We're getting a rabbit, any tips?

Discussion in 'Pet Care' started by grisandole, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. grisandole

    grisandole Member

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    We're getting a rabbit on Thursday, he's six months old, and a Netherland Dwarf Siamese Sable. A "purebred" lol! Someone who raises them is giving him away.

    I read that cedar bedding isn't good for small animals, and I did find a natural alternative to it. What about food? Are "regular" rabbit pellets fine or is there something better?

    Has anyone successfully litterbox trained a rabbit? I've heard it can be done.....

    Thanks,
    Kristi
  2. lifetapestry

    lifetapestry Of Rich and Royal Hues

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    Our former neighbors had a pet rabbit and they liked to give it "fresh air" by putting it inside a circular kiddy gate structure, about one foot high. They knew that it couldn't get out of something that high, but neglected to think that something (e.g. loose dog) could jump IN, grab the rabbit, and bounce right back out again.

    So my tip would be not to leave it outside unattended in a structure/cage/etc that won't protect it from predators.

    Karla
  3. Half dozen mama

    Half dozen mama Fabric addict

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    Make sure it has a salt lick, and rabbits really looove apples! Use their droppings to fertilize your plants. Oh they really adore dandelion greens too :)
  4. TheDoodysMom

    TheDoodysMom Member

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    Cedar isn't good, but pine shavings are. That's what we use (we have 12 rabbits, LOL). Or you can use other things like care-fresh. Just get regular plain pellets. The ones with the extra "stuff" in them is like rabbit junk food and your rabbit will get fat! Give your rabbit timothy hay daily to provide extra fiber/roughage. Pellets and hay at feed stores are fresher than the stuff from PetsMart, Walmart, Target, etc. Ditto what Karla said. We only let our rabbits run around outside supervised.
  5. grisandole

    grisandole Member

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    Thanks! I wouldn't leave him outside alone unsupervised :) So, pine is okay? I think care-fresh was the stuff I found at Wal-Mart.

    We're excited!

    Kristi
  6. spiritfreedom

    spiritfreedom raunchy title instigator

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    I was talking to a girl who sells rabbits the other day and she said they can't be outside in a cage until they are about 2 years old b/c they really can't care for themselves well enough. Also, she mentioned the wide grid mesh on bunny hutches lets in too many insects that build homes in bunny fur.
  7. Christi

    Christi Perpetually NAK'ing

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    There are tons of great bunny owners at www.paw-talk.net/forums - we got a bunny not too long ago and they were a HUGE help!
  8. lavender300

    lavender300 New Member

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    we have bunnies

    We buy our bunnies pellets from a feed store.You can get a cage that has a tray that you can pull out to clean (I got ours at the farm & fleet store).Line this tray w/pine shavings to help absorb the urine.Bunny urine is really nasty! I put a newspaper lining under the pine shavings then weekly I "peel" it all into a large trash bag and hose the tray out,dry w/paper towel and reline w/fresh newspaper & pine shavings.Bunnies do not need a salt lick.They do need a little something underfoot to help keep them from getting sore hocks,I bought some from PetSmart but they chewed it up.They are called a foot relax pad and bunnyrabbit.com carries them for around $3.Bunnies like to chew,ecspecially sticks from an apple tree! Rabbits drink alot of water.Some rabbits litter box train more easily than others.Petsmart sells a corner littler box just for bunnies.I found it easier to clean the pull out tray than the litter box.Bunnies also need their nails clipped,you can use a standard pet nail trimmer.
    Here are some links for good info and/or supplies:
    http://users.clover.net/tansy/jwm4.htm
    http://www.damars.com/
    http://www.bunnyrabbit.com/
    http://www.gallantknightrabbitry.com/Information.htm

    My 8yo is a member of the Amer Rabbit Breeders Assoc & the IN Mini Rex Club so we have done lots of research.If you have any more questions feel free to PM me.
    My 5yo,Logan & his red mini rex,Ginger:
    [/IMG][​IMG]
  9. Kimmyboo

