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Housing Information

Jan. 28th, 2007 | 10:41 pm
posted by: thesara in rabbits101

To Cage or Not to Cage:

Have questions about your new bunny's habitat, or what kind and sizes of cages are best? Read below to get some great ideas for helping your Bunny to feel "right at home."

Yes, you will need a cage! - or a pen. The cage will be your rabbit's nest; rabbits usually prefer to have a safe area they can call their own. Set the cage (nest) on the floor, in an area where you spend a lot of time, such as the living room or family room. Do not put the cage near a heater or a loud TV or stereo. Always provide shade from a sunny window. When secluded in one room, such as a bedroom, your rabbit may be cut off from the family and unsure of the area outside. The more contact you have with your rabbit, the more you will enjoy each other.

Rabbits are crepuscular, which means that they generally sleep during the day and during the night, but are ready to play at dawn and twilight. So, if you're at work during the day, they won't mind so much being in a "roomy" cage. But they MUST be let out for at least several hours each day, both to exercise and to have social interaction with you.

Perhaps you'd feel more comfortable having your bunny in a more open "pen" environment, instead of a cage. This is one option that is especially good for rabbits who are a bit "cage protective," and for those rabbits not inclined to jump out of their space. With a pen, you need to protect your floor or carpet, and this can be done with the use of an inexpensive area rug, plastic office chair mat, seagrass mats, or other bunny-safe floor covering.

You will also want a means to cover the top if your rabbit is inclined to jump or climb out of their pen. This will prevent them from getting out and into trouble, or from injuring themselves by possibly catching a leg when trying to get out.

Some things to consider when planning your rabbit's habitat:
* Make sure you purchase a cage that is large enough to accommodate Bunny when he/she is full grown
* Make sure the cage is large enough for bunny to lay stretched out, when all the necessary supplies (litterbox, water & food bowls) are inside
* Take into consideration, the amount of daily run time your rabbit will receive, when determining cage size; in this case, bigger is better
* Make sure the cage door is large enough for a large cat litterbox to fit through
* Make sure the cage door opens from the side, and not down, so bunny's feet won't get caught when entering or exiting the cage
* Urine guards are helpful in keeping hay and urine in the cage
* Casters or wheels on the cage make it easy to move about when needing to clean bunny's area
* And, don't forget, bunny needs several hours "out of cage or pen" time, each day

Where to buy "house rabbit" cages: For average size breeds (5 - 10 lbs.) it's recommend that a cage no smaller than 36" wide x 24" deep x 18-24" high. You may have a cage manufacturer near you, or visit these web sites for some great examples of cages that meet Bunny's needs:
* KW Cages, telephone 800-447-CAGE (2243)
* Leith Petwerks, telephone 800-956-3576
* Bunny Hop Central
* Super Pet 3 Level Deluxe Rabbitrail Home
* Cozy Critter Cages
* Build your own with Neat Idea Cubes More links: 1, 2, 3!

Here's a picture of my, thesara's, NIC Cage:

Leave comments with your cage ideas, pictures of your cages, instructions on how you made your cage, etc.!

More resources for housing:
Rabbit.org Housing
Rabbit.org Housing Update
Ontariorabbits.org Housing PDF FILE
Rabitsinthehouse.org Housing PDF FILE
Kelly's Cage Page
Multi Maintenance


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Looking for a Good Veterinarian?

Jan. 28th, 2007 | 09:54 pm
posted by: thesara in rabbits101

Check out these links:
Mattocks Vet List by State
Rabbit.org Vet List by State
American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
American Academy of Veterinary Denistry

If you would post a comment to your local vet on this post (and their website if they have one) I will begin a list of vets by City and State.

Illinois - Elmwood Park (Chicago) Midwest Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital


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New Rabbit Owner? Check This Post Out!

Jan. 28th, 2007 | 08:39 pm
posted by: thesara in rabbits101

A Rabbit in the House - Now What?

Set your rabbit up for success; structure his environment so he will succeed.

