TILLYS BURROWS

AIMING TO IMPROVE THE STANDARDS OF PET CARE IN THE COMMUNITY

          Rabbit questions and Answers

 

If you have any questions that you want answering then email me at

swinnk8@aol.com

 

The Website Name, photos, stories and information remain the property of Kay and should not be copied/duplicated/used for commercial purposes,

(including publishing animal guides), resold or edited in any form, under any circumstances, without written permission from the author of the site.

©K Gardner-Tillys Burrows 2011 all rights reserved

 

Sexing your rabbit

I have had many emails on how to sex your rabbit

Because describing how to sex a rabbit can be confusing, I have drawn some diagram so you can tell the difference along with a description of what you will be looking for.

The male on the left has organs that are further apart and scrotal sacs are present on either side at maturity. The penis is round and when you place a thumb and gently press above the penis, it will be exposed.

The female’s organs are much closer together and she has nipples. The female’s vulva will be exposed as a slit and a pyramid shape when you press above it.

generally boy kits have broader and rounder heads than the girls too. by 8weeks of age you should be able to sex them properly.

Testicles will not be seen in the males until around 12 -16 weeks of age some times longer as the Age that the Testicles decending depends on the breed and size of the individual.

©KayGardner 2011 rabbit sexing picture - all rights reserved

 

 

If you have any questions that you want answering then email me at

swinnk8@aol.com

 

The Website Name, photos, stories and information remain the property of Kay and should not be copied/duplicated/used for commercial purposes, (including publishing animal guides), resold or edited in any form, under any circumstances, without written permission from the author of the site.

©K Gardner-Tillys Burrows 2011 all rights reserved

5 month female lop, joined by 2 8 wk old females

We have re-homed a 5 month old female dwarf lop and have just brought home 2, 8 wk old female normal bunnies. Our older bunny seems to growl and gets aggressive towards both babies whenever they are put together...will this change or should they be kept separate forever?

It is normal for females to become aggressive towards each other at sexual maturity and if they do not know each other. Even 2 does from the same litter that seem the best of friends can turn on each other at maturity. This can sometimes be stopped by spaying before the aggression starts and the hormones kick in but cannot be guaranteed. Temperaments have a big part to play in bonding too. Some clash and will not get on no matter how hard you try.

Whether your older doe will get on with the other doe's all depends on the above and whether she is willing to accept strangers into her territory.
Bonding rabbits can be tricky but it can be done with time depending on the individuals involved

You cannot just put strange doe's into a adult does territory and expect them to get on straight away. She will attack them and possibly kill them.
You have to put the new doe's close to her in separate hutches and runs for any sort of bond to be possible.
This can take 1 week to 6 months before she goes near to accepting them.
It may be that after all the effort put in she will not accept them at all. It is a chance you take.
It is very important for all doe's to be spayed as and smell of hormones can set fighting off. It is also important that any bucks nearby are removed to stop sexual frustration as the doe's will all smell the buck.

 

About rabbit

My rabbit was spayed and I think that the rabbit has falls pregnancy, because rabbits will start pulling hair from their dewlap ( a small patch of loose skin on the front of the neck and chest.  How you think maybe they did not good spayed?  Could you please tell me if falls pregnancy it’s mean they did not good surgery?  Thank you.

 There is no way your rabbit can fall pregnant after spaying as the whole of the reproductive system is taken away.
What can happen however is the rabbit can continue for a while to pull fur from her chest and dewlap due to the still present high pregnancy hormone levels, in affect a phantom pregnancy. These hormones will reduce within 3-6 months and she will stop this habit.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

 Can rabbit be aggressive or bite If she still has hormone.  Also may be they did wrong spayed. Maybe I can put white paper and she will stop pull fur from her chest and dewlap or what I have to do that rabbit will stop do that?  I am worry may be May be she has mites or ringworm.  Thank you.

Your doe can still be aggressive.
Spaying does help reduce the breeding hormones, which can sometimes combat aggression if the hormones are the cause but naturally some rabbits are territorial aggressive, fear aggressive or just don’t like being handled.
I have had both bucks and doe’s that needed that extra handling even after spaying/castration to help combat fear aggression. I find that some aggression reduces with age depending on the individual.
Another thing that can cause your doe to be I towards you is if you have handled a buck and she can smell him, You pick her up from above and handle her/him at a height which will cause fear, or if your rabbit is in pain.

