In here you will learn the basics about caring for your lionhead rabbit, including your rabbit’s habitat requirements and exercise requirements. You will also receive tips for litter training and for taming and handling your rabbit.
Habitat Requirements for Lionhead Rabbits
The great thing about rabbits is that they don’t take up too much space and they don’t necessarily need a cage! Aside from space, the main thing your rabbit needs in terms of its habitat is lots of love and affection from his human companions and adequate exercise.
Rabbits are a cuddly and loving pet that bond closely with family, so you should make an effort to spend some quality time with your lionhead each and every day. If your pet doesn’t get enough attention he may be more likely to develop problem behaviors like chewing house furniture and potential aggression as well as separation anxiety.
In addition to playing with your rabbit and spending time with him every day, you also need to make sure that his needs for exercise are met. Rabbits are a very active creature that’s why it’s important for you to also make sure your pet gets plenty of mental stimulation from interactive toys and games.
Keep reading to learn the basics about your rabbit’s habitat requirements. You will also learn about recommended cage accessories and receive tips for choosing the right bedding for your rabbit as well as some guidelines on how to handle and tame your pet.
Ideal Rabbit Cage
When it comes to choosing a cage for your rabbit there are several things to consider.
First thing you need to prioritize is the size of the cage.
Rabbits are active animals so even if you let your rabbit out of the cage sometimes his cage should still be large enough so that he can move around with ease.
At the least, your rabbit cage should be 4 to 6 times the length of your rabbit when he is fully stretched out. Get out a ruler or tape measure or simple estimate the measurement of your rabbit’s body because its size may also depend on their age or breed.
Another factor you need to consider with your rabbit’s cage is the materials from which it is made.
You want to choose a cage that is easy to clean and can be durable.
Generally speaking, plastic cages and metal cages are usually the best choice.
Wooden cages are not advisable because it absorbs moisture and harbor bacteria. They do look beautiful though, so if you prefer this look remember to keep it clean by washing it down periodically.
Avoid cages with wire flooring because these can irritate your rabbit’s feet. If you have to choose a cage with a wire floor, cover a portion of it with a square of carpet or a mat – otherwise your rabbit will probably just hang out in his litter box.
Play Space or Pen Space
The cage itself should provide at least 8 square feet of space for 1 to 2 rabbits and the exercise space should provide at least 24 square feet of space. Your rabbit should get at least 5 hours a day in the exercise pen or, if you are handy, you can connect the pen to his cage so he can come and go as he pleases.
Indoor Cages vs. Outdoor Hutches
Indoor cages are safest and most comfortable for your rabbit.
Keeping rabbits outdoors may expose them to parasites and other dangerous diseases – especially if they come into contact with wild rabbits. If your rabbits are kept outdoors, they may not receive as much attention and human interaction as they might if they were kept inside.
Keeping your rabbits outdoors puts them at risk for predation and they could also be exposed to extreme temperatures and inclement weather which could make them sick.
It is not wise to keep your rabbits outdoors. Although many rabbit owners think that rabbits are best kept in outdoor hutches, this may not necessarily be the case. In areas prone to certain diseases, these can be transmitted by mosquitoes and your rabbit may be at greater risk outdoors.
There are, however, some important pros and cons to consider for outdoor rabbits. For example, it is easier to find space for a very large cage to house multiple rabbits outdoors – you also don’t have to worry about noise or odors if you keep your rabbits outdoors.
If you provide your rabbits with an outdoor run, they will be able to eat grass and other plants to supplement their diet without costing you any extra money. Plus, clean-up is easier for outdoor cages than for indoor cages.
Recommended Cage Accessories
In addition to providing your rabbit with a cage, you also need to stock it with certain accessories. Here are a few things your rabbit needs for its cage:
When it comes to your rabbit’s water bottle, it is worth it to spend a few extra dollars for a non-drip model – this will keep you from having to change your bedding as frequently.
Food and water dishes for rabbits come in all shapes and sizes but you should choose a set that suits your pet’s needs.
