Blue Cross blog
Is your bunny bored? Read our tips to keep rabbits happy and stimulatedPosted on 17 Sep 2012
Rabbits love to keep busy and they can get depressed and frustrated if they don’t live in a fun and stimulating environment. As part of Rabbit Awareness Week, which Blue Cross is delighted to support, editor Natasha Kleanthous has put together some top enrichment tips from Blue Cross experts…
Rabbits are playful and inquisitive pets but sadly they’re often misunderstood. If they’re going to enjoy happy, healthy lives they need to be able to display their natural behaviour, and the good news is that there are fun and easy ways you can help them to do this.
Food for thought
Rabbits absolutely love to eat and spend 70 per cent of their waking hours feeding. Their diet should mostly consist of good quality hay and you can make this even more fun by encouraging them to forage for it.
Rabbits should be able to stretch, just like they would in the wild, so try putting their hay in hanging baskets which they can reach up to and feed from.
Hang some root vegetables on a string for them to nibble and scatter their food so they have to search for it.
You can also buy treat balls from pet shops or hide food in plant pots for them to find. You can give them safe things to chew, like apple wood or willow, or buy treats to nibble on from a good pet shop.
Avoid foods that are high in sugar as this is bad for their teeth.
Rabbits love to investigate and their favourite activities are exploring, tunnelling and digging.
Creating hiding places for them is also really important for helping them to feel safe because they’re prey animals so their instinct is to run and hide if they sense danger.
It doesn’t need to be expensive at all – every day items can lead to hours of fun.
Give them tubes to run through and cardboard boxes filled with shredded paper or hay that they can hop in and out of or climb up on to. They also enjoy burrowing, so a digging pit will go down very well too.
Just like children, rabbits can soon get bored of their toys after a while, so rotate them regularly to keep them interested – but be careful not to change everything all at once as the sudden shift in their environment could be stressful.
Rabbits are very sociable creatures and in the wild they live together, not alone.
Company of their own kind is extremely important so keep them in pairs or a compatible group.
They’ll need to be neutered, even if they’re in a same sex group, to avoid fighting. The best combination is a neutered male and a neutered female.
Rabbit Awareness Week
Blue Cross wants every pet to enjoy a healthy life in a happy home, so we’re delighted to support Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW), which runs until 22 September 2012.
Visit the RAW website for more information about this annual event.