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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.