The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Rabbits

Can I keep chickens with other pets?


Photo by
Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

When considering whether or not to keep chickens, it’s important to take into account the pets you already have around your home. The most obvious examples are cats and dogs, who sometimes let their chase instincts get the better of them. However, all your pets can get along just fine, as long as you lay down a few ground rules.

Keeping chickens with dogs

If you’re a dog owner, the first thing to consider is the temperament of your pet. Does it often chase rabbits or deer when out on a walk? How does your dog react to birds in the garden? If your hound tends to lose control in these situations, this behaviour is likely to carry over into their relationship with chickens. Equally, if your dog is of a more relaxed temperament, they may show little if any interest in your coop. 

The likeliest scenario falls somewhere between the two extremes, in which case you’ll see your dog taking an interest in the chickens, and spending plenty of time watching and attempting to play with them, but not moving in ‘for the kill’. What’s important here is that your dog needs to understand that the chickens are part of the pack, and not something to be hunted. It’s also important that your dog understands that chickens are fragile, and that dog-style rough play is out of the question.

Teaching dogs to get along with chickens

You can teach your dogs that the chickens are part of the family by letting them watch you spending time in the coop – initially keeping them separated with chicken wire or fencing. Many breeds of dog are naturally cautious around small animals and will be protective of your chickens once they consider them a part of the pack. The behaviour you want to see is your dog cautiously sniffing at the chicken, as opposed to adopting the head-down-bottom-up ‘let’s play’ stance. 

One of the most important considerations when it comes to dogs and chickens is the temperament of the dog breed. Hunting dogs such as greyhounds and beagles will cave in to their chasing instincts if the hens begin to flap around, and they should never be allowed to mingle with the chickens. In contrast, farm dogs such as sheepdogs have protective and herding instincts, and they will be less likely to harm your chickens. 

There is no sure-fire way to guarantee your dogs and chickens will get on, but spending plenty of time introducing them goes a long way. As with all dog training, this can be an extended process, so be prepared to spend a few weeks introducing your chickens to your dogs with a barrier before you let them meet face to face. When you do introduce them, it’s a good idea to keep the dog on a short leash at first, just in case. 

Keeping chickens with cats

Cats are a completely different story to dogs – they are harder to predict and less susceptible to training. However, they are unlikely to view a big fat hen as potential prey. Many farmers concur that their farm cats have no interest in hunting poultry, and are much more interested in the rats and mice that are inevitably attracted by birds. When keeping chickens, the occasional rat is standard, and having a cat around can greatly reduce their numbers. 

Although most chickens are too large for a cat to hunt, this largely depends on the breed of chicken and the size of your cat. If you find that your cat is beginning to stalk your chickens, a sturdy and secure coop and run that your cat can’t access will deter trouble. This is good practice either way, as even if your cat is friendly with your chickens, your neighbour’s cat might not be! The ideal answer here is the Eglu, which is super-secure and comes with its own attached chicken run.

 

Keeping chickens with guinea pigs

You may already have a guinea pig hutch or run in your garden, and while this won’t be a problem for your chickens, it is not recommended for chickens and guinea pigs to share living quarters. This is for several reasons, one being that rats will be further attracted to your pets’ food, and they may attack your guinea pigs. Another reason is that when establishing a pecking order, your chickens will peck at each other and any other animal they live with. This can cause serious harm to guinea pigs, who do not have thick feathers to protect them. 

Keeping chickens with rabbits

Rabbits can be great companions for your chickens if you introduce them to each other when they are all very young. You will also need to ensure that you care for their different needs within the same run, in terms of food and equipment.

Rabbits, for example, like to have a clean space to sleep in, so you may need to muck out your coop and run more regularly than you would if the chickens were alone. You will also need to ensure that the chickens and rabbits all have a safe space within the coop where they can have privacy and space. You can achieve this by separating your run into three areas, one to house the roosting chickens, another for your rabbits, and a communal space.

Photo by JackieLou DL from Pixabay                           

 Having a large and secure garden run will make your chickens feel safer in general, and plenty of space will maximise the chance of the hens getting along with each other and their rabbit and guinea pig neighbours. 

Chickens and other pets

Chickens can also rub along happily with goats, and with female ducks (males will tends to bully them). Ironically, they do not mix with birds in an aviary. They will eat anything that falls to the aviary floor, but they will also happily peck the other birds whenever they can and may attract rats and mice, which will cause problems for the smaller birds.

Small mammal pets such as hamsters and gerbils should never be kept in the same enclosure as chickens. The rodents will be pecked and killed.

By following these few ground rules, you will be able to keep the various members of your mixed menagerie happy!

Photo by Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash

 

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This entry was posted in Budgies


How to teach your guinea pigs and rabbits tricks

One of the most rewarding experiences you can have with your pets is teaching them tricks, and despite what you may have heard, it’s a lot easier than you might think. 


Image by
Pezibear from Pixabay

Rabbits and guinea pigs are sociable animals, and they greatly benefit from spending time with their owners learning and playing. It can be a great way to establish trust between you and your pets, as well as a lot of fun!

Training a rabbits or guinea pig works best when you can repeat it every day – even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. Not only will your pets love the attention, having the repeated routine will help them remember the tricks you perform together.

The first thing you will need is a quiet space away from distractions. Zippi Rabbit Runs and Playpens are ideal, giving you the secure and familiar space in which your pets can relax and enjoy the training. You will also need some of your rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ favourite treats to encourage and reinforce the learning. It

can be helpful to separate your pets when training them, but equally, some pets benefit from learning from each other – for example, if you have an older trained rabbit or a young, untrained one, the young rabbit can learn tricks faster by copying his older friend. And forget what you’ve heard about old dogs and new tricks – your pets are never too old to pick up new things!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Image by Rolf Neumann from Unsplash

Rabbit and Guinea pig tricks for beginners

When you start to train your guinea pig or rabbit, it’s all about patience and perseverance. Your pet might not seem that interested initially, but as you continue to reinforce their learning with treats, you will find they keep coming back for more. You should always start with something simple, such as ‘Circling’, a perfect trick for both rabbits and guinea pigs.

Training your guinea pig or rabbit to Circle

To teach your pet how to perform Circle, simply grip a treat tight between your fingers, and hold it close to your pet’s mouth. Then lead your pet around in a circle with the treat – so that it spins on the spot. Repeat this until your pet spins around without you leading them, occasionally reinforcing them with the treat. It is important that you only give them a reinforcement treat when they successfully do the trick. Don’t feel bad if they manage to sneakily steal the treat from you – it’s all part of the fun!

Don’t worry if this takes some time to learn – the first trick can be the hardest for your rabbits or guinea pig, and once they have mastered Circle, a whole world of tricks opens up for you and your pet to enjoy together! If your pet is struggling with Circle, try making them turn in the other direction – just like us, our pets are either left or right-footed.

There are all sorts of tricks that you can teach your pets using a similar method – teach your guinea pigs to go through a play tunnel in your Zippi Run by guiding them with a treat to the beginning of the tunnel, then place the treat at the other end of the tunnel as a reward. You can also teach your rabbits to first stand up by holding the treat just out of their reach – then, when they have learnt to stand, you can start slowly moving the treat, and you will soon find your rabbit taking its first steps on two feet to get that treat.

How to teach rabbits and guinea pigs ‘Figure of Eight’

If you’ve succeeded in all of these treat-leading tricks, then maybe challenge yourself by trying to teach your pet to walk a figure of eight weaving between your legs – in the same way as with Circle. With some perseverance, you’ll be amazed at what your pet can learn and remember. This is a great trick for showing off to your friends, and you’ll find that your pets are a lot more comfortable around strangers after training.

Don’t forget that the treats which you give your pets are a part of their diet, and if you’re repeating your training daily as recommended, you may need to give your pet a touch less feed each day to make up for the extra nutrition they’re getting from the frequent treats. You can further increase the effectiveness of your training by exchanging your dried treats for fresh leaves. Keeping the treats healthy is important.

How to make rabbits and guinea pigs come when called

As with many tricks, the key here is treats. Offer the treat when you are close to the pet, and say the pet’s name as you do so. Eventually, they will come to associate their name with the treat. The next step is to call your pet from further away, showing the treat. Repeat the name as they take it. Call your rabbit’s name and give them a treat after they approach. After two weeks of this regular exercise – calling, treating – try calling your pet’s name without showing the treat.

If the rabbit or guinea pig does not respond, they have not yet made the connection. Revert to the first steps, and call while showing – and giving – the treat. Once your pet has made the link, they will scurry towards you when they hear their name. There’s no harm in reinforcing this with a bonus treat now and then!

How to make rabbits and guinea pigs jump through hoops

The key to this trick is stick-training. You will also need the pet training device known as a clicker. To start training your guinea pig or rabbit– and over the first few days of training – simply hold the stick near your pet. When it turns to sniff and investigate the training stick, click the clicker and offer a treat. In time, your pet will come to associate the stick with a treat.

