Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Guide on How to Build a Rabbit Hutch Properly

A rabbit is a loveable pet. Your children would love to have it as their pet. Rabbits do not require as much care and attention as dogs or cats. They adapt easily to their environment, so they can easily live indoors or outdoors. It is advisable, however, to keep them as outdoor pets because they fare well better outdoors. To keep them safe and snug, you would have to put them inside a rabbit hutch that is warm and secure. Now, you are probably thinking, “But I don’t know how to build a rabbit hutch!”

You don’t really have to worry about learning how to build a rabbit hutch. It is really quite simple. However, it is important that you draw out your plans first before you start soldering the hutch’s frame. Make sure that you have carefully considered every tiny detail so you will have everything at hand when you start making the hutch.

When drafting your plans on how to build a rabbit hutch, you need to take into consideration the size of your rabbit and of course, its growth. Is your pet an incredibly large or small rabbit? Do you think he or she will likely to grow more in size? You really don’t have to decorate the cage flamboyantly. You just have to make sure that the one-room space your rabbit will occupy is roomy, warm and safe.

So, what do you need? To build a hutch, you need to have the following at hand: wire cloth, eight pieces of wood or metal rods, hinges, staples, woven hardware cloth or wire rolls (with the former being much preferable), formica sheet, and 2x4” stock. For tools, you need to have wire snips, gloves, screw driver, staple gun, coping saw and soldering iron.

Of course, you can always make wooden rabbit hutches but it is better to learn how to build a rabbit hutch that is made of metal. Metal hutches are more superior. They are easy to clean and bad odors don’t stick to metal easily.

When you are learning how to build a rabbit hutch, you need to consider the proper materials to use when building the walls, roof and flooring. For instance, you cannot use the wire mesh for the hutch’s flooring. This will likely harm your rabbit’s paws. The wire cloth is advisable for the flooring. The wire mesh, however, is great for the walls, but then woven hardware cloth is even better.

To construct the frame, you would have to lay out the pieces you need for the frame. Cut these pieces into the desired length. Solder the hutch side walls and then attach them to the front and rear rods in order to create the metal frame. Once you are finished with this, you can then construct the door and attached the same to the frame using screw and hinges. Once you have the frame, you can then roll the wire mesh or woven hardware cloth to create the walls. Tack the corner points and flatten the wire ripples. For the flooring, you would have to cut the 2x4 inches stock and attach them to frame with staples. Place a piece of Formica underneath to catch the rabbit’s wastes.

You need to learn how to build a rabbit hutch properly if you want to ensure the safety of your pet. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to learn how to build a rabbit hutch. You will even enjoy doing it. All you just need are the right materials and that’s it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pet Rabbit Nutrition 101

One of the most important aspects of properly caring for your pet rabbit is providing him with a healthy, satisfying, and well-balanced diet. Fortunately, doing so is relatively easy, since there is general consensus about what is good for rabbits and a wide range of great food pellet options. Rabbits can also eat many of the fruits and veggies that you probably have on your dinner table every night (see below for recommendations and portions).
Hay is an essential component of a rabbit's healthy diet. One reason why is that feeding a rabbit hay on a daily basis seems to reduce rabbits tendencies to pull out and consume or chew on their own hair, which leads to (sometimes very dangerous) hairballs.
Buy high-quality leafy grass hay, timothy hay or clover hay. Avoid alfalfa hay, as it can sometimes be problematic and has been shown to increase the risk of bladder stones.
Like all creatures, rabbits need fresh water in order to survive. Change water daily or at least every two days. When you change the water, also wash the water bottle or dish thoroughly to get rid of bacteria.
You may want to use a water bottle that can hang on a cage, as this can reduce the messiness factor. If you prefer to use a bowl, make sure it is sturdy and heavy enough so that your rabbit won't overturn it.
Although it may sound funny, rabbits can actually benefit from yogurt just the same way that humans do. Yogurt is proven to reduce the bad bacteria in the body, balancing out the good bacteria in the process. Many pet rabbits seem to like yogurt and accept it as a part of a balanced daily diet.
Chew Toys
As you will quickly learn as a new rabbit owner, bunnies love to bite and chew on things. This is actually essential for good dental health, but the trick is to give them good substances to chew on so they won't be tempted to eat up your furniture or other, more dangerous substances, like wires or electrical cords.
A dog's chew toy (on the smaller side) can be a great alternative, one which most rabbits seem to enjoy a great deal. Two more natural options are a large bone from a piece of boiled meat, with the bone marrow taken out, or some apple tree branches (the twigs are great roughage and help keep the bunny's intestines clean).
Rabbits tend to be quite sensitive when it comes to changes in their diet or feeding schedule. In fact, if there is a sudden change or interruption, a rabbit may lose his appetite or become ill.
Therefore, it's important to be consistant. Establish a feeding routine that is easy for you to stick to each and every day. Set your timer and fix the feeding schedule into your own everyday routine. Make sure you have enough rabbit food (whether hay, pellets, veggies, etc.) on hand so that you don't run out unexpectedly.
Feeding your rabbit a consistent, balanced and healthy diet is one of the best ways to ensure that your pet has a long and happy life as your prized companion.