If you think there is another cause of the fur pulling and you are not sure then go to a rabbit vet that will check for both ailments. But I would of thought that the hormones are the cause

As for thinking that they spayed her wrong, there is no way that they can spay her wrong. The womb is entirely removed from the body this includes the fallopian (egg) tubes and ovaries

 

 

Growth under rabbits chin

Hi I have a Netherlands Dwarf bunny called Diggit, I took him the Vet about three weeks ago, he has some sort of growth under his chin, at that time it was as thick as a match and about 1/in long, the end of it would go dry and crusty and fall off. The Vet told me to keep an eye on it, and that if it became inflamed he may have to go on antibiotics, But over the last three day's it has grown really fast, it is now as thick as a pencil and is about 1 and a half inches long, it seams to be bothering him now as he shakes his chin and has tried to scratch it. I am a little worried as I don't think he would survive an operation as he is almost 9 years old!! it's 3:45 in the morning and I keep going out to check on him (to worried to sleep) oh dear!! have you ever come across anything like this? I would really appreciate any advice you could give me. I am very new to the web and I am not sure if I am doing this rite lol! many thanks  Angie

I have experienced abscesses under the chin where there is a large dewlap and the rabbit keeps grooming the overgrown dewlap causing a patch to develop then a lump like growth, which needs draining or cutting out, and antibiotics.
Under the chin is also where there are scent glands and you will experience the rabbit going around chinning objects to claim them as his own. There is always a chance of build up of infection under the chin if the dewlap is over large.
If there is a rapid growth in a lump there are 3 possibilities, a tumour, skin infection causing a lump or an abscess.

 

Death from starvation?

This morning a doe died.  It had very little muscles around the bones but the organs looked OK.  It had nice fur and ate and poop OK.  2 weeks after I got her she had a litter but no milk.  The kits were born healthy but died due to starvation. That was 2 months ago. I was told she had a litter before that but rejected the kits and they died.  She and a male baby grew up together in a cage.

Is there a disease where rabbits looks like they are developing normally but are in fact really starving?

doe's can waste away while and after carrying kits if they are not fed the correct diet and enough of it. It looks as though the body fed on what nutrients was left in the muscles and the rabbit then subsequently starved. This is also apparent as the doe could not produce any milk.
Sometimes the organs may look ok but they fail due to the starvation.
When feeding a pregnant doe or a lactating doe (a doe producing milk) it is important to put her on a good fibrous breeders pellet/lactating pellet with plenty of vegetables and hay available at all times. It is also a good idea to add rabbit safe vitamins to the water to make sure she does not loose any vitamins, which can cause weight loss, hair loss, brittle bones etc.
If you come across a doe that is loosing weight and you are feeding her the correct diet is always a good idea to consult your vet for any underlying problems. This is important just incase there is a contagious disease that could destroy the rest of your stock.

As for the doe rejecting the kits, sometimes this is due to being a first time mum and not knowing what to do. First time mums sometimes need that extra help in latching the kits to the breast for feeding.
Sometimes does reject the litter if the kits are deformed or do not seem healthy to her. They may also die if the doe was bred from too young

 

What shall I feed my rabbit. it is 12 weeks old?

Rabbits should have a high fibre low carbohydrate diet, no matter what their age. A rabbits diet should also consist of no more than 2 teaspoons of fruit a day.
Young rabbits between weaning age and 14 weeks should not be fed greens and grass as this can bring on Gastrointestinal illnesses such as Mucoid Enteritis. Make sure there is plenty of hay in their hutch at all times. High fibre diets are known to combat Mucoid Enteritis.

Mucoid Enteritis in particular is well known in domestic bunnies but not in wild bunnies as wild bunnies have a better digestive system and immune system.

Many types of lettuce contain Lacticarium, which is similar to opium. It is there for not wise to feed your rabbit lettuce. Common garden lettuce contains it as does the wild lettuce, plus many other sorts. It is also very watery and can bring on sticky bottom syndrome and diarrhoea.

Root vegetables have a high fibre content, carrots & parsnips are ok to feed your rabbit.

Another good thing to feed your rabbit in its food at a young age,or just settling in is probiotics/prebiotics.

