Care for a New Pet Rabbit Step 1
Decide whether your rabbit will live inside or outside. Before bringing your new pet home you need to decide if you intend the bunny to be a house rabbit or live outdoors in a run in the yard. House rabbits are popular pets but there are a few factors to consider. While you will have to do more cleaning and training for a rabbit that lives indoors with you, you will not have as much social contact with a rabbit that lives outside.
If you decide to keep your rabbit inside, you will need to rabbit proof your house. Rabbits chew anything and everything, including electrical cables and the legs of your antique furniture. Are you able to ‘rabbit proof’ your home so that cable are all tidied away out of reach of the rabbit, and there is no item that you would be upset if it got damaged by gnawing?
If you decide to keep your rabbit inside you will also need to litter box train it. It is not hygienic to have the rabbit ranging around the house, pooping and peeing wherever they please. The solution is to litter train the rabbit to use a litter box.
If you decide to keep your rabbit outside you will need to commit to spending time socializing it every day. Make it a part of your schedule, otherwise the rabbit may become anxious and fearful in your company.
Care for a New Pet Rabbit Step 2
Get a rabbit hutch. The hutch (or rabbit house) should be at least 2 feet (0.61 m) wide and 4 feet long, and tall enough to let the rabbit stand up to its full height.
Outdoor hutches are most commonly made of wood with a door fitted at the front made of chicken wire. This allows for good ventilation and for the rabbit to see out. The wood offers a degree of thermal protection to insulate the rabbit from the elements, and is sturdy, protecting the rabbit from predators.
An outdoor hutch will need to have a run attached to it, so that your rabbit can exercise. The run should be a minimum of 4 feet (1.2 m) by 8 ft by 2ft tall, for a rabbit under 2kg.
Many indoor hutches are made of plastic with a wire roof. This has the advantage of being lightweight, so you can move it around the house easily.
If you can’t find a hutch you like, make your own! It isn’t as simple as buying one, but it can be much better for your rabbit. Make sure the sides are made of wire but the floor is not. (Note: A wire floor is often a safe and sanitary solution for small to medium sized rabbits, as long as they have the opportunity to get off of the wire when they choose to do so. Larger rabbits cannot safely live on wire, both because their additional weight will cause the wire to cut into their feet and because their larger poops will not fall through the wire).
Care for a New Pet Rabbit Step 3
Cover the bottom of the hutch with bedding. You must provide bedding that is soft, warm and absorbent. Cover the entire base to a minimum depth of 3–4 inches (7.6–10 cm). This cushions the backs of the rabbit’s hind legs, which are prone to pressure sores if not enough padding is provided.
Care for a New Pet Rabbit Step 4
Start interacting with your rabbit after 24 hours. Take it slowly. Spend as long as time allows each day sitting beside the hutch talking to the rabbit. If the rabbit is already tame, then open the hutch door and stroke along the rabbit’s back.
Avoid hovering your hand over the rabbit’s head as this is what a predator would do.
Get a litter tray. You will need to litter train your rabbit if you are keeping it inside. The litter tray will need to fit inside the hutch and not take up more than a third of the floor