Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Binky Day!

It's Binky Day! Please share your photos of Binkies, and let everyone know what a Binky is! Please try to use the word Binky today, and when someone asks you what it means, tell them how much rabbits love to run and jump, because a hutch is not enough.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Has your rabbit got the Xtra Large factor?

We have added an artcile from Rabbiting On to the website, so that anyone who thinks their rabbits may be over weight can check, and dont forget we posted some information last week that it worth checking out too. Scroll down the home page to find the body condition score article.

If you don't want to miss a copy of Rabbiting On, and you believe that ' A hutch is not enough', then join the club!

PDSA Fit Club

Hurry - closing date Friday 25th November
According to veterinary charity PDSA, pet obesity levels vary depending on where pets live. Pets in Wales and the North West fare the worst, with 67% being fed unsuitable foods. In contrast, pets in London have the least fatty treats (53%). Are there lots of podgy pets in your area? The charity is running a pet slimming competition to help overweight pets lose weight through a diet and exercise programme that will help pets get back to a healthy and happy state. Visit for more details

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

RWAF launches a rescue fund.

The RWAF has long supported the work of rescue centres and by the start of 2011 we had already raised over £12,000 which has been donated to UKrescues. We also support rescues by providing our educational leaflets free of charge and maintain a list of rescue centres. We are also currently undertaking a rescue survey where we hope to update the well known figure of 35,000 rabbits through rescue each year, which we think is very out of date now.

We are now pleased to announce the launch of the RWAF Rescue Fund, where we hope to make a difference to both rescue centres and rabbit owners, and of course most importantly, our favourite animals, rabbits themselves. For details of how we can help and to find out whether you or your rescue are eligable for help, please look at our website

We plan to highlight some of the rabbits that we have helped and may be looking for homes, so please do keep rescue centres in mind if you are thinking of getting a friend for your rabbit or adding rabbits to your family for the first time.

If you believe that a hutch is not enough then join the club!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Bunny Buddies leaflet

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Can you help us to help rabbits?

We've recently updated our 'Get Involved' page which you can find here. It lists many ways you can show us your support. Perhaps the best of all, if you haven't done it already, is to join us. Here's where you can do that. With your support we become stronger and our message bears more weight. You'll get four copies of Rabbiting On per year, packed with top quality articles and advice about the best quality rabbit care, and you'll be swelling the Association's numbers. Together we can shout with a far louder voice that A Hutch Is Not Enough and that Rabbits Deserve Better.

Is your rabbit over weight?

It is easy for any animal to slowly gain weight over time, without it being easily noticed, and so any help in assessing your pets body condition is helpful. Rabbits are particularly difficult as they have large abdomens naturally, they sit snuggled up, and they often have thick fur. The differences in size and breeds make it difficult to state a correct weight for each rabbit unless they are purebreeds. Regular weighing, on bathroom or kitchen scales,once they have stopped growing, helps to alert the owner to weight gain or loss, and can provide a useful target weight guide. Assessing body condition is more useful: feel your rabbit over hips, ribs and spine, to detect a reasonable but not excessive amount of fat under the skin. Many older feamle rabbits will naturally have a dewlap under the chin, but if this is too large, or present to more than a small degree, in males, it is due to excessive fat being laid down.

Overweight rabbits may suffer a range of problems. They will neither want to eat, not be able to reach, their caecotrophs, and may become dirty around the tail. This can cause skin soreness, and ultimately end in flystrike and death in many cases. The increased weight can lead to sore feet, which may bleed and become infected. Their joints are under more strain, predisposing to pain from arthritis, and their hearts and blood vessels are worked harder, increasing the risks of heart attacks. They are high risks for anaesthesia, and may not survive surgery that a slimmer rabbit would be fine with. If they stop eating, for any reason, fat rabbits deteriorate faster than slim healthy ones.