Choosing A Pet Rabbit Thats Right For You

Having a pet rabbit can be such a rewarding experience. But with all the breeds, sizes and colors, how do you select the rabbit that is just right for you? This article will help you select that perfect rabbit.
Choosing the right rabbit for you and your family can be a very exciting process. There are currently over 40 recognized breeds of rabbits. Many of the breeds have multiple varieties and colors. Rabbits range in size from 2 pounds to over 10 pounds. So the choices are very abundant.
Many breeders give different answers regarding the preferred gender for a pet rabbit. This is compounded by the individual temperament of the rabbit. Often a doe (girl rabbit) that is not spayed, can become territorial was she reaches maturity. She may nip at you when reaching for her or even her food or water dishes. Some does will eliminate that aggression when a familiar face does the feeding on a daily basis. Some does we’ve found to be non-aggressive, and yet others can become territorial towards everybody, but that is very rare. If you do not plan to breed your rabbit, and you want a doe, it is best to have her spayed to help reduce the chances that she may protect her den.
Bucks present a different problem all together. Bucks generally are not aggressive. However, spraying can be a problem. When the buck reaches maturity he may start to spray his urine everywhere to let the whole world know he is ready for a mate. Again, not all bucks will do this, and typically the ones that do, will only do so for a short period of time. This problem can be eliminated by having the buck neutered.
Grooming is another consideration. The wool breeds such as angoras and jersey woolies require extra work in grooming. All rabbits need a good routine of grooming by their caretaker, but the wool breeds require more time because of the nature of their fur type.
The best way to see and find out about rabbits is to attend a rabbit show. At the rabbit show you will find many breeders and most of the breeds of rabbits. To find a show near you visit our calendar page and search for a show in your state.
I would not recommend buying a rabbit without first seeing it, nor would I recommend purchasing a rabbit from a pet store. It would be in your best interest to find a breeder in your area of the breed you think you would like. Visit with that breeder. See what the conditions are in the barn. Ask if you can hold a rabbit. Watch the rabbit’s reaction to their cage being opened. Rabbits that love attention, will immediately come to the door, some will even make happy grunting type noises. Other rabbits will immediately go to the back of the cage. If a rabbit moves to the back its probably not a good rabbit for you.
Most of all have fun. Enjoy your search for that perfect rabbit. There are many sizes colors and choices and finding the fit for you can be time consuming but will be very rewarding in the end.

