Rabbits are a very popular pet (the 3rd most popular pet in the UK for example) as they are cute and usually very patient with young children. If you own one you should want to make sure it has a happy life. Sometimes owners become a little complacent and take them for granted. Maybe your child has lost the initial interest they had in their bunny when they first got it, maybe it isn’t getting that much attention now. It’s time to take stock and ensure your fluffy little friend has a great life. Find out how to make your rabbit happy.
How can I make my rabbit happy? To ensure your rabbit is happy, make sure its home is a happy one with lots of space to play in. Allow it to play in your garden and give it the best diet. Don’t let it get bored!
Rabbits are sociable animals so maybe get it a friend or failing that give it some toys to play with. But most of all, spend time with your rabbit, bond with it and grow up together. You’re making memories, so make them happy ones by following these suggestions on how to make your rabbit happy.
A Rabbit Should Have A Happy Home
Make your rabbit happy and content with a safe home and plenty of space to move around.
An outdoor rabbit hutch must be weatherproof and well insulated with secure doors to keep predators out. Your rabbit should also have a run that’s at least 4 feet long, two feet wide and 2 feet high. This should be in a shady area out of direct sunlight. The top should be covered with chicken wire to keep it in and other animals out. If the run is separate from the hutch, ensure you add a box to provide shade.
This is important and a point that many rabbit-owners neglect, it makes such a difference to the rabbit’s well being and if you introduce a run into a rabbit’s life you will see their personality change immediately.
A Rabbit Should Have A Safe Home
If you really want to know how to make your rabbit happy the best thing you can do is rabbit proof your garden so he can have a really good run around. Then you might witness the ultimate happy behavior – the binky jump. A rabbit binkies (jumps into the air and twists its head and body in opposite directions before falling back to the ground) when it is at its happiest. Check all fences are secure with no holes and check that your rabbit doesn’t have access to vegetation which is poisonous to it, and then let it run free.
The Right Diet for a Happy Rabbit
Make your rabbit happy and healthy by providing plenty of water and the right kind of food. The main component of his diet should be fresh grass or hay. This is very important to keep his teeth and intestines healthy. Avoid mixes containing seeds and flakes as these generally contain sugary items that are bad for teeth. Instead, choose specially formulated high-quality nuggets. Also, avoid carrots as these are also too high in sugar and iceberg lettuce because it contains a milky fluid known as Lactucarium which is harmful in large quantities.
Check your Greens…
The following greens are all safe to feed to your rabbit: Asparagus, Basil, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower leaves and stalks, celery, chicory, coriander, courgette, cucumber, dandelion (only small amounts though – it can make them go to the toilet more often), dill, kale, parsley, parsnip, radish, red cabbage, romaine lettuce, rocket, salad peppers, savoy cabbage, spinach, turnips, tomato and watercress.
I know it’s a long list but once you get into a routine and once you know what your rabbit likes then you won’t need to worry about this. It’s more for people who have just got their rabbit and aren’t sure what they should provide.
Boredom is NOT an Option
Make your rabbit happy by keeping it amused. I hear a lot of sad stories about how people keep their rabbits. They are kept in their hutch most (or all) of the day with no social interaction and no time (or place) to stretch their little legs. Please consider this if you don’t already.
Rabbits are sociable creatures and feel safer with other rabbits. It is thought that rabbits can even fall in love. They are certainly much happier when living amongst a crowd of rabbits than when they live alone. Having said that, they are a bit fussy about their companions and it is best to get all your rabbits at the same time from the same place so you can see that they like each other. If a rabbit is accepting of another rabbit it will flop on the floor when near it, looking relaxed.
Rabbits can get bored so make sure you provide lots of ‘rabbit friendly’ toys. These don’t always have to be expensive, for instance, they love a cardboard box, just like cats do. If you have an ‘only’ rabbit make sure it has plenty to entertain it when you are not home, and when you are home give it lots of attention and company. If you’re looking for something to keep them happy, then check this out (opens in a new window, directs to Amazon).
We’ve all heard the expression ‘breeding like rabbits’… If you don’t have your rabbit spayed or neutered you will find its mating instincts a problem. This can lead to your rabbit spraying urine (like a tomcat), fighting with your other rabbits and trying to mate with all sorts of thing you would rather it didn’t try to mate with! Also once rabbits begin to fight with their ‘friends’, even after having ‘the operation’ they often still fight. And of course, you could end up with endless litters of baby rabbits.
So give it some careful consideration, and get it done sooner rather than later as a spayed/neutered rabbit is generally happier, relaxed and more sociable.
Visible and Audible Signs of
a Happy Rabbit
Always remember that your little vegetarian friend is a prey animal in the wild and by instinct, it may feel that you are hunting it. Take note of its body language and listen carefully to the sounds it makes. Teeth clicking is the rabbit equivalent to a cat’s purring and it is a sign that you are trusted. If his ears are flat down against his back his guard is down and he trusts you.
If he is laying flat out with his legs behind it, he feels safe as this is a position from where he cannot quickly jump away. If your rabbit nudges his nose against you this is a sure sign that he wants your attention. If your rabbit flops on the ground in front of you this is a sign of total trust and contentment.
You can see what we mean in this short YouTube video:
Bonding Will Make a Rabbit Happy
To bond with a new rabbit may take time and patience. Find a space where he can safely roam and take a seat on the floor to observe quietly. Let your rabbit approach you when he is ready to and don’t make any sudden noise or movement. Hopefully, within a day or two he will come over to sniff and nose nudge you. Let this happen naturally. Once you’ve gained his trust you know he will be much happier around you.
Handling your Rabbit Correctly
Remember rabbits don’t like being grabbed so always handle them gently. When you have to carry a rabbit support its weight properly and never lift it in a way that leaves its back legs dangling. This will definitely not make your rabbit happy. Always support its hindquarters. Rabbits don’t enjoy being chased so, for this reason, don’t give your rabbit the free run of a large space which necessitates you chasing it around to put it away at night. Wait until it trusts you and use treats to lead it back to its hutch. If possible always let your rabbit make its own way in and out of its cage.
Hopefully, you will follow our simple advice telling you how to make your rabbit happy and will have a very happy and healthy rabbit who will be a lovely companion to you for a very long time.
Finally, a lot of people wonder why rabbits thump – find out in the link!