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Raising Pet Rabbits

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Pet Rabbits
While rabbits can make good pets, there are special considerations to review before bringing home a fluffy bunny. This is a guide about raising pet rabbits.
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By 4 found this helpful
March 23, 2006
Description: Rabbits can make wonderful small animal pets. They have gentle natures, are relatively clean and easy to care for, and they're soft and cuddly. There are many domesticated breeds of rabbits to choose from. The Dutch and Mini Lop make good companions for children. They are smaller in size and have very social natures.
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Size: The size and space need to keep rabbits depends on the breed. Smaller breeds can weigh in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 pounds. The Flemish Giant is regarded as the largest breed in the world and may grow 3 ft. in length and weigh up to 24 pounds.

Compatibility: Does (females) can often live amongst each other peacefully. Bucks (males) will fight if housed together. Rabbits can sometimes be kept successfully with Guinea pigs, but should be kept away from cats, dogs, and other small animals.

Appeal: Rabbits make popular pets for a number of reasons. They are friendly and social and will live happily indoors, in apartments or in an outdoor hutch. If properly trained, they will hop along on a lead (slowly) and can learn to use a little box. They need less exercise, can be left alone during the day (with proper housing) and they won't disturb the neighbors.

Drawbacks: To keep a rabbit indoors, the house must be sufficiently rabbit-proofed. Electrical cords, carpet, and wooden furniture are all in danger of being chewed. Fireplaces, tall furniture and certain houseplants can all pose serious dangers. Rabbits shed. A rabbit's coat, nails, and ears all need regular grooming and attention and they need a supply of fresh foods to stay healthy.

Diet: Rabbits need a diverse diet that includes commercially prepared pellets, hay, root vegetables, greens, and some fruit.

Problems & Health Issues: Rabbits are susceptible to various digestive problems. They are also vulnerable to serious viruses like myxomatosis and VHD. They need to have their teeth checked regularly, and if spending time outside need to be vaccinated for fleas and other pests and from diseases spread by wild rabbits.

Lifespan: A rabbit's longevity depends a lot on genetics and the care it receives. Typically, a rabbit can expect to have a lifespan that averages 6-7 years, sometimes longer.

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Interesting Facts: Rabbits use their whiskers like antennae, especially at night. The whiskers feel and remember the tunnels and walls of a familiar burrow and that information is stored in the rabbits memory. A rabbit put in an unfamiliar burrow will instantly panic because it doesn't "feel" right. Most rabbits will run for cover when being pursued rather than escaping down an unfamiliar burrow.

Comment Was this helpful? 4

April 10, 2009

Here are some fun facts about rabbits and raising rabbits.

By Susan from Clinton, TN

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April 5, 20051 found this helpful

Bunnies will eat anything. Tonight I was getting ready to put the parrot in his cage for the night. I always give him fresh water and pellets at night. I put his dish on the coffee table and picked up the supply of parrot pellets. The bunny jumped on the coffee table. She landed on the parrot's dish and fell back on the floor. (Bunnies are good at jumping but not as gracefully as a cat at that height.)

Anyway, the bunny knocked the parrot pellets all over the floor. She was thrilled. She started to gobble up as many as she could. At the same time I was trying to pick the pellets up off the carpet as quickly as I could to keep the bunny from eating them. It was quite the race, but I think she won.

Pretty clever bunny, I'd say. ;-) If she had only jumped on the coffee table, she'd have gotten only a few bites because I would have taken the pellets away. As it was all dumped all over the floor, she had time to eat quite a few more. Bunny was a happy bunny.

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By coolchinchilla

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Catherine Forman1 found this helpful
March 29, 2006

Adding a rabbit to your family? Congratulations! Rabbits are adorable, clever, interesting pets!

Preparing for your new rabbit means you need a place for your rabbit to live! The hutch is essential even for indoor rabbits, so they have a secure place to sleep. Make sure your hutch has a door that latches so your bunny can't escape his home. Your bunny should ALWAYS have access to food and water in his hutch.

If the hutch is an outside hutch, make sure your rabbit has a covered area to shelter from poor weather. If the rabbit will be allowed to roam free indoors, be sure to protect him from any electrical wires or other things that shouldn't be nibbled.

Rabbits will pick one spot to be the bathroom, and always go there. Because of this trait, they are easy to litterbox train! Put the covered litterbox in the spot where your rabbit goes to the bathroom, and he will begin to use the litterbox. But, you must keep it clean. That's for your own benefit as well as your rabbit's. Bunny piddle is extremely odoriferous.

So, what will your new bunny eat? His diet can be broken down in three parts.

  1. Hay. The fiber is very important for his digestive health!
  2. Pellets. The major portion of his diet. Specially formulated with all the nutrition your bunny needs.
  3. Fresh fruit, veggies, grasses, and flowers. Ask your vet what is best for bunny.

Planning to have more than one pet rabbit? Keep this in mind:

Please remember to spay or neuter your bunny. Rabbits tend to multiply, well, like rabbits! If you are planning to keep more than one rabbit as a pet, please make certain that they are spayed or neutered.

By Catherine Forman

Comment Was this helpful? 1

February 26, 20090 found this helpful

I had a cage that was in good condition and had lasted through several small pets. When my rat died of old age, I decided to adopt from the local animal shelter. Here is Ben, he is neutered and he was found in a box in the parking lot. Rabbits love to look in mirrors.

Reuse a Dog
Enclosure for Rabbits

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Read More...

May 21, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about keeping your pet bunny happy. Keeping your pet bunny happy can involve serving her favorite foods, providing toys and activity opportunities, and just spending time with her.

Super cute orange rabbit laying on tummy on white background

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May 19, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about feeding a pet rabbit. Choosing the right foods for your bunny is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and happy.

Black, Brown, and White rabbit in wooden hutch eating out of a bright orange pot

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May 19, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about treating rabbit hairballs. Rabbits, like cats can develop hairballs as a result of their grooming habits.

Very fluffy young grey and white lion head bunny.

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May 19, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about mother rabbit harming babies. Understanding the normal and stressed behaviors of rabbits is important to prevent the accidental or intentional harm to infant bunnies by their mother.

Very young baby bunny cupped by human hands

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May 19, 20160 found this helpful

This guide is about caring for a pet rabbit and her babies. Being aware of what is normal behavior for a mama doe will help you know if you need to help her care for her babies.

Brown mother rabbit and her babies

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May 19, 20160 found this helpful

This guide is about keeping bunnies cool. Making sure your rabbits are kept at a comfortable temperature is important for maintaining their health.

Bunny laying on an orange water bottle (presumably a cool one)

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May 20, 20120 found this helpful

This guide is about house training a rabbit. Having a rabbit as a indoor pet can be messy, but they like to be clean.

House Training a Rabbit

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 13, 2010

I have a female rabbit that lives outside in our homemade rabbit hutch. It is at least 8-10 foot long and can house two rabbits. I am thinking about getting another rabbit, maybe when it warms up a little more. But I don't know what kind or gender.

I am not breeding my female. She's getting to the age where she shouldn't be bred. I am also not planning on putting them together. They can still smell each other and stuff, because the screen and a door is between them. What kind of rabbit, gender, and age do you think would be good? I am thinking a younger one would be good so that they would get used to being held.

By Des

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 13, 20100 found this helpful

I would definitely advise getting another rabbit, because rabbits are communal animals, especially since the one you have is separated from you most of the time. They will snuggle and groom each other and then, eventually, become a bonded pair.

There are definitely some tricks to introducing them, though and I suggest you read up on it a bit. Oh, also, be sure to have them spayed and/or neutered. It will extend the life of your current female by many years and may help with potential behavioral problems down the road.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 14, 20100 found this helpful

OK, where can I find a breeder near me. I don't know about getting a rabbit from a pet store because there not use to being outside and I don't know how healthy they are and they cant hardly sex them either at the pet stores. Thanks!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 15, 20100 found this helpful

Get another female. You will drive the male crazy and he may hurt himself. If you look in your paper or classified magazine (in NY we have Want Ad Digest) you will probably be able to find a breeder.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 17, 20100 found this helpful

Be careful when introducing a new rabbit. You should know that your female may not take well to another rabbit regardless if it is male or female. Female rabbits tend to be territorial of their cages/hutches. Do not just put them in a cage together. Introduce them in a neutral area, a bathtub works well because in case they don't get along, it's hard for them to walk/run on in case they try to attack each other. You should also look into spaying/neutering them.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
June 1, 2015

I got some young rabbits about 8 weeks ago. I have them in an outdoor cage. They keep dying on me and I can't understand why. They have clean fresh water two to three times a day, I have pallets in there for them all the time and I have being give them timothy hay. Can someone please help me I don't want any more to die? What am I doing wrong for them to die on me?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
June 2, 20150 found this helpful

We have successfully raised rabbits for over many years now, but I am not a vet.

There may be several reasons for your problem. Firstly, they may have been sickly when you got them.

Second, where is their "cage" located? Is it covered? Is it shaded? Rabbits can die very quickly if left in the sun on a warm day. Is it protected from strong prevailing winds? Is it on the ground or up on legs?

A rabbit hutch should be off the ground, and fenced off so that predators cannot come near it. We've had rabbits that were actually "scared to death" when a neighbors big dog got too close.

Rabbits need fresh water every day, and twice a day in the hot part of the summer. Also, what kind of pellets are you feeding? You might consider changing brands.

The hay also may be suspect, as now you have to be VERY careful to get hay that has not been sprayed with, or received the overspray of pesticides. Also, never feed rabbits yard grass or weeds that have ever been sprayed with any sort of chemicals. Their little bodies are very sensitive.

Lastly, many people don't realize this, but domestic rabbits really don't need lettuce, and it's not good for them. If you feed them fruit peels they should be organic.

A vet is a good idea,...and if you decide to take them to one, while you have them out clean their "cage" thoroughly with white vinegar and a good rinse. Make sure they have a clean hardwood board to rest on, roughly twice the size of the rabbit.

These are all the ideas I have - hope something helps.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
June 3, 20150 found this helpful

Timothy hay would not be an adequate diet for them. Find a feed store and get rabbit chow.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 16, 20150 found this helpful

There are three basic things for a happy and healthy rabbit ,

1. The climate : they can tolerate cool climate a bit ,but can heat so try to use some straw mats to cover the cage and spay some water regularly on the mats so that climate will be cool cover two adjusent sides and leave the other two free so that they they can get some ventilation

2. Food: rabbits will not have any hard work to do as they don't even make sounds regularly,so low calary food is good for them,and while grooming them self's they will swallow so much of hair so they need to intake maximum fiberrich food like grass ,hay, etc don't give them too much of fruit ,and veggies should be fresh as wild rabbits can adjust but our buddies can't

3. This is important ; our love they are social animal you can know it from their behavior in free times them will groom others and kissing them whispering with others ,so you have to spend some time with them nourishing them talking with them they may not understand our language but defiantly they can understand that ,my buddy is telling me some thing he always used to share something with me,he loves me so much ,that is enough ,happy life will be a healthy life for sure,

4. Don't let strange animals to come nearby as rabbits have a sensitive heart they can die if they see a predator close to they as they are in a cage,if they free like wild rabbits they can run away ,so don't let some ugly creature to visit our buddy I don't have a photo of my rabbit as they never gave me a chance to take a pic they will try to play every time when I am home

I hope it will help you,see ya

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

April 29, 20120 found this helpful

I have a 16 week old rabbit. Two days ago I noticed a sore on the side of his nose. I have looked endlessly on the internet to see what it might be. I have gone to two vets and they don't know if it's an infection or just a sore. It's an indoor rabbit and is not in contact with any other rabbits.

