Category Archives: Rabbits

Rabbit Breeds

Pedigree rabbits are classified as normal fur breeds which include Chinchillas, Californians and New Zealands; fancy breeds, including English, Dutch, Angoras, Lops, Netherland Dwarfs and Flemish Giants and the Rex and Satin breeds.

The smaller rabbits whether mongrel or purebred, are to be preferred as pets to the larger breeds, which may be very difficult for a child to handle. Rabbits such as the English, Dutch and Netherland Dwarfs have proved to be suitable household pets.

ACQUIRING A RABBIT

Young rabbits — known as kits — are born very imma- ture and helpless after a pregnancy of about thirty—one days. If there is any undue disturbance of the nest the doe is liable to kill its own young. During the third week of life they begin to leave the nest of their own accord, but they are not ready to be taken from the mother until fully weaned at about eight weeks.

The bucks and does must be kept apart after they mature sexually, which is at nine months in small breeds and six months in large breeds, to prevent recurring pregnancies and many unwanted litters. The bucks normally need to be housed on their own to prevent fighting although several does may live together peaceably.

FEEDING

By nature grazing animals, in captivity rabbits need a daily mixture of crushed oats, flaked maize, mixed corn and bran, either fed dry, or made into a crumbly mash with hot or cold milk or water. Wholemeal bread also makes a satisfactory base for a mash.

In addition, a rabbit needs to graze during the day or have another meal consisting of green and root vegetables, fruit and suitable wild plants, such as dandelion, clover, sow thistle and groundsel.

It is essential for rabbits to have hay, which should be of the best quality and offered in a hay net or rack to stop it being trodden underfoot.

Rabbits must be provided with clean water in a drip- feed bottle. The amount taken may vary according to the amount of fresh green-stuff eaten.

ACCOMMODATION

A good rabbit hutch should measure at least 150 x 60 x60 cm (60 x 24 x 24 in) and be sturdily constructed with two compartments. It needs to stand off the ground at about table height and be designed to make cleaning easy.

The floor will need some protection from urine and a thick layer of newspaper covered by wood chippings, peatmoss litter or cat litter will keep it dry.

Inside the sleeping area there will need to be lots of straw for bedding but even that will not be sufficient in severe weather. Then the hutch needs to be moved into the shelter of an outhouse or at least covered over at night to make it frost-proof.

Wild rabbits are considered hardy but they are free to burrow deep under an insulating layer of earth. The smaller breeds of tame rabbits in particular may be at risk in harsh winter weather.

EXERCISE

No matter how good the hutch it provides insufficient accommodation for a rabbit. There also needs to be a safe place in which to exercise and if possible to graze. Ideally, part of the garden should be made rabbit-proof and the rabbits allowed free run of a big enclosure.

If a safe enclosure cannot be made, then a portable ark, is recommended, as it will allow a little exercise to be taken and give some scope for limited grazing.

GROOMING

All but the Angoras can groom themselves but some grooming is recommended. Overgrown claws may need trimming and overgrown teeth can sometimes be avoided by providing a gnawing block.

HANDLING

Support a rabbit’s weight when lifting it, particularly one of the larger breeds. If a rabbit is returned to its hutch hind first it cannot kick out at its handler.

INOCULATION

Tame rabbits in rural areas may be at risk from an outbreak of myxomatosis. Veterinary advice should be sought about possible protection by inoculation.

Rabbit Illnesses And Treatments

The rabbit is not prone to disease if kept in a comfortable hutch and properly looked after. However, disease may occur in spite of every care. As usual, the signs of ill-health are untidy coat, dull eye, listless behaviour and lack of appetite. The patient should be kept warm, even if this means a hot-waterContinue Reading

Rabbit Breeds and Exhibiting

There are large numbers of different breeds of rabbit from which to make a choice of pet. It may be noticed that whereas in most small pets the various colours are known as varieties, in rabbits they are known as breeds. What is the difference between a variety and a breed? The principal difference liesContinue Reading

How To Breed Rabbits

Rabbits have to be kept singly in hutches and this means than breeding has to be undertaken deliberately, rather than letting nature take its course. Still, breeding is fun and is not difficult. Small breeds mature sooner than large, so that while a Dutch doe may be bred as early as five months, a largerContinue Reading

Handling Rabbits

Rabbits have been domesticated for so long that even youngsters of a few weeks display no fear. It is rare that petting or coaxing is necessary to overcome the animal’s natural caution. This makes the rabbit an ideal pet even for quite young children, who could not be trusted with a smaller animal for fearContinue Reading

Feeding Rabbits–Rabbit Nutrition Guidelines

Proverbially, rabbits will eat almost anything and thrive on kitchen scraps and left-overs from the table. This is true and implies that a pet rabbit (or even several) need not be expensive to keep. However, one must be sensible and ensure that the animal receives a variety of different foods and those which may beContinue Reading

Rabbit Hutch Tips

Rabbits are kept in hutches either in a shed or in a sheltered part of the garden. Hutches are usually made of wood, preferably of tongued and grooved timber to minimise draughts. They should not be less than 36in. long, 24in. deep and 18in. high, perhaps a little smaller for the smallest breeds but aboutContinue Reading

Buying A Pet Rabbit

Rabbits make an ideal pet for most children because their larger size means that they can be handled more roughly without harm befalling them. By the same token, they can, be handled more easily. There is no question of their tameness for rabbits have been bred in captivity for so long that any wildness hasContinue Reading

Keeping Rabbits For Food

The owner of a small garden can find room for a few rabbits, but keeping rabbits for food is not like keeping pets. They breed well in captivity and take up little space, for their natural home is a burrow in the earth, and by nature they are adapted to confined quarters. There are twoContinue Reading

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