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New to rabbits. What advice do you have for a new owner? **Pics included**

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Pharm Girl, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Songster

    Jan 6, 2011
    My 10 year old decided he wanted a rabbit as his very own pet. He wanted a pet that would run around the house and be litter box trained, smallish in size and friendly. Most importantly, we wanted to 'rescue' one from a shelter. A couple of months ago we set out to find our new family member. The humane society did not disappoint.
    We all decided on a year old friendly mini rex whom we named Mr. Frank Bentley. (It was the name of the rabbit next to him, but we thought it was a cool name).
    After YouTubing nearly every video about rabbit care, I decided cage size mattered. They need room to roam. They deserve room to roam. I couldn't 'rescue' one and stick it in a tiny box for the rest of it's life, so I had to get creative. I ended up buying pet fencing and screwing it in around our garage work bench. I used a scrap of vinyl flooring to protect the floor under him and create a warmer substrate. So far it's working slick. By day we keep it open so he can hop around and get light from the nearby window. At night we are able to shut it tighter for a more secure feel. He comes inside the house for many hours a day and excitedly bunny hops around. Other than trying to eat my house plants, he behaves himself and uses his litter box for bathroom breaks..
    Here are some pictures. Don't let the heat light fool you, it's only a 50W red bulb and takes the edge off the cool garage nights. You can't see it, but it's triple hung and rabbit secure. It provides a tiny bit of warmth while he's in his bed.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts. Good and bad. I also have many questions.

    How do I know if he's sick?
    Do I need to check for fleas, tick and lice?
    What are the most common rabbit illnesses?
    What could I improve?
    What do they like as snacks? I've heard carrots actually aren't that good for them. Just the tops. What else?
    What foods should we avoid?
    What do you wish you would have known before you got a rabbit?

    I'm planning on building an outdoor enclosure for summers. I'd love to see your rabbit hutches, unless they are tiny. That makes me so sad.
  2. He DOES NOT need a heat lamp, let me tell you that much. I mean, if you got the extra money, but he in no way needs it!

    To tell if he's sick, see if he's acting different - lethargic, odd poops, peeing on himself, ya know, the usual
    Yes, check for fleas & lice & ticks.
    I don't see much improvement - maybe try adding toys, though. Like cat balls (the plastic ones with a bell inside), wood (like parrot toys) Etc.
    Carrots are sugary, that's the issue. Otherwise they're fine. But our rabbit likes celery, & broccoli a lot. A quick google search should give you a good list, here's one anyways
    Grass (without any chemicals)
    Celery (strings removed)
    Alfalfa sprouts
    Carrots and carrot tops
    Herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, mint)
    Bok choy
    Dandelion flowers and leaves (untreated)
    Radish tops and sprouts
    Broccoli (mostly stems and leaves)
    Grapes (no seeds)
    Apple (no core and seeds)
    foods to avoid :
    Green beans
    Sweet potato

    Here's the website, it lists more

    Avoid House Rabbit Society. Imagine a place where people own pet chickens, & think its awful for you to eat chicken, (but ok to ear any other type of meat, even if its factory raised and lived in horrible conditions), feed chicken to your pets or breed chicken. Same thing, only for rabbits. Yeah. Don't go there, & don't join the site. That's what I wish I knew!

    Ill get some pics of my hutches, though I breed for meat so they might be considered small. Mine are played with all that much, but I'm going to move the, to a colony setting so They'll be happier.
    Very pretty rabbit you've got there, btw. We have 2 Rex mixes, though only one has Rex fur. She's due to have her first litter soon, too, yay.
  3. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Songster

    Jan 6, 2011
    Wow! Thanks for all the great information! I don't mind the small cages if they are meat rabbits. That's different. I just feel like an animal that is going to live 5-10 years should have an optimal environment.
    I'll avoid HRS!
    The light looks like a heat light, but it's just a red bulb. My chickens had one in their coop too on the end. They always huddled under it. I'm just silly about it.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  4. Yup. I suppose. Well ill grab a pic of my hutches, but I'm going to move them into a colony soon.I just need hay ;.;
    Well, spoiled rabbits are the best :D ;) trust me, when my first doe kindles I'm going to get soo attached ill just send them down to my friend Richard - he says I drop off my problems on him (sick chickens, extra roosters, etc.). I do. LOL. I just hate killing them D:
    Best of luck with your baby! If you need a good rabbit forum, rabbit talk is great. It's mostly a meet, fibre, showing rabbit forum, though they're very friendly, not heavily moderated (in a good way), and can tell you all sorts of things
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    That's a very nice setup for the little guy! Love all the room. I agree with adding toys. Mine like willow cubes or rings to chew and toss around. I like the www.thebusybunny.com website they have all kinds of fun things for kids to give their rabbits for entertainment.

    The only thing I would stress is to feed plenty of good quality hay. Not alfalfa but timothy, orchard grass, oat hay or a combination of those. Mine have never cared for timothy but they love their orchard grass and oat hay. Chewing hay helps keep teeth healthy and they love spending time foraging through it. The long strand fiber found in hay, not so much in pellets, is your best bet against hair balls and GI stasis.
  6. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Songster

    Jan 6, 2011
    Thanks for all the great tips. I have Alfalfa for him now and the little green cube snacks. Where is the best place to get orchard grass or oat hay? Would a feed store have it? I just hate spending $10 for a tiny bag at a pet store.
    I do actually have a few more toys for him, but some are in the house where he hops around. He really enjoys bugging the cat more than anything! He also works hard widening the doors on that box in the pictures. I'll have to find a new one soon!
    What does it mean when a rabbit kindles? I'm guessing a doe is a female, so my male shouldn't take up e-reading right?!
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Lol, e-reading! But no, no kindling if you have a male. That's when the females give birth.

    Yes, feed stores should have grass, timothy or oat hay and it certainly is more cost effective to buy by the bale rather then the fancy little expensive bags at the pet stores. Quality will vary depending on your region. For example where I live oat hay quality is dismal but good grass hay can be found. Or if a bale is to much to store there are places on line that sell hay by the box. I have gotten some really high quality oat hay from Sierra Valley Pet Hay. It comes in 20 pound boxes and Fed Ex shipping is included. More expensive then by the bale but convenient and better pricing then small bags.
  8. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    Mar 19, 2009
    What's wrong with plain old rabbit pellets? Am I missing something?
  9. Plain pellets is fine to feed a rabbit, though most people feed free-choice hay w/ limited pellets. You can feed all pellets, though sometimes they'll produce extra cecals - poop that is stuck together, not like regular rabbit poop. Rabbits usually eat these, though if they begin to produce extra ill usually give them some hay.
  10. CYGChickies

    CYGChickies Chirping

    Jun 13, 2011
    Without getting too detailed I suggest relief from heat, shelter from rain and wind, water, plenty of fiber, adequate protein and grooming, exercise and training to fit your individual situation. Coccidia is hard to spot early so watch out for bloated belly where you can also feel the rabbit's spine prominently. That's a big sign of coccidia and an earlier one than going off food or having diarrhea. You can save a rabbit much more easily if you catch this ugly little parasite early.

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