Rabbits as Pets

I wanted to say rabbit farm, but then I had a mental image of someone trying to plant rabbits and grow them like a crop, which is kinda creepy. Rabbitry is, in fact, the technical term.

dunn rabbitin logo

So I haven’t mentioned it yet, but my wife runs a rabbitry at our house. Any time you see a picture of rabbits on my blog it’s almost certainly one of ours.

Now, it’s been my experience that not a lot of people have a pet rabbit. A lot of people like to look and comment on how cute they are.

img_20180721_162929

I mean, yeah, they’re fuzzy and adorable and typically pretty docile.  There are a lot of details many people aren’t prepared for though.

manna pro
Product image from Tractor Supply

Food – Rabbits aren’t especially finicky eaters. They survive on store bought pellets and timothy hay for the most part. The occasional spinach, celery leaves, and baby carrot is something they’re quite fond of too. Contrary to what bugs bunny did, they do tend to like carrot, but it’s not really a good food for them to be eating all the time. They have really sensitive digestive tracks and will eat anything vaguely like food, so it’s easy to feed them something that isn’t healthy.

img_20180721_162044

Poop – Wow, for such small creature they poop a lot. I’ve been told this poop makes good compost but I wouldn’t know. Most of it is dry solid fibery balls not unlike goat/deer. Anything else is typically a sign of poor diet and/or illness. There is one odd thing that’s more shiny and is usually in a clump called “cecal matter.” It’s a vitamin rich byproduct of their weird digestive system that they have to eat sometimes for proper balance.

img_20180806_185624
Yeah this exercise cage area is nasty.

Social behavior – Rabbits are fairly social creatures. It’s possible to have just one, if you give it a lot of attention, but it’s typically better to have at least two. Rabbits not given enough attention can get fairly aggressive and/or difficult to handle. Siblings or any pair of rabbits that have learned to coexist are typically referred to as a bonded pair.

img_20180620_175236
This is the same bunch as the last picture, but at around two weeks old.

Breeding – You’ve heard the phrase breeding like rabbits? Yeah, well, they tend to get business done gather quickly when given the chance. It can be quite entertaining to watch at times.

img_20180729_192647
Don’t let her fool you, this one is mean when she has babies.

Temperment – We have everything from sweet cuddly rabbits to mean cranky buggers that I’m about ready to remove from the gene pool if they bite me again. A lot of this can depend on the amount of attention they’re used to getting. Rabbits that are handled frequently tend to be more comfortable with it therefor less aggressive.

img_20180806_184853
Two weeks old babies from the one in the last picture. There were seven, two didn’t make it.

They bite! – Man does it hurt too. It rarely breaks the skin or draws blood, but it can happen. They’re natural herbivores so their bites tend to deal mostly crushing damage.

img_20180729_084904
Closer to three week old babies. That black one with the thick stripe is my favorite of this litter. It also has a white “collar” that isn’t visible here.

Those Claws Though – Totally different story here. These things are pretty sharp and pointy. The ends can be clipped, and that helps a little, but when they’re unhappy the kick/rake with their back legs much like a cat does and it does typically draw blood. I don’t generally handle them without a shirt on for this reason.

img_20180307_183219
Otter Mini-Rex, their fur is so silky

Breeds – We could talk all day about this and I still wouldn’t have any idea what we’re talking about. There are so many color names, pattern names, and attributes. I only know a little in this area. I do know that those floppy ears are called “lops.” Ours are specifically “holland lops.” The super fuzzy ones in these pictures are “lionheads” which have a subset called “double mane.” The one above is a mini-rex and they have the most wonderfully smooth silky fur. The occasionally come in the black and white “otter” pattern shown here. We recently had a set of babies called “BEWs,” short for Blue Eyed Whites. They command a pretty decent price as rabbits go. The ones with the head stripe, like my favorite in the three week old picture, are called a “vienna.” They’re a genetic wildcard of a rabbit, but typically have a recessive blue eyed trait, which is why we have them.

38689591_2075921632659870_7663681485383139328_n
Standard Blue Eyed White (Dragon?)

Almost all of our rabbit are pretty much dwarf pet breeds and not meat rabbits. We don’t do meat rabbits. That said, there’s a couple that I’ve come close to turning into stew after a good bite.

So I don’t know if any of you have rabbits, want rabbits, did but changed your mind after reading this, whatever. If you have any questions feel free to ask. There’s so much I didn’t cover here.

Link to my wife’s Facebook page.

One thought on “Rabbits as Pets

  1. When I was a child I went through a brief phase where I wanted a rabbit. Then after hearing my mother talk of all the things we would have to get for it, like a cage, and where to put it in the house, I gave up.

    To be clear, she wasn’t talking to make me give up (at least I don’t think it was the case) but rather it was more like thinking loudly as she planned how to accommodate the possible new pet.

    And after reading this I think it was for the best too. I don’t think I would have been able to take good care of a bunny. XD

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s