Friday, August 10, 2012

Furry Friend Friday – the Bunny

It’s furry friend Friday once again. Today we are exploring the world of domesticated rabbits. What does it take to keep this little fellow happy and healthy? Let’s find out.

Bunny Boom
Rabbits have been popular pets in the US since the late 1800′s. Rabbits known as Belgian Hares were brought into the United States from England in 1888. This became known as the ‘Belgian Hare Boom’ and from 1898 to 1901 many thousands of these bunnies were imported. Today, there is an organization called the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) which was founded in 1910 and is still the national authority on breeding and care of domestic bunnies.

Furry Friend Fact…the rabbit is the third most popular pet in England after the cat and the dog.

Bunny Breeds

There are several different types of bunnies kept for pets, in fact, there’s way to many to list here, so we’re going to check out the most popular.
  • Dwarf Bunny ~ grows up to 2.5 pounds, comes in various colors, has small pointed ears and can live from 7-10 years
  • Lop-Eared Bunny ~ these can grow up to 15 pounds (depending on breed), have long ears that hang below their jawline, are intelligent and affectionate.
  • Angora Bunny ~ a bigger rabbit, it can grow up to 12 pounds, depending on breed, docile in nature and likes attention, is social and very active. This rabbit needs to be groomed on a regular basis.
Furry Friend Fact…make sure you research each breed of bunny so you know what’s right for you.

Now What?

You’ve chosen a bunny, so now what? First you have to decide where your bunny is going to reside in your home. Do you want a cage, pen, bunny condo or just a large area with a litter box, food and someplace quiet for him to get away from it all? Remember, bunnies are social creatures so he has to be able to interact with the members of the household in order to be happy and healthy. Plus, he will need to exercise. If you decide to let your new friend explore your home, be sure to “bunny-proof.” Rabbits are very curious, so you need to make sure there’s nothing for him to chew on, like electrical cords, carpeting, paper etc. Also, if your rabbit gets bored, he will look for fun things to do, so provide him with a cardboard castle filled with empty paper towel/toilet paper rolls, old phone books or other paper products you may find around your home.

Furry Friend Fact…a bored bunny is a destructive bunny. Keep him happy with things to chew on.

Bunny Food

Even though we know rabbits like carrots, you have to feed him more than just that. Pet retailers sell a pre-package pellet that will give your bunny his basic diet, but you also have to give him grass hay. This is high in fiber and essential to your bunny’s health. Also, a fresh supply of water is a must have at all times.

Eat Your Veggies!

Like us, rabbits need some vegetables to keep them healthy, here’s a list of bunny-friendly veggies;

  • Basil
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli leaves (stems or tops can make rabbits gassy)
  • Carrot tops (carrots are high in calcium and should be given sparingly)
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Dill
  • Kale (sparingly)
  • Lettuce – romaine or dark leaf (no iceburg lettuce and no cabbage)
  • Mint
  • Mustard greens
  • Parsley
  • Water cress
Bunnies can make a wonderful pet, but like all animals they’re a responsiblity that isn’t to be taken lightly. Before you decide to bring a bunny into your family, do some research on the Internet, the library or ask your local bunny breeder or pet retailer to fill you in on all the details. Armed with knowledge and lots of love, you’ll have a fun furry friend for years to come.

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