The next stage is to hold the hoop close to your Rabbit or guinea pig, slightly off the ground. Hold the stick on the other side of the hoop, and eventually your pet will jump through to get the treat. Guinea pigs will only manage a slight hop, whereas over time you can raise the hoop quite high for a rabbit.

How to make rabbits give you a High-5!

This is a complex one, and it is only suitable for rabbits. It involves a certain amount of ‘click training’, using a clicker.

The starting point is to sit with your rabbit and wait for it to lift a paw – they do this frequently – clicking whenever it does so. For the first few days, this is far as you’ll get – raised paw, click! You can speed thing up by offering a treat high off the ground – the rabbit will lift its nose, and then its paw. Be ready with that clicker when the paw is raised!

For the next stage, position your hand near the rabbit, on the ground. When the raised paw is put down again, it will touch your hand. As soon as it does, give the clicker a click and offer a treat. Once the rabbit begins to understand, you can move your hand further away. The key is to make the rabbit realise that the click and the treat only occur when they touch your hand.

By keeping your hand on one side of the rabbit, rather than in front, you’ll make sure the paw-to-hand contact only involves a single paw – a key detail of the high-5. The rabbit will eventually know that touching the hand delivers the treat. So, the next step is to put your hand out and wait for the rabbit to make the connection and high-5 it. Once it does, give it the click and treat treatment!

This process can take time – but it’s a great trick, and one that will genuinely amaze everyone who watches it!

Runs and platforms for rabbits and guinea pigs

One of the key ways you can enrich your pets’ lives and keep them mentally and physically fit and healthy is by getting them a proper enclosure and suitable play equipment. Giving your pets the right amount of space is essential to their wellbeing, and this is easy with custom-made Zippi Tunnels and Zippi Run Platforms. These expand the space within your run and bring the many benefits of constant exercise.

Zippi Platforms increase the daily exercise possibilities for your pets and tap into their meerkat-like instincts of getting up high and acting as a lookout. Having a fun environment goes hand in hand with good training, as your pets’ happiness and healthiness is key to their engagement in learning. 

If you have a large group of rabbits or guinea pigs, training them is a great way to give your pets some individual attention – you might soon find that it’s both you and your pets’ favourite part of the day!

 

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This entry was posted in Guinea Pigs


10 tips for keeping older rabbits healthy and happy

Older rabbits need a little extra care. But when exactly is a bunny ‘old’? It very much depends on the breed. Larger rabbits have shorter lifespans than smaller ones, which means they become senior rabbits sooner than medium and small breeds.

At what age is a rabbit considered old?

As a general rule of thumb, small rabbit breeds, which live around 12 years, are seniors when they reach 8. Medium-sized rabbit breeds live up to 10 years and can be considered senior at 6 years. The large rabbit breeds have much shorter lifespans – just 4 to 7 years – and reach old age at 4.

The shortest-lived rabbit breeds are like small pets such as gerbils, hamsters and rats, in that they only have a few months of senior status at the end of their lives.

How do you take care of an old rabbit?

Here’s how to make sure those senior rabbit years are as healthy and happy as possible.

  1. Make sure you give them the right food. Rabbit care is largely about food, and a healthy diet is essential throughout a rabbit’s life. As your bunny gets older, you should consider buying specially formulated pellets or nuggets. There are several different brands, and they contain the optimal balance of vitamins and minerals for ageing rabbits. Older rabbits mustn’t gain too much weight – or, indeed, lose weight – during this dietary transition, so you should weigh them regularly to maintain the correct weight. In addition to the special pellets, senior rabbits should be fed lots of hay and fresh foods as usual.
  2. Don’t add supplements to your rabbit’s diet. Rabbits get everything they need from a diet of hay, fresh food and appropriate pellets. Extra calcium, for example, can cause digestive problems or stones in the urinary tract.
  3. Make sure your bunny gets plenty of exercise. Getting old doesn’t mean sitting around all day – rabbits of all ages need to move around to stay happy and healthy. A run will naturally allow your bunnies to hop, skip and jump, and a tunnel layout such as Omlet’s Zippi system is nothing short of essential. These run layouts keep your rabbit exercised both mentally and physically, which is all part of healthy old age. You can use rubber-backed mats on steep or slippery surfaces, to enable the rabbit to get a better grip.
  4. Provide quiet spaces. Senior rabbits are less active than young bunnies and appreciate a quiet space away from the action. A cosy corner in the hutch will keep a tired rabbit happy, with lots of soft bedding, is essential. Incorporating ‘safe spaces’ in your run helps too. If you use a Zippi Platform, the space created has the dual purpose of providing a quiet corner high up in the run, and also gives your pet rabbit exercise as it climbs up and down.
  5. Keep the hutch lined with soft bedding. Senior rabbits can develop pressure points and sores or a foot condition called pododermatitis. This is caused by hard surfaces or wire meshing on the floor of a run. Good senior rabbit care means looking after sore feet!
  6. Keep bunny claws clipped. Senior rabbits tend to move around less, and as a result their claws can soon become overlong. Regular clipping is required. If you’re not comfortable performing this, ask your vet for help.
  7. Provide shelter from the elements. In addition to that cosy corner in the rabbit’s hutch, some weatherproofing to shield your ageing bunny from the elements will increase the comfort factor, whatever the weather. A Zippi Rabbit Run Weather Protection cover is the perfect way of keeping the worst of the weather at bay.
  8. Carry out regular health checks. Older rabbits are prone to dental diseases and other health problems. If your bunny loses its appetite, loses weight, salivates, produces fewer droppings or has swellings around the mouth, it could be a sign of dental problems. Ask your vet to perform a thorough dental examination. Arthritis can be an issue, too, and a bunny who has slowed down may benefit from anti-inflammatory drugs. Older rabbits may also soil their back legs, and this can cause skin problems or fly infestation. Again, the vet will be able to prescribe treatments to address all aspects of your rabbit’s health.
  9. Reduce obstacles. A rim around a litter tray, or a tunnel that rabbits have to hop over to get to the other side of the run, can cause problems in older rabbits who can no longer hop over things. Rearranging the run furniture and providing easy access to litter trays indoors is the answer.
  10. Take your bunny for regular check-ups. The best way of keeping on top of problems is prevention. A vet will be able to spot problems before they become debilitating and will usually be able to offer remedies and advice.

Getting old is part of life. A healthy rabbit will take it in their stride, though, as long as you pay attention to the little details that make all the difference.

 

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This entry was posted in Rabbits


Which Fruit and Vegetables Can I Feed my Rabbit?

Rather than scattering all the food on the ground, the best way to feed your rabbit is to serve the fresh veg and leafy greens in a dispenser. This gives the rabbits something more interesting to interact with. This a healthy way of providing fresh food, as it avoids contact with dirt on the ground and prevents rotting leaves or vegetables being trampled into the ground. It also reduces food wastage and keeps pests away. 

Rabbits are eating

A dispenser that attaches neatly to the rabbit’s run, such as Omlet’s Caddi Rabbit Treat Holder is perfect, doubling as a hay feeder. Finding food in a treat holder engages a rabbit’s brain, too, as they actively forage and rummage around for food rather than just hoovering up whatever they find on the floor. 

What can I feed my bunny?

The list of fruits and vegetables in a rabbit’s diet is long and includes many of the standard items available in greengrocer shops and supermarkets. All fruit and veg should be washed before serving, and if you can source organic food, all the better. Feed your rabbit its fruit as a treat rather a staple, and the focus should always be on the veg.

The problem with fruit is that it’s high in sugar, and sugar doesn’t feature heavily in a wild rabbit’s diet, with the exception of a few berries and windfalls nibbled at the end of summer and shouldn’t be part of their daily diet. Your bunny may be domesticated, but it’s a wild rabbit at heart in terms of health and dietary needs.

Apples, blackberries, grapes, pears, plums, raspberries and strawberries are safe for rabbits, but should only be fed in small amounts – just one-eighth of an apple or pear per rabbit, for example, and just two soft fruits. These should not be offered more than twice a week.

What vegetables can I feed my rabbit?

Photo by Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash

The list of good veg that rabbits eat includes:

  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage – Red, Savoy and Kale
  • Carrots and carrot tops (only as a rare treat, though)
  • Cauliflower leaves and stalks
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce (stick to Romaine varieties, as other types can be watery and may cause diarrhoea)
  • Parsley (just once a week)
  • Parsnip
  • Radish
  • Rocket
  • Spinach (just once a week)
  • Sweet peppers (green and yellow are best, as the red ones are quite sugary; and never feed chilli peppers!)
  • Turnips
  • Tomato (only as a rare treat, as they have a high sugar content)
  • Watercress (just once a week)

Vegetables that are poisonous for rabbits

Too much oxalic acid, which occurs naturally in leafy vegetables, can poison a rabbit and cause kidney damage. However, the amounts found in some rabbit foods, including parsley, watercress and spinach, are not high enough to cause harm, and rabbits can eat them as long as these foods are restricted to just once a week.

