Just got our first pet rabbit-any advice for a newbie?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by littlelemon, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. littlelemon

    littlelemon Songster

    Mar 15, 2007
    We just got our first rabbit, a 5 month old lionhead male. He is the sweetest thing, very gentle with my daughter (she has been not so patiently waiting for a rabbit for months), I am very pleased with this rabbit.

    I was wondering if any veteran rabbit owners would offer me some tips or advice. This rabbit will be our pet, but he will be outdoors in a hutch. I plan on moving the hutch into our barn during the winter. We have a pen for him to get exercise in daily. Would you suggest getting him neutered? Do male rabbits exhibit aggression as they mature the way other intact male animals do?

    What about feed? We have some alfalfa pellets and hay for him right now, and of course veggie treats. What kind of treats and things should we avoid?

    Thanks guys!
  2. m_herrington

    m_herrington Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    I have never had a rabbit neutered, so I cant help you with that. I know that it helps reduce the risks of some health problems in dogs and cats and I would imagine that it would do the same thing with a rabbit. If you are going to get it done, the earlier the better!

    I always just feed rabbit pellets from the feed store for their main food. Timothy hay is supposed to be best, but I haven't had much of a problem with alfalfa either. They LOVE apples and bananas as treats. I will also give carrots and dandelions out of the yard as treats.

    You should not feed a rabbit cabbage, but that is the only vegetable that I know of that you can't give them.

    Good luck!
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    We had our last rabbit neutered. If you get him neutered, you won't have to put up with him spraying urine around. The object of their affection could be a female rabbit, but it could also be a cat or their owner. Love is blind. [​IMG]

    The House Rabbit Society has a lot of great diet and health information that works for outdoor rabbits, too.

  4. emeraldquill

    emeraldquill In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2008
    I've had rabbits for years and down to my last geriatric one now. No reason to neuter as far as I can see, and the only real health prob to worry about are teeth.
    They keep growing so if you don't keep an eye on them they can grow back up into the gums. Have them checked every 6 months and basically they can eat pretty much anything. Cabbage is fine for them it's lettuce they cannot have, or soft fruit.Corn on the cob is great...anything veggy. Mine I have to say is partial to the odd oat biscuit, been eating them for years and the vet says he's in tip-top shape so play it by ear. If in doubt....leave it out!
    Good luck:)
  5. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Not to sound like a broken record to those of you who are familiar with my many rabbit posts, but your first stop should be the House Rabbit Society website - www.rabbit.org. It is full of helpful information on diet, housing, training, etc.
    I would certainly suggest that you neuter your boy. Males spray urine to show their affection, but it is not something humans appreciate as much as female rabbits do! [​IMG] Make sure you find a veterinarian who is familiar with rabbits; many are surprisingly ignorant and try to treat them as cats with long ears. This can be DEADLY (ie: Many types of antibiotics are harmful to rabbits, bunnies can't fast before surgery as other animals need to, etc.).
  6. Goat_Walker

    Goat_Walker I Am THE Crazy Duck Lady

    Jul 9, 2008
    No need for neutering.
    Id suggest lots of fruit and veggies for treats, but no oranges. The citrus can be bad for some rabbits.
  7. goldensunriseranch

    goldensunriseranch Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Mays Landing NJ
    Just make sure any treats are in moderation, too much can give a small dwarf breed such as a lionhead watery stools which can be fatal for rabbits. Under 6 months of age I never recommend anything other than pelleted feed meant specifically for rabbits, hay, oats and sometimes I offer dried corn and blackoil sunflower seeds. After 6 months of age you can offer fresh fruit or greens but introduce it slowly and let them get used to small amounts with no change in their droppings before offering more. And only introduce one new thing at a time so you know which things are not working out. Best of luck with your little guy! I have not needed to neuter any boys, I breed so I'd rather not or they'd have no purpose. Some males spray but out of 50 or so mature bucks that have been through here I've only had maybe 3 or 4 that sprayed. And that was more often than not at each other.
  8. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    I second and third the recommendation to check out the house rabbit society's website. I learned a ton from them when we got our bun. They should have a list of treats that are good and bad. Print it out so you don't have to search for it everytime you want to know if they can have something.

    That said, limit the treats. Even though fruits and vegetables are good for us and wild rabbits eat them, they do not provide the nutrition a hutch bunny needs. Also, they need to have hay, preferably timother, constantly. This is far more important than the pellets! Only a small handfull of pellets per day is recommended. Rabbits get hairballs like cats only they can't cought them up and will end up starving to death from an impacted intestine. The hay helps prevent that.

    Other than that, just love your bun and take your cues from him!
  9. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Give him grass, put him out in the fresh air and sunshine (in a pen) and let his little feet touch the ground daily. He'll be so happy and healthy.
  10. littlelemon

    littlelemon Songster

    Mar 15, 2007
    Thanks everyone!
    We sure are enjoying our rabbit, he is my daughter's pet and she has named him Pumpkin. Here's some pics:


    I do have one question. I have been reading Rabbits For Dummies [​IMG], and they said that rabbits won't usually use the bathroom in their nest boxes. However, that is exactly where our rabbit chooses to go and it is getting tiring cleaning out that nest box every day. Can I "train" him to go somewhere else (like in the bottom of the hutch where there is wire), or could I try putting a litter box in the nest box? What do you think?

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