Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grooming Considerations For Your Pet Rabbit


Rabbits in general have a very similar attitude towards cleanliness as cats do. For this reason it is relatively simple to train them in the use of the litter box. Rabbits spend quite a deal of deal cleaning themselves, maintaining their skin and fur in top shape. However, their personal upkeep by no means exempts pet owners from dedicating some time and effort to this task. Like most other pets, rabbits rely on their owner for an efficient maintenance plan that looks into all areas of hygiene.

One of the most important tasks in rabbit grooming is brushing the coat thoroughly. The more time you spend at this chore, his fur will look and feel that much better. Not to mention the fact that it will bring the pet owner closer to his rabbit. Make it fun, call it brushing the rabbit pet game and go with it. Other advantages of brushing the rabbits hair besides aesthetics, is removing debris and dead strings of hair the pet would otherwise swallow. Like it happens with cats, swallowing hair will form a hair ball in his throat that could prove dangerous to his health. In the event that the hairball, should in fact block the digestive system, the pet owner could face having to submit the rabbit to a surgical procedure costing hundreds of dollars.

When fixing a schedule for brushing the rabbits hear, consider they replace their fur approximately every three months. Be prepared to broom and vacuum all the dead hair left around the house. You will be amazed of how much hair can come out of such a tiny creature. When choosing a brush, remember not to get with hard bristles that may hurt the rabbit’s skin. Their skin is rather delicate; some people prefer wide angle plastic brushes just to go easy on them.

Like with most other pets, when properly taken care off they look fantastic. In order to do this pet owners must be committed to brushing hair regularly. As an alternative you may choose to trim the rabbit’s hair to about one inch in length. This will make your job considerably easier to maintain. In the event that you have little or no experience trimming your rabbit’s hair, don’t be afraid of spending a few dollars with a professional groomer. Make a note of how he does it, and how they handle themselves with the scissors around your rabbit.

A rabbit living in open space and on warm climates will be prone to a lot more physical activity. This activity will generate sweat, which will get cold and dry of on the rabbit. In consequence mats of tangled hair will form which are quite a challenge to remove. For these specific cases try removing the tangled hair with a comb first, before going for the scissors. As a manner of prevention, bathing your rabbit is a must.

Every few weeks your rabbits nails will need to be checked also, and trimmed if necessary. This task, as with many others can easily be done by your veterinarian in case you don’t feel up to the task just yet. Remember to have fun and enjoy the time you spend with your pet, after there is no reason why grooming cannot be a pet game instead of a gruesome chore.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Having Fun In Rabbit Runs


Rabbits are fine creatures to have as pets. Any loving pet owner would want to provide for the animals’ basic needs. Aside from food, drink, and shelter, rabbits need to exercise too. Otherwise their muscles atrophy and they lose energy and immune system strength. In the end, exercise can only do good for your pet bunnies. But how do you let them get their exercise? You can’t exactly leave them in the open to frolic as they wish – they might get hurt! That is why we have rabbit runs!

Rabbit runs are large enclosures for rabbits. Unlike hutches or cages, these have open bottoms, such that the ground is open. It does have walls and a roof to keep the rabbits from getting out or predators from getting in. After all, just because they are your pets does not mean that the rabbits’ natural predators, like foxes, will stay away.

These structures provide several advantages over the standard rabbit cage or hutch, but they also have some weaknesses. Note for example that the lack of a bottom means that the unit cannot be lifted up with the rabbit inside. Additionally, the lack of a floor suspended above the floor means that feces and urine are in easy reach, making hygiene a bit of a problem.

On the other hand, rabbit runs are wonderful additions. They give your rabbit the freedom to run and play in a spacious yet secured environment. The best place to use these runs is outdoors, on the grass. Your pets can enjoy the natural feeling of a grass surface while getting the sunshine, air, and exercise they need to stay healthy and happy.

Some runs are made to be collapsible, making them easy to store when not in use. This is because runs are not the best for keeping rabbits, and are at best used occasionally. If you want to keep your rabbit safe, then indoor cages or hutches are still the way to go. That way they are protected from harsh weather conditions as well as predators.

The construction of rabbit runs varies. At the very basic level, you can have a circle of wire mesh, staked into the ground and covered with some fine mesh. This is easy to make but is not easy to put away, nor does it provide much protection. You can buy or make wood-reinforced wire-enclosed runs, which provide good protection, but you might experience wood rot if you are not careful with it. Lastly, there are rabbit runs made of jointed metal cage panels. These make assembly simple and quick, and also afford you very good protection for your rabbits. Of course, prices will vary depending on the type and quality of the product you choose. Good accessories to include in these runs are drinking water bottles and shaded areas for cooling off.

A rabbit run is safe, cost-effective, and a great addition to any pet rabbit owner’s lineup. Choose one today, and give your pets the freedom to run and play in a protected environment!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Caring For Your First Rabbit



Rabbits make wonderful indoor pets for first time pet owners. In fact, many domestic rabbits are meant to be kept indoors. Domestic rabbits are not like their wild cousins; they do not fair well in extreme temperatures. They also do not react well to predators. Domestic rabbits are very attentive and affectionate.They care about their owners and are very social. Domestic rabbits are meant to be played with and loved by the entire family.

