Rabbit acclimatization how to get them settled
After some preparation, the day has finally come when your new rabbit moves in with you. The anticipation and excitement are certainly great. Nevertheless, you should keep a cool head to perform the rabbit acclimation as gently for the rabbit as possible.
What you should consider when moving in the rabbit, you will learn in this article.
Prepare rabbit acclimatization
When you pick up the baby rabbit, it will be stressed at first, because
- You are taking it away from its mother and siblings or other conspecifics.
- The rabbit does not know you and thus has not yet developed trust in you.
- You are bringing the rabbit into a new environment that it is not familiar with, which will cause it additional anxiety.
All these things you should keep in mind and prepare the arrival of the rabbit as best as possible and to be able to carry out the rabbit acclimatization in peace.
Before you pick up the rabbit, you should have already done the following things:
- The hutch and enclosure are built (whether inside or outside).
- You have provided the furnishings and placed them in the enclosure.
- You have put the bedding in the hutch and in the toilet
- You have rabbit-proofed the apartment (if you want to keep the animal indoors)
- You have placed a small toy, which can also be homemade, in the enclosure
- You have filled the food and water bowls and put hay in the hay rack (just before the rabbit arrives).
If you already keep rabbits, you should initially keep the new rabbit away from the other animals and also avoid visual contact. This will allow the rabbit to get used to its new surroundings before it meets its fellow rabbits.
The day of moving in
The time has come. You pick up the new rabbit. Be sure to make the entire journey home as comfortable as possible for the little one. This starts with a calm act and ends with a comfortable transport box. It is best not to constantly talk down to the rabbit. However, in order for it to get used to your voice right away, you should say a few words at a comfortable volume every now and then.
Once home, it is best to open the box and let the rabbit come out on its own when it is ready. Do not force it to do anything, as this would put the animal under additional stress.
Sit quietly in the same room and watch the rabbit slowly take its first steps in its new home.
If you have small children, you should pick up the rabbit at a time when the children are not at home. This will allow the animal to get used to the new environment in peace and quiet.
It is also important that you do not change anything in the cage, the enclosure or the immediate surroundings during the first few days, as this could irritate the rabbit.
From the second day on, you can slowly get the rabbit used to you by taking a treat in your hand and slowly enticing the little one with it. However, do not harass him.
When the rabbit first approaches and sniffs you, you should not touch it yet, as it will immediately recoil. Wait a few days before touching or even petting the rabbit. Rabbits are very curious and will therefore approach you on their own.
What to do if you keep other rabbits?
If you are keeping other rabbits, the newcomer should be kept separate from the other rabbits at first, as mentioned above. This is not only to prevent stress, but is also important to eliminate infection with various diseases.
If the animal has not yet been examined by a veterinarian, you should do this urgently. It is best to collect some feces during the first few days, which the veterinarian can then use to check for diseases.
Once the vet has given his “okay” or you can observe the health of the newcomer over a period of at least two weeks and consider him fit and lively, you can slowly introduce him to his peers.
It is best to let the animals approach each other by themselves. If you keep males and females, they should be neutered to avoid producing unwanted offspring.
It happens again and again that you get an animal with a “wrong” sex, which is connected with the fact that this is difficult to recognize with small rabbits. You should therefore ask two independent persons about the sex of the animal.
In many cases, the rabbits will get along fine. However, if you find that the animals are aggressive, separate them again, as the aggression may have different reasons such as disease. If the animals do not want to get along at all, it is best to visit the veterinarian again with all the rabbits involved to rule out disease and discuss the behavior.
Sometimes it just takes a little time for the animals to get used to their new mates.
The change of diet
The likelihood that your rabbit has been eating different things than you have been offering it is quite high, especially if you buy the animal from a pet store or from a private individual. It is therefore important that you change the diet slowly, so that the gastrointestinal tract can first get used to this.
Especially green food should be offered slowly, because the stomachs of small rabbits are often not yet accustomed to the fresh green.It is best to use some of the food the rabbit has been fed up to now and gradually mix it with your own feed. The change should be made over a period of two weeks, increasing your feeds more and more and decreasing the previous feeds or – if it is unhealthy food – completely eliminating it from the diet.
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