Starch and sugar are the main things to avoid. These cause digestive problems by changing the pH balance in the rabbit’s digestive system, and in extreme cases they can result in gastrointestinal disease. Foods that cause problems when fed to excess are grains (e.g. wheat, barley and oats), legumes (beans and peas) and all fruits (they’re all high in sugar).

Rabbits should avoid the following altogether:

  • Aubergines
  • Avocados
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Potatoes and potato tops
  • Rhubarb (fruit and leaves)
  • Tomato leaves

No Carrots?!

Rabbits are so closely associated with carrots that it’s hard to accept that the veg might not actually be that good for them. From Peter Rabbit to Bugs Bunny, fictional rabbits love carrots, and real bunnies love them too. However, carrots contain a lot of sugar and calories but lack the good fibre found in more bunny-friendly fresh foods. A carrot-heavy diet can cause constipation in rabbits, and make sugar levels rise dangerously. 

Carrots

Photo by Oriol Portell on Unsplash

Carrots should therefore be treated like fruit – fine as an occasional treat, but only fed in moderation.

Safe herbs and plants suitable for rabbits

Wild rabbits eat a wide variety of plants, and even wood and bark. However, unless you’re confident about which wild plants are safe for rabbits to eat, it’s best to stick to these common species, to avoid digestive problems or serious illness: 

  • Bindweed
  • Blackberry, raspberry and strawberry leaves (these are good for poorly digestive systems)
  • Chickweed
  • Clover
  • Cow parsnip
  • Dandelion (but not too many, as it is a laxative)
  • Geranium (wild varieties)
  • Golden rod
  • Goose grass
  • Grass (juicy stalks, rather than cuttings from the lawnmower: garden clippings may contain toxic plants)
  • Ground elder (NOT elder tree or shrub)
  • Hazel
  • Knapweed
  • Plantain
  • Rose leaves, petals and wood
  • Shepherd’s purse
  • Sow thistle
  • Yarrow
  • Willow leaves and wood in fresh-cut twig form

Spot the rabbit

It is very important that the wild greens you feed your rabbits should not have been sprayed with pesticides, weed-killers or fertilisers. These are toxic, and some can be fatal to rabbits and other pets.

What vitamins and minerals do rabbits need?

Rabbits need a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals, and these will generally be provided by a healthy 

pellet food and a good supply of hay. Rabbits need lots of vitamin A, but they get all they need from the hay. The hay also provides them with all the vitamin D and calcium they need.

Unlike many other animals, rabbits are able to make their own vitamin C, so that is not a dietary issue.

Rabbits eat a wide variety of foods – that’s one of the many great things about them, so it’s easy to vary their diets. You can ‘rotate’ which greens you are feeding them, and you can retain items such as carrot or apple for treat-based training. As long as their diet is based on a good pellet feed and plenty of hay – and as long as you avoid the toxic foods mentioned above – you will have healthy and happy rabbits.

 

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This entry was posted in Rabbits


Platforms: benefits of exercise across multiple levels


Like humans, rabbits and guinea pigs need exercise! If your doctor recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day, know that the same goes for your small pets. So rabbits and guinea pigs, get your little paws ready, it is high time to get back to sport! First, let’s take a look at why exercise is so important for rabbits and guinea pigs. 

Physical and mental well-being

Exercise is necessary to keep your rabbit and/or guinea pig healthy. Movement contributes to your animal’s mental and psychological balance. It is therefore essential, in addition to the balanced food you provide, to devote time to physical exercise.

The muscles of your rabbit or guinea pig need to be trained. Your pet should be able to test their abilities, their limits, practice, have fun, and jump around. A stimulating environment will offer your animal dynamic days, without monotony, allowing it to flourish. Why not personalise your rabbits’ play area; add toys, create several spaces for it on raised platforms? They will thank you for it!

When your pet starts to play and run, it is a sign they’re happy and having fun. Get involved and engage with them in play to stimulate their senses and reflexes.

Prevent the risk of injury and obesity

Unlike a life in the wild, full of twists and turns, life for our domestic pets is a little different, with less movement and activity, rabbits and guinea pigs are at risk of becoming ill. Obesity is a common example of this. In the wild, they tend to run, to flee dangers, to fight against bad weather and to test their reflexes. They have to work hard to get food, dig a shelter, watch out for predators that are both high up (raptors and other birds) and on land. Their metabolism is used to such conditions, so they naturally have less weight problems.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Domestic rabbits and guinea pigs sometimes live in small places. As well as their daily feed, pets are also given extra treats throughout the day. Without exercise, they can easily gain weight. They must therefore be stimulated, otherwise a vicious circle sets in. By not exercising, your pets gain weight and the more weight they have, the harder it will be for them to engage in play and movement. Exercise is therefore recommended as soon as your rabbit or guinea pig arrives in your home.

A little tip to find out if your rabbit or guinea pig is the ideal weight: you should lightly feel your animal’s ribs by pressing on its belly.

Image by scym from Pixabay 

In addition to obesity, a lack of exercise could lead to urinary problems, osteoporosis or even fractures. Rabbits and guinea pigs are therefore more fragile when raised in apartments and homes. By training your rabbit or guinea pig you are helping to strengthen its heart and to reduce the risk of injury from lack of movement. It’s not about overtraining, but allowing it to let off steam and move their bodies! Like humans, rabbits and guinea pigs experience problems relating to old age: strained muscle, wear and tear of the skeleton. The solution to try to get around your problems: exercise!

How do I keep my rabbit and my guinea pig occupied? What exercises are recommended to keep my pet in good health?

Platforms: a multitude of possibilities

Platforms are the ideal solution for keeping your pet healthy. They allow you to create different levels and customise your pet’s play environment as you see fit. By jumping up and down on organised level platforms, your rabbit or guinea pig will keep their bones and muscles in good shape. The platforms allow adaptation to the natural behavior of rabbits and guinea pigs.

The levels allow your rabbits and guinea pigs to exercise their muscles, jumping up and down the ramp. By reproducing natural climbs and descents, just like in the wild, your animal can, in complete safety, strengthen their core muscles and stimulate their minds.

The creation of a platform on several levels, allows you to vary the daily exercise of your pets, keep them in good health and in addition to that, it allows you to optimise the space. Completely modular and customisable, the Zippi Platforms from Omlet offer your pets new sensations and allow them to experience new adventures.

Vets and animal experts also recommend the use of different levels to stimulate small pets. Your rabbit or guinea pig may need some encouragement to begin with, but if you choose a sturdy and safe structure, your pet will soon realise taking their playtime to new heights is a lot of fun!

Zippi Platforms from Omlet are non-slip and allow your beloved pet to hop without fear of slipping. Always be sure to choose platforms that ensure your pet’s safety.

This multi-functional play area is suitable for all breeds of rabbits and all breeds of guinea pigs. It’s up to you to organize the space and platforms as you see fit according to your pet’s preferences.

Here are some ideas for setting up the platforms in the Zippi runs.

Nothing prevents you from adding many accessories to further personalize your pet’s play area: tunnel, shelters … You have endless possibilities! Your rabbit or guinea pig will feel comfortable to indulge in their favorite activities: jumping, running, skipping over obstacles and hopping around!

Perching high up, your animals can see the world around them from a new perspective. Curious by nature, they can finally enjoy their environment.

Platforms: an easy way to have fun together

What could be more important than enjoying this new play environment together? Your animals love to be admired and encouraged, and will love to spend time with you!

The height of the platforms will allow you to enjoy your animals from a new angle. Platforms allow you to sit down and be at their eye level, making interaction much easier. Comfortable for your back, of course, but also a new way to spend time and have fun with your rabbit or guinea pig. The possibilities to stimulate your pets will be diverse and you will be able to teach them how to use their new platforms.

Your children will be able to enjoy their pet in complete safety. This will make it much easier for them to play together. Interaction will be easier thanks to a height that will suit your pet as well as your children.

Exercise is essential for your pets. Don’t neglect this aspect of their lives: making an exciting playground they will love, can be great fun for you too!

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This entry was posted in Guinea Pigs


How to use platforms with your rabbits

Why do rabbits need platforms?

Compared to a one-level play area, having an additional floor height in your rabbits’ enclosure boosts exercise opportunities, helping your rabbit activate muscles that they would use in their natural environment to climb up and down underground warrens. Jumping on and off a platform helps to keep muscles and bones strong, which is why platforms are recommended as an essential rabbit accessory by vets and pet charities.

