Keeping your rabbit happy
Rabbits are active and intelligent animals and will suffer if they get bored. As domesticated rabbits are usually confined for most of the day, freedom and choice are important.
Interesting environments that encourage physical and mental stimulation will create a happy home. Here's what you need to know about enriching your rabbit's home environment.
What is enrichment?
Enrichment should increase the frequency and variety of their positive natural behaviours, and decrease abnormal behaviour. It should help them make the most of their environment and help them to cope with the challenges of captivity.
- Improving the quality of your rabbit's living areas so they have greater choices of activity and some control over their spatial/social environment
- Improving your rabbit's physical and psychological well being
- Giving your rabbit social companionship with people or other rabbits
- Giving your rabbit toys
Why is enrichment important?
Rabbits are intelligent, active, social and inquisitive. So giving them the freedom to explore, exercise and forage, as well as to socialise, is vital to your pets' health and wellbeing.
Although enclosure size is very important, what it contains is also important. Interesting environments provide both mental and physical stimulation and opportunities to perform normal behaviours, such as exploring, hopping and foraging, as well as the chance to play and interact with other friendly rabbits and people.
Read more about the problem of a barren environment for rabbits.
Making your rabbit's home more interesting for them
Enrichment for your rabbit's home can include:
- A large enclosure with a big floor area and high ceiling allowing opportunities for normal behaviours, such as running, jumping, hopping and rearing up on hind legs.
- Permanently attached shelter such as a hutch, cage, shed or playhouse to the enclosure (such as an exercise run or pen). This provides greater space and choice about which section they spend time in and when, rather than having intermittent access to the exercise area.