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.

When Smaller Is Ok

We recommend the same size hutch regardless of what breed or size your rabbit is.  However, we do recognise that sometime a smaller hutch may be acceptable – usually only on a temporary basis. When introducing a new rabbit to an existing rabbit or group, it will be necessary to have a tempoary environment for …

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Owning A House Rabbit

An article about owning House Rabbits written by Laura McFarlane, a Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care volunteer. It is a relatively new concept to keep rabbits indoors. It can be very challenging but also very rewarding. Having 4 house buns of my own, I can honestly say the pros far outweight the cons (even for the …

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Keeping Outdoor Rabbits

Too many rabbits are left cooped up in a tiny hutch all their lives. Rabbits need space, exercise, company and stimulation, so if you’re planning on keeping an outdoor rabbit, you must make sure you give extra thought to how you can ensure they are getting everything they need. You must give a lot of …

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Keeping House Rabbits

Did you know you don’t have to keep your rabbits locked up in a hutch all day? In fact, it’s important that you don’t! You must give a lot of careful thought to your rabbits environment to make sure you’re giving them somewhere that’s right for their natural needs & behaviours. So, think about whether …

Keeping House Rabbits Read More »

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