Probiotics are the natural bacteria that are in the rabbit’s intestinal tract which help fight off infection. Prebiotics are to keep the probiotics healthy. At a young age through stress or veterinary treatment rabbits good bacteria deteriorate and so need a general kick start again.
Probiotics can also be found in rabbit’s foods such as Burgess Excel junior and adult.
It is recommended that you feed your rabbit a pelleted diet with a high fibre content from the day you get it to combat dental problems. It is also recommended that you take your rabbit to the vet for a general health check, including teeth not long after you get it and there after yearly, and get it vaccinated against Myxomatosis and VHD (depending on country and area)

 

 

I have a Poorly Rabbit what do I feed it and what action should I take to get it well? my rabbit has recently lost a lot of weight, yesterday he could hardly stand or open his eyes he has been off his food and water, I brought him inside and tried to give him water from a bowl he did drink but not a lot and he has been eating lots of fresh salad and is much better but still not 100% what can I do to get him to put weight back on?

A poorly rabbit needs to be fed a high fibre diet and pro/prebiotics from the vet.
A rabbit with the conditions that you have describe should be taken to the vet straight away. Anorexia can be a sign of illnesses such as VHD
Also gastrointestinal disorders such as Enteritis or in young rabbits Mucoid Enteritis or blockages.
You must not give lettuce as some varieties contain lacticarium, which is poisonous as it acts like opium and is no good to the rabbit’s gut. Root vegetables such as carrot and parsnip are OK.
He must be syringe fed water and the vet may give you a fibre based powder, which you add to water and syringe feed.
If a rabbit is left too long without food its main organs will be damaged and shut down. Rabbits should not be left more than a day without eating properly, first signs of illness and the rabbits must be taken to the vet immediately.

 

Playing with Rabbit

How long should I play with my new rabbit, each day? All my books say different amount of times. I just got him the other day so I want him to get used to me but don't want to rush him. Yesterday I brought him in the living room and let him explore and play with some cardboard boxes for about and hour, is this long enough?

Also he was a show rabbit (think he's about 6 months) so he used to being handled but he squirms and tries to escape sometimes when I pick him up, is this just because he's not quite used to me? I go and talk to him in his hutch all the time and he has toys in his hutch too. I've been reading rabbit books for weeks and each on contradicts the other!

 

 

Rabbits should have at least 5 hours exercise day. This helps them to exercise their muscles properly, stops them becoming over weight and also helps their digestive track.

Not all rabbits like to be handled. Especially newcomers to the home. They need time to explore their surroundings and Can take up to a month to settle in to the household.
firstly neutering him would calm him down and make him less feisty.
I would not recommend wrapping him up in a blanket and doing the housework with him. This is cruel and stressful to the rabbit and will actually make him fear you.
New Rabbits should be allowed to explore in their own time and will come to you when they are ready. If he really does not like being picked don't do it un necessarily. Respect his wishes and just pick him up for his health check and grooming each day. This should be part of his normal routine along with feeding twice a day at a regular time.
I have had many rescue rabbits, alot with fear aggression problems as they have been miss treated and handled as youngsters. Getting a rabbit to respect you takes time and effort. All rabbits have different temperaments and will tolerate some things but not others, you just have to get t o know them.

 

 

 

My rabbits have again mated. Is my Rabbit Pregnant? How will it effect the young she already has?

2 weeks ago my rabbit had 5 babies because the pet shop sexed her friend wrong and it turned out to be Male. Recently I let the Doe out for a run in the house and forgot that the Buck rabbit was upstairs and 2 mins later realised and went up there to find them mating.

What do I do. can the bunny get pregnant while feeding and if she does will her milk stop?

 

Yes, she can get pregnant again. Rabbits can hold back the litter until they have weaned the first lot of kits.
The milk will not stop if she get pregnant again.
You cannot get her spayed while she is nursing.
You must get the buck neutered now. This will avoid future mistakes. Although you should be extra careful for the first 4 weeks after neutering the buck.
Also do not have the buck and doe out of their cages at the same time in the future to avoid any more meeting between the two.

 

 

 

My Rabbit has just had Kits how do I look after them?

My rabbit had her babies this afternoon , this is her first litter. I haven't touched them, but have looked in on them to see that they are well. How long should I leave her alone besides feeding her?

