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Cecal pellets (night droppings) contain vital bacteria needed for the rabbits gut to function properly.  They normally ingest directly from the anus, do not discourage this behavior they need to do this to stay healthy.  These are both normal and health. 

Bowel stasis (GI STATIS)

 Bowel stasis

This is where the bowel slows down or stops moving.


(1) Insufficient fibre in the diet.

Rabbits are grazing animals who need to eat constantly to keep the gut moving.


Change of owner, loss of a companion, change of diet, fear when a new pet enters the home e.g. a barking dog, can all cause stasis of the bowel.

Rabbits are highly sensitive about their companions, people and places, as they are herd animals which get very attached to those around them and their territory.

It is very stressful for a bunny to change environments, as they are territorial.

The signs of bowel stasis are when the rabbit stops eating, and when the droppings are tiny hard balls, or none at all.

This is serious, and may lead to death.


Keep your rabbit warm and comfortable. Leave bunny with its companions.

Give copious fresh hay, and whatever treats it enjoys, such as parsley, bock-choy etc. to encourage eating.

Syringe feed with finely sieved baby vegetables .These can be purchased from the baby food section in a jar at your grocery store.

NO high carbohydrate foods, (e.g. Commercial rabbit treats, bread,) which will exacerbate the problem. NO pellets either

Gently massage the abdomen.

Syringe feed with warm water to rehydrate.

Too much interference, e.g. surgery and a lot of veterinary interference will increase the stress.

Bowl surgery on rabbits has a very low survival rate and a high rate of recurrence of the same problem due to scar tissue formation



Treat only as necessary

(Frontline should never be used on rabbits)

Make sure other family pets are treated for fleas.

Rats carry fleas and birds carry mites, and sometimes there are mites in the hay you buy.

Wild rabbits are usually riddled with fleas, so make sure your pet rabbit does not have contact with any wild rabbits.

See your vet for appropriate flea and mite treatment

Fur Mites

Fur mites look a bit like dandruff. Often it will clear up by itself.

Regular brushing will help.

Image acknowledgment www.flickr.com/

Mite infestation can be cleared up with a drop of ivermectin behind the neck

Rabbits tend to pick up mites from their hay, even if the hay is good quality

Ear mites appear as brown dust in the ears, which can be treated by wiping the inner ear with cooking oil.

Suspect ear mites if your rabbit constantly shakes its ears

Severe infestation can cause ear canker. You will need to see the vet for treatment

Ear canker caused by ear mites.------>>

Image acknowledgment http://www.mohrs.org


       Can two female rabbits live in the same cage?

This is one of the most common questions for someone wanting to buy a second rabbit, but not a second cage. It seems like an attractive option to save money, and get a friend for your lonely bunny. But many rabbit owners learn the hard way that it isn't so simple. 

Two female rabbits will fight.

Although may expect two males to fight, you may not realize females can be just as bad. When going to a pet store or breeder's rabbitry, you may notice several animals in the same cage. What you may not realize is these friends consist of either a mom and her babies, or two rabbits who haven't yet reached sexual maturity. The hormones of a female rabbit, once mature, will cause her to be more aggressive. She may lash out at the handler, and the other rabbit. She could even kill her if she's trying to protect "her" territory. You might be able to solve this with a couple of spay surgeries - but that would run about $150. That's a lot more than the cost of the second cage.

Rabbits will compete.

So, let's say you had them spayed. Although not a complete suppressant of the hormones, it will calm them down some. They may not fight, but you still might have one die of starvation or obesity. You may think "Well, I gave them more than enough for both of them!" The problem is now that one ate more than her "fair share," she is overweight, and the other is starving. Obesity can be just as bad as starvation because it can cause breathing issues that can develop into pneumonia, and dermatitis on the skin.

Hint: Check out the "Supreme Rabbit Home" line of cages that come standard with all the trimmings: drop trays, door protectors, urine guards, and high caliber construction.

Two rabbits in the same cage can share diseases

When two rabbits share a cage, if one gets sick, it's likely the other will also. Two rabbits in one cage means that the cage gets dirtier faster.  And a dirty cage is a breeding place for disease.  For example, the coccidian parasite is only infectious once it's lived in feces that have been exposed to air for a day or two - and if you have two rabbits making a mess in the cage, there's more exposure.

