Category Archives: Pet Rabbits

Six Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Rabbitry


Sometimes you just need to know how to begin!

I had a great conversation tonight with a friend who is seriously considering raising rabbits. We went around and around about what type of rabbits he should get, what supplies he needed before his initial purchase, what his rabbitry goals would be. The reality is that we can’t answer any of these questions for him – he needs to spend time thinking about what will be the best fit for his purposes. However, we can ask him some questions to get his creative juices going… here are the few he left tonight pondering:


1. How many? The number of rabbits you choose as an initial investment depends on your purposes for your rabbitry. If you are looking to show, you’ll likely want to consider three does and two bucks per breed. You’ll want some options for genetic strength, plus it’s not as much fun to take a single rabbit to a show. Set yourself up for success by giving yourself some options.

If you are specifically breeding for meat, a trio of two does and a buck will be a strong start, even closely related rabbits would be fine to start as long as you have a plan for infusing new blood sometime in the next year or so. Ask yourself how often you’re hoping to have rabbit on the menu? How many mouths are you feeding?


2. What’s your Budget? Your purposes for your rabbitry must inform your anticipated budget.

Are you planning to keep rabbits only for your own consumption? Then an unpedigreed meat mutt might be a good start as they are typically as much as 50% cheaper in initial investment. The downside to an unpedigreed rabbit is you don’t have an idea of the size or colors in the background of the rabbit – of course, if your main goal is for meat… those are considerations that really don’t matter! In this area meat rabbits are sold for around $25 per rabbit (I’ve heard people quote a range from $5 to $35 for a meat mutt around the country).

Are you hoping to sell the babies of your rabbits to offset other rabbitry expenses? Then you’d better be willing to spend a little more for a pedigreed rabbit as your initial purpose – a registered rabbit is even better if you can find one. The pedigreed rabbits I’ve seen advertised are anywhere from $45 to $150+ per rabbit, depending on your lines, the show worthiness, proven or unproven, registered, etc.

Obviously, with that much of a price range, it makes sense to consider your intended outcomes before you make your first stock purchases. I will suggest to purchase the best quality rabbit you can find in your price range. Don’t go simply off of slick websites or advertisements, instead contact several breeders and ask for recommendations.

Facebook is a good way to connect with other rabbit breeders, although be cautious – sometimes the people who post the most and sound the most knowledgable are the same ones you should avoid at all costs. Particularly on Facebook, once you’re in the group for your rabbit breed, spend time reading through the archives of comments and posts. Over time you’ll get a sense of those breeders who have a similar value system to your own… contact them and see what can come from that!


3. What will you Feed? Are you planning on feeding your rabbits pellets or letting them range and eat grasses? A smart buyer will purchase their initial stock from a breeder who is set up similar to what they want to do.

We feed pellets and hay and can give someone a pretty good idea of what weights to expect at which ages in our lines. However, if someone took our rabbit and switched it on to a fodder system I can almost guarantee it would not hit the same weight gains in the same period of time. If someone approaches us wanting meat rabbits for fodder I’m going to encourage them to check in with a few other breeders as our rabbits will likely not perform as well for them. (The caveat to this is that it only takes a few generations of careful culling to transition a rabbit from the desired growth rates on fodder. So the question is how long you’re willing to wait!)


4. Where will they be Housed? Similar to the advice on feed, consider whether the rabbits will have a similar environment to what they have been used to when they come to your home. Our rabbits are outdoors 100% of the time – and they don’t all transition with excellence to an indoor garage rabbitry! On the other hand, we’ve purchased rabbits coming from a garage rabbitry and there’s been a significant adjustment season for them to enjoy life in their new outdoor space with a view!

On the same lines, consider temperatures. A rabbit used to Phoenix temperatures will likely not fare very well in, say, Minnesota if it goes to it’s new home in January! Try to either purchase your stock from a rabbitry in a similar climate to your own or in a “shoulder season” so the rabbit has time to transition to the new season with as little stress as possible.


5. What breed? Do you want a 13+ lbs Flemish Giant rabbit? Is a mini Satin going to be just the right fit on your lap for a snuggle? When you look at your rabbitry, which rabbit is going to take your breath away just by looking at it? Start browsing photos of the different rabbit breeds. Educate yourself on the pros and cons of each breed – they all have both!

