How to Raise Domestic Rabbits

by Kimberly Caines Google
A yearly vet visit can keep your rabbit in tip-top shape.

A yearly vet visit can keep your rabbit in tip-top shape.

Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Just like their wild ancestors, domesticated rabbits usually prefer to live in groups. According to the House Rabbit Society, these social and intelligent animals appreciate human companionship but are happiest when raised with their own kind, preferably in pairs or trios. More than 60 domesticated rabbit breeds exist, and they range in weight from 2 pounds to 13 pounds. Raising rabbits is a long-term commitment; when done correctly, your bunnies might even get older than 10 year of age.

Step 1

Provide your rabbits a home within your home. House your companions in a cage that's large enough for them to stretch out and hop in. The larger the cage, the better. Avoid housing them together if they're of the opposite sex and haven't been adjusted, or if they don't get along. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests housing small and medium rabbit breeds in a metal cage that has a solid bottom and minimum dimensions of 2 feet deep, 4 feet wide and 2 feet tall.

Step 2

Decorate the cage so it's cozy and meets all the needs of your rabbits. Provide a metal or ceramic food bowl filled with rabbit pellets; hang a water bottle; spread out aspen shavings, straw or hay so your bunnies can make a cozy bed; and place a litter box lined with newspaper and filled with pelleted newspaper litter or hay in a corner of the cage to serve as a potty. If you're housing your bunnies separate, remember to buy two of everything.

Step 3

Choose the right location for the rabbit cage. Avoid placing the cage outside, where your bunnies will be exposed to possible predators and extreme temperatures. Place it in a frequently visited area of the house so the bunnies feel that they're part of the family

Step 4

Exercise your rabbits daily to prevent boredom, to keep them in good shape and to avoid behavioral and health problems stemming from lack of exercise. Allow them to hop around and play in a rabbit-proof room or exercise pen for at least three hours per day. Supervise them as they explore their surroundings. Provide rabbit toys or cardboard boxes and tubes for them to hop on and walk through. And don't hesitate to join in on the fun.

Step 5

Groom your bunnies so they look good and stay healthy. Gently pull out loose hair with your fingers and brush your rabbits' coat at least once a week. Brush them several times a day during heavy shedding periods. To prevent hairballs in long-haired rabbits, take them to a groomer for a haircut to shorten their fur to a length of about 1 inch.

Step 6

Take your bunnies to a veterinarian at least once a year for a general checkup that includes an examination of their teeth, ears and eyes. Take them to a vet every two months if you need assistance with trimming your rabbits' nails.

Items you will need

  • Cage
  • Food bowl
  • Rabbit pellets
  • Water bottle
  • Hay
  • Litter box
  • News paper
  • Rabbit toys
  • Cardboard boxes or tubes
  • Brush

    Photo Credits

    • Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Author

    Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.