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Talk to me about rabbits please

(35 Posts)
Dancergirl Tue 07-Dec-10 17:08:46

Saw an article about lop-eared rabbits in the paper at the weekend and the dds and I have fallen in love!

There is a breeder not too far from us and the plan is to wait till the spring and get 2 rabbits.

We are complete pet virgins....so what do I need to know?
Eg
-best place to buy a hutch/run and what sort?
-feeding them - how often and what to feed?
-cleaning out - how often?

Anything else I need to know? Thanks.

DooinMeCleanin Tue 07-Dec-10 17:10:54

My sisters rabbit has just ate it's way under her bath panel and ate through the hot water pipe.

So my advise would be contain and supervise your rabbit in the house.

She goes through washing machine hoses like you and I do hot dinners.

Dancergirl Tue 07-Dec-10 18:54:41

No, they're going to live in the garden. The breeder said rabbits cope well with the cold and it's only necessary to put the hutch in a garage or shed when it's really bitter.

nannynobblystockingnobs Tue 07-Dec-10 19:02:32

Be aware that they live a long time. A healthy rabbit can live to be 12 or more. Give them as much room to live in as you can.
Rabbits cope with the cold but prefer the warm! Mine is currently living in the kitchen, and every day I give her the choice of a trot round the garden or a sit under the table. She takes the table every time.
And there are a lot of online rabbit forums run by bunny lovers who can give good advice. My rabbits were rescues and not 'cuddly', so I don't have the same experience as most. At one point they were both living in a small series of tunnels under my lawn!

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 19:06:32

we had a rabbit - turned out to be psycho!

would really recommend guineapigs for children - they are cuudly, have lovely little personalities, and make really cute squeaky noises.

Really liked all my pigs - never had a nasty one yet.

if you do change your mind, i'd recommend getting 2 females so they can fom their own little club.

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Dec-10 19:13:36

i would try and rehome some if i were you

boy/girl pairs tend to get on best, and if you can get a couple that are already together then it should work out fine

re-homing has the added bonus of being able to find some that have already been handled a lot and who will be friendly

rabbits are naturally shy/nervous, so they need a LOT of regular gentle handling if you get them as babies so that they get used to it and are happy being cuddled.

you would need to get the absolute biggest hutch you can afford. for 2 medium size rabbits you would want at least a five foot hutch. you would want a BIG run attached to give them access to the outside during the day. they need plenty of space, toys to play with and places to hide.

the toilet area (they tend to use one spot) will want cleaning out every couple of days. with a full hutch clean each week

I keep mine on a mainly "natural" diet. lots of grass, hay, veg etc. topped up with a small bowl of pellets each evening.
they need proper food to chew on constantly to stop their teeth growing too long

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 19:17:24

sure you don't want to look at guinea pigs..?

anyway - your vet should have a list of rabbids or pigs that are looking for good homes.

bb99 Tue 07-Dec-10 19:22:27

We have an outdoor rabbit - with the hutch over a run. Would love to have 2, but he's anti-social with other bunnies! He stays out in all weathers with a cover over the run and hutch and a lot of extra food and bedding when it's cold, plus at least daily checks and strokes smile. We've got great pictures of him having some out of hutch/run time in the snow around the garden earlier this year! He gets a lovely thick coat in the winter.

Be aware that you should have them vaccinated for miximatosis (poor spelling - sorry) every year and for another rabbit thing every 6 months - or it could be the other way around, and this can cost £15 - £20 a shot and if they're outdoor rabbits they should be wormed every 6 months, but you can buy the worming paste on the net/over the counter to save on vets bills.

We clean out once a week and try to move the hutch to fresh grass every few days. Feed and water everyday and try to give him some fresh greens or roots, tho not lettuce as this is not good for them.

We just feed pellets and then I give a second bowl of rabbit muesli in the winter months for a bit of variety as he's not got so many weeds to eat plus hay bedding so he can munch on that and some sticks to chew / play with plus a few tunnel toys.

He does make holes in the grass if we don't move him often enough, but when we're organised he saves me mowing the lawn!

I also use a fly strike product in the summer but they are lovely simple pets. Make sure you handle them a lot if you get young ones, so they get used to people and especially children.

Enjoy!

pastaplease Tue 07-Dec-10 19:24:14

Please, please consider re-homing rather than going to be a breeder!

The RSPCA has received over 33,500 rabbits in the past three years.

