Rabbits have become one of the UK’s most popular pets. Thousands of households keep them due to their peaceful and easy-to-handle nature, also making them a particularly good first pet for children, however they can sometimes scratch or nip, making parent supervision for younger children necessary. Rabbits can be bought from most pet stores and come in a range of breeds. They are easy to look after, given the right environment, which is why all kinds of people from different walks f life keep them as pets.
Knowing how to look after a rabbit doesn’t take a huge amount of knowledge, and the cost is pretty limited too, however there are various factors that affect how much you will need to spend, much of which is dependent on how extravagant you want to be.
Factors to consider
Location and hutch
Always the first thing to consider when keeping pets is where will you keep it? What sort of environment can you provide the animal? Rabbits require a hutch that provides shelter from rain, wind and cold. Ideally a section will also be open so the rabbit can run around away from its resting quarters.
Hutches are largely made from treated timber, with a felt roof and wire cage sometimes added as the run. Designs, styles and sizes vary widely, so choosing a hutch to buy should depend on the space you have available and the number of rabbits you wish to keep. Of course the larger and fancier the hutch, the more it will cost, so budgeting may also be necessary.
It is possible to build your own hutch, as many people do. If wishing to do this, it is vital that correct safety precautions are taken. The wood should be treated with non-toxic wood preserver. Nails, screws and sharp edges should not be poking out anywhere. The hutch should not leak or be easily accessible by other predatory animals.
Deciding what rabbit you want to keep is important. There are a wide range of breeds, each with their own characteristics and needs. Thinking about the size the animal is expected to grow to is important for housing, space and food cost purposes.
Rabbits come in four sizes, small, medium, large and giant. A small rabbit is less than 2.7kg and giant is over 5kg in weight. Some dwarf breeds can be temperamental, thus making them less suitable for children. Longhaired rabbits require daily grooming and care which can be time consuming. It is also considered that Dutch, English, Netherland Dwarf and Dwarf Lop Eared varieties are more docile, while in general male rabbits are more predictable and even-tempered.
A rabbit kept on its own will normally become very lonely and morbid in appearance. Therefore it is best to keep a compatible pair or a group if possible. To help prevent fighting or unwanted litters, you should neuter and spay your rabbits. It is also not recommended that you keep rabbits with guinea pigs as they have very different needs. Rabbits are also quite liable to injure a guinea pig through their sheer size and sometimes voracious activity.
Costs to consider
The first cost you expect is for a hutch or rabbit house. This, as mentioned, will vary in size and style, but the function will remain the same. A hutch should have a protected area for the animal to nest, and a more open area to run around in. The cost of a hutch will increase with size and can be bought from most pet stores.
The animal feed is the biggest continuing cost. A typical rabbit diet should be 75% hay; the rest should be good quality pellet, vegetation and water. Pellet will provide nutrients and vitamins necessary for good health, while fresh vegetation should include carrots, spinach, watercress, broccoli, apples and dandelion leaves. Grass clippings, potatoes and lettuce should be avoided as they can cause health problems.
Fresh litter ideally in the form of hay should be provided every few days at least. The frequency you will need to change the bedding will depend on the number and size of rabbits. Hay can be bought from farm shops or pet stores.
Vet fees are almost always required at some point throughout a pet rabbit’s lifespan. Routine injections to prevent Myxomatosis should be administered twice yearly and will come at a standard cost. If your rabbit should fall ill, you must consider the cost of fees for the unexpected ailment.
All other general basic equipment should be accounted for also, such as food bowls, brush, water bottle, carrier plus any extras you want.
|Rabbit||£20 – £100 per rabbit (depending on age and breed)||2022|
|Hutch||£60 – £300||2022|
|Food||£20 – £40 per month||2022|
|Vet fees||Vaccinations £30 – £40 per year||2022|
|Pet Insurance||£8 – £15 per month||2022|
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