Yes, you will need a cage! The cage will be your rabbit's nest; rabbits usually prefer to have a safe area they can call their own. Set the cage (nest) on the floor, in an area where you spend time, such as the living room or family room. Do not put the cage near a heater or a loud TV or stereo. Always provide shade from a sunny window. When secluded in one room, such as a bedroom, they may be cut off from the family and unsure of the area outside. The more contact you have with your rabbit, the more you will enjoy each other.

This is more information about housing from my old vet's website:
House rabbits should never be kept completely confined to a cage. Exercise is vital for the health of the rabbit. All too often people describe rabbits as easy to keep because “they can be caged and don’t take up much space!” This idea has led to many rabbits being caged most of their lives with the distinct possibility of developing both physical and behavioral disorders. They are designed to run and jump and move about a large area.
To confine a rabbit exclusively to a cage can cause several problems:
* Obesity – caused most often by a diet too high in calories coupled with a lack of exercise
* Pododermatitis – Inflammation of the feet caused by sitting in a damp or dirty environment
* Poor bone density - Rabbits that are continually confined to a small cage can exhibit marked thinning of the bones which may lead to more easily broken bones when handling
* Poor muscle tone - If the rabbit can’t exercise, the muscles, including the heart, will be underdeveloped and weak
* Gastrointestinal and urinary function - A rabbit that sits all day in the cage with little exercise can develop abnormal elimination habits
* Behavioral problems - Continually caged rabbits can exhibit a wide range of abnormal behaviors including lethargy, aggression, continual chewing of the cage bars, chewing fur (obsessive grooming), and destruction of the entire contents of the cage.

A cage can be used as a “home base” for part of the day or it can be open all the
time within an exercise area. The cage should allow the rabbit to stand up on its hind legs without hitting the top of the cage, provide a resting area and space for a litter box. It should be easy to clean and indestructible, therefore metal is probably the best choice. The floor can be solid or wire. Keep the cage in a well-ventilated, cool area. Basements are often too damp, which can promote respiratory disease. If you must house your pet in a basement, use a dehumidifier and a fan to improve the air quality. The optimum temperature range for a rabbit is 60-70 degrees F. When the temperature rises into the mid 70's, you may see drooling, and a clear nasal discharge. If temperatures reach the upper 80's and beyond, especially if the humidity level is high, there exists a potential for fatal heat stroke. On hot days, when air conditioning is not available, leave a plastic milk jug filled with frozen water in the cage, for use as a portable "air conditioner".

Rabbits can be caged outdoors if they are provided with a shelter to protect them from rain, heat and cold. In addition, make sure the cage is secure from predators such as dogs, coyotes and raccoons and is kept clean to keep from attracting parasitic insects. In the winter use straw bedding in the sheltered area for insulation and make sure that the water bowl is changed daily. Your pet can dehydrate rapidly if the water is frozen for more than a day.

There is another post on housing, see it here.

Rabbits are crepuscular, which means that they generally sleep during the day and during the night, but are ready to play at dawn and twilight. So, if you're at work during the day, they won't mind so much being in a cage. But they MUST be let out for at least several hours each day, both to exercise and to have social interaction with you.

The nest should include a litterbox with hay, and food and water bowls. Follow our litterbox training tips. Supply him with safe toys and a bed of lambswool from the fabric store. Line the pull out tray with newspaper. Avoid wood shavings. Use a organic litter such as CareFRESH, Yesterday's News or Cat Country in the litterbox.

Put Thumper in his nest and close the door for a few hours. Let him get used to the sounds and smells of your home while feeling safe and secure. If he nibbles his food or stretches out, he is relaxing.

Allow a small run area for the first few days. Close off bedrooms or areas where he can get lost. Block access behind refrigerators, washer/dryers and entertainment centers. He should be able to have run time whenever you can supervise him. Put one or more litterboxes in the run area and increase his freedom as he proves himself with his box. Put some hay in the litterbox to encourage him to get in.

Bunny proof! Rabbits like to chew and dig! Tuck electrical and phone cords out of the way or encase them in clear plastic tubing from the hardware store. Remove books and other desirable items from low shelves. Put houseplants up out of the way. Provide him with a cardboard box of hay to play in. Redirect him to his toys if he is "acting up." Young bunnies are especially exuberant and need to be properly directed.

