How to Raise Rabbits

Three Parts:Establishing a HomeCaring for Your RabbitsGrooming Your Rabbit

Rabbits are lovely pets to have. A rabbit is tame and playful, and yet also social. However, it does take a lot of work to take care of a rabbit. Like all pets, rabbits need a clean, healthy environment and the right kind of food in order to thrive.

Part 1
Establishing a Home

  1. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 1
    Decide on whether to keep your rabbits indoors or outdoors. Some rabbit breeders prefer outdoor living quarters, as it allows rabbits to experience fresh air and sunshine. Many outdoor rabbit cages include an attached, fenced-in run, as space is less of a concern outside the house. Other experts say that because rabbits are social creatures, they might benefit more from being indoors and around humans.
    • If you decide to keep your rabbits outdoors, it's important that they are kept out of the sun and rain.
    • Outdoor rabbits need to be given extra bedding when it's cold out. If temperatures dip below freezing, consider moving the rabbit hutch to a more protected environment, like a garage or shed.[1]
    • Be aware that being outdoors leaves rabbits vulnerable to predators--even the sight of a predator can cause heart attacks in caged rabbits.[2]
  2. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 2
    Choose a proper cage. Consider the size of the cage, so your pets have enough room. Also consider the floor of the cage: rabbits do not have padded feet like cats or dogs, and standing on a wire floor can be painful for your pets.[3]
    • Cages should be large enough for your rabbits to stand upright, lie down, and move around freely.[4]
    • If using a wire cage, be sure to put a board or mat down on the floor of the cage so your rabbits' feet will not get sore or stuck between the grates.[5]
  3. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 3
    Build your rabbits a run. Your pets will need daily exercise, and a run allows your rabbits to move around without getting anywhere in the house that could be dangerous. A rabbit in the wild may cover hundreds of feet in a given day, so having room to roam safely is crucial for your pets.[6]
    • If you don't have room for a run indoors, you can put a run in your yard. The run should be spacious, but it should be secure in case the rabbit or rabbits try to escape. Always keep the run in the shade and supply water. If there is no shade in your yard, you may need to put a detachable "roof" over the run.[7]
  4. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 4
    Make your rabbits comfortable. Try to keep your rabbit in a cool, low-humidity environment, ideally between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5-21.1 degrees Celsius). [8] Set up your rabbit's cage in a quiet part of the house or yard, and be sure that your rabbits won't be harassed by other animals.[9]
    • Allow your new rabbit to acclimate to your home before you introduce it to larger pets like dogs. This can be stressful and overwhelming. Allowing rabbits and other pets to mingle is important, but it should be done gradually and under close supervision.[10]

Part 2
Caring for Your Rabbits

  1. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 5
    Feed your rabbit what it needs. A rabbit's diet should consist of grass, fresh vegetables, and timothy hay or oat hay. You can also feed your rabbit store-bought pellets.[11]
    • High-fiber pellets should be offered daily, but in small quantities to prevent health problems. Rabbits under four pounds can be given 1/4 cup of pellets. As a general rule, you can add another 1/4 cup of pellets daily for every additional two pounds of body weight on your rabbit.[12]
    • Young rabbits can be given alfalfa hay, but alfalfa is not a healthy option for adults. It's recommended that you switch your rabbit to timothy hay before it reaches one year old.[13]
  2. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 6
    Give your rabbit fresh water daily. It's important to change your rabbit's water everyday to prevent bacteria from growing. If you use a water bowl, choose one made with ceramic or metal, as these are easier to clean. If using a sipper bottle, check the drinking end every day to be sure that it is working properly.[14]
    • Some pet owners prefer sipper bottles because they cannot be easily tipped over in the cage. Choose a water container that works best for you and your pet.
  3. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 7
    Empty your rabbit's litter box every 2-4 days. This will not only reduce the risk of unpleasant odors, it will also keep your rabbit healthy and happy.[15]
    • If you are just starting out training your rabbit to use a litter box, you should be able to tell which corner your rabbit goes in to relieve itself. If you put some newspaper or a litter box down there, your rabbit will quickly learn to use the box.[16]
    • You may want to scoop out urine-soaked litter on a daily basis to keep your rabbit clean and keep the litter box smelling fresh.
  4. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 8
    Remember that rabbits are coprophagic. Rabbits excrete two kinds of droppings: fecal pellets (round, hard, dry waste product) and cecotropes (large, soft, light-colored droppings).[17] The digestive system of rabbits requires that the animal eats its cecotropes in order to adequately absorb and digest the nutrients found in food.[18]
    • When cleaning out the litter box, remove hard, dry fecal pellets, but be sure to leave cecotropes behind. These "droppings" are an essential part of your pet's diet.
  5. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 9
    Clean your rabbit's cage about once every week.
    • Use white vinegar to clean your rabbit's litter box, or soak it for stains that are tough to remove.[19]
    • Spot cleaning should be done daily.[20] Clean the cage out while your rabbits are in the run.
    • Change soiled bedding daily. Straw makes an excellent bedding material and is easy to change every day.[21]
    • Clean out the food bowl and change the food daily. Do not overfeed your rabbit. Food portions should be commensurate with the size and weight of your rabbit.[22]
  6. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 10
    Give your rabbit plenty of attention. Rabbits are social animals, and you will need to handle your rabbit gently and frequently in order for it to grow comfortable being picked up.[23]

Part 3
Grooming Your Rabbit

  1. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 11
    Brush your rabbit at least once every week. Long-haired rabbits will need daily brushings and will also need regular trimmings to keep their coats around one inch or shorter.[24]
  2. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 12
    Remove mats with a mat splitter or mat rake. Do not use scissors, as rabbits can injure easily.[25]
  3. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 13
    Trim your rabbit's nails as needed. If you are uncomfortable doing this on your own, you may take your rabbit to a veterinarian or to an animal groomer to have this done.[26]
  4. Image titled Raise Rabbits Step 14
    Do NOT bathe your rabbit. Bathing can be very traumatic, and is often unnecessary, as rabbits tend to groom themselves. If you notice a soiled area on your rabbit, you may want to spot-wash it with a wet towel, but do not submerge your rabbit in water.[27]


  • Find some sticks in your yard and make a perch. Your rabbit(s) probably won't sit on it, but the sticks will be good for chewing.
  • Buy a cage that has easy access to make it easier for yourself to clean.
  • If you buy a cage with a wire floor, it could irritate the rabbit's feet after a period of time.
  • When you clean out your rabbit's water bottle, make sure to clean the nozzle well with warm water to prevent anything growing in it.
  • If your rabbit is in its run, it is safe for your pet to eat dandelions (if they do not have pesticides on them). Know what plants are safe for rabbits to eat and which can be toxic.[28].
  • If your rabbits begin developing hocks (foot sores) from the wire, you can buy wire plastic protectors at any pet store.
  • Get a book on keeping rabbits.
  • Never leave your rabbit unattended.


  • Rabbits don't need baths, they can find this stressful.
  • Do not give your rabbit too much fruit or vegetables, as it can cause diarrhea.
  • Never cut your rabbits hair, unless it's an Angora. If you're afraid to give your Angora a hair-cut, have a breeder who's experienced, do it for you. You can learn from them as well, and they can teach you as they do it.
  • Never feed rabbits chocolate. It can be deadly if given in large amounts.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (25)

Article Info

Categories: Rabbits