You might think, "Well, I just won't let my rabbits get sick."  But sometimes, despite your best precautions, things happen.  For example, parasites such as pin worms or fungal infections such as ringworm can be brought in on your skin, clothes, and pets, and rabbits can easily catch it. Then once one has it, they both do. Now instead of one vet bill, you have two.

But how do I solve my rabbit's loneliness?

The good news is you don't have to solve your rabbit's loneness, because rabbits don't get lonely.  In the wild rabbits are more solitary creatures than pack animals.  If you spend time with your rabbit daily, that will provide enough interaction to keep it happy and occupied.

So will my female rabbit benefit from a companion?

Possibly.  Although rabbits do not need another bunny around, they do seem to enjoy having another rabbit in the area.  "In the area" means in the same room - but NOT in the same cage.  Rabbits strongly prefer having their own personal space, but do like to have another bunny near enough to communicate with through scent and sound.

So what's the solution?

Go ahead and get two rabbits, if you'd like.  But make sure to also get two cages.  There have been cases in which female rabbits lived in one cage together successfully, but those are rar - and many people find this out the hard way.  Thankfully, if you don't want the expense of buying two separate cages, you can buy a "double-hole" cage for two rabbits. This cage allows both does to have their own personal space, while still being close enough to make friends.  A double-hole cage not only costs less than two single cages, but it also takes up less space. Plus there is only one drop tray to empty, which is something nobody can complain about.

  Sent From:

Rabbit Empire, PO BOX 727, Willis, TX 77378, USA 
Bonding rabbits together

Adding a second rabbit at a later date

An adult male will usually welcome the company of a female, but not another male.

Putting a baby bunny in with an adult rabbit is risky.

The adult rabbit may attack and kill a young one.

The mature rabbit will keep mounting younger one to establish dominance.

This will cause the younger bunny to be very stressed, and possibly cause damage.

An adult female most likely will not accept another female or maybe not even a male in her territory.

Introducing a new rabbit, is like bringing an intruder in from another rabbit warren


*Rub both rabbits with parsley, mint, basil, dill, rosemary, geranium, or some other strong smelling plant, to disguise the smell difference



*Hold the rabbits together, rubbing their bodies all over each other, especially the scent glands under the chin and the bottom

*Place in a playpen in neutral territory with boxes and tunnels scattered around to investigate and hide in. Add the strong smelling plants to camouflage the "intruders" smell

*Be quick to separate them if they fight. Wear gloves when breaking up a fight.

Do not leave them together unsupervised until they have shown signs of bonding, e.g. licking each other, and sitting together.

Distract when fighting with a squirt of water from a spray bottle

* Mounting each other is not fighting. They are simply asserting dominance.

A fight is where they rush at each other and their is fur being pulled out. It looks like a real rough and tumble.

*Place hutches next to each other, so they can get acquainted.

*If they seem to be getting along in neutral territory, then it is time for them to try a shared hutch by putting them in together at night, so that when they wake up together in the morning they may feel like siblings. Placing bunnies into a small hutch, will prevent them from jumping at each other. Keep a check on their behavior.

*If after some days of perseverance, they still fight, unfortunately, they may never be able to live together.

Bonding two adult rabbits can be difficult;

sometimes impossible !!!

Some rabbits will get along in the day time in a play area and need to be put back in their own individual hutches at night.

Re-bonding two "best friend rabbits", can also be difficult after a new smell has been introduced.

Once bonded it is best not to separate the bunnies.

Even a trip to the vet can result in fighting when put back together again.

*My story:-

I have a friend with 2 desexed bunnies who really get along well. If I visit and pick them up, they start to fight.

The reason is that because I have been handling my rabbits, I introduce another smell, and then they think their companion is an intruder.

Re-bonding was necessary every time after I had visited.

Rabbit Combination's

(1)Male and Female combination works well.

The male needs to be neutered, as constant pregnancy is not desirable.

Even if both are neutered they will still occasionally mount each other. A neutered male / female combination is the best scenario.

(2)Male and male combination will fight unless both are neutered.

Two neutered males make an excellent combination (if together since young)

They need to be neutered by 4 months, or as soon as possible after the testicles have descended. They may then need to be re-bonded after returning from the vet, as they will have picked up different smells.

My story.

