I have finally decided that it makes sense to put all of the great websites of bunny care onto its own page. As well as share with you the practices that I follow with the kids to keep them healthy and happy. Bunny care is VERY important, if your bunny isn't getting the proper nutrition or aren't housed adequately other problems will arise such as no litters born and disease. So I hope that this page will help you bunny lovers out there!
If you have some favorite websites that you have found please share them with me. Part of caring for bunnies is to learn all you can about them, and I love finding new information and tips to help me better care for my kids :)
GRAIN----I buy my grain in bulk in 50 pound bags. I have an agreement with the owners where they order my grain fresh everyweek. When looking for the diet to feed your bunny it is important to look for freshness (just like with people food). The other thing that you are looking for is that it will provide a complete diet for your bunny. Almost all pelleted feed should provide a complete diet. Each bunny diet should have the following---16-18% protein, 2-4% Fat, and a minimum of 16% Fiber, most of the bunny diets will also contain appropriat amounts of minerals and vitamins, but it is good to provide other food sources for the bunny to have a balanced diet.
So what do I feed? I feed Blue Seal Bunny Show Hutch Delux. I have played with several grain sources and have found that this one works the best for me and my kids. I like how it has a higher level of protein because it helps my does with the litters stay in condition and the kits grow good with it. You do need to watch the bucks with this feed because if they get it free choice they do become fat.
Blue Seal Grain Information: https://blueseal.com/products/specialty/rabbit/
The amount of feed is more challenging. A holland lop adult rabbit should eat about a 4 ounces or 1/2 cup of grain a day. Babies should be fed free choice. I also feed lactating does and does about to give birth a free choice feed.
HAY----A good Timothy Hay- Bought from a local farmer, grain store, or pet store. Is important for several reasons. First a bunnies teeth always grow, in chewing on hay it helps keep the bunnies teeth shorter. The second reason is that a bunny kept in its cage will sometimes get bored, having the hay to chew and scatter around keeps thier minds stimulated. Thirdly hay provided approximately 50% nutrients and 30% fiber to the bunny. This really helps them get the additional fiber in thier diet, according to the ARBA fiber is a good natural way to help reduce diseases such as enteritis which is caused by stress. (More information- page 82 of ARBA's Raising Better Rabbits and Cavies) You should feed hay at least once a week.
WATER----Bunnies are fairly fussy little critters. If a bunnies water gets stale they will often not drink it. Also if the bunny moves from well water to treated city water they might not drink it. So it is important to observe your bunny and make sure that he/she is drinking and that they have fresh water everyday. Also when using waterbottles pay attention that it is working, sometimes the little balls get stuck and the bunny can't get any water.
VEGGIES/ TREATS---- Bunnies love treats, it is important to remember that to much of a good thing can be very bad. Many of the treats you can buy at the store are loaded with sugar so its important to watch how much you provide your bunny kids. Also lots of veggies when a bunny is not used to them can cause diarhea and dehydration which could kill your bunny. It is important to introduce veggies and treats slowly, and only with bunnies over three months old. Also make sure that they are clean and free from pesticides, as pesticides can poison your bunny.
List of Safe Veggies for Bunnies
CAGES- Housing is very dependent on the person as to what they prefer. I personally like cages with drop pans underneath for I feel that it keeps the kids cleaner. There are many different styles and kinds I would just recomend you research the ones that work best for you. Try to stay away from ones that are made up of wood, as my exsperience with them is that the bunnies will eat the wood and the wood will soak up urine- which can cause an odor and potentially disease. If you do have wood parts in your cage buy some vanodine disinfectant and use that to spray on the wood to kill any diseases.
SPACE- It is recomended that a bunny has 1 square foot of space per pound of bunny. So a 24X24 size cage would be fine for a Holland Lop. A smaller cage is also fine if your bunny is allowed time outside his or her cage. As long as they are able to get exercise. I like the little wire play pens, I can use them inside and outside on good days. The bunnies can hop around and dig, its better than watching TV
Disease prevention is better than disease treatment. It is our job to keep the animals environments safe and healthy.
CLEANING: The first and most important thing to concider is cleanliness. Built up manure and dirty dishes are a homes for many baceria and parasites. If a bunny is exsposed to that on a daily basis that can and will often cause disease.
A product that I now use is Vanodine, a lot of the rabbitries swear that this product is incredible. I have only been using it for a short time but it seems like a good product. It is safe for the bunnies and kills bacteria, protozoans and fungi. Please check out this site for more product information.
To use vanodine, I mix it for the cleaning instructions and either spray it on the cages or use a brush on them. I do this everytime I clean the bunnies cages. I also use it once a week to wash and clean all of my water bottles and food dishes. Vanodine is safe for the rabbits, and doesn't have to be washed off like other chemicals.
What I do for cleaning, is clean trays out weekly, and spray them out as needed. I use a wire grill brush on the wire to get rid of any fecal matter or hay that is stuck to the wire. Twice a year I pressure wash all cages and trays, and leave them to dry in the sun. I never put a rabbit into a new home unless I have washed the cage first and treated it with vanodine or another cleaner. Nestboxes all get washed after every litter, sprayed with vanodine and left to sit in the sun. Waterbottles, food dishes, and toys get washed about once a month or sooner if needed.
DISEASE PREVENTION: I do a couple of practices to help keep my kids healthy.
Worming--I do worm my rabbits twice a year and test them for worms once a year. I use a product that you just add to thier water and is very reasonable. I also will test my bunnies in the spring for worms, It only costs $10 a bunny to test for worms and I like to know for sure that thier guts are healthy.
Bunny Vac--BunnyVac is a USDA licensed killed Pasteurella product for prevention of Pasteurella infection in rabbits. I have seen beautiful rabbits have to be put down due to pastruella. Even though its exspensive its worth it to me to help protect my bunnies from this disease. Bunnies are given the initial dosages, and than boosters once a year.
more information: http://pavlab.com/
Vitamin Supplement---I also give my kids a vitamin supplement once a week, again in thier water. It just gives me piece of mind knowing that they are getting all the nutrients that their little bodies need.
Vet Herd Health Check----I started this practice a couple of years ago, after hearing of several rabbitries that were having problems. In the spring and in the fall I have my vet do a herd health check on my bunnies to look for anything that might bring disease to my herd and to examine each of the bunnies to make sure that they are all healthy. This is a little bit of money but it keeps my piece of mind that my kids are all doing good.
DISEASE: I am not an expert or a vet by any means. There are several things I do to safe guard my herd from getting sick, but for treatment I always check in with my vet just to be safe. Since I don't want to tell you something that might be wrong, I have included some site that I have found to be helpful and the names of a couple of rabbit books that has great information on rabbits diseases.
MERCK Online Veterinary Manual- (An awsome reference site- a must know for any animal owner)
A Bunny Naming Website
How to Litter Box Train Your Bunny
Rabbit Care Video Clips---Everything from nail clipping to cleaning cages....
Caring, Feeding, and Housing your pet bunny:
I found that this website from Welshes Hunnybuns in Colorado has excellent information for raising rabbits.