Care FAQ

From WabbitWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

How much space should I give my rabbit?

From the House Rabbit Society Housing FAQ page,[1]

A cage should be at least 4 times the size of your bunny when he's entirely stretched out--more if he is confined for a large amount of the day. Cage sizes also should be decided in conjunction with the amount of exercise time and space the rabbit has. One guideline to go by is at least 8 square feet of cage time combined with at least at least 24 square feet of exercise space, for 1-2 rabbits, in which the rabbit(s) can run and play at least 5 hours per day.

The House Rabbit Handbook provides the following guidelines:[2]

  • Option 1: Separated rest and run areas. Run time is at least 4 hrs daily or 30 hrs weekly.
Number of
Rabbits
Rest Area
(sq ft)
Rest Area
Dimensions
1-2 8 2x4 ft.
3-4 16 4x4 ft.
5-6 24 3x8 or 4x6 ft.
  • Option 2: Combined rest and run areas. Run time is 24 hrs daily.
Number of
Rabbits
Run/Rest Area
(sq ft)
Run/Rest Area
Dimensions
1-4 24 3x8 or 4x6 ft.
5-6 48 6x8 ft.

The Rabbit House provides some more minimum measurements based on rabbit size here.

If you don't have enough floor space to give your buns too much room, you can also try to build vertically with multiple story condo cages. Remember, if you have a young bunny, be prepared to provide large enough housing as he grows.

In addition to housing, exercise with the room to run freely is paramount to a rabbit's physical and mental health. Rabbits are recommended to have a minimum of 4 hours of exercise daily. Rabbits will become obese and may develop muscular, cardiovascular, and skeletal issues from a prolonged sedentary lifestyle. Possible medical issues include sore hocks (ulcerative pododermatitis), osteoporosis, urine sludging, and spinal fractures.

Please see our Housing and Exercise articles for more tips and details.

What is the optimal environmental temperature range for a rabbit?

The ideal temperature range for rabbits is 55-72°F (12-23°C).[3][4]

As a result, during cold days in the winter and hot days in the summer, it is important to monitor your rabbits to insure comfort and health. However, rabbits can adapt to temperatures outside of this range with appropriate environmental conditioning and proper shelter.[3]

Please see the articles Hot weather concerns and Cold weather concerns for more tips and details.

Can a rabbit wear a collar like a cat or dog?

"This sweet little bunny was brought into us yesterday as a stray after being found on Balista Street in Riverton. He had a collar stuck around his teeth and jaw and required sedation for removal and treatment. He has recovered well and we are now trying to locate his owner. - Pictures and text used with direct permission from Riverton Rossmoyne Veterinary Hospital

February 17th, 2017: Update. February 17th Final update, after 4 weeks of treatment Buttons is doing great and was adopted by a vet nurses, Stacey and her family at RRBH.

No, rabbits should never wear a collar. A rabbit can break its own neck or strangle itself when the collar catches on something or it tries to get the collar off. The rabbit may also get their jaw or paws stuck in the collar trying to remove it and injure themselves.[5] Additionally, the fur around a rabbit's neck is very thin and rabbit skin is very delicate. Extensive use of a collar can end up with irritated skin from friction, a symptom common with the use of E-collars for injuries.[6] Researchers that used radio collars on rabbits suspected deaths could have been attributed to neck abrasions and other injuries from said collars found on trapped rabbits and observed that there were many accidents with legs or jaws becoming caught under a cable-type collar which were mostly mitigated when switching to a strap-type.[7]

If you are worried about identifying your rabbit in the case that it escapes, please consider microchipping your rabbit. This will allow shelters and veterinarians to identify your rabbit without risking injury with a neck collar.

If you would like to take your rabbit outside for walking, please use a harness. See Walking a rabbit for more details.

If your rabbit must wear a collar temporarily for whatever reason, use a break away collar for kittens to minimize the danger that the rabbit will accidentally strangle itself and never allow your rabbit to roam unsupervised while wearing one. Make sure the collar is snug to minimize the risk of a limb or jaw caught in the collar.

What should I do if my rabbit breaks a nail?

If the rabbit's toe is still bleeding, apply pressure until the bleeding stops. If the nail is hanging, trim the loose end off if possible. Then, clean the area with some diluted Betadine, plain Neosporin, or other disinfectant. Keep your rabbit's area clean while the nail heals. If there are any signs of infection or limping behavior after a few days, please see a rabbit-savvy vet as soon as possible.

Please check the rest of your rabbit's nails to make sure that they are not too long and trim them if needed.

Why does my rabbit smell?

How to Get Rid of Your Rabbit's Odor
Do Rabbits Smell? Tips to reduce the smell!

How do I know when to euthanize my rabbit?

  • Bill Velasquez with the New Mexico House Rabbit Society (and HRS Podcasts) interviews Christie Taylor (House Rabbit Society Nationally Licensed Educator) on the subject of "End of Life Care." It's a three part HRS podcast conducted between May 12 thru June 14, 2018. @Podbean or index and with notes @RRI.
  • House Rabbit Society, Marinell Harriman, Quality of Life
How to Know When to Euthanize a Rabbit

How can rabbits be temporarily marked for identification?

When working with large-scale rescues or litters of similarly colored rabbits, it can be important to be able to distinguish individual rabbits from each other. Temporary identification marks can be made with the following:[8]

  • Aqueous dyes like food-coloring or stamp ink refills.
  • Permanent dyes, but they will fade as the animal molts.
  • Sprays designed for sheep last about five to six weeks.
  • Felt tip pens can be used on the inside and outside of ear and on the back. These markings will need to renewed weekly. Rabbits may develop dermatitis in reaction to chemicals in the ink with prolonged use.
  • Xylene-free markers last about three weeks and are non-toxic.
  • Colored wax can be used on the ear tips.
  • Fur clipping can be used for short-term marking — rapid growth of fur means these markings last a few weeks.

References

  1. House Rabbit Society, FAQ: Housing
  2. Marinell Harriman, House Rabbit Handbook: How to Live with an Urban Rabbit, 4th edition
  3. 3.0 3.1 ARBA, ARBA Recommendations for the Care of Rabbits and Cavies
  4. Ballard, B & Cheek, R. (2010). Exotic animal medicine for the veterinary technician. (2nd ed.).
  5. Bobby T. Bond, Jacob L. Bowman, Bruce D. Leopold, L. Wes Burger, Jr. and Christopher O. Kochanny, An Improved Radiocollar for Eastern Cottontail Rabbits
  6. University of Louisville, Office of Research Services, Research Resources, Vol. I, No. 7. August 2006.
  7. Paulo C. Alves, Nuno Ferrand, Klaus Hackländer, Lagomorph Biology: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation
  8. Wildpro, Mammal Identification