    Kimmyboo New Member

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    I had a litterbox trained rabbit. Although i wasnt the one that trained him he was already trained. I was told both pine and cedar shavings were bad for rabbits so I myself wouldnt use either. If this rabbit is an outside rabbit it should stay an outside rabbit. Bringing a rabbit in from a sudden temp change is NOT good for them at all. Say they are born outside and live there for 6 months then one day you decide you want to keep it indoors. Thats very bad to do to them they can die. So imo, if this rabbit lives outside, keep him in a hutch outside away from the ground and where other animals cant get to him. Also to protect him from wetness or rain, either make some kind of awning or put a tarp over the cage while its snowing or raining so he doesnt get all wet and catch pneumonia. I, second the Timothy Hay. Alfalfa is good for them too, i mix timothy hay and alfalfa together(i buy mine separate from a family run pet shop near my home.) Also alot of rabbits like Kale too. Too many apples can make him have runny poo so if you decide to give them then just watch so he isnt getting runny poo. It's not the same with all rabbits but just watch him. I let my bunny run around a fence pen outside to get exercise. i dont have a problem with any animals bothering him but dont chance it if you arent sure. Also when i was around he had full run of the backyard and he LOVES it. Our backyard is all fenced in. My bunny would come to you if you call him. its so cute. Hold your bunny alot to get him used to you and your kids. Watch him with your kids though at first til you're sure. I held my bunny alot when i first got him and even after a while too. He LOVES to be held and he cuddles at our neck and just sits on our lap. he is very loveable. He likes to chase the cat too. lol My cat didnt like it but he didnt bother the bunny. My bunny loves the yogurt treats you can get at petstores. the come in fruit or carrot flavor. :) Good luck and if you need any more help feel free to PM me and I'll be more than happy to help you. I've had rabbits since I was a little girl. :)
  10. mammakat

    mammakat harpy

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    My five year old niece had to get her boy bunny fixed because he *loved* her a bit too intimately. ;pop:
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2005
  11. Kimmyboo

    Kimmyboo New Member

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    lol Yes bunnies should be fixed cuz it could lead to problems in the future.

    I've been part of the 4H when i was growing up and it was alot of fun and also learned alot from a rabbit connection place in MA. At that time i didnt think they needed to be fixed if you just had one but learned different :) til this day I refuse to clip my own bunnies nails. i take him to the family run petstore to have it done. im afraid to do it myself since he had dark nails. I feel better letting them do it. he just laid there when they did it. lol Alot of people tell me ways to do it myself but i dont care what they have to tell me I wont do it myself. it makes me feel better to let someone else do it. I know how to do it though. :)
  12. annb

    annb It's like herding cats.

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    I have two house rabbits. I don't want to offend anyone, but some of the things said in this thread are not entirely accurate. Please visit www.rabbit.org (House Rabbit Society=HRS) for excellent information on bunny care.
    *Cedar AND Pine shavings can cause liver damage in rabbits. Our local HRS uses and recommends Yesterday's News litter, made from recycled newspaper. I think the carefresh is ok, if it's just recycled newspaper. There is a complete FAQ on little training on the website.
    *Most regular rabbit pellets are NOT ok. Rabbits also need unlimited timothy hay and plenty of fresh vegetables (no iceberg lettuce, other leafy greens are good though). www.oxbowhay.com is a good place to order, some also like www.americanpetdiner.com
    *Alfalfa hay in very limited amounts only. Fruits in very limited amounts as well.
    *Spayed and neutered house rabbits can have lifespans of around 10 years. Be prepared for the commitment.
    *Rabbits should never be left outdoors overnight.

    Anyway you will find a ton of excellent information on the website. It's like the attachment parenting version of bunny care. :) HTH!!
  13. grisandole

    grisandole Member

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    Wow, thanks everyone for all the info! I will double check, but I believe he's an indoor rabbit. I'm so glad you mentioned not bringing him in suddenly if he's been outside all this time, I never would have thought about that! I also never heard of getting them fixed, is that something a regular vet can do?

