Tell Me About Rabbits?

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by sillysally, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    5,074
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, and 1 horse
    Location:
    A hole in the bottom of the sea.
    I have the thought of possibly getting a rabbit or two. This is not a for sure thing yet but I thought I would ask those in the know.

    The goal for this rabbit would be as a pet but also I would like to show it. I nearly got rabbits to show in 4-H when I was a kid, but then my mom told me I had a choice between getting rabbits and getting a horse, soooo.....

    What sort of things does a beginner need to know? Should I get a pair of rabbits? If so, they would be same sexed. I have read that Polish rabbits are good for beginners....any thoughts on Polish rabbits or any other breeds? Can they live in a hutch outdoors?
     
  2. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,234
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Your climate will determine whether they can be outdoors or not. In a mild temperate climate like in the NW they can be fine. Somewhere like Colorado though...

    They need shelter from rain and wind though. You can put them on the sheltered side of a building, or convert a garage, barn, or shed into a rabbitry.

    Edit: I've noticed that the larger breeds tend to be the more mellow, though they are all individuals. There isn't really a breed that's a bad beginner rabbit though. If I was you I'd just find a breed that I really liked, research it and try to meet some. I'm partial to silver fox and American chinchilla. Castor and otter colored rex are really pretty too.
     
  3. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I think polish tend to be high strung.

    Rabbits are social and do like company but they're also prone to fighting. I'd get two 8-week-old sisters and keep them in a big hutch.

    Here are the recognized breeds:
    http://www.arba.net/breeds.htm

    I'd recommend you pick one you like and go with it. Look at what is popular in your area vs not so popular. Netherland dwarfs and NZW are popular basically everywhere, I think, so if you pick one of those breeds expect a lot of competition. Whereas if you pick a rare breed you might own the only rabbits in the class. I'd recommend picking a colored breed so you don't have to worry about pee stains :p

    If you show you'll probably want to breed as well. So keep that in mind.

    They can live in hutches (pending climate like Romy said), wire bottomed hutches keep them cleanest, though I doubt wire is particularly comfortable and can give them sores on their hocks. I know people keep them in outside in all-wire cages but personally I'd go with the more typical hutch with a "home" part.

    I'd buy an x-pen or two for grazing/exercise.

    Water bottle, rabbit pellets, nice hay. Veggies/grass.

    ETA I was thinking about it and I guess my favorite rabbit for just a pet is the Jersey Wooly. You need to groom them every once in a while but they're fluffy and soft and IME very sweet tempered (with people and other bunnies).

    Just for fun this was my favorite:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Grab

    Grab Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,374
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    36
    A rabbit would not do well here, sadly. But, I adore Flemish Giants :)
     
  5. happyhound

    happyhound New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I have Polish (and harlequins) and I don't find them to be high strung. If you're going to get a pair of rabbits definitely try to give them as much cage space as possible and be prepared to separate if they don't get a long.

    There are some really great rabbit forums out there for people that enjoy all aspects of rabbit keeping.
     
  6. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    none
    Location:
    UT
    plus side, show culls are delicious for you or the puppies. i can't wait for the after easter freebies.
     
  7. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    13,402
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Kennel Manager
    Location:
    Guelph, Ontario
    They can live a long time (12 years), and need vet care. That's basically my extent of knowledge XD Oh, and you want to spay a female to majorly decrease the chances of cancer.

    I had a rabbit as a kid, he was old and grumpy. LOL We put him on a leash and let him hop around the neighbourhood
     
  8. crazedACD

    crazedACD Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Too Many
    Location:
    West Missouri
    I've worked with lots of rabbits at work...my personal favorite is the Jersey Wooly too. They are always really really nice, though grooming for a show might be a challenge. I think Dutch are great too.

    Dwarves don't do anything for me..though that usually goes for any dwarf animal ;). The Polish I've met have been so/so...one was really cool, some were a little spooky. My boss recently got an English Lop that was pretty awesome.
     
  9. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,234
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    lol! That's why I prefer standard rex over mini rex.
     
  10. ~Dixie's_Mom~

    ~Dixie's_Mom~ ♥Chloe & Violet♥

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    8,159
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1 dog, 1 hamster (and several fish)
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I love rabbits, they are awesome. I had netherland dwarfs, a mini lop, and those big white meat rabbits growing up. I really want another netherland dwarf soon.
     
  11. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    13,402
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Kennel Manager
    Location:
    Guelph, Ontario
    SarahHound has bunnies, and I believe they live outside... hopefully she'll be able to pop in and give you some tips :)
     
  12. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Too many... My house: 2 dogs, cat, chinchilla, rab
    Location:
    Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
    I have two bunnies. It's kind-of funny how we got them. The mom, Alice, is actually a stray. My hubby was driving to work one morning (running late too) when he noticed a white rabbit hopping alongside the road. He thought, "wild rabbits are not white" and pulled over. Sure enough it was completely tame and let him pick it up. He took it to work in a box all day and brought it home. We listed it as "found", but no-one responded. So, the rabbit remained.

    In the meantime I checked the bunny to figure out if it was a boy or a girl - girl of course. And being a girl... pregnant. So, a few weeks later we had baby bunnies. There were four of them, two boys and two girls. When they were old enough to wean I advertised them and sold all but one (female) who we named Dinah (Alice in Wonderland's cat). So now both bunnies are here to stay. They are both super friendly. Dinah of course was well handled since birth, but Alice herself is a fantastic bunny. No idea why anyone would dump her :( But she's got a happy home now.

