Why you should neuter your rabbit and what to expect: When adopting a pet rabbit, it is recommended to keep pairs or groups. Rabbits are social animals and much prefer the safety, security and warmth being with others. The most successful pair bonds are between a male and female so neutering and spaying are essential …
One of our primary goals is to educate the public about rabbit welfare issues. But where do we get the idea that there’s a problem? How do we know what’s right and what’s not right for the welfare of our beloved pets? After all, the advice we’re giving is vastly different to that of 20 years ago, and rabbits have now been domesticated for centuries. So do we really need to change how we care for our rabbits, or are the team at Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care just a little bit over protective?
Before we even look into the vast amount of research that has been completed on rabbit behaviours and health, we need only look as far as the Animal Welfare Act for advice.
The Five Freedoms are set out in the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 and apply to all animals including rabbits. They are as follows:-
- Freedom from hunger and thirst – by providing fresh water and the right type and amount of food to keep them fit.
- Freedom from discomfort – by making sure that animals have the right kind of environment including shelter and somewhere comfortable to rest.
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease – by preventing them from getting ill or injured and by making sure animals are diagnosed and treated rapidly if they do.
- Freedom to behave normally – by making sure animals have enough space, proper facilities and the company of other animals of their own kind.
- Freedom from fear and stress – by making sure their condition and treatment avoid mental suffering.
Our understanding of what these freedoms means in terms of our rabbits then is where the research comes in to place. The vet industry alongside various animal welfare charities and universities have studied rabbit behaviour and health in detail in recent years, and it is this research that can influence how we apply the concepts of the Animal Welfare Act to our care of rabbits.
We’ve created an easy to remember phrase that will help you meet the 5 freedoms for your rabbits: Rabbits Need SHEDS.
S: Space – this addresses freedoms number 2, 3, 4 and 5.
H: Health – this addresses freedoms number 1 and 3.
E: Exercise – this addresses freedoms 2, 3 and 4
D: Diet – this addresses freedoms number 1 and 3
S: Stimulation – this addresses freedoms 4 and 5.
Pet Rabbit Welfare Guidance – The Scottish Government
As of 6th April 2018, The Scottish Government have also now published their “Pet Rabbit Welfare Guidance”, which you can view by clicking here.
On The Hop – Rabbit Care Guide from The Rabbit Welfare Association
We invite you to read through our care advice within our website and our Facebook page.
However, we would also encourage you to have a look at the Rabbit Welfare Association’s rabbit care guide “On The Hop”, which is full of excellent advice and tips relating to everything you might wish to know for caring for your rabbits.
If you are new to rabbit ownership, or still researching whether they would be the right pet for you, we strongly encourage you to have a look through it.Click here to read the On The Hop guide.
There may be less firework displays this year due the pandemic, but individuals may still let them off in their gardens – much to the dismay of wildlife and pets! Fireworks are LOUD and many animals won’t understand what the threat is, where it is coming from and how to stay safe. This results in high levels of stress …
It’s hard to tell exactly what our rabbits are thinking most of the time. As a prey animal, they’re naturals when it comes to hiding how they really feel as a form of protecting themselves… especially when they’re feeling unwell. Rabbits have very subtle ways of telling us how they’re feeling through their body language. …
For rabbits to live long, happy and healthy lives it is important for them to receive their annual boosters – just like cats and dogs! Rabbits should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and two strains of Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD). Myxomatosis is a highly contagious viral disease, which in non-vaccinated European rabbits, is nearly always fatal. It …
How to keep your rabbit active & safe Some of us plan our days around that all important piece of exercise and getting some fresh air, and why not? It is a great feeling to move your body, clear your mind and make everyone else envious by posting on Instagram your personal best time for …
Providing stimulation for your pet doesn’t need to mean buying expensive toys for them. Toilet roll tubes, cardboard boxes and shredded paper can all be used to make fun toys. Try stuffing the toilet roll tube with hay for a fun chew toy, for extra fun for bunny, hide a treat inside and let them …
You never see a rabbit on its own in the wild; they always have a few friends nearby, and many more hidden away where we can’t see them. Rabbits are part of an extensive community and rely on that community for stimulation and survival. Domestic rabbits aren’t really any different form their wild cousins and …
Rabbits have around 17000 taste buds and enjoy a varied diet. There is a huge variety of tasty veg, herbs and forage that you can treat your bunnies to. Check out our Safe foods list for inspiration for new foods to try with your rabbits, and the ones you should avoid.
The most important thing for your rabbit is hay. This is vital to their diet, and they should have a constant supply of if. A rabbit should typically eat it’s own size equivalent in hay each day, and as it is so good for both their digestion and their teeth, it should form their staple …
Supplement their hay with fresh fruit & vegetables. Try to stick to greens though – the darker the better. Some fruit & veg is not good for rabbits, so give it some thought and research what they can and can’t eat (see our list below). Carrots are not a good thing to be shovelling into …