Rabbit Information and Care


That's a tough question since most rabbits don't die of
old age! If they are well cared for and avoid the primary
killer of rabbits i.e. predators, heat stroke and
hairballs, they live about 5-10 years.  Although we have
heard of very well cared for rabbits living 12-15 years.

How should I pick up my bunny?
Rabbit personalities (like people) vary, some bunnies
enjoy handling more than others. Some are carriers some
are lap sitters and some are cuddlers. Whatever their
natural inclination, they need to feel safe. Ask for a
demonstration when you buy your bunny and then
practice a lot. The more you handle it the easier it will
become for both you and the bunny!  Some rabbits are
easier to pick up by the loose skin over the middle of its
back and others prefer a hand under the belly gently
lifting up.   Many show breeders never pick their
rabbits up by the scruff fearing injury to the animal or
crushing of the pelt but for a new handler, there is less
likelihood of dropping a disorderly rabbit. But only pick
them up in the MIDDLE of the back balancing the weight
on both sides of your hand so they don't kick and injure
themselves. Then quickly bring the rabbit to your body,
supporting the buttocks. It should be a fairly swift
movement and not intended to carry them like a sack of
groceries.  Don't be timid! Hold on firmly. He'll feel
safer. Bear in mind that a rabbit was born to have all
four feet on the ground. When you pick him up and his
feet aren't touching something, they feel insecure.  Keep
all four feet resting on your chest, lap or forearm and
cover his ears with your free hand. If their ears wobble,
they loose their equilibrium. When ears are covered,
they feel more secure and you have more control.  One
hand under the buttocks and one on the ears is easiest.
The head nestled under your arm with your hand holding
the buttocks is another safe feeling for the bunny.  The
important thing is to start handling the bunny early so he
trusts that you won't drop him.  Have children start out
sitting down and picking the bunny up from the floor.
Walking around with the bunny is asking for trouble. The
child might fall, the bunny might scramble from an
insecure grip and can fall to the ground causing serious
injury to both the child and rabbit. Wrapping the bunny
in a towel or baby blanket at first also increases the
feeling of safety for both rabbit and human.  In short
order, the bunny will feel safe and won't care how it
gets picked up if it trusts you or your child.  NEVER,


Practice, practice, practice!  The most likely times to get
scratched are in the process of putting the bunny in the
cage and taking it out. A simple technique learned from
the start will make everyone's life easier.
DO IT BACKWARDS! When you take a bunny out or put
it in the cage, do it backwards. The instinct is to jump
towards the floor when put in the cage forward, hence
the arms get scratched as the bunny pushes off out of
your hands. If he goes in backwards, he doesn't see the
floor coming up to greet him and in he goes quietly.  
Likewise, taking the bunny out forward, the feet go out
to the sides catching in the cage wire and making it
uncomfortable for both you and Thumper. Turned around
backwards there are no parts to hang up on the door or
cage wire. A large door opening makes handling easier.

