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Guidelines for keeping your rabbits at home

Guidelines for keeping your rabbits at home

A responsible adult (18 years of age or older) should take care of your rabbits at home. Rabbits are not suitable for children below 8 years of age. A parent should be the primary caregiver for rabbits aged 8 years or older. These guidelines must be read and followed.

Environment for your rabbit

Environment refers to the area that a rabbit has access. This covers the areas where the rabbit eats or sleeps, and where it excretes.

The environment should allow the rabbit to do the following:

  • Sleep and rest
  • Eat and drink
  • Move and explore
  • Talk to your companions
  • play
  • Chew
  • Scent mark

Watch out for dangers and find companions.

Provide shelter and protection to rabbits in the following:

  • Predators like cats, dogs, foxes and birds of prey
  • Extremes of temperature can occur indoors or outdoors.
  • Rain, wind, sun

All rabbits should be able to access hiding places. The enclosure should provide enough space for all animals to hide. An ideal hiding spot should be

  • Choose a size that is suitable for the rabbit
  • More than one entrance
  • You can be constructed with non-toxic materials
  • Contain no sharp edges.
  • Wooden boxes
  • Paper sacks
  • Drain pipes
  • Shelves.

You should use suitable bedding in your hiding places.

  • Hay
  • Straw
  • Untreated wood shavings
  • Shredded papers

Your rabbit’s living space and housing

Indoor living spaces should be located in cool rooms that are not exposed to direct sunlight. They must be protected against draughts, loud sounds and direct access to radiators. This area should have two parts: a dark, protected area for sleeping and a separate section for eating and drinking.

Your rabbits need to be safe in their living areas. You can consider the living area a sleeping area.

An area that is at least adequate for a rabbit to live in should be

  • Stretch out in all directions.
  • If rabbits are over 12 weeks old, they should stand upright and their cages no lower than 45 cm high.
  • Move around, eat and drink
  • At least three hops are required to get from one side to the next.

Flooring for indoor housing

It is important to avoid injury or distress for rabbits by constructing and maintaining flooring.

Material should be solid, non-absorbent and not less than 0.1m2 (or 1/3) of each cage’s floor.

  • Use a plastic or other easy-to-clean and disinfect base.
  • Avoid wooden and absorbent surfaces
  • Keep your floor clean and disinfected regularly.
  • Avoid wire mesh flooring.

Bedding materials

  • It is important to keep your bedding clean and dry.
  • Newspapers and towels are recommended bedding materials.

It is important to provide a hay tray with high quality hay and change it daily. You will need a nesting box or area.

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