If hay is put into the rolls, small holes can be cut in the cardboard beforehand. Your rabbits pluck the hay out of the holes and are usefully occupied for some time.
Clicker training as an activity for rabbits
Another way to playfully challenge rabbits is clicker training. With the help of the clicker method, the animals learn little tricks such as jumping over obstacles, manipulating, and retrieving. As a basic remedy, you need a clicker* and some treats (e.g. small pieces of carrots or apples). The first step is to spread the treats over a small area of the freewheel. When your rabbit runs to the treats, this desired behavior is rewarded with a click.
The sound of the clicker is meant to announce the treat. Don’t click before or after the desired behavior, click always during it. After each click, the reward (in the form of a treat) must be given immediately.
If you want to teach your rabbit something specific, like jumping over obstacles or using the toilet, you should break the task down into sub-goals. In this way, the animals are introduced to the exercise or the desired behavior in small steps. Only when a task has been successfully completed do you start with the next level of difficulty.
Of course, clicker training only makes sense if your rabbits enjoy it and are neither scared nor overwhelmed. You should not overwhelm your rabbit with demands and give him enough opportunities to retreat.