5 Welfare Needs

The information you can find are based on the five basic welfare described in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (UK), as a pet owner you are legally obliged to make sure you can provide the following to ensure a happy and healthy pet rabbit!

Did you know

Rabbits have complex digestive systems. Food is passed through their gut and this is how caecotrophs are produced, rabbits then eat the caecotrophs and the food is re-ingested.

1. Environment

Did you know what a wild rabbit’s territory is equivalent to around 30 tennis court? Running around such large areas every day keeps wild rabbits fit and healthy, so we need to give our pet rabbits the opportunity to have lots of exercise. They should not be confined to a hutch. 
Find out more about Environment.

2. Diet

We know rabbits as ‘fibrevores’ because fibre is absolutely essential for their dental, digestive and emotional health. Good quality hay and/or grass should make up the majority of a rabbits’ diet and should available at all times. A rabbit’s diet needs to be made up of 80% grass or hay, 15% greens and 5% nuggets. Find out more about Diet.

3. Behaviour

Create a ‘wild’ environment for your rabbits! In the wild, rabbits have plenty to keep them occupied, from foraging to reproduction to territorial defence. Pet rabbits, on the other hand, often lack stimulation, which can lead to behavioural problems and poor health. Much like humans, they need to be kept physically and mentally active. Find out more about Behaviour.

4. Company

People don’t realise that rabbits are incredibly social animals and if left without appropriate company and things to do for a long time they can suffer. Many owners keep a rabbit alone in a hutch, but this leads to a miserable lifestyle for rabbits. Rabbits have complex social needs and are happiest when kept with another friendly rabbit - therefore, rabbits should ideally live in friendly pairs or groups. However, keeping the wrong pairings together can lead to unwanted kittens (baby rabbits) and/or fighting. Neutering is recommended to prevent unwanted babies (kits). Find out more about Company.

5. Health

Keeping your rabbits fit and healthy is vital to ensure a long, happy and fulfilling life. Rabbits can be prone to some health issues which can prove challenging to treat, but can often be easily prevented if you know how. Good care, appropriate feeding and other appropriate measures such as vaccination are key. Find out more about Health.