Monday, June 16, 2008

Breeding Rabbits: Decide to Purchase a Pet Rabbit

Breeding Rabbits

So you have decided to purchase a pet rabbit, and now you are wondering how do I pick out the right one?

Well, aside from appearance, there are a number of important considerations that you will have to make when you pick out your pet bunny rabbit at the local pet store or other venue. This is important both to ensure that you choose a healthy pet rabbit, and to make sure that you and he are compatible!

Now I'll explain what you'll need to think about before heading out to buy your pet rabbit, and what to look for when you're actually selecting an animal from a local breeder, adoption center or pet store.

Housing: Do You Have Enough Space for a Pet Rabbit?

When it comes to tame pet bunny rabbits, they do much better indoors than outdoors. Living indoors will ensure that your pet bunny rabbit stays healthy and safe and gets to know the members of your family. Rabbits kept in outdoor cages are at risk of being threatened by other animals; foxes, dogs, and raccoons have been known to open cage doors.

Therefore, before you decide to bring home a pet rabbit, make sure that you have plenty of space inside your house for your new animal friend. For most rabbits, plan on buying a cage that is either 30 inches square, or 2 feet by 3 feet. You will also need to make sure that you have enough room inside your home to fit a cage of this size. If you don't have space for a cage, you will not be able to provide a rabbit with an adequate living situation.

Keep in mind that the cage should not just be placed in any old spot, but should put somewhere where the rabbit can feel connected and close to the family. At the same time, the rabbit cage should be away from heaters, air conditions, loud objects like TVs or radios, and not in direct sunlight. Since you will be letting your rabbit out of his cage for exercise, you will also need to put the cage in an area that can be bunny-proofed. (more on that later...)

Your Time Investment

A lot of people seem to think that because rabbits are relatively small and spend a good deal of time in their cages that they're easy to take care of. Well, that may be true in some sense, but it's foolish to bring home a rabbit thinking that it's not going to be much of a time commitment. If you are not willing to spend time with your pet rabbit, then you probably should not get him. This, of course, applies to all pet animals!

Well, here's what to expect. You should ensure that you have plenty of time for all the initial and intermediate stages of pet care, which include:

- Rabbit-proofing your house to make sure the little guy won't get hurt
- Litter box training
- Cleaning up after the inevitable accidents
- Spaying/neutering

You will also need to devote a good deal of time to your rabbit well after you bring him home for the first time. You must:

- Give him exercise (at least a few hours per day out of the cage)
- Give him attention (just like any pet or child, rabbits need to feel love!)
- Buy and provide rabbit toys
- Administer feedings
- Take him to the vet if necessary and for check-ups

Above all, just keep in mind that bringing home a new pet bunny rabbit is not so different from bringing home a new infant. You will need to spend adequate time preparing for the arrival, as well as adjusting to life with the newcomer. Setting aside time for all these necessities will make for a happy, comfortable situation for everyone involved.

Before bringing home a pet rabbit, make sure that you can commit to giving him the quality of lifestyle he deserves throughout his lifetime (5-15 years, depending on the rabbit-s breed and age and health at the time of purchase).

by Andrea Austin,

Breeding Rabbits: Rabbits can be great pets

Breeding Rabbits

Rabbits or a rabbit are fast becoming the pet of choice for many people, both children and adults. Traditionally rabbits as pets have been kept outdoors in a cage or pen. While that is still the most popular method of keeping your pet, many people have decided to move their rabbit into the house with the rest of the family.

When moving a pet rabbit from outdoors to the inside there’s a bit of adjustment time necessary. Even while indoors you’ll need to keep your rabbits or rabbit in a roomy space that is set up just for them. Then, gradually let out into the larger area of the house for ever increasing periods of time. As with any indoor pets, you can expect a few bite marks on various pieces of furniture.

Rabbits are curious and friendly yet easy to care for.

Having rabbits or a rabbit as pets can be very exciting and educational for children. Their soft fur, long ears and every inquisitive nose make rabbits an ideal pet for a family with children or for someone who lives alone. If you’re a pet lover who’s never tried raising a rabbit, consider the experience of raising rabbits as pets. They require little attention, (fresh water everyday, a dry clean living area and good food such as plants and pet store rabbit food).
Whether you keep your rabbits indoors or out you’ll enjoy their friendly, quiet nature and will fast become a favorite member of your family.

Breeding Rabbits: Benefits of Rabbits as Pets

Breeding Rabbits

Are you thinking of adopting a rabbit for a pet? We don’t blame you—rabbits are very cute animals, who can give you many years of affection and amusement.

