Food Bowls, Feeders, Water & Hay Holders
Filed in Small Animals, Bunny
Make sure that your food bowl is of sturdy construction. Your rabbit is a chewing creature and is likely to chew and swallow pieces of plastic containers. Stick with ceramic, glass or metal (though metal can affect the temperature of the food in an outside feeder). A heavier bowl is best since it is less likely to tip over. Most owners like to feed rabbit pellets in one container and then feed vegetables in a separate container. This is a wise idea since the pellets could be dampened by the vegetables.
When feeding your rabbit hay, you can place it straight in the cage and let them enjoy it that way, or you can employ the use of a hay holder. Hay holders usually hang on the outside of a hutch so that you can fill them with as much hay as is appropriate and the rabbit(s) can pull it into the cage through the wire mesh side of the cage. This is a good way to feed hay because it keeps the hay out of the cage, which keeps it from getting soiled or damp. Regardless of the method you use, make sure your hay is fresh and dry. Hay can mold easily and that could cause illness in your rabbit(s).
Did you know that a one pound rabbit drinks the same about of water as a five-pound dog? Rabbits must have a continual source of clean drinking water. While many rabbit lovers enjoy the convenience of having a water bottle that hangs on the outside of the hutch or cage, many others insist on using a ceramic bowl (or some other heavy non-chewable material). Your rabbit may actually make this decision for you. He may refuse to drink from one or the other. If you are planning on using a water bottle, train your rabbit to use it and check the water levels very carefully for the first few days to make sure he is drinking from it. The downside of the water bowl is that it is easily knocked over and spilled. Some rabbits also insist on urinating in them when they are empty, which makes sanitation a bit of a chore. No matter which delivery method you use, keep tabs on your rabbit's water intake and make sure that the water is changed daily. Leaving a water bottle or a bowl of water in the cage until it's empty doesn't cut the mustard with rabbits. They require fresh water or they may stop drinking altogether.
It is mportant to remember that your rabbit is a finicky eater whose eating can be easily swayed by smells. Make sure his food is fresh and make sure his food and water containers are disinfected routinely or they may start to pick up odors which might make your rabbit go off his feed.
For more information, try some of these sources:
- Barron's Small Pet Handbook, David Taylor, 1996
- The International Encyclopedia of Pet Care, David Alderton, Howell Book House, 1997
- Rabbits Magazine, 1999-2000 issue
- The House Rabbit Society
Deirdre Kelly is a freelance writer, teacher and animal lover living in Florida.