Caring for your Rabbit

Cage Care
Most people who have pet rabbits can keep them indoors in a small cage with a tray. To keep the smell down, empty the tray every few days as needed. Don’t use clumping cat litter, it’ll become like wet concrete. I highly recommend using pine pellets which will absorb the ammonia and cut down on the smell and loose water in the tray.
Clean off any fur that gets stuck on the cage floor, or any feces that hang by hair. For times when your rabbit molts, use the hand wand from a vacuum cleaner to pick up loose hair.

Feeding
Make sure the rabbit has fresh and cool water all the time. The rabbits diet should be primarily pellet based but you can offer oats, hay and the occasional vegetable or fruit (fruits and veggies after 6 months.)
How much to feed your rabbit depends on the breed. Small breeds under 5lbs typically get 1/2 cup a day. Larger breeds will need more. It’s important to remember rabbits may eat strangely. Some will eat very little, or only parts of the pellets, while others will eat everything offered.

Hay and Other Treats
Hay is good for fiber and helping with any stomach issues. Fruits and vegetables should not
be given to rabbits until they are at least 6 months old. The reason being is their stomachs won’t be able to handle it till they reach maturity. They could get very sick and have diarrhea from it.
Pine cones are nice to give to keep teeth filed down and as a toy. Teeth are like finger nails and need to be worn down. Without something to chew on, some may chew on the cage and end up with broken teeth. Only give pine cones that are open and brown. Avoid the pointy sappy ones. Many herbs are also good for rabbits. For more information on that, check out the herb page.

Grooming
Furry rabbits, such as the American Fuzzy Lop or Angora breeds will need A LOT of grooming. As babies the rabbits with long fur will have very soft fur and it will stick together and mat very easy. The most popular spots for huge mats are on the neck, below the chin, which is very dangerous to cut off if you don’t know what you’re doing. More spots are at the tail and genital area, and on top of the head, between or behind the ears. More tiny fur mats appear on the legs, stomach, sides, and back. When they grow to be about 6-7 months old, they will molt all that baby fur off, and have the nice dense adult coat.

It won’t need grooming as much, but you will want to keep up with it at least once a month after that, or much more often for Angora breeds. A shortcut for a Fuzzy Lop would be to completely shave the rabbit before matting can happen. When the new coat grows back in, it’s more much coarse.

For shorter haired rabbits, such as Dutch or Mini Rex, you can use a soft brush or flea comb. When grooming for showing some breeders use tiny saw blades for grooming fine Mini Rex coats.
For clipping nails you want to avoid snipping the tiny vein inside (called the quick.) With white nails it is very easy to see and avoid. Dark nails are harder, so take care when cutting these. Sometimes you can hold up a flashlight to the nail and find the vein. Some nails are really dark and unless the nails are very long, I recommend just clipping off slightly more than the tip. Usually you are safe to cut back just to the fur line on the paw.

It’s important to note that if you don’t clip the nails regularly, even in a clean cage they could pull or damage the nail and get a nasty infection that leads to illness or nail/toe loss. Remember bacteria is everywhere and only needs to be introduced into the bloodstream.