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Last Updated: Wednesday March 31 2010 15:43 GMT

Top tips on caring for rabbits

Fluffy rabbit

Vet Sean Wensley tells Ricky his top tips on what to feed your rabbit

We need to take better care of our rabbits, vets have warned.

One of the most common problem vets are seeing right now is the number of rabbits with overgrown teeth.

To make sure your rabbit doesn't get that problem, or any other, take a look at some of these top tips below.


DIET

Every day, rabbits need to eat:

  • Their body size in hay (a fifth of all rabbits are not fed enough hay each day)
  • A handful of fresh vegetables morning and evening
  • One tablespoon of rabbit pellets for rabbits under 3.5kg
  • OR one tablespoon twice daily for rabbits over 3.5kg
  • DO NOT feed them traditional muesli-type rabbit mixes which can lead to painful teeth disease
  • Remember - a rabbit's diet should always be changed gradually, or they might get an upset stomach

CAGE
  • Rabbits should have as large a hutch as possible
  • They should be able to do three hops from end to end, and stand up on their back legs, without their ears touching the roof
  • Remember - a good size for many rabbits is 6ft x 2ft x 2ft high

BEHAVIOUR
  • They need a large run to exercise in. It should be a minimum of 8ft x 4ft x 2ft high
  • They should have a shelter where they can hide
  • They should have lots of toys and things to play with so they don't get bored
  • They should have somewhere to dig
  • Remember - half of all rabbits don't get daily exercise in a run, and this can make them unhappy

FRIENDS
  • Rabbits are very sociable animals and should be kept in pairs
  • Animals from the same litter are a good idea
  • Remember - nearly half of all rabbits in the UK live alone, which can make them bored

HEALTH
  • Rabbits should be vaccinated against the two main serious rabbit diseases - myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease
  • They must be cleaned out often, especially in the summer as flies can lay their eggs in dirty rabbit fur. You should check under your rabbit's tail twice a day during the summer
  • Remember - lots of rabbits go to the vets in the summer when they are more likely to get infected by flies