The choice of whether you keep your rabbit in a cage or allow him to roam freely is up to you. If you do opt to keep your rabbit in a cage, you should make sure that he is allowed to get out of his cage every day so he can exercise. When purchasing a cage for your rabbit, you should take into account how big he will be when he is mature and purchase a cage that is five times that size. Your rabbit's cage should be big enough for him to sit up on his hind legs. You should also put cardboard or a piece of untreated pine wood in the bottom of wire cages to protect his paws from the wire.

If you decide to allow your pet to roam, make sure that your home is safe. Rabbits like to chew and they don't know the difference between an electrical cord and a stick. Most rabbit owners that do allow their pets to roam limit their wandering to specific areas.

Rabbits are herbivores, which means that they only eat fruits, vegetables and grasses in the wild. You should keep a bowl of commercial rabbit food in your pets eating area. However, you should feed your rabbit hay every day, as well. Many rabbit owners also feed their pets a few fruits and vegetables, such as a carrot or a bit of apple. Always provide something hard and crunchy for your rabbit to gnaw on. This will keep his teeth from becoming overgrown. You should also make sure your rabbit has access to water and that it is changed every day.

Many domesticated rabbits become accustomed to be handled and even enjoy being held. However, you should always use both hands when picking up your rabbit. Place one hand under his chest and the other around his rump. You should never lift your rabbit by his ears.


Rabbits keep themselves clean. However, you should brush rabbits that have long hair regularly to keep their fur from matting. You should trim your rabbit's nails every six weeks. Also, check your bunny's teeth when you trim his nails to be sure they are wearing evenly. If a rabbit's teeth don't meet evenly, they may grow too long and curl, preventing him from eating. If his teeth are growing too long, you will need to ask your vet to trim them on a regular basis.

Rabbits do not need to go to the vet for vaccinations, but will benefit from a yearly checkup, just like any other pet. You should also take your rabbit to the vet if he has hair loss, loss of appetite, a runny nose, has difficulty breathing or has any swelling or lumps on his body.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rabbit Breed Profile: American Fuzzy Lop

The American Fuzzy Lop is a good choice for those who like a practical pet but don't have a great deal of room. This is a personable small breed that can provide home grown fiber.

Using the Holland Lops that came out fuzzy from a recessive wool gene the American Fuzzy Lop is a somewhat recent addition to the ARBA bred roster, first completing in 1989. They have grown in popularity steadily since
 then due to dedicated breeders and increasing the quality of the breed.

The American Fuzzy Lop today is a short bodied animal with good depth. A wide head with good set to the ears and of course those ears should flop down rather than being erect. The hind feet, head and ears have regular hair with a dense body wool that is at least 2 inches long in order to show. Body type is very important, with 75 points of the standard coming on type.

This is a four class rabbit with show classes for junior and senior bucks and does. For registration the American Fuzzy Lop should be under four pounds with an ideal size of 3 pounds for bucks and 3 pounds for does. They are shown by age more so than other breeds, with juniors showing as juniors until fully six months old.

The American Fuzzy Lop can be blue, broken, chestnut, chinchilla, lynx, opal, squirrel, pointed white, blue eyed white, ruby eyed white, lilac, sable point, Siamese sable, Siamese smoke pearl, tortoise shell, fawn and black and orange in color varieties for show. This gives a range of color.

The small size of the American Fuzzy Lop makes them ideal as pets and for those who enjoy working with fiber this is a chance to grow your own fiber. Like the angora breeds, the wool of the American Fuzzy Lop means they need regular grooming to keep the coat from being matted, although the wool is not as soft or silky as angora wool, making it easier to care for.

This is a curious breed that doesn't take a lot of room and enjoys company. The coat does take some effort to keep it free of debris and tangles. The smaller body size means less feed needed as well as less cage space needed and smaller nest boxes needed.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Housing Your Rabbit With a Cozy Rabbit Hutch


While your rabbit can roam your house or even a fenced in, covered run during the day, he is going to need a good place to relax and to sleep at night, and one of the best places for him to do this is going to be a rabbit hutch! A rabbit hutch is essentially a type of cage that you can use to house your rabbits and typically, they are made of wood and wire. While some hutches can hold five or six animals, you will find that building one to house one or two is quite simple and is something that the whole family can enjoy. Unlike other animals, which need expensive caging, rabbits do very well in hutches that you can build yourself inside of a weekend.

For the most part, you will find that rabbit hutches consist of a covered portion and a portion that is open to the air. The covered portion might be made of solid plywood or another type of lumber while the open area is made out of wire mesh. The covered portion exists because rabbits, much like most other burrowing mammals, need a dark and cozy place to sleep in. In the wild, rabbits sleep in burrows and in some cases will have earth pressing in on them on three sides. Remember that in many cases, your rabbit will prefer a small covered area that will allow them to feel as though they are being protected.

One thing that you have to look into when you are planning a rabbit hutch is going to be the floor. Some people suggest using a wire mesh for the floor as this can prevent having a rabbit escape through tunneling, but the issue here is that it can be rough on your rabbit’s paws. If you end up deciding on wire floor, be sure that it is well covered with straw. Of course, you can always line the floor with plywood or with vinyl, which is quite easy to clean. Both options is fairly inexpensive and you will discover that it is something that is entirely up to you.


