CARING FOR YOUR ROSEWOOD RABBIT - CARE POLICIES & TIPS
Your rabbit’s cage should be large enough for them when they are fully grown. Holland Lops will get to be 3-4.5 pounds at maturity, Lionheads 2.5-3.5 pounds. The cage must be a minimum 24x24 but preferably larger. Your rabbit must also have lots of supervised play time outside of their cage. Here are some options for housing:
You can convert a dog crate into a cage, create a cage with cube grids (see www.guineapigcages.com) or house your rabbit in an exercise pen. The bigger the better! If you choose to build a cage be sure not to use chicken wire as it is not sturdy enough (rabbits can bite through it) or treated wood as it is dangerous for them to eat. Wooden floors are also not sanitary and are hard to clean. Wire bottom with proper spacing or plastic bottom is best.
Litter Box Training**
Rabbits are very easy to train and enjoy having a designated area to use the washroom. I recommend recycled paper bedding as it is safe if ingested. Also Wood Stove Pellets (found at Canadian Tire or Home Depot) and Feline Pine (found at pet stores) are great options. Personally I use Wood Stove Pellets as it is a safe and economical option that absorbs the urine and masks smells well. Never use clay cat litter as it is toxic if eaten. Corn cob bedding is not a safe option either.
To train your rabbit simply sweep their poops off the bottom of their cage into the litter box and put paper towel with their pee on it right inside the litter box and they will catch on quickly. Once they are reliable in the cage you can give them freedom outside of the cage and slowly give them larger areas as they learn to return back to the litter box. A good idea would be multiple boxes in the room at the beginning until they learn to use one box. Change the litter box daily to prevent smell but do not fully clean the box so the rabbit can smell where they should be going to the washroom.
Spaying and Neutering
**= It is very difficult (but not impossible) to fully litter box train a rabbit until they are neutered/spayed. My rabbits will pee exclusively in the box but will still sometimes poop outside of it as they of course aren’t fixed. Also males that are not neutered will sometimes spray (although not all do). Bonding rabbits together is almost impossible without spaying and neutering. The vet I recommend is Perth Vet: http://perthvet.ca/
Please do not breed your rabbit as there are many pet rabbits in the world already. Rabbit breeders breed to better the breed and pet quality rabbits should not be bred.
I will NOT sell a rabbit to someone with an unaltered buck (male rabbit). If you are wanting to bond your rabbit to your new rabbit please do your research on bonding. I will sell does (female rabbits) to those with neutered bucks if you are wanting to bond them slowly and introduce them slowly.
Your rabbit requires at least an hour each day to run around whether it be in an exercise pen outside (supervised and secure) or indoors. Be sure to ``bunny-proof`your house. This means no cords in sight and no unsafe plants that are accessible to the rabbit. Also a baby gate at the top of steps is a good idea. Never leave a rabbit unsupervised inside or outside unless the room is completely bunny safe. They are curious critters and can injure themselves or be destructive if the room is not bunny-proof.
Inside or Outside
For your pet rabbit I recommend indoor living as it is much easier to spend time with your rabbit and notice if he or she is not well. Also it is fun being able to watch them explore indoors. If you choose to house your rabbit outdoors you must ensure the cage is off the ground at least 3.5 feet and is sturdy enough so dogs or other animal cannot get to your rabbit. Never use chicken wire as it is not strong enough to keep animals out or rabbits in. Also never house your rabbit on the grass as he could dig out or something could dig in. (Unless you are supervising them) Ensure your rabbit has a hiding box to get out of the elements and lots of hay if it is cold.
You can bring your rabbit outside using a harness and leash but be sure the harness is secure as rabbits have been known to pull out of their harnesses. Also make sure you never pull on the rabbit, let the rabbit walk you!
The best way to give your rabbit outdoors time is to purchase a dog exercise pen. Remember to supervise as predator animals can easily get into an exercise pen.
A rabbit’s diet is very important. The only foods available in pet stores that I recommend are Oxbox and Martin’s. Another option is buying pellets from a feed store but it is usually not an option for someone with one or two rabbits as the feed comes in large bags and will lose its freshness before it is fed to your rabbits. To switch the food you must switch slowly over a week adding small amounts of the new food until you have completely switched. If you notice diarrhea stop the switch until diarrhea has cleared up. NEVER feed your rabbit pellets that have seeds, corn or little coloured bits in it. It may look fun but your rabbit does not need these additives and they can make him or her sick.
