Mini Lops can be recognised by their small size, short fur and of coarse lopped ears. Many people mistake the Mini Lop with the Dwarf Lop, Mini Lops were in fact bred down from the Dwarf to acheive a smaller Lop. Mini Lops are one of the most popular breeds of rabbits in Australia. Mini Lops have a very laid back attitude and enjoy a stroke or a cuddle, But like all rabbits they are curious and known to get up to alot of mischeif. Mini Lops make great pet as they are extremely cuddley and gentle as long as you spend time with them everyday from a young age. They also pick up "litter training" quite quick when tought correctly as they are intelligent.
Mini Lop Rabbits are a small, short haired breed weighing no more then 1.6kgs fully grown. Ideally their body should be short, broad and well muscled. Their ears should be spooned shaped and just finish in length a fingerspace under thier chin. Their crowning should be wide and high so the ears will lop straight down next to the eye. Mini Lops usually live between 6 to 10 years.
What should i feed my Rabbit?
Everyone has their own personal opinion of food that works best for them and how much to feed. The most important thing with rabbits, that you will find almost every breeder and vet agrees on is not to soley feed them on pellts. Pellets are very fattening exspecially if you dont know whats in them. We here at Elti Bunnies use Vella Pellets which the ingredients fall under Dr. David Vella's pellet guidline for a healthy rabbit. Using a pellet with a slightly higher content of calcium (not over 2.5%) is also benificial and will not hurt your rabbit, but gradully help their bone development. Our pellets here contain 1.8% calcium.
Crude Fibre >18%(Indigestible Fibre component >12.5%) Phosphorus 0.4-0.8% Protein 12-16% Vit A 10 000-18 000 IU/kg Fat 1-4% Vit D 800-1200IU/kg Calcium 0.6-1.0% Vit E 40-70mg/kg
You will usually find the first 3 ingredents on the bag are the main ingredents in that particular pellet. Make sure they are as close to these guidlines you can get them. Never buy rabbit and guinea pig mix from a supermarket as all the seeds, grains and cerials in them are not good for your rabbit, try to stick to something with just a pellet content. Rabbits should be feed half a cup of pellets per rabbit per day. You can increase this to 3/4 to a whole of a cup of pellets if you have a larger breed of rabbit, but generally half a cup is ideal unless they need to gain a bit of weight.
Rabbits along with pellets MUST have a constant supply of hay as rabbits in the wild are always grazing. They need the long pieces of hay to fill there intestines and push through waste so they aviod any tummy upsets. So try to stick with full length hay rather then chaffs. Constantly chewing hay also keeps your bunny's teeth in good shape and doesn't let them over grow. Oaten hay, timothy hay, medow hay, wheaten hay, pasture hay, paddok hay or Ryegrass hay are all good to use. Stay away from Lucerene and clover hay as an ADULT rabbit (over 3 months old) as they are far too high in protein and calcium for an adult rabbit and can also lead to a overweight, unhealthy and unhappy bunny. It is good to feed a YOUNG rabbit (under 3 months) Lucerene or clover hay as it provides them with a better soure of calcium and fat for them to grow. It also leads them to being a strong boned and healthy weighted rabbit.
Rabbits can also have veggies. This is not a daily necessity though (In the wild im sure rabbits dont often stumble across bok choy and carrots.) Vegies are a great treat though and it is nice to feed them to your rabbits once or twice a week. Rabbits shouldn't have any vegies untill the age of 12 weeks, then it should be introuduced slowly. A small piece of one type of vegie at first working your way to feed them vegies how ever often you like. Broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, beet/carrot, brussel sprouts, spinich, bok choy & other asian greens, parsley, coriander, basil, dill, mint and dandelions. You should never feed your rabbit lettuce as it will give them diarrhea, and never avocado as it will kill your rabbit.
Try to keep feeds and feeding habbits consistent. Any changes made should be made gradually over a 2-3 weeks period to mininise digestive upsets. Thats why when you buy off most breeders they supply you with starting pellets and hay to help transition.
How often should i check my rabbits water?
Rabbits love and need to drink alot of water. You should be replacing your rabbits water at least twice daily and checking they always have it. We give our rabbits their own water bowls, so this way we know for sure they can always get to their water. We have known a few people that have lost rabbits from dehydration. They would watch their rabbit drink from the water bottle not knowing that the small metal ball inside was stuck. No matter how much the rabbit licked no water came out. If you choose to use water bottles make sure to check the metal ball reguarly to aviod unnecessary deaths.