I had a friend who kept 4 desexed males together who all got along well, but when she added a fifth, the last one became left out and sat alone even though they didn’t fight. There was occasional mounting behavior between them all, just to establish dominance. These bunnies had free run of the back yard. They were not all housed together in a small hutch.

(3)Two Females get along well only if together since young.

As they mature, one may become more dominant than the other, and de-sexing of one or both is desirable

Occasional mounting is acceptable as testing for dominance is frequently checked out. This is not necessarily sexual behavior or aggression.


(4): Male (or) Female ?

Generally males make better pets. Females may have a personality change with maturity. This is not always the case.

Most rabbits handled gently and often will remain friendly.

Female rabbits have a 60-80% chance of contracting uterine cancer by 3-5 years of age.

Some vets recommend routine preventative hysterectomy.

To neuter a female is more expensive than a male as the operation is more extensive and risky.

The owner needs to weigh up the operation risk and cost, against the risk of cancer.

Neuter males at 4 months and females after 6months

Males are best to be neutered for their own contentment: other-wise escape is on their mind to find a mate.

Males, if not neutered will spray to mark territory. You cannot teach them not to do this.The only solution is neutering.

(5) Rabbits and guinea pigs generally get along well, however with maturity, the rabbit may start to mount and bully the guinea pig. It is necessary to neuter the rabbit.

Guinea pigs can be infected with a respiratory disease from rabbits.

Guinea pigs do not toilet train or eat rabbit pellets.

Guinea pigs tend to be more timid than rabbits, scuttling away to hide. This can make rabbits less sociable.

It’s not the best combination, but better than living in solitary confinement.

The Guinea pigs will develop a dependent relationship on the rabbit.

Photo acknowledgment www.petcomforts.piczo.com


(6) Other animals can befriend a rabbit: however you must ensure the rabbit’s safety

I have heard of people who have kept their rabbit with a turtle, a pet rat, a duck, a dog or a cat.


Behavior and Safety

1: Biting

Give a jump and a yelp to let the bunny know that it’s not acceptable

Don’t allow the bunny to nibble your clothes.

Continue to cuddle and handle.

Wear adequate clothing and even gloves if necessary. The rabbit will sense your anxiety so protect yourself so that you feel safe

Biting may possibly only be a stage which bunny grows out of.

Sometimes a rabbit will bite when it is startled or feel insecure

Neutering may be a solution.

Some rabbits develop a dislike for a particular person, whom they see as a threat.

Pain, fear, hormones or territory protection, will all affect a rabbits’ personality.

Consider the cause and the ways you may be able to solve the problem.

Never hit or throw a rabbit, as this will exacerbate the problem.

2: Spraying of urine is normal male behavior, marking territory or people, to attract a mate.

Sometimes even a female will spray.

De-sexing takes at least 3-6 weeks to change this behavior and for the bunny to become infertile.

3:Circling. When your bunny circles another rabbit or your legs, it is a sign of affection.

4: Teeth chattering. Rabbits do a type of purr when they are enjoying your attention.

If you put your fingers just under the side of their chin you will be able to feel the quiver of the teeth chattering.

They are not shaking with fear, but just enjoying their cuddle.

5: Grinding the teeth. Rabbits grind their teeth when in pain. This is audible, much different from chattering.

6: Rolling. A bunny who feels safe and secure will roll over is shear contentment, and have a little sleep. (Not to be confused with an illness where are rabbit rolls and is unable to hop around.)

7:Binky. This is where a rabbit jumps up into the air and changes direction. Young bunnies do this often, whereas older bunnies are more sedate

8:Growling. This is a definite sign of displeasure and may mean that your bunny will bite.

9:Screaming.Hopefully you will never hear this. A rabbit will scream in pain or fear.


Safety considerations

1: Drowning.

Pool fences often have bars wide enough for bunny to slip through.

Although rabbits can swim, they would drown in a backyard pool as they would be unable to get out.

2: Fire Works.

Rabbits can literally die from shock.

At times like New Years Eve, place the hutch inside or in a shed.

Cover the hutch up with blankets to muffle the sound.

Load the hutch up with hay so that the bunny can dig down into the hay to feel safe, as it would to escape from threat into a burrow in the wild.


3: Falling or being dropped

Be aware that if a rabbit falls from a height it may easily break bones.

I suggest a barrier across stair entrances.

Do not leave a rabbit sitting on a table

If the ramp in a 2 story hutch is too steep, a rabbit could get injured. You may need to rest the ramp on a box to elevate it, giving bunny more safety.