Providing rabbits with a fun environment

As a rabbit owner, it is your responsibility to provide your rabbits with everything they need, and that includes a safe enclosure, where they can play, exercise, eat, and clean themselves. Providing a range of toys for play and exercise will help keep your rabbit happy and healthy, and Zippi Platforms are a great way to give your rabbits a playground they will love.

How can I give my rabbits more space?

Platforms are also an easy way of giving your rabbits more space to move around and explore. By positioning a platform in your rabbit’s enclosure you can make better use of the height to give an even bigger area for toys and exercise. The platform gives a look out for rabbits to examine their environment from a height, plus a more exhilarating way to exercise. While the area beneath feels safe for rabbits to relax and graze on hay or if they need to shelter from bad weather.

What are the Zippi Platforms from Omlet?

The Zippi Rabbit Runs and Platforms from Omlet are designed to offer a modular system that you can adapt at any time. The platforms fit securely to the Zippi rabbit enclosure so they feel safe underfoot, and are waterproof so they are easy to clean with just a garden hose and pet-safe disinfectant. Start small, and add more extensions and platforms at any time to build an amazing play area for your rabbits

5 Ways to Use the Zippi Rabbit Platforms

Need some inspiration on how you can use platforms with your pet? Take a look at our ideas below to create a fun and safe area for your rabbits to exercise.

Take shelter to new heights!

The Zippi Platforms offer shelter below for bad weather days, but your rabbits can still make the most of the second level in their enclosure during wind and rain, with the Zippi Shelters and Play Tunnels.

With a 3 panel wide rabbit platform, you can even position a Zippi Shelter at either end and connect them together with a Play Tunnel. Or position one rabbit Shelter on the platform and one below. Don’t forget to pop some hay inside the Shelter on the platform so your rabbits can nibble away on a snack while they wait for the storm to pass!

L-shape suite

The Corner Platform for rabbits with a multi panel platform pack can be used to create an L shape mezzanine area with 2 ramps. Depending on the length and width of your Zippi enclosure you can either position both ramps in the same direction, or create a slight spiral effect like in the image below.

Here we have used a Corner Platform for rabbits, attached to a Zippi Platforms 3 panel pack, in a 3 x 3 double height Zippi Run.

Down and straight back up!

In a longer Zippi run, around 4 or 5 panels in length, you can position Zippi Platforms opposite each other so your rabbits can run straight down one ramp, and back up another for a loop-the-loop circuit! Don’t forget the Zippi Platforms are strong and sturdy so your rabbit will feel safe to jump and hop up and down the ramp.

Lunch on the balcony, sir?

Position Caddi Treat Holders to hang over the platforms so your rabbits can enjoy their lunch with a garden view. Mix up the ingredients in the slow release feeder to keep rabbits excited, and ensure a 5 star rating for your new bunny bar! These feed toys can also be used as a hay rack to keep the floor of your rabbits’ house or play area clean.

Zippi Tunnel to the first floor!

Combine the Zippi Platforms with our popular Zippi Rabbit Tunnel System by positioning your Zippi Tunnel entrance up on the platform level. This means your rabbits can hop up and down the Zippi Tunnel to get from one enclosure to their platforms, down the ramp and into another Zippi Run.

Here we have used the Zippi Platforms with a Zippi Tunnel Twin Pack with Hutch to Run Connection Kit and Zippi Tunnel Supports to connect a Zippi Run and an Eglu Go Hutch Run. You could also use the tunnels to connect your wooden rabbit house to another enclosure.

For more information about Zippi Platforms for rabbits, click here.
For information on caring for your rabbits, click here.

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Christmas Gift Guide – For the Rabbit Owner

2 x 2 Outdoor Rabbit Run

Any rabbit owner looking for more space for their pets will be delighted to receive this 2×2 Outdoor Rabbit Run. The run is extremely stable and secure, and can be connected to an existing Eglu Go Hutch with or without run with a simple connection kit.

This is perfect if you, or the person you’re buying a gift for, want to give rabbits or guinea pigs a bit more space to play on in the garden. Choose between the full or low height, both are currently 10% off in the Omlet Winter Sale!

Zippi Tunnels, Play Pens & Runs

Zippi is the perfect way to enhance your pets’ life. The amazing tunnel system allows you to create a burrow-like path in your garden that your rabbits and guinea pigs will love exploring. Expand with corners and T-junctions, and add intrigue with hayracks and lookout towers!

The Zippi Tunnel System also makes it super easy for your pets to independently move between their hutch and a remote run or playpen, so that they can come and go as they want throughout the day.

This is the perfect opportunity to extend an existing system, or to start a completely new one! All Zippi Tunnel System parts are discounted by 20% in the Winter Sale, and the Zippi Run and Playpens are currently 10% off!

Caddi

The Caddi is the perfect stocking filler for any small animal lover. This interactive treat holder can be hung from the roof of any hutch or run, and can be filled with fresh vegetables or hay for rabbits and guinea pigs to enjoy.

It’s super easy to refill, will keep the pets’ snacks fresher for longer, and they will love the challenge of the swinging Caddi as they go in for a bite!

Save 15% on the Caddi right now!

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Which is the Best Rabbit for you?

Rabbits make great family pets, and there are many different breeds to choose from. Some are suitable for first-time owners, while others require a little more expertise. The following list includes rabbits that can be kept by families or individuals with no previous experience of rabbits.

There is one golden rule that covers all rabbits – they are not suitable for young children. Most rabbits do not like being constantly picked up, they are naturally nervous, and they need gentle but confident handling. They are also quite fragile animals, and can easily break limbs, or even their backs, if they fall from your arms.

So, as long as you handle them with care and give them plenty of space to run around in, these seven widely available breeds will soon be firm family favourites.

Dutch Rabbit

Dwarf Lops

English Spot

Dutch Rabbits

If they have not become accustomed to people in their first few months, Dutch Rabbits can be very jumpy, and may bite and claw. When buying from a pet shop, always ask how old the rabbit is, as animals more than 12 weeks old may be tricky to tame.

This comes back to that central point – most rabbits don’t like being picked up. If your pets are going to be spending their time in a run, though, without being handled all the time, age is not an issue.

Dwarf Lops

Being small, these rabbits used to be popular gifts for children. However, small does not mean easier to handle or easier to look after – in rabbits or any other type of pet. Dwarf Lops are fine for children who are able to learn how to handle rabbits correctly, and who are happy to groom their pet regularly to prevent the long fur from tangling. They are not suitable for small children, though.

English Spots

The English Spot is a black and white beauty, instantly recognisable due to its Dalmatian-like spots. They are placid rabbits, and if they are stroked and petted from a young age, they become very happy in human company. Children should still be supervised when interacting with these rabbits, though, as even a chilled breed like the English Spot can become skittish if there is too much noise or inexpert handling.

Flemish Giant

Netherlands Dwarf Rabbits

Rex Rabbit

Flemish Giants

One of the great things about the Flemish Giant – and it really is huge – is its chilled-out temperament. If socialised while they are still very young, they can be taught to use a litter tray, and can live in a house like a pet dog. However, they still need to be treated with respect and handled correctly, to prevent them panicking and using those big teeth.

Netherlands Dwarf Rabbits

This breed is increasingly popular, and a lot of that popularity is based on the rabbit’s super-cute looks. No matter how old it gets, it always looks like a baby. As a result, it is often bought for children, but this sometimes results in a very nervous and skittish pet that never properly settles down. This is because the rabbit is naturally timid, and unintentionally rough, noisy, excited handling can turn it into a nervous wreck.

The Netherlands Dwarf is an intelligent breed, though, and responds well to gentle handling. It is therefore essential that children should handle the rabbit gently, and an adult should be present during handling sessions. The patience pays off in the end, as this clever little rabbit can be litter trained, and can even be taught to respond to simple commands.

Rex Rabbits

There are several different types of Rex, all with a genetic quirk that makes their short fur stand up rather than lie flat. This makes them very ‘strokable’, and fortunately, the rex is a rabbit breed that really doesn’t mind being stroked a lot. Their placid nature makes them popular family pets – although, once again, younger children will still need supervising when making friends with these bunnies.

The key takeaways here are that rabbits are not the easiest pets to look after, but with patience and appropriate handling they can become very attached to their human friends. It’s also worth remembering that, unlike smaller pets such as gerbils and hamsters, rabbits can live for eight to 14 years, so being an owner is a big commitment.

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Will My Rabbits Be Okay Outside in Winter?

We often get questions from new rabbit owners about how to care for rabbits in the winter and asking if their pet rabbits will be happier inside during winter. We’ve put together the advice we normally give in this blog, so that everyone can make their own decision about whether bringing the rabbit into the house or keeping your pet outside is the best option for you. 

  1. Can rabbits live outside during the winter months?
  2. But will they be happier inside?
  3. How cold is too cold for rabbits?
  4. What can I do to help my rabbits in winter?

