Buying a rabbitThis is about pet rabbits. It is information that might help you to have more fun with your rabbit and keep it in good condition. The information is first of all designed to people, who have one or two pet rabbits.
It is not about production of rabbits for slaughtering, and it is not our intention, that this information should stand as the way to do the things. Just read information in the many good books, you can find about rabbits.
We are not veterinarians or scientists in any way. The information is based on our own experience by handling rabbits supplied with rabbit stories and talk with "rabbit people".
We have put the information together after the way it works best for us, and it is O.K., if you don't agree with us. We are all different and can learn of each other.
THE POPULARITY OF THE RABBITRabbits are sweet little animals with each their personality. There are more than 40 breeds to choose among in different sizes, different forms, different colours, different quality of fur and different temper, so there should be a rabbit, which can please everybody.
With good care a rabbit can be 6 - 8 years, yes, one has heard about rabbits, which has been 12 years old. You have to remember this, when a child gets a rabbit. Is the child for example 10 years, when it gets a rabbit, it might be very interested in the pet, but it might be, that the interest has changed to something else, when it's a teenager at 18 years.
In addition to the purchase of cage and rabbit, it is very cheap to keep a rabbit compared with many other pets. It needs that you clean its cage regular, and it needs food and clean water every day. In addition to that, it has to get access to hay and straw, preferably in a hayrack. Your rabbit can easily be toilet trained (se later), here in Denmark it doesn't need a yearly inoculation (even when there are things about its health, you ought to know), it only need a little area in the garden to run at, and it doesn't disturb the neighbours.
RABBITS ARE RABBITSRabbits are no neighter dogs or cats; so don't expect them to behave like these. If a child no longer wants to have its rabbit, it might be because it doesn't behave like the child expected. As a natural thing rabbits bite and nibble in the things they inspect. Rabbits will nipple in your fingers or the buttons in your cardigan, and sometimes it can nipple so hard, that you can feel it as if it bites. Just like some dogs and cats, it is neighter all rabbits, which wants to be pet.
Rabbits will follow their instincts and dig, make tunnels, chew, run and jump and hide in, under and behind things. Some rabbits are not so easy to toilet train, as others, some are particular about their food. Others eat everything you give them.
So if your rabbit doesn't live up to your expectations, donīt relieve you of the rabbit. Every rabbit has its own personality, after which it reacts to you. If you canīt find out, why your rabbit does, as it does, then try to look at the surroundings from the rabbitīs point of view and not the one of the human being.
Children, who scream and are noisy, dogs that bark and high and sudden noises will frighten the rabbit, and its instinct might easily be hiding in a corner of the cage or under the sofa. To be handled at a hard way, or worse taken in the ears, or not be put down when it wants, can make the rabbit bite you, twist to get free form you, hide from you and not being interested in being pet.
A rabbit doesn't know about electric wires and poisonous plants, so if it is allowed to run free at the floor indoor, you have to be on the alert, or you have to make your home safe to rabbits. When you have a pet, you sometimes have to make some changes at the arrangement of your home, or you have to make some things in an other way. If you wonīt do that, you have to give up having a rabbit. You have to be responsible to the animal, you want to own. Teach yourself to understand, that rabbits are rabbits, and you will enjoy it the more.
TO DECIDE ON A RABBITThe first, you have to do, is to decide if you want a male or a female. There are males, who will squirt with their pee, but so can some females do too. Every rabbit has its own personality, and some will fit your home / life better than others. As with other pets, you will hear from other rabbit owners, that their rabbit is the best and most intelligent rabbit in the world.
You can buy a rabbit from a breeder, who is a member of a breeding organization, from a pet shop, from a fair (donīt do that, less than it is a good breeder, who sells) or you can take over a rabbit from an other, who has got tired of it. A rabbit of a mixed breed can be just as good as a pure breed, but with a pure breed rabbit, you have a guarantee for, how big the rabbit will be, and how it will look as a grown-up, and the breeder has probably bred on a good temper and on good bloodlines. A longhaired rabbit needs more care, and a big rabbit needs more room, but all rabbits need a lot of love and attention every day.
When you buy a rabbit, you have to look after, that it is in perfect health. It has to have clear eyes, clean in the nose (no snot), and it has to be clean in the bottom ( no diarrhoea ). The teeth must not be too long, it must be clean in the fur, and the rabbit has to be active, friendly and curious.
Sometimes people want to buy 2 rabbits, or they want to buy one more for company to the one, they have. It is not always the best idea. If you already have a grown-up rabbit, and you put it together with an other rabbit, the first might get territory-feelings and start fighting with the new, or it might begin squirting, to mark out the territory and to cover smells of the new rabbit.
A rabbit, which was friendly and attention seeking before, might not be so sweet and affectionate any more, if a new rabbit is coming into its cage.
If you have two males, there is a big chance that they canīt agree. Two females can agree well till they are about 5 month; after this the one might dominate the other too much. A male and a female... it just takes few seconds, and there will be rabbit babies 31 days later. If you get yourself two rabbits, you must spend, what it costs to have two cages.
DETERMINE THE SEXWhen you buy a new rabbit, it is always a good idea to look for the sex of the rabbit, so no misunderstandings happen between the buyer and the seller. It is also good to be able to see the difference when you have young rabbits.
Below you can see the difference of male and female rabbits (click on the pictures to enlarge):
COMMING HOMEWhen your new rabbit comes home to you, it must have time to get used to the cage and you. A couple of days with peace and quiet and carefulness will get it used to its new home. Talk to it, fondle it and let it know, that you are interested in it, but don't do it too much. If your rabbit begins twisting squirm, when you hold it, then put it into the cage again. The rabbit has to have a good experience by being taken out of the cage and being pet.
If you have other pets, then introduce the rabbit carefully. Keep the rabbit in its cage and let cat or dog smell at the rabbit, and do it at a safe way.
Let the rabbit get its exercise (without the cat or dog being there). Let it run on the floor, and let it feel, that it is a part of the family. If you have a garden, it is also a good idea to let it run in a fence. Make for example a fence of garden fence at not less than 1 m. high. The fence can be kept of small stakes. It is not cheap, but it's good for the rabbit.