You also might want t look into putting wire mesh on the open area of the hutch. This will allow more circulation of air and it can reduce odor in your rabbit cage. It can also make it easier to check on your rabbit during the course of the day. Remember that when you are building your own rabbit hutch that wood and wire are going to be your best choices for your hutch; plastic might be easier to clean, but it will almost certainly get chewed up as time goes on.

Finally, when you want to make sure that your bunny has a perfect place to live, remember that making your own cage is quite simple. Most people don't realize how easy it is to put together a rabbit hutch, even a fairly large and roomy one. All of the materials are easy to acquire from your local hardware store, so why not devote this weekend to putting together the perfect home for your rabbit?

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Should You Feed Your Pet Rabbit?

One of the most important aspects of properly caring for a 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).

Pellets

Rabbit pellets, available at your local pet store, on the internet, or through mail-order, can be a backbone of your pet's diet. They provide many nutrients in a dense fashion, and they make your job as a feeder so easy. However, you don't need pellets to keep your rabbit healthy. Hay, veggies and the occasional treat of fruits can be an equally or even more effective diet. After all, rabbits in the wild subsist on hay, grass, and veggies ... why should domestic rabbits be any different? On the other hand, pellets are easy and widely available. The choice is really up to you.

If you do decide to feed your rabbit pellets, alfalfa pellets are recommended, as are the excellent rabbit pellets offered by Oxbow (Bunny Basics), Purina or Manna Pro. Feed your rabbit a small amount twice daily (morning and night).

Purchase in small bags if possible (not jumbo size) to ensure that they are as fresh as possible by the time your bunny actually gets to eat them. Pet rabbits are widely known as picky eaters who respond badly to sudden changes in diet, and they may balk if you try to feed them pellets that are spoiled or that have gone rancid or stale.

Veggies

Pellets are a great starting point, but they are only a portion of an overall balanced diet. Rabbits also love to consume vegetables, and many vets recommend giving pet bunnies a small amount of a variety of veggies each day.

Here are some veggies rabbits love:
Alfalfa sprouts
Basil
Brussels sprouts
Carrots
Celery
Clover
Green peppers
Mint
Parsley
Peppermint leaves
Radish tops
Wheat grass

While you may have seen bunnies crunching down on carrot sticks in the cartoons, it's important not to give only carrots or to overfeed too many carrots to your pet. Carrots contain vitamin A, and too much of it can cause problems. On the other hands, vitamin A is essential to good nutrition, so aim for one item that contains it per day. Besides carrots, some veggies that contain vitamin A are:

Beet tops
Broccoli
Endive
Romaine leaves
Dandelion greens

Be careful not to give your rabbit too many vegetables, as they are high in water content and can cause diarrhea or loose stools. If this happens, reduce or eliminate veggies from the diet.

Moreover, don't give your bunny rabbit so many veggies that he starts to eat them only and neglect his pellets. Veggies should be a supplement, not a main dietary staple.

Fruits

While you should give your rabbit more veggies than fruits, some fruits can be a nice treat for your pet. Only give him fresh fruit, never canned (which often has added sugar). Again, give only small amounts, as too much can cause watery stools.

Rabbits tend to like apples, bananas, kiwi, and strawberry. Papaya and pineapple are also great choices, as they both contain papain, which is an enzyme that helps to keep rabbit hairballs at bay.

Be Consistant!

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 maintain consistency. 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 rabbit has a long and happy life as your prized companion.

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

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.

FRESH Water

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.

Yogurt?

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.

The History of the American Rabbit Breeders Association

In the late 1890s the Belgian Hare affair brought a serious touch to the American rabbit world that previously had been pet and perhaps meat rabbits. With serious prices paid for Belgian Hares there was not a national
 organization as with other livestock. In 1910 the National Pet Stock Association was formed.

Seven years later the "Pet" was dropped from the name as it began including not just rabbits and cavies but other small fur bearing animals and later another name change was made to the "National Breeders and Fanciers Association of America."

In 1923 the rabbit fancy began to split into fur breeds and meat breeds. The name of the association was changed to the American Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association to narrow the focus to just rabbit and cavy owners.

The organization grew and by 1948 an estimated 12,000 members were involved in the organization. Then in 1952 the name was changed to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, although the cavy still today falls within the scope of the association. Six years later a youth division was added to afford adults to compete as well as the youth against their own age and experience level, with a youth division specialty club.

This was changed in 1971 when Oren Reynolds became president and the youth became a part of ARBA that had the same as an adult membership except for that of voting. The ARBA grew and with the increase in members and finances fliers, booklets and the Domestic Rabbits magazine became available to members. Today there is a guidebook, beginner book, year book and the Standard of Perfection that are updated regularly as well as other publications available through ARBA.

The organization today maintains coops and equipment for the national convention shows, it has raised over $150,000 for the research and development fund that contributes to research that benefits rabbits as well as cavy research. There is also a youth scholarship, Hall of Fame library and an active membership that is not just about breeding rabbits. While a large part of the membership do show and breed their choice of dozens of breeds there is also a benefit for pet owners of information.