General care

Over grown claws

Claws can be clipped at home only cutting off the very tips.

A rabbit with white nails is easily clipped as the pink quick can be seen through the nail .

A rabbit with black nails is more difficult, so err on the side of caution and only remove the very tip.

If the nail is clipped past the quick, the rabbit bleeds badly. A product called Quick-stop which men use when they cut their face shaving is good. Blocking up the hemorrhage with corn starch, flour, or soap may be of help.


Picture acknowledgment

Rabbit Fanciers Society of New South Wales







If scratching is a problem, the rabbit can be wrapped in a towel when being handled

Sore Hocks

Some rabbits are prone to sore hocks, and it can be helpful to give them a soft cozy mat or rug to sit on especially if the hutch bottom is wire.

The hutch needs to be kept clean to prevent infection.

If sore hocks have developed, they are very painful, and there is risk of infection.

Apply Betadine, a sterile dressing, and a bandage. Re-dress frequently until healed.



Obesity is controlled by correct food and exercise.

Excessive pellets cause obesity. They are like a diet of chocolate for a rabbit. A constant supply of hay is the better diet.

Any rabbit kept all day in a hutch without adequate exercise will become over weight.

Limiting the amount of food given is not the humane solution.

Exercise is enjoyed and needed for good heath and healthy weight

Some breeders keep their rabbits shut up in hutches, and then reduce the rabbit's food intake to prevent obesity.

How cruel !!

Sudden loss of weight could be a sign of illness.

Loneliness, boredom, fear, and pain, can cause a rabbit to become anorexic

If a rabbit is not eating, it may be enticed to eat by giving it finely sieved vegetable baby food in a syringe ( no needle, of course)

Hold the rabbit firmly, syringing the food slowly into the side of the rabbit's mouth.



1: Encourage your bunny to come to you by scratching in the hay to attract its attention.

Allow the rabbit to smell your hand, speak gently, and stroke the head to gain its trust, before attempting to pick it up.

Pick up gently with one hand under the body and the other under its backside.

Hold with its feet on your chest, one hand under the bottom and the other supporting the back.

If a rabbit is held out with feet dangling, it is as if a fox is carrying it to its den.

Mother rabbits do not carry their young in their teeth, as do cats; so it’s not natural for a rabbit to be picked up by the scruff of the neck.

Never pick up by the ears.

2: Supervise children when handling bunny.

If a rabbit is hurt or frightened, it will bite.

Always have children quietly seated.

Children under 3 years have about a 2 minute attention span.

They can get jealous if too much attention is given to the rabbit, resulting in them pinching, hitting or throwing the rabbit.


You may think that you have a sweet, gentle little toddler, but for the rabbit’s sake never leave them alone.

It is better to buy a toddler a little stuffed toy rabbit, than a live animal. Wait until your toddler is older to buy them a rabbit as a pet.

Rabbits are not baby sitters or toys.

Children under 6 years are likely to poke bunny in the eye and squeeze the rabbit too tightly.

A child of 10-12 years is mature enough to handle a rabbit more responsibly.

3: The more you handle your rabbit, the friendlier it will become.

Never let a day pass when your bunny hasn’t been cuddled.

If a rabbit is left alone for a long time without being handled, it will become "Ferrell."

4: Avoid loud noises or sudden movements, (causing fear.)

Screaming, fighting, children can traumatize a rabbit.

If your children are boisterous and loud, you would be better to get them a puppy, than a rabbit.

5: Some rabbits do not like to be picked up, as in the wild they always have their feet on the ground.

For pet rabbits it is essential for them to become used to being handled.

You need to be able to pick them up to put them out for their run each day, and then back safe in their hutch at night.

There is also the occasional necessary trip to the vet.

Author Faye Nagyivan


All of the above information is from an Ebook by the author listed above!  Great stuff!!  Enjoy ~ Radical Rabbits




Suitable greens

Introduce each green gradually to test for tolerance.

A regular variety of fresh green vegetables is important for a rabbits’ health.

Give vegetables washed and wet. Stalks as well as leaves are enjoyed.

They can be scattered around to imitate foraging for food to eat, as they would in the wild, for stimulation and enjoyment.

You will know if it is too much or not enough, if there is anything left. Remove yesterdays’ leftovers.

