YOUR ANGORA BUNNY
Creator of the Giant Angora
Now, don’t go stressing over that cute little ball of fluff. Don’t worry, they won’t “break” that easily.
LETS TALK FOOD: You are better off getting your food from a feed store such as Agway or a feed and garden store. You will find the food much fresher than that which is commercially available in pet stores. Though pet stores have a gift of making their feeds attractive, their turnover of product is much slower than a grain mill store, thus the freshness in the pet store can not usually measure up to that of the feed store. In reading the feed label if it says “forage and grain products” it might mean whatever they can obtain as cheaply as possible. It will give inconsistent ingredients and can give your bunny some digestive problems. Best to stay away from this one. Go for a feed that lists ingredients such as oats, wheat, or barley for energy. Corn is nasty as a primary grain. It makes a bunny fat. . High fiber and low protein feeds seem to work quite well on angora rabbits. I, personally wouldn’t want a protein over 18%. I like high fiber (good roughage to help the rabbit pass ingested hair). In grain stores you might consider a 50 lb bag of feed. It’s the cheapest practical way to purchase and after three months, when you’re still working on the bag, consider freezing the remainder. It won’t hurt it at all and it will maintain it’s freshness.
HAY: = EXTREMELY important nutritional resource.
Very young bunnies consume hay in their nest as soon as they can nibble a food. It’s an excellent source of fiber, a great diet food for the pudgy bunny. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals and a definite fun food. Best are low protein grass hays, such as timothy or orchard grass. These can be offered to the bunny as free choice (even Weight Watchers would approve. Lots of people gravitate toward alfalfa. It’s not a good idea as its high protein. Remember what I said about protein?
NATURALLY DELICIOUS FOODS: You thought I wouldn’t say carrots? Of course, carrots. kale, romaine lettuce, a small slice of apple, dandilion, clover, parsley, blackberry leaves
Also any wholesome cereal, . Birdseed, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, oatmeal & cheerios . That should be enough goodies.
DIGESTIVE UPSET ON YOUNG BUNNIES
If you see feel your young bunny is not gaining properly or is a picky eater, smells odd, you can safely add yogurt to the diet. Personally I have found success using Activia Yogurt. Strawberry seems to be the flavor of choice here. Probiotics can safely be added to the diet for a bunny who is not thriving.
My rabbit food choice is a grain locally milled right here in Taunton, MA. It's so nice to know I have the ability to talk directly to the grain manufacturer regarding nutrition.
My feed is not directly off the shelf. I have probiotics in my formula. I am lucky enough to be able to make the choice of whether to have commercially prepared grain or value added grain.
HOUSING: Inside or outside, it’s your choice. Aside from the safety issues such as predators, unwanted heat, wind and sun., an OUTSIDE bunny can enjoy a cozy hutch with an inside enclosure long enough for him to stretch out in. It’s best not to have a solid wood floor. They readily decide this is the bathroom and foul their bedding. It’s best to have a mesh wire floor and if you want, a covering board nearly as big as the enclosed area It’s fine as long as you can lift it out for cleaning periodically. Believe-you-me, you’ll thank me for this tidbit. His outside play yard should be big enough for him to do a little dancing around but not so large he is able to slink into a far away corner and forget he’s a happy, touchable pet. Also, an area that is central to the family is preferable. He wants to be part of the comings and goings of everyone. Not “left out in the cold”. He could then become fearful of every little noise. Joyful noise is not harmful at all.
INSIDE is great too. A smallish wire mesh pet home large enough to stretch out in and take a short bunny romp around in is fine. A door that opens onto the floor allows him the freedom of wherever you choose. He scent trains and will smell his bathroom corner in his home. As long is he isn’t given a huge area to get lost in he can be trained to go back to his own kitchen and bathroom after his romp through your area. I would advise not leaving him out all night. Whatever houseplant you have could quickly become house stems. Also, track him while he is in the room. See if he is eyeing the wiring. Some bunnies think chewing on the Polyvinyl wire covering is great fun. Could be a shocking experience. If he does this little trick there are a few things you can counter with. Try rubbing Tabasco sauce on the insulation. This could be a cure. Other “weapons” are a well-aimed squirt gun, Bitter Apple-used to train puppies , or possibly just give up and pick up the wires or wrap them in a paper towel core.
HEALTH: There’s really a lot of help out here. You’re not alone. Just get on the internet and rustle up The National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club. There are also some good books. I like Rabbit Production by McNitt, Patton, Lukefahr and Cheeke. In my humble opinion it’s a solid well rounded information resource.
