Care Advice

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.

Note, another useful phrase to remember is that Rabbits Need SECS (Space, Exercise, Company & Stimulation).  This phrase is heavily promoted by the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund.

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.

Dry Rabbit Foods

This should also be considered as a supplement for your rabbit, and shouldn’t be the main basis of their food intake.  In fact, most people would be surprised at how little dry rabbit foods you should be giving your rabbit.  Even a lot of the supplier’s suggested feeding levels are far too high if you …

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Chubby Bunny

British vets recently reported that a large percentage of pet rabbits coming in for check-ups are significantly overweight.   Being a chubby bunny can cause significant health problems including sore hocks and sore joints. If a rabbit is overweight it makes cleaning themselves very difficult putting them at risk of fly strike.  Bunnies will live longer …

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Bin The Carrots!

Did you know that carrots actually aren’t very good for rabbits?!  They are high in sugar and can cause weight gain, tooth decay and slow down the gut due to an excess of sugars fermenting in the stomach.  Wild rabbits would not normally eat carrots. They may go for the leafy green shoots which is …

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Walking Your Rabbit

Who says you can’t walk a rabbit?!  There are a variety of harnesses available form pet stores and on-line retailers which are suitable for bunnies.  It may take a while for your rabbits to adjust to using a harness and it is better if you can start getting them used to it while they are …

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Encouraging Movement

Some rabbits need more encouragement to exercise than others.  There can be a number of reasons for this.  If you have rescued your bunny it’s possible that their previous lifestyle didn’t allow for much exercise so it may take time to coax them into a new routine.  There may be a few factors affecting your …

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Dangers Of A Lazy Bun

Just because you provide your rabbit with a big run to play in doesn’t necessarily mean that bunny will automatically take advantage of it. “My rabbits just lazy, he doesn’t like to exercise” However it is important not to give up on getting your rabbit to move around as they can end up with very …

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Trim Those Claws

It may seem like a really simple thing but it’s also really important.   If rabbit’s claws grow too long they can start to curl in on themselves causing pain and discomfort.  Outdoor rabbits tend to do better at keeping their nails trim themselves as they have more opportunity  to dig and scratch them on hard …

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The Importance of ALWAYS Neutering

At Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care we are strongly of the belief that it is a vital welfare need for ALL domestic rabbits to be neutered (castrated or spayed).  There are a number of reasons for this. Preventing Unwanted Litters:  The most obvious being population control. Rabbits have their reputation for breeding for a very good …

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Keep The Gut Moving

Rabbits have very delicate digestive systems so it’s important to ensure they are getting the correctly balanced diet.  This should be 80% hay and grass, 15% a variety of leafy greens herbs and vegetables. And 5% pelleted food (about 1 small egg cup full.)  Getting the wrong diet or a sudden change in diet can …

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