Although ARBA has been through several name changes in the last 100 years since inception the promotion of the domestic rabbit and cavy has remained. Today ARBA has members from around the world that come to the annual
 convention and show. Rabbits included within the scope of the association are not just fur rabbits or meat rabbits but include breeds that can do both as well as smaller breeds, wooled angora rabbits and fancy marked breeds. The cavy breeds are also distinct and compete at the national convention.

For many reasons owners of all types of rabbits can benefit from information available from ARBA. Join today!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Giant Angora Rabbit Profile

Grow Your Own Sweater
The largest of the angora rabbits, the Giant Angora is but one color from accepted show standards. However, a properly groomed ruby eyed white Giant Angora is a rabbit to behold.

As a large breed this is a six class breed, with classes for junior, intermediate and senior bucks and does. With a minimum adult weight of 9 pounds for bucks and 10 pounds for does, this is more than a fluffy rabbit.
They should be a commercial type, developed for large body size as well as commercially housed fiber production.

As a wooled breed the Giant Angora provides a heavenly fleece to be used in a variety of woolen goods. There are three coats in the structure of a Giant Angora fleece. The undercoat, awn fluff and the longest guard hairs make up a fleece that should reflect good density. If you are looking for a practical pet and enjoy fiber arts, the Giant Angora may be the rabbit for you.

Of course that luxurious wool needs care long before it comes time to make a scarf with it. The Giant Angora should be kept free of contamination of the wool, keeping shavings, hay and other debris from being embedded in the coat. Like all angora breeds they need regular grooming and this is a breed that is often sheared, as they are less likely to shed the coat than some other Angora breeds. Regular grooming keeps the rabbit from developing mats and creating health problems that can arise from lack of maintenance of the coat. Each of the angora breeds has a unique feel to the coat, known in the rabbit world as texture.

Due to the standard issuing the wool quality this is a major factor in preparation of a Giant Angora for show. However, that also can mean that when properly cared for and with that wool maintained this is a breed that can show longer than the shorter coated breeds.

As a rule Angoras are good rabbits to handle, owing to the time spent with them and developing rabbits for wool and temperament to take the grooming needed to keep that wool in good condition.

Additional care is needed to keep the rabbits from wool block as well as removing the loose fiber from the cages regularly. With no maximum weight limit the Giant Angora is a breed that catches the eye not only for
their beautifully groomed coat but for their large size as well.

The Giant Angora takes a dedicated owner but the wool produced can be done for a lifetime, providing a benefit that doesn't mean culling the best animals. The National Angora Rabbit Breeders and ARBA are both very recommended if you are looking at keeping this large and beautiful breed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Satin Angora Breed Profile

Satin Angoras are distinctive in the satinized sheen to their wool. Although all of the angora types are distinctive they share a need for regular grooming to keep the coat up. With a fiber that is lighter and warmer
 than wool there is a special texture to the wool of these rabbits as well as a natural sheen that is unlike any other Angora.

The Satin Angora has no wool on the face, ears or feet, leaving a luxurious coat on the body with a soft texture. The beautiful sheen is compromised by somewhat less production of wool than other angora breeds, but as breeders select and breed for heavier wool this is likely to change. As the emphasis is put on quantity as well as quality of wool the resulting offspring should produce more wool per rabbit.

The Satin Angora is approved to show in agouti, pointed white, self, shaded, ticked and wide band varieties. From a show standpoint they are shown as white and colored and are a four class breed. This allows junior and senior bucks and does to compete based on age and sex.

Although the wool is the crowning glory of the Satin Angora there should be more than just wool. With an accepted range of 6 to 9 pounds in size and ideally 8 pounds this is a good breed for those with limited room as well as to keep for spinning wool at home. Where you probably won't be able to keep a couple sheep as pets, a few angora rabbits are quiet and give a beautiful home grown fiber.

Aside from the needed grooming it's important to get your hands on these rabbits on a regular basis to maintain good condition. The wool can cover up a rabbit that might be too thin or too fat and not only is this bad for the rabbit but purely from a wool standpoint, quality will suffer if the rabbit is not in the best of condition. Regular grooming as well as outstanding feed and management are needed to keep these rabbits in the best of care.

The satin sheen should carry not only through a good texture on the wool but on the shorter hair too on the head and feet, with the distinct shine that indicates a good satin coat. If you are starting in angoras it pays to join ARBA, the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club and email lists about the rabbits and the fiber.

Start with good quality Satin Angoras and keep them in good condition. While breeding to the standard is good it is always good to breed for function too and for the angoras this means wool. The Satin Angora is a
 beautiful rabbit with a distinctive angora coat. Give them a look!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

French Angora Rabbit Breed Profile

The French Angora has a long history as a functional rabbit with a history of being raised commercially in Europe for their wool. Today this feature is still prized among those that keep these rabbits not only for fiber
but also for showing.

As a four class breed shown grouped by age of junior and senior and sex as buck or doe, the French Angora is shown as white or colored and available as agouti, broken, pointed white, self, shaded, ticked and wide band varieties. They are a medium sized breed with a range accepted of 7 to 10 pounds and an ideal size for bucks and does of 8 pounds.