Can rabbits live outside during the winter months?

Yes, as long as your pet rabbits are healthy and have a hutch that will keep them warm and dry, letting your bunnies stay outdoors for the winter months shouldn’t be a problem. 

Both wild and pet rabbits cope relatively well with colder temperatures (they actually struggle a lot more with heat), as long as they have a dry and sheltered area where they can hide in cold weather. For wild rabbits, this is their underground warrens, and for your pet bunny it will be a well designed hutch and run. 

It’s important that you make sure that your rabbits’ home has got everything they need to keep warm and dry while it is still nice and warm outside. If the hutch is damaged in any way you will want to have time to fix it, or to get a completely new house for your bunnies, before it gets too cold.

The Eglu Go Rabbit Hutch with insulated walls will protect your rabbits from the wind and rain, and keep them warm even when the weather gets really bad. The draft free ventilation makes sure fresh air moves around the hutch, without making it damp or cold. 

But will they be happier inside?

Not necessarily. Indoor rabbits will need to adjust to their new home, and if it’s the first time they are taken indoors, this can be a bit distressing to start with. You will need to provide them with a safe area where the temperature won’t fluctuate massively they will get enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout winter. 

The important thing when it comes to keeping rabbits in winter, whether you decide to stick with the outdoor hutch or let them come inside the house, is to make a decision and stick to it. 

When summer is over and the temperatures start dropping, the rabbits will grow a thicker winter coat and fur pads on their feet. This will gradually get thicker as the months go by. The coat is great at keeping the rabbit warm outdoors, but once the rabbit is fully prepared for winter, you will have lost your window of opportunity to move them indoors. 

A rabbit with winter fur should not be taken indoors unless absolutely necessary. Rabbits can’t sweat, and the sudden heat will quickly raise the rabbit’s body temperature to dangerous levels. In serious cases, this temperature shock can be fatal, so make sure you make a decision about where the rabbits live, and keep them there permanently. 

How cold is too cold for rabbits?

It’s difficult to say a specific temperature at which you should start worrying about the wellbeing of your bunnies. If it has gradually got colder over a longer period of time, your pets will have thickened their coat, and will be fine in temperatures as cold as -10. It’s more problematic if the temperature suddenly drops, as the rabbit will not have had enough time to get used to the cold. 

If you’re worried, consider the option of moving the hutch into a shed or garage. Rather than moving the bunnies indoors straight away, you can keep them covered and sheltered for a bit before you decide if they can go back out into the garden, or if they need to move inside permanently. 

If you let the rabbit live in a warmer area, he or she will within a few days start shedding its thick fur, and after about a week you will not be able to move them out into freezing temperatures again. This is another reason it’s important to choose a course of action and stick to it. 

Any animal in distress should be taken straight to the vet to get help and advice. The main worry for a pet rabbit living outside in cold weather conditions is hypothermia and pneumonia. To prevent these owners must check on their pet regularly and make sure their home is safe, warm enough and free from damp areas. 

What can I do to help my rabbits in winter?

This advice applies if you keep rabbits in an outdoor rabbit hutch and run. If you’re moving your pets inside you won’t have to worry too much about protecting them from bad weather. 

• Exercise

The rabbits still need to run and exercise as much as they do in summer, but make sure you’re also giving them the opportunity to go inside the hutch and rest if they need. The Eglu Go Hutch with run connected to a Zippi tunnel with additional runs and play pens lets the animals run between different areas as and when they like. Moving about will help your rabbit stay warm, and will keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Provide a few extra toys, tunnels and hidey-holes that they can run between.

• Position and cover

Move your outdoor rabbit hutch to a sheltered area of the garden, facing away from the prevailing wind and rain. 

During the day, cover the roof of the run with a clear cover that will prevent your rabbits getting wet and damp, while still letting the light in.

• Bedding

Provide plenty of extra bedding in the hutch, and put an extra layer of newspaper and straw at the base of the hutch if you’re worried moisture and cold air will get into the hutch that way. 

Regularly check the hutch and make sure your pets have plenty of dry, warming bedding. Blankets or hot water bottles are not a good idea as the rabbits are likely to chew them, but you can put a microwavable heat pad in with the hay that will provide extra warmth to your pet. 

• Food, water and treats

If they are living outside, your pet rabbits need to eat more in the winter to stay well. Digesting food will heat their bodies and help them keep warm.

We advise giving your rabbits more food gradually as the weather gets colder. Check if anything has been left at the end of the day, then you are giving them too much. Give them plenty of treats, both healthy vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, and shop bought chew treats that will wear down their teeth.  Always make sure they have a good amount of hay in the hutch, as hay should make up a high percentage of your bunny’s diet.

Check your rabbit’s water bottle regularly to make sure the water is fresh and hasn’t frozen. It may be good to have two bottles, so you can swap them every time you go outside to see your animals. 


Photos by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

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Upgrade Your Rabbit Run This Autumn

Autumn is the perfect opportunity to take some time to make sure your bunnies are happy with their setup in the garden. Whether you’re planning to let them stay outside over winter or move them inside before the real winter chill, there are still a few months left where your bunnies might need a bit of extra help and support. Here are some easy ways to upgrade the rabbit run!

Extensions

First of all, take a good look at your run and assess if it is good enough for your beloved bunnies, or if there is room for improvement. Whether they have an Eglu Run, Outdoor Rabbit Run or Zippi Run, you can make it larger with practical and easily assembled extension panels. That way your bunnies have more space to run around on, and you can add more fun accessories that will keep them busy in the colder months. 

Pet-pourri

Omlet’s herbal Pet-Pourri is a carefully selected blend of dried herbs and flowers that will add a summery touch to an autumnal run. You can sprinkle the mixture on the floor of the hutch, or mix a handful into the hay, and your rabbits will love the scent and taste of the delicious blend. 

The different components of the Pet-pourri are also said to have medicinal properties that will help them stay clear of the coughs and runny noses associated with autumn. You can read more about the health benefits of the Pet-pourri here.

Caddi

Leftover food and treats lying around the run not only makes it look a bit sad and untidy, it can also attract rodents and other pests, and if you’re not vigilant with your cleaning your rabbits might accidentally ingest something that has gone mouldy. 

A great way of upgrading your run, and feeding your pets yummy and nutritious treats, is to get a Caddi Treat Holder. Fill it with fresh grass, allotment veg or some chopped up fruit, and hang from the top of the run. The rabbits will love the swinging motion of the holder as they try to grab a delicious mouthful, and the spillage will be minimal. Additionally, you will be able to keep track of when you gave your rabbits which treats, so you can alternate between different ones and make sure nothing that has gone off is still in the run. 

 
 

Shelters

The Zippi Shelters will be a great addition to your run this autumn, as they provide both (surprise surprise) shelter and an invitation to stimulating play. Rabbits have a natural instinct to seek a hidey hole, and in the wild they create ‘rooms’ in their warrens where they can come to relax and have a nap. The Zippi Shelters will provide exactly this, but in your pet rabbits’ run. They will also love running in and out of, or jumping on top of the Shelter to survey their surroundings. 

Although the rabbits will always have their hutch to retreat to when it gets wet or windy, it’s great to have another spot where they can get away from the inevitable autumn showers. The shelters are sturdy and waterproof, and your rabbits will love hopping in to relax. 

Treats

As it gets colder your rabbits will use more energy to stay warm, so it’s the ideal time to stock up on treats for the cupboard. Make sure you find a good balance between fresh fruit and veg and shop bought treats to put on the run, like these Nettle and Dandelion roots that are full of vitamins and minerals, or the Beaphar Crunch Sticks that encourage healthy dental wear. 

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Why Your Pets Need A Caddi

Here’s why the Caddi is the perfect choice for your treat-loving pets…

  1. The Caddi Treat Holder decreases the rate at which your pets will eat their treats. Slower treat release through the gaps in the holder means more satisfaction for longer, and prevents over indulgence. 
  2. The Caddi Treat Holder swings around and creates a rewarding, interactive game to keep your pets entertained, which is especially great for rainy days! Your pets will love the stimulating experience of foraging for their treats, and enjoy hours of rewarding fun.
  3. The Caddi allows you to feed your pets treats without having to throw them on the ground. This improves run cleanliness, reduces food waste and prevents pests, as well as being a healthier solution for your pets. Simply hang the Caddi from the roof of your pet’s run with the plastic hook and use the string to adjust the height to suit your pets.
  4. Endless treat opportunities! With the Caddi Treat Holder you can feed a range of fresh greens, fruits and vegetables to your pets, you can use it as a hay rack for rabbits, or fill it with pecker balls for hens. Get creative and reward your pets with exciting new flavours in the Caddi. 
  5. You can save 50% on the Caddi Treat Holder until midnight on Monday, just by signing up to the Omlet newsletter. It’s a great deal for you, and an exciting new treat dispenser for your pets! Enter your email address on the Caddi page to claim your discount code.

