Rabbit Care Guide

  1. Rabbit Nutrition and Feeding- Rabbits are herbivores. In the wild they live mostly off grass. Their diet in captivity should mimic that of their wilder counterparts, with quality hay being the mainstay of their diet. Hay is usually high in fiber and relatively low in protein and fats. This makes it a perfect food for rabbits, who require a minimum of 18% to 22% fiber in their diet. Hay is very important for keeping a rabbits digestive order operating normally. Rabbits with less then 15% fiber in their diets can develop serious health disorders. So remember when feeding your rabbit, “hay everyday keeps the doctor away!”. Generally you should not feed Alfalfa hay to your rabbit since it is to rich. High quality, high fiber Timothy, Grass, or Meadow hays are best. Make sure the hay is weed and mold free. It should smell sweet and fresh, and be a light green to light brown in color.

    The next most important food item in your rabbit's diet is quality rabbit pellets.

    These pellets can be purchased in most local feed and pet stores. Your rabbit will get most of their nutrition from these pellets. The protein level of these pellets should be between 15-18%. Also check to make sure your rabbits pellets contain a decent amount of essential vitamins and minerals.

    Your new rabbit has been being fed Purina Complete Rabbit Chow.

    Rabbit don't require large amounts of food. In fact feeding them to much can be more hazardous to their health then feeding them to little. A mature rabbit between 2 and 6 pounds should do well on 1/2 to 1 cup of quality pellets per day. Larger breeds can eat 1 to 2 cups daily. Remember that that rabbits should mainly be fed hay.

    Finally fresh fruits and vegetables can also be included in your rabbits daily diet. These fruits and vegetables, besides being a yummy snack for your rabbit, provide many essential vitamins and minerals, that are not found in dried hay, and pellets. A occasional small piece of a  fresh fruit or vegetable can have many health benefits for your rabbit. But they are not an apsolute necesseity.....rabbits will do just do just fine on quality hay, pellets, and water.

  2. In fact you must be careful not to feed to many fruits or veggies, (especially of sugary fruits), since rabbits can quickly become obese. Remember to also only give very small portions. Never give more then a 2 - 4 quarter sized chunks at a time.  Below is a list of a few safe fruits and veggies that are commonly fed to rabbits. (Note: This list is not complete)

    Safe Rabbit Fruits, Veggies and Treats:

 Apples, with skin  

Banana

Basil

Beet greens and tops

Blueberry

Bok Choy

Broccoli

Blackberry

Carrots, including tops

Cauliflower

Cilantro 

Collard Greens

Celery 

Cucumber

Dandelions

Green/Red Bell Pepper

Fresh Grass

Kale

Mustard Greens

Mints, all but Pennyroyal

Melons, (Cantaloupe, Watermelon, etc, No skins/rinds)

Peach

Pears

Pineapple

Plums

Radish sprouts and tops

 Raspberries, and raspberry leaves

Spinach

Strawberries, and strawberry leaves

 Turnips

Zucchini


The above foods are safe, but feed them all in moderation.

Never more then a few chunks at a time. Don't feed moldy foods, or spoiled foods.


 

Toxic, Poisonous, Unhealthy and Dangerous Foods for Rabbits


Potatoes 

 Red Clover

Foxglove

Milkweed

Nightshade

Ground Ivy

Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)

Rhubarb Beans

Plum leaves

Peach Leaves

Beans, of any kind

Iris

Iceberg Lettuce

Grass from mowed Lawns

Seeds (apple seeds, grape seeds, etc)

Cherry pits, leaves, and bark

Avocado

Mushrooms

 Chocolate

Onions

Raisins

Sweet Potato leaves

Egg Plant leaves

Green Tomatoes

 Human Foods (breads, cereals, dairy products, anything salty or sugary)

Jams,preserves Canned, or Frozen Vegetables Nuts Fresh Peas Juniper

The above foods are either highly toxic and will kill your rabbit (such as Tomato leaves, Beans and Avocado) or are simply very unhealthy and may cause stomach aches, gas or indigestion (such as canned or frozen foods, Iceberg Lettuce, and Grass from mowed lawns)

Please do not ever feed your rabbit anything on this list. If your not sure if something is a safe food or not, be on the safe side and don't feed it to your rabbit until you find out.

Finally there is the matter of fresh water . Fresh water should be available all the time 24/7. It does not take long for a rabbit to get dehydrated and die.

You can use a rabbit water bottle, or a dish filled with water. Or even a system of both.

Make sure if you use a bottle that the nipple does not get clogged. If using a water dish make sure the rabbit cannot knock it over.  (We use both a rabbit bottle, and a water dish)

  1. Rabbit Housing – Rabbits are best kept in pens or hutches that are designed specifically for them. Your rabbits cage should have a pullout tray on the bottom that catches all your rabbits droppings. The grid of wire over the top will prevent your rabbit from having to stand in their own mess, and the tray makes cleaning the cage much easier.

