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Rabbits need to have a well balanced diet to ensure that they stay in good health, and to maintain their immune system. Rabbits have a high requirement of fibre in their diet enabling them to ingest food properly so that normal digestion can take place. In the wild rabbits graze for 6-8 hours a day. The most important part of a rabbits diet is hay, this should make up 80-90% of a their diet. The ideal diet for your rabbit consists of:

  • Hay - grass hay is recommended over legume hay (e.g. lucerne) 
  • Good quality rabbit pellets (approx. 1 cup per day) - note some are too low in fibre and grass hay is preferable.
  • Lucerne Hay (a handful daily)
  • Green leafy vegetables, 2 packed cups per kg of rabbit bodyweight per day.
  • Fruits & Treats - 1 - 2 tablespoons per day (e.g. carrot, apples, strawberries etc.)
  • Fresh, clean water must be available at all times

Unsuitable and Poisonous foods:

  • Potatoes, Rhubarb, Cabbage, Beans, Salads with dressings, Cakes, Onions or Pickled foods.
  • Anything not fresh enough for you to eat yourself.

Rabbits are naturally healthy, hardy animals, and will remain so provided you take care of them. Rabbits kept in clean, well ventilated, draught-proof hutches, fed only the freshest of foods and sheltered from the harsh Australian sun will rarely, if ever, get sick. However, you should inspect your rabbit regularly for signs of ill health. If any of these signs are present, visit your Veterinarian without delay.

Eyes: Alert and bright. Free of any discharge
Nose: Dry.
Sneezing and/or discharge is an indication of serious illness such as viral or bacterial disease
Ears: Perfectly clean.
Dirt in the ears can signify that the rabbit has ear mites
Coat: Clean and lustrous.
A dull coat indicates poor health
Belly: Nice & plump but definitely not bloated.
A bloated belly is a sure sign of a digestive disorder.
Genitals: Perfectly clean . Free of any of discharge


DISEASESCaused bySymptomsPrevention/Cure
MyxomatosisVirus carried by mosquitoes & fleas. The virus is regularly introduced by the CSIRO in order to control wild rabbit populationsCold like. Runny nose, swollen teary eyes. Drooping ears. Difficulty breathingFatal. No cure. Easily avoided. By protecting your rabbit from mosquitoes (cover hutch in fly screen) and keeping rabbit off grass (harbours fleas)
Calicivirus (RCD)Virus introduced by CSIRO to control wild rabbit population. If proven effective, myxomatosis will hopefully, no longer be used.Infected rabbit will die within 12-72 hours of contracting disease. Rabbit will appear lethargic, then lapse into a coma and die.Vaccination of all rabbits over 10 weeks of age is essential. Annual booster vaccinations required.
CoccidiosisIntestinal Parasites. Caused by feeding stale or polluted food Particularly common where feed is contaminated by mouse or bird droppings or where cages and bedding are not kept clean..Rabbits suffers from weight loss, decline in strength and diarrheaTreat with Sulpha D (pet shop product) in drinking water. 6 drops of Sulpha D to every 500ml water for seven days. Repeat every six months, or on appearance of symptoms.
Snuffles/ColdsTwo types: Viral and Bacterial Contributing factors are a diet low in vitamins and improper conditions and housingIn both kinds of snuffles a runny nose will be noticed.. Also frequent sneezing, listlessness, lack of appetite. A sticky, yellow nasal
discharge is also often apparent.
Consult your Veterinarian for diagnosis of seriousness of the problem and appropriate treatment

A suitable hutch should measure at least 1200mm x 600 mm (4ftx2ft) and be at least 600mm (2ft) high. The hutch should be of sturdy construction, impenetrable by dogs or cats. The ideal building material is untreated Pinewood. The cage should be designed so that all internal walls are smooth as bunny will chew anything he can get his teeth on. Avoid cages made of metal. They are icy cold in Winter and unbearably hot in Summer. A solid wood floor is best. Wire floors, whilst easy to clean, are uncomfortable for bunny to walk and lie upon. Cover cage with mosquito mesh and place in a protected area so it is not exposed to the hot midday and afternoon sun. Several inches of bedding should cover the floor. Wood shavings, rice hulls or straw are all suitable and can be obtained from any produce merchant. Used bedding is ideal for garden fertilizer & mulch.

Rabbits With Attitude Stud & Boarding will care for your bunny whilst you are away. Full Board costs only $5.00 per day for one rabbit, $3.00 for each additional rabbit. Air conditioned, mosquito proof hutches. Veterinarian on premises.

Rabbits were designed to be prolific breeders. They have a very strong urge to mate and reproduce. If you are not planning on breeding, I recommend you have your pet rabbit desexed at approximately four to five months of age, before his or her sexual hormones begin raging. Your rabbit will be much more contented if not sexually frustrated, and will therefore be a much happier and more loving pet.

Bunny Basics

Life Span 6-14 years
Breeding From 4-10 months
Litter Size 1-12
Pregnancy Length 31 days
Weaning 4-6 weeks
Weight 300gm - 4kg


  • Purchase heavy ceramic food and water bowls that bunny cannot tip over. Consider using a water bottle instead of a bowl. Bottles are more hygienic as bunny cannot foul the water. If using a bottle, always check that the ball at the end of the nozzle moves freely and has not become stuck.
  • Rabbit's teeth are constantly growing and they need to wear them down. Give your rabbit a piece of untreated pinewood or a fruit tree branch to gnaw on.
  • Trim your rabbit's claws regularly. Toenail clippers designed for humans are ideal. Avoid cutting the quick (blood supply).
  • Never leave your rabbit unattended indoors as his natural desire to gnaw will lead him to chew your furniture, electrical wiring, carpets, etc.
  • Toilet train your rabbit by placing a litter tray, filled with wood shavings, in his favourite toilet spot. Add a few of his droppings to help him get the message.
  • Rabbits are best kept on their own. Undesexed Bucks will fight (often to the death) when they reach sexual maturity. Two baby Does can be raised together, however they may bond to each other, rather than to you. If separated for enough time, they will fight when placed together again. If you really can't bear to have only one bunny, consider buying a buck and a doe and having the doe desexed. Do not house your rabbit with birds or guinea pigs for company as they are chronic mite carriers and will pass on the problem to your rabbit. Some bunnies will also bully guinea pigs unmercifully.

Vets - Experienced Rabbit Vets:


Kevin Polglaze02 9679 1747
BALMAIN Beverley Alderton 02 9555 7955
BAULKHAM HILLS Marilyn McKenzie 02 9639 6399
BLACKTOWN Peter Mylonas 02 9622 3626
DENISTONE William Jenkinson 02 9874 0150

Further Information
  Book - The Guide to Owning a Rabbit
  Book - Rabbits

Rabbit Fanciers Society of New South Wales Inc.

Last Update: 05/10/08 08:23 Views: 22539

OzPetShop - Pet Products, Supplies and Accessories