Prevention is better than cure. It is easier to keep weight off than to lose weight. The key to maintaining a normal weight is a healthy diet and exercise. Diet is probably the most important, and rabbits are adapted to a low calorie, high fibre diet such as grass. Providing fresh, tasty grass and hay provides all the nutrients a healthy rabbit requires. Providing more than a minimal amount of relatively high calorie pelleted food is the equivalent of that extra chocolate biscuit or 2 every day for us. Most rabbits should get no more than an egg cup full of pellet, twice daily. The exception may be older, underweight rabbits, and/or those with dental problems, and so you should check with your vet before changing your rabbits diet. Increasing your rabbits opportunities for exercise is also helpful: giving them ample space to hop and run in all the time, and encouraging play and foraging behaviours by ensuring that they have a companion rabbit and spreading toys and pelleted food around the space available.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

PDSA Pet Fit Club - now open to rabbits.

PDSA's pet fit club is back, and it's even better this year because it is open to rabbits too! If you think your rabbits could be overweight then why not sign up? You can sign up by visiting the website -​lth-advice/pdsa-pet-fit-club

If you are not sure if your rabbits are over weight, or in good condition, then check out this link:​er.html

If you think your rabbits could do with shaping up, then please think about the PDSA pet fit club.

But hurry because the closing date is Friday 25th November

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Welfare Wednesday - Winter draws on!

RWAF Hot tips for keeping outdoor buns warm this winter

Amongst our members and supporters there is a huge wealth of knowledge, so we asked everyone to share their top tips. Some are well tried and tested, and still working well, but others are ingenious and we wonder how we hadn’t thought of them already.

Keeping rabbits warm is important, because in the wild they would live in underground burrows and the temperature changes very slightly between summer and winter. By keeping them above ground we are subjecting them to extremes of temperature changes and we need to help them stay warm and dry. Damp and draughts can be deadly to bunnies at this time of year.

We always recommend rabbits are kept in pairs, and there is no nicer way of keeping warm than by snuggling up to your friend.

Companionship is often overlooked, and can be even more important over the winter months. Naturally, because of the dark nights and poor weather we are less inclined to spend time in the garden, so we see less of our rabbits who are kept outdoors. You must make sure you check them regularly (at least three times a day, but more is always better), and check that the hutch / shed is not leaking, that their bed is dry and that they always have hay and water.

Remember that even in bad weather rabbits will need to exercise every day; it is not acceptable to keep them locked in a hutch because you are not able to provide a protected exercise area for them, so some forward planning now may be needed. A hutch attached to a safe exercise run means the rabbits can shelter in the hutch or exercise in the run when they please. At the very least, add a tarpaulin cover to both to protect them from rain and snow, and a hiding place (one per bunny).

Garden sheds offer a great alternative to a traditional rabbit hutch because they can be well insulated and the rabbits are nice and dry inside and they have more room to move around. It is also easier for the owners to feed and clean out inside a garden shed in wet weather. Exercise runs can still be attached to a shed, and can still be covered by a tarpaulin.

The easiest thing would be to bring the hutch and run into an unused shed, garage (as long as it has a window and you aren’t using it for a car…those exhaust fumes are very dangerous) or a conservatory. Lots of owners bring their rabbits in and keep them as house rabbits over the winter months. It’s fine to have winter house rabbits and summer garden rabbits, as long as you do not embark on this and then abandon it mid way; if you decide to do it, you will have to stick to it because it would be cruel to bring them in and let them moult their winter coat, only to put them outdoors again before spring. If you are going to do this, then first of all bring them into a room with no heating and acclimatise them gradually. Remember that they may find household noises like the TV and washing machine scary so take your time. They will not be used to our artificial lights either, so make sure they have somewhere to hide out of the lights while they adjust.

Top Tip – if bringing rabbits in doors do it gradually – bring them into a cold quiet room, and give them plenty of places to hide. Use their own litter tray and toys so that they have a familiar smell.