Ask yourself again what your goals are for your rabbitry, and what gives you joy. There is a great deal of poop cleaning, water bottle scrubbing, consistent feeding, etc. necessary to care for your rabbit – so whatever you do, get a breed you enjoy watching move! Learn about their personalities and make an educated decision. Genuine pleasure in being around the animal makes the endless hours of husbandry less daunting.


6. What breeder? Do you want a simple transactional purchase of livestock? Do you want to develop a relationship with a breeder? Do you want someone you can contact months after the sale and ask questions about raising your animals? What is the breeder’s philosophy about rabbit raising? Take your time in selecting a breeder.

Some people will be attractive to you right off the bat and you just know they’re the right fit for your first rabbit purchase. Others are the exact opposite and you’ll know you don’t want to work with them right away. Occasionally you’ll work with someone you don’t particularly like because you’re terribly interested in their specific stock!

Challenge yourself to think through some of these questions as you start your search so that you’ll recognize a good fit for a breeder quickly.



Relax! Regardless of anything else, relax! It’s a rabbit! We’re over the top crazy about these little critters, but they still are just that… critters! There is not a thing in this hobby/lifestyle that can’t be adjusted or fixed, so try not to freak yourself out with all the options. Just relax, have fun, and be intentional about your rabbitry!

Gardening with Rabbits in Mind

This is the first summer, ever, that we’ve made any sort of an attempt to garden.


Baby steps, friends, baby steps. We’re the ones who get excited when a houseplant lasts more than three months.


However, we’re in the middle of a huge remodeling project and we need activities to get the kids out of the house and container gardening seemed to be a brilliant idea. So far it’s been three days worth of planning, excitement, and dirty filth as well. Win for everyone! (Except the floors.)


We have another consideration as we attempt to garden this year: the rabbit.


We recently retired a fantastic Silver Fox mama, Eclipse. She’s been such a great rabbit for us that we don’t have the heart to move her along permanently —  yet since we’re a small rabbitry we really need the cage space for animals that are earning their keep! We gave it a good deal of consideration, checked the fence line for security, and turned Eclipse loose in the backyard. We’re fortunate that we have a fairly large backyard totally enclosed by a secure 6′ privacy fence so this is a reasonable option for us to consider. So far Eclipse has put the miniature poodle in its place and the Great Dane seems a bit gun shy as well when faced with the 12 pound rabbit with an attitude! To recap, everyone’s getting along great and we now have our first official, pet-only rabbit.


However, we don’t want Eclipse eating the fruits of our labors before we ever become real gardeners and taste the sweet taste of victory ourselves! So… what to plant?!


Google, come, be our friend….


A quick search on the internet tells me that these plants offer no allure to a hungry rabbit. We’ll be planting some… I’ll let you know how the gardening goes at the end of the summer. Or, if she eats everything we’ve got down to the ground I’ll probably complain about it sooner!


I also came across this lovely article on Controlling and Deterring Rabbits in the Garden. This website compiled a list of plants that rabbits DO like to eat.


With no further ado, a compiled list of (possibly) rabbit repellent refreshments and tips, as reported by people who have way more gardening experience than yours truly:



  1. Plants with strong fragrance or fuzzy leaves, like lavender and black-eyed Susan, are less popular with rabbits.
  2. Interplanting herbs with your other flowers might make your garden less attractive.



  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Onions
  • Peppers [although I have had them eat the young plants]
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes

Annuals and Perennials

  • Agastache Ageratum
  • Allium
  • Amsonia
  • Anemone (Anemone x hybrida)
  • Angelonia
  • Artemisia Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Astilbe
  • Azalea
  • Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)
  • Baptisia
  • Basil
  • Beard Tongue (Penstemon)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Begonia
  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Blanket Flower Gaillardia
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
  • Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
  • Blue Star Amsonia hubrichtii
  • Boltonia
  • Butterfly Bush Buddleia
  • Canna
  • Carex
  • Catmint (Nepeta)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Crocosmia
  • Daffodils (Narcissus hybrids)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum)
  • Delphenium
  • False Indigo Baptisia australis
  • Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scorpioides)
  • Frost asters (don’t know the current name for these)
  • Gallardia
  • Geranium, Cranesbill
  • Geum
  • Ginger (Asarum spp.)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
  • Iberis (Candytuft)
  • Ice Plant (Lampranthus)
  • Iris
  • Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea)
  • Lamb’s ear Stachys byzantina
  • Lantana
  • Larkspur Lungwort (Pulmonaria)
  • Lavender (Lavendula)
  • Maiden Grass (Miscanthus)
  • Marigold Tagetes
  • Moss Pink (Phlox subulata)
  • Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia)
  • Mums (Chrysanthemum) (Not guaranteed)
  • Oregano
  • Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)
  • Poppy (Papaver)
  • Petunia
  • Rosemary
  • Russian
  • Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
  • Salvia (Sage spp.) Sea Holly (Eryngium)
  • Sea Thrift (Armeria)
  • Sedum
  • Shasta Daisy
  • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
  • Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
  • Speedwell (Veronica spp.)
  • Spider Flower (Cleome)
  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum)
  • Thyme
  • Tickseed Coreopsis
  • Verbena
  • Vinca
  • Zinnia


Trees and Shrubs

  • Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
  • Fern
  • Fir (Abies)
  • Juniper (Juniperus)
  • Spruce (Picea)



Wild Rabbit Nursing Babies

nursing babiesThis is a really fascinating video of a wild rabbit feeding her babies. I’m absolutely amazed… even though it’s a slow video, stick with it to the end – amazing finish!




If this doesn’t work try this link: Wild Rabbit Nursing Kits

Request for Reviews

Whatcha thinkin' 'bout?!

Whatcha thinkin’ ’bout?!

Hi, friends!


I’m working on creating some testimonials/reviews of Mad Hatter Rabbits. This will likely look a little different as I gain more computer literacy, but for now it’s as simple as leaving a comment on our “Review” page.


If you have been pleased with a rabbit purchased from us…

If you have benefitted in any way from the posts on this website…

If you’re just generally in a good mood and want to share the lovin’…


Would you please head over to our Reviews page and leave a comment for us? This will help anyone getting to know us in the future know what they’re getting in to! Thanks!

A Rabbit With No Ears

It’s not a movie, even though there’s a movie by that name. (Rabbits Without Ears.) It’s also not a response to a nuclear disaster, as people fear is the reason behind a rabbit born with no ears after Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

It’s ugly and strange, but it’s happened to us. We have some earless bunnies.

The vast majority of the rabbits in our rabbitry are excellent mothers, even our first-timers. But then, occasionally, just like in real life, there are…

The ones.

You know. The ones you don’t really like to take out in public because you aren’t quite sure what will happen. Kind of like that one family member who might get rowdy at a holiday dinner and be the star of a story told for generations?

Yeah. We have one of those.

Let it be freely said, I adore our Cinnamons. They are beautiful rabbits, friendly, and easy to hold and cuddle. They’re fabulous!

But then, there’s the one.

One Cinnamon doe had her litter a few weeks ago. I’m not completely bitter she had it at about 1 am and I stayed up to make sure she did alright so the babies wouldn’t freeze to death. (Alright, I’m a little bitter.) (I’m also glad I stayed up because she made a nest of hay out of the nestbox!)

I’m bitter because the darn rabbit did such a fabulous job of cleaning her newborns up that she ate the ears right off of them! Out of six babies, only two have been left untouched, one poor baby lost half of its head as well!

An overzealous mama took the ears clean off these babies at birth while cleaning them up.

An overzealous mama took the ears clean off these babies at birth while cleaning them up.

Darn doe.

We weren’t sure if the babies would survive their injuries, after all, losing a large flap of skin at birth seems to put a damper on the whole, “Welcome to life!” philosophy. Particularly in the case of the scalped baby, we didn’t know if it would be a more humane choice to put it down immediately.

But when we felt the hurt babies they didn’t seem to be in pain, so we let them go for 24 hours. A day later everyone was fat and the ears were scabbed. And 24 hours after that those babies were thriving.

So now we have some disfigured rabbits. What do we do with them?!

Well, first and foremost, we give their mama another chance. The rule of thumb is to give a brand new mom a chance at three strikes before you removed her from your breeding program. I will also say that even though she stinks at cleaning her kits up at birth this particular doe has been a great mom, nurses well, and has even fostered a few kits for us.

Mama's been feeding this baby Cinnamon WELL!

