Rabbit Husbandry Basics Slideshow

  • Husbandry Basics bannerIntroduction

    Welcome to the LafeberVet Husbandry Basics slideshow. This brief presentation is intended to summarize the key points shared in our Basic Rabbit Care client education handout and infographic, thereby serving as a quick clinical refresher on the care of the pet rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

    This slideshow is part of a RACE-approved Rabbit Basics Teaching Module.

  • infographic


    A sound rabbit diet consists of fresh hay, good-quality pellets, and fresh vegetables. Anything beyond this considered a “treat” and should be offered in limited quantities only.

  • rabbit hay Christine Ba


    Hay is essential for rabbit health as the roughage provided reduces the risk of gastrointestinal problems. Untreated wood twigs also provide roughage (see Bunny proofing).

    Learn more:


  • pelletsPellets

    Pellets should be fresh and relatively high in fiber (20-25% minimum crude fiber).

  • rabbit eating greens Pockele


    Offer a variety of pesticide-free vegetables, including leafy greens and root vegetables.  Add one vegetable to the diet at a time. Eliminate any item that causes soft stool or diarrhea.

    Visit the Basic Rabbit Care client education handout to view a list of suggested vegetables. 

    Learn more:


  • Feeding JuvenilesFeeding juveniles

    Offer young rabbits unlimited amounts of calcium and protein-rich alfalfa hay and alfalfa-based pellets. Very young rabbits, between 7 to 12 weeks, should not be offered vegetables and NEVER fruit as devastating gastrointestinal problems can arise.

  • Feeding postpubescent

    Feeding postpubescents


  • feeding adultsFeeding adults

    As the rabbit matures, gradually reduce the quantity of pellets offered and transition to grass hay-based pellets. Approximately ¼ cup of pellets is recommended daily for the average medium-sized rabbit.

  • Dudley Alex FCC

    Senior rabbits

    For frail, senior rabbits your veterinarian may want to increase the amount fed of protein-rich alfalfa hay although blood calcium levels may need to be monitored. If the senior rabbit’s body condition is poor, your veterinarian may also recommend an increase in the quantity of pellets fed.

  • Indoor enclosure

    Indoor enclosures

    Essential supplies for all indoor rabbit habitats include a water bottle or bowl, feed bowl, hay, and toys. Bowls need to be heavy enough not to be tipped over.

  • Mini lop


    Maintain pet rabbits on solid flooring. 

    Wire floors on commercial cages may be removed with J-clip removers or a small awl and needle nosed jewelry pliers. Alternatively, a variety of materials can be used to cover the wire floor including carpet remnants, grass mats, synthetic sheepskin, and toweling. Grass mats are perfect for nibbling but if your bunny starts to chew on other floor coverings, replace them with a different item. Absorbent bedding, such as recycled paper product or aspen shavings, can also be used.

  • rabbit litterbox

    Litter pan

    Provide a litter box with organic litter. Do not use softwood shavings such as pine or cedar. It is also helpful to attach the litter pan to the cage with clips, wire, or 2.5-cm (1-in) C-clamps.

  • cage furniture Po

    Cage furniture

    If there is sufficient height between the cage floor and ceiling, shelves may be added to serve as resting places, lookouts, or a source of exercise. A flat-roofed box of wood or cardboard within the cage can provide the same functions while also serving as a hide box for the bunny. By the same token, a hooded litter box or a pet carrier can be placed in the “bunny room” (see bunny proofing next) when your rabbit needs privacy. (Also, make sure that your bunny does not eat the plastic carrier or litter box).

  • Bunny proofing

    Bunny proofing your home is part of living with a house rabbit. It is natural for rabbits to chew on furniture, rugs, drapes, and, most deadly of all, electrical cords. Young rabbits (< 1 year of age) are more inclined to mischief and require more confinement and/or bunny proofing than mature rabbits. Since bunny proofing can be extensive, some owners confine house rabbits to one or two rooms instead of allowing access to the entire home.

  • bunny proof table

    Protect your rabbit and your home

  • PetwerksSafe, chewable items

    Provide plenty of attention and offer safe, chewable items so that your rabbit is distracted from furniture and rugs, such as willow bark balls, grass mats, tunnels, and untreated wood twigs and logs.

    Visit the to Basic Rabbit Care client education handout to view a more detailed list of chew toys.

    Leith Petwerks is just one example of a source for rabbit enrichment.

  • rabbit cool bottle Baugis

    Temperature and humidity

    Place the cage in the coolest, least humid area of the house away from heat and drafts. A temperature range of 16-21°C (60-70°F) is ideal for pet rabbits. Temperatures in the upper 80s and higher can potentially cause fatal heat stroke. During hot weather, leave a frozen bottle of water in the cage and wet down the ears to help cool the bunny. Cool tiles can also be offered as a refreshing spot on which rabbits can lie in warm weather.



  • bunny burrito


    Rabbits possess a relatively lightweight, delicate skeleton paired with extremely strong, well-developed back and leg muscles. With improper handling, rabbits that struggle or kick run the risk of a broken back or leg. Veterinary staff can demonstrate to rabbit owners the proper way to pick up their pet.

    NEVER lift a rabbit by the ears or scruff.

    Stay Tuned: The details of Rabbit Restraint will be explored in a future Rabbit Teaching Module Level 2.

  • bunnies shankar s FCC

To cite this page: Pollock C. Rabbit husbandry basics slideshow. LafeberVet web site. November 16, 2020. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/rabbit-husbandry-basics-slideshow/