    No idea as to breed, but they are not quite dwarf, but definitely small. Both go on harnesses and leashes for grazing in the yard. I'd like to set up a hutch for outside in good weather, but generally they live in.

    I think the key is to find a bunny who has been VERY well handled young. It's no fun having a rabbit who is afraid or who bites. Also, look into "rabbit hopping". No one does it locally, but there are clubs all over. It's basically rabbit agility :D

    [​IMG]
    Alice

    [​IMG]
    Dinah as a baby (need new pics... lol)

    [​IMG]
    My absolute favorite pic - I really lucked out on this one. This was also my kids' favorite baby (female) but also the first to sell.
     
  13. Locke

    Locke Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Messages:
    1,919
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I had a rabbit growing up. Just a pet, no showing, but she was a really fun girl. I got her from the pet store (tsk tsk, I know), and she was labelled as a holland lop. She was a larger bunny at about 8 pounds or so, and had a gorgeous orange coat and the softest floppy ears.
    She was fully litter trained and had full run of the kitchen when we were home to supervise. She also had an outdoor x-pen type cage with a mesh top that she ADORED in the spring and summer months. We had to move the pen every month though because she would eat and tear up the grass. She was only truly fond of me, anyone else she ignored or nibbled. When she was displeased, she would thump and grunt...but she usually only did that if we opened the fridge and didn't give her any treats!
    She passed away at the age of 8. No sign of illness or anything, so we guess she died of a heart attack or something.

    I think with a really great hutch (like Sarahhound has), bunnies can be very happy outdoors, but I think they thrive indoors with lots of interaction and space to play and binky.
     
  14. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    13,402
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Kennel Manager
    Location:
    Guelph, Ontario
    That bunny never would have left my home...
     
  15. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    5,074
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, and 1 horse
    Location:
    A hole in the bottom of the sea.
    Has anyone had any experience with mini rex rabbits?
     
  16. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,216
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I owned two and showed them, though my main show breed was Californians. What do you want to know about them?
     
  17. Freehold

    Freehold New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Too many... My house: 2 dogs, cat, chinchilla, rab
    Location:
    Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
    Initially I'd not planned to keep more than one bunny - if someone had wanted the mom I'd have let her go too. I have so many critters :rolleyes: But yes, sadly that was the popular bunny - her colour really was attractive. The other three babies were all black, one with a white foot, the other two unmarked (told apart mostly by size as one was a touch smaller - and gender, not that I wanted to check that every time to tell them apart :cool: ) I kinda miss the other babies, but I did my best to find them good homes.
     
  18. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,453
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    6 + finches
    Location:
    Upper Left hand corner, USA
    Rabbit showing for non 4Hers and even some 4Hers isn't really like dog/cat showing and is more like livestock showing. It's possible to get a nice rabbit and it might even be good enough to get a champion cert, but the show life of most breeds of rabbits is fairly limited. Most of mine were finished by 2 -3 years old and retired to the barn to breed the next generation. Most purebred rabbits are not registered unless they have enough legs (think of them like award points) to earn their championship certificate.

    The breeds I worked with when I had them.
    Netherland dwarf
    Dwarf Hotot
    britannia petites
    Standard rex - by far my favorite rabbit breed
    californian
    champagne de argent
    all the lop breeds except french lop
    Flemish Giant
    Checkered Giants
    I have experience with dutch, jersey woolies, harlequins, new zealands, although they did belong to someone else.

    As far as pets - ime neutered bucks made the best pets. Unneutered bucks while friendly most of the time do spray and are a little bit gross as only boys can be ;) I always found the females to be slightly prone to aggression once they became sexually mature. I had several who were downright vicious unless they were pregnant.
     
  19. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    19,779
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    8 dogs and 6 horses.
    Location:
    Ontario
    Home Page:
    I don't know much about bunnies, but Freehold's bunnies are the friendliest little critters I have ever met. They stand at the cage (like puppies) for attention, and love to be held and cuddled.

    Sadly JRTs and bunnies would be a bad, bad combo!
     
  20. MicksMom

    MicksMom Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    3,978
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    1 furry
    Location:
    Warren Co, NJ
    Funny you mentioned Mini Rexes- that's what I was going to suggest. They're really sweet. At least all the ones my mother had and the two I've had have been (Mom used to show them) They come in a huge variety of colors. After their personality, the best thing about them is their super soft, velvety coat. They're a nice size, too.

    Rabbits can live in outdoor hutches, but you have to take a couple of things into consideration. One being neighborhood dogs, wildlife, etc. It's not unheard of for them to get into a rabbit hutch. Another thing to think of- rabbits do better in the cold, provided they are kept dry and out of the wind. Wrapping the sides of the cage will accomplish that (not the top or bottom, tho). However, rabbits not tolerate heat real well. My rabbit is on our closed in porch. In the summer I have a box fan I turn on for him. I also have a Chin Chiller, and soda bottles of frozen water for him to lay on/against, and another box fan we hang in a window to draw the hot air outside.

    There's a wonderful annual publication called Rabbits USA. As far as housing goes, it's aimed at house rabbits. But it's full of other great information on rabbit care and health.

    Some links you might find helpful:
    American Rabbit Breeders Association (the "AKC" of the rabbit world. LOL)
    http://www.arba.net/

    National Mini Rex Rabbit Club
    http://www.nmrrc.net/

    Oh, and just because I love showing him off, my rabbit, Shaker. This one was taken in the spring of 2006, when he was 3.
    [​IMG]


    This one was taken the summer of 2010 (he was 7). I have the xpen attached to the front of his cage almost all the time now. That grey thing on the floor is the Chin Chiller.
    [​IMG]

     

Share This Page