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A beautiful, yellow-eyed cat receiving treatment. Doug Hall feeding a well-loved client.

Thinking about getting a rabbit - we say 'make mine chocolate'

1st March 2013

Yet again we are at that blissful time of year, when the temperature is rising, the grass is growing and the birds are singing. Regrettably it is also the most popular time of year for the decision to be made to buy a rabbit, sometimes as a family pet but frequently as a children's pet. Rabbits can make exceptional companions and given time can form very strong bonds with their owners but tragically this is not often the case. Rabbits do not make a good child's pet unless the overall responsibility for the rabbits health and welfare and therefore ownership sits with an adult. The 5 Welfare Needs of rabbits Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 rabbit owners have a legal responsibility to ensure they meet the welfare needs of their rabbit. These are: HEALTH - rabbits need injections every year to prevent certain diseases HOUSING - rabbits need lots of room to run, stretch and play. A 'hutch' is their bedroom, their sanctuary and bolt hole and a large secure run should be provided so that they have lots of space to exercise everyday. DIET - this should be mainly hay and / or grass to maintain a healthy digestive system and for the essential wear of the teeth. Hiding a complete food encourages foraging behaviour and stops them getting bored. COMPANY - rabbits are naturally sociable animals living in friendly groups in the wild. Domesticated rabbits need company too, the best mix being a neutered male and neutered female BEHAVIOUR - rabbits need to be able to elicit all types of behaviour as they would in the wild. Please come and talk to us if you are thinking of obtaining a rabbit. We are more than happy to discuss all elements of their requirements and their welfare needs with you, and help you decide if a rabbit is right for you. Laura, our Head Nurse, has owned rabbits for more years than she cares to admit ( her Mr Jazzy Pants has just turned 11) and will happily 'rabbit-on' about anything you wish to know about, or even things you'd rather not! A search on one rabbit rescue site on the internet today revealed that they currently had over 1000 rabbits needing a new home, and the majority of these were under a year so if you are considering a rabbit then please consider re-homing one. Or, take our advise and if you are unsure say 'Make Mine Chocolate' and think about it a while longer. Don't just take our word for it, please visit these websites for more information May is 'Think Rabbit' month so come in for a rabbit check up.