Over the next year we plan on documenting everything we know about rabbits for the benefit of others in our situation, but for now here are the basics:
- Adopt, don’t shop - there are thousands of abandoned rabbits at sanctuaries around the world. Please visit one before buying a farmed baby from a pet shop or an online ad. Locally (Birmingham, UK) we recommend Fat Fluffs and Wythall Rescue.
- Hay, not cereal - rabbits do not need all that fancy nonsense you can buy for them. Sure, they’ll eat it all up but then they’ll get fat and ill, and you don’t want that. Give them an endless supply of fresh, normal hay that horses eat. This will give them nearly all the nutrition they need and keep their teeth ground down. Top this up with a daily bowl of greens (we buy curly kale) and a palm of quality pellets like Selective to balance the diet. That’s it!
- A hutch is not enough - Dudes gotta run! Ours live in a big 6ft hutch inside a shed with 24-hour access to a 12x6ft aviary which they can run around in. We also give them at least half an hour outside on the lawn to get their motors really firing. Indoor rabbits should have full access to at least one room. There is nothing more awesome than watching your rabbit run free, as nature intended.
- Save your pennies - rabbits are expensive pets, particularly at the vets. We currently budget about £600 a year medical expenses for three dudes, which is totally worth it of course.
There are lots of books on rabbits out there. We can definitely recommend these two:
Caring for your Companion Pet Rabbit could do with a copy-edit but is probably the most sensible guide we’ve seen. We learned a lot from this ebook, and it’s very cheap. Plus the cover is awesome!
Stories Rabbits Tell is a more in-depth book about the history of the rabbit as a wild animal, ancient symbol, pop culture icon, commercial “product” and domesticated pet. It’s a great way to understand why we have semi-wild prey animals living with us and how that came to be.