Any rabbit that is kept as a family member, regardless of breed and size, can be considered decorative. However, most often under the "decorative" mean dwarf animals, bred specifically to become pets. It is a mistake to think that keeping a rabbit at home is much easier than a cat or a dog. Eared pets require care and affection, and an attentive owner needs to arm himself with knowledge about caring for a new friend in advance. In this article, you will learn about the conditions of keeping a pet.
How to choose the breed of decorative rabbit?
Breeds of decorative rabbits are classified:
- by weight bodies (large, medium and small)
- along the length of the coat (long-haired, normal-haired and short-haired).
Animals differ not only in appearance, but also in character. Some breeds are quite capricious and can deliver a lot of trouble to the novice owner. Consider the most popular breeds of dwarf rabbits.
Angora dwarf rabbit – longhair. In appearance, the animals of this breed resemble a lump of fluff from which ears barely peek. Even the muzzle is covered with long hair (up to 20 mm). These rabbits require constant laborious care: the hair needs to be combed every 3-4 days, and during the molting period – daily, otherwise the fallen lumps will have to be cut. Angora rabbits are medium-sized, until 1600. This breed is recommended to be brought to those who already have experience in keeping rabbits.
Angora dwarf rabbit
Lion-headed rabbit originally from Belgium. Representatives of this breed are owners of a luxurious mane that adorns the neck, while the hair on the body is short. Those who want to get a long-haired animal, but are not ready to spend a lot of time caring for fur, should choose the lion-headed rabbits. The weight of adult animals is 1000-1600 g, the colors are diverse. Lion-headed rabbits are calm, love affection, get along with children.
Fox dwarf rabbit, unlike the lion-headed, it is almost completely covered with thick and long (up to 7 mm) hair, only the muzzle is smooth. The average weight is 1200 g, the most common colors are red or brown, but there are many. Forelegs disproportionately short. Rabbits of this breed are both aggressive and phlegmatic. Fox rabbits should not be chosen as pets for children, they require careful care.
Fox dwarf rabbit
Hermeline – completely white, normal coat. These rabbits have small ears, a short neck – features that give them the appearance of a charming toy. The animals are small, the weight does not exceed 1500 g, but usually less than a kilogram. Hermeline poorly tolerate heat, this must be considered when choosing a place for a cage or aviary. The rest is unpretentious, but very wayward, beginning rabbit breeders with such pets will not be easy.
Rex (Royal Dwarf) – short-haired, very soft to the touch, fur "plush", like a chinchilla. The variety of colors is impressive: the animals can be of any color, both monophonic and with spots. Representatives of this breed are more susceptible to skin diseases than others, since they have a reduced protective function of the skin. Weight up to 1500 g, a characteristic feature – mustache is almost not developed. In most individuals, the character is balanced, even phlegmatic.
Dwarf Rex Rabbit
Colored dwarf rabbit – One of the most popular breeds in Russia. Normal-haired, average weight – 1000 g. Unpretentiousness, a variety of colors (up to 60 variations), a playful and active disposition are the qualities due to which newcomers or families with children can choose this breed. Sometimes during puberty, males are aggressive, but by the age of 1-1.5 years, most animals again become affectionate and friendly.
Dwarf ram – fold rabbit. The length of the ears is measured in the same way as the wingspan of a bird: from the tip of one ear to the tip of the other in a horizontal position, it is 21-28 cm. Lop-eared sheep are larger than other decorative breeds, their weight reaches 3000 g. They are very flexible and affectionate in nature, unpretentious . Ideal pets for children.
Dwarf ram rabbit
Dutch dwarf rabbit – the owner of an unusual color: the back half of the body and head have a color that matches the color of the eyes, the rest of the coat is white. Normal-haired, weight reaches 2200 g. Playful and affectionate, able to get along with other pets.
Dutch dwarf rabbit
Those who want to get an eared pet with an unusual color should look at such breeds as firebox, dwarf Rusak and dwarf butterfly.
Rabbit dwarf butterfly
Features of the content of the dwarf rabbit at home
So, a new pet will appear in the house soon. What to take care of in the first place? Decorative rabbits are kept at room temperature, in a dry room without drafts. At the same time, it should be possible to ventilate the room: fresh air has a beneficial effect on the well-being of the animal and prevents the appearance of an unpleasant odor. Dirt, dust, direct sunlight will inevitably harm the rabbit’s health.
