Rabbits, easy-going animals!

Why get a rabbit?

Rabbits are so easy to keep that there are almost no down-sides to having one, just advantages.
The first advantage is peace and quiet. Despite what you might think, rabbits don’t shriek. So, you won’t be woken up in the middle of the night by their cries. The other (pretty big) advantage is hygiene. You don’t need to walk a rabbit! You might not know that rabbits eat some of their pellets. This is perfectly normal. This is called cecotrophy, which means a second digestion. This behaviour is perfectly normal as rabbits absorbs all the nutrients they ingested first time around in this second digestive phase. Rabbits do, however, need litter in their cages to keep it clean. Gasco has developed litter from 100% compostable maize kernels. Rabbit litter can be used as a soil fertilizer. You can grow great fruits and vegetables with this compost and your rabbit will love the peelings too. In fact, your rabbit gives you the chance to set up a virtuous, ecological circle.

The vet's advice

“Some breeds of rabbit make good pets. You can carry and stroke them like you would a dog. These rabbits feel at home in your house and sit on the sofa or in places where they relax in peace. So, you can see that by its very nature, rabbits like having a quiet time.”

lapin gris dans l'herbe

House or garden, farmed or dwarf, where do rabbits live?

Regardless of its breed, a rabbit is a rabbit! But, what suits one breed doesn’t necessarily suit another.
Some breeds of rabbit can live outside while others need to be indoors. Farmed rabbits are hardy and can live outside. With their thick coats of fur, they can cope with very cold temperatures. They also deal with cold better than they do heat, which they are very sensitive to. So, in summer, you can take them indoors to enjoy the cooler temperatures in your house. Dwarf breeds are not so hardy and must have the shelter of a cage. Rabbits make all kinds of impromptu noises. They chew the bars, and run around their cages. So, to have a good night’s sleep, best not put the cage in your bedroom. This is why you must get a rabbit used to living in its cage. Otherwise, once free, it will nibble everything it can find (cables, boxes, etc.).

The vet's advice

“You must take into account the shape and size of your rabbit when you make a home for it.

Farmed rabbits can live in an outdoor cage. In some rural houses, there are still usable rabbit hutches that still work. If you don’t have a hutch you can put your rabbit in a small wooden hut. It needs to be big enough for it to move around and shelter from bad weather. It’s best to place the hutch away from draughts and breezes. In winter, if it gets really chilly, you can always put a thick blanket over the hutch to insulate it a little from the cold. As for dwarf breeds, remember that your rabbit will grow. Put a small box, or hut, in its cage so that it can hide, and a container for its food as well as a water dispenser. Whatever your rabbit’s breed, make sure you give it enough straw. Straw provides warmth and suits your rabbit’s sanitary needs.”

Rabbits love their food but are delicate!

Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system, much like that of a horse. This concept of a “system” is vital when feeding rabbits.
Nevertheless, rabbits love their food and their tastes for nice things can sometimes backfire on them, with occasional risks of obesity or digestive problems.
For their diet, you have the choice. You can give them all-in-one foods, or mixes mainly containing cereals, such as oats, barley and wheat. Give them hay too as they need fibre to digest properly. In addition, chewing occupies them and stops them getting bored. You can also give them fruit and vegetable peelings. It is really important to give your rabbit a balance between pellets and fibre when feeding it every day. It’s all a question of habit and regularity with rabbits. You should avoid changing its daily diet and portion sizes. The basic principle to heed is feed them regularly. Another piece of advice is not to leave food out all day, but to feed it in the morning and in the evening. If not, it’ll lose his appetite. In terms of quantities, it is best to give rabbits 20 to 40 grammes of pellets per kilogramme, which you can supplement with some hay. Dwarf rabbits need 20 to 50 grammes a day while larger breeds need 100 to 300 grammes.

The vet's advice

“Don’t forget to give your rabbit plenty of water. Contrary to what you might think, rabbits drink lots of water. Indoor breeds must always have water available to drink. Use a dispenser so that they can drink when they like. Outdoor rabbits drink when they find water sources in the countryside. A few green leaves also provide them with an additional source of moisture. But, be warned, just because leaves and fruit and vegetable peelings are a source of moisture, you mustn’t overdo it. If you add these foods to their diet, you should start with small quantities, each day. Once again, regularity is key, by keeping to a balanced daily diet. If you give them something one day and not the next, your rabbit could develop digestive problems, even if the quantities you give it are tiny. So, you must keep a close and careful eye on your rabbit’s diet.”