Unless we purchased out first rabbits with the intention of breeding them, most of us started with a single individual rabbit that we simply could not resist at a pet shop, show or breeders residence. So, well done, you have chosen a potentially affectionate and loving companion.
Even one of the more aloof breeds can still make a good companion so long as you give it time and plenty of attention. A few do’s and don’ts to begin with.
Do give it its own cage when you are not at hand to make sure nothing goes wrong.
Don’t leave it loose with your pet dog or cat just because they are fine when you are there – if the hunting instinct is aroused, you will have a very traumatising experience, which you cannot blame the predator for.
Do make sure that the basis of feeding is rabbit pellets with all the other treats you wish to spoil it with in moderation. Also freshly cut green grass and hay is always welcome. Treats can be fresh fruit, carrots and cucumber, as well as a bit of jungle oats or unsweetened muesli. Moist leafy vegetables like lettuce and cabbage only feed in tiny quantities if at all – they can cause a running tummy. Be careful of things like biscuits, cake or chocolate – they do have a sweet tooth, but a decaying tooth will kill them – tiny bits very occasionally.
Do have fresh clean water available at all times – the water bowl should be washed out daily, as well as food bowls, especially if used to feed soft treats. Always throw away any uneaten soft food on a daily basis.
Do make sure that it can access its cage at all times – often this will be where it will create its litter spot, as well as being its own retreat when it has had enough of the big wide world.
Beware of electrical and telephone cords. These seem to have an irresistible lure to any bunny, and they will chew on them with devastating results – for all of you. If at all possible cover them before letting bunny out for a bit of recreational time. If you are not careful, rec time can easily become wreck time.
A few bits of personal experience, as responsible pet ownership rests with you. If you have more than one rabbit of opposite sexes that you do not wish to have babies from, find a good vet who can neuter the male for you – believe me, you cannot keep all the babies, and if not separated, you can have a new litter every month.
A single rabbit will make a delightful pet, and so long as you are willing to give it enough attention, like a pet dog, it can become very jealous of sharing your time with another rabbit. They can be leash trained, using a harness type, not a collar, and taken for walks in your garden, or in an area free of strange predators like dogs or cats. If you wish to have more than one, then get two males, I have found them to be much less territorial so long as not females are involved – females will often fight if caged together.
I have found males to have a much more happy go lucky attitude and therefore make a more relaxed pet. I suppose that that is understandable if you consider the responsibility resting on a nursing mother!! Enough to make anyone a bit more reserved.
Best of luck, if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.