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In the wild, prey species such as rabbits are very good at hiding behaviours that may single them out to predators and make them susceptible to attack. Pet rabbits are no different and are very good at hiding signs of ill health until they are seriously unwell. Often owners may only notice a problem when their bunny stops eating or becomes very thin. One way of keeping track of how your bunny is doing is to keep a record of their weight. Weighing your rabbit every 1-2 weeks and noting their weight on the calendar helps to spot early signs of health problems. It is also important to regularly handle your rabbit and check underneath in their genital area for signs of faecal soiling or urine scalding. Rabbits naturally need to eat some of their softer droppings or ‘caecotrophs’, which help to keep their digestive tract healthy. If you notice soft droppings around the anus which have not been eaten, this may be another sign of health problems and is worth a visit to your vet for a check up.

Rabbits, like any pet, need access to shelter (particularly if housed outdoors), exercise and regular feeding. An outdoor hutch should provide adequate shelter from rain or heat and also be fly proof. Bedding in the hutch should be changed regularly to prevent skin and other health problems. Regular exercise is important to keep rabbits physically well and prevent boredom.

Providing a proper diet is probably the most important aspect of owning a healthy bunny. Rabbits need a constant supply of fresh grass or hay. They are designed to spend most of their day grazing and need a high fibre diet. They also rely on what they eat to help wear down their teeth properly. Certain types of hay are too high in calcium to use in large amounts such as Lucerne but Timothy or Ryegrass are suitable. Vegetables are good to add in as well – fresh leafy greens such as spinach leaves or vegetables such as broccoli. Root vegetables such as carrot or fruits should only be offered in small amounts as treats. Rabbit mixes or pellets are not a complete diet and should only be fed in small quantities in addition to plenty of fresh grass or hay. Cereals and grains or sugary foods are definitely not suitable for rabbits.

Rabbits are great animals and will make lovely pets. They do need care and attention and a good diet is essential to keep them healthy.

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