Mama’s been feeding this baby Cinnamon WELL!

Second, we wait to see how the babies develop. Because they don’t have anything genetically wrong with them, if they have killer body types they could still be an asset to a breeding program. That is a question only time and growth will answer.

Finally, if they don’t have a body type we’d like to incorporate into our breeding program, they are still useful as sustenance for our family.

We’ll see how these little ones develop, but I’m comforted that it’s not the end of the world that we have some earless wonders!

Bunny Vac: 8 Month Follow Up Report


Wallace and Grommet aren’t the only people who get a little nervous about what that bunny might be up to in the cage…

Eight months ago we decided to vaccinate our rabbits against pastuerella using the Pan American Veterniary Lab product BunnyVac. This was a controversial move for a few reasons:

  1. Snuffles is the Boogie Man of the rabbit world and people don’t like to talk about it for fear of getting a “bad” reputation so there’s not a lot of information about it;
  2. We hadn’t seen any cases of snuffles in our own herd to prompt the decision;
  3. Our goal is to have an organic meat source and vaccinations are, ahem, not organic.

On the “pro” side for vaccination:

  1. Pastuerella is highly contagious and can wipe out every rabbit in your herd quickly if it is contracted;
  2. We enjoy traveling to shows and every time you go to a show you expose your rabbit(s) to germs and stress;
  3. The cost is about $1 per rabbit per year, certainly not something that we would have to bust our piggy bank open to afford;
  4. There’s something to be said for peace of mind and doing your best to protect your livestock.

After a lot of consideration of the options and possible outcomes, we decided to go ahead and vaccinate. It’s been long enough now that it seems safe to give you an report of what we’ve observed since then:

We vaccinated all of our adult rabbits and show rabbits. We do not typically vaccinate a young junior rabbit unless it will leave our rabbitry and go to a show. We have not seen any signs of snot in our own rabbitry at all. Zero. (We hadn’t seen it prior to vaccination, either.) One rabbit sneezed a few times in the day after we vaccinated which is a stated possible side effect. Since then, any sneezes have had normal causes – things like water or feed fines up their noses or in response to crazy winds (we get wind gusts up to 40 mph fairly regularly around here).

We sent some rabbits to the county fair that had not been vaccinated. From the fair they were purchased and headed to a new home several hours away with an indoor rabbitry set up. Two of those rabbits started snotting within 48 hours. The new owner dispatched them immediately, suspecting Pasteurella. The new owner did not send off for a culture of the snot to determine exactly what was going on with the rabbits, but we both suspect they were exposed to snuffles at the fair from other rabbits, were stressed from being in a hot barn with hundreds of people walking by each day, followed by a journey to an entirely new environment (that had a Haboob dust storm that same day, of all the luck!). Getting snot cultured is quite a chore – this link tells how one person in California is able to culture any possible sickness in their rabbitry: HOW CAN YOU TELL? We did not see any signs of snot from other rabbits that were at the fair – but those rabbits had been vaccinated.

If we had not vaccinated, would all of our fair rabbits exhibited symptoms? We just can’t say. But I do find it compelling that the rabbits were side by side and the unvaccinated fell sick and the vaccinated did not.*

Many of our rabbits developed a small, hard lump at the injection site. That lump has disappeared over time and is the only physical change we have seen in our rabbits. (No personality changes, either!)

We continue to watch carefully. Very carefully! We have been at shows were rabbits are disqualified for exhibiting snot on the show table; I am absolutely certain our rabbits have been exposed to this disease. However, we haven’t contracted it to the best of our knowledge  as all our rabbits are happy, healthy and wise! For about $1 per rabbit per year we think it’s a great insurance policy.

The previous posts I’ve written on this continue to be very popular in the website statistics, so I know there are people trying to find out about BunnyVac and whether it works. In light of providing information, for your convenience here is a compiled list of Questions from around the web, mostly from the Rabbit Pasteurella Vaccine Forum on Facebook.

I did not author these answers, cannot personally vouch for them and cannot be held liable for any action/inaction you take based on the responses. This is simply a list of questions and answers I have seen in discussions, cut and pasted into one location to make your search for knowledge a bit easier. The majority of the answers are direct cuts from Facebook responses to the questions from PanAm Lab’s Bob Glass (who developed the BunnyVac vaccine).