Do i need to get my rabbit vaccinated?
Rabbits can't get vaccinated for myxomatosis but they can for calici virus. Some breeders tell you their rabbits come vaccinated at 8 weeks which is unfair as it is way too young for the bunny and can cause serious injury and sickness. Most of these breeders have had no training and no idea of how to vaccinate properly. We have spoken personalily to vets and even if your rabbit has been vaccinated at 8 weeks they will need a boster at 12 weeks. It is not necessary to vaccinate your rabbits if you put on fly-screen on your outdoor cages and make sure there back inside the house or hutch before dark. Vaccinations can cause unnecessary reactions, sickness, long term health problems and infertility. There are also so many strains and mutations of the calici virus that if your rabbit was unlucky enough to be bitten, it could die from a different strain, as they can't vaccinate against all of them. Every time the virus has been realsed, every time its mutated. But in the end it is a personal choice, just get it done at your vet, a professional.
Can Rabbits be litter trained?
Yes, rabbits can be trained quite easily with a consistent trainer. Place a cat litter tray in the corner of the room. Fill it with recycled news paper pellets that you find in your local supermarket or sawdust from your local pet store. Remember never to fill it with clumping cat litter as this could kill your rabbit. Every time your rabbit leaves little poos around, pick them up and place them in his litter box. If your rabbit pees on the ground, soak it up with a cloth or tissue and put that in there too. You will find that naturally in the hutch your bunny will choose an area to defecate in and stick to it. So by leaving his/her smells in the litter box they will be more inclined to go there, with persistences and time they will eventully learn to only go there, like they do naturally in their hutch. You can also train rabbits to do other things like to come when there called. You can teach them this just like you would a cat or dog.
How should my rabbit be housed and what else do i need to know about houseing?
You should buy or make a good quality hutch for your rabbit whether it lives inside or out. A hutch should serve as a temporary enclosure only. It needs to be safe and secure for the rabbit and provide protection from pedators. It should be large enough to allow the rabbit to exhibit normal behaviours. Our hutches are roughly 1400mm by 900mm All pet rabbits should be given the opportunity to exercise outside of the hutch for a few hours each day. If kept outdoors ensure that the hutch is rain proof and can avoid extreme weather conditions. Mosquito proof the hutch using fly-screen wire to prevent flies, fleas and mosquitos spreading diseases such as myxomatosis and calici virus. Suitable bedding for your bunny includes hay, straw, shredded paper, sawdust and newspaper. An all wire floor is unsuitable and can cause many deseases and feet problems. Half wire, half bedding is accectable. If you are keeping your rabbit housed indoors watch out for them chewing electrical cords and furniture! You should try and rabbit proof your home to the best of your ability.
Ive just bought a new bunny home should i do anything special?
Newly acquired rabbits are more susceptible to the changes in their enviroment and can get digestive upsets at this time. Feed them their 'usual' diet when you first acquire them, slowly changing them unto yours over a few weeks. Try to minimise any stresses to your bunny, remember that the change in enviroment is very stressful for them. Try to avoid unfamilar noises, talk softly to your bunny and slowly bring them out to explore their new home. If the bunny is to be housed outside, cover the cage for the first week untill the bunny becomes familiar with its surroundings and climate. You should also give them a "bunny safe place". In the wild rabbits use burrows as their safe place and when ther feel frightened that quickly dart in there. At home this borrow can be simulated by an upturned box or cover the corner of a room with a towel. By providing these "bolt holes" rabbits may feel more secure in their enviroment. More security=less stress=healthy rabbit.
How should i handle my rabbit?
Bunnys love to be patted and handled, ideally start handling a rabbit form a young age and keep handling everyday to keep your bunny friendly their whole life. Spend time with your bunny everyday even just for 10 minutes to ensure they won't turn "feral". The correct way of holding a rabbit is to support the fore and hind quaters from underneath rather then holding them from around the belly or chest. When holding, place your bunny up against your chest to make them feel safe. Rabbits can kick out very strongly with their legs and stratch you and cause themselves serious injurys in doing so. Be sure to wash your hands after handling your rabbit. It is also wise to ensure that your hands dont carry odours of other animals before you handle your rabbit as this may frighten them. NEVER hold a rabbit by its ears as you can break their spine and kill them.
My rabbits eating its poo, is that normal?
