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Domestic Rabbits

Updated on October 10, 2016
Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie has been farming all her life and loves animals, she likes sharing what she knows and experiences she has had with them.

White Brown Rabbit

Image courtesy of criminalatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of criminalatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Domestic rabbits as a pet

Domestic rabbits are not as easy to rear and keep as a pet as you might think. Pet rabbits are not like a cat or dog. Whereas cats and dogs will take an immediate liking to you and not be afraid of you. A rabbit will love you also, but it will take much longer.

Dog or cat can be fed on a variety of things including vegetables, fish, chicken, and meat, making feeding them absolutely worry-free. Not the case with pet rabbits. You try feeding them just about anything, and that will be the end of your pet rabbit. Rabbits have got a very sensitive gastrointestinal tract.

Many have got the misconception that a pet rabbit can be picked up and cuddled like a cat or dog, in fact, pet rabbits are just the opposite - even the slightest mishandling of your pet rabbit could prove fatal. Treating a domestic rabbit gently is very important.

Can You Keep a Wild Rabbit as a Pet? | Pet Rabbits

Litter of kits. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley
Litter of kits. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley

Lifting your pet rabbit or kits

Your pet rabbit is not a cuddly stuffed toy rabbit. Here are a few tips on how to pick a domestic rabbit up. Never pick up your rabbit so that its hind legs are left dangling. Rabbits have very fragile backbones. The rabbit might kick violently, possibly fracturing its backbone.

Never lift the rabbit by its ears. It is very painful for the rabbit. The best way to lift your rabbit is to put one hand on its hind legs for support and the other below its chest and then lift it. The entire weight of the rabbit must be supported by your hands. As far as possible avoid small children from picking up the rabbit or the kits.

Breeding Rabbits FAQ

Wild rabbits.

Rabbits have been around in my life for years When my children were younger there were many wild rabbits with young in their burrows. If you have them when they are very young, you can make them as quite as domestic rabbits, they will eat out of your hands. No problems rabbits are a great pet.

Pet Rabbit Care : How Rabbits Interact with Other Pets

Bugsy was our pet rabbit, he is having a drink, he loved milk. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley
Bugsy was our pet rabbit, he is having a drink, he loved milk. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley

Diet for pet rabbits

Proper care should be taken that you feed your pet rabbit the correct diet. If feed the right diet it will ensure that your rabbit remains disease free, healthy, and active. Rabbits are herbivores and their primary diet consists of a variety of grass and leaves. Your pet rabbits diet should consist primarily of hay the grass variety. Meadow grass which is naturally sun dried is the best. Suitable feed pellets consist of a wide variety of grasses and herbs.

Do not worry about the rabbit spoiling its teeth with the constant chewing and munching of this hay. Rabbit teeth grow constantly, eliminating the possibility of teeth destruction. Good options are broccoli, cabbage, celery, and most of the greens that are dark in color. Occasionally feed your rabbit fruits such as pineapple or pear. Addition fresh greens will provide the rabbit with water. Rabbit need to have permanent access to fresh drinking water, but you can't force the rabbit to drink.

What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit

Resting rabbit. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley
Resting rabbit. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley

Pet rabbits need their own home

A rabbit requires being constantly active. Rabbits love jumping and running around. This helps keep their bodies in shape, keep their minds active and alert, and will help in eliminating a lot of sicknesses that will be present if they are confined to the cage. So make your new pet rabbit comfortable.

Where will the cage be placed?

Make sure it is placed where it will not be in your way. The place should be well ventilated with a free flow of fresh air. Place bedding made of straw in the cage so that the rabbit feels comfortable. Remember that the cage is not a place to confine your rabbit, it is more of a place where the rabbit will retire for the night or whenever it is tired, do not keep the door of the cage shut, always leave it open. Hope this was a little helpful.

Do you think you could have a rabbit for a pet?

Rabbits are not as easy as you may think to have as a household pet, or even an outdoor pet in a cage, they still need lots of loving and special care to survive as a pet. One last thing to think about, you need to keep your pet rabbit away from cats and dogs, until you have trained them all to get on well together.

How to Litter Train Your Rabbit

© 2011 Elsie Hagley

Do You Have A Pet Rabbit

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    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      I have never had a pet rabbit myself - but some friends of mine do. They are adorable and a lot of work for their owners.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
      Author

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: Yes rabbits are a great pet. They do not mind strangers. It's young children cuddling them and over heating their bodies, they get heart palpation's, and sometimes they died, like a heart attack is just one way we have lost them. Have fun they are great pets.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a pet rabbit, and it is a WONDERFUL pet. She is sweet, loves to snuggle, and isn't feisty at all. She took to me instantly and isn't really very shy with strangers, either. The problem I have with her is her teeth problems, which caused an abscess... nothing like an infection on a cat or dog, very persistent and caused her to lose an eye. One of the best pets I have ever had, and I have had birds, cats, dogs, reptiles, and more.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      We raised rabbits as a 4-H project as kids and I still have the scars on my hand from their powerful kicks. We learned a lot from having a rabbitry with lots of great rabbit dinners and championship trophies from the state fair. Were they pets, not really.

      We loved them and the young were cute little bundles of fluff, but on a farm, you realize that it isn't wise to get attached to your future food.

      Later I had a house rabbit, but she terrorized my cats and also liked to nip my guests on the ankle. I still recommend rabbits, but be sure to read up on the proper care and feeding as you recommend here.

    • LyricalVenus profile image

      LyricalVenus 5 years ago

      I used to have pet rabbits and they were quite soft to pet but rather wild!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      We had a litter box trained bunny named Pepper, and she was a wonderful pet. But as you point out in your informative lens, rabbits require special care to stay healthy and safe.

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      TopTenLists 6 years ago

      A friend of ours does and they say it is a lot of work! He is old and grouchy and will ram into you if he wants attention! I had rabbits as a kid but they seemed fairly easy to look after.