Avoid Fats, Meat And Meat Foods To Control Diabetes

The excessive use of fats has been linked to development of diabetes. A recent study at the University of Colorado Health Science Center, USA found that intake of an extra 40g of fat day increases the chances of developing diabetes by three times. Fat rich diet, especially one saturated with animal fat, seems to damage the insulin’s effectiveness. Research at the University of Sydney in Australia measured the saturated fatty acids in the muscles cells of older non-diabetic men and the women undergoing surgery and found that higher the presence of saturated fatty acids in the cells, the greater the insulin resistance. On the other hand, higher tissue levels of polyunsaturated fats, particularly fish oil, indicated better insulin activity and lower resistance. Fish oil differs from animal fats in that fish oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids. One of the fatty acids called omega-3 is especially good for the heart—it lowers cholesterol and protects from atherosclerosis. In fact, the researchers also reported that intake of omega-3 fish oil to the subjects effectively overcame their insulin resistance.
In another study, Jennifer Lovejoy, assistance professor at Louisiana State of University, USA, studied and the eating habits and insulin activity among 45 non-diabetic men and women. About half of them were obese and the remaining half of normal weight. In both cases, higher fat consumption increased insulin resistance. This indicates, says Dr. Lovejoy, that even normal individuals who decrease their insulin efficiency and boost their vulnerability to diabetes.
Meat and Meat Foods
One of the most important nutrition guidelines to follow is to “eat less saturated fat.” A quick and simple way to do that is to eliminate meat products. They are high both in saturated fat and cholesterol content. People with diabetes have a greater risk of heart disease earlier in life. The practically useless calories added by saturated fats contribute to above normal body weight and obesity, putting a diabetic at greater of heart disease.
Flesh foods are extremely harmful for diabetes. They increase the toxemic condition underlying the diabetic state and reduce the sugar tolerance. Most diseases of the human body are caused by autointoxication of self-poisoning. The flesh of animals increases the burden on the organs of elimination and overloads and system with animal waste matter and poisons. Chemical analysis has shown that uric acid and other uric poisons contained in the animal body are almost identical to caffeine and nicotine, the poisonous, stimulating principles of coffee, tea and tobacco.
The renowned journal Lancet, reports that a patient of diabetes must be persuaded to consume less animal foods. However, in cold countries where meat and mat products constitute the bulk of the diet, patients of diabetes should limit their intake of animal products to eggs and white meal like fish and poultry. Even their use of should be kept to the minimum; all red meat and red meat products should be eliminated from the diet.

Friday, January 1, 2010


A microscopic, internal parasite is responsible for this common, but very serious disease of the liver. The organism is present in the faecal pellets, and so can be transmitted from one rabbit to another, and particularly from a doe to her kittens, in a dirty hutch.

Symptoms of coccidiosis are a yellow, jaundiced look, persistent diarrhoea and extreme weakness. Without treatment the rabbit becomes emaciated, yet develops a pot-bellied appearance due to enlargement of the liver. Death is due to exhaustion.

It is necessary to isolate a suspected case of coccidiosis, and to seek veterinary help immediately. Drugs can effectively control the disease if it is diagnosed and treated professionally without delay.


This is a particular problem for longhaired rabbits in the summer. Flies lay their eggs in the soiled fur under the tail. The maggots hatch out 12-24 hours later and burrow into the flesh. Flystrike can lead to death, so check every day to make sure your rabbit, its hutch and its bedding, is clean and fresh.

I have experienced this for myself and lost 2 rabbits to this problem. It literally happens overnight. The most common time of the year will be summer when it is warm and ideal temperatures for flies to strike.

It is quite a distressing site to see as the rabbit will be covered in maggots around its back end and these quite literally crawl up inside the rabbit and kill it.

You need to seek immediate medical attention (even if this means calling a vet out at the weekend or at night) as the rabbit will surely die if the maggots are not removed immediately. You can provide temporary relief by bathing the rabbit in cool water and trying to kill as many of the maggots as you can.

The risk of Flystrike can be minimised by stepping up cleaning regimes in summer and checking rabbits at least twice a day. Rearguard (avavilable for vets) prevents maggots developing so can save a bunnies life!