Rabbit can live in a cage or aviary, but in order for the animal to run around and play freely, it must be released daily for a walk around the apartment.
To make the pet feel safe, he house needed – An analogue of the hole, where you can climb the whole. It is undesirable to get a rabbit out of the shelter: the animal must know that there is a place where you can hide or relax, and where no one will touch it.
How to choose a cage for a pet?
- Minimum cell size– 70X40 cm. It should be spacious enough so that the rabbit can move freely on it. The optimal height is the growth of a rabbit standing on its hind legs, length – three jumps, width – two.
Decorative rabbit cage
- For an apartment cells with monolithic walls are not suitable: they are bulky, they are difficult to move. Comfortable cages with bars of wood and metal. Wood is a safe and beautiful material, the only drawback is that the rabbit will surely bite the cage and it will quickly lose its aesthetic appearance. The animal will be comfortable in a cage made of metal mesh. If it is equipped with a plastic tray, cleaning will become a matter of several minutes.
- Open cell top will allow the pet to feel freer, however, in this case, the height of the walls should be such that the rabbit could not jump over them.
- Cell bottom regardless of the material, cover with litter. From sitting on a hard surface, rabbits develop pododermatitis – painful wounds on the paws.
Subdermatitis in rabbits
- A toilet tray is installed in the corner. Rabbits get used to going to the toilet in the same place no worse than cats, although more time will be required for training. The presence of a tray makes cleaning the cage easier.
- A drinker is fixed to the cell wall (a nipple drinker for rodents is suitable). The food bowls are either fixed to the wall or placed on the floor. For rabbits, choose ceramic or metal flat-bottom feeders, heavy enough so that the animal does not turn them over.
- The cage is placed in a quiet and bright place., away from direct sunlight. A small corner of the cage can be in the sun, then the rabbit can go out at any time to warm up or take shelter in the shade again. A curious pet will be happy if the cage is installed on an elevation, which will provide a good overview. The rabbit will watch with interest what is happening in the apartment.
- If there is a cat or dog in the house, they should not have free access to the cage. Joint games with other animals are possible only under the supervision of the owner. A predator sniffing a cage will greatly disturb a rabbit, which by its nature is a prey.
- A shelter house is put in a cage. A rabbit that has nowhere to hide is stressed.
Rabbit cage to avoid the appearance of an unpleasant odor, clean at least 3 times a week. The bottom is covered with hay, straw or wood filler. Newspapers or paper cannot be used: wet litter is a common cause of paw diseases; Small sawdust is also dangerous for animals, since the ingress of wood dust on the mucous membranes provokes allergies and conjunctivitis. You also need to check that the filler does not contain fragrances or chemical additives.
To clean the cage it is undesirable to use household chemicals. Detergent residues can be dangerous for the animal. If the cage is cleaned regularly, just wash it with warm water. Strong contaminants are removed with table vinegar.
If a rabbit is accustomed to walking in a tray, the filler is completely changed twice a week.
- Dirty aviary (cell). To get rid of the smell, cleaning is arranged daily for 7-10 days, then specially contaminated areas are treated with vinegar and aerated.
- Uncastrated male. Rabbits, like many other animals, mark territory, and you cannot wean them from this. Castration will solve the odor problem. In addition, neutered (sterilized) rabbits become calmer and friendlier.
- Animal disease. If all the rules for caring for a pet are followed, but an unpleasant odor appears in the cage, this is an occasion to consult a veterinarian. Perhaps the eared pet is sick.
How to care for and keep a decorative rabbit in an apartment
- For rabbit’s health is very important balanced diet. The animals are fed grass and hay, cereals, fresh vegetables and full-feed specialized feeds.
- Rabbits eat up to 30 times a day, feed should always be available. In this case, it is necessary to immediately remove from the cage not eaten food residues, which can deteriorate so that the pet does not poison.
- Juicy foods (vegetables, fruits, grass) are not suitable for rabbits under the age of 3 months. Kids are given hay and mixed feed.
- Rabbits happy to eat meadow grass. Having decided to pamper your pet, you need to check that poisonous plants are not caught in the collected grass. Grass for animals is torn away from the roads.
