Rabbits are widely accepted as pets. They are not fussy, but the owner must have a basic idea regarding their needs, like food, shelter and handling. Unlike pet dogs and cats, rabbits are sensitive animals. It is not difficult to take care of rabbits, provided you are aware of the proper ways.
Once you plan to raise rabbits, choose the specific breed and color. Other pets, like cats and dogs, may pose a threat to rabbits. You have to solve this problem, before bringing the rabbits home. You must have a basic understanding about the needs of the specific rabbit breed, especially, the food requirements. Decide whether you want to keep them indoors or outside the house. The most important factor is food, as proper feeding is necessary for their health. With a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, any wrong food can be fatal for rabbits.
Rabbits as Pets
Rabbits are different from other types of pets, like cats and dogs. These animals are not good as pets for children, because improper handling is not advisable. Mishandling can break their bones or cause damage to their internal organs. Another fact about rabbits is that, they can get frightened easily. Children are notorious for making loud noises, and such noises can frighten these rabbits to death. So a home with too many kids or other kinds of pets, are not suitable for raising rabbits. They need a peaceful and secure atmosphere and a proper shelter.
Home for Rabbits
You may keep rabbits indoors or outdoors. You can use a hutch made of wire, with a solid roof and a wooden nesting box. Place a litter box inside the hutch. Traditionally, hutches were used for raising rabbits outdoors. You can make one inside your house, or keep it outdoors with some weather-proof provisions. It is not a good idea to allow your rabbits to roam around the house, as they have a habit of gnawing anything that comes their way. So if you want to keep them indoors, it is better to reserve a room for them, which is devoid of anything, especially electric wires. You can fix a baby gate to the door of the room, in order to prevent them from entering other parts of the house. A wire cage is best for rabbits, but a regular supply of water and grass hay is a must. Rabbits feed on hay, which also provides warmth to these animals. These small creatures need clean cages with sufficient light and ventilation.
As they have a sensitive digestive system, a proper diet is necessary for their healthy growth. Your rabbits must get an uninterrupted supply of hay, which provides adequate fiber to aid digestion. The preferred one is Timothy grass hay, but alfalfa hay can also be given to adult rabbits. You can include some dark green leafy vegetables such as lettuce leaves, endive, romaine, escarole, arugula, and dandelion greens. Vegetables should be given daily, in small quantities. An occasional treat of starchy vegetables, like carrots and fruits is also recommended.
However, rabbits should not be fed with potatoes, beans, bamboo, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, corn, peas, beets, onions, rhubarb, seeds, and grains. You must not feed your pet rabbits with any food meant for humans, especially chocolate, candy, or anything moldy. Ready-made pellets meant for rabbits can be used to supplement their diet. Above all, they must get a good supply of fresh water. Make sure that you change the water on a daily basis.
You can keep some untreated wooden blocks or cardboard boxes for their amusement. However, make sure to remove staples or tape attached to these items, and never use objects with sharp edges. Above all, rabbits are so fragile that you must handle them carefully to avoid fractures. Never lift the rabbits by their ears or stomach. If not handled properly, a struggling rabbit can break its bones.