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  #1  
Old 02-08-2011, 03:05 PM
wcsclove wcsclove is offline
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Default Help!! how to take care rabbits?

Hi all,

I suddenly feel like wan to rear rabbits as pets but before having it. I would like to know how to take care rabbits.

anyone who have the experience pls kindly answer my queries below and share wit me ur experiences.

1. How to take care a rabbit? Can we buy any rabbits food from pet shops or store or must eat fresh vegetable?

2. Will rabbit get sick easily?

3. Do we need a big space like grass or field? I stay at apartment. will this make the rabbit sick due to small space? or

4. How much we need to spend monthly? (food, vaccine, shampoos ~ do we need to take bath for rabbits) need to buy any toys for them to play? need to bring them for fur-dressing?

Thank you in advance for answering my questions.
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:46 PM
thx1138 thx1138 is offline
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Default Re: Help!! how to take care rabbits?

First, I must say that it’s very good you’re taking the trouble to find out about rabbits before getting them as pets. Many people would just act on impulse and then find out that they aren’t prepared to make the effort to care properly for rabbits, and that usually ends up with the rabbits neglected or dead.

What you need to keep in mind is that rabbits are delicate animals which need a lot of daily care and attention, and will live 8 – 10 years on average, and up to 15 years is possible. You need to ask yourself if you are willing and able to make that sort of commitment in time, effort and expense. If you’re not, its best you do not get a rabbit.

The behaviour of a rabbit is also very different from cats and dogs – some people get rabbits and then are disappointed when it’s not as friendly and affectionate as a dog. If they wanted a dog, they should get a dog.

I do suggest that you continue your background research for a few months for two reasons. First, there’s a great deal to learn, and you may discover that a rabbit is not the right pet for you. Second, in a few months time, there will be plenty of unwanted rabbits up for adoption since people will have gotten carried away with the whole Year of the Rabbit thing and bought rabbits without realising what’s involved. By adopting an unwanted rabbit or two, you will in effect be saving their lives, since pet rabbits sent to animal shelters are often killed to make room for other unwanted animals, and pet rabbits released into parks will die of disease if they aren’t killed by cats and dogs first.

If you still want to get rabbits after you do the research, if possible, get two or more rabbits so they can keep each other company. You must of course neuter and spay them if they are of opposite sexes. Some people consider this cruel – what is cruel is letting them breed, and then giving away or selling the offspring to people who will neglect or abuse the offspring. To put things simply, most people don’t have the patience to care for a rabbit properly, so most rabbits end up neglected, abused, and then dead.

To answer your questions:

1. How to take care a rabbit? Can we buy any rabbits food from pet shops or store or must eat fresh vegetable?

A healthy diet for a rabbit will consist of three items – hay (the most important), fresh vegetables, and a good quality pellet.

Hay - the single most important element in a rabbit’s diet. Alfalfa (Lucerne) hay for young rabbits under 6 months, timothy or any other grass hay for those over 6 months old. Most pet shops sell hay, but buying hay from pet shops is very expensive. It is cheaper and better to buy hay by the bale (20kg – 40kg) from equestrian clubs. It will be around RM3 to RM4 per kg if you buy from the clubs compared to RM20 – RM25 per kg if you buy from pet shops. The hay from clubs will be fresher too, which is why it’s better.

Vegetables - If you can afford it, please buy organic vegetables. I know they’re more expensive, but it’s healthier for the rabbits. Not all vegetables are safe – some are poisonous. So one of the things you should do is google for a list of rabbit-safe vegetables. Fresh vegetables should be available daily – if you buy organic, a 5lb rabbit will eat RM10 worth of organic vegetables a week. Jusco has the best (wide variety at reasonable prices) selection of organic vegetables.

Pellets – the price of pellets ranges from cheap to expensive. As you will have guessed, most cheap pellets are unhealthy. The important thing about the pellet you buy is its composition. A good quality pellet has high fibre, low protein, and low calcium. You can google to find out what should be high, and what should be low in a pellet, and why it should be high/low. Do not buy pellets which come in unmarked plastic bags with not even a brand name on it – you will have no idea what’s in the pellet. Always get pellets which have the composition printed on the outside of the bag. The best cheap pellet I’ve found is by Bengy – around RM13 per 11lb bag. Reasonably high in fibre and low in protein, but the calcium content is on the high side. A better pellet is by Oxbow – available at local pet shops like Pet Lovers Centre and Petsmore, but it’s more expensive – around RM65 (after membership discount) per 10lb bag (Bunny Basics-T for adults). If you can, you should get Oxbow pellets – they are more expensive but you will only be giving a small amount daily since you will be feeding more hay and vegetables anyway.


