The first litter of baby rabbits are out of the nest and hopping around and eating well. They are mostly harlequin and are very pretty – just one is a golden colour all over – just like mum. The parents can be seen and have lovely temperaments so I would expect the babies to be the same. They are a bit skittish when they are this small but soon became tame when they are hand fed.
Rabbits need plenty of room with a spacious hutch or a shed is even better. They like to jump and always surprise me with their agility – they can really jump and love to sit on top of their hutch. It must be very frustrating for them when they are kept inside a hutch and don’t have a two storey condominium. The parents spend most of their time in their high-rise apartment.
Natural food is best for all rabbits so you have to allow yourself time to get out there foraging and picking fresh grass and dandelions – they get through large amounts and love munching on their leaves. Packets of cereal are not that good for rabbits, a small amount of corn is acceptable but their gut isn’t designed for maize and pellets – it’s good sweet hay and herbs and grass that is best for them. They love blackberries and brambles and nibbling on twigs – hawthorn and fruit tree twigs and they make short work of big thick bramble stems..
It’s a bit sad that a whole industry has grown up around the little rabbits with shelves of manufactured and factory made artificial feed. Rabbits are becoming a high cost pet when the reality is that you don’t need to spend hardly anything on keeping rabbits. They like porridge oats so if you have porridge for breakfast you can save a sprinkle for your pet. Mainly it’s crisp, sweet hay and you can make this yourself – cut long grass and nettles and docks and let them dry in the sun, keep turning until the ‘hay’ is dry and crackly. Then rake it up into rows and then a few hours or a day later (depending on the weather) stack it up into heaps. Store in a dry shed, either loose or in cardboard or hessian sacks. Plastic won’t do – it will go damp. Make sure that cats or other vermin can’t get in to spoil it. Horse hay racks are perfect, they allow lots of air to get in and you can hand them up out of the way.
Rabbits make delightful pets, they are a member of the family and respond very well to kindness and companionship. They do need a run attached to their hutch or a large compound where they can run about. If you can bury a large pipe underground, with an exit and entrance, they will be in heaven. Watership Down!