By cold – we mean if the temperature falls below zero; that is when insulating sheds and hutches and items such as Snugglesafe can be used to best effect – but of course lots of the tips relate to weatherproofing and they can be used in wet and windy weather regardless of the temperature. You will need to use your own common sense.

However, most rabbits live out doors all year round, so if this applies to you then read on!

To stop water bottles or bowls freezing:

Cable tie a plant pot to the inside of the hutch and put the water bottle in there. Once the hutch is insulated (see below) it reduces the risk of the bottle freezing. (Total genius, well done to the person that thought of this!)

Don’t forget to check that water bottles are working properly, and keep 2 so that if one freezes it can be swapped for another.

If you use water bowls, lift them off the floor of the shed or hutch, and keep them out of a draught.

Wrap water bottles with bubble wrap, a thermal sock or glove.

Use a Snuggle Safe under a water bowl to stop it freezing.

For keeping hutches and runs warm

Use a tarpaulin with eyelets so it can be secured in place.

Put old blankets or duvets over the hutch and run, but under the tarp for extra insulation. (Make sure bunnies can not nibble the blankets or tarp)

Buy a Snugglesafe heat pad to use overnight.

Make sure bedding is kept warm and dry. Straw is warmer than hay so makes a better winter bedding, but nothing is warm if it is wet. Your cleaning schedule needs to be scrupulous in the winter and don’t be stingy - make sure you provide a deep bed of something like shavings or Megazorb and plenty of straw.

Use silver backed beach mats to insulate the hutch and run

Put wind breaks up around the hutch and run

Line sheds to create a double wall, and an extra layer of insulation.

Add Perspex sheets to the front of hutches and runs to keep them weather proof, but allow rabbits to see out and get daylight. If you do this make sure there is still good ventilation, perhaps leave a small gap along the top.

Add a cardboard box with a small hole to the bedroom area and fill it with dry straw.

Add a low wattage heater to a shed – make sure that the bunnies cannot chew the cable!

Insulate the shed or hutch, and also the hutch or nest box inside.

One final note, this advice is really for rabbits in good body condition, those who are old, or thin may need even more care, and we advise the owners of such bunnies to bring them in for the winter.

This advice is now on our website at

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Weather is a lottery - literally!

The RWAF is delighted to announce that the charity arm of the organisation, the Rabbit Welfare Fund, has joined the Sunshine Lottery scheme.

You could win £25,000 and help rabbits at the same time!

This is how it works​yonline.php?scheme=RABWF

and this is where you go to play​egories/players/join-sunshine.​php?code=RABWF

Our A Hutch is Not Enough campaing is becomming very well known and respected, and making good progress, but we still have lots of work to do; we wont stop until we see the end to rabbits living alone and in cramped accomodation; lonely and unable to even move around freely.

We thought the Sunshine Lottery was a fun way for people to support our work and hopefully get lucky in the process!

To play, click the link above (or paste it into your browser) and register your details.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Welfare Wednesday - rabbits and fireworks

Welfare Wednesday: Love them or hate them, it's going to be hard to avoid them - we're talking about fireworks of course. Many animals find this a stressful time and we need to do what we can to minimise their distress.

If you have garden bunnies, and you have somewhere you can put them while the bangs and flashes are going off then it may be a good idea. Somewhere like an unused garage or co...nservatory would be good. Make sure that give you them somewhere to hide, and plenty of toys and forage to distract them. You should not bring outdoor bunnies into a warm house and then put them back out in the cold again as that could be harmful to them, and also bear in mind that if they are not used to the TV and family dog, this may be as stressful as the fireworks, so keep them somewhere quiet and cool.

If they are going to be staying outdoors then you can offer them some protection by putting a thick blanket or duvet over their hutch and run, or turn them to face a wall so that they can not see the flashes, and make sure they have somewhere they can hide and feel safe. Again toys and favourite foods can be a distraction.

Happy Hoppers covered this in their recent issue, you can check it out here: