CARE

 

 

HOUSING - Decide which housing best suits your needs based on the number and size of rabbits you expect to raise, where you intend to place your housing, and your environment. There are many styles of housing, ranging from all wire pens to wooden hutches. Wire pens work very well in enclosed areas such as barns, basements, garages, etc. The wooden hutch is suitable and appropriate for outside housing. As rabbits are natural gnawers, they will chew on wood or wire, so in purchasing or making your cages, be sure the material will hold up to the task.

CAGE SIZE - The size of your cage or hutch should depend on the size of you rabbit. The giant breeds (over 12 pounds) require larger areas, and their cages should beat least 30" x 36". Most breeders prefer to house these giant breeds in cages at least 36"x 48". Medium breeds (7-12 pounds) should be allowed cages 24"x 30" to 30"x 36". The smaller breeds can be accommodated in cages 18" x 24". A general rule of thumb is 3/4 of a square foot per pound of mature body weight. Cages for rabbits should have a raised wire floor, with generally 1/2 x 1/2 size wire between them and the cage floor.

Best Supplies for Your Pet!
 

Rabbit Hutch with Enclosure 52.75x43.5x32.5"

MORE CAGES

Below are several excellent styles of outdoor hutches for your bunnies

              

Need a cage? Visit: The Rabbit Cage Store!

CAGE PLACEMENT - Rabbits can be placed outdoors where they do extremely well and can tolerate sub-zero temperatures. They do need to be kept out of drafts, direct sunlight and kept dry. Rabbits always need proper ventilation, whether outside or inside. During the summer months, the housing should be kept in the shade as rabbits do not tolerate heat very well. In the winter you can put plastic around the outside of the hutch and leave the bottom open for ventilation. The plastic will stop the wetness from getting in and protect the animal from the wind. *Cages or hutches can also be placed in, garages, basements, barns, sheds, etc. Remember, however, there must always be good ventilation and it should be easy for you to access the cages for taking care of your rabbit.

 

 

 

*BE SURE AND PROTECT YOUR BUNNIES FROM PREDICTORS SUCH AS DOGS, CATS, COYOTES, FOXES, HAWKS AND SNAKES ETC. Make sure the area outside in properly fenced according to the size of the predictor. An owl statue or moth balls is helpful with snakes, and make sure the cage has 1/2 x 1 inch wire used.

Hawks - make sure you don't let your bunny run loose in the yard! Dogs, cats, coyotes and foxes need a additional fencing surrounding the out door cage. Dogs can jump up against the cage, pull wire with their teeth or pull your bunny's feet through the bottom of the cage. NOTHING is more devastating to have your poor bunny put in this situation.


 

Water and Food



WATER - Rabbits require clean, fresh water daily. There are several ways to water your rabbit where you can use bowls, crocks, bottles or a watering system. For the hobbyist, bowls/crocks or water bottles should be sufficient.

 

Lixit Wide Mouth Water Bottle - 32 oz & Super Pet Paw-Print PetWare Bowl

They should be large enough to hold at least 16 ounces of water, and heavy enough that your rabbit canít tip them over. Water bottles are more sanitary, however they are more trouble in the winter, as they will freeze or crack. Another option for larger rabbitries is the automatic watering system. This is not suggested for the novice, as it is hard to determine whether your rabbit is drinking enough water with this method. As water is essential in keeping rabbits healthy, you must be certain that they are drinking water daily. If your rabbit quits drinking, it may be a sign your animal is not feeling well. Be sure to clean the drinking equipment regularly to insure good health. Simply wash the equipment with warm water and bleach, rinse well then allowed to dry in the sun if possible works very well.

FOOD STORAGE - Your rabbit feed should be kept in dry, pest free containers. A galvanized garbage can work very well for this, as they have a top that can be tightly sealed. The feed container should also be cleaned regularly to keep bacteria from building up. Feed should not be stored more then a month without being used. Do not buy a quantity of feed that you will have sitting around for more then a month, as the ingredients will start to lose their nutritional value. Be sure the feed is not moldy before you give it to your rabbit.

SUPPLEMENTS - Although supplements should not be necessary, many rabbit owners that show their rabbits like to condition them using various techniques. Some of the more common feed supplements are oats, barley, wheat germ oil, vitamin and mineral supplements for the drinking water, and sunflower seeds. Best Supplies for Your Pet!


         

 

This information you have just read is distributed and written by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. They offers tips on the general care of rabbits. Join ARBA today!

 

 

 

Here is a link for some excellent books on rabbit care: Click Here

 

 

 

Care Information on the Holland Lop Breed

by Tracy Lukeman

 

Fayth Young & Gilligan

 

What Is The Best Age?

Bunnies make fine pets at any age over 12 weeks. This fellow went to his new home after he was 6 months of age and has a wonderful, friendly personality

Holland Lops should not go to a new home until at least 12 weeks of age. Bunnies over 6 months of age will make a fine pet and it does not have to be a baby to "bond" to you. I personally feel that it is better to wait and see their personalities at an older age (12 to 16 weeks) then as a baby, under 8 weeks. Newly weaned babies at 8 weeks old are delicate and can sometime stress from leaving the rest of their siblings, diet, a complete change of environment and too much handling.

When you decide on your new bunny, before you bring your new bunny home the breeder should offer some transitional food. Make sure you research a good brand of rabbit pellets that you can purchase locally. The breeder should have suggestions. It is important to feed the correct amount of food to your bunny. A good rule of thumb is an ounce of pellets per pound of rabbit. Out of boredom a rabbit will just continue to eat until he/she will end up an over weight rabbit. For Holland Lops the best type of food has 15 to 16% protein, 20 % to 25% fiber, no hormones added for fast growth. Alfalfa or timothy meal should be the first ingredient listed. Timothy base foods are being found to be a better source of nutrition, but are hard to find in the pet stores & feed stores. The best place to find them is on the internet rabbit supplies. Plenty of timothy or oat hay should be made available at all times.

      

Bunnies and rabbits will do excellent on a food designed to be balanced and complete for RABBITS not alfalfa pellets or veggies alone. Stay away from the so called "Gourmet Brands" with chunks of dehydrated carrots and other bits in it. Bunnies will just pick the good stuff out and leave the pellets behind or even dig out all their food to find the goodies in the bottom of the dish. Make sure the food smells fresh and IS fresh, no more then 6 months old, the fresher the better. Check the date on the bag. If it doesn't have a date, don't buy it or throw it away! Make sure before you buy the food from the pet shop it has a expiration date on the bag.  If it does you will never know when it was made. It could be sitting in some warehouse or not rotated properly and end up being years old.  VERY IMPORTANT Most pellets sold in pet shots are formulated for the meat breeds and ensure that rabbits gain weight quickly since those type of breeds were bred for meat and often slaughtered by the age of 16 weeks. Holland Lop and Netherland Dwarf are dwarf breeds and if you over feed they will get bigger then the 2-4 lbs they are supposed to be. You don't want you "house" bunnies to become over weight because this will cut years off their life.

Holland Lops and Pet Shop Foods


Most of your pet shop bagged rabbit foods are 17 to 18% protein. This might be ok for meat, fur producing and mixed breeds of rabbits, it could be deadly for Holland Lop since their system is a bit more sensitive then the other breeds. Make sure you are using 15% to 16% for your Holland Lop. A good quality feed does not need supplementation. It should contain everything a rabbit needs to be healthy. A lot of pet owners as well as show breeders supplement a rabbit's feed but this should be only done as a small part of their daily rations.
  
Some excellent rabbit food are Manna Pro, Pen Pal and Buckeye Brands. Call you local feed or farm store to check for availability. A very good food is a timothy based variety, available below. Vets are recommending that rabbits have a lower calcium diet and this food fits the bill.

 

                

 

I highly recommend Oxbow Hay for your bunny's good health and to prevent fur block

Click the pic below to visit the store!

 

 

Feeding Treats & Greens

I don't recommend any greens and treats until the bunny is about 6 months of age. When you get your bunny make sure the breeder gives you some of the food they are feeding and try to continue feeding the same food to make the transition easier. When introducing a new food always do it a little at a time.


If you do want to feed fresh greens, stay away from the feeding the following greens: iceburg lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli. They can be the cause of gas pockets in the intestines, which can rupture in extreme cases. They also can cause diarrhea which could lead to dehydration then death. Stay away from fresh grass from your lawn. Make sure the lawn has not been treated with fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. 


As far as fresh greens are concerned, a few stems of fresh clover, 1 or 2 strawberry or oak tree leaves, dandelions,  mint, or a few willow twigs and apple tree twigs. Other good ones are cilantro, kale and parsley. Not all at once of course, feed in moderation. Some high fiber treats for your rabbit are mini shredded wheat, puffed wheat or rice they are a good dry source of fiber. Other cereals are Cheerios, Kix and Quaker Old Fashion (NOT Quick variety). No sugar coated cereals or chocolate types. If you feed your bunny lots of extra treats and grains you could end up with an overweight bunny.

A piece of carrot or banana (1/2 inch slice) or one raisin per day are enjoyed also. Raisin and carrots have natural sugar and eating too many at one time could lead to diarrhea. Grass hay such as timothy or oat hay are very important to have at all times available.


How does the rabbit get other vitamins?
Click here

JOIN THE HOLLAND LOP CLUB TODAY click here: HLRSC

You get a excellent information book on the Holland Lop, a quarterly publication of the Hollander!! WOW!

 

 

                 

Rabbit Goodies!

Want to see more?

 

House Bunnies
What is it like to have a house bunny??
Click here

 

Can Bunnies Live Together?


In the beginning when bunnies are young, 8 to 12 weeks it's ok to house them in the same cage as long as it is large enough for them both. After 12 weeks bucks and does must be keep in separate cages. Does can stay together longer and in some cases they will get along as adults but there is always a chance they will start fighting or mounting each other at some point. It is not a good idea to ever keep two bucks together. They will most definitely fight at some point.

A good rule of thumb to follow is if you bring two bunnies home...KEEP THEM IN SEPARATE CAGES! I have heard a million times.... "The person at the pet shop said two males or two females can live together". In most cases the pet shop employee are incapable of sexing rabbits and you end up with the wrong sex. This is also a good reason to buy from a REPUTABLE breeder!

If you don't know what sex your rabbit is, check this site out  Sexing Rabbits

If you house a buck and a doe together, you will end up with offspring. Even if you decide to have a litter they can not live together in one cage. It only takes one minute for two bunnies to copulate. So if you are unaware your two rabbits are buck and doe and they have a litter, the buck CAN breed the doe directly after she finishes kindling her babies and they will be starting on family number 2! I have had more emails from folks asking what to do in this situation then I care to count. Best I can suggest is get the babies on eating solid foods at soon as you can and prepare to wean them from Mama early. A good way to get babies to eat early is to offer pellets were they can reach them as soon as they are 2 1/2 weeks of age. Also supply good quality hay to tempt them into eating at a early age.

If the buck stays in with the doe for any extended time period he will continue to stalk her until she gets fed up and retaliates or either ends up with a big patch of missing fur off of her back from his attempts. I have heard of does biting off protruding parts of the bucks, if you know what I mean! YES...ouch! I owned a buck that had the tip of his penis bitten off by a doe. You will need two cages for a doe and a buck. It is highly suggested if you want your pet bunnies to live long and be healthy and great pets to get them neutered or spayed. A rabbit's lifespan is usually 7 to 10 years.

Females are territorial or protective over their living space that is why you never bring the buck to the doe's cage for breeding. Over the years I have been involved with bunnies I have found that 99% of the does housed together at some point start to fight or mount each other over being in the same cage. As the does start maturing, will mount one another and go thru the act of breeding. This is normal. At this point it is best to separate into their own cages. If you would like two bunnies to live together are a pair, neuter or spay them first. Then under supervision, slowly introduce them into a neutral space. More info about introducing/bonding a pair of bunnies is available at www.rabbit.org

Click here for... More on two bunnies living together
 

 

Boy or Girl?

It has been my experience that bucks make the best pets. Many people say that bucks (boys) spray. This is sometimes true if you use your buck for breeding. BUT I have found that when bucks are kept as solitary pets the spraying subsides or never starts. Neutering will eliminate this as well and you pet will live longer.

Males also have all their plumbing on the outside, making neutering less expensive then a female spay. If I was to have a Holland Lop as a pet, I would pick a buck no question in my mind! I also tend to keep non sprayers as my herd bucks and I feel this helps produce offspring that don't spray as well.

Bucks are loving, friendly and like to be petted and they enjoy rubbing their chin on you. Bucks can be neutered as soon as their testicles descend, which is around 4 to 5 months.

Floppy Yoder

 
Does are not suggested as pets since when they turn 6 months of age they will feel ready to breed and can become territorial of their cage. They have been known to strike out with their front feet and bite if you reach in to pet them, dig the corners of the cage all night (trying to make a nest) and pull fur because they are having a false pregnancy. If decide you can't live without a doe, it is highly suggested you get them spayed as soon as the vet feels the time is right, usually around 5 to 6 months. I feel strongly about this and don't offer does for sale as pet unless they are older, retired brood does I feel would do well as a pet.
 
Carrying Your Bunny

Get a secure hold of the rabbit with your right hand around the shoulders and lift up while supporting the back end and feet with your left hand. Some people lift them up by the loose skin over the back of their shoulders. It has been said by some this way can harm the flesh condition of your rabbit and most breeders avoid this method of handling. In order to keep you bunny from getting scared and struggling, tuck his/her head under your armpit under your left arm and support the back end with your left hand while keep your right hand resting on his back. Hiding the bunnies eyes will eliminate any fears of heights or other frightening things.

 
Another way of picking up your bunny is to cup your hand around the bunny ears and shoulders while turning him/her around on the back and cradling the bunny in your arm, while keeping your hand in support of the feet, like a baby. They normally relax in this position but I have seen some rabbits not care to be on their back. It is best to get you bunny used to being held while it is young or after he gets to know you better once they are settled in and knows you aren't going to harm them. Never let their hind feet dangle without being supported, they can struggle and have been known to break their backs this way. Never pick your rabbit up by his ears. Would you want some picking you up by your ears?



Grooming

Your bunny should be groomed to remove dead hair. It is good to groom daily during shedding periods which are called molting in rabbits. If left unattended the rabbit will groom itself by licking its hair which could possibly result in hair balls. The loose hair could also gather into the corner of the cage and create a resting area for fecal and urine.
 

Teeth
 A rabbits teeth never stop growing and require hay, a block of untreated wood, or branches for gnawing will help with this. Bunnies can suffer from malocclusion conditions called buck or wolf teeth, due to a inherited condition or from excess pulling on cage wire. It is best to look at the teeth of the rabbit your are going to buy before you get it. Make sure the teeth are both straight and the top teeth come over the bottom teeth. If the bunny has a tooth problem such as buck teeth or wolf teeth then you will have to clip the teeth every four to six weeks or the bunny will starve to death. Make sure you have a experienced rabbit vet or breeder help you with this problem.


 

severe malocclusion unattended

Trimming the Toenails
When you trim the nails, you can use regular toenail clippers. Wrap a towel around your bunny and take one foot out at a time to trim. Take hold of the foot and push the fur back a little around the nail. The front feet has five toes, the back feet have four.

Clip only about 1/4 inch of each nail. If the nails are white, it will be easier to see the quick, or vein, and safely cut up to that point. It helps if the area is well light when you trim you bunny's nails, especially if the nails are dark. Have someone help you by holding a flashlight close to the nail so the vein will be more noticeable. If you cut to close and the nail begins to bleed, just dip the nail in regular cake flour or cornstarch and this should clot it immediately. Both of these are harmless in case the bunny licks them off.

If you are uncomfortable with trimming his nails, asked the breeder to help you the first few times or you can bring the bunny to a vet or dog groomer experience with rabbits. 

 
Every see a clump of grape shaped droppings on the bottom of your bunny's cage and wondering what they are? What is a Cecal Pellet?
 

Health Tips Before Getting A Rabbit

Rabbits are generally healthy and easy to care for. It is suggested you join the American Rabbit Breeders Association before you get a rabbit. They will, along with your membership card, give you a book on how to care for you rabbit. Or before you get a rabbit, make a trip to you local library and take out a book on rabbit care. Having a book on care on hand may save your bunny's life. Ask you breeder if they have any suggestions on a book that is right for you. 
 

Visit the Rabbit Book Store

 
The breeder you buy your rabbit from should be willing to help you in anyway. Rabbit breeders that care about their rabbits are usually happy to give you advise. Make sure the breeder you buy your rabbit from is clean and shows you where the rabbit is kept. He or she should answer all of your questions.

