**Below are some helpful tips, terms, and information that can help to better the life of you rabbit!**
~ Top 10 Things You Need to Get Started ~
The cage is one of the most important things you need when you get a rabbit. It not only ensures that your rabbit won’t get into trouble while you are away, but it can be a since of security for you rabbit. Cages come in an large of array sizes and shapes. From ones that are made for outdoors and ones that are made for indoors. Be sure to choose one that can be easily cleaned and roomy enough that your rabbit has plenty of space to run around. Your rabbit’s cage need to be at least 28″ in. by 18″in. But the bigger the better! Rabbits are best kept indoors, as the temperature is more constant then outdoors. If you do keep your rabbit outdoors, be sure that the cage is kept in the shade at all times and a fan is blowing on them in the summer; and in the winter be sure to keep them out of the wind, and give them something to nestle down into to stay warm.
Click Here for a cage that we recommend
2. Food Dish
There is a wide variety of food dishes. We use ceramic crocks. When you purchase your rabbit’s food dish remember to get something that your rabbit can’t knock over. So either get one that can hook on the side of the cage or one that is heavy enough that your rabbit can’t knock over.
Click Here for a food dish that we recommend.
3. Water Bottle or Dish
For water, you can either use a rabbit “water bottle” or you can use a ceramic dish. We use the ceramic dishes, though water bottles are best for inside bunnies/rabbits.
Click Here for a water dish that we recommend.
Click Here for a water bottle that we recommend.
For food, there are as many varieties of food as there are different bunnies! Be sure to choose one that isn’t too high in protein but is high in fiber. Also make sure that the food doesn’t have any pieces of corn or any kind of seeds in the mix! Rabbits also need lots of veggies in their diet as well as pellets. (see below – good and bad veggies for rabbits)
Click Here to see the food that we use.
for Pet Owners: Click Here to see the food we recommend
Click Here to see the food we recommend
The comb is one of the easiest things to get. We use a regular rabbit comb. But any “small animal” comb or brush is fine. We’ve also found that “Flea Combs” work well on rabbit fur.
Click Here for a comb that we recommend.
6. Nail Clippers
Nail clippers are easy to get too. We use “small animals” clippers. Rabbit’s nails need to be trimmed every 2-3 weeks.
Click Here for a nail trimmer that we recommend.
7. Resting Mat
A resting mat is important to the health of your rabbit. It gives your rabbit somewhere to get his/her feet off the wire of the bottom of their cage, and prevents sore hocks. If your rabbit’s cage doesn’t have a wire bottom or you let your rabbit run around your room/house you don’t need a resting mat.
Click Here for a resting mat that we recommend.
Hay is necessary for the health of your rabbit. Timothy hay is the best, but you can also feed Orchard Grass or Coastal Bermuda.
Click Here for hay that we recommend.
Toys help keep your rabbit entertained! Rabbits need things to chew on as well as push around. If you keep your rabbit entertained with toys you won’t have to worry about them chewing your furniture! You don’t have to get anything fancy. Just some cardboard boxes are fine. Also, apple wood branches are also good for chewing. Wooden blocks, willow balls, and willow rings are all good toys for your rabbit.
Click Here for toys that we recommend.
10. Time to Spend Loving your Rabbit!!
You need to have time to love your Rabbit!! Rabbits can live to be 7-9 years old if well taken care of. So when buying a rabbit be sure that you are going to be able to spend 7-9 years with your lovable bunny/rabbit!!
~ Litter Training Your Rabbit ~
First you need to get a good litter box. The best litter boxes to get are the high corner boxes with a wire top. The wire top is so that the rabbit cannot dig in the litter box and spread the litter around the cage. A jumbo size litter box is a good size for Holland Lops. Be sure to get one that has a grate! Otherwise, your rabbit might be prone to dig out the litter and get it stuck on their paws and bottom
Click Here for a Litter box that we recommend.
click here: another litter box option.
Now, you need to pick a litter that will be safe for your rabbit. Do not use clay cat litter, for example, because it can be very harmful if your rabbit decides to eat it. And don’t use a clumping litter or litter with deodorizing crystals where a rabbit could possibly eat it. Also, a lot of people think that pine or cedar shavings are good, but they have oils in the wood that can be harmful to your rabbit, and the smell that it puts off can also be harmful for your rabbit and can cause a runny nose.
