Take Home Care Packet 

Everyone who purchases a bunny goes home with a hard copy of this packet.

FEED:

 

Your new bunny will need to have a gradual transition to the feed you choose to get. I feed my rabbits Country Roads Rabbit pellets from Rural King.

  • For the first 3 days, only use the pellets I send home with you. On day 4, start gradually mixing in the food of your choice until the food I provided runs out and you are feeding only the food of your choice.  Do not purchase “baby” or “young rabbit food.” Purchase a 14-18% protein adult rabbit food that consists of only greenish pellets. Don’t purchase anything with extra treats, seeds, oats or nuts in it. You will feed a ½ cup of food per day for one month. After it’s first month you can start feeding 3/4 cup per day.

 

  • When you bring a new bunny home, you do not want to feed it pellets on an empty stomach, meaning, you will want to give a big handful of hay in the morning first. Let the rabbit gobble that up for 10-15 minutes and then you can fill its bowl or feeder with ½ cup of rabbit food. Rabbit food is rich in protein and too much at once can cause diarrhea which can be dangerous for young rabbits. Feeding babies hay first dilutes the protein and makes their meals less rich and easier to digest.

 

  • Purchase Timothy hay for your rabbit. DO NOT feed straw or Alfalfa. Straw is does not contain very much nutritional value and Alfalfa is too rich and can cause diarrhea.

 

  • If your rabbit gets very watery diarrhea that has a strong odor, take immediately to the vet. It can be coccidia or a reaction to too much protein. Both are treatable if taken to the vet immediately before they become too lethargic and dehydrated. Both of these have a possibility of occurring due to a change in diet and stress from a new home environment.

 

  • DO NOT feed any kind of treat or snack of any kind for the first month! Your rabbits’ diet should strictly consist of only pellets and hay. After a month you can introduce carrots, berries, banana and cucumber in very small amounts. You can see a full list of “treats” on my website under the “Rabbit Care” page. Never feed a rabbit leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage. These treats are a bit controversial online, but they can all cause bloat, so it is better to just feed treats that are perfectly safe. All of the vitamins and minerals a rabbit needs can be found in their pellets and hay. Leafy greens are not required for a rabbit to have a balanced diet like some websites suggest.

 

  • The best and most inexpensive rabbit feed is found at feed stores such as Tractor Supply, Rural King or Southern States. High quality rabbit feed contains 14-18% protein.

 

  • Always have clean water available for your rabbit. A water bottle with a ball works best and is the cleanest.

Litter Training:

Visit The House Rabbit Society at: http://rabbit.org. Here you can learn how to litter train your rabbit as well as learn the benefits of spay and neutering.

Spay/Neuter

A rabbit can be spay/neutered at 6 months of age. There are tons of benefits to getting your rabbit fixed, so it is highly recommended! Not only does it keep a buck from becoming territorial and spraying and keep a doe’s attitude in check, it also helps rabbits live longer because their risk of reproductive cancers and diseases are eliminated. Plus, it makes litter training much easier.

Grooming: Rabbits do not need baths! In fact, it is best not to bathe them because they do an excellent job doing it themselves. But of course, if your bunny gets feces on its feet dipping its feet in some water for cleaning is acceptable. Every month or so, trim back your bunnies’ nails by clipping off only the sharp tip. If you can see your rabbits blood point in its nails do not trim on that line of blood, but just above it. If you do cut your bunnies nail too short get a pinch of flour and dab on the bleeding nail and apply pressure. After a few minutes it will clot and stop bleeding. If your rabbit is shedding or molting, a daily brushing will keep it’s hair off of you and your furniture.

Toys and Playing: Rabbits love to play! They are not meant to sit in a cage all day every day. Bunnies can become bored and start bad habits like over eating and excessive chewing. Playing outside it’s cage in a safe area in your home that is free of cords for a few minutes daily or outside in a rabbit pen that can be purchased online or at pet stores are excellent ways to let your rabbit get some exercise and variety in its day,

Toilet paper rolls with stuffed hay is a great toy as well as kitten balls. Some rabbit love kitten balls and some don’t, but it’s worth buying one to find out. There are also lots of chewable wood products for rabbits at pet and feed stores.

Rabbit handling:

The best and most secure way to pick up a bunny is by the scruff. This ensures your rabbit won’t scratch you and allows you to have complete control of the bunny. DO NOT pick a rabbit up by the ears!                                                        

                   

When holding a rabbit to to move it somewhere, hold the scruff and put the bunnies head under your arm. They will stay calm this way and wont be dropped. Watch small children with their new pet. Baby rabbits are fragile and their legs can easily be broken! When you want to sit on the couch and hold your bunny, just make sure all 4 feet are on your chest or lap. Bunnies like to feel grounded with all 4 feet on a surface.

The first few weeks with your new rabbit:

Please supervise your children with their new pet! Small rabbits are fragile and are usually very nervous and just getting used to their surroundings. Rabbits make great pets if they are respected. Bunnies can get defensive and mean if they feel continually uncomfortable or nervous. It is their way of trying to avoid contact if they have had bad past experiences. Children should be calm and quiet when they are bonding with their new rabbit.

Leave the rabbit in their cage with minimal contact for the first 3 days. This can be hard, but it is worth it! Rabbits can become easily stressed and leaving their mothers and familiar environment can be especially stressful. Leave them be in a quiet, calm area so they can adjust to their new home.

Rabbits can experience stress induced diarrhea from Coccidia, this is something all rabbits have in their gut, but stress makes their bodies produce too much. Unfortunately, rabbits dehydrate very quickly. First signs of diarrhea should be taken seriously. Please do not call Ellie’s Rabbitry – just take your bunny to the vet! This is one of the biggest reasons new rabbits should be left alone to adjust for the first 3 days -- to avoid unnecessary stress. After the first three days, continue to be calm and especially gentle so your rabbit feels conformable around you. If you have children, get your bunny out for short periods of time a couple times a day and make the experience as calm and relaxing as possible. It will take time for your rabbit to warm up to you – they generally are pretty shy for a few weeks. Don’t give up! Sometimes letting the rabbit come to you works the best. Sit on the floor in a playpen and let the rabbit come to you. Let them sniff and lick you on their own terms.

Urine Color:

Rabbits urine varies in color from a pale yellow to rusty orange. Many people think that there is blood in their rabbits urine when they are new to caring for rabbits. Blood in the urine is very rare and is typically only caused by a serious infection or cancer. A dark rusty orange is actually perfectly ok.

For any additional questions send an e-mail!  I’m happy to help and enjoy hearing from people who have purchased bunnies!

If for any reason you can no longer look after your rabbit, please contact me and I will accept the rabbit back no questions asked.

Ellie McGinnis: elliesrabbitry@yahoo.com

Vets in Lexington area:

Call around to find a good price for fixing your rabbit! It should cost about the same amount as it would to get a cat fixed. $75-150 is pretty normal. Bucks are less expensive to fix than does. Some vets charge A LOT or refer you to an exotics vet. Call several vets in your area for the best price.

Make sure your rabbits eat breakfast before going in for surgery. This is different than dogs and cats and is very important.

When you’re ready to spay or neuter your rabbit here are 2 vets you can refer to:

Boonsboro Animal Clinic                  Animal Care Clinic

1500 Boonsboro Rd.                                  1096 Wellington Way

Winchester, KY 40391                              Lexington, KY 40513

859-745-1173                                             859-223-8866

They will only Neuter                               Will spay and neuter

$90

 

Clark County Vet Clinic

859-744-5656

Winchester, KY

They will spay for $200 and neuter for $160