Lionhead rabbits are a relatively medium sized-breed, so don’t choose anything too small or too big. As mentioned in the previous, stainless steel and ceramic bowls do not harbor bacteria like plastic can and they are easy to clean.
It is recommended that you buy a hay rack to keep your rabbit’s hay fresh by raising it up off the floor of the cage where it could be soiled.
Your rabbit’s litter pan does not need to be anything fancy – it just needs to be large enough for your rabbit to turn around in and deep enough to contain the litter without making it hard for your rabbit to get into the pan.
As mentioned earlier your rabbit also needs toys to prevent it from getting bored plus it also a form of exercise. You may want to buy chew toys and other types to provide mental and physical stimulation. It is ideal that you buy an assortment of toys at first and give your rabbit time to play with them so you can learn which type of toys he prefers.
Your rabbit also needs a hiding place or shelter and of course a bedding. You may need to consider the type of litter you want to use for your rabbit’s bedding – if you choose to use any at all. The best litter to use in a rabbit cage is fresh hay – ideally edible hay like meadow hay or timothy hay. You can also use a blanket made from some kind of natural fiber.
Straw bedding and shredded newspaper or cardboard is not recommended for rabbit cages because it absorbs moisture which can lead to urine burn and it can also harbor bacteria. The worst bedding for rabbits is wood shavings, sawdust, cat litter, or any kind of cedar or pine product.
Litter Training Your Rabbit
Once you have set up your rabbit’s cage, your next step is to litter train your rabbit.
Rabbits are naturally fairly clean animals and they tend to choose one or two places in their cage to urinate and defecate. This makes your job very easy. All you have to do is watch your rabbit for a few days to determine where he tends to relieve himself and then simply place a litter pan in that area. Some rabbits choose a single location and others choose two or more – they are usually located in the corners of cage.
After discovering where your rabbit likes to relieve himself, you need to determine which type of litter you want to use. Avoid cat litters because they are often dusty or scented – you also don’t want anything that clumps.
The best litter to use is something organic made from alfalfa or oat hay, even paper. You can also simply use fresh hay as your litter! You want to avoid wood shavings, sawdust, and shredded newspaper or cardboard because they can absorb moisture. You also want to avoid anything made with cedar or pine because the natural oils can irritate your rabbit.
Handling and Taming Your Rabbit
At some point in time, you and your pet will already get along and are comfortable in each other, strengthen your relationship by taming them through training. Training a rabbit is not that hard to do, in fact it can be a fun and rewarding bonding experience for both of you.
There are lots of pet owners out there who have properly trained and raised a well-behaved lionhead rabbit. They are easy to tame, that is why they can absorb information very quickly and easily as long as you do it right. Trust is the most important key in taming your rabbits. The first thing you need to do is to be able to establish a solid connection and rapport between you and your pet.
This section will provide some guidelines you can do to get your rabbit well-behaved and disciplined.
Rabbits make wonderful pets for a number of reasons but one of those reasons is that they are easy to tame. The more time you spend with your rabbit, the more quickly he will get used to you and he will come to enjoy interacting with you. It is important to remember, however, that rabbits are fragile animals so you want to be careful about how you handle them. You must also remember that rabbits are prey animals so they dislike being picked up – if you do pick your rabbit up, hold him securely against your chest until you can sit down then place him on your lap.
If you are a new rabbit owner, it may take some practice to learn how to safely pick your rabbit up out of his cage. One thing you can do is use small treats to entice your rabbit to come to you. When he does, start gently petting him along the back until he seems calm enough for you to pick him up. When you do, make sure to support his body from underneath and then hold him securely against your chest to make sure he doesn’t fall.
Once you have all the gear you need, caring for your lionhead rabbit is an ongoing process of giving your pet food, water, cleanliness and companionship.
Need more? Read the Ultimate Guide for Lionhead Rabbits
If you’re still looking for more detail on caring for your lionhood rabbit, I’d recommend reading “Lionhead Rabbits: The Ultimate Guide for Lionhead Rabbits”. You can find it on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.