So, what’s rabbit awareness about?
As the title suggests, it’s all about making owners aware of the welfare needs of rabbits in order to give them a better standard of living. Despite being a popular pet, we are still one of the most neglected.
Did you know the Animal Welfare Act 2006 implemented five basic welfare needs an owner is legally obliged to carry out. How many can you tick off?
1.They must have a suitable environment
This means a big NO, NO to small hutches. As a bunny that has free reign of several rooms in my house and a large garden, I know I am lucky, however I shouldn’t have to think this way – all bunnies should have plenty of space both in terms of a house and exercise area. Otherwise, where else can we burn off all our energy and be generally crazy (yep, those binky moments!).
2.They must have a suitable diet
The best diet for a rabbit is one that resembles that of a wild rabbit. This means hay & grass – and lots of it! I was shocked to read that only 30% of rabbit owners said their rabbit had constant access to hay. That’s crazy!
Click here to find out more about rabbit nutrition and why you need to be topping up that hay rack pronto.
3.They need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
Us bunnies need appropriate stimulation to keep us occupied. We enjoy foraging, playing, gnawing and digging. I think I speak for most rabbits when I say variety is the key. Click here for some fab ideas on how to keep your rabbit occupied.
4.They need appropriate company
Rabbits are very social animals. If you already have a rabbit, you should seriously think about getting them a friend. Although we enjoy human companionship, rabbit company is ideal as we understand each other and will play, groom and relax together.
Why not look at local rabbit rescue centres – they can often match up your bunny with a suitable friend. Fun-fact: my hus-bun Linus found me whilst ‘speed-dating’!
5.They need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Being a prey species, I will often conceal if I’m not feeling great, however Tara (my housemate and vet nurse) knows the signs to look for. Why not book an appointment to see either her or Chris during Rabbit Awareness Month to find out about preventative care for your bunny. The more clued up you are as an owner, the healthier your rabbit(s) will be!
As part of the national Rabbit Awareness week, Lowesmoor House Vets are running a special extended Rabbit Awareness Month. For more information, click here.