Bored rabbits become naughty rabbits. If you're not around to talk to or pet your rabbit as you prepare dinner, watch TV or just read, your rabbit will become very bored. That's when rabbits generally get into trouble by digging in the carpet, chewing on forbidden objects or eating your couch. A very large hole can appear in the carpet in just a few minutes. Young rabbits are generally the ones who get into this type of mischief. So, even if your rabbit starts out this way, you might check every few months to see if she can earn more freedom as she ages. Often, the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen or a bedroom are good, safe places to confine your rabbit while you're away. These rooms are easy to rabbit-proof. If none of these rooms is practical, then you'll probably have to consider an indoor cage or pen.

Free run of the house is what we strive for and what many of us are able to achieve. This definitely requires more work on your part. You must inspect every room of your house like a four-star general, looking for wires and other dangerous objects (like plants) that could cause harm to your rabbit. If you have a computer room, you might allow your rabbit access to every room except that one. The more room your rabbit has, the more delightful you will find her as a pet and companion.

Toys: To keep your rabbit occupied and amused, offer toys such as:

* Toilet paper and paper towel rolls
* Paper cups (not plastic coated)
* Newspaper and white scrap paper (ink isn't harmful, just gives dirty feet)
* Straw baskets
* Canning jar rings
* Rolled oats box; cut off the bottom to make a tunnel for tiny rabbit. Be sure he won't get stuck!
* Soft drink can with pebble inside for noise
* Rubber balls (unless your rabbit chews on them)
* Wire ball with bell inside (sold in stores as a cat or bird toy)
* Cardboard boxes (tape shut then cut small doors)
* Old towels to push around and dig at

Have your rabbit spayed or neutered at about 4-6 months of age by a veterinarian experienced with rabbits. This will help with litterbox training and general behavior.

Do not leave your rabbit unattended outside as rabbits scare easily and can dig out of a fenced yard. Also, keep them from poisonous plants and pesticides. You can try an "H style" cat harness and a leash, but begin in a safe and familiar area.

Discipline: Never hit a rabbit. They can become very aggressive and angry if provoked. When you find your rabbit doing something that is not allowed, try any or all of the following:

* Clap your hands together to make a loud noise
* Thump your foot like a fellow rabbit
* Whistle loudly
* Shout loudly

Biting: Biting must be stopped as soon as possible. Rabbits do not usually bite because they hate you. There are many reasons within a rabbit's social structure that bring about a bite. For instance, a finger or hand in front of their face may be misinterpreted as a challenge to fight. A rabbit may also accidentally bite when he tries to tug your pant leg and accidentally gets your ankle. Whatever the reason, if you get nipped, let out a shrill cry. Rabbits do this when they are hurt. Since they usually do not intend to hurt you, they will be surprised to find that you have cried out and will usually stop the behavior within a few times.

Get down on the floor! Spend a lot of time on your rabbit's level where you are less intimidating. Rabbits are naturally curious and will come up to you eventually. Most rabbits enjoy being petted on the broad part of their head. Snuggling on the floor is usually welcome. If you are holding the rabbit and he struggles, hold him tightly or drop down to your knees and let him go. Do not drop your rabbit as they are very fragile.

Your rabbit may be a bit shy at first. Usually within two weeks rabbits begin to feel more secure in their new surroundings. Soon, you will have a rabbit dancing around your home, testing you, seeing what he can get away with!

All of the above information is from www.rabbit.org.

Keeping Company With Rabbits

Are rabbits soft and fuzzy? Most definitely. Are rabbits as cuddly as they look? Not necessarily. Is a rabbit more like a cat or a dog? Neither. A rabbit is like a rabbit.

Are you expecting your rabbit to come running when called? They seldom do. However, having a carrot in hand may help. I have learned to call my rabbits out from under the bed about 10 minutes before I need them. They seem to show up "on time" this way.

Are you expecting your rabbit to curl up on your lap and sit with you? He probably won't. He may nudge your leg while you sit on the couch, expecting you to move over or pet him. Perhaps he will jump up and sit with you, allow you to pet him, and then scamper off just moments later.

Do you want to hold your bunny for hours? Well, most don't want to be held for hours. Most prefer you to be on the floor and meet them on their level. The floor is where your rabbit will allow you to snuggle with him and show your affections. This is where he is most comfortable.

