Useful Tips

8 common mistakes made by the owner of a domestic rabbit


Posted by By Dana Krempels

Due to the history of rabbits, due to the fact that the rabbit is a favorite victim of predators, rabbits try to hide signs of ill health. In nature, predators more often attack animals that look sick, instinctively realizing that such (sick) individuals are easier to catch.
In the process of breeding rabbits, people also paid special attention to weak individuals, destroying them or depriving them of the ability to reproduce. This only reinforced the rabbits' natural need to hide their symptoms of well-being. Unfortunately, special attention is now required to determine how the rabbit feels. If your rabbit is hiding in an unusual place, sitting with ruffled hair or refusing his favorite food, this may be a sign that something is wrong. As soon as you notice this behavior, you should do a simple “diagnosis” to determine if your rabbit needs emergency help from a veterinarian.

- Offer the rabbit one of his favorite treats one by one. If he refuses all the goodies, go to the second point.

- Measure your rabbit's temperature.

The normal body temperature of a rabbit is 38.3 C - 39.5 C.
Gently lay the rabbit on its back (on its knees or on another soft surface). The rabbit's head and shoulders should be across from your stomach. You can put the rabbit on its side, it is necessary to hold the front and hind limbs. Make sure that the rabbit has calmed down, that its chest and hind legs are firmly fixed so that it cannot suddenly jerk and injure itself. When everything is ready, carefully and gently insert the plastic thermometer to a depth of 1-2 cm. If you are not sure which hole to insert the thermometer into, pay attention that the anus is located behind the genital opening, i.e. closer to the base of the tail. The rectum of rabbits runs parallel to the spine; if you hold the rabbit correctly, the thermometer should freely enter the rabbit. You need to hold the rabbit very tight so that it cannot resist. If he fiercely resists, carefully place him in a natural position for him, holding him under his hind legs and under his chest. Do not try to measure the temperature of the rabbit again until he calms down, gently speak with him, stroke. Depending on the temperament of your rabbit, it may take several attempts before you achieve the desired result. It’s better to also ask someone to help you. Never make an effort. If you feel resistance, release the rabbit, and then try again. Be very careful the anus and the rectum of the rabbit are delicate places, it is very easy to damage them. It is better to use an electronic thermometer, which can be bought at a regular pharmacy (approximate cost is 170 rubles.)

What to do in case of temperature

A slightly elevated temperature (39.9 C) may be due to emotional stress (from going to the veterinarian or health problems), heat stroke, or the initial stage of an infectious disease. A very high temperature (40.5 C or higher) requires an immediate examination by a veterinarian. But you should start caring for the rabbit even before you take it to the vet. If the temperature of the rabbit remains too high for a long time, it can lead to irreversible damage to the brain. You can cool the rabbit using ice packs or frozen vegetables. Packages should be placed on both sides of the rabbit’s body and under the stomach, you can also rub the rabbit’s ears with pieces of ice, but you shouldn’t do this for too long - you should not allow the rabbit to be frostbite or hypothermia. Usually it will take 5 to 10 minutes for the ice packs to bring down the temperature a little. You must continue to measure the temperature of the rabbit during the procedure to prevent hypothermia.

1. Excess Nutrient Pellets

The natural desire of a person who sincerely loves his pet is to feed him. A caring owner throws into a cold sweat at the mere thought that his beloved little rabbit is hungry.

Variegated packaging of finished feed attracts the eye, the inscriptions eloquently convince that the best way to feed - ready-made dry mixes. The convenience and simplicity of such a decision often play a trick on the rabbit and its owner.

Overfeeding with feeds, especially high-protein, high-grade granules, will very quickly lead to the rabbit becoming overweight and digestive problems. Read more about the effects of obesity in article Overweight in rabbits.

For an adult rabbit, a daily portion of full granules weighing 20-25 g per 1 kg of rabbit weight is sufficient. You should not pour a full feeder, which sometimes holds several times more feed than necessary.

You can increase the portion of concentrated feed in the winter, for a growing or aging rabbit, as well as if the pet spends a lot of time walking.

Rabbits love to eat and will always beg for more and more delicious food, be persistent, do not give in!

2. Muesli-type food with dried fruit

Bright tempting muesli with pieces of vegetables and fruits seems to be the best food. But this is a misleading impression and it is better to refuse to purchase such a mixture.

