Helping rabbit owners do the best for their pets
Rabbits have very specific needs
Rabbits are now a popular pet in the UK, and for good reason! Rabbits have incredible character, are intelligent, and provide great companionship. In terms of care, their husbandry and care needs are quite specific to their species, and it is vital to meet those needs in order to ensure their welfare, health and happiness.
A course to support rabbit owners
ONCORE have created a brand-new course designed to meet the needs of rabbit owners in providing the very best care for their rabbits. We aim to develop a series of courses, with the first module, ready to book now, being ‘rabbit husbandry’ – covering all of the essential elements of rabbit care. The course is tutored by veterinary nurse Jo Hinde, renowned for her knowledge and experience in rabbit care.
Whilst ONCORE provide online courses for the veterinary profession, we recognise that the foundation of health and welfare in rabbits is based on their home-care, so to us, supporting rabbit owners in achieving this is so important.
So, the first stage of rabbit care is where you obtain your rabbit from. There are many options, from breeders, rescue centres and pet shops, and it’s important that you make the right choice to ensure you are supporting and demanding high standards of welfare for rabbits, and that your rabbit has a good start in life.
Many people obtain rabbits without understanding their care requirements, and thus many rabbits sadly end up in rescue centres. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many new pets have been acquired and then relinquished, yet rescue centres have struggled to rehome animals due to distancing guidelines, meaning that many of them are struggling at present. Older rabbits (and pets in general) are less ‘popular’, so maybe you can give an older rabbit the life they deserve. A good rescue centre will also be able to give you advice and support in taking on your new pet.
If obtaining a rabbit from a breeder or pet shop, there are many things you should be looking out for, including how they are housed, what diet they are been fed, their health, and the level of support given following purchase.
Diet and nutrition – it’s vital to get it right!
The correct diet is absolutely imperative for rabbits! There are many aspects to consider, including the correct amount of fibre and roughage, which ‘nugget’ food is best for your rabbit, and what treats or goodies are appropriate and healthy. Even how you supply water for your rabbit is important, as most rabbits struggle with the traditional bottle system.
If your rabbit is kept in an enclosure (many people now keep rabbits as ‘house rabbits’) then they will spend a lot of time in that space, so it’s important that it meets their needs. Most rabbit ‘hutches’ are far too small, thus having an enormous impact on the rabbit’s welfare and wellbeing. What bedding is best for rabbits? How do you keep them safe? How do you ensure they are not too cold in winter or too hot in summer? Jo will cover all of these points on the course.
Stress in rabbits is influenced by so many factors, including their ‘prey animal’ status, companionship (Recent scientific research has identified that rabbits kept alone suffer from stress and loneliness, and should therefore always have a rabbit companion or be kept in a group), enclosure and environment, the ability to meet their ‘five freedoms’, health issues, and how they are handled. Regular grooming should be part of your regular rabbit care, and how this is performed, including handling techniques, will affect stress levels, so it’s important it’s done right.
Weekly health check
When rabbits have a problem, they can become sick very quickly, so being able to identify any problems early is really important in ensuring you can give you rabbit the best chance of health. Being able to perform a basic weekly health check on your rabbit will enable you to check your rabbit’s general health, and identify any issues early. Jo will go through the key steps in performing a health check, and any important health indicators to look out for.
Further course information
The course provides interactive, online, tutor-supported learning over a one-week period. Jo will provide an introductory lecture (that can be viewed at any time) and lead you through the key areas of rabbit husbandry through our structured online forums. Whilst we won’t be able to discuss your individual pets, there will be an abundance of advice, tips, and resources for you to take away with you, plus a certificate of completion at the end of the course.
Due to the interactive nature of our courses and focus on support during your learning, places are limited. We have the first date for the course, which will start on 20th July, and more dates should be available soon.
Find out more about the course here.