bunnies

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by scrapmom5, May 30, 2008.

  1. scrapmom5

    scrapmom5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2008
    Utah
    My dh saw a lionhead rabbit the other day and really thought about getting it...(somewhat surprising after spending way too much on a hen house). I know nothing about bunnies except that they eat, sleep, and poop. What breeds do well in northern utah winters? What type of a home would they like (a cage just doesn't seem good). Give me the scoop.
     
  2. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    I'm not a bunny expert by any means, but I've had several now and can give you a few hints and tips.

    I think just about any kind of bunny will do okay in the winters. We rarely see below zero, but we get a lot of rain and wind. We built a bunny condo (fancy hutch) when we got our first ones that have housed up to three buns at a time. We divided it so one side is open and surrounded by hardward cloth and the other side is fully enclosed by plywood walls. That way they can really escape the cold or just hide out, which bunnies like to do. We just created little openings for them to go through. Remember buns are burrowers so they don't mind scrunching down through little holes. I also put a little second story "balcony" with a little ladder in the open side so they can get up and high and look around. We always put heavy plastic around the wire side in the winter to keep the wind and rain down.

    The bottom of the hutch is hardware cloth but I keep a heavy layer of straw in the bottom. Wire cage bottoms will hurt buns feet after awhile if you don't. Plus they love to nibble on the straw and move it around and "build" their nests.

    Buns can also be inside pets, they can be litter box trained, but you have to be sure you don't have dogs or cats that will kill them. Also, they will chew on wires so all computer cables, etc have to be enclosed by pvc pipe. They will also chew on any wood, like furniture corners.

    As I said, I keep a lot of straw in the hutch. I change it out every few weeks or when it gets wet or the poop piles up too much. Bunnies tend to defacate in only one specific area, so it's easy just to clean out that section and put new hay in. Bunny poop makes excellent compost too!

    Bunnies have to have hay at all times. Timothy is the best, alfalfa is a little too rich for them (and me!). The hay is essential for their digestion and should be the primary source of their diet. Hutch bunnies can also be fed pellets. I usually give a handful at a time and then don't refill it until they've finished their hay. This is really important b/c I've lost two bunnies to hairballs, and keeping they eating their hay helps prevent that. They can also have treats. Most raw veggies and fruits they love, but should only have in moderation since they don't provide a balanced diet and the buns will eat those over hay and pellets. This year I"m building a run for them so they can get out and hop around and eat the green grass, which they love.

    Like all animals, they need water at all times. In the winter I switch from the hanging waterer to water in a bowl so I can change it out as it freezes. They will lick the ice for water, but I try to give fresh water in the morning and evening.

    Also for winter protection, I tend to change the straw out right as it starts to get cold and add extra straw for warmth. I pile it up on the inside walls for extra insulation. They'll pack it down, but it's a good start.

    If you plan on getting more than one rabbit, either get them all as babies or plan on a slow introduction. I got two as babies, brother and sister, from the pound and had them fixed as soon as they started showing mating signs (which was VERY early). They were fine together and then we acquired another adult bun that integrated just fine. Unfortunately, I lost my two girls to hairballs (they get them from grooming but can't cough them up like cats do. First sign is rapid weight loss) and my little boy bun went for about a year without a friend. I thought he was lonely so went and got another grown bun. He'd done so well with the other two I didn't think anything about it and just tossed the other one in. He hated her! They immediately started biting and scratching. Bunnies are vicious when they fight. He didn't want her around and to this day (it's been 7 months) will start thumping the ground and growling if he sees her. So, she spent the winter in a cage in the garage and now we are building a separate hutch. [​IMG]

    Rabbits are great pets though. Very gentle (except they don't like to be picked up - they'll scratch bad!) and very peaceful. I love my little buns. Feel free to PM me with any other questions!
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  3. scrapmom5

    scrapmom5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2008
    Utah
    would chickens get along with bunnies and vice versa?
     
  4. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    I had read on one of these posts of a rabbit killing chickens. I put mine out with the chicks and ducks one day though (see below) and they could have cared less about the birds. I think it just depends on the temperment of the buns. If you already have the chickens and introduce the bunnies as babies they probably won't think anything of the chickens. Maybe they'll think they're mom! [​IMG] And like I said, our boy bunnie took an immediate dislike to our new girl, but he was completely calm with the birds. So was our girl bun. Neither of them mind the dogs either, although when we bring the buns in the house they get tired of Daisy, the boston terrier, sniffing them because she has to put that short, stubby nose right on them to smell anything!


    [​IMG]
     
  5. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    Here's better pics of our two buns. They're just mutts, nothing special like a lionhead. We love them though. As you can see, Sella (our boy, the brown one) is completely unconcerned with the chicks. Shadow was the same.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. scrapmom5

    scrapmom5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2008
    Utah
    Thank you sooooo much for the information. Now I get to decide if we should get one. With 5 kids, 12 chickens, 2 ducks, 1 cat, and a dh who wants a farm with lots of cows, goats, alpacas, sheep, and two horses...I am feeling overwhelmed. Now to get the farm.
     
  7. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Hey there. Rabbits are great pets. I had quite a few once upon a time. Some of them were supposed to be for meat but neither DH or myself could bring ourselves to the point!! So, we had 29 rabbit pets and one house bun. Though we never had the hairball problems Kodiak talked about, our house bun did take out the cords to the stereo and both speakers one day!!!
     
  8. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    Ha! ha! You're like us - you've got so many critters what's a couple more! Only I'm the one that wants all of them and DH has learned to just go with it. He loves them too.

    We've only got one human child (I would have had a dozen if it had been in God's plans for me) but we've got five chickens, three ducks, two dogs, two cats and two rabbits. We've also been known to take in "stray" kids from time. My daughter has older "brothers and sisters" living in Brazil and Rhode Island!
     
  9. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2008
    I have three house rabbits at the moment. Although I would LOVE for the older boy to be an outside rabbit. All he does is drink and pee. Vet said he is ok though.

    None of mine are fancy, but they are all special.
    Molly is my dwarf who I rescued off the side of the highway in the pouring rain. Her cage was upside down in the breakdown lane. She isnt very trusting, but has gotten better.
    Then there is Fluff, the old guy at 9 years. He was supposed to be a temp for 3 months.. that was 2 years ago. Lady never called or contacted me again.
    And Dean. I got him at a stock meet and swap. I LOVE this bunny.
    I can sit with him in my arms for hours. I have caught the kittens grooming him. He is still bigger than them. [​IMG] He is in my living room Has his own playpen(soon to be taken over by the brooder)

    We had outside rabbits when I was growing up. One made it through a blizzard with no problems. She was buried in her hutch for three days. If I get another,, someday. I want a Flemish Giant
     
  10. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * I would LOVE a flemish!!! If small buns are good, BIG buns must be GREAT, right?? LOL!! Mine were all SUPPOSED to be purebred satins, but I got a black angora buck from one litter. I loved him and he was gorgeous, but, man oh man! WHAT A PAIN keeping his coat in shape!! Daily brushing and spray-on detangler by the gallon!!!! [​IMG]
     

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