    Thanks again for all the info and links!
  14. TheDoodysMom

    TheDoodysMom Member

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    LOL, all the rabbit breeders I know completely disagree with the house rabbit society. Too much fruits and veggies can make for an under-nourished rabbit with diarrhea. Pellets are important to rabbit's diet. When I worked for my vet in high school he saw a lot of rabbits come in with diarrhea because their owners had been giving them too much fruits/veggies. A balance of fruits/veggies with pellets always cleared up the diarrhea. I have been using pine shavings since 1993 with no problems with any of my rabbits. Unfortunately when you have 12 rabbits, there's just no way you can use care-fresh. It's too $$$. I go through a HUGE bale of shaving a month.
    Just FTR, I have been raising rabbits since I was 13, and I show Jersey Woolies. I am a member of the ARBA (since 1994).
    Of couse I am not the biggest fan of the House Rabbit Society because according to them I am SO evil because I breed rabbits (even though I raise show rabbits and having a waiting list for my bunnies, and will take back ANY rabbit that I sell). I tried to donate cages to them and they wouldn't take them from me because I am EVIL. :rolleyes:
    Oops, sorry, went off on a little tangent there.
  15. annb

    annb It's like herding cats.

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  16. annb

    annb It's like herding cats.

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    Yea it's definitely a difference of opinion. Our HRS has at least 50 rabbits in foster care, due to rabbit overpopulation that is similar to dog and cat overpopulation. That is their main objection to rabbit breeders, along with quality of life issues.

    May I ask the typical lifespan of your rabbits? I just wonder because I would think that makes a difference in the effect that the pine shavings would have. And also if you are using the pine in direct contact with the bunnies, or as an under-cage lining. I wouldn't think that EVERY rabbit that had pine shavings would have a problem, you know, just like anything else, some people smoke and get cancer at 40, others live to be 100.

    Too many fruits are not good, agreed. Fruits and vegetables that are not introduced properly are not good and lead to diarrea. The wrong fruits and vegetables can lead to diarrea. A good quality pellet is important, agreed, though it should not be the staple of the diet. Your anecdotal evidence of the HRS recommended diet being bad is not based on an HRS recommended diet. The HRS does not say not to give any pellets.

    Anyway not trying to start a debate with you, there is a middle ground, but I do think their care and feeding recommendations are sound advice for PET rabbits.
  17. TheDoodysMom

    TheDoodysMom Member

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    No prob, I love discussing rabbits! :D I still have 3 rabbits that I bred when I was in high school. They were born in 1995, so they'll be 10 this year. Most of the other ones I sold when I went to college, so I'm not sure how long they lived. I just had one rabbit that was born in 1993 die last summer. See, we think the main rabbit staple SHOULD be pellets, with lots of timothy hay. Limited veggies (and fruits). My rabbits get some kale or parsely about once a week, but that's it. They're very healthy and in top show condition. I also feed them a show conditioner along with their pellets.
    I object to people casually breeding rabbits. Like just breeding mixed rabbits for fun. I think that's totally wrong. All my rabbits are pedigreed show rabbits and I am breeding them to improve on the breed standard. Like I said I have a waiting list so I'm not trying to sell these to whoever will take them. And I will take back any rabbit that I've bred. I just couldn't believe it when I tried to donate to our local HRS and the lady FLIPPED out on me! She was such a b!&#^! She wouldn't even take my donation (cages and other supplies). :( She made me feel like crap. :wah:
  18. annb

    annb It's like herding cats.

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    I like a timothy based diet because then the rabbits don't have smelly litterboxes!! I got tired of buying the timothy based pellets a few months ago and just bought some regular pellets and the smell was nasty. I do about 1/4 c of pellets, unlimited Timothy hay, and a large leaf of romaine lettuce daily.

    Well don't judge an entire organization based on one rude, crazy nut.
  19. qtkitty

    qtkitty Natural Lye Soap Maker

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    Thats Great that you have a bunny !!! They really can be sweet pets!!

    Watch out for netherland Dwarfs! They can be high strung and rather hyper, although they are small they are NOT the best pets for small children, because they have a tendancy to jump out of kids arms and kick. Although there are some things you can do to help this. Keep the rabbit on the floor and when you need to pick them up carry then with one arm under them and one arm over tucked to your chest, because they tend to get fiesty. You can make sort of a portable baby play pin to hold the bunny to play in although not to let it stay in.

    Also another thing to help keep you and your rabbit safe is to keep their claws trimmed. This might seem like a goofy thing, but inside bunnies and bunnies who are not out where they are digging and Ect to wear them down they can grow Quickly and get sharp. They can scratch ( which could possibly get the bunny dropped if it startles a child).