The wool of the French angora is somewhat coarser than other breeds and ideally 2 to 3 inches long. The feet and legs are furred to the first joint and they might have tufts on the ears but not nearly as noticeable as on the English Angora.

Like the other angora breeds, the French Angora needs regular grooming to keep the fleece tangle and mat free. In the French Angora they will shed and extra grooming during this time "plucks" the shed fiber without hurting the rabbit in any way. This is also true of the Satin Angora, of which the French Angora was used to develop.

Sometimes breeders will clip the baby coat of young rabbits at 6-8 weeks then again at 20 weeks and from there follow the harvesting of wool during the natural shedding process. There is then a variety from the baby wool to the adult fiber in density.

Of course if you clip babies you must insure that they stay warm enough to maintain condition and growth as well as growing another coat. A good, tangle free coat means a higher quality fiber.

For all the work involved in keeping angoras there is another competition that those with wooly breeds can take part in aside from showing at ARBA shows and taking part in breed club activities. There is also fiber festivals in many parts of the country that judge on the fiber itself. For the angora breeder this can be an important selection factor to increase your fiber quality not only from a competition standpoint for fiber but also on your rabbits.

The French Angora can be a handspinner's dream animal, taking not a great deal of room or feed and supplying home grown fiber wherever you are. It gives a different appreciation of the work that goes into an angora
sweater when you grow it from birth, spin it into yarn, knit it into something to wear and get compliments for it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Angora Rabbits: Quiet, Fluffy Pets with Good Hair for Spinning

Angora rabbits are very fluffy rabbits with hair that is silky and smooth. Angora rabbits can grow so much hair that they can't see since the hair is in front of their eyes. The hair of the Angora rabbit can be spun
 into yarn that can be made into garments. Angora rabbits make good quiet pets but since they have the long soft hair they need to be groomed more then a short haired rabbit.

Angora rabbits should be groomed every other day to keep the hair untangled. The hair of the angora rabbits will fly off the rabbit easy. When you groom an angora rabbit you can gently pull the hair off of the rabbit or you can brush the rabbit to remove the extra hair. When you pull the wool off of the Angora rabbit it is called plucking. It is best to start grooming an angora rabbit when it is only weeks old so that you can train the rabbit to like being groomed. During the warm summer months you can shear the Angora rabbit like you would a sheep to get the hair off of the rabbit. The hair on an angora rabbit is too hot to let it stay on the rabbit during the heat of the summer.

If you spin the angora hair into yarn you can put the rabbit down next to where you are spinning and pull the hair from the Angora rabbit as you spin the hair into yarn. You can also mix the angora hair in with some wool and the yarn to spin will be stronger and less fly away. You can mix the angora hair with the wool by carding them together on the same cards at the same time.

Angora rabbits can be nice quiet pets that will sit on your lap and let you pet them. The soft hair of the Angora rabbit will fly around when you pet the rabbit. An angora rabbit is not a good pet if you are someone who has allergies.

Angora rabbits are comical looking pets that are nice to hold and pet. An Angora rabbit looks much like a big puff ball. An Angora rabbit is a quiet peaceful pet that is not aggressive. You can keep Angora rabbits as a pet and you can use the hair they produce for yarn. You can read more about Angora rabbits at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to Shear Wool from an Angora Rabbit

There are two types of angora rabbit hair: the kind that is able to be plucked and the kind that isn't. Many angora owners find they are able to pluck the hair from their rabbit with ease and little fuss from the
rabbit. This plucking is accomplished by simply pulling on a few strands of wool at a time until the rabbit has been freed of all excess wool. Some angoras, mainly of the German and Giant varieties, are not able to be plucked so easily and other methods of removing the wool is necessary to maintain the health of the rabbit.

Shearing is my method of choice and while it can be a daunting task, there are a few easy steps that can help you to accomplish this chore with relatively little headache.

Firstly, if you intend to use the wool later, make sure the rabbit's fur is long enough. Wool that is too short will not spin properly and will make a weak yarn. If, however, you are keeping the wool short for grooming and not for using, then the length of the wool is not of great significance to you for purposes of shearing.

Begin by letting your rabbit hop around and get enough exercise so that he has a chance to work out some energy and calm down a bit. Use this time to prepare your setting and equipment. You will need sharp scissors, a damp washrag, a comb or brush used on the rabbit regularly, a small trashcan with a fresh liner, and something to collect the wool in, if you are planning on keeping it. Once the rabbit has settled down somewhere, preferably laying down, part the hair down the center of the back from the shoulder blades to about the middle of the back. From the shoulder and working your way back, hold one side of the part down with your non-dominant hand, slide the scissors in just under the part you've made, and cut the hair. This method of trimming will allow you to get very close to the skin without cutting the rabbit's delicate skin. Continue trimming the rabbit using this method for the entire back and rump of the rabbit. Wool from this area is the only wool I save as the rest has a tendency to get dirty or knot up too badly for use.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is a Rabbit the Right Pet for Your Family?

