Decorative rabbits: the best breeds, care and maintenance at home
Among pets, decorative rabbits occupy the third place in popularity. If you are considering whether to get such a pet, then first of all carefully study its features and habits. After all, most of the disappointments occur precisely because the owner was not ready for the needs of the animal.
The content of decorative rabbits at home
In order for your pet to be healthy and live long, you need to provide him with proper maintenance, balanced nutrition and treatment (in case of illness).
The pet will need:
- cage to feel protected;
- free space for walking around the room or on the walking area in a private house;
- round-the-clock access to hay and clean water;
- balanced diet: hay, twigs, vegetables, herbs and other foods;
- regular cleaning of cages and other habitats;
- vaccination against infectious diseases in the first year of life in accordance with the vaccination schedule, with further revaccination once a year;
- hair care for long-haired breeds and claw care for all breeds.
To protect the animal from domestic injuries, it is necessary:
- Close all the wires in the house with plastic boxes to protect them from the teeth of the pet. If this is difficult to do, then raise the wires to a height of 1 m and secure so that the rabbit does not reach them.
- Replace wooden skirting boards with plastic ones and protect other objects from wood from the teeth of the pet.
- Prepare a place where the cage will stand, and equip it inside, including preparing a container or box for the toilet.
Did you know? Cartoons often show how rabbits happily eat carrots exclusively. Interestingly, in the wild, they do not eat these root crops.
- Those who brought the rabbit as a pet, note the following positive qualities of this animal:
- The rabbit is a very quiet pet. He makes almost no sounds.
- It can recognize the owner by voice, respond to a call, meet from work, even follow the owners from room to room.
- It takes up very little space.
- He can eat not only vegetables, but also vegetable waste: tops of carrots, cabbage leaves, trimmed vegetables. Thus, it will not be necessary to spend a lot of money on its feeding.
- This is a very neat animal that spends most of its time caring for itself.
- It is believed that a rabbit can be taught to do some tricks because it is easy to learn.
- Despite the many advantages, rabbits still have opponents who do not recommend getting them as pets, arguing this as follows:
- The rabbit is a destroyer. He nibbles everything in the apartment: carpets, baseboards, wiring.
- If you live in a private house, you will not be able to leave your pet alone for walks in the garden, even in a fenced area. The thing is that in nature these animals dig deep holes. Once on the street, your domestic rabbit may have natural instincts, and it will begin to dig a hole, from which it will then be difficult to get it.
- The movement of the animal in the room is accompanied by peas of droppings. So in nature, rabbits confuse their tracks from predators. You will have to clean up the excrement after each walk of the eared eater around the room.
- Representatives of some breeds are very aggressive and can bite when trying to stroke them or pick them up. There are cases when a decorative rabbit was the first to attack another pet, for example, a cat.
- Representatives of fur breeds need grooming no less than cats and dogs, and they molt in the same way: 2 times a year. Wool will have to be cleaned regularly.
- Despite the fact that the average rabbit can live indoors for about 10 years, in practice it can be only 2–4 years, which can be a trauma for your children who manage to become attached to a pet.
The best breeds of decorative rabbits
Since the start of breeding, there have been 2 directions for breeding these animals: for meat and fur. Some breeds resulting from selection looked very original and were recognized as a separate direction - decorative.
Did you know? Rabbits can breed almost all year round. Moreover, only 1 month passes between fertilization and the birth of offspring.
At the moment, more than 50 different decorative breeds and many of their color variations have been bred. All of them are interesting and unique in their own way.
Decorative pets inherited some of the behavioral features from their wild ancestors:
- in the wild, they live in packs, therefore they are extremely mobile and sociable;
- unpretentious in nutrition.
The main feature of decorative rabbits is their small size. Some individuals weigh no more than 200 g. The maximum weight reaches 3 kg, while the average weight of meat breeds is about 8 kg.
To find out the most accurate information about a particular breed, you can use the catalog of rabbit breed standards. This document describes the most important thing about them: what they look like when they were deduced, what sizes are acceptable.
Important! Rabbits do not see well in the dark. But they see perfectly in the twilight, so be prepared for the fact that the peak of activity of your pet will fall in the evening.
Below we consider the most popular breeds of decorative rabbits.
A distinctive feature of the Dutch fold is its long hanging ears. The short body and small paws make the animal very compact. A variety of shades adds to the breed's charm. The weight of the animal is only 1.8 kg.
Learn more about the Dutch lop-eared rabbit breed.
A dwarf rabbit is really a very small animal. Its weight does not exceed 1.15 kg. He has a compact body, a large head, short ears and expressive eyes. He always seems young, regardless of age.
These lop-eared rabbits are called rams because their hanging ears create a visual resemblance to the ram’s head.
Familiarize yourself with the features of the dwarf ram rabbit.
These animals are quite friendly and extremely playful. Unlike other breeds, dwarf sheep are less shy and well suited for indoor keeping. The breed is classified as medium sized with an average weight of 2.7 kg.
- strong muscular body;
- wide proportional head;
- short neck;
- various color options.
Longhair Angora rabbits are extremely popular. The usual weight of Angora is at least 3 kg.
Learn more about caring for an Angora decorative rabbit.
But as the demand for their wool decreases every year, this led to the appearance of a miniature breed. The weight of the Russian dwarf Angora rabbit does not exceed 2 kg.
Rex rabbit is the largest of the breeds presented in the review. Its weight reaches 4.8 kg.
- vertical proportional ears;
- short paws;
- large rounded body;
- large fold under the chin (in the female).
Rex fur is similar in structure to the fur of short-haired rabbits. But due to the lack of long protective hairs, it seems velvety to the touch.
