Getting a new pet can be really overwhelming, especially when it turns out they require more care than you expected. Luckily, rabbit care isn’t really all that complicated once you get into the swing of things. Creating a routine around your daily rabbit care is a great way to simplify your life and make sure you are taking great care of your rabbit.
Create a routine to give your rabbit hay, pellets, and fresh greens every day. You also need to clean the litter box on a daily basis and make sure to give your rabbit at least 3-4 hours of exercise. Rabbits are also social animals that require your time and attention every day.
Rabbits thrive on routine. They feel a lot safer when they know what to expect in their days, so it makes a lot of sense to create a daily care schedule for your pet rabbit. This will also help you stay organized and keep you from forgetting any of your important daily rabbit care tasks.
I’ve created a rabbit care schedule sheet to help you stay organized in your daily care for your rabbit. Simply fill in the schedule and hang it up. You can check off the days until it becomes a habit in your daily life. Check it out!
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The benefits of a routine for rabbits
As prey animals, rabbits like to have predictability in their days. It makes them feel a lot safer when there are no significant surprises. If every day goes through a routine and your rabbit knows when to expect to be fed and when they’ll get time for exercise, they’ll be much happier and less stressed in the long run.
Routine helps rabbits to become more confident in their daily life. Once they have a predictable schedule they’ll no longer have to be anxious. You’ll notice your rabbit is much more likely to open up to you and other caretakers. They’ll also be more adventurous and willing to explore their surrounding environment.
How often do you need to feed a rabbit?
Rabbits only need to be fed once a day, but you want to make sure you give them enough hay to last for the entire day. They are natural grazers and need to be eating constantly throughout the day to keep their digestion moving.
While you can give your rabbit all of their daily food (including their hay, pellets, and fresh leafy greens) at the same time, you could also choose to give your rabbit some of their food at different times of day. For example, I like to give my rabbit her daily pellets and hay for breakfast when I get up in the morning, but I give her leafy greens in the evening around dinner time. This helps to create a more structured routine and schedule for my rabbit.
I also like to give my rabbit a little treat right before bedtime. This is a trick that I use to get her to return to her enclosure at night. It’s also a way to ensure that she is active and healthy before going to sleep. Since I know my bunny would never turn down a treat, I know that if she ever fails to come running to me at night, then she probably is not feeling well.
How much daily exercise do rabbits need?
When setting up your daily rabbit routine, it’s also important to set aside blocks of time to allow your rabbit to exercise. Ideally, you’ll be able to give your rabbit more than four hours of exercise time every day. This is because rabbits are more like sprinters than long distance runners. They tend to go through short periods of exercise interspersed with periods of rest. So if you give your rabbit an hour out of their enclosure, they’ll probably only have 15-30 minutes of actual activity.
What accomplish this by making sure I fully rabbit proof a room for my rabbit. This way I can let my rabbit out of the enclosure whenever I’m home without having to supervise her too closely. This means if you go to work during the day, you can let your rabbit out for exercise in the morning while you’re getting ready, then again in the evening when you come home. These are actually the best times of day for rabbits, because they tend to be most active around dawn and dusk.
If you want to give your rabbit even more exercise, you can take steps to let your rabbit free roam your home (or a room in your home). This is when you allow your rabbit to have constant access to your home without being kept in any kind of enclosure. Learn when you need to do to successfully free roam your rabbit.
The importance of daily socialization
Rabbits are social animals. Ideally they will be kept with another bonded rabbit, but if that’s not possible then we need to make sure we take our rabbit’s socialization needs seriously. A rabbit who is left alone all the time runs the risk of becoming depressed and withdrawn or aggressive.
The easiest way to make sure you are giving your rabbit enough attention is to schedule time to hang out in the same room as your rabbit. Usually during exercise time, you can sit near your rabbit so they have a choice to come up to you and ask to be pet. The idea is to treat your rabbit the same way you would treat a pet cat or dog. Include them in your home life so that they have the choice to hang out with you every day.
The other part of daily rabbit care is cleaning out the litter box. It’s usually not necessary to clean out the entire enclosure every day unless your rabbit has not been litter trained. But it’s best to scoop out the soiled sections of the litter box to keep it from getting too dirty and to prevent the smell from building up.
This part of your daily rabbit routine will also help you keep a close eye on your rabbit’s health. A rabbit’s poops can actually tell you a lot about their health. Normally you want to see a pretty consistent size and shape of your rabbits fecal pellets. A sudden decrease in the size of the poops or a large number of deformed poops can be an early symptom of a number of illnesses. By scooping your rabbit’s litter box every day, you can keep an eye on a change in their pooping habits.
Example daily care schedule
- Feed daily pellets
- Replenish hay
- Replace fresh water
- Exercise time and socialization
- Daily leafy greens for dinner
- Scoop out litter box
- Exercise time and socialization
- Daily special treat
Weekly care considerations
While the daily care routine should include a feeding schedule along with time for exercise and socialization, there are also other tasks that should be done on a weekly basis. These tasks are to make sure your rabbit remains in good health and isn’t living in a soiled enclosure.
Clean the enclosure
Depending on the type of enclosure you have for your rabbit, you’ll have to make sure you clean it out on a weekly basis. Some types of enclosures will require more cleaning than others, just like some rabbits are cleaner than others, so you may be able to get away with cleaning less frequently.
Most cage or hutch style enclosures end up collecting more hay, urine spray, and fur, so they will likely have to be cleaned and wiped down more frequently. I prefer to use a pet playpen as an enclosure. These are pretty simple to clean because all you have to do is move the gates aside and run the vacuum. What’s even better is that these are much bigger than a typical rabbit cage and they’re usually cheaper too (check out the current price).
It’s a good idea to perform a weekly health check on your rabbit. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated, you’ll just look over your rabbit for any signs of injuries or infections. I do a basic health check while I am petting my rabbit just to make sure I notice any signs of a problem.
What you’ll look for includes:
- Teeth check. Gently pull back your rabbit lips and massage their cheeks to make sure their teeth are not starting to overgrow.
- Look for any bumps or irritated skin. While you’re petting your rabbit, you can look for any bumps or redness and irritation of their skin.
- Check for discharge around eyes and nose. Watery eyes or a snotty nose can be signs of snuffles in rabbits.
- Check feet for sores. Some rabbits will develop sores on the heels of their feet, especially as they reach old age.
- Check for balance. While your rabbit is cleaning themself or hopping around, watch them to make sure they are able to easily keep their balance. A loss of balance is a sign of infection in the ears or skull.
Monthly or seasonal care considerations
There are also monthly or seasonal tasks that you need to take into consideration. These are grooming tasks that usually don’t need to be done frequently, but are important for helping your rabbit maintain their health.
- Nail clipping. You’ll want to clip your rabbit’s nails every 2-3 months.
- Grooming. Usually you only need to brush your rabbit when they are shedding their seasonal coats. If you have a long haired rabbit, such as an angora or a lionhead, you’ll need to make grooming a part of your daily or weekly routine.
Annual veterinary appointments
It’s also important to take the time to bring your rabbit in for an annual health checkup with a rabbit veterinarian. They’ll be able to thoroughly check your rabbit’s teeth and ears for signs of infection and help make sure your rabbit is in tip-top shape. It’s also a great idea to form a relationship with your local veterinarian so that you can get professional advice for your rabbit based on your personal situation.