 
Make sure you look at all the rabbits he/she has. Signs of unhealthy conditions are: Excess waste under or in the pans under the rabbits, over crowded cages, and a strong smell of urine. Make sure none of the rabbits are sneezing, have wet noses or snot coming from their noses. You may find a baby rabbit that looks fine, but a few months later he/she will end up being as sick as the adults it was housed with.

 
Unfortunately, many pet shops may often get their bunnies from places called Bunny Mills or backyard breeders. These are usually people who breed rabbits only one purpose, to make a profit. It is best to buy your bunny from a reputable breeder.


MOST SHOW BREEDERS ONLY KEEP THE BEST IN ORDER TO WIN ON THE SHOW TABLE SO THEY DON'T BUY RABBITS WITH KNOWN TEETH OR HEALTH PROBLEMS. At least I would hope so!


Often they have pet quality stock available with minor faults such as white markings on a solid color, falling above or under the ideal Holland weight of 3 to 4 lbs, and a unshowable color, just to mention a few faults for the show table but would make fine pets. 

 

 

JOIN THE HOLLAND LOP CLUB TODAY click here: HLRSC

Look over the bunny before you buy it. Check the eyes and nose and make sure there are no discharges from either. Check the ears for mites. Signs of this would be a crusty, scaly surface to the inside of the ears. If they have mites in their ears, chances are they have them all over. Mites can easily be transferred to humans. Very important is to make sure there are no signs of diarrhea. This can mean a bacterial infection (coccidiosis) and can lead to death.

 
There is, however, a stress related diarrhea which may or may not occur when you first bring your bunny home. This can be remedied by allowing the bunny to have some quiet time and placing a teaspoon of uncooked old fashion (NOT quick oatmeal type) oatmeal  and timothy hay in their cage for them to nibble on. Check with your vet or the breeder you got your bunny from some they can advise you if necessary. Certain antibiotics can be fatal to a bunny so make sure you go the a vet experienced with bunnies. Some vets unfamiliar with rabbits have been known to offer the incorrect antibiotics, killing the bunny! Make sure the breeder you get your bunny from helps you find a rabbit savvy vet.

 
Make sure you check the bunny's teeth are straight and the top teeth come over the bottom teeth and do not meet or butt. Do not buy a bunny that has questionable teeth. It is not true that all bunnies need their teeth trimmed, they should wear on their own. 


If you are not going to breed your bunny is best to have him/her spayed or neutered. Check out this link from the House Rabbit Society about questions you may have about it. 

Here is a highly recommended HRS Rabbit Vet in the VA area...Contact Dr Brown and she will be happy to give a reference on the health of my bunnies!

Jolly Pond Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Bonnie Brown
Intersection of Long Hill Road and Centerville, VA
Hospital Hours:
Monday-Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm
Saturday 8:00am to 12:00noon
Doctor Hours by appointment
Telephone (757) 565-6000
Facsimile (757) 565-5588


After hours emergencies:
The Emergency Veterinary Clinic (757) 874-8115
Spay or neuter rabbits and send them home the same day. Even people from out of town can come in at 11, see Dr. Brown then leave the rabbit for surgery while the owner shops or has lunch and the bunny is awake and ready to go home about 2:00

Bunny spays and neuters run approximately $100+

 

 

If you considering breeding your bunny, please read over the breeding page of this site. One thing you will have to remember is that you will have to find homes for all the babies. Sometimes this isn't as easy as you think.  

The sites listed below are meant to provide the rabbit owner or breeder with some basic understanding of diseases and treatments and is in no way a substitute for qualified medical care. The best thing you can do for your sick rabbit is to take him/her to the experienced rabbit vet ASAP!!

LINK COMING SOON


Check out these House Rabbit Society sites:

Veterinary Recommendations
- Be careful when taking your rabbit to a vet. Make sure he/she is experienced with treating rabbits.

Litter Training - Rabbit can be taught to use a litter box like cats.

What is it like to have a house bunny?? Click here

 

Please visit:

 

Home • About thf Saynora • Our Herd • The Store • Contact thf Saynora • Articles-Bunny Care • Links • Bantam Silkies & Mille Fleur d'uccle