However, be sure you are ready for the responsibilities of taking care of this animal. While they are certainly easier to manage than dogs, they still require some attention.

For example, rabbits molt four times a year, so be prepared for a little fur on your sofa every few months. They’ll need hay, a litter box, and a cage (clean frequently with white vinegar to remove odors). If you use hay or woodstove pellets for their litter boxes, you can use these to fertilize your garden when it’s time for a litter change.

When you own a rabbit, you need to accept that a little nibbling is part of the territory. Protect electric cords with casings (available at hardware stores) since the poor pets may get quite a shock if they try to test their teeth on them!

You should also be willing to pamper your rabbit with petting and play (rabbits get depressed if they don’t get enough exercise). Rabbit gyms are available in pet stores. They have tube tunnels that will encourage your pet to run and race, even if you can’t let him out in the garden. Those tube tunnels will also make an interesting conversation piece for your guests—talk about the “new” form of “installation art”!

Not all veterinarians are trained to take care of rabbits, who are considered “exotic pets”/ You may need to shop around and call various clinics, which are usually listed in the phone directory. The pet store may also refer you to veterinarians. .

And finally, if you have children, do talk to your pediatrician first before buying a rabbit. The doctor is in the best position to tell you whether your child has any allergies, asthma problems or other health concerns that may be aggravated by rabbit fur. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

But these sacrifices are nothing compared to the benefits of having a pet rabbit. For one thing, your pet will inspire you to change your diet—since you have to keep a supply of fresh vegetables for him, you might as well make yourself a salad! Recent studies also reveal that owning a pet significantly reduces blood pressure and can even help with depression.

You don’t need to take rabbits for a walk, or worry about the inconvenience of walking around with a “pooper scooper”. Just let him out in the early morning or dusk, and watch him play while you enjoy a cup of coffee.

Nor do you have to worry about your rabbits disrupting the neighbors. They don’t bark or meow, and the “loudest” they ever get is the patter of their feet on the floor. That makes them ideal pets for apartment dwellers.

Rabbits are also ideal pets for the elderly, who may not have the energy to take care of a very large animal. They love being petted and are the ideal “lap pets”.

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Breeding Rabbits: Care for Rabbits in the Summer

Breeding Rabbits

Rabbits are very playful, fun, and intelligent creatures, and they're adorable as well. If you're a parent that was tempted (perhaps at Easter) to purchase a rabbit as a pet for your children, be aware that they require a great deal of care, and they are very sensitive creatures.

With summer heating up, be aware that rabbits are extremely sensitive to the heat, and if they don't have a way to cool off, they can die. There are many ways, however, to help them cool down, if you have an outdoor bunny. One great way is to fill a 2 liter soda bottle with water, freeze it, and place it next to your bunny's favorite resting spot. (Depending on how hot it is outside, you may need to change it every couple of hours.) Also, make sure to always have plenty of water available to your bunny, preferably in a dish. (Ceramic crocks work well since they're tough for bunnies to knock over.) This way, they can put their feet or ears in the water, which is another way to help them cool off.

Bunnies are creatures of habit, so if you're traveling with your bunny, make sure to have all of his or her favorite toys, treats, and food. Changing food can upset a bunny's stomach, oftentimes causing diarrhea, which can quickly dehydrate a bunny (and can lead to death). Make sure to keep the routine as close to normal as possible, and this will help your bunny travel.

Another thing to keep in mind: never EVER leave your bunny in a car. On an 80 degree day, within just a few minutes, the car can heat up to over 120 degrees. Keep your bunny safe - if you go to a restaurant, make sure it's pet friendly. It doesn't take long for animals to overheat with temperatures like that.

Use common sense when taking care of your pet, and remember that with a thick fur coat, bunnies don't do well in heat at all. If you have an outdoor bunny, take the necessary precautions to keep your bunny healthy and happy. Take care of your pet, and you'll be able to enjoy his or her companionship for 12 years or more.

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Breeding Rabbits: Taking Care of a Pet Rabbit

Breeding Rabbits

Most of us are probably familiar with the quintessential image of the rabbit-a fluffy, cuddly white bunny delivered into the arms of delighted children on Easter morning, surrounded by sweets and colored eggs. Unfortunately, this picture-perfect holiday symbol that has placed many a pet rabbit into a less-than-ideal situation. Taking care of a pet rabbit is not a holiday novelty; it's agreeing to assume full responsibility for the needs of a living creature. If it sounds like welcoming a rabbit into your home is serious business requiring lots of thought and planning, that's because it is! But it also offers an exciting, unique pet ownership experience-for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the ins and outs of pet rabbit care.