Now available for just £4.99 if you sign up to the Omlet newsletter!



Terms and conditions
This promotion is only valid from 12/08/20 – midnight on 17/08/20. Once you have entered your email address on the website you will receive a unique discount code that can be used at checkout. By entering your email you agree to receive the Omlet Newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any point. This offer is available on single Caddi Treat Holders only. The offer does not apply to Twin Packs or bundles with Omlet Peck Toys or Feldy Chicken Pecker Balls. Offer is limited to 2 Caddi Treat Holders per household. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. Offer cannot be used on delivery, existing discounts or in conjunction with any other offer.

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Can Rabbits Swim?

Rabbit owners often ask us if pet bunnies can swim. The answer is yes – but in many ways, it’s the wrong question. If you ask “Do rabbits enjoy swimming?”, the answer is definitely no.

Most mammals are capable of swimming, but not many actually take a dip unless they are forced to. We all know that cats hate water – but they can and will swim for safety if they have to. Rabbits are the same. In times of flood, or if chased by predators, they will sometimes jump in at the deep end and swim for it.

Which brings us to one of many rabbit myths. Bunnies have webbed feet – surely a sign of an animal intended for swimming? Well, no. The webbed feet are there to help rabbits hop and run – not swim.

What about all those swimming bunnies on YouTube?

A quick YouTube search will produce a list of video clips showing bunnies apparently enjoying themselves in garden pools; but you will struggle to find a clip in which the rabbit voluntarily enters the water. Some can be trained to do so, in the same way as a circus can train animals to do all sorts of things they wouldn’t otherwise choose to do. And that’s the main point – turning your pet rabbit into a circus act is inhumane.

In the various videos of swimming rabbits, the animals don’t appear panicked or distressed. But that’s just the rabbit’s way of surviving. It knows it can float, and it knows it can paddle to safety. It’s not going to thrash around and drown, and nor is it going to give any clues to how it’s feeling in its facial expressions. A rabbit serenely gliding across a garden pool is doing one thing only – surviving.

This has become a contentious issue, and there are even online petitions to prevent swimming bunny videos being posted online. As far as the signatories of the petitions are concerned, this is animal cruelty, nothing more and nothing less.

Healthy Swimming for Rabbits?

There is circumstantial evidence that some rabbits like to float in the water to ease arthritic problems, or simply to clean themselves and/or cool off. The only advice that can be given here – after taking such evidence with a pinch of salt – is to let the rabbit lead the way. A bunny who voluntarily takes a dip does not necessarily need dragging from the water and locking away somewhere dry and safe. The swimming is, no doubt, great exercise, just as it is for humans.

However, the fact that a rabbit enters the water may indicate an underlying problem – perhaps they do, indeed, have joint problems, or maybe their enclosure has an outbreak of fleas, lice or mites, something that might lead a bunny to desperate measures in the garden pool!

And the fact that it’s a garden pool presents another potential problem. Pools tend to have chlorine and other chemicals in the water, and these can irritate a rabbit’s eyes, nostrils and skin. Even untreated water can cause skin irritation if a rabbit remains wet for too long. Rabbits have very small lungs, too, and even a small amount of water breathed in by mistake can prove fatal.

If your pet rabbits voluntarily take to the water, dry them thoroughly after they’ve finished exercising. If you’re considering aquatherapy for rabbit joint-related problems, speak to a vet first.

The rule of thumb on this issue is simple – don’t put rabbits into pools or other bodies of water. Yes, they can swim; but no, they don’t like it. Usually!

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How Your Rabbit Will Benefit from Pet-Pourri

Omlet’s new herbal Pet-Pourri is the perfect way to treat your pet rabbits. The carefully selected blend of herbs and flowers will make the hutch smell lovely and fresh when mixed in with the bedding or hay. 

Rabbits are known to nibble everything that comes in their way, so all ingredients are completely safe in moderate doses. In fact, they are all nutritious and flavoursome, and are thought to have medicinal properties that can support your rabbits’ skin, bones, immune system and respiratory and digestive organs.

Here is a list of the ingredients of Omlet’s Pet-Pourri, with a short introduction to why they might be beneficial to your rabbit!

There is no data to show to what degree these ingredients might be beneficial to rabbits, neither that they will be effective for all individuals. If you think your rabbit is not well, please contact your vet immediately to get help and advice.


Nettle – This green plant is one of the richest sources of chlorophyll around, and is high in iron, sodium and chlorine. Apart from repelling intestinal worms, it can also prevent many contagious diseases, and is said to be useful when your rabbit is battling eczema or arthritis.

Marigold Flower – Marigold can be good for wounds, bruises, ulcers and other skin problems. It also settles an upset rabbit tummy.

Hibiscus Flowers – Contains large amounts of antioxidants, and is a great source of vitamin C, something rabbits need on a daily basis. It has been shown to help prevent bladder infections as well as constipation.

Dandelion Leaf – This weed is quite the superfood for rabbits! It is said to help with respiratory ailments and bladder infections, is anti-inflammatory and can stop diarrhea. It is also recommended to give dandelion to a doe just after she’s had a litter, as it stimulates milk flow.

Chamomile Flower – Chamomile is a great treat for a nervous rabbit, as it is believed to have a calming effect, and can also work to help relieve pain. Made into an infusion with water it is great for washing weepy eyes.

Dried Carrot – Carrots are high in fibre, calcium and vitamin A, and will be a great treat for your pet.

Parsley – Apart from being flavoursome and crunchy, parsley enriches the blood and helps treat urinary problems. It has anti-inflammatory properties for the bladder and kidneys, and can help boost fertility.

Peppermint  – Mint is said to be good for colds and eye infections, and can have a relaxing effect on the digestive tract, which is useful for problems with indigestion. 

Basil – Some say this herb has cancer-preventing properties, and is believed to be good for problems with joints and muscles.

Fennel Seeds – Fennel is used to boost milk production for nursing does, and is thought to help calm a bloated stomach. 


 

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How Rabbits Show Love and Affection

Some pets are pretty obvious with the way they show love and affection. A dog might be the best example of this; with a wagging tail, smiling face and licking tongue, dog owners rarely have to guess if their dog is excited to see them when they get back from work in the evening. 

With rabbits it’s a bit more complicated. First of all, it often requires a bit more work to get your pet rabbit to trust you. As prey animals, they are naturally shy and cautious, and it may take a while before they warm up to new people. However, once they know you and trust you, they are extremely affectionate animals that love spending time with their owners. They might just have slightly different ways of showing it! 

If your rabbits do all or some of the following things, you can be sure that they feel genuine affection for you.

They stop being nervous

When the rabbit is new to you, it’s normal that they seem skittish or jumpy. This is to be expected, and it may take a while before the rabbit realises that they are safe in their new home.

The first signs that your rabbit is warming up to you is that they stop some obvious nervous behaviours. Maybe they no longer jump back when you reach your hand towards them with some treats, stop running into the hutch whenever you approach or start to relax their body language. These may seem like small things, but they are steps towards your bunny feeling true love for you.

They groom you

When two rabbits live together, they lick, nibble and groom each other as a way of showing love and affection. If your rabbit likes you, he or she might start to lick you or your clothing, nudge your arm or nibble on your finger. This is a sign that you are seen as part of the rabbit’s family, and that they care about your health and cleanliness.

They want to be stroked

If you rabbit comes up to you and starts pushing their head against your hand or put their head on your arm it’s a sign that they love you and want to spend time with you. It means your rabbit trusts you know what you’re doing and won’t hurt them, and is a true signal that they love being around you. 

They come and lay next to you

A rabbit that approaches you while you’re spending time with them in their run and lays down next to you is showing extreme trust, especially if they’ve got their legs sprawled out under them. This is a very vulnerable position to be in, so it’s clear that your rabbit trusts that you will look after them. 

They run around your feet

The closest you will probably get to a dog jumping up to greet you when you get through the door is your rabbit running in circles around your feet, sometimes doing figures of eight between your legs. You might have seen this behaviour when you approach your rabbits with food or yummy treats, but many will also do it just out of excitement of seeing their favourite human. 

They purr

Although it’s actually not purring in the same way as cats purr, but a grinding of the teeth that makes a soft humming sound and causes the rabbit’s head to vibrate slightly, it’s a clear sign that your rabbit is content. Normally this occurs when you’re stroking or grooming your rabbit, a time when your pet doesn’t have to worry about anything. 

They do a binky

A binky can be described as a jump up in the air with the legs stretched out. It’s an expression of excitement and exhilaration, and sometimes you will see your rabbit doing this in your company. We dare you not to smile when you see a binky!