    Be careful, however, that the wire bottom bottom does not cause your bunny foot sores. Putting a flat peace of wood,  a towel, or a specially designed plastic mat for your rabbit to sit on can help prevent feet sores. Mini Rex rabbits are more prone to sore hocks since their coat is so short........so be especially cautious if you have Mini Rex's.

  2. It is of the utmost importance to regularly clean out your rabbits tray, as often as possible, or a minimum of every three days. Once a month you should also scrub out the pan and the whole cage with soapy water.

  3. Rabbits do okay being outside all year round, though they are better off, and easier to care for if they're kept inside the house. If you have to keep them outside, you must put a little extra work into keeping them cool in the Summer, and warm in the Winter.

    During the summer keep rabbits in the shade. Under the roof of a shed, barn or garage is best. The must not be allowed to get rained on, and wet.

    DO NOT EVER let your rabbit sit in direct sunlight for even a few minutes.

    Rabbits are highly susceptible to heatstroke, and even on a breezy, 70 degree day, a rabbit in direct sunlight can die very quickly.

    If you set your rabbit under a shady tree, still be careful. As the sun moves, the shadow they are sitting under can move, leaving them exposed to the sun.

    Heatstroke is a very common rabbit killer. Keep your rabbits in the shade!

    If possible, keeping a fan on your rabbit, at least during the hottest part of the day, can be a huge help. You can also put ice bottles in with your rabbit.

    Fill old plastic water bottles, milk jugs, or plastic soda bottles, and fill them with water. Freeze them, and then put them in your rabbits cage for them to lay against, most rabbits love it! We advise keeping several frozen bottles for each rabbit, and alternating them from the freezer, to the rabbit cage, so your rabbit will always have a frozen water bottle.

    If you own a long haired breed, such as an Angora,  considering shearing off their wool in the summer time.

    You can use scissors, electric clippers, or sheep shears, just be careful not to cut the skin. You may have to do this once or twice through the summer, since their wool grows fast. Don't worry, it will grow back in thick and full in the fall!

    In winter, most rabbits are actually more adapted to cold weather then hot weather. As long as your rabbit is out of wind, rain, snow, and drafts, in dry cage, he should be fine. Keep him under cover though. If you don't have a shed, barn or a sheltered area for him, you can build a “rabbit igloo”. Simply stack hay bales all around your rabbits cage, and over the top, leaving only a small space where the door is so you can access your rabbit.

    Give your rabbit plenty of extra hay in the cold weather to give him continual food to turn into energy and heat. Putting piles of hay, rags, or shavings in with your rabbit to snuggle in is helpful.

  4. Rabbit Grooming - Short haired rabbit breeds are very easy to care for.

    Once a week running a soft bristle brush through their coats should be all that is necessary. Longer haired breeds require much more work.

    They should be thoroughly groomed 2 to 3 times every week, to avoid hair becoming matted, tangled, and rough. Long haired rabbit owners should keep an arsenal, of combs, brushes, and scissors on hand. Hard matts in rabbit's fur can be clipped with scissors, but be VERY CAREFUL. These matts are often so close to the skin that it is easy to accidentally nip the rabbits skin, causing huge lacerations. Rabbit skin tears very easily. It is best to avoid giving a rabbit a bath. If you absolutely need to, make sure they are thoroughly dried, so they don't get pneumonia.

    2 to 4 times a year your rabbit should also have it's nails clipped. It us best to use a nail clipper designed for cats or dogs, but a sharp, strong human nail clipper will also work. Wrap your bunny in towel, to prevent him kicking out and scratching.

    This will also help to keep him calm. Don't cut to far. Holding the foot up to light you should be able to see where blood vessel in the nail stops, and ends. Don't clip past this mark, or it may bleed. If you do, dipping your rabbits paw a in a bowl of flour will help stop the bleeding.

  5. Rabbit Health and Diseases- Rabbits are generally very healthy, as long as they have good nutrition, grooming, and are kept in clean cages.

    There are a few common health problems listed below, that can occur in rabbits.

    Most of these simple and common problems are treatable at home, but occasionally a trip to the vet may be necessary.

    Ear Mites- You may notice your rabbit scratching at his ears, holding them lopsided, or shaking it's head. Upon closer inspection you may find inflamed red skin, and brownish crusts building up in the ear. Your vet can give you special ear mite drops for rabbits, and you can usually also find them at local pet supply and feed stores.

    Follow the directions, and use a cotton ball to remove the crustiness from the ear.

    A good preventative measure for ear mites is to put a few drops of baby oil in the ear every month or so. This will also help prevent the ear mites from reoccurring.

    Wool Block- This potentially deadly issue is usually only found in woolly breeds like Angora's and Jersey Woolies. It can occur in other short hair breeds, though rarely.

    Rabbits groom themselves, and naturally end up ingesting a a bit of hair.

    Usually it passes through the rabbits system, and causes no problems. Sometimes however, it can develop into a hairball in the rabbits stomach.

    The first signs of wool block, is that a rabbit may eat less food, or even no food at all. You may notice wool in the droppings, reduced amount of droppings, smaller the normal droppings, or even several dropping strung together by the wool.

