Transitioning a rabbit to a new home

Thank you for purchasing a rabbit(s) from Still Waters Rabbitry. To assist in reducing the stress on the rabbit arriving at it’s new home and I outlined a few precautions to assist the rabbits in adjusting to their new home.

On the day that rabbit will be taken from the Rabbitry, I go through several steps to ensure they are healthy, free from any disease and reducing the stress of the rabbit. The rabbit will be given Bene-Bac Plus recommended dosage to minimize the stress of traveling.

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Food

You will be provided with the pellets, grain mixture and hay that I currently feed the rabbits. This will help in keeping the food the same smell and taste while adjusting the rabbits their new home, sights, smells and noises. The current pellet feed I use is from Tractor Supply called Producer’s Pride. The reason for this selection is it is the freshest rabbit pellets I can find in my local area. I also supplement the rabbits diet with barley, whole oats, wheat, black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) given daily each morning. Each evening the rabbits get a handful of Timothy hay when they are over 3 months and Alfalfa hay if they are under 3 months of age.

Feeding Routine Outline

Evening – fresh pellets, handful of hay and fresh water with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), maple/tulip/pine twigs, pine cones, Alfalfa cubes

Morning – 1/8 cup of grain mixture, fresh greens (winter wheat, dandelions, oat grass, etc)

The only exception is for does with litters which get free feed with pellets, grains and hay until the litter is weaned.

The nutritional analysis of hay is dependant on factors like the soil it grows in, the weather and time it’s cut, but these are some average values for different types: referenced from The Rabbit House

Hay Type Crude Fibre Crude Protein Calcium
Orchard Grass 34% 10% 0.33%
Timothy 32-34% 8-11% 0.4-0.6%
Oat 31% 10% 0.4%
Dried Grass 25-28% 12-14% 0.55%
Meadow 33% 7% 0.6%
Alfalfa 28-34% 13-19% 1.2-1.4%
Bermudagrass 29% 10% 0.46%

Water (and Additives)

I give fresh water daily in crocks to the rabbits with an additive of Apple cider vinegar IMG_5383(ACV). ACV contains a potent combination of vitamins as well as being full of minerals, some are potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, helpful enzymes which provide many health benefits to the overall rabbit’s health. ACV keeps the rabbits immune system up also preventing urinary tract problems like infections and bladder sludge (this is caused from excess calcium) and promotes a less potent urine therefore reducing the smell.

Other Water additives are the following:

Vitamins and electrolytes– A water soluble premix of vitamins and electrolytes specifically formulated as a water or feed additive; for use when animals are subject to conditions of stress. Most of these packets of vitamins and elecrolytes work out to be around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per gallon

Pedialyte – I usually would recommend using the unflavored kind. I would also recommend diluting the pedialyte with some water about 50:50. The reason I like to dilute the pedialyte is because the dextrose or sugar in it can cause some diarrhea in rabbits if they ingest too much.

Herbs to assist calming

referenced from Rise and Shine Rabbitry

Included below are a few herbs and what they are recommended use is for the rabbit. Most of the health problems rabbits endure have are brought on by an imbalance in their immune systems that allows the bacterial and parasitic disease to get a hold in the rabbits system. The best herb believed for balancing the rabbits immune system is Echinacea it can be grown in any backyard and is available in most health food stores.

CHAMOMILE –  Pain relief, calm nervous rabbit, one of the best eye wash for weepy eye Chamomile tea and honey!!!!! Just make a cup of tea, a little stronger than you would drink it and add a teaspoon of honey. I use an old syringe w/o the needle to squirt into the eye. You can also use as a compress and as a wipe for the eye. It will work wonders. Both chamomile and honey are anti-everything! microbial, fungal, and with antibiotic properties. Let the rabbit eat some before you treat for eye problems because of its pain relief and calming effects will make the rabbit easier to handle

COMFREY – Healing, bone formation, ill rabbits, stressed and weak rabbits, if you have a rabbit off feed try a few leaves of comfrey this is one of my favorite herb tonic for rabbits! You can cut it down and dry it like hay to store for winter use (can be cut down up to three times here in Maine) They also love the freshly harvested leaves(I have never wilted it) . The plant has a calming effect on rabbits Comfrey is a good source of vitamin A and good for pregnant and nursing does. It is a digestive aid, helps with wool block and is used for many other things. It supports the immune system, good for the stomach, feed as a general tonic. In extreme doses, comfrey can cause diarrhea. This is its effects working too hard and if left unnoticed, the rabbit may dehydrate. When used with common sense, Comfrey is one of the best herbs for rabbits.

