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Bunny Care

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What Breed ?
 
One of the first things you should consider before purchasing your bunny is - What breed would be best for you ?
This depends upon what your intentions are for the bunny. For instance, do you want it for a pet only, or do you want a show bunny, and/or to breed ?
Also, what breed will thrive the best in the environment you can provide? For example -  Is your pen size large enough for a Flemish giant, or should you get a smaller breed ? There's alot of things that come into play when deciding what breed will suit you best.
 
Here's some websites that list rabbit breeds :

Diet

Rabbits will overeat if allowed to.So don't give your rabbit unlimited feed/pellets. She/He needs only approx 1/4 cup of pellets per 5 pounds of body weight each day. Look for high-fiber content (18% minimum) and low protein content (14% maximum) pellets, and avoid "mixes" that contain dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or beans. It is also very important to give your rabbit unlimited amounts of hay. Hay aids in digestion and is the most important part of the bunny's diet. Timothy, Oat, or Grass hay is ideal. Alfalfa hay is too high in protein for adult rabbits; do not offer it to bunnies over 6 months old.

Rabbits should also get a large handful of fresh, leafy greens each day ~ cabbage, lettuce, grass, etc. (see table and details below). 

Water should be available to your bunny at ALL times. Water can be given to your bunny in a water bottle or a heavy crock/bowl. Keep the water and water container fresh and clean. Also keep the feed dish clean as well. Cleanliness prevents certain diseases. During winter time, if you keep your rabbit/s outdoors - you can purchase heated water bottles to prevent the water from freezing. Or put "bottle jackets" on the water bottles, etc.

Treats can be fed, but should be limited. Suitable treat choices are listed below. (See the table below, etc.)

Sunflower Seeds can be given to your rabbit/s to aid in weight management, coat enhancement, plus is a good source of selenium. Don't over do it though ! Only give approx a tsp of sunflower seeds per day per rabbit.

Bunny Dietary Guidelines

PROVIDE UNLIMITED HAY EVERY DAY !

Timothy is the best – entices all but the pickiest bunny

Orchard Grass is also good – this is a seasonal item though

Alfalfa – great for young bunnies, but too rich for regular diet in adults (use as a treat hay for adults)

Oat Hay – great treat hay!

 

TIMOTHY PELLETS

There are many varieties available at feed stores and pet suppliers

stores – look for high fiber and low protein.

 

FEED

Size of Bunny             Amount

2-4 lbs.                     1/8 cup daily

5-7 lbs.                      cup daily

8-19 lbs                     cup daily

11-15 lbs                  cup daily

 

Safe Vegetables

* Use a variety of "safe" veggies in the diet (according to the list below), at least 3 types (or more) a day to ensure adequate vitamins/nutrition in the diet.

* Introduce new veggies gradually, watch for any symptons of diarrhea, gas, or upset stomach.

* Feed at least one cup of raw veggies per 5lbs of rabbit per day 

 

The veggies on the following list are all safe.

*Limit the ones that are the highest in calcium content

 

Fruits

A small amount of fruit can be fed daily as well.

For example : banana, apple, orange, mango, plum, berries, grapes, papaya, pear, peach, etc.

*NOTE*: apple & pear seeds, fruit pits, banana peel, & orange rind can be deadly or dangerous! BE SURE TO REMOVE THESE BEFORE FEEDING THE FRUIT TO YOUR BUNNY !!

bunny19TIP : Try freezing some fruit peices in summer for a special treat for your bunnies ! 

Rolled Oats, Barley, Raisins, etc. are some other treat choices.

 

Rabbits produce both fecal droppings (small, round, dry poops) and cecal pills (soft, partially formed droppings that may appear to be clustered). The rabbit must eat the cecal pills to complete the digestive process. Rabbits who stop eating, or who do not eat their cecal pills, should be seen immediately by a knowledgeable veterinarian.

Housing

"House Rabbit"

Rabbits can live safely inside a human home if the right precautions have been taken. The bunny should have a cage or other area all to himself, where his food, water, and litterbox are located, but he should also be allowed to interact with the family and explore his surroundings when supervised. Mornings and evenings are active times when the rabbit is most likely to want to exercise. At night, he can go back in his cage.