    If you suspect your rabbit has wool block, almost entirely remove pellets from their day and feed mainly high fiber hay which will help the hair pass out of the rabbits system. Secondly, feed fresh pineapples, papaya, pineapple juice, or papaya tablets.

    These fruits have enzymes that help a rabbit break down hairballs.

    Some people have had success giving their rabbits hairball treatments made for cats.

    You can try giving the bunny enemas. Letting them out to run around may help keep their digestive system moving. Massaging their stomachs has been known to help.

    If wool block goes untreated it can eventually kill the rabbit.

    It is easier to try and prevent this problem in the first place then to treat it.

    Groom your rabbit regularly, to prevent them from trying to do this for himself.

    Make sure there is plenty of high fiber hay in their diet.

    Many woolly rabbit owners regularly feed their rabbits chunks of fresh pineapple, and papaya, as a preventative measure. We highly recommend this.

    Colds and snuffles- Rabbits sometimes get colds, just like humans.

    This is rare, however, although it is more common in rabbits that are stressed, young, mal-nutritioned, or recently moved to a new location.

    The best prevention, and cure is to keep their cage as clean as possible, and keep them in a well ventilated, warm and dry area. A rabbit sneezing, with a runny nose, listlessness, and lack of appetite are signs of a cold. You should separate a rabbit with these symptoms from any other rabbits, to prevent the disease from spreading. While it is possibly just a cold, and the rabbit will recover on their own, it could also be a more serious disease called Snuffles.

    You can try and treat the rabbit with a course of anti-biotics, prescribed by your vet.

    It can be hard for rabbits to recover from diseases like snuffles, however.

    Remember that prevention is always easier the trying to find a cure.

    Thankfully, as long as your feeding nutritious food, keeping your cages clean, and you rabbits stress-free, rabbits are generally healthy creatures.

    Malocclusion- Malocclusion is where a rabbits teeth, which are constantly growing, do not wear down evenly. In a normal rabbit, the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth just slightly. If teeth do not meet normally, or if rabbits do not have hay to chew on to keep their teeth worn down, they can grow overly long.

    The rabbit may have a hard time closing his mouth, he will have difficulty chewing, and may stop eating altogether. You may notice him dropping food from his mouth.

    If this happens his teeth need to be clipped back to an even length.

    This does not hurt the rabbit, since the teeth have no nerves.

    It is best to have an experienced rabbit person, or a vet help you clip the teeth the first time. Wrap the bunny in a towel to restrain him, and clip the teeth as close to normal as possible. Use caution not to clip them to short.

    Rabbits with malocclusion may need their teeth trimmed every month or so.

    Malocclusion is sometimes genetically passed on, so rabbits with this issue should not be used for breeding. They can also get this by chewing on their cages, which may bend their teeth out of shape. This is one more reason to feed plenty of hay, since chewing on hay keeps the rabbit's teeth worn down evenly. You can also feed hard carrot chunks for them to munch on, and even give them twigs to chew on.

    Obesity- It's hard to resist those cute little eyes, and twitching nose begging you for one more apple! But you should, because over feeding your bunny can cause problems. Obese bunnies are more prone to other health issues, and they are more apt to suffer from things like heatstroke. Obese bunnies should be feed a diet of mostly hay. Feed only small amounts of pellets, and almost entirely cut out treats, especially sugary treats like apples.

    Allow your rabbit out of the cage to hop around a bunny safe room every day or so.

    Make sure you supervise them carefully, though.

  6. Rabbit Handling- Rabbits are prey animals. Thus they can be very cautious around humans, become scared easily. Always move slowly and quietly around a shy rabbit, so as not to frighten them. When picking up a rabbit always make sure you have one hand under the bottom, to support. Or else, they may feel insecure and will kick out with both hind legs. They can scratch their handlers, and injure their delicate spines if they do this to vigorously. Hold rabbits close to you, and hold the firmly but gently. Never chase your rabbit around his cage with your hand when trying to catch him. This will only confirm in his mind that your are a predator out to get him. With a few treats, lots of time and petting, nearly any rabbit can learn to be confident and calm when handled by humans.

Rabbit 7 -Day Money-Back Guarantee

    Your rabbit comes with a 7 day money-back guarantee.

    This applies for nearly any reason, for instance your realize you have a rabbit allergy, or your bunny won't get along with your other pets, or if it gets sick.

    Also if we have accidentally mis-sexed your rabbit we will take him back at any time.....this very rarely happens but we are only human!

    The 7-day guarantee won't work if something happens to your rabbit that we couldn't have prevented, such as the dog eats it, or you feed it a toxic food. (Such things do happen; Be Careful!) We always know of people looking for rabbits, so if you ever need to re-home your bunny, let us know....we may be able to help find him a home.

    Kristdala Kritters, Mcloud, OK E-mail: kristdala-farm@live.com

    www.kkrabbits.yolasite.com Phone: 405-386-6677

    www.facebook.com/kkrabbitry Keep us updated on how you and your new bunny are doing.......we love keeping in touch!

     

     

     

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