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General Chat Thread, Keeping Rabbits - long story + guidance needed! in General; ...
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    tazz's Avatar
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    Keeping Rabbits - long story + guidance needed!

    26th July 5:45am:

    saw a domestic rabbit on street - found rabbit sized box (prerequisite), tried 2 catch it - failed, so did Harry – FAIL - Puss not bothered till Harry tried. After 15 mins of "human & cats chase rabbit show" rabbit gets in 2 neighbours back garden - told neighbour 2 look out for it. @ that point Harry decides cat food is easier, but Puss, hunt instinct activated, headed in direction of rabbit Me gets ready for work!

    7th August 4pm:

    Rabbit in garden - myself on OH apprehend Rabbit and put in cat box. Now what?
    Purchase hutch and run through Ad-Mag for £35! Seller donates some hay, wood shavings and food after sob story. Brother in law collects run in van as Fiesta too small for run, but hutch fits ok!

    8th August:
    Mum in law buys water bottle, hay and wood shavings for rabbit.
    Approach neighbour for chicken wire to put on run to keep rabbit safe form cats. Neighbour brings unsuitable rusty wire and reveals the rabbit was his, given to him by an acquaintance that was going to kill them - do we want the other one? He was keeping them in with his chickens. Not sure why he didn't tell me this on the 26th July!

    Now have two rabbits

    9th August 4:30pm:
    Purchase suitable chicken wire to cover run and consider names!

    10th August 6pm:
    Decision time – keen to keep them, but never had rabbits before, have 3 cats and a dog already. It’s ok in good weather letting them out in their run, but what happens in winter, how do I protect them from the elements, keep them occupied, should they come in, do they take a lot of looking after? Help?

    Many thanks for looking!

  2. Thanks to tazz from:

    kmount (10th August 2011)

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Im not sure about your cats but my cats every few weeks brings back wild rabbits it has caught. Might have to keep your eye on them.

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    tazz (10th August 2011)

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    Jamman960's Avatar
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    Rabbits are fairly hardy in cold weather, when its gets really cold we usually cover the hutch up over night with a carpet. The thing to watch out for is their water bottle freezing up but other than that they're ok

    They don't really take a lot of looking after, just feed them once a day and clean them out once a week(may need doing more often in the summer), during the winter ours stays in most of the time and only really goes out when we clean him out, in the summer I tend to let him out whenever I'm in the garden for a while... due to the number of foxes around here(even in broad daylight!) we have to stay nearby and generally have to scare a fox off within the hour

    We only ever bring him indoors when he's ill but thats only beed once so far

    James
    Last edited by Jamman960; 10th August 2011 at 07:50 PM.

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    tazz (10th August 2011)

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    Dunno, never had a rabbit except when very young and largely thought it was a cat/small dog, but just wanted to applaud you for your caring attitude.

    Top stuff.

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    tazz (10th August 2011)

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    tazz's Avatar
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    "Waifs & Strays Welcome Here" only one cat was a chosen pet, the other two adopted us and I nearly ran over the dog which was straying and no one claimed it!

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    First, well done for your rabbit adoption endeavour.

    I've got a rabbit, a small dog and four cats, so they can get along. The pecking order is dog>rabbit>cats. My rabbit's a large Rex and quite a bruiser, so the cats give her a wide berth.
    Here she is:


    Unless you leave your rabbit out regularly, a hutch is too small (hutches were designed to house rabbits when they were kept for food ).
    I made one of these from 2" weldmesh for my rabbit (I can weld)


    Notice the clip-on feeding bowl - it's best to keep food off the ground as slugs are horrors when they sniff food.

    To give you an idea of scale, the green object in the cage is a full-size plastic hutch.

    Diet: a rabbit's diet is pretty basic - grass, hay and water. Carrots and apples are a treat, but shouldn't be fed as a staple food. Don't provide mineral or salt licks, they don't need them and can cause problems with their waterworks.

    A healthy rabbit is easy to look after, but there are a few common things to watch for:
    1. Mites. These are invisible to the naked eye, if your rabbit is scratching and you see flakes like dandruff, then it will have mites. But fear not, you can get a spot-on drop solution to get rid of these, and worms to boot. Never mix medicines for different animals. For instance Xeno 450 parasite treatment is for rabbits, birds and ferrets, but may kill a dog.
    2. Fly strike. This is perhaps the most disgusting thing ever. An old rabbit can have difficulty cleaning 'down there' and flies can lay eggs with horrific results. Trust me, it isn't pleasant, keep and eye on them through the summer.
    3. Pasteurella. This bacteria can cause lots of unpleasant side effects, including head rolling and falling over. Again, easily treated with antibiotics.