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Forage Treats For Your Rabbit

Why should you forage for treats to give your rabbits? Well, even if there are plenty of great pre-made treats for your pets, it’s sometimes fun to know exactly what you’re giving them. Wild plants are nutritionally balanced, high in fiber and really yummy. Apart from that, they’re also free!

Before we get going, here are some things to think about:

  • If you’re not completely sure that you have identified a plant correctly, don’t pick it. It’s useful to have photos of the plants you’re looking for at hand, and compare what you find with them. 
  • Try to avoid collecting treats for your rabbits by busy roads with lots of emissions from cars. It’s best to find spots where you’re relatively confident no pesticides or other chemicals have been used, and where cats and dogs will not have peed or pooed on the plants. 
  • If you want to you can wash your finds when you get home, but in most cases this is not necessary. If you’re introducing something new to your rabbits, start slowly and give only small amounts of the new food at the time. Some treats can upset the rabbits’ very sensitive stomachs. Also remember to only feed these greens in moderation, as a treat on top of the rabbits daily amount of pellets and hay. 

Now we’ve got that done, here are 6 plants that most people will be able to identify, that can easily be found on most country walks, and that rabbits of all sizes and ages will love!

Dandelion

Most people will be able to recognise this very common plant. Lion teeth leaves, thick, hollow stems and yellow flower heads that turn into spherical clocks after flowering. Rabbits can eat the whole plant: leaves, stems and flowers, and they are great for drying if you want to keep them for winter.

 

 

 

Stinging Nettle

The less pleasant aspect of the nettle, the sting, doesn’t deter rabbits from this lovely green. Although you will need gloves to pick the nettles, the rabbits don’t feel the sting, and will munch through both leaves and stems. Stinging nettles can be found in most hedgerows or woodland, and you will recognise them by the serrated leaves and the tassel-like flowers at the top. They also dry well for your winter supply.

Blackberries/Brambles

Blackberry bushes flower from early May with pale pink flowers that turn into small green berries that then become shiny black. Brambles grow high in hedgerows and ditches, and have prickly thorns, so be careful when picking. Rabbits can eat the stems and leaves, you don’t even need to remove the prickly bits.

 
 

Plantain (Ribwort)

Plantain grows low among grass, and has broad or long light green leaves. The leaves have three or five parallel veins running through them, and if you tear it apart it’s stringy, almost like celery. Plantain is a hit with most rabbits, and can be served both fresh and dried.

Chickweed

This is another common weed that is often found in lawns and other places with slightly moist soil. It has sleek stems that can grow up to 40cm in height, and small while flowers. The whole plant can be given to your rabbit in moderation.

 
 

Goosegrass

Goosegrass is the long hairy plant that sticks to your clothes, and is one of many types of grass that rabbits love. It spreads incredibly quickly, so shouldn’t be difficult to find, even in your own garden. Although maybe not the easiest to pick, it’s both nutritious and delicious for rabbits.


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Choose The Right Cover For Your Run

We often get asked which is the best cover for an Eglu run to keep pets comfortable all year round. Read our simple guide below so you know how to help your pets in all weathers!

Summer Shades

These shades are a thinner cover material which offers protection from the sun, without creating a tunnel where heat can build up inside the run. These are smaller than the winter covers to allow better airflow through the run for ventilation. Move the summer shade around the run to suit the time of day and your hens’ routine. You may wish to change this for a Clear or Combi Cover in summer when there’s rain on the way!

Clear Covers

The Clear Covers allow for sunlight to flood your pet’s run, while also offering protection from rain. This makes them ideal for spring and autumn, so the run is light and warm with sun, but also protected from unpredictable wind and rain. 

Combi Covers

Get the best of both worlds, with shade from the sun on one side and light coming in the other, as well as full wind and rain protection on both sides. The Combi Covers are half dark green, heavy duty cover for extreme wind and rain protection, and half clear cover to let in sunlight and warmth and to let your pets see when you are bringing them treats!

Heavy Duty Covers

For strong, hard-wearing protection against the worst of winter choose heavy duty covers. Even when the temperature drops to single figures, the rain and wind batters your pets home, or a deluge of snow covers your garden, the dark green, impenetrable heavy duty covers offer sturdy weather protection. Your chickens or rabbits will be able to hop around the Eglu run in complete peace, without getting cold, damp or wind-swept!

Extreme Temperature Covers

Chickens and rabbits are very efficient at keeping themselves warm in cold weather, and the Eglu’s twin wall insulation will assist them by keeping cool air out and warm air in, but when temperatures plummet below freezing for multiple days in a row, they may appreciate a little extra support. The Extreme Temperature Blankets and Jackets add another insulating layer, like your favourite wooly jumper, without compromising the ventilation points around the coop. 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Want to Keep Chickens and Rabbits Together? These are the Things You Need to Consider!

Rabbits and chickens are two of the nation’s favourite pets, and while there are many things that set them apart, they also have a lot of similarities, and if you are careful and manage to cater for their different needs, they can actually live together in harmony.

Both chickens and rabbits are very sociable animals that like spending time together with others, and it doesn’t matter too much if the company is of another species. They also have similar requirements when it comes to space, temperature and attention. Apart from that, having the two live together will also be more space efficient for you, as you won’t have to create two living quarters, but can focus on one larger area instead. 

There are however things to think about if you’re considering keeping rabbits and chickens together – just putting them together in a run and hoping for the best will probably not end well. Chickens may carry diseases that are latent and symptomless, but that will make the rabbits ill, and they are also by nature scared of fast-moving things (animals included), and having speedy rabbits racing around their feet might create a lot of stress if they are not used to it. 

So while it’s not problem free having the two live together, it’s definitely possible. Here are some things to think about:

  • You are more likely to succeed if you start introducing the animals to each other when they are young, so that they are raised together and don’t really know a life without the other. Start by keeping them on different sides of a fence or a run, so that they can get used to each other (Omlet’s partitions for the Outdoor Pet Run will be perfect here). Move on to keeping them together, but in a very large enclosure, so that no one feels threatened by the other species. Make the enclosure gradually smaller, until they are all in the run where you are planning to keep them permanently. 
  • The chickens might try to peck the rabbits while they are getting used to the fast movements. This doesn’t hurt a fully grown rabbit, and it will pass after a few days, but never put a baby bunny in with a flock of adult hens, as they are much more vulnerable. 
  • Give both a place to retreat to. Chickens and rabbits are both nervous and vulnerable animals that will benefit from having their own space to return to when it all gets a bit too much.
  • They also have different requirements. Chickens need perches to roost on at night, and rabbits will need plenty of hay in the hutch to both curl up on, and to eat. Keep this away from the chickens to avoid contamination. You will also need to feed them separately; chickens will try to eat everything, and rabbit food will make them ill. 
  • Rabbits are known to be extremely cleanly animals, a reputation you rarely hear about chickens. To keep your rabbits happy you will therefore need to clean the run and the hutch and/or coop more often than you would if you only had chickens. The rabbits will not be impressed with chicken poo in their home!
  • Make sure there is plenty of room for all. Having two species in one place might be space efficient on the whole, but make sure the run is big enough and equipped with toys and hiding places to entertain and calm your pets. The Caddi Treat Holder is a perfect food toy for both rabbits and chickens, and the Zippi shelters will be perfect as a den for a tired bunny, or a lookout tower for a curious hen. 
  • If you’re planning to have rabbits and chickens living together, we would definitely suggest neutering male rabbits. Even if he doesn’t live with female rabbits, unneutered bucks are notoriously known for mounting everything that comes in their way, including feathered friends. 
  • It’s never a good idea to keep one single rabbit in a flock of chickens, or vice versa. Despite being part of a group, they will feel lonely and stressed without a friend of their own species. 

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This entry was posted in Chickens


Rabbit Run Checklist for Spring

Spring might be the best time of year for rabbits! The sun is returning, the grass is fresh and luscious, and they can finally spend most of their time outdoors without you having to worry about rain storms and cold spells. 

That wonderful time of year is nearly here, so now is the perfect time to look over your pets current set up and make sure they have enough space to play on and that it’s safe and stimulating enough to keep them entertained and relaxed. 

RUN

If you already have a run, go over it and make sure it’s holding up and will keep your bunnies safe. You might need to replace some run clips, grease some locks or possibly change a panel.

If you’re new to keeping rabbits or looking to extend, it’s important to find a safe and spacious solution that suits your garden. The Omlet Outdoor Rabbit Run is a great alternative if you want to create a large, secure area where rabbits can spend their days. It can easily be connected to your Eglu Go Hutch, so that your rabbits can nip into their cosy home for a nap or a snack. The generous height of the run also allows you to go in and spend time with your pets.

The Zippi Runs are also a great solution for rabbit owners. These secure runs give your pets more exercise space, and they can be customised for your needs with two heights and optional roof panels and underfloor mesh. 