- Cereals and beans pre-soaked or boiled.
- For grinding animals are offered solid food: young branches of aspen, apple, willow, birch. Dried bread slices are a good treat.
- Mineral supplements (bone meal, chalk) give all animals, with the exception of those that receive full feed.
- Rabbits that regularly run around the apartment and get enough exercise can not be walked. But walks in the fresh air will bring joy to both the owner and the pet. After making sure that there are no dogs, garbage, poisonous plants nearby, the animal is allowed to walk in the park or in a secluded meadow. Even the calmest the rabbit should be on a harness or leash: frightened of something, the animal can run away, and catching it on the street will not be easy.
- Every 3 weeks, the rabbit’s claws are trimmed. The claw tip is cut off with forceps or a claw cutter 1-2 mm long so as not to touch the blood vessels (they are clearly visible in the lumen). If the animal bleeds, the claw is washed with hydrogen peroxide.
- Do I need to wash a rabbit? Veterinarians claim that swimming is very stressful for animals and is contraindicated for a number of reasons.
- Water treatments disrupt skin’s natural protective lubrication. As a result, the hair becomes dull, falls out, the animal feels an itch.
- Swimming often becomes cause colds.
- Stress, which the animal experiences can become fatal.
- Rabbits monitor the cleanliness of their own hair, carefully licking themselves. With proper care no need for washing.
But there may be situations when bathing cannot be avoided. For example, if an eared pet is very dirty, overheated, or suffers from diarrhea. How not to harm the pet?
- Wash the rabbit in the sink or a basin is more convenient and simpler than in a bath.
- To prepare room temperature water or a few degrees warmer.
- If possible it is better not to wet the animal completely, and wash only contaminated areas.
- Detergents are better not to use. If you can not do without them, purchase a special shampoo for rabbits. Rinse the wool very carefully so that subsequently the animal, licking itself, does not become poisonous.
- Water the animal safer not from the shower, but from the bucket or circles.
Dwarf rabbit bathing
- The head, especially the ears and nose, You can not wet.
- It will take an assistant to keep the rabbit. Scared animal can break out and injure herself.
- Important avoid drafts. All windows and doors must be tightly closed.
- Wipe the coat thoroughly with a towel.. Until the animal is completely dry, it is undesirable to let it go to the floor, it is better to leave it on the sofa or pick it up.
- For drying wool do not use a hairdryer: noise scares animals, and delicate skin is easy to burn.
Timely vaccinations will help animals to avoid diseases that in rabbits are difficult to treat and often lead to death. Veterinarians recommend first vaccinating pets against myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease (VHD). In some cases, vaccination is indispensable.:
- the rabbit will be participate in the exhibition;
- is planned trip abroad;
- the pet remains on overexposure in zoological hotel
- insurance per pet.
Myxomatosis. The first vaccination is preferably carried out in the spring. The age of the rabbit is at least a month. Vaccination is repeated a month later, and then 5-6 months after the primary. Revaccination is required twice a year, in the early spring and autumn, when outbreaks of myxomatosis occur, so that the animal maintains stable immunity. The virus is spread by insects, so protecting the rabbit is most important during their high activity.
In Russia, most veterinary clinics use the Rabbivac-B and Cunivak Myxo vaccines.
Vaccination of ornamental rabbits
Viral hemorrhagic disease (VHD). The first time rabbits are vaccinated at the age of 6 weeks and older, while the body weight of the animal should be more than 500 g. The second time the vaccine is administered after 3 months. Revaccination is required once every six months or once a year, depending on the epizootological situation. The most commonly used vaccines are RABBIVAC-V and Cunivak RHD.
There are complex vaccines that stimulate the production of antibodies to two diseases at once. A veterinarian should advise on their use in each case.
Rabbits are also vaccinated against pasteurellosis, paratyphoid, listeriellosis and rabies, but these diseases are not so widespread. Vaccination is indicated for animals from nurseries, where there are many animals and the risk of transmission is higher.
Decorative rabbits are able to give the owner a lot of positive emotions and joyful moments. If properly maintained and looked after, animals live up to 15 years. But, deciding to get a big-eared friend, do not forget: a cute and funny appearance does not make a rabbit a toy. This is a living being who needs love, affection and attention.