The first rule in communicating with a rabbit is to get down on the floor. The second rule is also to get down on the floor. Rabbits need to be approached at their level: the floor. Spend time getting to know him where he is comfortable. If he seems to avoid you at first, spend time just sitting quietly on the floor, not approaching him, not trying to pick him up. Rabbits are naturally wary, but also naturally curious. Eventually curiosity will win out and your rabbit will come over to investigate you.

Try snuggling close, face to face. When he feels comfortable with you, he may allow you to pick him up. Do not rush this introduction. Remember, a rabbit is an animal of prey, and it may take time for him to gain trust in you. The first time he nudges you or grooms you, the process of trust has begun and a special honor has been bestowed upon you: He is communicating with you as he would communicate with a fellow rabbit.

As with any animal, or humans for that matter, each has his or her own personality. Some are active and crave attention. Some are shy or aloof. If a rabbit is shy, you need to make the effort to interact with him. Although shy rabbits may become more sociable with time, do not expect a different personality. This seemingly reserved behavior is actually more common and "rabbit-like" than the interactive rabbit of folklore who plays with the children.

Most important, love your rabbit. Whoever he or she is, whatever the color, markings, direction of ears, habits or personality, all are of value and deserve our love and companionship. Each will enrich your life in his or her own special way.

All of the above information is from www.allearssac.org.

More resources for housing & new rabbit owners:
Getting Moved In
House Rabbits 101: Resources for New Bunny Owners
First Few Weeks in a New Home
Your First House Rabbit
What are Rabbits Really Like?
How are Rabbits Different from Cats & Dogs?
Are You a Rabbit Person?
Getting to Know Thumper
A Rabbit in the House
Before You Adopt
Why to Keep Your Rabbit Indoors


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Diet, food, pellets, hay, fruits & veggies information and resources

Aug. 8th, 2005 | 11:30 am
mood: busybusy
posted by: thesara in rabbits101


The basic diet for a healthy adult rabbit should consist of unlimited access to grass hay (not pelleted, cubed or chopped) along with a variety of fresh vegetables and a limited amount of timothy hay-based rabbit pellets---every day.

BABY RABBITS: Alfalfa pellets and hay should be available in unlimited quantities to baby rabbits starting at about three weeks of age.

Hay is crucial to your rabbit's health as it is the main source of fiber/roughage which aids the digestion, helps prevent g.i. stasis and hairballs and it is helpful in keeping your rabbit's teeth in good shape. Grass hays should be available in unlimited quantities to all rabbits over three weeks of age.

Pellets should always be fresh. Don't buy more than a month's supply at a time or they may get stale and lose nutritional value. By the time your rabbit is 7 months to 1 year old you should begin switching over to a timothy hay-based pellet, such as OxBow Hay's Bunny Basics/T.

Vegetables should be fresh and free of pesticides. Feed at least 3 kinds of vegetables every day. See our Veggie/Fruit list for more information.

Time balance is just as important as nutritional balance. Divide the pellets and vegetables between the morning and evening meals. Hay should always be available.

Following are dietary recommendations for the different phases of your rabbit's life. ALL recommendations are based on a healthy rabbit. These are just guidelines. You should always consult your Rabbit Vet about diet and other health issues, especially for older, ailing or frail rabbits.


* Birth to 3 weeks - mother's milk
* 3 to 7 weeks - mother's milk, unlimited access to alfalfa pellets and grass hays (timothy, oat, orchard)
* 7 weeks to 7 months - unlimited alfalfa pellets and grass hays
* 4-5 months - introduce *vegetables (one at a time, under 1/2 oz.)