Different greens have different food value, so try to give a variety to maximize your bunnies health.

Generally I would say to give your bunnies mixed vegetables, to the amount of the size of its head each day.

Suitable greens















->>Bamboo leaves

Young leaves are especially enjoyed








->>Blackberry leaves.





->>Celery leaves (chop the stalks)




->>Brussels sprouts.





Do not give the bulb (only the green top leaves




Cabbage leaves

(darkest outer leaves only)



Dandelion leaves and flowers.











->>Lettuce (darkest outer leaves only)














->> Grape vine leaves

A rabbit's favorite








->>Raspberry leaves

Excellent treatment for diarrhea





->> Snow peas








->>Cauliflower leaves.





->>Violet leaves





Never underestimate the value of grass.It is the natural food for rabbits in the wild.

Start 6 week old baby bunnies off on grass grazing,

5 minutes 1st day,

10 minutes 2nd day,

15 minutes 3rd day,

20 minutes 4th day

25 minutes 5th day

Etc. for two weeks until grass tolerance is established.

Then all day grazing is a good source of greens.


Treat foods


Give these food in moderation only.


->>Kiwi fruit





->>Ripe raspberries

(with leaves and branches too)







->>Pineapple(Peel, top leaves and flesh)








->>Carrots (Carrot tops and root)






->>Apples with peal, but remove seeds.










->> Cherries (remove pip)









->> Ripe stone fruit

- Apricot





->>Ripe mango




->>Blackberries and leaves









Break grape open



->> Oranges with the peel.

================================================ Flowers See which of these flowers your bunny enjoys



Flowers and leaves









Very popular with rabbits




->> Violets












All across America, the national 4-H project is helping young rabbit owners grow into responsible adults. There are currently over 6.5 million members enrolled in this youth program. Established in 1914, 4-H helps members develop skills in agriculture, horticulture, homemaking, and the arts; and then offers them the chance to show off those skills through fairs and competitions. The rabbit program is an important part of the 4-H curriculum, and if you or your child would like to be successful in raising rabbits for 4-H, here are some pointers to help you get started.

Do you need purebred rabbits to show in 4-H?

The answer to this question is yes and no. It depends on what type of classes you want to enter, as well as the regulations for your area. 4-H is managed on county-wide and state-wide levels, and each region has its own way of doing things. In general, breed competitions are usually judged by the ARBA Standard of Perfection, so to compete in these classes, you need to have a purebred rabbit recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. However, some fairs may have a mixed breed class in addition to the purebred classes. Also, you may be able to use mixed or crossbreed rabbits in meat pen (market pen) or showmanship competitions. Check with your local club leader or extension office to learn the regulations for your region. Remember though, that whether or not your area will allow mixed breed rabbits, you will probably have better success by buying purebreds.

Where to Buy Rabbits to Show in 4-H

If you are beginning a 4-H rabbit project, the best place to buy rabbits is from a local breeder. If possible, buy bunnies from a breeder in your immediate area. That way you can develop a relationship with the breeder and he or she can be there to help if you run into problems down the road. Also, this gives you a chance to visit their farm (if they invite you over) and see how they manage their rabbitry, which can give you ideas on how to start your own project. Finally, there's a good chance that a breeder in your county is familiar with the fair you plan to show at, and will know the classes they accept. One of the best places to get in touch with local breeders is through online Rabbit Breeder Directories.

Most fairs have their own regulations when it comes to dividing rabbits for judging. It's important to know what classes they offer so you can know how to buy and breed your stock. Some fairs divide rabbit classes by fancy (small) and commercial (large) breeds. Others judge each breed separately like an ARBA sanctioned show. In fact, some fair shows are also ARBA sanctioned. Some allow mixed breed rabbits and others do not. Some fairs have "get of sire" or "get of dam" classes, where you can show a senior rabbit with its junior offspring. Almost all fairs offer market classes such as meat pens, single fryers, and commercial fur. Most have rabbit showmanship competitions, and some have extra contests for youth participants such as judging, quiz bowl, skill-a-thon, or royalty.

Narrow down which classes you would like to enter before you purchase your stock. Then look for a respected breeder in your area that raises the type of rabbits you would like to show. Start looking for a breeder as soon as possible; don't delay even for a few weeks. Some breeders have waiting lists of customers and it might take several months before you can get stock from them. Contact them early to get on their list early, and also to make sure you don't miss the fair's deadline. Many fairs require exhibitors to have their rabbits on their own premises a couple of months before show day. That way they can be sure that the showman is responsible for the rabbit's current health and condition.