What is Required of You as a Rabbit Owner to Ensure a Healthy Pet

Rabbits are synonymous with Easter, however owning a rabbit is a year-round commitment. While a cage or hutch contains them, rabbits need daily interaction for both physical and mental health purposes. When deciding

whether or not a rabbit is the right kind of pet for your family, here are some things to consider:

Longevity - A rabbit can live anywhere from three to six years. It is not uncommon for many rabbits to live beyond six years, however, owning an older rabbit means that it will have to be cleaned more often, as sometimes it is harder for older rabbits to lift themselves up when they use the bathroom. Another consideration of having a rabbit that is older would be the need to constantly evaluate the feet and ears. An older rabbit is not as agile as a younger one; therefore, feet need to be examined to check for any sore hocks. In addition, a rabbit will not clean herself as good as when she was younger and ears will need to be inspected to check for ear mites.

Diet - A rabbit will always need fresh water, rabbit pellets and hay. The hay is necessary to help facilitate the wearing down of the rabbit's constantly growing teeth. Hay also helps keep the gut active and prevents many blockages due to the ingestion of fur and other substances. Fruits and vegetables are treats for rabbits and include bananas, carrots, leaf lettuce and apples. These, however, should only compensate for 10%, at most, of the rabbit's total diet.

Grooming - A rabbit will need its coat groomed as often as possible. Breeds like the Angora or Jersey Wooly will need to be groomed at least daily. Coats need to be checked for matting and underneath the scut (tail) for any residue of wastes that may have accumulated on the rabbit's coat. Another part of grooming is to inspect your rabbit from head to toe. Ears need to be checked for mites, teeth need to be inspected for broken teeth or malocclusion, and nails may need a trim. Hind feet are susceptible to sore hocks and will need an inspection to make sure fur is present, or a sore hock is healing properly.

Vet care - While rabbits do not require the usual shots like cats and dogs do, they still need to go to the vet. Find a veterinarian that has experience with treating rabbits. Rabbits can be spayed and neutered; which

is a good idea if you are planning on keeping more than one rabbit. Even two males should be neutered, as they will get along better, however two sisters from the same litter will usually get along peacefully and may not require spaying.

Rabbits' systems are very fragile. Once a rabbit is sick it will immediately require vet care, so be sure to have your vet already lined up and make a visit so he/she can become acquainted with your bunny. If your rabbit is injured or sick, it will grind its teeth very loudly, scream, or try to run off and be by itself. This is often accompanied by a loss of appetite. Should this happen, carefully wrap your rabbit in a towel and immediately call your vet.

Only you can decide if a pet rabbit is right for your family, but if you feel you are in doubt, wait and contact some local rabbit rescue groups. They may have an education program available to let you "try out" what it is like to own a rabbit. Also, if you have other pets, take them into consideration when you are contemplating adopting a bunny. You vet can provide you with advice about integrating your rabbit into the family, which includes an introduction to the other furry members of your household. Remember though: never bring home a bunny until you are absolutely ready to care for it for the remainder of its life.

Friday, June 11, 2010

English Angora Rabbit: Isn't He Fluffy?

The Fluffy Angora Rabbit Makes a Very Good Pet. Find Out About the 4 Types of Angora Rabbits. They Are the Cutest Pets, Ever!


"Angora rabbit" is a species I knew of, but had never really seen. Forget real life, I had not even seen a picture of an Angora Rabbit. All I knew is that an Angora rabbit is generally bred for its wool.

Browsing the internet as I usually do, I came across an article on some unusual pets and there he/she was (let's assume it is a he to make this article simpler to write).

The moment I saw his face, I fell in love. Well, I can't lie, I can't lie! I must say- the moment I saw him, but not his face, I fell in love. My imagination ran wild and I imagined sitting on the angora rabbit. Please don't call the animal activists on me. I did nothing wrong, it was so tempting. Look at how fluffy he is.. Mr. Fluffy-puff! If you did not see his face and bum, I assure you, you too would think of this angora rabbit as a fluffy bean-bag. In fact these cute fur balls are sometimes called "Wooly Wabbits".(That is a name I did not make up.)

I don't understand how an angora rabbit can see with all that fluff.

There are 4 main types of Angora rabbits.

1- English Angora rabbit: Some would say these are the cutest of the Angora rabbits, but I love them all. This kind of Angora rabbit is sometimes confused with a dog! Their face and floppy ears are covered with all that fluff and then it becomes a case of mistaken identity. These are the smallest breed of the four Angora rabbits. They weigh 5 to 7.5 pounds at maturity.

2- French Angora rabbit: French Angora rabbits look like regular rabbits and don't have fluff on their face, ears and head. They weigh 8 to 10 pounds at maturity.

3- Satin Angora rabbit: These angora rabbits have wool that shines like satin. Just like the French Angora rabbits, these too don't have wool on their ears, face and head. The ideal weight of a matured Satin Angora rabbit is around 8 pounds.

4- German or Giant Angora rabbit: German/Giant Angora rabbits have the most dense wool. These Angora rabbits can reach a maturity weight from between 9 to12 pounds.

These calm and docile Angora rabbits generally shed their wool about 3-4 times a year. The only exception would be the German Angora rabbit, which needs to be sheared.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Choosing an Angora Rabbit

Angora rabbits are immediately recognized by their fine wool which presents a halo effect upon first viewing these lovely creatures. This unique breed of rabbit will surely capture your heart and imagination with its
 fluffy hairdo and comical expression. The gentleness of this breed is attributed to their need for human care and grooming as part of their daily life.