 

You mustn't interfere with the babies unless it is a life-threatening situation. It sounds like she has done the right thing and made her nest and the babies are warm.

Many breeders say you can handle the kits but the doe has to be able to trust you to let you do this. All Doe’s have different temperaments and some may be laid back while others very aggressive towards any intruder and may accidentally hurt the kits.
The Doe should take care of them without interference. The milk may not flow for the first 24 hours, but after that she should start to feed them. She will not be in there all the time as they are only fed once a day. If she does not feed them after a day then you will have to check her for milk and you may have to lay her on your lap and introduce the kits to the teats. Use rubber gloves when doing this and rub your hands into her bedding and fur to get her smell on you.
Unnecessarily handling the kits for the first week can cause some doe’s to panic and abandon her litter. This is especially the case with a first litter. She will be extra nervous and any disturbances will put panic into her. You have done the correct thing just looking in on the kits though. Feed her plenty of food as she will need the energy and put vitamins for rabbits in the water for extra supplement
For the first 3 weeks the kits are solely on mums milk, then they will start to wean. You must make sure they are all given a good diet of rabbit pellets and root vegetables and keep away from to many greens and certainly no lettuce as it contains lacticarium,as they can be too much for the kits and cause gastrointestinal upsets. Plenty of hay too. Rabbits fed on a high fibre diet at a young age have got less of a chance of getting Mucoid Enteritis which is an illness that effects them between weaning age and 12 weeks of age.
Try not to keep changing their diet and after weaning take them all to the vet for a general health check and teeth check.

 

 

 

2 Males fighting after temporary separation

I have two male rabbits. One is a dwarf lop and not sure of the other one’s breed. Around 3 or 4 months ago my dwarf lop rabbit attacked the my other one and bit his bits open.the day after I took my wounded rabbit to the vets to get something to heal the wound my rabbit had, I have now had them neutered and have been neutered around a month. I have tried slowly putting them back together again but they just end up fighting again. What can I do ??

 

Two males rarely get on, even if they are bought up together then neutered. and if they are introduce from different litters once they are neutered they will clash.
The best mix is a neutered buck and doe. Selecting the right doe from a young age cannot always mean a match made in heaven as the does temperament will change at maturity possibly causing fighting. I there fore recommend that you go to your rescue centre with your buck and introduce your buck to an adult doe on neutral territory with the help of the staff there. As with all nature, personalities may clash with some does but once you find the right doe they will be fine

 

Rabbits and dogs….

 

I found a stray pup and wondered if I could keep it considering I have got a rabbit. I have booked the pup in for a vet appointment to check the pup is healthy, but will the pup harm the rabbit?

 

You are doing the right thing by getting him vet checked first before making any decision about keeping the pup.

As for keeping it with the rabbit;
The rabbit will need to be more secure with the pup around as the pup gets older. You should never trust the most laid back of dogs with a rabbit. Rabbits are natural prey and it is a dog’s natural instinct to chase and play. Some dogs can accidentally cause what may look like minor injuries but have internally damaged organs, which will possibly kill the rabbit.
The rabbit should still get about 5 hours outside exercise a day in a secure run with a hideway to feel secure from the dog.

 

 

Can my Rabbit get pregnant?

I got two rabbits from the pet store. For Valentine's Day gifts from my Fiancé. They had told us before we took them home that they were both males.

I noticed after settling in to their new home one rabbit was mounting the other. Well I looked online what this could be and how I could check the sex myself. And I found out that one was a boy and one was a girl. Soon after this the Doe started to grow alot faster than the Buck. She's starting to act different and when the Buck tries to mound her again she refuses him. And she won't let me or my fiancé pick her up anymore. Could she be pregnant? She's alot heavier and her stomach area feels different.

If she is pregnant ,which is highly possible, lay her tummy down on the table, and fell her lower stomach gently. You should be able to feel the babies inside her by her 3rd week.

Separate the buck now from the doe as he will kill the babies when they are born. Also get him neutered.

gestation of rabbits is around 31 days sometimes up to 33. Make sure she had a hideout she can go into and make her nest and try not to disturb her bedding but clean out her toilet.
If she does give birth do not touch the babies for up to 2 weeks as she may take offence and kill them. It is not unusual for a doe to kill and eat her first litter anyway, this is natural. if you do find dead put some rubber gloves on and rub your hands in her mess and remove them. Be careful she does not get aggressive with you when you put your hands in to feed her or clean her toilet.

