Rabbit Care for BeginnersFirst of all, congratulations on your new (or upcoming) rabbits! I'm sure you'll find them as fun and rewarding as I have.
The first thing to consider when buying a pet rabbit or beginning to show
rabbits is breed. Over 40 different breeds of rabbit. Some things to
think about when deciding which breed is best for you are:
Temperament - I'd love to tell you that there is no such thing as a mean rabbit, but I'd be lying. Some breeds are just more...aggressive than others. These breeds tend to be the running breeds, such as Tan or Britannia Petite. If you're looking for a gentle breed, then a Mini Lop, Netherland Dwarf, or Florida White may be the one for you.
Show Competition - This may not be important for pet owners, but if you plan on showing your rabbit, it's a big deal. In some areas of the country, certain breeds are more prevalent than others. If you like a lot of competition, buy a breed that has a lot of breeders and exhibitors in your area. If you like winning rosettes and ribbons, but don't need competition, then a less common breed is for you.
Once you've figured out what type of breed of rabbit you want, you should
make sure that you have the proper equipment and supplies. You need to think
Housing - The type of housing you needs depends on whether you have one rabbit for a pet or whether you want more than a few rabbits. The more rabbits you have, the more accommodating your space must be. A recommended cage size for a small rabbit is 30" X 30" X 14". This will give your rabbit plenty of room to run around and be a rabbit, while providing room for a nest box in the future. Larger rabbits should have around 36" X 30" X 18".
Wire is the best material for cages because it's the easiest to clean and sanitize. Wood will get messy quickly, and rabbits tend to chew on it. An all-wire cage is best, but if wood is needed, try and keep the amount of wood available to the rabbit inside the cage or hutch at a minimum.
Cages should be kept out of drafts, away from predators, and out of the weather. Also, they should be kept in the shade, because rabbits are very susceptible to heat and can get ill if they are not well-cooled.
A sitting board should be provided for larger breeds and for rabbits which have a thinner hair surface of their feet. This is to prevent sore hocks.
Along with pellets, a rabbit's diet can be supplemented with roughage (hay) of some sort. Rabbits love alfalfa, but it's very rich and should be fed only in moderation. Grass hay such as timothy hay is best and less expensive. Give them all grass hay they want.
Food dishes should be heavy and not easily tipped or have some sort of device to hold them down. Lord knows how much money has been wasted in any rabbitry because of spilled feed.
Water dishes should hold plenty of water and be heavy ceramic crocks or large Croc-Locks. Water bottles work also, but some rabbits don't know how to use them. Just make sure all of your equipment is clean and sanitary.
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