Character Traits of Bunnies
Rabbits are not fond of being picked up and held the way cats and dogs enjoy being picked up. So what makes having rabbits so inviting? They are very playful and entertaining to watch. During their active time, which is usually in the early morning and early evening, they love to run and jump. Then they love to stretch out during the day and take bunny naps.
Bunnies are very social and, with gentle handling, are generally quite tame. Being social animals, they need a great deal of interaction with their owners and/or other bunnies in order to be happy. When they want to socialize with you they will get close to you, put their head on the floor, and will want you to rub their head. Instead of purring like a cat, they will chatter with their teeth just to let you know they really like you and the petting they are receiving from you.
Play and Exercise
Daily exercise and play time are also socializing times for your bunny. You will be surprised to find out how playful they really are. Toys for bunnies can be as simple as a grocery bag or toilet paper roll.
These items may not be sold as rabbit toys but here are a few things that bunnies love to play with:
Toys will give your rabbit exercise but will also help prevent them from getting bored ad start looking for things to get into. Without toys, bunnies tend to turn to chewing on electrical cords, bottom of drapes, and furniture. When they lose interest in a toy, put it up for awhile and give them new ones to play with. Change for bunnies is always good; they are very curious and love to explore new toys and new hiding places. The important thing about toys is to make sure they are safe for them to play with.
Feeding Your Rabbit
Most people think that all you need to feed bunnies is pellets. Feeding these animals a diet consisting mainly of pellets may result in obesity, not to mention adding the likelihood of digestive problems. They are voracious eaters, and as much as they love to eat, they also love to forage. This is built into their survival instincts. There is more than fulfilling their nutritional requirements when it comes to feeding your bunny. Try hiding a few high-bulk low-calorie treats around the house for them to find. Your bunny will love hunting for them.
Fiber is very important to the normal function of their digestive system. Fresh Timothy hay and fresh vegetables should make up most of the diet for house rabbits. While there may be some fiber in pellets, it is finely ground and does not appear to stimulate intestinal function as well as fiber found in grass hays. Roughage is also necessary for the prevention of hair balls. When pellets are added to the hay and vegetables, it will add to the overall balance of the diet.
Foods other than hay, vegetables, and pellets should be considered as treats and should be fed in moderation. The rabbit’s digestive system is very delicate and susceptible to serious upsets if the diet is not correct. When rabbits become overweight the amount of pellets should be limited, but any reduction in pellets should be made up with a variety of fresh vegetables and an unlimited access to hay.
Vegetables: Vegetables should make up a large portion of the diet. Depending on it's, 2-4 cups of fresh veggies should be given per day. A variety must be fed daily to ensure a balanced diet. If they are used to eating mainly pellets, the change must be made gradually to allow their digestive system time to adjust. So that you are able to better track of how your bunny reacts, you should only add one new vegetable at a time. This way if the bunny has diarrhea or other problems, it will be possible to tell which vegetable is causing the problem and you can reduce the amount that they are getting.
Here is a list of vegetables that are good for them: Carrots, carrot tops, broccoli, celery, dandelion greens, parsley, cilantro, endive, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, kale and spinach. However, kale, spinach, and mustard greens are high in oxalates and should be fed no more than 3 meals per week.
Never give your bunny any beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes, potato peels, rhubarb, or chocolate. Iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value so should be avoided. Wash vegetables well and only feed dandelions that are known to be pesticide free. Try a health food store for organically grown dandelion greens.
Vegetables should be introduced to bunnies at around 12 weeks of age, in small quantities and one at a time. As more vegetable are added, watch for signs of diarrhea, and if this occurs, discontinue the most recently added vegetable. Over time the amount of vegetables fed is increased and the amount of pellets is decreased, so that by 1 year of age the adult feeding recommendations are followed.
Choose a fresh, good quality pellet. The House Rabbit Society recommends a minimum of 20-25% fiber, around 14% protein (with no animal protein), and less than 1% calcium for most house rabbits (spayed/neutered). For adults, the amount should be carefully regulated, depending on the size (weight) of the rabbit. As a rule, give about 1/4 cup for rabbits 4-6 lb, 1/2 cup for 7-9 lb. rabbits, and 3/4 cup for 10-15 lb. rabbits. Baby rabbits can be fed pellets free choice (available at all times), decreasing to 1/2 cup per 6 lb. of body weight by around six months.
Treats: The House Rabbit Society recommends 1-2 tablespoons of fresh fruits be given daily as a treat. Treats sold in pet stores marketed for rabbits are generally unnecessary and in some cases could cause digestive problems due to their high carbohydrate or sugar content. Instead of food treats, consider offering twigs from apple trees or willow trees. They also love Cheerios, raisins, oatmeal, banana chips, and dried papaya.
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