* Decrease pellets to 1/4 cup per day per 5 lbs body weight, start switching rabbit to timothy hay-based pellet
* Increase daily vegetables - slowly
* Fruit, 1-2 times a week, no more than 2 oz. (2 TBL)


* Unlimited timothy, oat or other grass hays
* ¼ to ½ cup timothy hay-based pellets per 5 lbs body weight (depends on metabolism)
* 2-3 cups of veggies per 5 lbs of body weight, decrease if bunny is not eating enough hay
* Fruit, 1-2 times per week, limit to 2 TBL - NO FRUIT for overweight rabbits


* If weight and health are OK, continue diet as above
* Frail and/or older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets and/or other dietary enhancements to keep weight up

NOTE: For older rabbits it is important to have a blood workup done by your vet - at least once a year - to check the calcium level and kidney function (among other things)

NOTE: At least three different vegetables a day are recommended - any combination of lettuces counts as ONE veggie for that day)

Alfalfa, Radish And Clover Sprouts
Beet Greens1
Bok Choy
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots And Tops1
Chicory Greens3
Collard Greens3
Dandelion Greens (Pesticide Free!)
Grass - Freshly Cut From Your Backyard,
If You Are Sure There Are No Chemicals, Fertilizers, Poisons (Park Grass Usually Has One Or All Of These)
Mustard Greens
Mustard Spinach3
Okra Leaves
Pea Pods (A.K.A. Chinese Pea Pods)1
Peppermint Leaves
Peppers (green, red, yellow...)
Pumpkin Leaves
Radish Tops
Raspberry Leaves
Squash: Zucchini, Yellow, Butternut, Pumpkin
Turnip Greens3
Various Lettuces, Avoid Very Light Hearts: Romaine, Butter, Green Leaf, Boston, Bibb, Arugula... No Iceberg
Wheat Grass</font>

NOTE: Feed only once or twice a week in small amounts - NO seeds or pits! Sugary fruits, such as bananas and grapes should be fed only as occasional treats, and NO fruit should be fed to rabbits who are overweight.


NO GRAINS, LEGUMES OR NUTS! These are not natural foods for rabbits and they can be very dangerous to gut function.

1 Good source of vitamin A, feed at least one daily

2 Some bunnies may find this a rather "gassy" veggie. If diarrhea occurs, remove from diet.

3 These veggies are higher in calcium, use sparingly, once or twice a week. For older buns, or those with bladder or kidney problems, avoid, unless otherwise directed by your rabbit vet.

4 High in either oxalates or goitrogens, which can cause or exacerbate sludging, and other calcium/kidney problems. Use sparingly!

All of the above information is from www.mybunny.org

More resources for diet information:
Rabbit Feeding
Food Chart (pdf)
How To Feed the Rabbit Gastrointestinal Tract (pdf)
Carrot Cafe
Learn to read the label!
About Nutrition in Small Mammals
The Key To Better Bunny Health
General Diet Info
Rabbit Diet and Nutrition
Natural Nutrition Part I: The Importance of Fiber
Natural Nutrition Part II: Pellets and Veggies

More resources for recommended food:
ABC’s of Rabbit Safe Vegetables & Fruits
HRS Suggested Vegetables
HRS What to Feed Your Rabbit
UK Which Plants?

See Nutrition information and pictures of all veggies you could need for your buns =:3


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Promote the community!

Jul. 8th, 2005 | 03:01 pm
posted by: thesara in rabbits101

Hi there,

If you would like to promote the community please do, it would really be helpful. I'm trying to help this community grow and be a great resource but I need help promoting. Does anyone have any ideas? Most of the other rabbit communities don't allow it. I've contacted me fellow mods at rateyourbun and I haven't heard back if I can make a post there. I've done the different community promo communities as well. Any ideas? Spread the news! Here's a quick graphic I made. I'll make more (better ones) as time goes on.

<a href="http://livejournal.com/community/rabbits101"><img src="http://www.advwebpro.com/sara/rabbits101.jpg" border="0"></a>



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Post your introduction here!

Jun. 17th, 2005 | 09:50 am
mood: accomplishedaccomplished
posted by: thesara in rabbits101

Welcome to Rabbits101!

My name is Sara & I'm a 20 year-old female from a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. I decided to start this community to be a collective place to list all online resources for proper pet rabbit care. I would also like to have discussions about common questions, concerns, and list resources for people in different location to find rabbit products, care, and so forth. There are a lot of rabbit communities out there, but I'd like to have a lot of helpful information here. So, please make an introduction comment to this post so we can all get to know one another.

Your Rabbit(s) Name:
About you:
About your rabbit(s):
Picture of you:
Picture of your rabbit(s):

Click here for my introCollapse )


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