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SUPPLIES AND CARING FOR YOUR RABBIT
It's national adopt a shelter rabbit month, and today I'm going to talk about the things you will need before a rabbit hops into your life and your heart. I will also be talking about primary care, as well.
Let's start with supplies.
Cage- One of the first things you will need to pick up is a cage. You will want to make sure your pen will give your rabbit plenty of room. They should be able to turn around and not hit their head on the roof. I recommend the Living World Deluxe Habitat Xtra Large on Amazon.
This is Abbey's third cage, and we love it. It was straightforward to put together and is easily accessible for her and us. You want to make sure your habitat has a solid plastic bottom; grates are hard on a rabbit's feet. This cage has a wire top which provides excellent ventilation for her. This cage also has a balcony with a tip-proof food dish that attaches to the floor of the balcony. Abbey loves it because she has plenty of room to move around. This cage measures 46 8/9 inches in length, 22 4/5 inches in width and 24 inches in height.
Bedding-We use Carefresh Small Animal Natural Bedding. My husband gets approximately 2-3 changes from a 60-liter bag. Keep in mind; this will depend on the size of the cage you get and how thick you layer the bedding in the bottom of the cage.
Litter-If you are lucky enough to adopt a rabbit that's litter box trained or are planning to liberty train your bunny, you are going to need litter. DO NOT BUY CAT LITTER FOR YOUR RABBIT. We buy Yesterday's News litter for Abbey which is made out of recycled newspaper. It is promoted as a cat litter product so you will find it in the "cat" section on Chewy or in your local pet supply store.
Litter Box-You can buy a small litter box at your favorite pet supply store.
Water Bottle-Water bottles can be tricky. Sometimes they leak, and it's a significant pain in the butt. We finally found the perfect water bottle on Amazon. SunGrow makes it, and it doesn't leak, has a stainless steel drinking head and is easy to fill and refill. It's on the small side, only 10 oz but it's the best water bottle we have ever had.
Food-We feed her Kaytee brand plain pellet food that we buy from Chewy. By plain, I mean no extra goodies in it, they can gain weight rapidly that way.
Toys-Rabbits love to chew so you will need to get your rabbit plenty of chew toys. Abbey enjoys the wooden barrels with a ball in the middle. She also likes the ones that hang on the inside of her cage.
Hay-The majority of a rabbits diet should consist of hay. There are several different types of grass, so I'm just going to tell you about our experience. Our former vet recommended she be on alfalfa hay, which unbeknownst to us caused her to gain weight. (Rabbits go to the vet about once a year for an exam and to have their nails trimmed as needed.)
Our new vet said to switch her to Timothy hay because alfalfa has too much starch in it, which is what caused her to gain weight. The bottom line is, talk to your vet about what kind of hay is right for your rabbit.
Hay Tray-You will need a tray to hang either on the outside or inside of the cage to put hay in. Choose something vast and deep; rabbits eat a lot of hay.
Playpen-Rabbits need exercise and can't be holed up in a cage all the time. Therefore, you will need a playpen. Abbey has a Kaytee brand Pet n Playpen Small Animal Pen. My husband figured out a way to connect it to her cage (it's not made for this), so she can go in and out as she pleases. We got some rubber matting from Big R to put down for her to walk on and she loves it.
Small Kennel-You can buy one of these on Chewy; also, we use it to put her in when we clean her cage.
Small Carrier-You can find small pet carriers on Chewy, I recommend one with vinyl or nylon sides, but if yours likes to chew a lot you may want to get a hard case carrier.
General Tips For Caring For Your Rabbit
Cage Cleaning-Depending on how messy your rabbit is, you should clean their cage every 1-2 weeks. Since Abbey is litter trained, my husband can get away with every two weeks. However, when you clean it, make sure you leave some droppings because that is how they mark their territory.
It also helps if you clean their habitat without them in it because it upsets them. Before we got a small kennel to put Abbey in during cleaning, she would grunt at, charge, and bite my husband.
Feeding Dish-Clean the feeding dish every other day with a little Dawn detergent and make sure you rinse it thoroughly.
Find an Exotic Vet-Since rabbits are considered an exotic pet it's essential to find a vet that either works with exotics or has an exotic specialist on staff. Rabbits are different from dogs and cats, so it's necessary to take them to someone very familiar with all things rabbit.
Clean The Litter Box Everyday-If your rabbit is liberty trained, make sure you dump and clean their litter box every day. Use a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar or a commercially available cleaner specific for cage cleaning. A note about poop, they will eat it to absorb the nutrients they didn't get the first time around so don't be shocked if you see this. It's normal.
Rabbits are one of the best pets you will ever have, full of personality and fun. Use this list to get all the supplies you need before you bring home your new long-eared friend.
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