When children show their rabbits in 4-H, the judge will often ask them, “What is the most important thing you can give your rabbit?” Though several answers may come to mind, the one that judges are looking for is water.
We all know the importance of water to human health, and rabbits need it just as much. If a rabbit is not able to drink, it will not eat either, and quickly fade into serious condition. Since you probably can’t visit your rabbit every hour of the day, you need to be certain your equipment will guarantee him constant access to fresh water.
Water Bottles vs. Crocks – Pros and Cons
Breeders who have many rabbits will often use an automatic watering system, where a network of plastic tubes carries water to each bunny’s cage. But for pet rabbits, water bottles and bowls are much more practical.
Why use a Bowl to Water Rabbits – and Why Not.
Bowls that supply rabbits with water are commonly called crocks. They can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. Crocks give you peace of mind because you know they won’t drip, and you know your rabbit will learn to drink out of them. If you keep rabbits outside in the winter, crocks are the best choice for water, because they won’t break when they freeze, and you can bring them inside to thaw. They are quick and easy to fill, quick and easy to clean, and inexpensive to replace.
On the other hand, water evaporates much more quickly in a crock than in a bottle. It can also become soiled with bedding, hay, or urine. In the summer, if left unchanged, it can also collect bugs or algae – and nobody wants that. Most importantly, rabbits can (and will) tip over and play with their water dishes if they are not secured to the cage.
Overall, crocks are a very good way to supply your rabbit with fresh water…if the following points are met:
1. You clean the crock regularly
2. You change the water twice daily
3. You get a crock that clips to the cage.
Expert Tip: We recommend the EZ-Crock, sold at Premium Rabbit Supplies, as the best rabbit water dish on the market.
Pros and Cons of Rabbit Water Bottles
If taking care of crocks sounds like a lot of work, you may prefer using water bottles to provide your pet with water. Bottles usually only need to be refilled once per day. They keep water clear of dust, fungus, and debris. Also, bottles are better to travel with since they won’t slosh and spill in the car.
There are a few disadvantages to bottles, however. For one, they take a bit more effort to fill than crocks. They must be tied to the cage very tightly, or else a rabbit can pull it over from the inside or a passerby can knock it over from the outside. Almost all rabbits will adjust to a bottle eventually, but it can take a few days if your pet was previously used to a water dish. Finally, the biggest concern with water bottles is that some will drip. Always monitor bottles closely to make sure they are not leaking.
Expert Tip: The Lixit Glass Water Bottles at PremiumRabbits.com tend to be less likely to drip than plastic water bottles.
Both water bottles and crocks can be effective ways to provide your rabbit with water, but they both take a little managing. Most rabbit owners give both a try and end up settling on whichever one suits their bunnies and their lifestyles better.