What should I feed my bunny?
Hay is magic!
Unlimited (daily) good quality hay is the foundation of a
healthy diet for pet rabbits.  As well as meeting their
basic nutritional requirements it has many other
benefits.  It’s so important it should even be fed to
rabbits eating “complete” rabbit foods.  Nibbling hay
keeps bunnies’ busy reducing boredom.  Chewing hay
strengthens teeth and jaws and hay provides lots of long
strand fiber to maintain healthy gut movement.  It helps
eliminate hairballs.  Grass hay is the best.  There are
many forms of grass hay including Timothy which you can
find in most pet stores.  Alfalfa hay should not be used
because it is too high in calcium for rabbits.   
The best indicator of your rabbit's health is his
appetite. He won't eat if he doesn't feel well. If the
feeder is kept full all the time, you won't know until it's
too late that something is wrong.
A rabbit won't eat if it isn't drinking,so keep fresh cool
water available at all times.  We highly recommend
bottled water!  Chlorine is not good for bunnies, (or for
From six to twelve weeks of age bunnies should be fed
the adult ration TWICE a day. At 12 weeks, gradually
begin to decrease the food to the adult portion ONCE A
DAY using the following guideline:
An easy formula for an adult rabbit would be ONE
For example:
4 pound Holland Lop or Mini Rex would get 4 oz. or 1/2
6 pound Lilac would get 6 oz. or 3/4 cup;
Remember these are general guidelines for a caged
rabbit. It is better to see a bunny a little too lean than
too fat. Like people, they live longer if they don't get
too fat. Similarly, each will metabolize what they eat
differently. The best guide is how your rabbits looks
and feels. A basic guide to tell if one is too fat is to see
if you can get a handful of loose skin over its' back. If
not, its too fat! If you can feel every bone down its
spine, it's too thin. Some breeds tend to be beefier than
There is no substitute for common sense! If you're
feeding the scheduled amount and your rabbit feels too
thin or too fat, adjust the quantity accordingly. If he
still feels too fat or too thin, consult your vet to rule out
parasites or a metabolic disorder.
Never change feed quickly. Mix the feed provided by us
with Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and the new feed.
Gradually add more new feed and reduce the original
feed. Abrupt change of feed causes deadly diarrhea. If
rabbit develops diarrhea, take away the new feed and
just feed oatmeal until diarrhea stops. Then reintroduce
pellets slowly, mixed with oatmeal.
If you have started using a feed and perhaps leave town
and take the bunny along, suddenly discovering you left
the food at home, DO NOT, under any circumstances, run
down to the first pet store you find and buy something
off the shelf! Feed your bunny a bland diet of dry bread
and dry Quaker Oatmeal (yes, people food) until you
return home. You will save yourself a lot of heartaches.

A wild rabbit or back yard bunny can get into the
vegetable patch and eat lettuce or cabbage and when it
gets an upset stomach it can go off and find a Dandelion
green or mint leaf to make it well. A domestic rabbit in a
cage can't tell you it doesn't feel well until it develops
diarrhea and then IT CAN BE TOO LATE.
The key to feeding ANYTHING is MODERATION!
Start out slowly offering very small pieces and only
introduce ONE new treat on any given day. Bunnies
under the age of 3 months should not have ANY FRUITS
A baby carrot or small apple slice or small (quarter
size) banana slice are the safest to start with (in small
pieces) at the age of 3 months.
MONTHS IF AGE should be fed in order to allow the
digestive system time to develop fully. Then, as with a
human baby, introduce new foods (except lettuce and
celery) slowly in very small amounts.
Apples, pears, fresh pineapple, fresh papaya, kiwi, citrus
of all kinds and watermelon seem to be favorite snacks.
Strawberries seem to be on the "least favorite" list. The
crunchier the treat the better for the sake of their
Greens such as fresh spinach, kale, chard, parsley are
welcome treats as well but be very careful not to overdo
it for fear of the onset of diarrhea. Kale is okay in small
quantities on occasion. Be cautious of foods that give you
gas! It does the same thing to your bunny! OUCH!  Dark
green leafy vegetables are high in oxylates that can lead
to bladder sludge and stones so if you feel you must feed
greens, do it sparingly!  We actually suggest no greens at
all.  Just remember, all things in moderation.
Cage Care
Never, ever clean the cage with bleach!!!  We recommend
Vanodine.  This is the best thing we have found and it is
safe for all animals.  Please visit our Vanodine page for
more information.  
We recommend TerrAmigo pine pellet bedding.  Eagle
Valley pine pellet bedding is also good along with Aspen
Shavings.  We recommend staying away from pine
shavings.  This is not good for their respiratory systems.  
Rabbits can be litter boxed trained.
House rabbits need to play to keep their minds active.
Rotating through a collection of toys provides variety
and keeps their interest.  Toys must be non-toxic and
include cardboard boxes with holes cut in it, toilet paper
rolls stuffed with hay, a ball with holes for food to
tumble out, plastic rattles for the rabbit to toss, stray
mats, or untreated wicker baskets. Some rabbits enjoy
cloths that are dangled in their cage. Bunnies also need
wood toys that they can chew on to wear down their
teeth, their teeth grow about 5 inches a year and they
need to chew on something to wear them down. Toys can
be purchased at a pet store, or they can be handmade.

Have fun with your new bunny!!
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