Rabbits - do they need to eat grass?

(25 Posts)
FeckOffCup Mon 25-Feb-13 16:39:38

I am thinking of getting my DD a pet rabbit, we were at a farm park at the weekend and she absolutely adored the rabbits and has been talking about them ever since. The only problem is that we don't have a lawn in our garden, we have made it very low maintenance as both me and DH hate cutting the grass etc so it is all either decking or paved over. A relative has told me that rabbits need grass to nibble on to stay healthy, but I have heard of house rabbits which don't ever seem to go outside so my question is do rabbits need grass to eat or can they survive quite happily on the food you buy them from the pet shop?

andrea315 Mon 25-Feb-13 18:34:24

My rabbit that's indoors just eats hay and veg and bunny food and she is fine they do need a lot of hay in their diet smile

As long as you provide hay they will be fine. Hay/grass is the main part of their diet recommended by vets with just a small handful of the nuggets. Not muesli as they pick and choose what they eat out of it. smile

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Feb-13 18:36:56

Thank you both.

It's also best to get two and thy will need neutering and vaccinating as I would a cat or dog. But they can make lovely pets smile best combo is a male and a female although nuetered males can sometimes live together if they grew up together as litter mates. smile

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Feb-13 18:47:01

Would keeping the hutch inside a shed in winter be okay as long as they had plenty of hay to burrow in and keep warm, I really don't have space inside the house for it but loads in the shed, it's a wooden garage but one of the doors is jammed so we can't get the car in, there would be plenty of room for it to exercise in there in bad weather too when it can't get outside.

You would need to invest in an insulated cover for the hutch and provide lots of straw for burrowing into and your local pet store should sell microwaveable heat pads. My two have stayed outside fine but they like to re decorate so I'm filling bedroom nearly daily grin. Obviously I don't know where you are and some regions get colder than others. Your vet will be able to advise what extra provisions you need to make. I got my buns in the summer so they got a gradual introduction to the colder weather which obviously their coats adapted to, if you get babies and stick them straight outside in the cold that would be a different story if that makes any sense.

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Feb-13 20:50:31

Yes that makes sense. Any recommendation for a breed that is likely to be tolerant of children, my DD is very good with the cat we already have, never pulls at her or tries to pick her up but she is always inflicting cuddles and kisses on her, luckily the cat is a soft sod and likes it.

www.rabbitwarrenonline.com/2.html

www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/resources/?section=breeds.html

These might help. Do you have a rescue centre near you? They would already be neutered and you can meet them first.

My two are mini Rex's they can be skittish to catch but once held they are very good and allow my children to stroke. They have jumped on their laps before and take food from both the six tr old and the toddler. They haven't bitten yet either ( always a risk though) but they certainly haven't been aggressive with us.

FeckOffCup Mon 25-Feb-13 21:30:52

Thank you so much, I'm not sure about rescues but I'll look into it in my area.

Just remember that not all bunnies like to be cuddled and handled etc try and get one from someone who has been handling them and that are used to people and are happy being handled. smile

andrea315 Tue 26-Feb-13 00:49:14

You don't always need two bunnys I have two girls that were from rescues and they hate other rabbits and live alone and my last bunny who died seven years ago was alone also mine are not nutered as they were over three years old and two different vets said it gets to dangerous to do but they are fine one is six now smile I spoke to my friend who breeds and shows bunnys and she said one can be very happy with lots of love and not to worry mine love the dog but not bunnys smile what area are you in ?

andrea315 Tue 26-Feb-13 00:53:13

As for a nice bunny think It's just look I had a netherland years ago and was told they were nasty but she was beautiful and loving I also took one for adoption that they said was to nasty to home and she is now a house bunny I think its all to do with the time and love you give them as to what you get back smile

FernieB Tue 26-Feb-13 12:13:52

If you want them to be good at being handled then you may have the best chance with babies from a breeder (not a pet shop) as they are more likely to have been handled daily and will be used to it. Once you get them home, you'll need to handle them a lot with lots of treats whilst they're being cuddled.

My previous bun came from a friends rabbit who'd had 3 babies. As my friend had young children, the babies had been well handled from day 1. Although she preferred not to be picked up, she didn't object too much and once snuggled on a knee was content to stay there for hours - she often slept in bed with me! Current bun was a rescue and had not been handled - he is very difficult to catch and hates being picked up, although will let us stroke him when he feels it is appropriate.