The majority of a rabbit’s diet should be a good quality grass hay. Timothy Hay is recommended for adults (over 6 months) and Alfalfa Hay only for babies (under 6 months) as it is high in calcium. Timothy Hay can be given at any age. Hay should always be available. You can also choose to feed hay cubes as they are less messy.
I do not recommend buying any store bought treats for your rabbit at Pet Smart or other pet stores unless it is Hay cubes. The majority of pet store treats have sugar that can be toxic to your rabbit. Seeds are also not good for your rabbit. Stay away from yogurt drops, corn treats or seed stick treats. Sadly rabbit owners unknowingly buy these for their pets thinking they look fun but they are not good for your rabbit at all and can cause diarrhea or worse issues.
Unsafe Treats/Foods (can kill your rabbit):
-Potatoes and Peels
Some healthy treats (for rabbits over 6 months):
-Clover (flower and leaves)
-Dandelion (flower and leaves)
-Grass (ensure not sprayed with pesticides)
-lettuce (romaine never iceberg, greener the better)
-Berries (all types)
-Banana (small amounts)
-Apple (no seeds)
You can find a complete list online of safe foods, always check first before feeding or email me any time!
I recommend a water bottle over a water dish as dishes can get food and litter in them and be tipped. Be sure to clean your rabbit’s bottle when needed with a bottle cleaner.
Fruits and Vegetables
Rabbit’s diet should mainly be made up of hay and pellets. Fruits and vegetables can be given in small amounts as a treat. Contrary to some websites you may find (House Rabbit Society) rabbits do not require greens daily. Too much and your rabbit may get diarrhea which can be deadly, especially in young rabbits. Never feed your rabbit fruit or vegetables before the age of 6 months. Their bodies cannot handle it at this age and it can be deadly to them sadly. After 6 months of age you can slowly introduce vegetables one at a time in small amounts. For example 1 baby carrot a day or a few leaves of spinach. Never give your rabbit rotten fruits or veggies. Please see attached list of safe and unsafe foods.
Rabbits usually enjoy inexpensive handmade toys over expensive pet store toys. Search the website www.bunnyapproved.com for some cheap great toys you can make for your pet.
Some favourite toys of mine are:
-toilet paper rolls (stuff with hay)
-Practice golf balls
-Cat toys (ensure no bells are inside -choking hazard)
-ping pong balls
-Any fully wooden toys found at Pet-Smart/Pet Valu
Check your rabbit`s nails monthly to see if they are getting too long. If you can see a lot of white of the nail it means your rabbit needs a clipping. If your rabbit`s nails are black you will not be able to see the `quick` (the pink part) so you must use your judgement to know if the nails need to be done.
Never use large dog nail clippers as they will bend the rabbit`s nail causing discomfort. If you feel uncomfortable doing this most vets or groomers will do it for you at a small cost. It is very easy to do and your rabbit will get used to their nails being done.
Always hold your rabbit close to you supporting their back feet with one hand and their body with the other. Always ensure children are sitting down when holding a rabbit as rabbits can jump out of a child’s arms and injure themselves. A good idea is to wrap the rabbit in a towel or blanket while being held by a child so the rabbit feels more secure. Teach children to be gentle with the rabbit and always supervise.
My rabbits have been exposed to large and small dogs as well at cats. Introduce your rabbit to your other pets slowly. First, allow your other pets to sniff your new rabbit's cage and slowly introduce them over a few days. Never leave your rabbit with your other pets unsupervised unless you are completely confident they are safe together.
Bringing Home Your New Rabbit:
-At time of pickup please bring a small carrier to take your rabbit home.
-Bring your rabbit straight home and allow them to settle into their new cage.
-Placing a blanket or towel over part of your new rabbit's cage will help them feel more secure. Also having a place to hide in their cage helps.
-Try to not handle your rabbit for the first 2 days, allow them to settle in and speak to them in a calm voice.
-Monitor their food and water intake.
-If rabbit has loose stool increase their hay intake and take away pellets until their stool becomes normal again.
-Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns about your rabbit at any time :)
I hope you enjoy your new pet for many years to come! If at any time you are unable to care for your rabbit I will take him or her back at no fee to you. Also if you ever have any questions feel free to email, call or text me.
613-818-5005 (cell and home phone)