Rabbits at Christmas
Flex your creative skills and share the Christmas cheer with your furry friend this year. Here, Mel Tibbs explains how to make three nutritious and delicious homemade bunny treats, perfect for the festive season.
As Christmas approaches, why not involve your bunny in the season’s fun – homemade treats and presents are the perfect way to spread the festive spirit! And because they’re homemade you’ll know you’re giving him the healthiest treats possible.
As well as access to plenty of fresh hay, a healthy bunny diet should include a large selection of leafy greens and vegetables. Like us, rabbits can become overweight and suffer from dental disease if they have too many treats. Excess sugars and starchy foods can also wreak havoc with the sensitive population of bacteria in their gut. Although we commonly think of rabbits munching on carrots, root vegetables like these have a high sugar content and, along with pieces of fruit, should only be given as an occasional treat – Christmas is just such a time! Here are three easy-to-make festive presents, just right for your rabbit.
Hanging biscuit decorations
These festive biscuits are delicious for your bunny. Take a handful of pellets, a handful of rolled oats, half a banana, half a courgette and half a small carrot. Finely grate the carrot and courgette, chop up the banana, crush the pellets and mix it all together with the oats. Roll out the mix with a rolling pin and then cut out Christmas shapes with biscuit cutters. Poke a hole in the top of each – don’t forget this step if you want to hang them up – and bake on a low heat for a couple of hours until they are completely dry. Use sisal to hang the treats up in your bunny’s hutch for him to eat.
A quick, simple toy to occupy your bunny and make sure he eats his greens. Simply stuff a toilet roll tube with a few mixed handfuls of fresh hay and leafy greens, like spinach, sprout-tops or kale. Make sure the hay and greens are poking out of the ends, fluff them out and, hey presto, a bunny cracker! Your rabbit will love rolling it around and poking out every last bit of goodness to eat. As well as meeting their basic nutritional requirements, nibbling hay keeps bunnies busy, chewing strengthens their teeth and jaws and it keeps their gut healthy, too. Giving a variety of greens every day also mimics the many different plants rabbits graze on in the wild.
A mini Christmas tree
With yours out of bounds, give your bunny his own Christmas tree made of twigs of apple wood or willow, with ‘baubles’ made from chunks of apple or orange (not the peel) and small berries like blueberries. Bind the twigs together with string, stick the ‘trunk’ through a hole in a shoebox to keep it steady and thread the fruits onto the tree for your rabbit to find and enjoy. Once he’s eaten the fruit, your bunny can have hours of fun nibbling the twigs, which keep his teeth in good health.
The festive season is perfect for spending time with your pet and providing him with some well-deserved treats and attention. To keep the holidays fun and trouble-free, keep plants out of your bunny’s reach; some can be toxic to rabbits. And if you have a house rabbit, remember to supervise him around the Christmas tree, wrappings and ribbons, low-lying human snacks and candles or open fires – these can all be hazardous to pets.