Never purchase a rabbit if you detect any red flags about the bunny or the breeder. Don't be afraid to ask the breeder questions: if they won't help you with your questions, they are not someone you want to buy from. Check the rabbit over thoroughly for health issues or disqualifications. Always, always check its teeth, toenails, and sex before agreeing to bring it home. Even well-meaning breeders can make mistakes when sexing a rabbit or looking it over for disqualifications, and you don't want to find out too late. If it's your first time buying rabbits, bring your 4-H leader or other mentor along with you to get their opinion about the bunnies.

Care of a 4-H Rabbit Project

Once you have your rabbits home, your only job is to keep them in top condition until show day. Here are the five top rules for preparing your rabbit for fair:

1. Use the proper equipment. Only use all-wire cages. These are much less likely to cause urine stains on your rabbit than solid bottomed cages. They also keep your rabbit's environment cleaner and reduce ammonia. If you plan to breed your rabbits, make sure you have anest box ready at least a week before your doe is due to deliver.

2. Feed a healthy and consistent diet. People will spend a long time looking at feed bag labels trying to determine the healthiest diet for their rabbits. While that is admirable, sometimes the freshness of the feed and the consistency of the nutrition are more important than the brand of pellets. Ideally, show rabbits should have a diet low in protein and fat and high in fiber. Free-choice timothy hay is an excellent addition to any rabbit's meal. Always make sure the feed is fresh; rabbits will not condition well on stale pellets. A healthy base diet is more effective at getting your rabbit in top condition than any supplements you could throw in.

3. Provide the proper environment. Proper housing doesn't stop at a well-made cage. The cage must be located in an area with excellent ventilation. The surrounding temperature should not get above 85 degrees at any time of the year, at least unless you take measures to keep your rabbit cool and hydrated in hot weather. The cage can be kept outside, but must be protected from predators and precipitation. It must be kept in a quiet area so your rabbit will not be stressed. All these factors, if the rabbit is not protected from them, can compromise your bunny's immune system. It's also very important to keep the cage clean. Not only will this help prevent disease such as coccidiosis, but it will you're your rabbit's coat from getting stained.

4. Handle your rabbit often. This step must not be neglected if you want to be successful showing rabbits in 4-H. You must train your rabbit to pose, so it will look good for the judges. Rabbits can learn to pose themselves as soon as they are touched if you work long enough with them. If you are competing in rabbit showmanship, you should get your rabbit used to the routine, so it will cooperate with you on show day. Handling your rabbit is also very important because it allows you to check its health and condition daily. That way if your rabbit has any health problems, you can catch them early on.

5. Keep good records. Some 4-H leaders or county fairs will require you to show your project record book along with your rabbit. You might even win a prize for keeping good records! Even if record keeping is not a requirement, it's an excellent management practice and will help you raise better rabbits in the end. At bare minimum, you should keep pedigrees and breeding records for every rabbit you raise. Hint: grab some rabbitry management software and/or custom pedigree templates to make your job easier.

Beyond the Show Day

Many 4-H members are "in it to win it" - and that's fine. It makes for healthy competition. But 4-H is about much more than winning Grand Champion. Even if you start because you want to compete, you will find that you learn many skills in 4-H that will help you your whole life. So even if you don't win first prize, take time to enjoy learning how to care for animals, enjoy the friendships you build with others in your club, and enjoy being a benefit to your community as you pledge your "hands to larger service."

If you'd like more information on how to show rabbits in 4-H clubs, check out the Youth Rabbit Project Study Guide and Raising Meat Pen Rabbits Guide by Aaron Webster. Updated for 2013, this book gives expert tips about how to show your rabbit in Showmanship and compete in Breed ID and other 4-H competitions. Written by a two-time runner up for ARBA National Rabbit Queen.

Interested in raising meat pen rabbits for 4-h?

Grab a copy of the Ultimate Guide written by Aaron Webster:
Looking to purchase 4-H Rabbit Project Supplies?