    As for cold, a dry rabbit can cope with cold really well. If they get wet, though the cold can be a killer. We bring ours into the house during the winter evenings, for a bit of exercise and she sleeps in an indoor cage.

    Rabbits can be litter trained easily, just put some sawdust in a tray on the floor and it will soon get the hang of it.
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 11th August 2011 at 12:16 AM.

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    tazz (11th August 2011)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazz View Post
    Decision time – keen to keep them, but never had rabbits before, have 3 cats and a dog already.
    Our cat always seemed to get a lot of ticks from rabbits, so you might want to check your cats over regularly - up near their neck and head where they can't get at them. Also, you should probably go to a vet and have the rabbits spayed / nutered, unless you plan on breeding them.

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    Top work on rescueing the little wabbit. Well worth keeping the cat and rabbits seperate, when cats and rabbits fight a decent size rabbit can cause a lot of damage to a cat.

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    AMLightfoot's Avatar
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    First things first, the chicken wire run thing is great but it's not at all fox-proof unless you have dug it into the ground or staked it down. We have a Rabbit and 2 cats (although both cats are pretty elderly) and the cats should not be your main concern. Trust me, if the cat gets hold of the rabbit the rabbit will give it a good kicking. Depends on how large the cats are mind you... Foxes are a larger concern for you. We favour a more solid Wooden slatted hutch that is raised off the ground. You can have a small run section underneath. We also have a 'summer run' similar to the chicken-wire one another poster has attached a pic of but the Rabbit only stays there during the day - last time we left him out at night a Fox got in and it's not fun chasing them off in your nightie! We also found another dismembered Rabbit corpse on our path a couple of weeks ago so we know someone elses pet got nabbed.

    Are the Rabbits Bucks, Does or one of each? Are they neutered/spayed and fully vaccinated against Mixie?

    I think your Summer/Winter solutions will depend largely on your Garden. If you can find a sheltered spot (we have a nice sheltered patch between the Shed and conservatory) the Rabbits will largely manage the cold weather - especially if there is 2. You will want to make sure that perhaps in winter you pop an extra bit of hay into the hutch for them to snuggle into or buy one of those little igloo-thingies or woven straw 'tunnels' - Chip sat on his and broke it so he has to make due with extra shavings (he's allergic to fresh straw - something to do with the mould that grows on it, or fungus or something). If it's very cold we bring our Rabbit into the conservatory overnight and keep him in a cat carrier or a large plastic box (they will chew out of cardboard too quickly) with a vented lid. As other posters have said, the water bottle freezing tends to be the biggest issue - soggy food too. You can buy expensive neoprene bottle covers in pet shops or you can jerry-rig some insulation with some pipe lagging and an old Mouse mat or some bubblewrap. It's not pretty but when it gets wrecked by the ravages of winter you won't feel too unhappy about chucking it.

    Food-wise we find that a bit of variation always goes down well so we rotate the 'biscuit' flavours we buy. Teeth can be a HUGE problem for Rabbits as they MUST we worn down by their food or they have to be cut. A common problem with Rabbits is misaligned jaws due to inbreeding and the vets will need to knock the rabbit out and take an anglegrinder to them. So if your rabbit starts drooling excessively and not eating, pop it to the vet. Otherwise we buy those crunchy corn/seed/nut sticks and blocks. Our Rabbit isn't interested in chewing wood but some do and you can buy 'toys' for them. Chip LOVES the special egg biscuits we buy him at the pet shop - he goes mad for them but these are an occasional treat.

    As our Rabbit has the aforementioned tooth problems we give him the occasional bit of veg etc but to keep him healthy and make sure he gets enough vitamins we give him baby food - the vegetarian kind - he loves it - especially when it's getting close to angle-grinder-time and the bone spurs are causing him issues. 1 jar a day when he's not well, or 1-2 a week when he's fine - the organic ones with carrots, cauli etc go down really well. Make sure you don't make the same mistake my father-in-law did and buy the 'Carrots and chicken' one... Or the ones with pasta - they have to be veg-only. I don't think tomato is very good either so stick with Carrots, cabbage, cauli, broccoli etc.