Representatives of mini-rex bred in the USA are used as pets. They are very friendly and are considered the most popular in their homeland. Animals become attached to the member of the family who cares more for them.
Important! Do not raise the rabbit by the ears! In a natural habitat, all predators attack rabbits from above, so your pet can instinctively get scared, even fatal.
The breed has several names used:
- gremlin / gremelin / hermeline;
- Polish rabbit;
- british little.
Miniature gremlins are always white with blue or red eyes. The maximum weight of the animal is 1.25 kg. Short ears, a shortened muzzle and large eyes look very nice. Due to its over-miniature nature, the Gremlin rabbit will bring you no more than 2 rabbits.
How to choose a good individual
In order not to get lost in the variety of breeds, you need to correctly determine the criteria for your choice. Learn more about the temperament of the breed that seems appropriate to you, and also consider the costs that lie ahead.
Criteria for choosing a breed:
- friendliness degree;
- behavior towards strangers;
- degree of daily activity;
- weight - miniature breeds should not be bought for families with children, in order to avoid injuries in the rabbit;
- disease resistance;
- need for daily care.
Ask the breeder about the breed and features of the rabbits in a particular litter. While you will communicate - observe the behavior of the kids. Do not choose a pet based solely on knowledge of the breed. Make sure that the rabbit you have chosen is healthy. He must be active and energetic. The fur is brilliant, without bald patches and parasites.
Important! Families with children under 13 years old are more suitable for the male - he is less shy than the female. This applies to sudden outbursts of tenderness on the part of children.
Swipe the body on both sides with your hand - you should not feel signs of damage or swelling. Both sides of the body should be the same to the touch.
General rules for caring for rabbits at home
Whatever breed of rabbits you choose, for all these animals there are general rules for care and maintenance, which include: home improvement, diet, care and hygiene, as well as treatment, if necessary. We consider each of these points in more detail.
Learn more about keeping decorative rabbits in your apartment.
The main requirement for the cage in which your pet will live is its spaciousness and safety.
The size of the cell should be at least 4 times the size of your eared one. Given the fact that rabbits love to gnaw objects, choose a cage whose rods will be made of galvanized steel.
A hay bin (sennitsa) and a small tray next to it are placed in the house, in which a feeder is placed so that during feeding the pet does not scatter food throughout the cage. On the other side, a drinker and toilet tray are installed.
The litter is necessarily laid in the cage. Straw is considered one of the best options, but it can also be sawdust or hay. Litter depth - 7–10 cm.
Rabbits are herbivores. But since grass does not grow year-round, hay is also present in their diet. Small pieces of fruit can be given, but they should be strictly limited due to the high sugar content. All new products are introduced in small quantities and gradually.
- clean water and hay in constant access;
- leafy greens in summer, and in winter - granular green fodder;
- 5-6 types of vegetables (optional): white cabbage, broccoli, parsley root and greens, bell peppers, cucumber, apple, carrots;
- young tree branches.
In this case, the rabbit should never be given garlic and onions, since they contain substances that are toxic to it. Cereal feed also needs to be given in very limited quantities, since an excess of carbohydrates causes obesity in these animals.
Find out what and how to properly feed a decorative rabbit at home.
Water needs to be changed daily, even if your pet drinks little. Eared eared 3 times a day.
Care and hygiene
Cleanliness in your pet’s home is the key to its health and longevity, so regularly clean the cage and remove the wet litter. Clean the cage once every 2 days to prevent odors.
Rabbit care includes a number of regular activities:
- Comb it at least 1 time per week. This is especially important for fur breeds. In addition, when cleaning, you can identify the first signs of skin parasites and diseases.
- Bathing these animals is not recommended. If the coat is dirty, just wash this area, but do not wash the animal completely.
- Check your ears for parasites and sulfur once every 2 weeks.
- Inspect the paws daily for ulcers and inflammation. Foot infections can be very dangerous.
- Pets need to regularly cut their nails, because they do not have time to grind them. If you do not know how to do this, contact a professional groomer.
Diseases and Life Span of Rabbits
At home, even with good care, rabbits still get sick. This is due to the fact that the decorative breeds are artificially bred and nature did not provide for the protection of their body from diseases associated with breeding: for example, complications of labor in females of those breeds whose sizes were 2 times larger before breeding.
Did you know? Rabbit's teeth grow throughout his life. In order to grind them, he needs to give tree branches, and in case of uneven grinding of teeth, he will have to cut them in a veterinary clinic.
Common problems / diseases of domestic rabbits include:
- teeth grown into a cheek or tongue;
- infectious rhinitis;
- uterine tumors;
- calicivirus (rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus).
Disease prevention consists in periodically vaccinating a pet. The doctor prescribes the treatment of all infectious diseases, setting a schedule for taking drugs and their dosage.
As for the lifespan of decorative rabbits, it should be noted that they live on average 7-8 years. Centenarians are rare among them, and life expectancy does not depend on a particular breed.
Useful tips for keeping decorative rabbits
The main goal of caring for a pet is to maintain its health, therefore:
- clean the cage at least once a week to prevent diseases associated with non-compliance with sanitary conditions;
- pay attention to the condition and behavior of the pet in order to notice the first symptoms of the disease and take action in time;
- spend enough time caring for the animal;
- show it to the veterinarian at least once a year to make sure your pet is healthy;
- follow the vaccination schedule.
Did you know? In the pet store you can buy a bowl-feeder for granular feed, which is poured inside. To get it, the rabbit will push the ball around the room. Thus, he will be provided with food and a minimum of physical activity.
Having chosen your preferred breed of decorative rabbit, do not forget about the necessary organization of animal care. When properly maintained, you will minimize all the shortcomings of these furry animals as pets.