A bunny's cage should be as large as possible, with room for the rabbit to rest, move around, and sit up on his hind feet. It should also be large enough to accommodate a litter box. If the cage comes with a wire floor, it should be covered with a board, mat, or carpet remnant. Bare wire flooring can lead to a painful condition called sore hocks.

Rabbits also need toys for exercise and mental stimulation. Try providing your bunny with pine cones, newspapers, cardboard tubes, untreated straw baskets, plastic slinkies, or hard plastic baby keys. Chewing on these items will also help wear down his teeth, which grow throughout his life. Do not give him chewable rubber or soft plastic items.

Rabbit-proofing your house is absolutely essential if you're keeping it in your home, both for your bunny's safety and for your own mental well-being. Electrical cords, wires, magazines left out on tables, and even the buttons on the television remote control can easily be mistaken for chewable toys! Remove tempting items from your bunny's reach, and cover all electrical cords with shower curtain covers, plastic tubes, or wire covers. If there are too many temptations, doorway baby/pet gates are perfect for blocking off access altogether.

Rabbit Proofing your Home : http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/rabbit-proofing.html

Litter Training

Many first-time bunny owners are amazed to hear that rabbits can learn to use litter boxes, just like cats. To litter train your rabbit/s, start by putting the box in the area of his cage that he usually uses for elimination. Place a few droppings or a piece of newspaper with the rabbit's urine in the box so he recognizes his scent. Add timothy hay to the box to entice him to jump in and eliminate while eating. Start by keeping the bunny and the box in the cage, and gradually increase his space as he masters using the box. It is a good idea to put out numerous litterboxes in different areas while she/he is learning. Be patient with baby bunnies and unneutered and unspayed bunnies since usually they will take longer to learn how to use the box.

Fill the box with a non-clumping, non-toxic litter such as wood stove pellets, corn cob, hay, or shredded newspapers. Avoid using clay cat litters, pine, cedar, or other softwood shavings, as these products can cause health problems for your bunny.

"Hutch Rabbit"

If you choose to let your bunny play outside, he must be supervised at all times and restricted from areas that might contain pesticides, poisonous plants, or untrained animals. A well-trained family pet such as a dog or a cat might eventually be a fine companion for your bunny, but monitor their behavior around each other at first. Also keep an eye your bunny when he is around young children. Very young children might try to pick up the bunny, and the bunny will likely nip, scratch, or kick out of fear (rabbits usually dislike being held, but love to be petted around the ears and the top of the head).

You can use a suitable bunny hutch if you prefer to house your bunny outside, but be sure the hutch has plenty of living room, and if possible, access to a fenced in area where it can eat grass and lounge in the sun and run and play. But make sure to follow certain precautions ~ because a bunny can dig under fences, or perhaps a predator could dig into the pen, chew through, etc. So be sure to use good quality fence for rabbits, and make sure there's no way of escape or any way for a predator to get in. And make sure that shade is provided as well.

Rabbit Hutch / nest box, etc. Blueprints :

Building "concerns" : http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/rabhouse.htm

Building hutch/es : http://www.age.psu.edu/extension/ip/IP729-31.pdf

Another Hutch Design : http://www.icecubetopper.com/blueprints/nd/pdfs/6277.pdf

How to build a rabbit cage : http://www.rabbitweb.net/hutchsystem3.asp

A simple hutch system : http://www.rabbitweb.net/hutchsystem.asp

Nest Box plans : http://www.rabbitweb.net/nestbox.asp

Rabbit Hay rack : http://www.rabbitweb.net/hayrack.asp

 
I LOVE this "cottage" !!! I have plans of having my hubby build atleast 2 of these cottages with play yards for my bunnies ! I'm hoping to be able to get them done next year (2009) ... if we do, I'll post lots of pics !

Dream Cottage

Health, Nutrition & Proper Handling carrot1
 
A demonstration of how to do a health check on your rabbit ...

A demonstration of how to determine if your rabbit is healthy or sick ...

A demonstration of the RIGHT way to pick your rabbit up ...

Care & Management carrot1

Rabbits are clean animals, it is neither necessary nor advisable to bathe them (bathing can be very stressful and send them into shock). If your rabbit gets fleas from other household pets, use a flea comb or kitten flea powder. Never use flea dip or a flea collar on your rabbit.

Rabbits do not need vaccinations or most other types of routine care, but even a healthy rabbit should be checked annually. It is important to take your rabbit to a veterinarian who is experienced in working with rabbits/exotics. Rabbits are considered to be an "exotic" species, and not all vets have the necessary background to treat them properly.

