Tuesday, May 15, 2012
How do you deal with a new rabbit?
If the title of this post caught your attention, you are probably considering getting a new rabbit. I have just recently added a couple of rabbits to my herd, so now may be a good time to discuss how you treat them. I am going through the same issues you will be facing when you bring your new rabbit home, and this is how I am dealing with them. The first problem you have to deal with is disease. Now, if this is your first rabbit, you don't need to worry about this. However, if your last one died recently and you are looking to get a replacement, it's a different story. First, do you know for sure that it didn't die from disease? If you don't know this for certain, keep your new rabbit away from the old one's living space. If there is no wood on the cage, it's okay to use it. Just scrub the cage really well, (using liquid bleach on it may not be a bad idea) and let it sit out in the sunshine for a day or two. Ditto with any crocks or water bottles the old rabbit used (just make sure you rinse them out really well before the new rabbit uses them.) Why do you need to do this? Well, in case your old rabbit had any diseases or parasites which caused him to die, you definitely don't want your new rabbit to catch them. This isn't necessary if it died a long time ago or if you're sure it died of causes other than disease, but it's still a good idea. If you have rabbits already, keep your new one quarantined for at least two weeks, unless you know and trust the breeder well. Sometimes new rabbits will have infectious diseases, and this period will give any disease it may have time to show itself. Make sure you examine the rabbit for any signs of disease (more on that later) before buying it or moving it in with the other rabbits. Be gentle with your new rabbit the first week you bring him home. He's gone through a lot of stress recently, what with the trip in the car, strange people handling him, and all the unfamiliar sounds of your home. You may not want to get him out of his cage the same day you get him. Leave him alone and let him get used to his surroundings. Feeding rabbits greens before they are ready will result in diarrhea, tummy aches and maybe even death. Don't feed him greens (or anything that isn't dried)until he is at least three months old, and don't over do it then. In fact, don't feed him anything he's not used to in large amounts. To give you an idea of how little to start with, if you are planning on feeding him carrots regularly, start with a single carrot round per day. You can gradually increase the amount as he gets used to it, but it really isn't necessary for him to have any treats at all. The pellets will give him all he needs. However, a little treat won't hurt every once in a while, and if he's an angora, giving him hay may not be a bad idea. It helps with wool block. Also, make sure you get a sample of food from the breeder if it is different from your own, then gradually mix your pellets with the pellets he's used too. Rabbits are wonderful pets. Above all, just love your rabbit. But love him enough to care for him properly. Do your research. The more you know about your rabbit the more you can truly love him the way he needs to be loved.