There's no need to breed rabbits when there are so many in desperate need of good homes!

I don't know where you are, but try your local animal shelter, the RSPCA or The Blue Cross (www.bluecross.org.uk). Not only will you be giving a rabbit a home, you'll know that they're healthy and that they might have specific needs. The Blue Cross also offers excellent after-care for any pet adopted.

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 19:25:00

guinea pigs - it's the future...

grin

pastaplease Tue 07-Dec-10 19:28:36

Ditto my post re. guineapigs.

I adopted two 'piggies from The Blue Cross and they were great. Both vaccinated, really healthy and assessed, so I knew they were ok to be handled. Their vet even gave them a free dental a couple of weeks after we adopted them. It was great!

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 19:30:32

no, i am not from the guinea pig marketing board

bb99 Tue 07-Dec-10 19:31:53

Our local 'well known brand name' store does re-homing service. It's where I got my anti-social bunny from and our last bunny!

Do make sure you ask LOTS of questions about a re-homed bunny RE it's medical history / reason for re-homing as my last re-homed one came with lots of un-disclosed medical problems which were treatable to a point but were expensive, high maintenance and, more importantly mean't that she didn't live for very long which was really sad as we'd worked hard with her to socialise her and keep her well sad

But re-homing can be lovely. My anti-social boy bunny is fantastic, a real character and if you really like the lop eared rabbits you could look to find a pair of lop ears to re-home.

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 19:33:10

again - another psycho bunny story - growl growl

pastaplease Tue 07-Dec-10 19:49:10

My experience of re-homing rabbits from the RSPCA is that they go through their medical situtation in detail. If there is an issue, they'll mention is, as they don't want the rabbits returned to them.

It's in a good re-homing centre's interest to make sure that the new owners have as much info about the animal as possible. They need to make sure the home is compatible with the animals' needs.

FanjolinaJolie Tue 07-Dec-10 19:54:51

my childhood rabbit was proper nuts.

Would turn its back to you and wee all over you. I still remember being weed in the face.

Ate its first litter of babies.

No fond memories at all.

That's why we have a dog grin

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 20:00:13

grin

growl wee growl

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Dec-10 20:22:27

well my lovely bunny is sitting on my lap at the moment having a cuddle!

i have read that bigger breeds are more docile, and that's certainly true of ours, although my previous rabbit was LOVELY and he was a smaller one

obviously tohugh the bigger your rabbits, the bigger their house needs to be

bb99 Tue 07-Dec-10 20:40:14

kathyb1

Hope you're not suggesting my boy bun is a psycho as he preferes ME to other rabbits? wink Maybe he's just a speciesist!

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 20:48:17

bb99: if you've still got your digits intact you are blessed among the rabbit nation!

bb99 Tue 07-Dec-10 20:52:53

I am blessed indeed - he's a lovely rabbit and even plays tag with us around the garden when we let him out of the hutch/run. Maybe it's just cupboard love tho - not biting the hand that feeds and all that! grin

I did know someone who kept a herd of gps (about 10 - 15) and they were quite extraordinary - almost like a little herd of cows or sheep and they were REALLY vocal. Think I'll stick to my one flopsy bun tho!

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 20:56:17

i saw a tv prog where the pigs hadn't been snipped &, omg, there were hundreds of the poor little creatures when the rspca called - all suffering terribly.
when you know how sweet they are it's even worse...

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Dec-10 20:59:29

i think as long as a rabbit is well handled when they are little, neutered or spayed, and played with a lot then they're generally fine

the problems occur when they don't get used to people handling htem, and htey can be so vicious.

kathyb1 Tue 07-Dec-10 21:02:33

a good pet for little girls then...

bb99 Tue 07-Dec-10 21:07:03

My last rescue rabbit had had a really hard time (we found out later) and was really sick when she was rescued with respiratory problems and all sorts, so the only handling she could really remember was having horrid, but necessary things done by the vet...

BUT, we did manage to get her really well adjusted to handling and petting. We started off with a glove on a stick, as she did defend herself with her teeth... and then a hand in a glove and picking her up in a towel etc to groom and pet her. Also we did this twice a day to start with and eventually we could pick her up and handle her with no problems whatsoever. She really was a cute and friendly rabbit who roamed the garden by day and then would come in to get put back in her run/hutch at night (usually, anyway!)

I was told by someone that the Dutch rabbits are known for having poor temperaments (the black and white ones)

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