Angoras have been known to exist since around the late 1700s and were transported by sailors, merchants, and explorers throughout Europe as wool producers, trade material, gifts to royalty and anomalies of nature. The American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) today recognizes four distinct Angora breeds: English, French, Satin, and Giant. The ARBA is the governing body of thousands of rabbit fanciers. The ARBA produces guidelines and standards for each breed, promotes the betterment of all rabbits, sanctions exhibitions and provides education about rabbits through various venues.

The English Angora is the smallest in weight of all the breeds. They range from approximately 5-7 pounds. The English Angora body style is considered to be short and compact with a rather short and broad head. The overall body is well balanced. The length of the wool fibers can be 3 - 5 inches - giving the rabbit the appearance of being larger than some small dogs. It is all just wool! They are fully covered in a very soft, fine diameter, low number of guard hairs and a slightly wavy crimp in the undercoat. Their face, ears and feet are covered in wool as well. Their coat lends best to hand plucking the fibers as mechanized shearing produces an over-abundance of the fine undercoat that will mat or felt easily. You can expect 10-12 ounces of wool fiber per year. This lovely creature becomes quite accustomed to regular grooming which should occur on a weekly basis to keep your rabbit in prime condition.

The French Angora is the next most popular breed weighing in at 7-10 pounds. They are more of the commercial type rabbit - heavier set with longer body type. Their wool is slightly coarser with a higher percentage of
 guard hairs and a bit less crimp than the English and covers only their body. The higher incident of guard hairs lends this breed to fewer propensities of matting or felting, a richer color and produces an exquisite nap on knitted items. Their face, ears and feet are covered in normal length rabbit fur. The French Angora also responds well to hand plucking as they simultaneously produce new growth under the older coat. Shearing can cause matting when the new coat lengthens and sticks to the older fibers. The labor intensity to keep facial furnishings is not an issue with this breed and they have many aficionados. The French are known to produce approximately 16 ounces of fiber per year.

The Satin Angora is a relatively new breed having been approved for registration in 1987. They were developed from the French Angora and the Satin (a commercial type, satin furred breed). Satin Angoras are similar to the French in body type and weighing in at 6-9 pounds. Their wool is a fine fiber that does tend to mat easily if not properly cared for. The wool is of a fine diameter with an incredible sheen that is reflected by light. The white Satin Angora fiber will shine like silk when spun and produced into handcrafted knitwear. A lovely breed of Angora producing limited amounts of fiber - usually under 8 ounces per year. This fiber is highly sought after for it's luxurious effect.

The Giant Angora was recognized by the ARBA in 1988 and must be a minimum of 9.5 pounds, of the commercial type. The breed was developed through careful breeding of excellent quality French and German Angoras with the introduction of large normal furred breeds such as the Flemish Giant and the French Lop. The Giant Angora is a hefty rabbit, covered in wool that is thick and heavily crimped. These were developed as a commercial wool producer and are the best candidates for mechanical shearing to fully remove their extensive coats. Production of 1 to 2 pounds of fiber per year is not uncommon.

There has been much interest and discussion regarding the German Angora breed amongst fanciers. The German Angora was the result of many years of exceptional research by European, particularly the German, breeders. They were intent to develop a strain of Angoras that would consistently produce the highest quantity and quality of wool necessary for their fiber mills. German Angoras are from pure European Angora stock without the interspersing of non-Angora breeds to increase their size. Their body weight averages at 9 to 10 pounds and their wool must be silky, not cottony, heavily crimped and the texture and length is to be even over the entire body, including the belly area. German Angoras are not accepted as a recognized breed by the ARBA but with appropriate documentation, they have been shown as Giant Angoras in competition.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Angora Rabbit Breeds

Choosing an Angora

Angora rabbits are generally raised for their fiber as it is wonderful for spinning into yarn, which is soft and warm. Angora fiber is 7 times warmer than sheep wool without the itch that wool tends to have making it

wonderful for use in baby garments. Angora fiber can be plucked as the rabbit sheds, or clipped with a very sharp set of scissors.

They do need a little extra care from other typical rabbits. Angora rabbits should be brushed at least once a week to keep their coats in optimal condition and matt free. There is no cleaning process of their fiber like there is on other fiber animals making them a very desirable fiber animal to raise.

There are a few breeds from which you can choose depending on your preference or time you have to devote to their care. You have the French Angora which has a shorter coat than the other breeds and is the easiest breed to care for its coat. It has no fur on its ears, face, ears or front feet and looks more like a typical rabbit. It has more guard hair to its undercoat and shorter overall hair than the other angora breeds which is why the hair is easiest to care for.

Your English Angora's have extremely long, heavy fur that covers their entire body including the head, ears and front feet. Kind of resembling an overgrown mop with little guard hair where it will spin tighter than other angora fur. They really are an adorable breed of rabbit worthy of consideration. When you think of an angora rabbit it is usually the English Angora you envision in your mind.

The German Giant is the largest of the Angoras and comes in white, where colored versions are considered cross-breds. At mature weight they come in at 9 to 12 pounds where the other breeds are closer to around 8 pounds of mature weight. They have a double undercoat making them the densest fiber of the angoras.

