Tails Blog

How to care for my rabbit

Steve Coppell - Friday, March 16, 2012

Rabbits

Before you bring your rabbit home, you will need to get some basic supplies, such as a hutch where they nest, an enclosure where they can exercise, a carry box for transportation, bedding, food and water bottle. These are important basic requirements.

 Rabbit Hutch with enclosure

Clipper Caymen Pet Carrier

 

Hay for bedding and food

 Food

 

 Waterer

            

Bring your new rabbit home

When you bring your new rabbit home for the first time they will likely be a bit nervous, but they will settle in time, so be patient. Put the time in, earn their trust. You might try lying on the floor in a rabbit safe room. Your rabbit will find you less of a threat if you sit or lie down next to him.


Training 
Your rabbit can be taught to use a litter tray and to come when you call. If you put the time in you might be surprised what can be achieved. Use treats as encouragement. 



Rabbit food
Rabbits are grazers, so they eat little, but they eat often. You should try to vary your rabbits diet occasionally to keep it interesting. So offer them a bit of variety in their fresh veg.  

What should I feed my rabbit?
Always offer fresh clean hay and grasses, this should make up the bulk of what they eat. Make sure their water bottle is full and that it works. Give your rabbit a bowl of pellets in the morning. In the early evening - before it gets dark offer them fresh vegetables.



Cleaning

Keep your rabbit and it's hutch clean! It might be a chore, but keeping your rabbit's hutch clean and your rabbit groomed is important for it's health and happiness. The time you spend grooming your pet will enhance the bond you share with your rabbit.

 

 

Optional extras
If you need anything for your pet rabbit don't hesitate to check us out here at Tails!


                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rabbit breeds and their characteristics

Steve Coppell - Saturday, October 08, 2011


Lops

Lops are a popular breed in New Zealand. They come in various forms, including Miniature, Dwarf, and Cashmere. Born with upright ears that flop as they get older, lops range in size from a mini lop which weighs about 1.6k, to the Cashmere lop, weighing approximately 2.4kg. Most Lop rabbits have good temperaments, although occasionally one might be a bit feisty. They are slightly more prone to Malloclusion - overlapping teeth than other breeds, so check the teeth carefully when selecting a baby.




Flemish Giants

Flemish Giants are just as the name suggests - giant! The largest of the pet rabbit breeds, Flemish Giant rabbits weigh about 6-7kg, but this shouldn't scare off prospective buyers. They are often more docile, and as  rabbits don't like to be picked up much anyway they are good for small children because they are less likely to hurt them. Also they are more cat proof. Flemish Giants are relatively intelligent and, like many rabbits, can be trained to use a litter tray.



Netherland Dwarfs

The Netherland Dwarf is the smallest breed available, weighing between 0.5kg and 1.5kg. They have round, baby like eyes and faces, even in adulthood, and perky upright ears. Netherland Dwarfs, despite their small size, have a reputation for being a bit feisty, but with careful handling and treatment from a young age, they can make good pets for older children.



Angora and Long Haired 

Angoras and other long haired rabbits have good temperaments, individual personalities and look amazing, but do require a lot of care. Only get one of these rabbits if you are prepared for daily maintenance. Because of their long fur, long haired rabbits are prone to wool block, where matted fur blocks up the intestines, causing the rabbit to starve.

Rarer Breeds

There are many other breeds available as well. Breeds such as Chinchilla, Harlequin, Californian, or Rex breeds. Harlequins are calm, curious rabbits that enjoy attention, while the California and Chinchilla also make good pets. Rex rabbits are available in mini and standard, both of which have velveteen fur that makes them cuddly.



Chinchilla


Harlequin


Californian


Rex


Care of Rabbits



Housing

These pets need a good sized hutch or cage where they can exercise, relax in the shade and be protected from drafts and flooding.


Bedding

Provide untanilised wood shavings, hay or shredded newspaper.


Toys

Give your rabbits a range of toys, such as cardboard boxes and balls, as well as branches and wooden treats to gnaw, which help to keep the teeth filed to a suitable length.


Food

Rabbits need unlimited access to good quality hay, a large selection of greens and vegetables. Also a small amount of rabbit mix pellets.


Grooming

Groom your rabbit once a week. Make sure you keep it's claws clipped.


Handling

When handling, hold them firmly while keeping in mind that they have powerful legs. Never pick up rabbits by their ears. It is strongly recommended that you neuter male rabbits to prevent aggressive behaviour.


Lifespan

6-8 years. As with any pet, you need to be able to care for your rabbit for the duration of it's life. 



So why spey and neuter rabbits?

Steve Coppell - Sunday, August 08, 2010



Speyed rabbits can't get pregnant.

Rabbits can mature as early as 16 weeks old. Getting your rabbit speyed prevents unwanted pregnancys.

Speyed / neutered rabbits generally live longer than unspeyed rabbits.

Speying and neutering reduces the risk of reproductive cancers and infections which are very common in rabbits. In females 60% will develope a reproductive cancer in their life time.

Speyed  / neutered rabbits make better behaved pets. The procedure helps reduce undesireable behaviors like biting. The rabbits are calmer as the urge to mate has been reduced. They are also easier to litter train, they are happier to be handled and are more affectionate to their owners.

Speyed or neutered rabbits can safley be left with other rabbits, without the risk of aggressive sexual behavior. 

How do I sex my pet rabbit?

Steve Coppell - Saturday, April 10, 2010



It can be very difficult to determine the sex of a young rabbit. Although the explanatin and the picture above will help you, it is best to have an experienced person show you how to sex rabbits of different ages.

To determin the sex of a rabbit

1/ Hold the rabbit on his/her back on your lap with the hind legs facing away from you. with a larger rabbit, you may want to hold the rabbit with his/her hind legs facing towards you. Placing a rabbit on his/her back will put the rabbit into a state almost like a trance. Rabbits still feel pain while in this position , and it should not be held this way for a prolonged period of time.
 2/ When first learning to sex a rabbit, it will be helpful if another person gently restrains the head of the rabbit while you use both hands to part the fur and apply gentle pressure on each side of the vent, which is the area including the anus and the genitals. Once you have more experience you can restrain the the rabbits head with one hand, and apply the gentle pressre with the other.

3/ While applying pressure to the vent area, you will see the anus, the opening closest to the tail.

4/ The opening farthest from the tail is the genitals.

Males
In male rabbits, the penis will appear as a tubular protrusion. It is round in diameter, very light pink in young males, and has a rounded tip with a small round opening at its centre. In most bucks (male rabbits) older than 10 weeks, you will notice the testicles on each side and slightly cranial to the penis. They will feel like small mounds under the skin, and in older males, are not covered with fur. Bucks can withdraw the testicles into the abdomon, so even if you cannot feel the testicles, the rabbit may still be male.

Females
When the gentle pressure is applied to the vent area of a doe (female rabbit), you will see a pink protrusion, but the protrusion is slanted, more oval, and has a slit verses a small round opening.

Other sexual differences in older rabbits
As rabbits age, more physical differences between the sexes will become apparent. Bucks have blockier heads and are smaller than does of the same breed. Most adult does of medium or large breeds will have a dewlap, which is the large fold of skin under their chins. Does have nipples, where as bucks do not. However the nipples may be difficult to find on a doe that has not had a litter. So, similar to the testicles in the males, even if you can not find the nipples on a rabbit, the rabbit could still be a doe.