Rabbits, also known as bunnies, have been a part of the human civilization for around 1000 past years. Rabbits are being domesticated for meat, fur or simply as pets by the people all around the world since a number of years. Rabbits have gained a widespread popularity as gentle and loving pets all around the globe. Bunnies are tiny little furry creatures having cute little features and characteristics, which make them one of the most liked pets after dogs and cats. Before you start raising rabbits, you are required to be aware of various essential facts associated with these animals. Rabbits are very sensitive animals and therefore, are to be handled with proper care in order to prevent any kind of damage. Further in this article, I have out listed some of the most essential facts regarding these tiny animals. You are required to go through this article carefully in order to know each and every thing about rabbits.
Rabbits (popularly known as bunnies) are the tiny little mammals belonging to the family of Leporidae of the Lagomorpha order. They are found in several parts of the world in the form of 8 different genera’s in the rabbit family. These 8 different genera’s include European Rabbits, Cottontail Rabbits (13 species), Amami Rabbits (including the endangered species of Amami Oshima). There are several other species or breeds of rabbits available in the world and are some of them are discussed further in this article.
Rabbits are kept as pets since a number of years because of their meat or fur or just simply out of love. Before start raising rabbits, you should be completely aware about different facts and information pertaining to the different breeds of bunnies. First of all, you must decide your purpose of raising rabbits, as some people raise them for meat; some raise them for shows and some for their fur. Bunnies are also loved by a large number of people as domestic pets, similar to the dogs and cats. Secondly, you need to select the most appropriate breed of these furry creatures according to your purpose. Housing or rabbit shelter is also an important factor to be considered in order to keep your bunnies safe and secure from different types of dangers and perils. Feeding requirements should also be weighed equally in the rabbit raising process. You should make sure that your bunnies receive proper nourishment in order to lead a long and healthy life. Apart from these considerations, there are several other factors that you need to consider. All of these factors are explained further in detail in this article.
Breeds of Rabbits
There are various breeds of bunnies available all around the globe. You can get the most appropriate rabbit depending upon your needs and requirements. Following are some of the main rabbit breeds according to their different categories.
Here are some of the most popular breeds of pet bunnies.
• Himalayan: Himalayan rabbits are small in size and have a long, flat and narrow body. These bunnies have long head and thin erect ears and they normally weigh around 2.5-4.5 pounds. Fur of these bunnies is normally white with light shades of brown, blue and black in its ears, tail, nose and leg.
• Mini Rex: This is one of the most admired domestic breed of rabbits and are mainly characterized by their short fur. While touching the rabbit, you can feel its silky and lush texture of the fur. The color of the fur is normally red, blue, black, white or opal. These bunnies weigh around 3.5-4.5 pounds and have medium sized face, tiny little years and round body.
Mentioned below are some of the main breeds of the best rabbits of meat.
• Silver Fox: These rabbits normally weigh around 9-12 pounds. They are normally black in color and have slight effects of silver. It is the gentlest breed of the bunnies and is capable of providing high quality meat.
• New Zealand: These bunnies have a white and plain coat and normally weigh around 9-12 pounds. They are a bit healthy in comparison to the other breeds of rabbits. These are one of the most favorite breed of rabbits among the meat breeders mainly because of their slender and long body.
Rabbits are also raised for their fur and some of the most popular fur rabbits are as follows.
• Angora rabbit: These are one of the most popular breeds among the domestic and the fur rabbits. They are mainly famous because of their soft and long fur coat. The angora rabbits do not require a lot of care and grooming. There are mainly 4 types of Angora bunnies namely Giant, English, French and Satin.
• Rex Rabbits: There are normally 2 breeds of the Rex rabbits namely Castor Rex (brown color fur) and Chinchilla Rex. Chinchilla Rex Rabbits are similar to the normal chinchilla bunnies and are mainly used as an alternative to the expensive chinchilla fur.
Housing of the bunnies is one of the most crucial things that you are required to keep in mind before you start raising rabbits. The main thing you need to consider is that whether you want to keep your bunnies indoors or outside your home. Hutch is a type of rabbit housing and the most commonly used shelter for these tiny creatures. If you are to place your little furry friends outside the home, creating a Hutch is the best option. Hutch should be made using the most suitable material so as to keep your pet protected from any kind of external dangers. The space inside this hutch should be enough in order to provide proper space for eating and litter, playing, sleeping, jumping and hopping. The rabbits should not at all feel uncomfortable while living in the hutch. You should make each and every possible effort in order to make your bunny friend feel at home. The temperature inside the shelter should also be kept favorable as per the breed of your rabbits. In order to keep the house warm, you can include lot of straws and hay inside whereas, in order to keep the climate cool, you can place a wet towel beneath or on the top of the hutch.
