Category Archives: FAQ Friday
I noticed in one of your videos that you use aspen shavings in your rabbit’s litterboxes. I was just wondering if you ever had issues with mites while using these shavings? My vet has told me not to use any kind of shavings because they often have mites in them which can then transfer to my rabbit. Is this something I should be concerned about?
The fact is that mites can be carried in any bedding – not just shavings – as well as hay. To eliminate any concern, you can place the bags of bedding that you purchase in your freezer for 48 hours. This will ensure that any creepy crawlies that may be in the bag are dead before coming in to contact with your rabbit.
If you are concerned that your rabbit may have already contracted mites from their bedding, your vet will be able to diagnose and prescribe a topical solution such as Ivermectin or Revolution to treat it.
I was browsing on Amazon for some rabbit chew toys and found a bunch for a great price. The problem is that some of them use pine wood. I know that rabbits shouldn’t be kept on pine shavings because of their delicate respiratory systems but I was wondering if pine wood toys were also unsafe.
Untreated pine wood is perfectly safe for your rabbit. In fact, the majority of wooden toys you find in pet shops are made from untreated pine. Pine is also what we constructed our rabbit condos out of for this same reason. The reason pine shavings are bad is because of the process that pine wood goes through to become pine shavings. This process is what releases aromatic oils that are bad for your rabbit’s respiratory system.
So I just got a lionhead rabbit and I am in the taming process as she is quit shy. She will often hop away from my hand when I reach out to her. Today when I was offering treats to her she hopped up to me and was taking them from my hand but she was also nipping me. Sometimes it was quite hard! I stopped giving her treats as I didn’t want to reward this but I was wondering why she did this and if I should stop the behaviour or is she just exploring my hand with her mouth?
It sounds like you have one bossy bunny on your hands! It is good that you stopped giving her treats after she began nipping you. The next time that she bites let out a high pitched ‘eeeeeeeeeee’ sound. This is the sound that a rabbit makes when it is frightened and will hopefully show her that she’s hurting you. I am thinking that she is trying to be the boss and get more food from you by nipping so whatever you do don’t reward this behaviour in any way. Hopefully this will curb the behaviour. I know that you mentioned she is a little shy of your hand however when she is relaxing try to gently come up to her and pet her so that she begins to associate your hand with a good thing.
Bb Note: H replied to me a few days later to say that making that sound worked and her bunny hasn’t nipped since!
My bunny is shedding like crazy right now, is this normal?
This is quite normal, especially at this time of year! Rabbits tend to shed every 3-4 months with a big shed in the Fall to get their winter coat in and again in the Spring! Depending on the type of coat your rabbit has they may shed a little here and there or they may be losing a lot of hair at once. Some rabbits even get bald patches before their new fur begins to grow back in. This can be a very stressful time for your rabbit so you can help them by brushing your rabbit once or twice daily and removing any loose tufts of hair.
For more on this topic you can watch my video on grooming here.
I am in the process of building a rabbit condo out of NIC storage grids and was wondering what you would recommend for the base of it? I have looked at coroplast for the flooring as some people have suggested this to me however I am unsure if this would really work well. I have also thought about using plywood and covering it with carpet or some sort of plastic. What would you recommend?
I wouldn’t use coroplast for a rabbit as they can be fairly destructive and are generally major chewers. I don’t think that it would hold up well to those busy bunny teeth! We used untreated pine wood for the base of our cages which is perfectly safe for small pets to chew on. We chose to tile it to make it semi-waterproof and to make it easy for cleanups. The rabbits also have beds, litterboxes and cardboard boxes to change the consistency under their feet. Some people choose to use carpet instead but I felt this wouldn’t be very sanitary for our rabbits as they can be a little messy. I was also worried about them ingesting any fibres from the carpet as Rocky and Honey love to dig and chew at it.
Have you checked out the video I have on how we built our rabbit condos? It may help to give you a few ideas:
I have a bunny query that I’m hoping you can help me with!
I’ve got a 9 month old neutered buck and a 12 week old doe kit. Over the past few weeks I have been bonding them and it has been going very well. They are now at a stage where I can leave them for several hours at a time together. They play together, eat together and groom one another. The buck has become the more dominant bunny however I have read that this bond can be broken when the kit reaches sexual maturity around the age of 6 months.
