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Keeping Pet Rabbits

RABBITS

Despite rabbits being serious pests throughout Australia they are still popular, and often useful pets.

For one thing, if you can fence off the backyard and make the garden beds rabbit proof, your bunnies will be safely confined to your lawn, and you won’t ever have to get the lawn mower out again.

They’re not difficult to look after – as long as you provide the following, your rabbits should remain in top condition.

Food – commercial rabbit pellets, hay and a range of greens including freshly cut grass and lettuce. Kitchen waste such as fruit, carrot, cabbage and pumpkin are fine but avoid feeding tomato or potato foliage and any plants that grow from bulbs.

Water - they must have a good supply of fresh, clean water, at all times.

Shelter – a draught free, clean hutch is essential. Make sure they can’t burrow under the cage. Clean out droppings and replace bedding material regularly.

Grooming – long-haired varieties can be groomed just as you would a dog or cat. Brush with a soft hair brush. If claws are sharp, trim as you would a cat’s claw.

Handling - when holding a rabbit, be firm but gentle. Never pick a rabbit up by the ears alone. Rabbits can break their backs unless held firmly, if they struggle or are released too quickly. The most common method is to grasp the ears close to the rabbits head with one hand, and support the animal with your other hand placed under its body. Rabbits should be removed from their hutches hindquarters first.

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