I don’t personally know Bob Glass or have any stake in Pan American Veterinarian Lab. I am not encouraging you to use the BunnyVac in your own herd, but am hopeful that this post provides some information for you to make the best informed decision that fits your management style. I receive no compensation in any way for this post.


Should I give the shot in the muscle or under the skin? Under the skin

What size needle/syringe should be used with BunnyVac?  To each to his own, but try a 25 gauge, 3cc syringe. Some use as large as 20 gauge and some as small as 35 gauge. Size doesn’t matter for the vaccine, the rabbits prefer a smaller needle.

Is there any time of year that is better than others to vaccinate, or does it not really matter? The best time is “AS SOON AS POSSIBLE”; season does not matter.

If a vaccinated rabbit gets exposed, what happens? Nothing? Nothing will happen in the vaccinated rabbit that responds to the vaccine by producing good antibody levels. In our clinical trial we had no vaccinated rabbits that developed clinical disease but it would be wrong to claim it will “never” happen.

Can I have a complete ingredients list please? Killed Pasteurella multocida, saline, and formalin (preservative), aluminum hydroxide adjuvant.

Is it okay to use the same needle over and over while vaccinating the rabbits? No. The ideal is to use a new sterile syringe and needle for each rabbit. this gives the best protection against causing and/or infection. A reused needle/syringe or one used on multiple rabbits is possibly infected and can infect each rabbit on which it is used.

Is a vaccinated rabbit still safe for human consumption? Yes, rabbits vaccinated with BunnyVac are safe to eat after a 21 day withdrawal period.

What is the youngest a rabbit can be vaccinated with BunnyVac? 6 weeks is the youngest. Earlier than that the immune system is not fully functional.

Can you give this vaccine at the same time as you are giving an antibiotic? No problem giving the vaccine with antibiotics.

If you did the first shot, and missed the date for the booster, should you redo both shots? You do not need to repeat the initial dose, just give the booster now.

In the multi dose vials – do all doses need to be used in one round, if a sterile syringe is introduced each time; or can I use 10 doses, and then use the other 10 for my booster in 30 days? While it is ideal to use all when the vial is first opened, the vaccine will be ok as long as it is not contaminated. Using an alcohol wipe to clean the vial top before and after withdrawing vaccine will help to maintain sterility.

How soon after vaccination can I breed my doe? Immediately, no need to wait.

Is it safe to vaccinate a pregnant doe? We have not seen any problems in pregnant does but, to be safe, don’t vaccinate anything that is more than 14 days after breeding.

Is it safe to give a nursing doe a booster? The booster will not hurt nursing does.

My experience reading Facebook rabbit forums has found Bob Glass to be extremely approachable and willing to answer questions and educate others about the disease, vaccine, and treatment. He recently posted (January 2014) that he is working on a test to detect Pasteurella in the nasal exudate (snot) of rabbits and needs samples of snot. He asked that anyone who would like to participate in this project by collecting and sending samples form multiple rabbits email him at

Two more items to share, the BunnyVac Information and BunnyVac Clinical Trial Summary. These links will take you through to the documents. I hope it is helpful to have all of these pieces of information in one place!

* After re-reading this post I felt like it might come across as negative to the county fair. The jury is still out on how heavily we’ll participate in future years. We quarantined every rabbit that came home from the fair and didn’t see problems. This included our unvaccinated junior Silver Fox as well (the one that were dispatched were Cinnamons.) So I can’t promise the problem was the fair, although a logical mind says if the rabbits are out of their natural environment for an extended period of time, very hot, and exposed to masses of people and other animals… that’s when IF you’re going to have a problem you DO. Our fair did a vet check on every rabbit that came in and declared all healthy prior to putting them in cages as a precaution, so I may be wrong. I just don’t know. Hence, the jury is still out.

How Do You Find Starter Stock?

Asking the right questions is the first step to locating great foundation stock.

Asking the right questions is the first step to locating great foundation stock.

I loved this post over at Rabbit Ranching and got permission from Ms. Cahill to reprint it on Mad Hatter Rabbits. If everyone who contacted us for rabbits followed this advice it would be so awesome! (I have added a few thoughts at the end.)