The best type of litter to get is recycled paper pellets. It comes in either a whole pellet or a crumpled pellet. Either is fine. It is safe if your rabbit decides to chew on the pellets. (though most have no interest in it!) and it retains the smell of your rabbit’s droppings very well.
Click Here for a paper pellet that we recommend.
Aspen wood bedding is also a good litter. It doesn’t retain as much smell as the paper pellets do though. But if you would rather use a wood bedding, the Aspen is good because it does not have the harmful oils and smells like the pine or cedar shavings do.
Click Here for an Aspen bedding that we recommend.
Depending on whether your cage has a solid bottom or if it has a wire bottom, you will also need bedding for the cage and not just the litter box. If the cage has a solid floor, you need to have a litter so that the rabbit’s feet won’t be slipping around. If you have a wire floor cage you don’t have to have litter in the pan under the cage, but it does help keep the smell down. The litters recommended above are sufficient for the cage as well.
When you first bring your pet rabbit home it needs to stay in it’s cage for a while until you get to know each other. Taking them out to pet is totally fine, but don’t let roam free quite yet. Because if you let them run around a room of your house and the rabbit just met you, it might get very scared when you go to try to pick it up and possibly injure itself. So it’s best to give them a day or so to adjust to their new environment. You can start out by letting them out in small area or pen and gradually work your way up to larger spaces as you and your rabbit get to know each other better.
During the first few days don’t place the litter box in the cage yet. Instead, observe where the rabbit’s favorite place to “go” is. It will most likely be a back corner. Babies sometimes take longer to define a corner that they use the most. Adults are more set in their ways and almost always have a set place where they like to go. Once you have determined where they like to go, place the litter box (with some of the rabbit’s droppings) in that corner. The droppings in the litter box helps them know that the litter box is where they need to go. From there, your rabbit will most likely start using the litter box first thing and “train” themselves. If your rabbit is successful in urinating consistently in his litter box, then you have 98% of the problem taken care of! There still might be occasional droppings in their cage from time to time (especially with babies) but that is normal and will happen even to the best litter box “trained” rabbit.
If your rabbit decides that you’ve provided them with a nice comfy bed rather than a litter box, then you may need to provide an even more inviting bed for him. You can try another litter box or a resting mat or something else to make him want to choose another resting place.
Once you decide to let them out of their cage, keep them confined to a small area that has a litter box. Once they learn to use the litter box outside their cage, you should be able to let them run around a room of your house that has been bunny proofed with no problems.
If you are holding your rabbit and he becomes restless, it may be a sign that he is about to urinate. Try to be sensitive to the signals your rabbit is giving you. Also, if your pet rabbit raises his tail, he may be just about to urinate. Place him gently and without much fanfare in his litter box.
Never scold or punish a pet rabbit. It will not have the effect you want!!
**To clean the calcium residue in your rabbit’s litter box, we’ve found that “CLR Cleaner” works the best.
Vegetables and Fruits that are Good for Your Rabbit:
|NOTE: At least three different vegetables a day are recommended – (any combination of lettuces counts as one veggie for that day) NO SEEDS OR PITS!!!!!)Bok ChoyBroccoliBrussels SproutsCarrots and Tops (in moderation)ChardChicory GreensCilantroCloverCollard GreensDandelion Greens (Pesticide Free!)EggplantEndiveEscarole
Grass – Freshly cut from your backyard, if you are sure that there are NO chemicals, fertilizers, or poisons (Park grass usually has one or all of these)
Lettuces: Romaine, Butter, Green Leaf, Boston, Bibb, Arugula…NO ICEBERG!
Pea Pods (A.K.A. Chinese Pea Pods)
Peppers (Green, red, yellow….)(but NO seeds)
|* NOTE: Feed only once or twice a week in small amounts. Sugary fruits, such as bananas and raisins should be fed only as occasional treats, and fruit should not be feed to rabbits that are overweight. NO SEEDS, PITS, or TOPS!!ApplesBananasPapayaPeachPlumsPearsRaisins *
Vegetables that are bad for your Rabbit Do not feed!!