    There are lots of nice cages that you can get from stores or you can build one. You can build an inside cage that is a condo double layered or a nice outside hutch. Old Newspapers are a GREAT form of bedding for inside bunnies. Although the colored sheets i wouldn't use because they are not completely soy based and safe incase your bunny gets nibbly. Straw, or hay is also a great form of bedding HOWEVER you should not feed straw to bunnies, because it doesn't have any nutrients. I get Orchard Grass ( it's a nice green colored hay). I usually layer newspaper and then Orchard Grass, they can eat it , but also use the orchard grass in a duel use so that it gets used faster so that the orchard grass doesn't go bad.

    It is best to get pellets which have atleast 18% fiber, so that the bunnies have good digestion. I get Orchard grass for them to munch on 24/7, they HAVE to have this because they need to chew to wear down their teeth. Timony hay is supposedly one of the best hays, but it is also very expensive. Alfalfa can be another great hay to feed, but ONLY under a year old and very sparingly after that because it can cause bunnies to get fat. Baby bunnies under 6 months should not be fed veggies or fruits, they do not have the digestive tract. Veggies should be dark green or roots with a great variety. (http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/diet.html) Fruits should be used very sparingly. Apples although good from time to time are mostly water and sugar, if you are peeling apples toss them a few though( they love them). My bunnies get a lot of veggie peels, because i have them and they would have gone in the trash ( I soooo need to get a compost pile started !!)

    Water is also very important, they must have a constant supply of water. If they do not have water they will stop eating. Not eating can cause bunnies to die. Some people like to use water bowls or water bottles. I find that water bottles are better, because they do not get knocked over or bedding and food in them. Although you should still change the water regularly, also the metal sipper should be rattled and run under hot water at every changing. That will clean the sipper so that it will continue to allow the ball to move freely.

    Bunnies LOVE toys also. Willow is one of the safe woods for bunnies, so willow balls or wreaths can be great toys. Alot of the toys for bird foot toys make safe toys for bunnies. A ball of newspaper or an empty toliet paper roll. Bunnies also love places to hide, you can find a great supply in hiding spots in cardboard boxes. Making multiple enterances to this one box makes it very entertaining for the bunny.

    If you are going to have your bunny loose in the house, bewarned that rabbits are chewers. They see cords as roots and desks and chair legs as trees, yummy nibbily bits and peices. Although they might or might not do so, definately keep all wires securely away from them. If they are loose and you are having problems catching them, don't chase after them. Slowly limit their space so that they can easily be picked up, this will allow them to be calmer when picked up.

    Good Luck!! Bunnies are wonderful additions to a household. I hope yours quickly catches your heart if it hasn't already.
  20. annsni

    annsni Amity's Focus Member

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    We just got a bunny over Christmas time - a pet sitting that turned permanent. Gohan is SO cute and a little dwarf with the tiniest ears. He's 2 years old and the sweetest bunny I've ever seen - very social, doens't bite, doesn't scratch and loves being held. The little ones seem to be very good with him and he's great with them. We're really enjoying him.

    We use a commercial pellet food with Hartz Bonanza gourmet rabbit diet mixed in (it has some treats, pellets, oats, sunflower seeds, etc. in it) - just a little to make it interesting. We try to give him some lettuce (usually from our gourmet mix so no iceberg) each day along with whatever veggies I prepare throughout the day - a baby carrot, a small piece of broccoli, etc. - and some fruit (whatever we have around - a grape, a small piece of banana, etc). He also gets timothy hay in a ball that hangs from the top of the cage (this is it: http://tinyurl.com/6gr9h) He gets out to run around the house each day (with someone with him at all times) and it seems like he's trained because he won't pee or poop when he's out but he will run back to the cage and scratch around it when he needs to go back in. I'm going to take the top off the cage today so that he can hop in and out to see if that works as a 'litter box'.

    Now, to the others, I'm using that recycled newspaper ball stuff mixed with pine shavings - it's what I've used for years with other bunnies, guinea pigs and gerbils and even my birds. Is that OK? What's the issue with the pine shavings that makes it not good for the bunny? Also, I don't have a cage with a wire bottom - I hate those because they look so uncomfortable and *I'd* hate to stand on that all day. Gohan also loves to make a little depression for him to sleep in and sleeping on that rack looks icky. Is that OK? ETA: The cage is cleaned daily - the wet corner is cleared every day and the entire cage is cleaned every other day.

    Ann

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