How can I keep their bond in tact when my doe is too young to spay?
I went through this same situation with Honey and Rocky. Most likely as they were introduced at such a young age and have bonded well you won’t see any issues post spay, however it has been known to happen. All I suggest is letting them stay together as much as possible until you see a bit of dominance behaviour. When Honey reached about 5 months of age her and Rocky began trying to mount one another constantly and fighting to be top bunny. At this point it is good to separate your rabbits but keep them in the same area so they can see and smell one another. You can also switch their bedding so they always have each other’s scent in their cages with them. As soon as your female reaches 6 months old, have her spayed. You need to wait around 6-8 weeks post-surgery before reintroducing them again as this gives her hormones time to calm down. In the meantime continue to swap out bedding as she may smell a little different to your male having had surgery. When reintroducing start at the very beginning on neutral ground and watch for any aggressive behaviour. Slowly work your way up to housing them together if everything goes well. When Rocky and Honey were reintroduced it was like they had found their long lost love and have continued to be inseparable ever since! Hopefully this is the same situation for your doe and buck!
I have a rabbit that won’t stop peeing on my bed. He isn’t neutered and has been peeing on my bed off and on. I love my rabbit but it’s very frustrating and I was hoping you had some advice to help fix this problem.
Thanks for your help!
There’s a few things I would suggest to help eliminate this behaviour. Getting your rabbit neutered is definitely something that I would recommend. Rabbits who aren’t neutered are more inclined to mark their territory as their own and their urine will also be smellier. If there are other animals who sleep on the bed your rabbit will be able to smell this and have the urge to claim that area as his. If your rabbit continues to do this I would suggest either preventing your rabbit from having access to the bed altogether or put old blankets on the bed beforehand that you could wash afterwards. Another good alternative would be a couch cover. There are pet oriented ones that have a waterproof layer on one side which would work well to stop any pee from leaking through on to your bedding.
Do you recommend a water bowl or a water bottle for rabbits?
This has become quite a debate with many rabbit owners! Here are some things to consider for both:
Many people argue that a water bottle keeps your rabbit’s water clean whereas a water bowl leaves the water out in the open, free for dust, dirt, bugs and loose hair to collect in it. Your rabbit could then consume these leading to illness or blockages. Although this could happen, regular cleaning of your bowls and grooming of your rabbit especially in peak shedding season would make this highly unlikely. Please keep in mind that water bottles do build up bacteria and scum rather quickly and should still be thoroughly cleaned once a day. Water bowls should be emptied in the morning and night, given a quick rinse and scrub and filled with fresh water.
Nature did not intend rabbits to consume their water from a bottle. Rabbits drink more water per pound of body weight then any other mammal and a water bowl allows them to consume their water easily. I also find that my rabbits like to soak their chins and paws in the water and groom themselves with it!
Water bottles are also susceptible to leaks. If you are going to use a water bottle I would suggest testing it thoroughly first. There’s nothing worse then finding your rabbit sopping wet after a water bottle leaked out all night! This could also cause permanent damage to your cage depending on what materials you’ve built it with. Similarly the same problem arises from a knocked over water dish. If you plan on using a bowl please consider buying a large, heavy ceramic one and placing it in a corner of the cage. This will be harder for your rabbit to move and knock over, reducing the chance of it being tipped over by a naughty bunny.
Another reason people prefer water bottles over a water dish is because they don’t take up any extra space in their rabbit’s cage. The HRS recommends that your rabbit not be housed in a pen smaller than that in which your rabbit can hop 3 times from one end to the other. They recommend nothing smaller than an ex-pen. With this being said the amount of space the bowl takes up should be minimal compared to the cage size.
I have tried both over the years and prefer a water bowl. Although I don’t encourage people to house their rabbits outdoors if you do, then I think a water bottle would indeed be better as it would definitely keep your rabbit’s water cleaner for longer. In the end I think which you choose to use is up to you as only you know what’s best for you and your rabbit.
Have you ever heard of a rabbit grinding their teeth? I am worried that I am hurting my rabbit because when I pet him he makes a grinding sound! Is my rabbit okay?
You have nothing to worry about! This is actually a sign of contentment in rabbits and is similar to how a cat purrs when they are happy. Your rabbit is making this noise because he is happy you are petting him!