Before you bring a rabbit home to live with you, you should learn something about the needs and behaviors of rabbits, as well as how to prepare your home for a rabbit. First, buy food that will be healthiest for the rabbit. This means food that is very low in fat and very high in fiber ( at least 18% fiber).
Rabbits need stimulation and playtime, just like children, otherwise they become too fat and very bored. So please let them out of their cage for a couple of hours every day, and provide a variety of toys, including some toys they can chew. And have fun playing with your bunny and their toys.
Next, you need to rabbit-proof your home by setting out two to several litter boxes among the rooms where you will permit your rabbit to roam. Take newspapers and shred them for litter, or buy the Carefresh, paper-based litter. Please do not use either cedar or pine chips or mulch for litter, since these are deadly to rabbits. Also, buy a pet carrier that opens from the top, so you can easily get the rabbit in and out and transport it to a vet.
Now enjoy your new pet rabbit, and please take the responsibility of rabbit ownership seriously.
You should primarily feed your rabbit Timothy hay and, for variety, vegetables and fruit as well as small amounts of commercially available rabbit food pellets. Rabbits can eat nearly any type of vegetable or fruit. Just be sure you do not give them food that has touched human saliva, since this can seriously hurt a rabbit. Also, be sure not to give them food containing pits or many seeds.
Bunnies need cages or enclosures that are properly sized for their body. For example, you can keep a dwarf rabbit in smaller housing than one of the "Giant" breeds. Make sure you put down Timothy hay or the commercially available CareFresh product as bedding for your rabbit; never use cedar shavings for bedding, since cedar can lead to liver damage. Your rabbit will feed on the Timothy hay at its leisure.
When you first bring home your rabbit, watch where in the bedding it chooses to poop (usually on the side of its cage or enclosure, away from its food). Then, at that location put a litter box topped with Timothy Hay. Also provide a water bowl or bottle, and salt licks are a good idea so that your bunny receives needed minerals.
Do provide "chew toys" for your bunny; these can be inexpensive and as simple as a paper towel roll, cardboard tubing, or a natural straw hat. Bunnies are healthiest when you let them have free range of the room and you find time to play with them. But, before you leave your house, please remember to close your rabbit cage or enclosure!
Be observant of your bunny, what they look like and what they do when you first bring your healthy rabbit home. Then be attentive to them, and realize that they may have off-days, just like humans or other animals. Some tips to detecting when your rabbit may be sick are:
- Rabbits tend to hide when they are feeling sick.
- Know how your healhy rabbit's body feels when you pick them up and hold them. This will help you detect an illness that has changed their body.
- Learn what your healthy rabbit's fecal pellets look like. This way you will know to call or stop in at the vet if you think your rabbit is not digesting their food properly.
Yes, domestic rabbits actually are very social animals, and will love to have attention from you and to play with you. And rabbits will each have their own personality differences and preferences. Try different types of play toys with your rabbit-- such as boxes with doorways cut into them (to let the rabbit go in and out), paper cups, and chewing toys. See what toys your bunny likes the most, and make sure you offer these toys at playtime.
Do let your rabbit out of its cage at least a couple of hours every day to get human interaction and playtime. This way, they can develop and maintain their personality and healthy spirit.