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Getting baby rabbits next week - help please

(7 Posts)
mummymoomy Sun 08-Nov-09 21:38:48

Hi there,we are picking up 2 baby boy rabbits next week (they'll be 11 weeks old)- have 3 teir hutch for them and will get hutch/run for garden - i know i'll need water bottles and food bowls but are there any more essentials and what do they sleep on and eat? plus can you recommend a really good rabbit care book? Any comments would be really appreciated. thank you.

beautifulgirls Mon 09-Nov-09 09:38:41

They need vaccinating - please get in touch with your local vet to get this arranged.

Also get the vet to double check the sex of the rabbits - baby rabbits are very hard to sex, though hopefully by 11 weeks old it should be a lot more obvious.

Complete pellet food, not pick and mix type cereal foods - much better for nutrition. Good quality hay.

luciemule Mon 09-Nov-09 09:42:54

nice sawdust and hay/straw to sleep on and continual supply of hay to eat. Rabbits can be easily litter trained if you put a litter box in their hutch and that makes it easier to clean out and the urine won't then rot the hutch wood.
They also need constant things to chew as their teeth are always growing so blocks of wood/loo rolls etc are good.
Pets at home have good care books.
Don't give them lettuce but carrots/apple/celery the odd bit of hard toast is good.

shockers Mon 09-Nov-09 09:54:39

Mine loves carrot tops too, cabbage, outer leaves of cauli and dandelion leaves. Fresh water daily!! Oh, and daily stroking, handling keeps them calm and friendly.

mummymoomy Mon 09-Nov-09 22:37:53

thank you all so much - i'll phone the vet tomorrow and take a trip to pets at home. thank you!!

Lucianne3 Tue 10-Nov-09 10:49:59

Please don't use sawdust as bedding; it has been linked with respiratory and liver problems in rabbits, due to the high phenol and essential oil content in softwood sawdust. Here is a link about it
www.rabbit.org/journal/1/liver-disease.html
This site is brilliant for all sorts of rabbit info.

Yesterday's News or Bio Catolet are cat litters made from recycled newspaper which are completely safe and non-toxic for rabbits, and good for composting as well.

Rabbits are very easy to house train; they pick a spot to poo and pee in, and you put a litter tray there. It's as simple as that! Please note though; they pick the spot, not you! This works in the house as well, which brings me on to my next point. Please please consider giving your boys lots of time in the house with you and your family; rabbits are active, sociable animals and you will get so much enjoyment out of watching their antics. Your hutch and run sound brilliant, but you will get to see their personalities develop and flourish if you bring them in to your environment and just hang out with them!
There's lots of great info on the site I mentioned about rabit-proofing and rabbit behaviour.

The other thing that I wanted to mention to you is hormones! It's really important to neuter rabbits. When your boys hit puberty, their hormones will go crazy and it's very likely that they will start to fight. Once they do so, their relationship will be irreparably damaged and you'll end up having to house them separately (sorry if this sounds like doom-mongering, but I've seen it happen a lot, and all the careful reconciliation in the world doesn't seem to work). Teenage unneutered bunnies also engage in territorial pooing (scattering them everywhere to show they own the place)and peeing, also peeing whilst simultaneously flicking their back legs, to cover you in a fine spray of urine (this is to show you they rather like you, and how sexy they are grin ), humping each other (either end, they don't seem to mind shock ) and sometimes you, and other undesirable behaviour. Mind you, When they circle you excitedly, making a very soft honking sound (this means "I love you, be my mate"), it's very cute grin Incidentally, unspayed females almost always die of uterine cancer by the age of 5 if left intact and not bred from (if you don't use it, you lose it!).

I'm not saying any of this to put you off; rabbits are fascinating animals and great pets (honestly!), I just think forewarned is forearmed. Too many rabbits end up in rescue centres, or live sad lives cooped up in hutches, lonely, bored and unhappy sad I'm not for a second suggesting that yours will, of course, just hopefully pointing out some potential problems so that you can avoid them.

Your boys will need to always have access to clean water (a dripper bottle is best if they're in a hutch) and hay to eat (not straw). The all in one rabbit foods are best (such as Burgess Excel), because if you give them the mixes (flakes, grains etc) they tend to cherry pick the bits they like and leave the rest. Good fresh foods include apples, carrots, spring greens, celery, fennel (they're great recyclers for your veg peelings/ends smile. Lettuce gives them diarrhoea, and introduce unfamiliar veg in small quantities to start with, although I've never had any problems, and our current house rabbit eats all sorts of things - including bread stolen from the bird feeder, fallen leaves and vast quantities of paper grin

Occasional raisins as titbits go down a storm, as do sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Whew - got a bit carried away with all that; hope that hasn't swamped you with info!

It will all be worth it when you're tickling them behind the ears and they do the rabbit purr; soft tooth grinding, like a purring chatter. Or when they 'binky' - huge leaps of joy with heel flicking, just for the hell of it grin

Good luck with your new pets! smile

spacedog Wed 11-Nov-09 11:16:12

To start with keep them on the same food as the breeder. Make changes to diet VERY slowly, only introduce new foods 1 at a time, ample supply of hay at all times (essential for gut, wears down teeth), the same boring old small quantities of veg, swap very gradually to the pellet type food if they are currently on the 'mixed' variety. Hay should make up the bulk of what they eat, 2 rabbits will go through this quickly so get a bale from a farmshop. Keep fresh grass intake small with young buns, limiting time on any grass run.

Keep run on concrete unless you are out observing them, they can dig out (or fox in) in minutes. Ideally they should have a minimum space of 6ftx2ftx2ft with attached 6ftx4ftx2ft run on concrete with 24 hour access. Make sure hutch has bolts and not twisty catches as a fox can undo them.

Get them immunised, Myxi every 6 months and VHD yearly. Get them neutered before adulthood. Keep a pair together at all times- should not be seperated, even (especially) at the vets.

Sorry, seems a lot of instructions but following these should mean a much easier time for you and 2 happy buns. Much cheaper to follow this now than deal with the possible consequences (huge vet bills and upset) of rabbit fights, gut stasis, etc.

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