Tag Archives: pet rabbits

Forget Free Willy, Free Bunnies!

It’s confession time.

For all we talk a good game of eating our uglies and realizing that everything has a purpose and sometimes that purpose is to be edible… Well, sometimes we just can’t pull the trigger.

Case in point: this is Eclipse.

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She is a fantastic Silver Fox doe who has given us a ridiculous amount of joy during her life. It has become evident that she is past her child bearing prime but we struggled with wanting to use every cage, every hole to it’s greatest impact.

So… Eclipse was turned loose in the back yard. She has been set free to hide underneath the saw horses supporting the Timothy hay bales and eat our lettuce sprouts. She loves it!

It’s been a few months since we got a freely roaming lagomorph and we weren’t sure it would suit us. But it has! Since then we’ve retired two more of our older does who have earned a special spot. There are a few more holes being dug in our back yard but it’s been working wonderfully.

The rabbits are living peaceably with our Great Dane and miniature poodle and it’s being done! They have not destroyed our feeble attempt at a garden and, as long as we keep them away from the bucks, I believe we have a winning combination.

A 10-lbs rabbit (or two… Or three) does tend to startle the uninformed, however. We had a friend over and when he saw the rabbit resting a few feet away from him he visibly startled. We all got a chuckle out of his reaction and the rabbits ended up coming over for scratches!

A Rabbit with All the Fixin’s

Not so appropriate... but funny!

Not so appropriate… but funny!

This may seem like a silly statement given the website you’re on, but we don’t spay or neuter our rabbits around here.

 

We are of the belief that if we are raising rare breed rabbits to improve the breed and to provide for our family… we should actually breed the rabbits so spread the gene pool and cure the rumbly in our tumbly. (Logic, it’s a killer.)

 

However, there are several people around our area with some of our rabbits who keep them completely as pets and have ventured into the spay and neuter territory with their bunnies. While it’s a not a choice we will pursue, it has been the right choice for those owners.

 

There are a few behavior issues that come with sexual maturity in a rabbit. Bucks will spray or try to rub their scent all over anything they can touch (no joke – a friend had his rabbit trying to hump his feet!). Doe will become extremely irritable and even put out chunks of their fur in frustration. For some, the simple solution to these behaviors is to let the bunnies… breed like bunnies… but for others it might be a better fit to head to the animal hospital for a little snip snip.

 

Most rabbits fall under exotic pet veterinary practice. This might vary in your geographical region, however. If you decide to spay or neuter your rabbit you’ll want to check around to see if there is a vet who is familiar with rabbits. Many, many veterinarians are not! Rabbits tend to be sensitive to anesthesia, so you’ll want to have someone who is used to working with the lagomorphs or Fluffy Bun Buns might sink into sleep forever. My understanding is that you should expect to pay at least $100 for the procedure as well.

 

There is an argument out there that fixing your rabbit can extend their lifespan, however I’ve heard many rebuttals to that statement that rabbits are “cancer machines” and, as biologically evolving prey animal, they are going to pass on quickly anyway. I don’t have the personal research to weigh in on this matter myself, but I would definitely encourage anyone worrying about this to ask a LOT of questions of people before you make your final decision regarding the reproductive capabilities of a rabbit.

 

As I mentioned before, we have not chosen this route for our own rabbits, so if you have a personal story of success or disaster to tell, please do so in the comments!

The Fight of the Easter Bunny

thea0211 / stock.xchng

thea0211 / stock.xchng

Once upon a time it was the season of eggs and pastels, spring was right around the corner. Parents began to wonder if little Susie would like a bunny for Easter and rabbit breeders far and wide began to bicker.

The Fight of the Easter Bunny divides into two large camps with a scattered few opinions in between. One one side you have the people who appreciate the pet rabbit buyers. On the other side are those who take the high ground that pet bunnies are the next thing to evil, mix breed rabbits are best used for meat, and anyone who sells to anyone other than a reputable breeder is hypocritical.

And the scattered few in between scratch their heads and wonder out loud, “Can’t we all just get along?!”

Both camps have valid arguments. Anyone who cares about the sanctity of any life recognizes that an animal purchased on a whim then left unattended in a cage that fills with feces is not acceptable. Rabbits have a 7-10 year life span and require the same sense of commitment and care that a dog or a cat need. If veterinary care is needed there’s a large price tag that comes with the professional; letting a rabbit loose in an empty field or dropping it off at a shelter is a sure-fire way to prove you’re a pretty low human being yourself.

On the other side, many, many people fall in love with their rabbit companions and treat them with love and affection! Most rabbit breeders begin their love of the animal with a mixed breed bun they picked up at the pet or feed store for a few bucks. It is unfair to assume there is no purpose for a pet rabbit in this world.

At Mad Hatter Rabbits we’ve decided to straddle the fence between these two camps (and I’m sure we’ll get a splinter or two on occasion). We will never breed more rabbits than we can personally provide excellent, loving, and humane care for. We also provide a blanket guarantee to accept any rabbit we have bred back if their new owner can no longer adequately meet their rabbits needs. Each animal that leaves our rabbitry goes with a booklet with recommendations of how to care for your bunny at the bare minimum requirements of the Animal Welfare Act and recommendations for how to go beyond the bare minimum into to a truly enriching relationship with a furry friend.

We don’t see the Fight of the Easter Bunny as black and white. Our primary reason for beginning to breed rabbits was to provide a healthy, organic meat source free of antibiotics and such things for our family. This is a rabbit’s natural role in the life cycle – at the bottom of the food chain as a meal for larger predators. But in our rabbit journey, we found we really enjoy rabbit shows – and it takes the same amount of feed to raise a show rabbit as it does a less type-y rabbit so we may as well work toward having excellent show rabbits with sweet dispositions, fun personalities, and great pedigrees! Finally, for those rabbits that aren’t quite up to snuff on a show table for one reason or another, their attitudes make them a reasonable option for a person who wants a companion.

If we don’t limit human beings to only one point and purpose of life – if we can comprehend a life where there is a capability to wear multiple hats – then there’s space in this world for our livestock to fulfill a multitude of purposes as well!

Anyone want to join us on the middle ground?

Meet the Holland Lops!

Our Holland Lops are from three separate bloodlines and are currently living in three homes as pets! Here are just a few of the babies from Grand Champion lines we have as part of our breeding stock! (Look for more babies around Christmas 2012!)

 

Caramel Machiatto

 

Chocolate Chip

 

Brownie

 

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