This year’s focus of Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is housing. Research that shows 38% of vets think rabbits’ environment is the most neglected welfare need, with more than a quarter of UK rabbits being kept in inadequate housing conditions and almost half living alone. ‘Room for Rabbits’ throws a spotlight on rabbits’ environment, providing lots of information on how to adapt rabbit housing for all seasons.
Now in its 16th year, RAW 2022 will take place from 27 June till 1 July and is backed by RAAG (Rabbit Awareness Action Group) – which comprises of some of the UK’s largest animal welfare organisations and charities – and is led by Burgess Pet Care. This year’s campaign will feature an array of bunny welfare promoting initiatives including vet blogs and videos.
Holly Castle, senior brand manager at Burgess Pet Care, says: “Following a surge in demand for rabbit ownership in the UK during the past two years, it is vitally important that we educate more owners than ever before and continue to help improve rabbits’ welfare.”
How to get involved in Rabbit Awareness Week
Rabbit Awareness Week takes place online over on the RAW social channels:
Holly adds: “Our Facebook and Instagram pages are the best place to find lots of important information to share with family and friends. You can also find lots of great information over on the RAW website. In the run up to RAW and throughout the week, we’ll be posting lots of great content all about rabbit welfare. We also work closely with veterinary practices, who may be running special events for Rabbit Awareness Week. Check out your local veterinary practice’s social media pages to find out if they’re running anything for this year’s RAW.”
Watkins & Tasker, a veterinary group in the Southwest with an HQ in Portishead, near Bristol, are one such practice. As a RWAF rabbit friendly accredited practice, throughout the month of June it’s offering rabbit owners a free nail clip, 10% discount on all rabbit vaccines and a free goodie bags with lots of helpful tips about caring for your rabbit. You can check out RWAF’s rabbit friendly vet list here >>
Ian Ramsey – past-president of the BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association), which endorses RAW, adds: “The BSAVA is once again delighted to support RAW and the theme of this year’s campaign. Rabbits remain one of the most misunderstood pets in the UK, but we are confident that vets across the UK will again show their support for this important campaign to improve the lives of pet rabbits.”
What’s in the RAW pack?
This year’s RAW pack is jam-packed with bunny fun and information, including Better Bunnies charts, colouring sheets, bunting, a health log and useful guides to help you set up and get into good habits when it comes to looking after your bunnies and keeping them happy and healthy.
Why making ‘Room for Rabbits is so important
Whether your rabbits live outdoors or indoors, it is essential they have enough space – think garden shed, rather than cramped hutch – a hutch is not enough – in housing that’s protected from the elements and is safe from predators or loud noises that could scare them, with a spacious, secure exercise area permanently attached to it.
Their home needs to be tall enough for them to be able to stand up fully without their ears touching the roof and to lie fully outstretched in any direction, to take a number of consecutive hops, and to run, jump, explore and forage and do all the things that come naturally to bunnies. As social creatures, rabbits should always be kept in pairs or small groups.
- Their hutch should be permanently attached to a larger space within which they can exercise freely. This could be a safe bunny-proofed room indoors, or a large run outdoors. The housing itself should be big enough to allow your rabbits to make at least three hops. It’s recommended it is a minimum of 3m x 2m x 1m tall.
- Your rabbits should also have full access to their exercise area at all times so they can run around as they would in the wild.
- In the wild rabbits are prey animals so it is important that they feel safe. Your rabbits’ housing should have safe hiding places so that they can escape if they feel scared. Make sure you have a secure shelter with plenty of soft, safe bedding and dust-free hay.
- Your rabbits will also need access to an area where they can go to the toilet. This should be separate to the sleeping areas, and you can use newspaper, hay/straw and/or a paper based non-expanding litter.
- It’s important to provide enrichment toys for your rabbits. Tunnels, platforms, as well as at least one hiding place per rabbit with two entrances/exits work well.
- Your rabbits should have a constant fresh supply of good-quality feeding hay, such as Excel Feeding Hay with Hedgerow Herbs, placed in hay racks and areas that are separate to the bedding area. There should also be fresh, clean water constantly available.
How to make more Room for Rabbits
Here’s some more really useful information to help you create the best possible home – with plenty of room to roam, forage, tunnel, stretch, leap and binky – for your beloved buns:
- Find out more about creating the perfect rabbit environment >>
- Find out more about creating perfect habitats for indoor rabbits >>
- A determined bunny with digging on their mind can quickly make their escape! find out how to rabbit-proof your garden >>
- Give your rabbits the freedom they love and allow them to exhibit their natural behaviours with a Runaround Run, Tunnel and Connection Kit >>
WANT ALL BUNNIES TO HAVE THE BEST LIFE POSSIBLE? Along with the annual Rabbit Awareness Week, the Rabbit Awareness Action Group (RAAG) has now been established to ensure a greater understanding of rabbits’ health and welfare requirements. RAAG is asking for all rabbit supporters to sign up to the first Good Practice Code for the Welfare of Rabbits in England. Add your voice by signing our letter >>
LET’S GET SOCIAL Sign up to the Excel Bunny Base – a safe Facebook community for rabbit guardians that are looking for advice and friendly discussions from likeminded owners – and there are lots of cute bunny photos and videos! Also join us on Instagram.
CARE MORE Find lots of useful advice on caring for your rabbits from Burgess, the pet experts.
Are your bunnies Burgess bunnies? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.
92% OF UK VETS RECOMMEND OUR BURGESS EXCEL SMALL PETS RANGE.
The entire Burgess Excel Rabbit range of rabbit nuggets, feeding hay and treats is made using only the finest quality ingredients. The grass we use is sourced from the UK to meet our stringent specifications and is exclusive to Burgess. No other pet food manufacturer has access to our grass, and we are justifiably proud of its provenance. At Burgess, we have a long tradition of supporting British farmers and we actively source our ingredients as close to our mill as possible. Find out all the reasons why we’re proud of our grass >>
Naturally high in Beneficial Fibre and fortified with vitamins and minerals for healthy eyes, skin and coat, you’ll find varieties to suit buns of all ages, from junior and dwarf, to mature, as well as nuggets for indoor rabbits and a light recipe for rabbits who need to slim down.
WHY WE’VE GOT HAY FEVER! For lots of small furries, every day should be a hay day! And not any old hay will do – always opt for high-quality feeding hay to help your small pets stay healthy and happy – and now you can Subscribe and Save 10%!
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