How to Care for a Pet Rabbit and Clean the Hutch

How to Care for a Pet Rabbit and Clean the Hutch thumbnail
Take your rabbit to the vet as soon as you adopt it.

Rabbits may be small, but taking care of one is a big task. While a rabbit doesn’t require daily walks, you must still check on the animal several times a day and take it to the veterinarian for regular checkups. Any children who will be around the rabbit must also be taught to be gentle, since rabbits can be skittish around new people. As long as you take proper care of your pet, owning a rabbit can be a joyful experience. These animals are smart enough to use litter boxes, come when called and play games with you.

Things You'll Need

  • Hutch
  • Cardboard
  • Grass hay
  • Chew toys
  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl or bottle
  • Food pellets
  • Leafy greens like lettuce and collard greens
  • Low cardboard box
  • Newspaper
  • Broom
  • Garbage bags
  • Soap
  • Washcloth
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Instructions

  1. Caring for the Rabbit

    • 1

      Set up the rabbit's living area. Arrange the hutch in an indoor area such as a back porch or side room, where the rabbit will have plenty of space and have a temperature-controlled environment. Place a piece of cardboard on the floor of the hutch if it has a wire bottom. Spread a layer of grass hay over the floor of the hutch; the American Society for the Protection of Animals recommends timothy or brome hay.

    • 2

      Place some chew toys in the hutch. Give the rabbit pieces of cardboard or store-bought rabbit chew toys.

    • 3

      Place a food bowl and water bowl inside the hutch. Clip a water bottle to the inside of the hutch, with the mouthpiece low enough that the rabbit will be able to reach it.

    • 4

      Change the rabbit’s water at least once a day. If the rabbit has a water bowl, rinse it each time it’s empty and refill it. If the rabbit drinks from a bottle, rinse and refill it once a day. Squeeze some water out through the mouthpiece to ensure it’s still working properly.

    • 5

      Fill the food dish with pellets. Keep the dish filled at all times until your rabbit is 6 months old. From then on, feed him between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of food for every five pounds of his weight per day. For instance, a 10 pound rabbit would need between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of pellets per day. Your vet can recommend a specific amount that's right for your rabbit.

    • 6

      Give your rabbit leafy greens to eat as well. Place 2 cups of greens for every 6 pounds of his weight directly on the floor of his hutch once a day.

    • 7

      Take note of the corner of the hutch where your rabbit goes to the bathroom most frequently. Line a short cardboard box or the lid from a cardboard box with newspaper and place it in this corner.

    • 8

      Take your rabbit out of the hutch each day and let it run around in a larger enclosed space like a fenced backyard or garage. Watch your rabbit at all times.

    Cleaning the Hutch

    • 9

      Take the rabbit out of the hutch and put it in a travel cage or ask a family member to watch it. Remove the litter box and the food and water bowls.

    • 10

      Sweep all the hay out of the hutch and throw it away. If the hutch has a solid floor, wipe it down with warm, soapy water. If you're using cardboard on the base of your hutch, remove the cardboard. Discard the contents of the litter box. Place fresh newspaper in the box.

    • 11

      Spread a layer of fresh grass over the bottom of the hutch. Replace the litter box and bowls and place some fresh cardboard pieces of chew toys in the hutch.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you're choosing rabbit pellets, the ASPCA recommends choosing a type that contains between 15 and 19 percent protein and 18 percent fiber.

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References

  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

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