Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by anothersam, 30 May 2015.
I love rabbits, especially with mash and mushrooms.
My mum used to breed them. They are not an easy pet to look after but not a complete nightmare either, and cute as hell and little characters. You just need to understand their needs which are more than people think.
They can be house trained (they like to go in corners so will use a litter tray) and if kept in the house you need to protect your wiring as they like to knaw. They need plenty of time outside their cage to run around the house. I think its preferable to keep in them in the house because ones outside tend to be forgotten or not cleaned out for a couple of days if the weather is bad.. And that's really much worse for the rabbit than people think. Also you don't tend to notice when they are ill if they are stuck in a hutch at the bottom of the garden. It's important to give regular health checks (eyes, ears, nose, teeth, arse) as prey animals hide their illnesses well ( nature's survival technique).
If kept outside they need a very large run. My mum has one rescue rabbit at the moment. He lives in a hutch which is in a 10 x 8ft shed. The hutch is always open and she just shuts the shed at night. The hutch is only there to give him somewhere to hide if he's scared (they are prey animals so like a bolt hole if they get spooked). In the day she opens the shed to which he then has access to a run that is attached to the shed. So in all, he has a total area of about 20 x 8 foot all day. She only closes the shed door at night for his own protection and she doesn't close the hutch door ever. I have never seen a hutch in a pet shop that has sufficient space for a rabbit during the day. Even the ones with runs.
Cleaning out... Needs to be done everyday. They wee for England! Expect to spend 20 mins per day feeding and cleaning them out. My mum uses newspaper with straw on top as easily rolled up and thrown away.
Food... A constant supply of Hay is essential (straw is not nutritional enough for food). Fresh cabbage and carrots once a day with an egg cup of rabbit food (or small bowl of rabbit food if not giving fresh veg). Rabbit food can be quite fattening so check the brand packaging.
Teeth... Teeth grow constantly. They need wood available to knaw on. If they don't, the teeth can grow and they curl up and round and not only grow back into the cheek bones, which is painful, but also means the rabbit will stop eating. Teeth need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure this doesn't happen.
Arse... This is very important. Check your rabbits arse every day. If droppings get sticky and stick to the fur, flies will lay their eggs. The maggots will eat away at your rabbits arse. It's called fly strike, is common in rabbits, very painful and can be fatal if not discovered.
Vaccination... against myxomatosis (or however you spell it). HIGHLY infectious and fatal in most cases. If caught early it can be cured but success rate is very low as by the time they start to show symptoms the disease is well established.
Fresh water everyday, it's easy to get lazy if you use bottles. Bottles are great for non spillage, but make sure there isn't an airlock in the spout. (I always just test it by rubbing my finger over the ball bearing to make sure its flowing as I once came home to thirsty ferrets!!).
Despite the above sounding full on, it boils down to a 20 minute job per day plus cost of keeping. And if handled regularly they are great pets (non handling results in them becoming nervous because they are prey animals ).
The RSPCA are overflowing with rabbits from Pets at Home customers who didn't realise how much hard work they were. I know they would much appreciate you taking one off their hands if you decided a rabbit is the one for you.
I love that
A rabbit care video, might come in handy...
My grandfather used to keep rabbits in a set of hutches in his back yard. For years I never made the connection between the disappearance of one and the appearance of a 'meat' stew or pie later that day.
My own pet rabbit, many years later, died under the wheels of a dustbin truck.
A whole world of mixed emotions.
My sorrow was dispelled by the acquisition of a pet crayfish called Gary.
I thought they were quite capable of doing that themselves?
If they're house trained will they become friendly and sit on your knee like a cat?
I have kept many rabbits over the years, they lived in hutches in the shed. I let them out 3 times a week to run around whilst I cleaned out their hutches. When the weather was good I put them in runs on the grass. Loved them to bits and have often thought of getting another one.
judging by a neighbours cat they don't sit well together. He is always bringing them takeaways!
There was a scene in The Godfather where a fox got its head bitten off by a rabbit? I must have slept through that part of the film!
We've had a few rabbits over the years, they're probably my favourite pet.
I don't think keeping them in the house is a great idea though, central heating doesn't seem to agree with them and our first was much happier when he went to live outside.
You should always have them in pairs as they need company, they do get along with guinea pigs if they are together from the start, otherwise the guineas are intimidated by the bunny.
They don't actually need to be vaccinated unless they are likely to come into contact with wild rabbits, there's no other way for them to catch myxomatosis.
Rather than a run, its a good idea to make an area of your garden rabbit proof and leave them as free range as possible.
Free range rabbits, are they tastier?
That first bit I don't wanna think too much about LOL
The 2nd bit. Mostly yes but sometimes no. They have different personalities. The majority will become friendly even if they start nervous if handled a lot, especially when they are in the house bcoz they have a lot of contact. I have a couple of friends who have got them in the house and they are like dogs! However you do get the odd few that just have a nervous disposition and occasionally you get a nasty one and no matter how much handling they just don't like it. Best thing to do is ask to handle it when you go to get it. If they are from a pet shop then they will more than likely be nervous when you do this, as the staff rarely handle them, but as long as they don't nip they will more than likely become really friendly with lots of love. Like all prey animals, they will revert to being nervous if at any time you find you haven't got so much time for them.
Nervousness can be cured, fear can result in biting, and they have big incisors. I've got ferrets, and I'd rather be bitten by one of them than an angry rabbit. But they are extreme cases. In all the time my mum bred I think we had only one that was nasty and she was a rescue who had been treated appallingly (kept in a dark box most of her life which must have felt like being buried alive). She belonged to a neighbour who asked me to look after her when then went on holiday (I was about 12 at the time). When I went round I didn't even look in the boarded up cage,I just went and got my mum. Basically she'd try to break out so they boarded her up and only went in to feed her. She was in right state. Scared as hell sitting in her own excrement. She was a Giant Rex and the hutch, which was more no more than coffin) was about 6 inches longer than her. They came back to find they didn't have a rabbit anymore. My mum was prepared to call the RSPCA if they objected but I think they were just glad to get rid of her coz they didn't say anything. There was no way she was ever going to be friendly (I've still got a scar to prove it!) and we knew that when we took her, we just gave her what she needed and let her have a good life).
In contrast, my mums recent rescue who also had a naff start in life, is gorgeous. He's a bit nervous when you go in but he comes out once he realises you've come with cabbage. I have no doubt that he would be great if he was a house rabbit as he would overcome his nervousness, but there is no way my dad would agree to that LOL.
Personally I think the best place to get them is either from a rescue or from a reputable breeder ( who allows you in to view the premises). The rescue will pair you with a suitable rabbit and the breeder will have handled the baby rabbits so they will more likely be friendly.
Totally agree. The only reason I like to see them as house pets is bcoz I know most of my friends would "forget them" if they were in the garden. Primarily down to laziness and putting off cleaning them out if the weather is bad, which is more often than not in this country. The lack of care results in nervous rabbits which results in reluctant owners. Vicious circle but if your prepared to spend time with them in the garden this is definitely better.
We've decided to stick with the completely free range option, forgoing domestic rabbits for the wild ones who already keep us company. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Here's one this morning, playing hide and seek.
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