By Daphney

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 29, 20120 found this helpful

Did either of the vets give you a topical ointment to see if it would clear up the sore/infection?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 1, 20120 found this helpful

Hello...

There is a Veterinarian in Petaluma, Calif. that specializes in rabbits. His name is Dr. Pfahn. He is wonderful. You might want to give him a call or E-Mail him a pix. Good luck

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 2, 20120 found this helpful

I find it hard to believe neither vet suggested blood work or a skin scrape or both. Either one of those would rule out or confirm an infection. Did they at least offer antibiotics or an antibiotic ointment? Steriods would be another option if its a sore and not healing. They aren't great for the animal but in short term use, work wonders. I would find another vet if neither one wanted to do anything for you. I understand vet care is expensive but that comes with the responsibility of having a pet :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

December 16, 20100 found this helpful

I have 3 rabbits. My rabbits are 2, 5 year old Lop Ears and a 1 year old Lionhead Dutch mix. There is 1 male Lop and 1 female Lop and the Lionhead who is a female. I need to know how to make toys and stop their water from freezing so easily. I need toys to entertain them while I am at work. Please help me. Thanks.

By bunny_puppy_animal lover from MI

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
December 17, 20100 found this helpful

The boy toy will find the girl toy if you don't do something about that, like now. Please do not breed. Thousands of rabbits go to the pound. Many are euthanized.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
December 21, 20100 found this helpful

Yeah. I don't breed them. I got the 2 lops from someone who didn't play with them or take good care for them for 5 years. I do not breed them because it just is too much work.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 11, 20110 found this helpful

I am aware of all the animal abuse out there. I do not breed animals because of the millions of animals who actually need good, loving and caring homes.

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October 16, 2008

Our rabbit has a wart/cyst on his ear. It doesn't seem to bother him but I would like to know how to remove it. A hunter that we know says wild rabbits get them but they fall off in the winter. However he is a inside spoiled rabbit. Thanks.

Dianna from Burton, MI

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
October 20, 20080 found this helpful

A vet would be the best one to remove it.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 5, 2013

I have 2 male rabbits, they love to dig and have managed to get out on a few occasions by digging holes in the neighbour's yard. Since they have gotten out we (my neighbour mostly) has completely blocked them into their own yard and territory. I have noticed that there are new holes being dug next door through the night right next to the fence into my yard. My neighbour believes that the local feral rabbits are trying to get into my yard. Why would they want to get to my rabbits and how do I stop them without killing them?

By Paul S

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Photos

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By 26 found this helpful
July 16, 2012

Reeses and Buttercup are 2 year old rabbits. The Easter bunny brought these in my son's Easter basket 2 years ago. We bring them in and they run around on the floor with my son and cuddle.

By Debbie N from Tacoma, WA

Two bunnies on the couch.

Comment Like this photo? 26

By 2 found this helpful
March 10, 2015

Your Pet's Age
2 months old

Your Pet's Breed
Rabbit

How and when did you get your pet?
Gifted by a friend after his rabbit gave birth.

What does your pet like to do for fun?
Chomp on greens! He especially loves cucumbers. He will also chomp on your fingers if you try to put it in his mouth!

Do you have anything else to share about your pet?
He's a lovely little white ball of fur who keeps hopping around the backyard and house all the time. He has deep red eyes which contrast very well with his white fur.

Comment Like this photo? 2
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In This Guide
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Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet Rabbit
Categories
Pets Rabbits AdviceMay 2, 2012
Guides
Super cute orange rabbit laying on tummy on white background
Keeping Your Pet Bunny Happy
Very young baby bunny cupped by human hands
Mother Rabbit Harming Babies
Very fluffy young grey and white lion head bunny.
Treating Rabbit Hairballs
House Training a Rabbit
House Training a Rabbit
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