Hey guys, it is days before these babies are ready for their new homes. And let me tell you, these guys have some great homes to go to.
So you are getting ready for your new bunny, or you’re thinking of getting a new bunny. What does that mean? What does that look like? Well I’m here to explain what you need to do and what owning a new bunny will be like.
What do you need for your new bunny? Well a cage to begin with (even if it’s an indoor bunny). You want to keep your bunny in a cage when not supervised not only for your bunny’s safety, but also to keep your stuff safe. Rabbits are natural chewers and love to chew wires, furniture, books, pretty much anything it can get a hold of. A cage (or hutch) is your rabbit’s own place. Rabbits naturally live in holes, and they naturally like their own space. I would even add an argument (many would disagree) that rabbits do prefer to be alone. That’s not to say they don’t enjoy their human companionship. A wire bottom cage is best for angoras. 1″x1/2″ 14 gauge galvanized wire is ideal for rabbit feet. The reason for wire bottom cages is to keep bedding out of the angora’s fiber and to keep them out of their waste. Please, if you do use a solid bottom don’t put bedding in it. It will get entangled in their wool and be a nightmare to get out. But wire bottom is best.
You will also need a food dish. I love dog crate food dishes where the bowl screws into the base that attaches to the cage. They are great because your rabbit can’t flip it over and dump their food, which rabbits are notorious for. Also when you put it in there and you notice your rabbit scratching the feed out, raise it to about head height. This tends to discourage digging the food out of the dish.
Water bottle or water dish. I personally like water bottles. They stay cleaner and your rabbit can’t play in them. Bowls do have their purpose. In the winter is where I like using bowls. When the water freezes in the bowl the rabbits can eat the ice for water if I’m not home to change frozen water bottles when needed.
Food. This is a biggie for me. Please, please, please don’t buy rabbit food from Walmart, Petco, Petsmart, or other commercial pet food stores. The food at these stores are full of fillers and doesn’t have the protein your angora is going to need to grow that lovely wool that you are waiting ever so patiently for. Feeding your rabbit food from these places is like giving your kids nothing but Lucky Charms all the time. It tastes great to them, but doesn’t have the nutrition they need. Plus, you end up paying the same amount for a 5 lb bag of food from Petco that you do for a 50 lb bag at a feed store. Go to your local feed store, Agway, or Tractor Supply. The feed I give my guys is called Show Hutch Deluxe from Blue Seal/Kent Store. It’s a 17% protein feed, so it meets the minimum protein requirement that angoras require. Ideally they should have 18% protein but I make up for that with crimped oats, and black oil sunflower seeds mixed in. Tractor Supply also carries many name brand high protein feeds as well, the same with Agway. If you aren’t sure where to get feed locally, ask your breeder or your local feed store and they will direct you on what feed you should use (make sure you mention 17-18% protein is a must).
Timothy hay is important to angoras. Angoras have that beautiful long wool that they clean regularly. While they clean they do ingest some of the wool. But unlike cats, rabbits cannot cough up hair balls and all that wool sits in their digestive tract and blocks the way. This blockage if it can’t pass can lead to death. So hay is very important for angoras to have so that it helps clean out their tract. This is also why I put crimped oats into their daily feed as well. Timothy (or really any grass hay) is best. Alfalfa is a no go due to being high in calcium which angoras don’t need. I give my guys a Roughage Day every week. Every Sunday I will feed my rabbits who are 6 months and older only hay that day. This way they get a good cleansing of their digestive tract.
Grooming supplies are very important to have when you get your bunny. I know that I will run a comb through a baby that I am selling right before it goes to it’s new owner. But I have gotten some babies from others that needed a brushing bad, so having your grooming supplies ready to go is important. First thing you need is a slicker brush. When looking for a slicker brush get one with the rubber ends on the bristles. Rabbits have thin skin and the bristles can cut into the rabbit easily. So please find one with rubber ends. A metal double sided comb is another key tool to your grooming box. This will get out the small mats that develop naturally. This will also help keep your coat in good shape as well. Scissors. These are another essential so that you can cut out any mats that may have developed (honestly mats under the arms and between the legs happen). Plus if you chose to shear your rabbit instead of pluck or you have a rabbit who can only be shorn, then scissors will be extremely important. Finally nail clippers. Nail clippers keep your rabbit’s nails short. If you let your rabbit’s nails get long there will be a good chance that their nails will be ripped off or over grow. Regular cat nail clippers are perfect. Grooming blowers are nice to have but not necessary. If you are raising angoras for wool or have more than two then I would highly recommend a blower. It cuts your grooming time in half and is better for the wool, as combing and brushing is rumored to make the wool less dense. You don’t need an expensive blower to start off with, a small 2.5 gallon NEW wet vac will be just fine. Please make sure it’s new so that you’re not blowing anything onto your bunny. If your bunny is just a pet and you only have one or two a blower isn’t necessary.
This is where I am going to end for now. I will continue this through blog series through the week and make sure everyone is ready for their new bunny whether from me, or other breeders.