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Rabbits in general
Member Name: Celestia7
Rabbits in general
Date: 07/04/10, updated on 09/04/10 (182 review reads)
Advantages: Playful, easy to care for
Disadvantages: Expensive for vaccinations/neutering, terrible pets for children
Over the years my family has had several bunnies, in all shapes and sizes. Amber the mini lop, Sam the dwarf lop, Toby the Cashmere lop and Bramble the Netherland dwarf to name but a few. My family's knowledge of buns has increased over the years and I feel like I could write a review to help people understand them.
Rabbits are often mistaken for rodents, but they are in actually fact lagomorphs.
First off, rabbits make terrible pets for children. Generally, they don't sit still on your knee (though there is the odd exception to the rule) and won't tolerate kids grabbing them. They will nip if annoyed. They are also expensive, as they have to be vaccinated and neutered. The best pet for a child is a rat.
There are a lot of rabbits in rehoming centres, so I'd recommend getting one from there first, or from a good breeder. Rabbits shouldn't be kept alone, as they are sociable creatures. A pair of does (females), or a buck (male) and a doe are ideal pairings. The next section discusses neutering which is required for all rabbits, particularly if keeping a male and a female together.
Sexually mature rabbits can be very aggressive and territorial. Male rabbits will also hump everything in site. Neutering is needed to stop this aggression and helps to prevent cancers (testicular and uterine notably). Some people, men in particular, don't like the idea of remove an animals testicles. But it is in the animals best interests if you are to have a happy bunny. In the wild, rabbits can fornicate to their hearts desire, but pet rabbits become aggressive, as they have no outlet. Talk to your vet for more information about the best time to neuter your bunny.
A lot of people aren't aware that pet rabbits need to be vaccinated against two diseases, myxomatosis and VHD (viral haemorrhagic disease). Even if wild rabbits don't live near by, other animals and clothes can harbour spores.
Talk to your vet about these.
Rabbits can be kept indoors or outdoors. For outdoor bunnies, buy or make as large an enclosure as possible, and make sure it is fox proof. My mum's rabbits have an open hutch attached to a large mesh run, sat on top of the garden slabs. This allows them to run about when they want. A rabbit shouldn't be shut away in a hutch day in day out.
In the hutch cover the base of it using newspaper, and put plenty of hay down for them. Rabbits can learn to use a litter tray so put one in the corner of the hutch, lined with newspaper.
Buy a separate run for putting them on the grass. Don't keep them on for long though as they tend to gorge themselves and can get sore tummies.
Rabbits enjoy playing with branches, toilet roll tubes, and washing liquid balls, which make great cheap toys. There is a great market now for stimulating bunny toys, check out larger pet shops or look online.
A rabbit's diet should mainly consist of vegetables and hay. Rabbit mix or preferably pellets should only form a small part of their diet. They only need a couple of tablespoons of this each depending on the size of your rabbit. Excel is a great complete food, check out the packet for feeding guidelines.
Pet rabbits fed on mainly pet shop mix can have digestive problems. They need fibre from vegetables and hay to keep their gut moving. Rabbits can develop gut stasis, asks your vet about this.
For the occasional treat, bunnies like toast. Stay clear of pet shop sugary treats.
Give fresh water daily to your bun.
Change the litter tray daily and give your rabbit fresh hay. Clean the whole hutch out once or twice a week, changing the newspaper and hay. You can clean the hutch using a cloth and soapy water. Preferably, use a natural soap or washing up liquid.
If you have a run, brush up any droppings daily using a dustpan and brush. In the hutch itself you will occasionally find softer droppings, which look like a bunch of grapes. These are called caecatrophs, which a rabbit eats to gain nutrition from.
It's important to keep your rabbit's enclosure clean, to prevent fly strike.
Rabbits make great pets if properly cared for. Given plenty of space, proper nutrition and care a bunny can live up to ten years old. Getting a rabbit (or should I say rabbits) is not a decision to be made lightly, they are a big commitment.
Summary: Happy bun = neuteured bun
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