Check out:

Sent From:
Rabbit Empire, PO BOX 727, Willis, TX 77378, USA 

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Rabbit Care in the Winter - Seven Important Tips

By Ellyn Eddy from PremiumRabbits.com

Rabbits are amazingly hardy.  Different rabbit species can live the
most varied of the world's climates, be it the desert, the
mountains, the swamps, or the bitter cold.  The rabbits we keep as
pets descended from the wild rabbit of Europe.   Thus, pet rabbits
are built to be able to live outside in the winter - even in
sub-freezing temperatures - as long as you provide the right care.

In fact, I write this from my home in northern Michigan.  It's
December, and there are sixteen inches of snow on the ground
outside.  The thermometer hasn't touched above 32*F in two or three
weeks, and yet the bunnies outside are doing fine.  All your
rabbits need in the winter is a little extra attention.  So, based
on my experience, here are my top tips for winter rabbit care:

1. Make sure your rabbits have water around the clock.  This is the
number one rabbit care tip any time of year, but it's especially
important in times of weather extremes.  If deprived of water,
rabbits will not eat.  If they do not eat frequently, their
digestive system - used to digesting high fiber foods slowly but
steadily - will become static.  This can morph into a serious
problem very quickly.  Besides, if a rabbit drinks lots of water,
its coat will become extra soft and shiny.  True story!

2. Use the right watering equipment.  This is essential to
accomplishing point #1.  Water bottles do not work well in freezing
temps.  (Freeze = expand = crack...pretty obvious.)  The spout on a
water bottle will freeze first, which means that even though the
water in the bottle might still be liquid, the rabbit cannot access
it through the frozen spout.  Instead of bottles, use hard plastic
or stoneware crocks.  Hard plastic is better, because it won't
crack as easily when dropped.  (And trust me, when your hands are
numb from the cold, you do drop crocks.)

3. Have two water dishes for each rabbit.  Not two dishes in the
cage at once, but one in the cage while the other is in the house
thawing.  When I go out to water the rabbits, I remove their frozen
water dishes (usually containing a semi-solid ice cube) and throw
them in a five-gallon pail.  Then I replace it with a fresh dish of
water, and take the bucket of frozen dishes in the house to thaw. 
Next time I go out, I can make the swap again.  My water crock of
choice is the EZ-crock, because I've tossed dozens of frozen
EZ-crocks into a bucket, one on top of another, and never had one
crack yet.  Besides, the rabbits can't spill them, which is an
obvious bonus.

4. Full-feed in the winter.  Moving on from water, let's talk feed.
 To "full-feed" your rabbit means to give it enough pellets that it
will have some left over every time you come to do chores.  I'm
usually very wary of recommending this.  Rabbits will not gorge
themselves to death if given the chance, but they usually do put on
some excess weight if they are full-fed.  However, when the daily
high temperature is 20*F or less for weeks at time, rabbits burn so
much energy keeping warm that I think full-feeding is warranted.

5. Don't use electronic heating devices.  I understand wanting to
help your bunnies stay warm.  I understand touching their ears with
your fingertips and bemoaning that they feel like ice.  But I also
understand that it's better for a rabbit to be chilly than to be
roasted alive.  Do NOT use electronic heating devices such as
warming pads, heated dishes, or heat lamps.  Rabbits can outside in
freezing temperatures all winter and be just fine.  The wild
rabbits do it; they don't hibernate like the bears and chipmunks. 
Anytime you use electronic devices outside in the weather, they are
at risk of shorting and catching fire.  Rabbits will chew on every
electrical cord they can find.   Even if the heating device is
outside the cage, close proximity to straw or wood shavings in the
cage can quickly cause fire.   Trust me: we used heating pads with
our first rabbits, and though we were very careful to protect the
cords and electrical connections, they caught fire.  We barely had
time to rescue our bunnies.

6. Don't cut off the ventilation.  Bunnies that don't live in an
environment with good airflow are susceptible to snuffles and other
respiratory problems.  In the winter we batten down the hatches in
an attempt to keep heat in and drafts out, and while this is good,
make sure you still allow plenty of airflow.

7. Observe your rabbits often.  Look at them.  Watch them eating or
playing.  Take them out and run your hand down their coats.  Turn
them over and check for signs of illness.  You can usually tell if
a rabbit is ill if you take the time to watch and handle it.  But
if you just breeze by it, give it feed and water and skip out, it
could be silently suffering and you wouldn't know till it's too

Here's wishing you and your bunnies a wonderful new year!


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