Thursday, July 11, 2013

So you want to raise a bunny

I am by no means an expert on raising rabbits. When someone asks my husband what breed we raise - he tells them "whatever colors look good"... I love the diversity of colors you can get, I love having lop eared bunnies, straight eared bunnies. I like the "assorted" bunny, and I love finding homes for my bunnies. Our daughter, Bethany had her first bunny by the time she was 4 and she took serious care of it. Unfortunately, it was a single Large New Zealand female -which doesn't always make the best pet. We found an adorable black and white dutch bunny for her, and she had Jasmine for quite a few years.

Bunnies for pets are a lot of fun, a great pet to teach children responsibility, compassion, and empathy.
 ~ Rabbits can be raised anywhere ~ they fit easily into most family setting
~ Raising bunnies gives kids lots of options from a beginner's pet project to a breeding project and perhaps in to a small business venture.
~Rabbits are a good sized animal for young children to work with. Young people are very capable of learning the skills necessary for a successful bunny project.
~ It doesn't take a lot of money to get started with bunnies ~ This project fits in to most family budgets 

*Being handled is a scary feeling for a bunny. If your bunny is frightened it will try to run away. Sometimes when you lift your bunny it will try to use it's nails to grip the only surface it can feel: YOU. 
This often results in being scratched.

 REMEMBER to tell the kids that the bunny isn't mad at you it is just scared. Start off by having the kids wear a long sleeved shirt.

*The bunnies here at LillyWhite Farm are used to being held and are less likely to scratch, but if you drop your bunny one time, it will be frightened to be picked up after that.

*The best way to pick up a bunny is to place one hand under it, just behind the front legs. Place your other hand under the animal's rump. Hold the bunny next to your body with it's head toward your elbow. If your bunny starts to struggle, drop to one knee. This lessons the distance the bunny will fall. Remember: even a quiet bunny can have a bad day. Be patient, and always let the bunny feel safe and secure in your arms.

Rabbits like to chew - itis natural and healthy for them to do so. Provide your bunny with something to chew:  Hay, apple tree branch (not peach or apricot - they can be toxic), cotton cloth (as long as the bunny isn't eating it)

Many people like to have their bunnies free-roam in their house with them. The bunny becomes part of the family. You need to bunny-proof the house - any cords within bunny reach WILL be chewed.

A simple puppy-pen that you can get at your local pet store is a great option. They are large enough to hold all of the essentials for a rabbit and give them room to roam. pens are easy to move when needed.

An excellent site to find out information on house bunnies is My House Rabbit

*Feeding COMMERCIAL PELLETS is the easiest way to feed bunnies ~ there is no guessing.
*If you want to try feeding your bunny less expensively you can try the HAY & GRAIN DIET: 2nd cutting alfalfa hay (70lbs) and a combination of rolled or ground oats, ground wheat, cracked corn, grain sorghum to equal 30 lbs. Feed 1 lb hay and 1/2 lb grain daily.

*These foods can be fed to bunnies: apples, barley, beets, blackberry bush, grass, carrots, corn, crabgrass, dandelion, dogwood, all grains, lettuce, milk, millet, oats, oranges, orchard grass, parsnips, peas, poplar, red top, root vegetables, sumac, sunflowers, sweet potato, timothy, turnip, vetch, wheat, willow.

DO NOT FEED: amaranth, arrow grass, bracken fern, buckeye, burdock, chinaberry, chokecherry leaves or pits, comfrey, foxglove, goldenrod, hemlock, horehound, jimson weed, johnson grass, larkspur, laurel, lima beans. lupine, milkweed, moldy bread, oak, pigweed, poppy, potato, swiss chard, tomato

*Bunnies can be litter box trained. They have an instinct to use the same place over and over.
  * Be sure to give your bunnies some toys to play with - an old phone book to rip up is a lot of fun, plastic rattles and keys are also a good choice.  

Here is an excellent article on the Basics of Litter Training 

This is our  bunny George (as in "Curious George").

The Rabbit House Society has an abundance of information on house bunnies and pets - from rabbit care, health, behavior,  to grooming and traveling. They cover everything you need to know for raising a bunny

1 comment:

  1. I am by no means an expert on raising rabbits. When someone asks my husband what breed we raise trees for sale