2. Will rabbit get sick easily?

They can get sick easily. Rabbits are very sensitive and delicate. If they are cared for properly, with a healthy diet as given above, that will help a lot. You will need to spend time with them daily to get to know their habits and behaviour so that you can tell when they are sick. A sick rabbit will hide being sick, so it will be up to you to notice a change in the behaviour. A sick rabbit will need to be taken to the vet straight away – there is no such thing as saying you’ll wait for the weekend or when you have free time. If you wait, chances are the rabbit will die first.


3. Do we need a big space like grass or field? I stay at apartment. will this make the rabbit sick due to small space?

An apartment is fine. But you must let them have space in the apartment to run about. Rabbits can be toilet trained, so they can be left out to explore and hop around the whole apartment. However, you need to make sure that anything dangerous to a rabbit is stored away or protected. All electrical wires must be kept hidden or wrapped in thick plastic hose, or else the rabbits will bite the wires and electrocute themselves. Furniture like wooden chairs and table legs need to be wrapped in cardboard because rabbits will gnaw on them.

Like all animals, exercise is good for them. Space to run around is very important. Keeping a rabbit in a small cage all the time is not only cruel, but it will lead to the muscles not developing properly.


4. How much we need to spend monthly? (food, vaccine, shampoos ~ do we need to take bath for rabbits) need to buy any toys for them to play? need to bring them for fur-dressing?

For two rabbits:

Neuter (RM150 per rabbit) / Spay (RM250 per rabbit) – this is a one-time cost
Food – hay (RM10) + organic vegetables (RM80) + Oxbow pellets (RM30) = RM120 per month.
Vaccine – there are no vaccines for rabbits in Malaysia. In other countries, yes. In Malaysia, no.
No bathing necessary – rabbits are like cats – they will keep grooming themselves and each other throughout the day. So no need to buy any shampoo.
Toys – their favourite toys will be things like newspapers they can shred, cardboard boxes to gnaw on. No need to buy expensive toys.



This is a very good site for more information on rabbits.
http://www.rabbit.org/
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2011, 03:00 PM
wcsclove wcsclove is offline
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Default Re: Help!! how to take care rabbits?

Thx1138,

Thank you very for sharing your experience. I need to get more information and discuss with my family whether to have rabbits or not. However, I still got some questions as below,

1. Is there any equestrian clubs at KL selling the hay? who should I ask? Do you have the contact?
2. For same gender rabbits, will they fight with each others?
3. How to toilet trained rabbits?

Thanks again.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:17 PM
thx1138 thx1138 is offline
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Default Re: Help!! how to take care rabbits?

1. Is there any equestrian clubs at KL selling the hay? who should I ask? Do you have the contact?

Pacific Horseland Pro Shop @ Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort
03-20922276 / 20945699

Selangor Polo & Riding Club
03-4564531 / 4570508/ 42564531


2. For same gender rabbits, will they fight with each others?

Fighting is more to do with personality than gender. Yes, rabbits do have personalities, just like any other animal.

You can have mixed gender rabbits fighting because they just don’t get along. You can also have same gender rabbits living in peace because they do get along well. Neutering and spaying will reduce the level of aggression, so that’s another reason to neuter/spay.


3. How to toilet trained rabbits?

Generally, they will pick one or two spots and always go back to the same spots. So all you have to do is put a litter tray in the spot for them. What can help is if you put some tissue paper which is soaked in their urine in the litter tray. They will smell it and usually realise/remember that’s where they are supposed to go.

The exception is when they are going through puberty ( 3 – 6 months). Then they will be spraying urine everywhere. This behaviour usually stops after maturity or after they have been neutered/spayed.

The most important thing to remember is that you must never, ever use violence against a rabbit. They respond to positive re-inforcement, like being given something tasty when they do something right. If you use violence (negative re-inforcement), they will not understand why they are being hurt, and will continue to do whatever it is they are doing – but they will remember that you are hurting them and fear you.

There are a few articles on toilet training in the earlier link. Worth reading.
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