Rabbits as Pets
Knowing a little of the history of the domestic rabbit will help you understand why Rabbits as pets have become one of the most popular pets. As far back as the Roman times rabbits were kept and raised in large walled enclosures Known as colonies, to control their breeding for food and to stop them spreading throughout the countryside.
The selection of certain species for breeding was started in the middle ages, being bred for meat. In the 16th century many new breeds, colors, size had been bred for their meat quality. This gave rise to the fancy rabbit much loved by rabbit fanciers.
This trend carried through to the 19th century when rabbit fanciers began to sponsor Rabbit exhibitions and shows in Western Europe and the United States.
As a result of crossbreeding practices to improve the meat and fur quality, new colors were being created for the sole purpose of displaying them in exhibitions. This was the beginning of rabbits as pets instead of just a food supply. The growth of rabbits as pets emerged during Victorian times in England.
The popularity of rabbits in the United States began in the late 1800s. This was the start of the Belgian Hare Boom from 1898 to 1901 when thousands of Belgian hares were exported from England to America. The American Belgian Hare Association was formed as the result of the popularity of this breed. Thousands of rabbit shows take place every year, the judging of the various breeds is based on the recognized characteristics, weight, size, color, markings, shape and many more details that determine the
best in breed.
This is another reason why keeping rabbits as pets has maintained its popularity.
With more than 47 breeds that are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association and many more breeds worldwide, there are far too many to list individually. Suffice to say that there are many,
which come in every shape size and color with different temperaments, all are excellent rabbits as pets
Feeding your pet
As a foraging animal their natural diet consists of grasses and herbs, lawn clippings are not suitable as they contain very little variety of grasses and no herbs, domestic rabbits are fed mainly on hay, providing them with the roughage they need to keep them in good health, supplements of commercially produced
pellets are also fed, along with a variety of vegetables, beware overfeeding of green leaf vegetables can lead to diarrhea, root vegetables are better, avoid any sudden changes in their diet. As with all animals a readily available source of fresh water should be made available, drip bottles do this job very well.
It is important to note that you should never feed your pet, any green material that has hairs, like rhubarb, potato tops or tomato leaves as these are poisonous.
Whether you choose to keep your rabbit as a pet indoors our outside in the garden, it will require some form of cage or outdoor hutch.
Living indoors a pet rabbit can live between 9 to 12 years if properly cared for.
The rabbit is one of the most popular selections of pets worldwide, it is the third most popular in the U.K after the dog and cat. They are affectionate and lovable creatures that would rather stay beside their owner. By nature, rabbits are intelligent, lively, inquisitive, trainable, playful and affectionate. These are among the many reasons why rabbits as pets are so popular.
There are 2 major types of rabbit hutches found in stores, outdoor and indoor. If you intend to keep your pet outdoors choose one of the many hutches available that will offer :Protection from extreme and changeable weather. If you want to place it outside your home, it should be sturdy enough to withstand the changing weather, for example rain, snow which cause problems. The sun can create damage also and a too sunnier position will not offer your pet the protection it needs.
The hutch should provide adequate safety from predators. Make sure to choose one that is strong and durable to safeguard them from predators, like cats, dogs and wildlife. Easy access. It should have large hinged doors, to allow you to maintain and also to clean the cage easily. The hutch should offer proper ventilation, and have a private area for your pet to retreat.
There are many plans for building your own rabbit hutch available at a small cost on the internet, if you are a D.I.Y type person this could be the most economical way forward, remember rabbits like to gnaw, no matter how expensive and weatherproof and sturdy your hutch is it will never be rabbit proof!
Rabbits are inexpensive to keep when compared to larger animals such as dogs. Keeping your rabbits healthy by feeding them correctly and keeping their hutch clean and their bedding dry, will minimize veterinary care. Rabbits raised in the United States do not require any vaccinations. Rabbits in the United Kingdom require viral haemorrhagic disease and Myxomatosis vaccinations.
Regular brushing of the coat helps to decrease chances of fur ingestion which can lead to fur ball impaction of the stomach. Regular trimming of the nails is required if pet rabbits live indoors where they can not dig.
Many people choose to keep their pet indoors. A cage is the best means of containing your pet, providing you give them plenty of time out they will be very content. Rabbits will gnaw on anything that is available to them, including electrical cords, cables, and paper products even furniture. Electrical components, when chewed by pet rabbits, can cause electrocution and burns never leave them to run free without adequate supervision.
My Pet Rabbit - Info and Resources for bunny-rabbit lover beginners
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