DANDELION – Blood purifying, respiratory ailments, anti-inflammatory, bladder infections, diarrhea, milk flow of nursing does, good treat for does after having a litter. Some rabbit respiratory problems, such as pasteurellosis, can eventually cause serious problems including head tilt, loss of balance and death. There have been tests on rabbits that were treated with dandelion’s showing that it is effective against pneumonia, bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. Use fresh leaves, flowers and dig up root, the root can be dried to make a weak tea to add to the rabbits water. Well known for its curative powers. The bitter milky sap stimulates the working of all glands, including the milk glands of lactating does. The plant has both laxative and astringent qualities and regulates constipation and diarrhea.

ECHINACEA – -Immune system stimulant and broad spectrum antibiotic. In the lower doses it’s the stimulant and in higher doses acts as an antibiotic. Anti-inflammatory with anti-viral properties. It can be grown in nearly every backyard and easily available at most health food stores. Echinacea is a great preventive herb to use for your rabbits. I feed a few leaves every now a then to my rabbits daily greens mix to boost the immune system and fight infection. Research has shown that echinacea increases production of interferon in the body. It is antiseptic and antimicrobial, with properties that act to increase the number of white blood cells available to destroy bacteria and slow the spread of infection. It is also a great herb to dry and add to your winter hay blend! You can also get the capsules at heath food stores add 4 capsules of the echinacea to one gallon of water and boil and cool store in fridge and add 1/4 herb water to 3/4 water and fill water bottles, crocks, etc

LAVENDER – Circulation problems, nervous stress, exhaustion, induces labor. To bring on labour or expel placental material etc. in problem kindling’s. Use with caution. sparingly. in extreme cases only. The flowers are actually a mild tranquilizer, acting upon the heart in easing blood pressure rather than acting upon the brain as an anti-stimulant. Great for stressed out rabbits.

LEMON BALM – Anti-bacterial, antiviral, bloating and gas, diarrhea, reduce stress

Quiet Time

When you get your rabbit home please give it several days of quiet time so it can get used to the new environment. Once the stress of the move has subsided, the rabbit will become much more interested in socializing with you and your family.

Assistance in reducing the stress of the rabbit

Daily observation can easily detect illness or disease in your rabbits that can be found early. While you do your daily chores, simply stop, look, and listen. Observe the rabbit(s) each day and if you notice any of the following behaviors please assist in distressing the rabbit.  A normal rabbit is bright, alert, active, inquisitive, has a smooth coat and good body condition.

  • Decreased feed intake
  • Decreased water intake
  • A lot of thin brownish, watery diarrhea, or sticky, foul-smelling pudding-like diarrhea covering the hind end, and most likely the feet, as the rabbit will have walked in the poo
  • Rabbit is desperately thirsty – he drapes himself weakly over the water crock, or within reach of the water valve.
  • Rabbit’s fur becomes rough and lack-luster

To reduce the stress:

  • Develop a routine time for feeding
  • Ensure a constant supply of food and water
  • A diet high in fiber (that means mostly good quality grass hay) – Put clean hay in the cage every day
  • The rabbit does not need any sweet treats
  • Keep clean fresh water available
  • Choose your preferred method (only one method) of additives for the rabbit:

Clean Cages

There are some preventive steps that will help in the processing of raising rabbits, these will save you from many troubles. SANITATION. Keep cages clean, wire brush any dropping that get stuck and clean cages thoroughly between litters. Clean cages mean clean and happy rabbits!

Questions?

We want you to be happy with your rabbit and are willing to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Keep in touch. Please feel free to PM the Rabbitry on Facebook or email me at  stillwaterrabbitry@icloud.com.