However, if you want to keep your rabbits indoor, you should not allow them roam freely. First of all you are required to deal with any of your other pets present in the home that can be dangerous to the bunnies. You should keep a proper watch over your little furry friends in order to ensure their safety. Rabbits have a habit of chewing everything they like and therefore, they should not be allowed to roam about freely. If you are not keeping an eye on your bunny, then you can keep it in a cage or get a suitable playpen for it. The size of the cage should be at least 5 times bigger than the size of your bunny. The playpen should also have proper space in order to enable the rabbit roam about freely and play. The sides of the playpen should be tall enough in order to avoid them from jumping out of the pen and causing harm to themselves.
Before start raising rabbits, you are required to get full information regarding the full diet and eating habits of the bunnies. Rabbits are normally herbivore animals and love feeding by grazing on forbs, leafy weeds and grass. As a result, their diet normally includes large amount of cellulose, which is generally hard to digest for these rabbits. These creatures solve this problem by passing out hard droppings or soft black pellets, the latter being consumed by them immediately. They have the capability of re-ingesting their droppings in order to digest their food and extract required nutrients.
Rabbits require regular grazing typically in the afternoon, which is followed by half an hour of choosier feeding. Rabbits should also be provided with proper amount of timothy hay and alfalfa (only to the adults). Rabbits should be kept away from any type of food material made for the consumption of human beings like chips, chocolate. This is so because rabbits do not have a strong digestive system and as a result they cannot digest these foods easily. They should be fed frequently with little amount of food. Commercial pellets are also available in the market and can be given to your pet. Rabbits can also be fed with fresh green veggies (with low amount of iron) and fruits. The vegetables they love to feed on include radish, carrot, spinach and other leafy vegetables and the fruits include apples, orange and others.
Cleaning and Grooming Rabbits
Cleaning and grooming of the rabbits is one of the most crucial elements in the process of start raising rabbits. Firstly, you need to keep in mind that rabbits should never be bathed unless they are dirty and spoiled. The main reason behind this consideration is that they tend to go in the state of some kind of shock if you expose them immediately to the water. You can wet a towel or a gentle paper napkin and rub it directly over the rabbit in order to clean them. The rabbits normally clean themselves when they are dirty and do not require any external help in order to do so.
Bunnies also require certain help in cleaning their eyes, nails and ears. Bunnies have a great deal of wax and other dirt material piled up in these parts. You should check the ear, eyes and nails clean on regular basis. If you spot anything unusual, then you should visit a vet as soon as possible. You can simply wipe of the dirt from their eyes using a clean and soft paper napkin. The claws and nails of the rabbit also require regular trimming and cleaning or rather you can do it once in 4 weeks. You need to have proper trimming and cleaning skills in order to maintain the healthy condition of your rabbit.
Breeding of Rabbits
Start raising rabbits is not at all a simple and easy task. You need to keep in mind a number of factors in order to raise rabbits effectively. Breeding of the rabbits is also one of the other important aspects of raising rabbits. In case of the small breed of rabbits, doe is ready to breed at the age of 5 months while the buck is ready at 6 months of age. In the case of medium sized breeds, doe is ready to breed at the age of 6 months while the buck is ready at 7 months of age. As far as large breeds are concerned, the doe can be breed at an age of 8 months and buck at an age of 9 months.
Before, get a pair for breeding, you are required to make sure that they are healthy and fine. They should not have any genetic disorders or diseases, which can be transferred to the kindling’s. Some of the main rabbit diseases include tooth malocclusion, splay leg (legs get adducted), hydrocephalus (vitamin A toxicity, skeletal abnormalities, convulsions and running around in circles), keratitis and buphthalmia. You are required to make sure that the rabbits are good in health in order to avoid transmitting these diseases to the tiny rabbits. You should also pay attention towards the breed of the rabbit and you are required to breed the rabbits of your choice keeping in mind your needs and requirements. When you are to introduce a buck to the doe in order to help in the mating process, you should take a doe into the buck’s cage in order to avoid any inconvenience. If the environment of the buck is changed, it may act aggressive. You can put them in a single cage and leave them for a night or so. If you want some serious breeding then, you can leave them together for a long time.
Source info. http://startraisingrabbits.com/