Welcome to the Rabbit Hutch

Did you know….
Rabbits originate from the Iberian Peninsula. "Spain" literally translates as "the land of the rabbit."

A rabbit will need ample space, a clean cage, shade (if kept outside) and exercise.
Rabbits can be kept in the home or outside in a weatherproof, protected hutch. Always buy the largest home you can afford for your rabbit, and at the very least ensure the cage or hutch is four times the size of the rabbit. The animal should have enough room to stand on its hind legs without its ears touching the top of the cage.  Wire cages or hutches are advised as they are stronger, easier to maintain and unlike wooden structures cannot be chewed, or become soaked and smelly with urine.

Generally speaking, the rule is one cage, one rabbit. In nine out of ten cases adult rabbits do not get along but it is however possible to house females together - as long as they have sufficient space. The old saying "they multiply like rabbits" is certainly true so don't house rabbits of opposite sexes unless you want to breed.

Cages with wire floors can be used as they facilitate cleaning - droppings and urine pass through the grating into a removable tray beneath. Nonetheless, wire bottomed cages have disadvantages: they prevent rabbits from reabsorbing their droppings, which is an important part of diet. Metal wire can also turn cold quickly, robbing the rabbit of body heat especially at night and during winter. Metal is also uncomfortable for a rabbit's paws so you will need wooden boarding on the floor and some hay for added warmth and comfort.

Every cage and hutch should have feeding bowls and water vessels: open containers or a vertical drinker attached to the side of the rabbit's housing. A rabbit should not be in its cage 24 hours per day. If outdoors the hutch should have an adequate-sized run for exercise, if indoors the rabbit should be allowed to run around a room. All rabbits should be supplied with chewable toys which keep its teeth in trim while providing some useful distraction.

Outdoor rabbits will need a hutch, which is basically, a two sided structure containing a cage and an enclosed unit. Hutches with heavy wire mesh are best as these prevent the animal from escaping, and, predators from entering. Rabbits can live quite happily outdoors if their housing is waterproof, warm, draught-free and with dry bedding. In colder temperatures the hutch should be placed near a wall or side gable to block it from the elements. In summer always provide a rabbit with shade because the animal's brain swells very quickly; in the wild rabbits hide from sunlight

The hutch should be slightly elevated above ground level as this allows air to circulate and prevents moisture from gathering. A raised hutch also stabilizes temperatures for the bunny inside.

Indoor rabbits are normally neutered as this makes them less aggressive and reduces
House rabbits can be provided with litter trays and organic cat litter (not clay or wood based litters as the dust causes respiratory problems). A litter tray is needed for house training a rabbit, which is a good idea if your pet has full run of the home. After deliberate care and planning, a rabbit can be "taught" to use its litter tray in much the same way as a cat.

In the home rabbits should be safe from danger. Things like wires and cables, books and magazines should be out of reach, otherwise a rabbit will happily munch its way through them!

Like many humans, rabbits love to eat all the wrong foods! Like us, they will eat junk food before tucking into a fresh salad and the proverbial "rabbit food." With this in mind, it is important that owners keep their rabbits healthy - by feeding the correct foods.

Rabbits are dawn and dusk feeders that in the wild prefer a variety of sweet, tender foods that are rich in protein and fiber. Commercial rabbit foods have an important place in a rabbit's diet because they contain approximately 16% protein and 16% fiber. Rabbit pellets should be fresh, sweet smelling and short in length. Rabbits can be fed a mixture of pellets and flakes made from grasses, oats, bran, peas and corn. Once you have decided on a
brand of food, your pet rabbit should do well on 50 grams (2oz) of pellets per day depending on its activity level and size. Divide this into two feedings, one in the morning and at night. (Don't allow your bunny to free-feed as it leads to obesity and may cause diarrhea).

Nevertheless, a pellet-only diet is not advised because it lacks other essential nutrients. Furthermore pellet food doesn't exercise a rabbit's teeth in the way for which they were designed. A rabbit's teeth are designed for slicing and grinding at a rate exceeding 120 chews per minute. Small, hard pellets of food cannot be sliced so they are crushed by the molars. This causes dental misalignment because the teeth are growing too quickly before they can be worn down.

The best approach is to feed on a diet of bulky foodstuffs, alfalfa, hay, and vegetables. In your rabbit's salad you can also include clover, peapods, dandelion greens, kale, carrot tops, parsley and beetroot tops which are high in plant proteins. Do not feed lighter greens such as lettuce, bagged salad greens, celery or cabbage as they lack nutrients. Lettuce can cause diarrhea, cabbage causes wind, and celery can get caught in the rabbit's gut. Try and include three different dark green vegetables every day in your rabbit's diet.

* Don't overfeed rabbits on beans, peas, corn, wheat, barley and vegetables that grow underground.
* Don't feed your bunny crackers, bread or pasta as these are sugary and can cause tooth decay in rabbits.
* As a treat, feed your rabbit fruits that are high in fiber such as apples, pears, peaches, pineapples and strawberries. Avoid bananas and grapes.

* Everyone knows that rabbits love carrots - but however don't just feed the body of the carrot - the carrot tops are a valuable source of protein.
* Supply rabbits with grass. It is an essential part of a rabbit's diet in the wild; it is an excellent source of fiber, and maintains the health of the intestinal tract.

Young rabbits should be fed on a pellet-only diet until the age of six months. After this time slowly introduce fresh greens.

Don't make any sudden changes to a rabbit's diet as it will cause stomach upset.

Rinse vegetables in water to remove any material that may have been sprayed on them to preserve freshness and color.

Place food in a bright corner of the hutch if you want to encourage your rabbit to eat.

Because rabbits prefer sweet foods, you can use molasses or sugar to dress up a food which you are trying to introduce to the rabbit's diet. Gradually reduce the sugar topping until the rabbit is eating without sugar.

Always have a fresh supply of water in the rabbit's hutch. Rabbits drink about two times more water than the amount of food they eat. Remember a rabbit cannot survive longer than 24 hours without water.