Satin Angoras have a beautiful shiny sheen to their coat and like the French Angora does not have hair on face or ears. They do require more grooming due to their fur being less dense and an overall lighter fur. Their fiber is a wonderful texture for spinners to work with and adds a wonderful sheen and sparkle to the yarn.



Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Raise Pet Bunnies Easily and Economically

Many people find the idea of cute bunny rabbits to be an interesting idea for a pet. Often though, people don't do enough research and don't understand all that goes into making a happy home with bunny rabbits. If

properly prepared having bunnies as pets can be very fun, inexpensive and easier than having your typical dog, cat, bird and fish pets. However, there are so many different characteristics in different breeds of bunnies and they differ greatly from other pets. It is very important to know what you are getting into.

Bunny Health:

In general, bunnies are very strong creatures, if properly taken care of they don't tend to get sick. There are some things to watch for, but I'm going to suggest going about raising bunnies in the most sustainable, natural and economic way possible. In terms of food, bunnies eat primarily greens, hay, specifically green grass hays that have been sun dried, such as Thomson hay and oat hay. If you have a very young bunny alfalfa hay can be used or mixed with other hay, and it can be used with giant breed bunnies as well. Good treats for them are other vegetables, fruits, a small amount of seeds or nuts and sticks/twigs from grape vines or other fruit trees can be good for them to chew on.

Bunnies have excellent teeth, and therefore, they love to chew on their greens, and if they don't have enough things to chew on they will chew on cages, paper and other things, including cords, if they have access to them. However, happy bunnies with enough stimulation for their teeth don't have that issue. So I greatly encourage not using rabbit pellets for your pet. This kind of food is not fresh, natural food for a bunny. It is more expensive, not very healthy and doesn't give them the proper stimulation they need by chewing fresh foods, they texture is unnatural and is not easily digested by your bunnies, which could cause health issues. If you do give your bunnies pellets, don't give them very much, and make sure they have plenty of hay to make up for it. They will also need their nails trimmed periodically, if they don't get outside time, or you can put stones in their cages to trim their nails.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lionhead Rabbit: Relatively New House-hold Pet

The Lionhead Rabbit which is a relatively new house-hold pet is extremely adorable with its features with a friendly, gentle nature. They have only been recently introduced as a new breed of house-pet; more information

on them can be found at CentralPets.

Lionhead Rabbits are said to originate from Belgium, and is a mixed breed from the Belgian Dwarf, Miniature Swiss Fox, and possibly the Jersey Woolie. This breed of rabbit is bred mainly in France and the United Kingdom. Being a new breed, their standards and requirements are still fairly flexible to accommodate the breeders.

Lionhead rabbits have cobby, short bodies, and weight at about three pounds in average. They have medium-length coats, and come in colors of white, fawn and harlequin; however, since the breeding and standards of this breed is rather loose, there are still quite a lot of changes that can be made. Both genders have an incredible mane which is probably where their name derived from. The Lionhead rabbits have long hair that extends over their cheeks, and they have erect ears. They also have bright colored eyes either red or blue.

The Lionhead rabbits have been known to make great house-pets because of their docile and gentle nature. They love attention, and cuddling up to their owners, and are attractive. They will enjoy the attention given to them, and are best for children. On top of those qualities, the Lionhead rabbit is easy to care for. Also, the Lionhead rabbits enjoy being groomed, which is healthy for their fur. They do not require a lot of grooming as their hair do not seem to mat, and the rest of their body has rather short hair nonetheless.

One of the most interesting qualities of these rabbits is the fact that they are wonderful at mating, and wonderful mothers.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lionhead Rabbit Care and Information

The lionhead rabbit originated in Belgium and has been recognized since 2002 by the British Rabbit Council and the North American Lionhead Rabbit Club. They have long hair that surrounds their face called a mane just

like a male lion. They have a rounded head and usually weigh between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds. They have slightly shorter ears than most other rabbit breeds that usually grow no longer than 3 inches. The litter size for the lionhead is normally between 5 to 7 bunnies but can sometimes have more. There are multiple different color genetics for this breed. This includes colors from the self family, shaded family, agouti family, red or white banded family, tan pattern family, broken family, Vienna gene family, harlequin family, pointed white family and the steel family. Epilepsy is a common health concern in the English lionhead bloodlines. This is something to be aware of if you have or are planning on purchasing one of these rabbits. There is plenty of information on the internet about this problem. If you are planning on getting a lionhead, be sure to do thorough research so that your pet will be able to have a long, healthy, and happy life.

They are very well tempered and very friendly. They love attention and crave companionship. It is usually better to have 2 of these rabbits in a hutch together if they can get along. If they do not get along in the hutch together you should have a second hutch butted up against the first one so that they still have a companion close to them that they can still somewhat interact with. Hutches should be large enough for the rabbits to run around and get plenty of exercise. If your hutch is outside than you should make sure to have some kind of protection from the weather for them. During the hot summer days fill 2 liter pop bottles with water and freeze them. Place the frozen bottles inside the hutch and this will keep them cool. Plenty of straw should be placed in and around the hutches during the cold winter months to provide heat.