 

If you have a neutered female rabbit and a not neutered male rabbit, will they still breed? What about the other way round

 

Neutered doe’s cannot breed while living with an un-neutered buck as they have their ovaries removed in the neutering process.
Bucks on the other hand can still produce sperm for up to 4 weeks after neutering as it is still in their system. So if you have an un-neutered doe and a buck which has only just been neutered keep them separate for 4 weeks before trying to pair them up.
I do suggest though that if you do have a buck or doe that is un neutered to have them done if you are not breeding. Doe’s can get very nasty and territorial and keep wanting to nest and bucks will spray and mount and sometimes bite if un neutered.
Neutering reduces the risk of ovarian and testicular cancer, stops the stress and tendencies of wanting to breed, reduces the hormonal tendencies and makes it possible to pair males with females which I find is the best way to pair rabbits. Two bucks or two does do still have the tendencies to fight, even when neutered and even if they come from the same litter.

 

How do I cure Bunny Dandruff?

 

Dandruff can be caused by bad health, stress, heavy moulting, hormone problems or bad diet.
A good diet will stop any dandruff problems, plenty of exercise outside the cage, preferably 5 hours a day to stop stress. Heavy dandruff can also be the sign of ill health or mites, especially if there are chunks of fur coming out from the same area. I had one black rabbit that had a mild case of mites on the back of her neck, which turned out to be mites. An injection of Ivermectin cured her.
You can also add vitamin supplements to the water. Vitasol is the rabbit vitamin used in the UK. Also there is an oil called vitapet for rabbits, which you can put on the food. I prefer to give Vitasol.
A mature, hormonal rabbit (especially does) can also develop dandruff. neutering can settle the rabbit down, relieves stress and hormonal tendencies.

 

 

Pairing Rabbits with Guinea Pigs is this OK???

I realise now that when I got my rabbit 2 years ago I probably should have got a pair so she wouldn't be on her own. She was perfectly happy until about 4 months ago, now she seems bored. I've been trying to engage her in playing with new toys but she's fairly fussy - is it too late to get her a female companion? What do people think of putting guinea pigs in with rabbit? We used to when I was a kid but I've read that they don't actually bond. My plan was if I got a new one to put their cages side by side for a while so they got used to each other and then start to let them out in the house together.

She is indoors, I let her out in the summer - there's a lot of snow and ice where I am so the winter's too harsh. Also we had quite a bad year weather wise last year so she was inside a lot, perhaps she's fed up.

 

Firstly have your rabbit neutered. You should do this anyway to prevent new bunnies, aggression towards a new mate and ovarian cancer. I personally have experienced a rescue rabbit with ovarian cancer and it is not pleasant.
You are quire right in getting a friend for your rabbit. Another rabbit would be a better option.

Guinea pigs are more likely to get hurt from a kick from your rabbit or trampled on, and the two are totally different species and cannot communicate in the same way that two rabbits can or two guinea pigs can.
Guinea pigs need a different diet from rabbits as they cannot produce their own vitamin C. Rabbits are more likely to get to the food before the guinea pig causing hunger and vitamin deficiencies. Some rabbit foods contain Coccidiostats that are harmful to Guinea Pigs too.
Another thing is that guinea pigs are likely to pick up infections off rabbits and vica versa.

You are best getting a young buck from a rescue centre (rabbits are more likely to be vet checked at a rescue)
Introduce them outside of the doe’s territory in a run with plenty of food. A young buck should submit to the doe if it is put with the doe before it is mature of it has been neutered.

 

 

Is my bunny having diarrhoea?

He had some mini stools stick together into a big chunk. But he is eating well and drinking well, playing well. All fine just a bit of problems with the stool. How to cure him?

If the poos are formed together like a raspberry this is the second type of poo (caecotrophs) that a rabbit will produce and re-eat to digest the vitamins. The second time round it will come out in solid pellet form. This process is called caecotrophy
If your rabbit is producing too many of these a condition called sticky bottom syndrome will be apparent and poo will stick to the rabbits bottom. This is produce through a high carb low fibre diet.
To correct this at  all times rabbits must have plenty of hay and high fibre food

 

Bonding males and females

 

We have 1 male rabbit and one female rabbit the male is neutered and the female is spayed and we want to put them in the same hutch.
We have 2 hutches for before they have the operation. We were going to put them in the same hutch tonight but the male kept trying to ‘jump’ on the female so she tried to get away so we took them out and put them in separate hutches for now.
Will they get used to being together and ‘settle down’ or will the female get harassed?
What do you suggest we do should we keep them separate?

