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Which breed of Rabbit should I choose?
Lops generally have very good natures. They are docile and friendly, making them a good choice for children. Lops come in various sizes, Mini lops being the smallest followed by Dwarf lops and then there are the giants such as the French lop, and English Lop. Lion lops are basicaly a mini lop with longer fur, in particular a mane around their face. As with all long haired rabbits they will need regular grooming to prevent them from becoming matted.
Due to their floppy ears, lops are more prone to ear wax than other rabbits, although this rarely becomes a problem, it is a good idea to clean out their ears regualy wth ear drops.
These are one of the smallest breeds of rabbit you will find. They are popular due to their very manageable size. Although not usually aggressive, Netherlands are very highly strung and therefore do not make the best pets for young children. They should be fine for older children or adults who will have a bit more confidence and can respect their temperament.
When purchasing a Netherland always check the teeth for malocclusion (mis-alignment), as this is a common problem with the breed. A rabbit with this problem is best avoided as the teeth will need very regular clipping. A rabbit with malocclusion should never be bred from as it is an inherited problem.
Rex rabbits are unusual in that they have a velvet like coat, their fur is very plush and soft to the touch. They are intelligent rabbits with lots of personality. We find they are the easiest rabbits to litter train and therefore make good house rabbits. They become very tame and are a good choice for older children. Standard Rex are a fairly large rabbit, and Mini Rex are simply a smaller version of these.
Rex can sometimes suffer from sore feet if left on wet or soiled bedding or if only a thin layer of bedding is used.
These are a rarley seen breed which we occasionaly have available. They are a medium size, rich tan coloured rabbit. These rabbits have a lovley temperement, very friendly and easy to handle.
Dutch are the original childrens pet rabbit. They are small to medium sized and are generally well behaved rabbits, with few health problems. They are a nice easy first rabbit.
These are medium sized rabbits with long fluffy fur. They are quite lively but usually friendly. They will need regular attention to grooming, it is therefore important that they are accustomed to his from a young age.Being long haired they tend to be more prone to fly strike than most rabbits and therefore both the rabbits and their hutches must be kept extra clean. Regular use of a preventative treatment such as fly guard is also recommended. Some people prefer not to use wood shavings in the lionheads hutch as it becomes tangled in their fur. A good alternative would be a wood based cat litter or Back to Nature bedding.
Should I choose a Buck (male) or a Doe (female)?
As a single pet we would normally recommend a Buck, they are usually more even tempered than Does. If they are not bred from, some Does will have regular phantom pregnancies, where they will build a nest, pull out their fur, become temperamental and sometimes aggressive for a week or so. However this is not true of all Does, and spaying will normally prevent this problem altogether.
Can rabbits be kept in pairs?
Rabbits are naturally sociable animals and generally prefer to have company. If you feel you will not be able to give your rabbit sufficient human attention, it is kinder to keep it with a companion. If you are considering keeping a pair of rabbits it is best to get two either from the same litter or of similar ages and adult sizes. The best combination is a buck and a doe with the buck or preferably both being castrated. However two Does will also normally get on fine if they are brought up together. Two bucks will normally start fighting when they reach maturity. This can sometimes be prevented by having them both neutered before this becomes a problem.
It is sometimes possible to introduce adult rabbits but care must be taken. It is important they are introduced on neutral territory and carefully observed for the first hour or so. If there is any sign of serious fighting they will need to be separated immediately. Some rabbits take to newcomers better than others.
What should I feed my Rabbit?
There are many different opinions on the best food and feeding routine for rabbits. The following is what we find works best for our rabbits:
babies from weaning are fed daily on 'Beaphar Care + junior' dry food,
alongside an ad lib amount of Quality meadow hay. They are also given a
generous handful of 'ReadiGrass' (this is a dried grass which we find
is great for reducing digestive problems in youngsters). Greenfoods and
carrots are also fed in small amounts. Always try to give dark greens
and never give lettuce to babies.
From 5-6 months of age our
bunnies are fed as adults and are fed an ad lib amount of Quality Meadow
hay alongside 'Beaphar Care + Adult' dry food. Adult rabbits must only
be given a small amount of dry food or they will put on to much weight
and suffer health problems. The quantity will vary according to breed,
but there should be no food left over by the next day (Ask us for a free
measuring cup). Our adults also get dried grass, Greenfoods and
carrots. Adults which are going through a moult can be given a
sprinkling of sunflower seeds on there food. These are good for
conditioning the coat. Other good additions to the diet are dried
plants, dried herbs and Timothy hay. Verm-ex is also an excellent supplement for supporting digestive health.
Prevention of Parasites?
Rabbits can quite
readily pick up fleas as well as a range of other mites and parasites
which are detrimental to their health. We find that the best way to
prevent this is the use of iveremectin regularly. All our babies are
treated before they leave us for their new homes, and we recommend this
treatment is continued. We find the best product for this is 'Beaphar
Spot on for rabbits and guinea pigs', this is ivermectin in the form of
drops on the back of the neck and should be repeated every 4 weeks. The
use of 'Fly Guard' every 3 months is also recommended to prevent Fly
Does my rabbit need vaccinations?
Rabbits can be vaccinated against both Myxamotosis and VHD. This is now available from all vets as a joint vaccine which needs to be repeated yearly. Myxi is a fairly common disease amongst pet rabbits, it is spread by fleas and other insects and is quite often fatal. VHD is a slightly rarer disease seen in pet rabbits, however it is extremely serious and if contracted generally results in a quick death.All our babies leave us with the option of being Vet checked and Vaccinated before they go and with a £5.00 discount voucher against either their next Jab.
Will my rabbit need grooming?
The amount of grooming your rabbit requires will depend on the breed.
Short haired breeds will obviously require less attention to grooming, a quick going over once a week with a soft bristle brush should be sufficient. All rabbits go through a moult around every 3 months, where they shed their old coat. During this time a bit of extra grooming is helpful and ensures the process is completed quickly and the new coat remains healthy. A slicker brush is useful for removing dead hair. You can also use a dry shampoo or grooming spray to clean and condition the coat and give extra shine.
Long haired breeds will require daily grooming to prevent the fur from becoming matted. A slicker and a comb are best for these rabbits, it is a good idea to use a grooming spray alongside these to help remove tangles.
Rabbits ears can be cleaned with cotton wool and warm water. Done regularly this will help prevent the build up of wax and ear mites. Regular use of ear drops are also a good idea, particularly in lop eared breeds.Rabbits claws will need clipping regularly, usually around every 6 weeks, but this varies according to how much exercise the rabbit is getting on hard ground. When clipping your bunnies claws be sure to use clippers designed especially for small animals and avoid cutting past the quick (the vein which runs down inside the claw). This is clearly visible in white claws. If you are unsure about clipping the claws yourself you are welcome to bring your bunny in and we can do this for you. There will be a £4.00 charge for this service, just call us to arrange a convenient time.