Mine have been house buns and not eaten grass. Plenty of hay and dry food and the odd carrot, dark leaf cabbage, carrot leaves, broccoli and they'll be fine. Previous rabbit loved peanuts confused

FeckOffCup Tue 26-Feb-13 14:02:37

I'm in Scotland Andrea, I've been asking a friend about rescue places as she is quite involved with a couple on the dog fostering side of things and she thinks there are a couple nearby that do small animals.

andrea315 Tue 26-Feb-13 23:57:20

Let us know how you go on smile

andrea315 Tue 26-Feb-13 23:57:45

Let us know how you go on smile

Madratlady Sat 02-Mar-13 19:00:49

Rabbits should have unlimited hay to keep their teeth and gut healthy. And they get through a lot of hay! Try finding out if a local farmer who sells hay because my bunnies get through a £6 bag from pets at home each week.

On a non hay related note, are you getting a pair of spayed/neutered bunnies? They are happier with bunny companionship.

RU forum is good for bunny info:
http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/forum.php

Gay40 Tue 12-Mar-13 19:40:27

Mine don't live on the lawn half of the year (the cold half) and seem fine - i do them handfuls of grass through the winter but they live on hay, small portions of pellets and a bit of veg.
They live in their own summerhouse in the winter hmm at the cost hmm
I've got a male/female pair, he is neutered but she isn't (there's a reason but I can't remember why)
I've had them from babies and handled them both several times a day for a year. She loves a cuddle, he hates any form of contact. We got babies because we thought it would be easier for DD to get used to. Next time I'd get rescued adults.
They love each other though.

ratspeaker Wed 13-Mar-13 10:12:51

I don't know if you've got a rabbit yet but there's a rescue in the Lothians

buddiesbunnies.co.uk/adoption

Our house bun has unlimited hay,get rabbit pellets not muesli and has fresh veg/green leaves with the occasional carrot as a treat.

If getting a rabbit allow for vet bills, we actually have pet insurance for him just as well as he had teeth problems that required an op.

They do mostly like other rabbits as company but we have never managed to get ours to soclialise

midori1999 Tue 26-Mar-13 23:49:08

Just to add, if you haven't got a rabbit yet, Buddies (as in the above post) are amazing and I can't reccomend them highly enough. we got our rescue bunny from them and they are extremely reputable and now the ladies who run it are also on the board of the Rabbit Welfare Association. They will be able to give excellent advice on how your rabbit should be cared for and housing etc.

I read on a rescue website "A Hutch is Not Enough" for rabbits.
I'm not a bunny keeper BTW but I look at some of the hutches and have no idea how big an area a rabbit needs.
Three rabbit strides (which are 2-3 feet each) and able to stand upright.
(My guineas have a rabbit run which is IIRC 84" long, could be more. And mid-thigh height) so pretty big.

The Range (where I bought hay) have rabbit cages with a notice that these are not recommended for rabbit keeping.
This is the first time I've seen this advice from a retailer.

wink Good for them.

FernieB Wed 27-Mar-13 13:10:57

Excellent 70 - I've also never seen anywhere say cages are not suitable for an animal - they seem to want to sell them fast.

The general rule is as you say about 3 rabbit strides and tall enough for a bun to stand, however, all buns are different. My previous, supposedly dwarf bun, grew to be much bigger than her mum or siblings (suspect her Dad was a giant monster bunny), so a cage which was suitable for them, would not have suited her. Current Bun is huge (not quite a giant rabbit, but almost) and 3 of his strides take him halfway across the living room and I don't think they make a cage that size. Fortunately I have chosen to go the free range house bun route so Current Bun (and previous bun) have loads of room to stretch their legs and binkie. Of course, they do spend most of the day asleep!

tabulahrasa Wed 27-Mar-13 13:26:06

I was just about to reccomend buddies bunnies as well... A couple of my friends have rabbits from there - they were really good at matching rabbits to the family and gave them loads of advice about how to sort out accommodation and care for them.

You don't need a hutch if you've got a shed btw, you can convert the shed into their space - as long as it has a cosy bed in it then it's ideal, much better for them than a hutch.

midori1999 Wed 27-Mar-13 15:14:37

70, you're right. The Rabbit Welfare Association recommend a hutch that is a minimum of 6ft x 2ft x 2ft with permenant access to a run of at least 8ft x 4ft, or a home or enclosure of similar size at least

www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/ahutchisnotenough.htm

Certainly we were not allowed a rabbit from Buddies when the bunnies were going to be shut into their cage at night. (we didn't know any better sadly, previous vet nurse owner of existing bun had said that he was fine on his own (not really, he seemed fine, but is much happier with a mate and that he was fine just allowed out of cage for a few hours a day sad ) They only agreed to rehome a second bunny with us when we agreed to free ranging during the day and shut in a 6ft x 6ft pen at night, although they actually just free range 24/7 now.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now