Slobbers, Hutch burn and Scabby face

These three problems are serious and you should take your pet to the vet if you suspect that it has any of them. Slobbers is caused by abscesses of the mouth and the rabbit drools continuously Little can be done for slobbers, and the affected animal will need to be put down. Hutch burn, commonly known as vent disease, is caused by dirt contacting the sex organ of the rabbit. The infected organ then becomes scabby and later purulent. Not surprisingly, infected rabbits exhibit a great reluctance to mate (which is fortunate for its partner, who could become contaminated). if the rabbit licks its infected private parts, a scabby face and mouth may result. A vet should be contacted as soon as possible.

Sore hocks

Sore hocks is a condition normally caused by insufficient bedding in the hutch. Tender, cracked and possibly scabbing skin covers the infected hind limb where the fur has been rubbed away. Since the smaller rabbits have larger foot padding on the hind feet, the larger breeds are more typically affected. Cleaning and applying an antiseptic ointment help the rabbit to recovery. Veterinary advice is also recommended.


A rabbit well cared for and properly fed rarely encounters this serious illness. Keep the rabbit's environment consistent, including the ambient temperature; sudden changes in temperature diminish a rabbit's natural resistance. A listless, unhappy, unhungry bunny requires your attention, as these are signs of pneumonia, in addition to mucus around the mouth and nasal passages. The assistance of a vet is essential, as most rabbits die within a few days of contracting the illness.

Eye infections

Domestic rabbits are rather susceptible to eye problems, primarily infections caused by dust and/or other flying matter that accumulates in the tear ducts. As a result of the blockage caused by the dirt, fluid fills the eye pocket and subsequently flows down the rabbit's cheeks. What owner can bear to watch his pet weeping? Prevention of dust accumulation should be stressed, as a cure is never as easy as prevention. Often only one eye is affected, although some unfortunate rabbits suffer an infection in both eyes. Eye baths, prescribed by a vet, are frequently required to treat the infection. The skin and fur around the eyes, likewise, may be affected. Draughts may also be responsible for eye infections.


Sometimes ticks attach themselves to rabbits and feed on their blood for several days. Once fully engorged, the ticks will drop off naturally, but they cannot be pulled off whole while still alive. The head remains firmly embedded in position. They can be killed by cutting off their air supply for about thirty minutes with a smear of vaseline, fat or butter. Afterwards it is possible to pull them away cleanly using a pair of tweezers.


Similar discomfort, and scratching, is caused by an infestation of lice. Unlike fleas, lice lay their eggs - known as nits - in the fur of the animal host. The eggs are white and secured to the fur by a natural adhesive. They show up particularly well on dark-coated rabbits, but will be noticed on any fur during grooming.

Lice can also be destroyed by a specially prepared insecticide powder supplied by a veterinary surgeon. It is effective, however, only when the maker's instructions are followed exactly. Several applications are necessary to eliminate the succeeding generations of lice emerging from the nits.


Rabbits which are seen to display symptoms of discomfort and irritation making them scratch, may be infested with fleas. These tend to cluster around the head, and particularly the neck, where the dark spots of their excreta may be noticed. Fleas can be destroyed by the application of an insecticide powder available from a veterinary surgery or pet shop. Make sure that none gets into the rabbit's eyes.

Fleas reproduce by laying eggs in the host animal's bedding, or on the floor. It is therefore impossible to eradicate them without burning every last straw of the bedding and the floor litter, scrubbing out the hutch and the grazing ark and thoroughly sluicing down all other areas in use. Any crack can harbour the eggs, and in a few days - two to twelve in summer, longer in winter - the larvae will emerge, and the life cycle begins again.

The rabbit flea has achieved some notoriety over the last twenty-five years as carrier of the virus that causes myxomatosis. During an outbreak the great majority of tame rabbits are safe. Veterinary advice should be taken about any felt to be at risk on account of the proximity of wild rabbits. An injection of vaccine will give immunity within three days and last approximately one year.


This ear ailment is sometimes not noticeable externally. If your pet is shaking its head constantly or scratching at its ears, or if you notice any signs of inflammation, it should be examined for canker. For treatment, begin by wiping out the ears with hydrogen peroxide applied with a cotton tipped swab. Afterwards, dust the ear with an appropriate antibiotic. Avoid using preparations that are formulated for dogs. If you are uncertain about selecting the right medication, consult your vet.