Q&A Session #2 from Rabbit Ranching by JuliCahill

This is the first part of an ongoing series allowing readers to ask questions about the rabbit hobby. There are no rules or guidelines. Have a question? Ask away! Post your question as a comment on our blog or email

Readers are encouraged to share their own ideas or opinions in the comments below.

What questions should you ask a breeder when choosing “show” foundation stock?

Ah, the age-old question. When you’re starting out with rabbits or starting a new breed, your foundation stock will ideally carry you through the first generations of creating your own line. But it’s easy to get burned by lesser quality animals or fake pedigrees if you’re not sure how to search wisely.

The best place to start is ARBA’s recognized breed page, which can be found HERE.

From this page, you can click on the photo of any currently recognized breed, and it will take you directly to the breed’s specialty club. To my knowledge, every (or at least most) breed clubs post sweepstakes standings on their website. Sweepstakes is a contest based on show wins, and only club members are eligible. Look to see who is at the top of the list and keep those names in mind.

Next, visit the registered breeder directory, which should also be available within the breed club website. Keep in mind that this will only list contact information for breeders who are currently members of their specialty club. ARBA has a more general breeder directory on their website. If you don’t find the name you’re looking for on one, check the other.

I would choose about five names of people local to you (or within the distance you’re willing to travel). There is usually an email or phone number listed for contact.

Now…what to ask? …

How should a newbie, who wants to show their favorite breed, approach a show breeder to purchase stock?

Tell them them exactly what your goals are:

Example: “I want to show and raise Holland Lops.”
Example: “I am looking for two Satins to keep as pets and show locally.”
Example: “I want a pet Dutch.”

The breeder needs to know exactly and directly what you want the rabbits for. If you just email asking, “Could you send me a list of rabbits for sale?” you’ll probably find few who take the time to respond. Everyone has rabbits for sale at some point in time, but they need to know exactly what you’re interested in.

Other information to include:

– The number of rabbits you’re interested in buying.
– The time frame in which you’re looking to buy.
– Your location.

Example: “I would like to start with one buck and two does. I am hoping to find my starting stock this spring, and I’m located in Dallas, TX.”
Example: “I want to find two bucks and three does before September. I’m located in Trenton, NJ.”

This is all of the information specifically needed to get you started, and I recommend leaving the rest up to the breeder. If they have other questions, they will ask. Mentioning other specifics (wild, unusual colors being a common one) not only narrows your search, but also makes most serious breeders question your intentions.

Instead, ask the breeder whether they have rabbits available that meet your criteria. If you are unsure of which color, group, or variety is strongest and most developed – just ask! This is what you will want to start with, and an experienced breeder can guide you directly to it.

So, how do you know you’re speaking with someone reputable?

Ask everyone within your original inquiry – “I am new to this breed. What lines do you recommend working with?”

This is the golden question because it will reveal the authority in the breed of your choice. Like it or not, the success of every breed is strongly influenced by a handful of very dedicated, very successful breeders. They are the names you’ll see over and over again on pedigrees all over the nation. If you ask five breeders this question, you are likely to find out quickly which lines are “go to” in the breed.

If you can (whether they are local or whether you have to arrange transport from a national convention), try to purchase stock directly from those people. If you can’t, try to find someone who has used their rabbits to build their herd.

A name doesn’t mean everything, but it does mean a lot. A reputation is something that’s built by word-of-mouth and personal experience. If people, in significant numbers, speak highly of someone in particular, they are likely to be a trustworthy source. If it’s someone no one has heard of or mentions without prompting, it’s generally not a good starting place.

I could talk more about this topic, but I think I’ll save that for another day. This is where I recommend starting. From there, many reputable breeders will be interested in helping you learn more.


A few thoughts from Mad Hatter:

I completely agree about the recommendation to follow breed sweepstakes… and I don’t. We have six different breeds here and are members of the national clubs of only three. Some national clubs have far too many politics for us to want to get too involved right now… or it just isn’t the right time for us to have many memberships… what not. So, while I believe sweepstakes points are one factor in determining a reputable breeder, I would consider it with other knowledge as well.

Another research option is to check the Domestic Rabbits publication from ARBA for those owners who have Grand Champion rabbits in their breeds.