Emergency Situations

Symptoms of a rabbit health emergency can include not eating, not eliminating, or discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose. If you notice any of these symptoms, or if your rabbit seems to be acting strangely or not his usual self, make an appointment with the veterinarian right away.

Spay/Nueter

Spay or neuter when he or she reaches the age of 3 to 6 months old. At this point, the bunny hits adolescence and becomes preoccupied with mating. The bunny will "mark" territory, mount objects, and sometimes act aggressively and inappropriately. Spaying and neutering will not only relieve the bunny of his frustrations, but will also eliminate the extremely high risk of cancer found in unaltered rabbits.

Bonding Couples

Once you have your rabbit altered, you might also consider getting another rabbit for companionship. Bonded rabbit "pairs" keep each other entertained and are less likely to get into trouble. However rabbits must go through a "bonding process" or "bonding training" before they can be trusted together. Rabbits can and do fight if they're not bonded, and most cases lead to death. Bonding takes time and lots of supervision. Unaltered rabbits shouldn't be kept together regardless. A bonded couple should be two altered rabbits. It takes time and patience. You can't just throw them in together and let them go. You must have "bonding sessions" on a routine basis until they are bonded and trustworthy to live together in the same hutch/cage.

Here's a great explanatory article about Bonding Bunnies :  http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articles/bond.shtml

Here's another article from another website about bonding : http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/introductions

Bonding a group of rabbits  : http://www.mybunnies.com/bonding.htm

 

Breeding

Like cats and dogs, there are far more rabbits born into the world than there are good human homes. Baby bunnies are adorable, but many of them may go to homes with humans who take them on impulse and tire of them quickly. These bunnies usually wind up lonely in a backyard hutch, dumped in the world, or as snake food for someone's pet snake. Rabbits do grieve and they become depressed when they are neglected, abandoned, or given away.

So basically, it's best not to breed, unless you only breed when you know you have good homes available for all of your babies. Other options for you if you really like bunnies and want to be able to offer some for sale to new homes, is a bunny rescue ! There's lots of buns out there needing to find good homes !

If you do decide to breed, I'd suggest you contact a local rabbitry.

 
 
Grooming, Plucking, and Shearing

"Grooming" ~ A demonstration of how to groom a rabbit

"Plucking" ~ a demonstration of how to pluck an English Angora

"Shearing" ~ a demonstration of how to shear a Giant Angora

 
Training & Trickscarrot1
 
Can Bunnies do Tricks ?? ...
Watch this cute video montage of bunnies doing tricks. They're all clicker trained bunnies ... you wouldn't beleive it unless you see it ! So watch this video (promoted by www.clickerbunny.com ) ...

For more video clips of bunnies doing tricks, go to http://www.clickerbunny.com/clickercrittervideos.htm

A demonstration of how to Litter Train your rabbit ...

Conclusion carrot1

When you bring home your bunny, give him some time to get used to the new surroundings. Let him/her settle in and adjust. Be patient with him/her. As he/she adjusts, be sure to handle the rabbit with love and care and gentleness. Make sure the rabbit has the proper housing, nutrition, and is in good health. Have the rabbit altered between 3-6 months (or as your vet recommends) and then consider getting another altered rabbit for a companion. Be sure to go through the bonding process before allowing the rabbits to live together. Give the rabbit/s lots of attention and love. After all this is taken into consideration, you should have a happy healthy rabbit who has a wonderful home !

~*Rabbit References*~ AWESOME Educational Site (lots of links for everything rabbit)

*LINKS*

*Breeds*

*Feeding*

*Care*

Rabbit Care Pages

*Forums*

*Veterinarians*

*Supplies & Accessories*

*Housing*

House Rabbit pdf

*Rescues/Breeders*
 

Top Rabbit Sites

*Misc*

Pet Bunny Dictionary ~ pet bunny words and phrases

*Health & Medical*

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Genesis 1:28 ~ And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

 
Visit my other websites
 
Julie's Funny Farm (combining all my animal sites)
 
Lil' Goat Farm (my Goat specific site)
 
J & J Alpaca Farm (my Alpaca specific site)
 
Xander Mountain Mastiffs (my Mastiff specific site)
 
Julie's Funny Farm Library (my pdf files)

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