First Rabbits

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by nayeli, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,986
    96
    196
    Jan 18, 2014
    I have been talking about it forever and was planning on waiting til after we moved, but I went to the Beebe Flea Market today and came home with two rabbits. They are supposed to be New Zealands, and since he had black and grey 4 month olds for $6 I jumped on it... Now I get home and realize there are no grey NZ, so I'm wondering if its a mix, not NZ at all or if its a mix between a blue and black NZ which still leaves it full breed NZ like I was told.

    Anyway I do have two dogs, my hubby told me not to spend too much on livestock because the dogs will eat them... So far so good although my big 1/2 wold is definately interested. Anyone with animals help?

    Also I'm a little shy about picking the rabbits up. They seem friendly enough, they haven't bit me yet. Any advice for a newbie... oh and how much do they eat?
     
  2. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,986
    96
    196
    Jan 18, 2014
    How so just brought them home and already found the need to construct a shadow free hideout from an amazon box so they can hide from the ever skulking shadow. It is pretty funny to me that my doe is much braver than the buck.
     
  3. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    17,306
    2,425
    421
    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    4 month old rabbits should be given as much food as they will clean up in 24 hours ('free feed'). Once they reach their mature size (at about 6-8 months old), you'll want to cut them back to about 1 ounce of feed per pound of body weight per day. That's assuming that you are feeding mostly pellets; grass hay should also be available all the time. A lot of people vary the diet with various plants and vegetables; some feed little or no pelleted feed. You will have to figure out what works best for you, but make any changes gradually. Rabbits' digestive systems rely on a lot of bacterial action; the bunnies and their 'bugs' need time to adapt to changes. One thing you'll never want to feed in large amounts is fruit or anything else with a lot of sugars in it; their digestive systems aren't geared to deal with much sugar.

    Can you describe the "grey" color? The only approved colors for NZ's are black, red, white, and broken. I know some people are working on blue, though they aren't approved yet. Sometimes, crossing these colors together can result in some unshowable colors; while technically still the same breed, they can be very confusing.

    Having lost a few rabbits to dogs over the years (including some to my own dogs) I have to say, take the dogs' interest very seriously. A determined dog can tear into just about any cage you can construct, and even if it doesn't get in, a dog can kill a rabbit through the wire (I'd rather not elaborate; it's pretty gruesome). A dog can be trained to leave livestock alone, but unless someone is willing to spend a lot of time working with the dog, the only way the livestock will be safe is if there is a barrier to prevent the dog from getting to them.

    Most rabbits don't usually bite, though they often scratch pretty wildly when they get picked up. Some of the worst damage occurs as you approach the cage, and the rabbit begins to anticipate being put back into its familiar space. A lot of people find that holding the rabbit on its back, like a baby, seems to relax the rabbit, making transitioning it back into its cage easier. Turning the rabbit around so it can't see the cage as you approach helps, too.
     
  4. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,986
    96
    196
    Jan 18, 2014
    Thank you bunnylady! I will post a picture later tonight if possible. I forgot the hay yesterday but am going to get some today. Can you recommend alternative foods that are rabbit safe?
     
  5. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,986
    96
    196
    Jan 18, 2014
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    These are my new rabbits!
     
  6. phickle

    phickle Out Of The Brooder

    31
    1
    34
    Jan 27, 2014
    near Tyler, TX
    Great looking bun-buns! As long as your rabbits know you and trust you not to hurt them, they won't bite except out of pain. Tooth malocclusion, for example. Daily hay prevents that, so yet another good reason for it. Bunnies will nip often, but it is usually a friendly or affectionate gesture. It might startle you at first, though. Trust me, there is no confusion between a nip and a bite. Wait for one of them to yawn and you'll get a good look at the massive incisors.

    When we pick ours up, I slide my hand palm up between the front feet, and scoop/support the rear with the open hand. I carry them this way- like running with a football- totally supporting the spine and buns weight. Held to your chest, it gives them a safe secure feeling, and that means little to no scratches. This method may not work for you, and some cage designs won't allow you to use it either.

    If you just have a kicker, cover their eyes. I've never had a rabbit that didn't calm down when it couldn't see.

    My buns sometimes raid the poultry food, no harm done. They love the rare apple slice, or pear wedge, and baby carrots are our treat of choice. They benefit greatly from anything green and leafy- no lettuce though except sometimes romaine-, turnip greens, spinach, and they LOVE dandelions and clover. Asparagus shafts and broccoli stems are ok, too.

    Make sure to only introduce one new treat or food at a time though, if something upsets the tummies you'll know easily. It's harder to do if you just throw them a salad.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  7. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,986
    96
    196
    Jan 18, 2014
    Thank you! That was very helpful and makes me less inclined to think playboy (the black one) will bite! I also have a name for a future rabbit now =)
     
  8. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    17,306
    2,425
    421
    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    The pictures aren't really clear, but it looks like your female is a sort of salt-and-pepper kind of gray color. If she is, that's a color called Chinchilla. I don't care how you mix them up, the recognized colors of New Zealands by themselves don't add up to Chinchilla; that color had to come from some other breed. The outcross doesn't have to have been a parent, but somewhere in this doe's background is something other than a NZ.[​IMG]
     
  9. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    504
    38
    118
    Aug 1, 2013
    UK
    I agree, I've never seen a chinchilla NZ before ....

    Is it important to you?

    If not, then never mind. Its still a beautiful rabbit [​IMG]

    You did better than me, all I could gather was large & small Mutt rabbits [​IMG] god forbid I could find a reputable nearby NZ or FG breeder close to my area.
    Breeding meat rabbits isn't common where I live, so I'm stumped. I'll just have to breed for size.

    One of my girls might be having a litter right now, I'm so excited [​IMG]

    Spring is coming [​IMG] lots of babies planned.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  10. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    504
    38
    118
    Aug 1, 2013
    UK
    Bucks may & they can do a lot of damage. I've been ripped down the inside of my wrist by a buck & still have scars on my hand from another buck.
    And they were home bred & knew me. I tried handling, treats etc. Nothing worked. They just wanted does, does & more does & when they didn't have that never ending supply of other halves, they would get very boisterous & aggressive.
    Some of the bucks I had would attack my hand when I went near their hutches to feed them. And they meant it to. I always wore thick gloves when dealing with bucks & certain does with litters.

    Needless to say, they went all soppy after a trip to the vets. No more testosterone, no more problems. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by