Yes, rabbits must eat their "cecotropes" or good bacteria droppings to retain a healthy system. You will notice these dropping dont look like the others, they almost look a brown set of grapes. It is very important for a rabbits optimal health that they consume these droppings to help there digestive system continue to function well and retain good bacteria.
Should i brush my rabbit?
Yes you should brush your rabbit once a week (daily for such breeds as angoras or cashmeres) this will allow you to check your rabbit for any signs of fleas, mites or ticks. There are many products avaliable for treating such infections, drops and sprays you can get from your local vet or pet shop. It is not advisable to use powders as this can perminatly damage their respatory system.
How do i clip my bunnys nails?
Rabbits nails are like cats or dogs nails. They contain a blood vessel as well as nerves. When cutting bunnys nails look at the nail to see where the blood vessel or wick is located. Do not cut this blood vessel. Cut just before it. If you cant see the blood vessel just trim the end of the nail off. If the nail bleeds hold a tissue to the nail and bleeding should subside. You will need to cut your bunnys nails every 4-6 weeks.
It's Summer and my bunny looks hot, what should i do?
Rabbits can succumb to heat stroke very easily in hot weather, to aviod this keep your bunny inside on hot days or simply freeze a bottle of water and place it your hutch. Your bunny will lay up against it and keep itself cool. You should also check your hutch is well ventilated.
Do i need to check my bunnys teeth?
Yes check your bunnys teeth from time to time. Rabbits teeth constantly grow, this is why chewing hay or other objects such as willow or rose branches is good to help wear down their teeth. Good breeders only breed with stock that have good teeth, as bad or malocuded teeth are genitic. When you buy a bunny, you should always check there teeth then to see if the top sits over the bottom and there are no misalined teeth. If you are unlucky and your bunnys teeth are bottom over top or start to grow into his/hers lip, you will have to take them to see a vet to have their teeth clipped. This will have to be done every few weeks.
My bunny looks lonely and i want to get another, is that a good idea?
Rabbits are socialble animals though if you have one, he/she will pay all their attention to you, love and listen to you alot more then if you had two. Having a few rabbits, they will of coarse will love each other and not pay as much attention to you, they will also be harder to train. Untill the age of about 12 weeks rabbits usually dont have much trouble getting used to each other. Siblings from the same litter are the best choice for group living. Pairs make good companions too, as long as you have the buck nutered as soon as possible. As a rule, two does get along well with each other, although when first introuduced there may be an inital confrontation to determine the ranking order, you can expect to see mounting for the first weeks or so but this is normal. If mounting along with serious bitting and fur ripping continues you may have to house the two seperately. The same is true for nutered bucks, however, intact males will become aggressive as soon as they reach maturity and can kill each other. It is also not advisable to mix guinea pigs with rabbits either, as they can get different diseases from each other. Their dietry requirements are also very different and they may even bully each other.
My rabbit has grown a lump, what should i do?
Rabbits commonly get tumors which are usually not fatal and most of them can be removed saftely by a vet. If your rabbit has rapidly grown a lump (within a few days) this is most likely a abscess. Sometimes rabbits can get stratches or bites that get infecteced and turn into an abscess, these are extremely painful because they are highly infected. You must take your rabbit to the vet either way to have it check out and removed or lanced.
Can i get my rabbits desexed?
It is only advisable you get bucks (males) desexed as it is extremely drangerous for does (females) and the chance of them pulling through after the opperation is slim. Beacuse all of the buck bits are on the outside it is a much safer opperation with a greater succses rate.
My bunny is peeing what looks like blood is it going to die?
No, its very normal for rabbits to pee red or orange urine when either they are coming of maturity or they have been eating alot of vegetables. Sometimes veggies can change your bunnys urine but this is nothing to worry about, just pigmentation. If it worries you too much, just feed your bunny pellets and hay and it should be back to yellow within the week. Most males and some females have bright red or even dark red urine around the age of 3-6 months. This is just their hormons changing and there is nothing to panic about it will subside with time. Sometimes bunnys have a calcium build up in their urine too, but it is still of no concern.
How often should i take my rabbit to the vet?
Rabbits shouldn't be put through the stress of going to the vet unless it is a real emergancy. Bunnys do not need regular check ups like some other animals. Most of the time there are things you can do at home for your bunny if it is not well. If you are unsure of what is wrong with your bunny you can ring your breeder and see if they can help. But if your not confident enough to help your bunny yourself, you can take them to the vet.