PLAYPEN

You will most likely be spending more time in the garden as the weather gets warmer, and if you have kids they will want to join in and play with the rabbits. The Zippi Playpens are super easy to move around the garden and allow you to spend quality time with your rabbits. 

ZIPPI TUNNELS

If you have a hutch and a run but are tired of having to carry your pets between the two, the Zippi Tunnel System might be the perfect solution for you. By connecting the tunnels to the different areas you allow the rabbits to move between their different habitats at their own pace. They can be locked at the end of the day to secure your pets in their hutch.

You can adjust your Zippi Tunnel System to fit your garden by adding connectors, corners, hay racks and lookout towers. It is also super easy to add extra tunnels at a later date if you want to make your pets’ playground bigger!

COVERS

You can make sure your rabbits stay dry from those inevitable April showers by adding covers to the roof of your run. We have got plenty of different kinds of covers to suit your setup and protect your pets from the elements. The clear covers are perfect for early spring days as they let in light on the run even in rain, whereas the heavy duty versions will provide your pets with a shady spot in warmer weather. 

SHELTERS & PLAY TUNNELS

Next step in creating the perfect run is to add some entertainment for your pets. Designed to mimic an underground rabbit warren in the wild, the Omlet Play Tunnels are the perfect accessory for your run. The rabbits will love chasing each other through the tunnels or stretching their long legs and jumping over their toys. Thanks to the anti-chew rings at both ends of the tunnels, they can also be securely connected to the Zippi Shelters. 

The Zippi Shelters are another fun and practical addition to the run that allow rabbits to live out their natural instincts. They can use the shelter as a place to relax on the run, or hop on top of it to get a better view of their surroundings. 

CADDI

Another way of providing your rabbits with entertainment and stimulation is to make snack time slightly more challenging. The Caddi Treat Holder can easily be filled with nutritious veg or hay and then hung from the top of the run. It will slowly swing as the rabbits nibble away at their tasty greens, adding an interactive element that is also more hygienic than putting the food straight on the ground. 


If you want to make sure you have everything sorted for the outdoor months ahead you can print screen the list below and tick off all rabbit run essentials!

🗆 Permanent, safe run

🗆 Moveable runs and playpens

🗆 Weather protection

🗆 Tunnels

🗆 Other toys

🗆 Fun feeding solutions

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This entry was posted in Rabbits


What Should Rabbits Eat?

All rabbits, whether they live in burrows in the wild or in a comfy hutch and are kept as pets, are herbivores. This means that they exclusively eat things that come from plants, mainly grasses, seeds and vegetables. 

The largest cause of illness in pet rabbits can be traced back to dangerous or wrongly proportioned feeding. Apart from life threatening gastrointestinal diseases, a poor diet can also cause teeth problems and weakened immune system, so it’s very important that you learn how to feed your pet properly. 

HAY

A wild rabbit’s diet will consist almost exclusively of grass that they find on and around their warrens. As grass contains very little nutrition, they need to eat large amounts to survive, and spend most of their days looking for and munching fresh grass. Pet rabbits won’t be able to eat this much in a day, so their diets must be supplemented with dry food, vegetables and hay to get the calories, vitamins and minerals they need to stay happy and healthy.

A good rabbit diet should consist of about 80% good quality hay, and they should always have an unlimited amount available to them. They hay does not only give the rabbits the nutrients they need, it also helps them wear down their constantly growing teeth. It’s not enough to just make sure the rabbits always have access to hay; you must also limit other types of food, as they will often be prioritised at the expense of hay intake.

FEED

The most common types of feed for pet rabbits are pellets and food mixes. Pellets are always the better option here, as it has a higher fiber content (at least 18%, ideally 20-25%) and is not as high in fat and unhealthy carbohydrates, like sugar. Pellets also prevent selective feeding, as the nutrients are evenly spread in each pellet, so that you can be sure all your rabbits get the same food. 

Only feed a small amount of pellets every day. As mentioned earlier, a rabbit that is fed too much other yummy things will prioritise these over the very important hay. 

GREENS

Fresh greens are a great source of nutrients for rabbits, and the different chewing motions will help with wearing teeth down. Try to give your pet a wide variety of greens throughout the week, and aim for three different types per day. Some good examples include grass, clover, dandelion leaves, leaves from fruit trees, carrot tops and parsley. Spinach, chard, cabbage and sprouts are also nutritious, but must be given in moderation. In general, introduce new vegetables slowly, and look out for any signs of an upset stomach. 

Make sure that the greens you feed your rabbits stay fresh by putting them in a treat holder, like the Caddi. This makes feeding your rabbits easy and hygenic, while also providing your pets with a fun and interactive experience of foraging their treats.

TREATS

Other vegetables, fruits and berries can be fed in small amounts every now and then. Avoid any “human food” containing sugar or salt, as well as nuts and seeds. It’s tempting to spoil your pet, but if it’s not done in moderation, your rabbit might end up obese and ill.

It’s also important to note that some fruit and vegetables are dangerous or even toxic to rabbits, and must be avoided at all times. Before you try something new, make sure you check that it is okay for rabbits. 

CAECOTROPHES

In order to get the most nutrients out of the food they eat, a rabbit will produce small, dark, grape-like balls, different from the normal pellets, that they eat straight from their bum. It may seem strange to us, but it’s very important that they eat these extremely nutritious snacks. 

If you notice lots of these caecotrophes scattered around the hutch, or if they are getting stuck in the fur around the rabbit’s bottom, it’s a sign that the rabbit’s diet is too rich. Try cutting down on pellets and add more hay, and contact your vet if the problem persists.

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How Can I Keep My Pet Rabbits Warm In The Winter?

Many people bring their pet rabbits indoors during the winter months. That’s certainly one way of helping them cope with the cold. But is it necessary? After all, wild rabbits survive the winter without having to ask us to turn up the central heating.

However, wild rabbits have a very important trick up their furry sleeves. They live in burrows, protected from the weather in the confines of a cosy rabbit warren. Pet rabbits don’t have access to this comfortable underground lifestyle, so you’ll need to simulate it in other ways.

The key to underground living is insulation. In the same way as an igloo creates a relatively warm space in a cold environment, a burrow provides an insulated living space with a constant temperature. Not exactly a hot spot, but somewhere that can be warmed up by lots of furry bodies, dry grass and compacted earth.

Hutch insulation can be reinforced by adding extra bedding materials. The paper lining commonly used at the base of rabbit bedding soaks up urine, and so it gets wet very quickly. Anything wet can soon become cold, and can even freeze if the temperature really plummets. In really cold weather – anything below zero degrees C – change the paper lining daily.

The real key to cold weather comfort is hay. Double, or even triple the amount you normally use in the rabbits’ sleeping area, and they’ll be snug through the night.

Not All Hutches Are Equal

An old wooden hutch with gaps and cracks for the cold wind to blow through is always going to be a lot less cosy than something more windproof. The ideal hutch has all-round insulation, like the Eglu. This will still need its thick mattress of hay, though.

There comes a point when cold weather is actually dangerous. If temperatures plunge below minus 5 C, wild rabbits hunker down and lie close together to share and conserve body warmth. In a garden hutch they will struggle when things get this cold. Not many pet rabbits can cope with sustained temperatures below minus 5, even in something as well-insulated as an Eglu.

In these extreme temperatures, there are two choices: bring the bunnies indoors, or use a heat pad in the hutch.

It will also help, of course, to keep the hutch in a sheltered spot, away from the worst of the winter winds.

How To Fight The Freeze

Rabbit water bottles freeze when the temperature falls. You can help prevent this by wrapping insulating material – bubble wrap is good – around the bottle. The water bottle in the Eglu, for example, comes ready-insulated from the cold. But even this will freeze when it gets really cold. You’ll also need to make sure the water bottle nozzle stays unfrozen, which involves changing the water bottles a few times each day. Always have a couple of spares, for this purpose.

The hutch itself can be made cosier by adding insulation to the outside. Extreme temperature jackets are a much better option than a thick blanket, as the latter will get wet and then freeze.

If the weather forces you to bring the bunnies indoors, keep them there until things warm up again. It’s not good for their health if they are forever going back and forth from cold winter to centrally heated house or shed.

Eating To Keep Out The Cold

Outdoor rabbits, like all small mammals subject to the whims of the seasons, have to eat more during the winter. This enables them to stoke their internal central heating. We humans tend to forget that the food we eat is largely fuel to heat us up from the inside out – part of being a warm-blooded mammal rather than a cold-blooded fish or reptile.

A cold rabbit will shiver. If, in spite of your insulating efforts, you notice a whole lot of shaking going on in the hutch, you need to take action. Heating pads, or the great indoors – those are the options.

It’s important to remember, though, that rabbits love having access to fresh air. They are hardy creatures, and you don’t need to keep them cooped up until the spring. As soon as the cold snap passes they can move to their outdoor quarters again.

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This entry was posted in Rabbits