The rabbit is smart, he will choose sweet pieces of fruit, raisins and nuts, leaving the rest, more useful particles of food. However, he will remain hungry, will not receive the required amount of protein and fiber, and will look forward to the next portion. Choose uniform granular feed with a fiber content of at least 16%.

For more information on feeding, see Article 8 Important Nutrition Questions.

3. The lack of hay

Calculate hay supplies so that every day your pet can be offered an armful the size of himself or a little more. Buy species with a relatively low protein content - from meadow forbs or timothy.

Hay of legumes (alfalfa, clover, wiki), containing a lot of protein, gives rabbits on a walk, spending a lot of energy, young growing rabbits, puppet and nursing females or aging individuals.

An excess of such hay, as well as an excess of nutrient granules, can lead to indigestion and obesity in the rabbit.

4. Lots of carrots, cabbage and fruits

Many people consider carrots and cabbage to be traditional feeds good for rabbits. This is not entirely correct. Carrots are a vitamin and healthy product, but contain a lot of carbohydrates and are given in limited quantities - a small piece is enough from time to time, and only in the form of goodies.

Cabbage of any kind, especially Brussels sprouts, together with a stiff stalk, is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and sulfur, useful for the growth of wool. However, in large quantities, this vegetable can cause gas in the intestines and bloating.

Fruits are offered to rabbits only as a tasty addition to the diet, in the form of encouragement for the right thing, and simply as a manifestation of love. Frequent and unreasonable delivery of fruits will lead to spoiled appetite, dental diseases and digestive disorders.

5. Harmful goodies

In no case should the rabbit be given confectionery - cookies, ice cream or sweets. They contain too many carbohydrates and harmful fats, which can cause irreparable harm to the health of a pet with an extremely vulnerable digestive system.

When buying ready-made treats for rabbits, pay attention to their composition and appearance - the brighter, more saturated the color of the pieces, the more doubt their naturalness causes.

Dried fruits are also not a useful rabbit food, since dried fruits contain even more sugars than fresh ones.

It is best to pamper your pet with slices of fresh fruits and vegetables, berries and herbs.

6. Lack of full daytime sleep

The active time of day for the rabbit is early morning and evening. During the day, these animals prefer to sleep in a quiet secluded corner, and sometimes they can snooze right in the middle of the kitchen or on the sofa in the living room.

If at this time you start to slow down the rabbit, start to prevent him from sleeping soundly by turning on the TV or the vacuum cleaner, talking loudly or knocking dishes, such a violation of the regime will make the pet nervous and aggressive.

The easiest way to solve this problem is to send the rabbit after a morning walk in the aviary or cage, where he can relax in silence and comfort.

7. Not enough grooming

Caring for a rabbit fur coat only during seasonal molting is not enough. Comb hair should be regularly, at least once every 7-10 days, removing dead hairs.

The rabbit is clean, caring for itself, it swallows the fibers of the wool and, if there are too many of them, a dense lump will form in the stomach, which is fraught with the most sad consequences - stasis and blockage.

For breeds with thin long hair, this problem is most relevant. You can read about how to properly follow the luxurious Angora fur coat in the article Angora Rabbit Care.

8. Lack of regular inspections

Do not neglect rabbit inspections. It is not enough to make mandatory vaccinations once every six months and then undergo a veterinary examination, in addition, you should independently check the health status of the pet every day.

Key points to pay attention to:

    nose - clean and dry eyes bright, bold, without discharge (more about conjunctivitis), ears are clean, without scratching and crusting (more about ear scabies) skin without scratches and redness, feel for tightness, or abscesses (carefully examine the areas near the ears , eyes and jaws) the fur is shiny (according to the breed, some are characterized by gloss, while others have a dull coat) legs without damage, knocked down hairballs on the soles and between the fingers, the nails are not too long tail, belly and hair near the anus without tuns and the amount of pollution and the appearance of feces without major changes the elastic body, while trying to lift a rabbit, he resists

If something has alerted you, it seemed unusual, seek the advice of a veterinarian, consult with more experienced breeders and, of course, go to our website for useful information and support.

Did you manage to avoid common mistakes? What other important points should inexperienced rabbit owners need to know? Share your knowledge by posting a comment below or by submitting material to the Our Stories section.