Part 2: Bunnies!
It is true that in a vet practice you get to do a fair bit of cuddling kittens and puppies, but the sight of a litter of baby bunnies all happily munching away on their hay in a big box would melt most hearts. Said buns had come in for a health check, vaccination for myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease and to be sexed.
Rabbits are social animals and happiest living with other rabbits in groups or pairs, and to avoid an exponential increase in numbers, should be neutered. Males can be neutered from 4 months and females from 6 months.
Aside from this they need somewhere safe and sheltered to live, plenty of space to bounce about and a good diet. Rabbits can be kept indoors or outdoors and excellent advice and tips on rabbit housing can be found on rabbitawarenessactiongroup.co.uk and rabbitwelfare.co.uk.
The bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be fresh grass or good quality and non-dusty hay. The latter can be fed from a rack or some sort of container (I use a big Tupperware tub whose lid disappeared many moons ago) and scatter a small amount of burgess exel nuggets into the bunnies hay. I would advise against feeding muesli type rabbit mixes as individual components do not provide a balance of nutrients. Always provide fresh water.
The rest of my rabbits diet is foraged or peelings and bits of veg we tend not to eat, carrot peelings are a valued treat as are broccoli stalks, outer leaves from cauliflower and various herbs from around the garden such as parsley and mint. See the link below to a lovely poster (a copy of which is on our fridge) showing you pictures of plants that you can forage from grass verges, field margins and open spaces. My bunnies are particularly partial to dandelions, milk thistle, fallen leaves from the cherry tree and apple tree prunings.
The good news is their waste can be used to help your garden grow, if you have a compost heap – waste straw and droppings mixed with grass and plant clippings creates great compost or add it to your brown bin.
And finally, the humble cardboard box can be turned into a tunnel with holes cut into the sides, toilet roll tubes can be stuffed with hay and their favourite treats and trays filled with soil a great digging opportunity.
Burgess forage guide: https://bit.ly/3NJlOff
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