 

I have introduce neutered males and females through out my 20 years experience.
The right way to go about introducing them varies but I do it as follows:

Make sure you have a neutral. Unmarked area of the garden and secure that area so they have a large space to run in.
Supply some fresh vegetables and introduce the Male into the run first.
Then introduce the Female and sit by the run to watch their reactions to each other. This can take from 15 minutes to an hour to get some sort of result as sometimes they will stay apart in opposite corners of the run until one makes a move.
The vegetables will take their minds off squabbling while they get to know each other.
You may get a scrap occur, in which case separate them, but watch you don’t get bitten. If the male just mounts the female and she sub-missed that is a good start, he is just showing her that he is interested in her. She may turn around and mount him in return to show her dominance, if this is the case don’t worry let them get on with it. Eventually they should settle with the food in the run. If she turns around and attacks, it may not be a good match.
if you succeed this far you will then have to scrub out the male’s hutch ad introduce the hutch to both rabbits. I tend to put the hutch in the run so it is again on neutral ground. Make sure you have a good size hutch. A 2-tier 4ft wide hutch will be a good size. Also make sure you give them the same diet, burgess excel is good for their teeth plus veg and small amounts of fruit along with plenty of hay.

 

 

Buying Holland Lops

 

What age I should buy my Holland Lop at, and should I get a boy or a girl. And could someone tell me how to care for one and what supplies i'll need

 

Rabbits should not be bought under 8 weeks of age. The best time to buy them is actually 12 weeks of age.
Does can be extremely temperamental at maturity, bucks can be nippy and spray and mark their territory any your home.
Either sex should be neutered at maturity to prevent, aggressiveness, spraying and tumours/cancers.
Bucks should be neutered when the scrotal sacs descend, usually around 16 weeks of age. Does should be neutered at no earlier than 6 months of age.
Rabbits are socialable so should be kept in pairs. A Neutered buck and doe are the best mixed.
Bucks should be neutered 4 weeks before introducing to a doe as if the doe is not neutered she could still get pregnant.

You will need to buy the set up and accessories before purchasing your rabbit. This can be from a breeder or rescue centre.
You will need:
A 4ft Long x 18" high hutch for one rabbit minimum for 1 rabbit. It is best to get a 2-tier hutch if outdoors for 2 rabbits. If indoors you will need a ferplast cage with plastic base 4ft or 6ft.
Wood shavings(not sawdust)
Dry unspoilt Hay
Rabbit pellets such as burgess excel. The muesli mixes are no good for rabbit’s teeth
Water bottle and ceramic 6" dish.
Vitamin drops such as Vitasol for rabbits
wooden chew as their teeth constantly grow, and toys suitable for rabbits.
A run to exercise your rabbit. Rabbits need at least 5 hours exercise outside their cage a day.
Rabbits under 14 weeks of age are prone to Gastrointestinal disorders, the most common being Mucoid Enteritis. It is there for essential that you give a high fibre, low carb diet and no greens to stop the onset of this illness. This illness is bought on also by stress so no over handling the new rabbit(s)There are talks that young rabbits under 14 weeks can be fed greens like wild rabbits but this is not advisable as wild rabbits have a better immune and gut system which has been weakened in domestic breeding to get new sizes and breeds. Lettuce is a no go as it contains lacticarium, which in high doses can cause severe Enteritis. This substance is like opium and is found in the common garden lettuce, wild lettuce as well as other types.
Most essential of all is that you get a good book on rabbit care. There are so many illnesses around and you should be observing your rabbit’s temperament and eating habits daily.
You cannot care for a rabbit without any knowledge of ill heath and diet.
It is much so that I would be here all day giving you advice. I am currently writing an up to date companion/book on rabbit keeping and there is hell of a lot to put into it that why I say this, With my experience and up to date research
GET A BOOK FIRST, THEN DECIDE ON YOUR RABBIT