Being completely clear about your intentions is important! For us, since we raise mostly dual meat/show rabbits this is especially significant around here. If you tell us you are going to show rabbits we will set you up with the best-typed rabbit we can. If you tell us your entire purpose is for meat we won’t put as much emphasis on show promise as your desired outcomes will likely have more to do with production, making weight by a specific age, and mothering abilities than the length of shoulders or whether their body is conformed to the Standard of Perfection!

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Entertaining your Rabbit

Canning lids are a favorite toy around here.

Canning lids are a favorite toy around here.

Many rabbit owners give their rabbits toys to play with – but it’s not necessary to spend tons of money on toys to keep your rabbit entertained.


Rabbits will play with anything from wiffle balls to golf balls and bells but are equally happy with bits of untreated 2×4 or sheet rock that doubles as a resting board. Natural options include apple wood and willow tree twigs, and pine cones. Baby teething toys like plastic key sets or evenshower curtain rings provide satisfactory noises when thrown around their home.


Toilet paper tubes, empty tissue boxes stuffed with hay, empty oatmeal containers, or boxes give rabbits lots of entertainment.


We’ve recently discovered the metal rings for canning jars are great toys for the rabbits. They’re metal and clang when tossed, plus we can put them in the dishwasher to sanitize and clean them up without ruining them!




What do you give your rabbits as toys?


Toxic and Poisonous Plants for Rabbits

I have just spent more than an hour searching for the infographic that shares which green things are most certainly inedible for rabbits and come up empty handed.


Because I never want to go through this again, I’ll simply post what I have found about the naturally occuring substances our rabbits should not consume. This particular list is courtesy of


Toxic Plants

Following is a partial list of plants that rabbits should not eat. This list is a compilation of lists from various sources.


  • Where available, the parts of the plants to be avoided are included enclosed in parentheses.
  • The exclusion of a specific plant from this list does not indicate that the plant is safe. For a list of fruits and vegetables suitable for rabbit comsumption, please see our ABC’s of Rabbit Safe Vegetables and Fruits.
  • Plants commonly known by more than one name may occur multiple times in the list.
  • If you suspect your rabbit has ingested an unsafe plant, please call your vet and/or your local poison control center or the National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (credit card charge).
  • For more information, please see our links at the bottom of this page.