Wounds are usually inflicted as a result of two rabbits fighting. The combatants should be given separate quarters and the wounds bathed with a mild antiseptic lotion. Serious wounding needs veterinary attention.

Constipation and diarrhoea

Constipation may be a simple dietary disorder, cured by feeding more greenstuffs; diarrhoea may be cured by withholding greens for twenty-four hours and feeding only hay and water. When persistent, or when combined with other symptoms, both conditions may indicate more serious illness needing veterinary diagnosis.

A warm mash of boiled potatoes with the skins left on, or clover leaves mixed with bran, can help to alleviate this condition. A modest increase in the amount of greens that you feed to your pet may also help. Clean fresh water should always be available.

Sometimes a little drained boiled rice does wonders for the sufferer.


Correctly known as contagious rhinitis.

A respiratory tract condition, similar to the common cold in man, is known throughout the rabbit world as snuffles. This is a highly infectious disease, and the danger is that it may lead to pneumonia. Rabbits displaying the two most obvious symptoms of snuffles, sneezing, and a discharge from the nose, should be isolated well away from other rabbits and veterinary help sought.

The nasal discharge can become thick and yellow as the disease progresses. The official info is that kept warm and dry, rabbits frequently recover by themselves. In severe cases, the use of suifa or penicillin or one of the mycins is usually effective.

However, in my experience the chances of recover are quite slim :-( I have only had one rabbit that survived snuffles, the rest have been treated by the vet but eventually died. If you have better news then please let me know!


Obesity, like so many rabbit disorders, is the result of poor management . Rabbits shut up for long periods in a confined space are most at risk. They need far more freedom to exercise, and possibly a small adjustment to their diet: more greenstuffs, and less high calorie foods such as grains, balanced food pellets and bread.

The largest breeds tend to develop a dewlap under the chin. The does are most prone to this, and although the dewlap may look ominously like a goitre, it is in fact a roll of fatty tissue. A small one is to be expected in breeds as large as the New Zealand White and the Flemish Giant. Smaller breeds should maintain their neat build throughout life.

Overgrown claws

In the wild the rabbits' claws are worn down naturally by burrowing; in captivity they may need clipping.

Owners often wisely prefer to let a veterinary surgeon, or an experienced rabbit keeper, cut the claws the first time, but once seen demonstrated, the procedure is not difficult.

Using a pair of animal nail clippers, available in shops, which sell pet-care accessories, the overgrown, nail should be cut straight across. Care has to be taken to avoid cutting into the blood and nerve supply, which can be seen in a pale coloured rabbit by holding the paw to the light.

Overgrown incisors

The rabbit's front teeth, the incisors, continue to grow throughout life, so that wear is always made good. This is a great advantage in the wild, but can become a problem for captive rabbits who may be fed rather soft food and have little or no access to bark.

In severe cases the incisors grow so long as to make feeding impossible. Either they slowly lever the jaws apart, or an unopposed incisor will grow until it locks into the opposite jaw. This occurs when, as sometimes happens, one incisor falls out.

To keep the incisors in trim, rabbits need both hard food and a gnawing block. Greenstuffs such as kale and Brussels sprouts are best fed on the stem, which is tough enough to offer some resistance to the incisors, and root vegetables should be fed whole to rabbits big enough to manage them.

Any wood will serve as a gnawing block, but for choice a newly cut log with the bark left on is preferable. There is no danger of the rabbit swallowing splinters. When gnawing, the cheeks are drawn into the diastema, the space between the incisors and the cheek teeth, and this forms a barrier.

I have had several rabbits, that despite being given the correct food and wood to chew on, have suffered from overgrown teeth. In this case I have had to take the rabbit to the vet to have the teeth cut as it wasn't something I personally felt comfortable with doing. At one vet's they were able to laser the teeth which causes less stress for the rabbit. In extreme cases, your vet may recommend that the rabbit's teeth are removed.