    Another poster mentioned fly-strike so I should probably mention something that our poor rabbit suffered recently - if they are long haired, when they start to moult you may find their fur becomes matted. Matted fur is not exclusive to their backs. Rather disgustingly a Rabbit will do two types of poo - normal pellets and cecotrophes - the normal pellets are the indigestible rubbish, the cecum is like Rabbit-silage - good stuff that has been fermeted in a special section of the bowel for a while - a rabbit will re-ingest this - usually as soon as it is passed. So if you see your Rabbit eating it's own poo - don't be worried! Problems come however if your Rabbit's stools are a little on the loose side. Long haired, moulting Rabbits with loose poo leads to fly strike as a worst case, or you can find that the loose poo and matted fur forms a horrible big clump around the anus (and genitals) and it can build up really quickly resulting in discomfort for the Rabbit, possible infection of genitalia etc. We check Chip regularly for this and frequently bathe him as he has issues with self-grooming (tooth-related too....)

    It sounds from my post that Rabbits are hard to look after but they're not. We just have a problematic one! My partner is a sucker for the runts - he feels sorry for them. We nearly ended up with one that had been a bit mangled by his mother and siblings the other week but Chip is too old to share his hutch with another Rabbit and it wouldn't have been fair on him.

    They are great pets though, specially for kids to learn a bit of responsibility - dogs are too much work and Cats tend to look after themselves but a Rabbit is dependant on your care. If you handle them frequently they will be socialised and happy to be handled. Make sure you do this or you will end up caring for an animal that will try to bite you every time you clean it out.

    A.
    Last edited by AMLightfoot; 11th August 2011 at 02:32 PM.

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    tazz (11th August 2011)

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    tazz's Avatar
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    Keeping Rabbits - long story + guidance needed!-img_0015.jpg

    Thanks everyone, gonna give it a go. Think I'll call the boy Thistle or Pickle and the girl Clover. Gonna get the boy 'done' but no money till Tuesday so hope they don't get jiggy with it - no idea how old they are!

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    tazz's Avatar
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    BTW - what to do with Bunny Poop?

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazz View Post
    BTW - what to do with Bunny Poop?
    Put in in the garden! It'll decompose in a day or two, and it doesn't smell.

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    AMLightfoot's Avatar
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    BTW - what to do with Bunny Poop?
    It makes a GREAT mid-layer in a compost heap! We compost most of ours along with the wood shavings - the urine is good for the heap too. If you don't have one it is fine to put in domestic waste. Or dig into the ground. Don't go crazy though as you'll have more poo than you know what to do with. You could offer the urine and poo soaked shavings to neighbours with compost heaps - it's really good for the chemistry of the heap apparently...

    You might want to get the girl Rabbit spayed - Does are nasty when they are in heat. Really nasty. Bucks just try to have bunny-sex with your arm. Chip is still a 'whole man' and he'll rut on anything - my arm is particular favourite when I'm trying to groom him.... *sigh* But generally he's pretty sweet. Does on the other hand get a bit vicious and she may attack your male Rabbit if you leave her unspayed.

    Edited to say: FTR Those Rabbits look old enough to mate... Rabbits can mate as young as 3 months old and those look a lot older than that... Are they siblings? Also - nice job on the hutch - it looks great :-)
    Last edited by AMLightfoot; 11th August 2011 at 10:38 PM.

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    tazz's Avatar
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    Hi all, Rabbits turned out to be too young to have babies and too young to be neutered - taking them back to the vets this weekend to review this matter and have vaccinations.

    Ended up calling them Thistle and Clover - I thought Clover was a girl and Thistle a boy - but the vet pointed out we'd got that the wrong way round - oh well!

    Invested in a decent home for them now, please see pic.

    Keeping Rabbits - long story + guidance needed!-167.jpg

    I cannot believe the amount of poop these little guys produce! How do you scrape it off the grass?!?! Also can't believe how much I've fallen for them!

    Keeping Rabbits - long story + guidance needed!-123.jpg

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    witch's Avatar
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    lots of good advice there.
    The only things I would add are:
    in the winter, fill the sleeping compartment with scrunched up paper - right up to the top - keeps draughts out and they love to hide in it. Really helps keep the hutch warm.
    Leave the poo on the grass, it will soon disappear and will act as compost.
    Should you have a rabbit with teeth that overgrow, you may not have to have it knocked out by the vet - one of ours has problem teeth and we clip them every few weeks and then take him to the vets for more radical clipping - whilst the bunny is awake - every 8 weeks or so. He doesnt seem to mind much!

  22. Thanks to witch from:

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