Agave (leaves)
Amaryllis (bulbs)
Angel’s Trumpet
Apple (seeds)
Apricot (all parts except fruit)
Asian Lilly
Asparagus Fern
Australian Nut
Autumn Crocus
Avacado (leaves)
Azalea (leaves)
Balsam pear (seeds, outer rind of fruit)
Baneberry (berries, roots)
Barbados Lilly
Betel-nut Palm
Bird of Paradise (seeds)
Bitter Cherry (seeds)
Bittersweet (American & European)
Black Nightshade
Black Walnut (hulls)
Boston Ivy
Buddhist Pine
Busy Lizzie
Buttercup (leaves)
Black Locust (seeds,bark, sprouts, foliage)
Blue-green algae (some forms toxic)
Boxwood (leaves,twigs)
Bracken fern
Branching Ivy
Buckeye (seeds)
Buckthorn (berries, fruit, bark)
Bull Nettle
Buttercup (sap, bulbs)
Cactus Thorn
Calico Bush
Calla Lilly (rhizome, leaves)
Caladiur (leaves)
Carolina Jessamine
Castor Bean (seed, leaves – castor oil)
Chalice vine (all parts)
Cherry tree (bark, twig, leaves, pits)
China Doll
Chinaberry tree
Chinese Bellflower
Chinese Lantern
Chinese Evergreen
Choke Cherry (seeds)
Christmas Candle (sap)
Christmas Rose
Climbing Nightshade
Clivia (a.k.a Kaffir Lily)
Coffee Bean
Cone Flower
Coral plant (seeds)
Corn Plant
Crown of Thorns
Cuban Laurel
Cuckoopint (all parts)
Cutleaf Philodendron
Daffodil (bulbs)
Daphne (berries, bark)
Datura (berries)
Day Lily
Deadly Amanita (all parts)
Deadly Nightshade
Death Camas (all parts)
Delphinium (all parts)
Devil’s Ivy
Dieffenbachia (leaves)
Dumb Cane
Dutchman’s Breeches
Easter Lilly
Eggplant (all but fruit)
Elderberry (unripe berries, roots, stems)
Elephant Ear (leaves, stem)
Emerald Feather
English Laurel
English Ivy (berries, leaves)
False Hellebore
False Henbane (all parts)
False Parsley
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Flamingo Plant
Florida Beauty
Flowering Maple
Flowering Tobacco
Foxglove (leaves, seeds)
Garden Sorrel
German Ivy
Ghostweed (all parts)
Giant Touch-me-not
Glacier Ivy
Glory Lilly
Gold Dust
Golden Chain (all parts)
Golden Pothos
Green Gold
Hahn’s Ivy
Hairy Vetch
Hart Ivy
Hawaiian Ti
Heartleaf Philodendron
Heavenly Bamboo
Hemlock, Poison (all parts)
Hemlock, Water (all parts)
Henbane (seeds)
Holly (berries)
Horse Chestnut (nuts, twigs)
Horsehead Philodendron
Horsetail Reed
Hurricane Plant
Hyacinth (bulbs)
Indian Hemp
Indian Rubber
Indian Turnip (all parts)
Iris (bulbs)
Ivy, Boston & English (berries, leaves)
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (all parts)
Japanese Euonymus
Japanese Show Lily
Japanese Yew
Java Bean (uncooked bean)
Jerusalem Cherry (berries)
Jimson Weed (leaves, seeds)
Johnson Grass
Juniper (needles, stems, berries)
Laburnum (all parts)
Lace Fern
Lacy Tree Philodendron
Lady Slipper
Lantana (immature berries)
Larkspur (all parts)
Laurel (all parts)
Laurel Cherry
Lily of the Valley (all parts)
Lima Bean (uncooked bean)
Lobelia (all parts)
Locoweed (all parts)
Lords and Ladies (all parts)
Macadamia Nut
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Manchineel Tree
Marbel Queen
Marijuana (leaves)
Marsh Marigold
Mauna Loa Peace Lily
Mayapple (all parts except fruit)
Meadow Saffron
Medicine Plant
Mexican Breadfruit
Mescal Bean (seeds)
Milk Bush
Mistletoe (berries)
Mock Orange (fruit)
Monkshood (leaves, roots)
Morning Glory (all parts)
Mountain Laurel
Mushrooms (some)
Mustard (root)
Narcissus (bulbs)
Needlepoint Ivy
Nightshades (berries, leaves)
Oak (acorns, foliage) Oleander (leaves, branches, nectar) Oxalis
Parlor Ivy
Patience Plant
Peace Lily
Peach (leaves, twigs, seeds)
Pear (seeds)
Pencil Cactus
Philodendron (leaves, stem)
Plum (seeds)
Plumosa Fern
Poinsettia (leaves, flowers)
Poison Hemlock
Poison Ivy
Poison Oak
Poison sumac
Potato (eyes & new shoots, green parts)
Precatory Bean
Privet (all parts)
Purple Thornapple
Queensland Nut
Red Emerald
Red Lily
Red Princess
Rhododendron (all parts)
Rhubarb (leaves)
Ribbon Plant
Ripple Ivy
Rosary Pea (seeds)
Rubrum Lily
Sago Palm
Self-branching Ivy
Shamrock Plant
Silver Pothos
Skunk Cabbage (all parts)
Snake Palm
Snowdrop (all parts)
Snow-on-the-Mountain (all parts)
Solomon’s Seal
Split Leaf Philodendron
Star of Bethlehem
String of Pearls
Sweet Pea (seeds and fruit)
Sweet Potato
Sweetheart Ivy
Swiss Cheese Plant
Taro Vine
Tiger Lily
Tobacco (leaves)
Tomato (leaves, vines)
Tree Philodendron
Tulip (bulb)
Umbrella Plant
Vetch (Hairy)
Violet (seeds) Virginia Creeper (berries, sap)
Walnuts (hulls, green shells)
Water Hemlock
Weeping Fig
Western Lily
Wild Carrots
Wild Cucumber
Wild Parsnip
Wild Peas
Wisteria (all parts)
Wood Lily
Yam Bean (roots, immature pods) Yellow Jasmine Yew (needles, seeds, berries)

For more information…
University of Illinois Toxic Plants Database
ASPCA Poison Control Center
San Diego chapter of HRS Poisonous Plants Page


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