Up next in How to Care for a Pet Rabbit (8 videos)
So fluffy, so adorable, and so much responsibility! Learn how to care for pet bunnies and rabbits with these videos.
You Will Need
- Rabbit books, magazines, and websites for research
- A steady supply of feed-quality timothy hay
- A large litter box
- Newspapers to line the box
- Alfalfa-based rabbit pellets for rabbits six months and younger
- Timothy-based rabbit pellets for rabbits six months and older
- Dark, leafy greens, such as chicory or dandelion
- A one-quart water bottle
- Small pieces of carrot for treats (optional)
- Salt or mineral blocks (optional)
Research rabbit needs
Before you bring your rabbit home, research his nutritional needs--along with all his other needs, of course! Reading up-to-date rabbit books, magazines, and websites will explain rabbit nutrition in depth.
Offer endless hay
The staple of a rabbit’s diet should be as much clean, high-quality timothy hay as your bunny can put away. Rabbits can’t overfeed on hay, which is best for their tummies, their teeth, and their health.
Use a litter box as a dish
There’s no way around it: hay makes a mess. The easiest way to keep your bunny’s meal in one place is to put it into a large, high-sided litter box lined with newspaper or rabbit litter. Be wary shaved or chipped litter, which may cause respiratory infections.
Feed rabbit-sized portions
Every day, give your rabbit a supply of hay that’s about the same volume as his body. He needs extra to dig into and rest on.
Change hay box frequently
Unfortunately, most bunnies enjoy eating and pooping at the same time. So change the hay box frequently. If the box is large enough, you can 'top' off the existing hay with a new layer for a couple of days.
Use pellets as supplements
While not an appropriate entrée, pellets are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Toss a small handful on top of the hay--around two tablespoons for a two- to three-pound rabbit, and around one-quarter cup for a five-pounder.
Offer leafy greens
Rabbits need fresh leafy greens every day. Use about half a cup for a rabbit that’s two pounds or less; about three quarters of a cup for a three- to five-pounder; and about a cup for a rabbit that’s five pounds or more.
Hydrate your rabbit
It’s not food, of course, but while we’re on the subject: Make sure your rabbit has plenty of fresh water every day.
Offer salt or mineral blocks
You don’t need to put a salt block or mineral block in your bunny’s cage, but it won’t hurt if you do.
Keep your bunny happy
Yes, a good complete rabbit diet is more complicated than the old-fashioned bowl of pellets. But if you follow these directions, you’ll be rewarded with a bright-eyed, energetic bunny companion for many happy years.