Veggies that can cause gas or are very sugary:
White and red potato
Veggies that are dangerous, and contain compounds that destroy nutrients:
Veggies that contain dangerous toxins:
Raw lima, kidney, or soy beans
Onions (raw or cooked)
Veggies that can cause impaction:
Things to watch out for:
¨ Carrots and root vegetables are high in sugar and may cause cecal problems or gas in some rabbits.
¨ Celery and rhubarb stalks contain strings that should be removed before feeding. Alternatively, cut the stalk into pieces.
Iceberg lettuce has a reputation for causing diarrhea in rabbits.
How Much to Feed your Rabbit
What quantities of food should I feed Babies and “Teenagers”?
- Birth to 3 weeks—mother’s milk
- 3-4 weeks—mother’s milk, nibbles of hay and pellets
- 4-8 weeks—mother’s milk, access to hay and pellets
- 8 weeks to 7 months—unlimited pellets, unlimited hay (plus see 12 weeks below)
- 12 weeks—introduce Vegetables (one at a time, quantities under ½ oz.)
What quantities of food should I feed a young adult? (7 months to 1 year)
- Decrease pellets to 2/3 cup per 4 lb. body weight and unlimited hay
- Increase daily vegetables gradually
- Fruit: no more than 4-6 TBSP per week, per 4 lbs. body weight (because of calories)
What quantities of food should I feed mature adults? (1 to 5 years)
- Unlimited hay
- 2/3 cups of pellets per 4 lbs. body weight
- Minimum 2 cups chopped vegetables per 4 lbs. body weight weekly
- Fruit no more than 4-6 TBSP per week, per 4 lb. body weight
What quantities of food should I feed senior rabbits? (Over 6 years)
- If sufficient weight is maintained, continue adult diet
- Frail, older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up. Alfalfa can be given to under weight rabbits, only if calcium levels are normal.
If I feed fewer pellets, how do I compensate?
When you feed a lower quantity of pellets, you must replace the nutritional value without the calories, which is done by increasing the veggies. Also a variety of hay and straw must be encouraged all day long; we do this by offering fresh hay couple of times a day.
Rabbit Friendly Vets We Recommend
West Spartan County Animal Hospital
~ Their Facebook Page ~
Doe – Female Rabbit
Buck – Male Rabbit
Dam – Mother Rabbit
Sire – Father Rabbit
Jr./Junior – Rabbit under 6 months of age
Sr./Senior – Rabbit over the age of 6 months of age Kit – Baby Rabbit (under 8 weeks of age)
HL – Holland Lop
PB – Purebred Rabbit
Fuzzy – A Holland Lop that has longer “wool like” fur. It is a recessive gene that both parents have to carry in order to produce. If both parents carry it, there is a 1/4 chance of the babies being “fuzzies”. Fuzzies have to be combed out daily to keep their fur from becoming matted.
ARBA – American Rabbit Breeders Association
Brood Quality – A rabbit that has some kind of disqualification and cannot be shown, but would still be able to produce a show quality rabbit.
Show Quality – A rabbit that to our best knowledge, has no disqualifications, and would have a good chance of winning at a show.
Pet Quality – A rabbit that has too many show disqualifications to be bred, but would still make a wonderful and friendly pet.
Ear # – Tattooed number inside the left ear of a rabbit for identification
Charlie – A very lightly colored rabbit (less then 10% coloring). Both parents have to be broken colored to produce a “Charlie”
False Charlie – A very lightly colored rabbit (less then 10% coloring). One parent was solid and the other was broken colored. False “Charlie’s” do not have the same genetics as a true “Charlie”
Litter – A group of Kits born to the same Doe
Kindle – When a Doe has her Kits
Proven Doe – A Doe that has successfully kindled a litter and has raised them to 8 weeks of age
Proven Buck – A Buck that has successfully sired a litter
Semi-Proven Doe – A Doe that has kindled a litter but has not raised them. Either due to stillborn kits or her inexperience in mothering.
Nest Box – Where the Doe kindles her litter
Stillborn – A Kit that was born lifeless at birth
Milk dip – A spot or “dip” on the end of a rabbit’s ear (mainly Holland Lops) that is solid white on a broken colored rabbit.