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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Adopting and Raising a Dwarf Rabbit

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,

      Choosing to adopt dwarf rabbits is more and more frequent among pet lovers. This is because these mini bunnies have this reputation of being particularly adapted to kids, thanks to their calmness and tender character. The little bunnies are also easy to tame and can live in relatively small spaces. If you are considering getting a cute and loving pet that is able to adapt well to your apartment, a dwarf rabbit may be an excellent choice.

      Here are some useful tips to help you take care of these little balls of fluff. 

Which breed to choose?

There is a multitude of breeds. As they basically have the same needs and character traits, your choice will mainly depend on your preference in terms of appearance (fur color, shape,…etc.).
As far as I’m concerned, I find the following rabbit breeds to be most attractive. Of course the list is very long and choices are almost infinite. 

The polish rabbit

(Photo credit: Svadilfari via VisualHunt.com /  CC BY-ND)
      As he originated at the end of the 19th century, he is believed to be the oldest dwarf rabbit. The polish bunny has a white fur and bulging pink or light blue eyes.


The Lionhead

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,

     As his name suggests, this bunny looks just like a lion due to the long hair around his head. Although introduced in the US back in 1999, this breed is still little-known among rabbit lovers.


The dwarf Angora


The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,
ð  (Photo credit: distar97 via Visual hunt /  CC BY-ND)

      An adorable ball of fluff, the dwarf Angora has a beautiful fringe on the forehead, sideburns on the cheeks and hair tufts in the tips of his ears.


The dwarf Rex

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,


     The dwarf Rex is very well known for his fine and upright coat. The coat has an amazingly plush feel. For families looking for first-time pets for their children, the mini Rex is an excellent option thanks to his extremely kind character.



Male or female?

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,


      There’s a tendency to think that a female would be gentler than a male. This is not the case. The calmness of the bunnies depends on his/her sexual impulses. The less impulse he/she has, the more obedient he/she will be. Anyways, rabbits available in pet shops are mostly males as breeders prefer to keep females for reproduction purposes.

      For many reasons, it is preferable to have your bunny sterilized. This will make him calmer and cleaner. The operation is done at the veterinarian and is totally riskless. The bunny recovers from it fast: after only one day, he gets his full energy back.


Hygiene

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,

      Like with a cat, it is quite easy to get your rabbit do his business in a specific place.  If he lives in a cage, he will choose himself a corner where he would always defecate. Otherwise, you will have to be firm on the matter at first. For this, do not hesitate to scold him if you surprise him doing it in a wrong place and show him the right location. However, do not use any form of physical punishment. This will make him fear you, and you do not want that.

       The cleanliness of your bunny also depends on his living space. If he lives in a cage, he needs a large enough space that contains a corner where he sleeps, another where he eats, and of course a separated “bathroom”.

      By nature, a rabbit likes to be always clean. That is why he grooms himself many times a day. For this reason, it is necessary to frequently clean the cage (every 2 or 3 days). If not, he won’t do his business inside it and would rather do it in a cleaner place (Couch, house corners…Etc).

Free or in a cage?

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,
(Photo credit: JaseMan via Visualhunt /  CC BY)

      You can choose to keep your bunny as a free-range pet, meaning without using a cage. In this case, he would have access to the whole house. If you do so, don’t forget that likes to gnaw. If you don’t wish for him to end up as a roasted rabbit, it is then necessary to hide all electric wires. Rabbits are also keen on paper, carton and even wood sometimes. So do not let books at his disposition, or he will cut them to pieces.

      If you prefer to use a cage, keep in mind that you need to let him free for one hour a day at least as he needs to stretch his legs, to run and jump around freely. The best option is to put the cage in your room; your bunny will enjoy your company and would be happier. 


Food

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,

       Two types of food are absolutely necessary for your little rabbit: Hay and fiber rich vegetables. You can also use mixes of seeds and vegetable patties available in all hypermarkets. While hay should be always at his disposition, give patties only in the morning. As dwarf bunnies tend to rapidly go over-weight, try to permanently keep control over food rations.

       You can provide fresh fruits and vegetables as well. As you may know, rabbits are fond of carrots, apples and other radishes and salads. Here again, provide only small proportions to keep control over your bunny’s weight and intestinal transit which may cause rabbit anorexia.


Veterinary care

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,

      The main care is vaccination. There are two mandatory yearly vaccinations, one against Myxomatosis and the other against VHD (Viral Hemorrhagic Disease). Be cautious to symptoms of these two diseases as they can be fatal.

       Another important care is related to teeth.  The rabbit’s teeth are like nails, they permanently grow. Normally, lower and upper teeth mutually wear out while chewing rough food. However, they sometimes grow out of place. In this case, it is necessary to trim his teeth regularly (once or twice a month). Although it is preferable to get your veterinarian do it, you still can perform this operation yourself using an adequate small clamp. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt him. 


Understand your bunny’s language

The best dwarf rabbit breeds, adopting a baby rabbit, raising a dwarf rabbit,


       A rabbit is generally quiet unless he is somewhat frustrated (he would then emit a sound like loud snoring) or feeling a pain (he would loudly scream).  Otherwise, he would use his body language to express himself. 

Here are some examples:

If he repeatedly pokes you with his head, he’s is asking for caresses.

If he repeatedly hits the grounds with his leg, he’s either asking for attention or he’s frightened by something (Often an unusual noise).

If he rubs his teeth against each other, he’s is feeling good.

The position of your bunny’s eyelids is also an indicator. Half closed eyes are a sign of comfort while wide open eyes are a clear indicator of fear. 


Final thoughts

      A dwarf rabbit is not a toy. He is rather a fragile pet that needs daily attention. I find it inconceivable to let him by himself even for 48 hours. When you go on vacation, take him with you or leave him with a trustworthy person who will be able to provide the minimum care during your absence.      
                       
     Lastly, a rabbit is appreciates good care and is generally very grateful for it. But he can also be overly resentful and would do everything to upset you. 


Thank you to our guest post writer:  Marvin Delany!

Be sure to check out my post on Growing Fodder for your Farm Animals!

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