Rabbits don’t need shots to stay healthy or disease free. They’re very inexpensive to keep.
Let’s say a bunny has a coat on for over three months. Sincethere are two typed of Angora Rabbits you need to know if you have a shedding or nonshedding Type. If you choose NONSHEDDING be advised that nearly constant grooming will be your situation. Long coats can become a health hazzard. It is arduous at best to keep the butt area clean and attention to hair around the eyes also must be attentively watched for eye irritation/infections. Unless you're interested in a nonshedding show animal IMO it is not advisable to procure this type for a pet or wool producing pet and spinners animal. They demand your constant attention.
Angoras that are "user friendly" will shed their coats on a three to four times a year schedule.
This type requires much less grooming. Watch the coat for matting on a weekly basis. Usually very little maintenance is required on this Type. Overgrooming is counterproductive. Why loosen up fiber in a coat that is not mature? The rabbit just may ingest the loose wool you've created. If so you have given him a reason for him to groom himself in order to smell more like a rabbit than a human. Now surfaces the possibility of getting wool into his stomach unnecessarily.If the coat is held fast in the skin and not matting leave it alone during it's growing stage. Its OK to fluff and puff for the show table. But usually not necessary on the spinners choice bunny.
If the shedding coat is three months to four months old.
Now this type of rabbit requires your attention. Angora rabbits grow approximately 1" of wool a month.
Chances are he’s shedding. He keeps himself clean by licking his wool. So, naturally what’s loose-he’s ingesting. Not a good thing. It could give him a belly full of wool. He can’t throw up like the cat expelling a hair ball. But, alas, he is suffering from the same malady. What to do…..First, get the wool off! When his wool becomes loose, it’s dead. You can groom and groom til you go crazy. Minutes after you get him looking Oh -So- Beautiful he’s a matted mess. The wool coat usually lasts only one season and then needs to be removed. Grooming does not help. You can cut the coat off with scissors, comb it off with a long toothed comb, shave it off with electric clippers or simply groom him for the last time and “Pluck” the dead fibers.
HOW TO PLUCK: It really is an inappropriate term for gently removing dead wool with your fingertips. Simply grasp the outermost edge of a patch of wool and draw backward in the direction the wool lays. Dead wool will remain in your fingertips while the live wool stays firmly on the rabbit. Proceed throughout the rabbit's coat and whatever is dead will slip off. Cut off any mats that are in the way and/or comb out any debris in the coat.
However you get the wool off, a healthy bunny doesn’t need to be brushed much at all as long as he has his dead wool removed approximately every three months. No mater which method of wool removal you choose, even if it’s a professional groomer…a happy healthy angora needs to have his “hair done” every season.
WOOL BLOCK: If you notice his fecal pellet (poop, if you will) has become smaller than usual or, gasp, nonexistent…it’s time to take quick action. You need a "Drain -O- For Bunny" treatment. There are quite a few out there. Papaya pills, which you can get from any health food or drug store. You might take them for your digestion. In a word(s) it’s a protein eating enzyme. You can offer them like a handful of M&M’s (you can’t make him sick on them). Or if he’s not hungry because he has a belly full of wool you can mash them up and syringe them into his mouth. Pineapple is also another remedy. Dried pineapple works as well as fresh and many bunnies think it’s more palatable. Some breeders use a human stool softener, such as Collace. Best to get advice from your breeder or vet before getting into this one. Specific dosage depends on weight. Hay offers some relief, too. It will help push the blockage along. Take action if the bunny is not eating. It won’t get better without your intervention.
A MATTED BUNNY IS ONE WHOSE COAT HAS GONE WELL BEYOND IT’S LIFE EXPECTANCY. Although it looks awful and must feel awful and has absolutely no insulating value for winter - it is nowhere as dangerous as wool block. It you face this situation just get out the scissors and chop.
CUT, SHEAR, COMB, HANDPLUCK???
Shedding Type: All of these choices can be used in removing the mature coat
Nonshedding Angora: Shear or cut only
I could go on and on about bunnies. I do that well. But, what I really want you to know is…They are the dearest, warmest and most enjoyable companions you can imagine. It’s a very special feeling to enter the barn on a dismal February day and see those little faces eagerly anticipating my arrival. They love us for ourselves. They ask nothing and give us love and comfort. Cold hands and a warm bunny. Opposites do attract.
Thanks for listening.