Rabbits require a certain kind of home environment in order to thrive. Contrary to the popular image, they are not suitable pets for young children, even if the intention is to teach responsibility by allowing the child to care for a pet rabbit. Rabbits frighten easily and are extremely fragile when it comes to being handled. A sudden noise or movement can actually frighten them to death, while one instance of mishandling could break bones or damage internal organs. Therefore, a home full of running, yelling children is not a happy home for a rabbit. Rabbits need to feel secure at all times, so a large part of taking care of a pet rabbit is offering it a fairly constant atmosphere of peace and quiet, and a major component of offering that secure atmosphere is providing your rabbit with proper housing.

There are two basic options when it comes to rabbit-keeping: to cage or not to cage. Traditionally, rabbits have been kept in outdoor cages (called a "hutches") with a wire bottom and sides, a solid top, and a solid wooden nesting box. An outdoor hutch is still a viable option, provided serious effort is applied to making the hutch completely weatherproof. For those who truly wish to keep their rabbits inside, a large cage similar to a hutch can be integrated into the household, and for those who truly wish to live with their rabbits, a rabbit can be kept much as you'd keep a cat-running free in the house. Rabbits love to be near "their people," and if given the chance, will follow you around as you do your daily chores. They are easily litter box trained and are relatively tidy overall. For safety's sake, it's a very good idea to confine your rabbit to a single, rabbit-proofed room, unless he or she is under close supervision. Many people keep their rabbits in an empty bedroom or in the kitchen by blocking off the door with a baby gate. Rabbit-proofing involves ridding the area of chew-ables such as books, papers, toys, or anything else you don't want gnawed-especially electrical cords. You should also ensure that there are no small spaces for your rabbit to squeeze into.

Whether you decide to keep your rabbit in a cage, let him roam freely about your kitchen, or a combination of both, the other major consideration in taking care of a pet rabbit is ensuring that fresh water and proper food are available at all times. Water can either be made available in a heavy dish or in a cage-hanging water bottle. A rabbit's diet should consist mainly of formulated rabbit pellets, a little fresh hay, and treats such as carrots, apples, and leafy greens (not iceberg lettuce!). Rabbits will eat just about anything, but that doesn't mean you should feed them whatever they desire. They have delicate digestive systems that are easily thrown off balance by the sudden introduction of foreign foods, so try to keep your rabbit's diet as simple and junk-free as possible.

Now that you've learned how to care for a pet rabbit, it's time to find your new best friend. While pet stores and breeders are always an option, consider checking to see if there's a rabbit rescue near your home, or call your local animal shelters to ask if they have any abandoned rabbits available for adoption. Whatever your decision, make sure it's one that promises your new friend he'll have a forever home with you, and he'll pay you back tenfold with unending affection and companionship.

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Breeding Rabbits: How to Breed Rabbits

Breeding Rabbits

Successful rabbit breeding depends on the availability of the stock to produce good animals and on the breeder's selection of the best animals for breeding. Good records will help you make stock selections. The rabbit's size and average mature weight for the breed are important factors in determining breeding age.

Sexual maturity:

    Sexual maturity varies from four to nine months of age, depending on the breed. Smaller breeds mature earlier than larger breeds, with six months as the average first mating age for does. Eggs develop in the ovaries of mature females every 15 to 16 days. These eggs may be fertilized from the second to the 14th day of the 16-day period. Bucks usually mare about one month later than does. Young bucks should be mated only twice a week; older bucks may mate two or three days in a row, but not more than three times per week.

Natural mating:

    Natural mating provides the best conception rate. A receptive doe appears restless, tries to join rabbits in adjacent cages, engages in chin rubbing and exhibits a reddening of external genitalia. Does ready for mating should be placed in the buck's cage. A buck placed in a doe's cage may spend too much time examining the new cage, or worse, the doe might feel threatened and attack.

    If the doe rejects the buck, she should be removed to be placed with the buck the next day. Does should only be left with bucks for a short time. If mating does not occur in five or ten minutes, the doe should be removed and taken to a different buck. The mating is complete when the buck falls over on his back or side after mounting.


    Breeders usually keep one buck for every 10 does. Accurate records must be maintained to determine each buck's effectiveness. Some breeders use artificial insemination to reduce the number of bucks they need. With artificial insemination, the buck's semen is obtained, extended and introduced into does. Experience and training, however, are needed for this method to work.

Second mating

    Eggs are released from the ovary about 10 hours after breeding. If you practice double-mating, the second mating should occur within ten hours of the first. If conception does not occur, the doe goes through a 17-day false pregnancy. The doe may be re-bred on the day after kindling (or birthing) but most commercial breeders wait 14 to 21 days after kindling before re-breeding.