Monday, August 30, 2010

Jess' Kits - 20 Days old

Lionhead kits are a little bald around the abdomen, sides, bottom, and cheeks when they are born. Now don't be quick to judge them by their appearance for these bald areas are where the wool would grow as they mature.

At approximately 2 weeks old, you would notice the growth of fur is quite uniform and certain parts of the body would be covered with longer and thicker fur.

This breed of rabbit however is not a recognized breed of the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) although they can be shown at ARBA shows as an exhibition breed.

The following are some useful links on Lionhead which we thought of sharing:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Wet Wabbit

Rabbits are naturally clean animals. We do not advise bath of any sorts for rabbits because the fur of a rabbit takes a long time to dry. But if you must due to reasons such as your rabbit has experienced diarrhea or has matted fur (or fell into a drain by accident), the following is the steps to bathing a rabbit:

Step 1. Fill up some warm water at a sink or a pail. The water should NOT be higher than the rabbit's belly level. Slowly place the rabbit in it. Let it stand on its hind feet while you support the body.
Note: DO NOT immerse the rabbit in the water. They are not natural swimmers and may drown.
Then slowly pour warm water over the rabbit, avoid the head and don't allow water to flow into the ears, eyes or mouth of the rabbit.

Step 2. Dilute the shampoo (use only shampoo for rabbits or small animals) with water.
Note: DO NOT use human shampoo. Not even baby shampoo.

Step 3. Slowly rub/ massage the shampoo into the rabbits fur.

Step 4. Wash away the shampoo. Rinse thoroughly until the water is clear.

Step 5. Use a hair dryer or a fan to dry the rabbit.
If you use a hair dryer, make sure it is not too hot so you won't overheat the rabbit. Keep a safe distance from the rabbit for the noise of the hair dryer may terrify the rabbit and don't blow directly on its head, ears or private parts.
Note: Do NOT leave the rabbit under the sun to dry.

A wet wabbit looks like this...

By the way, It is advisable to brush the rabbit at least once a week and as frequent as possible for long furred rabbits. It reduces the amount of loose fur and to a certain extent, help prevent hairball impactions.
Note: Be gentle when brushing for the skin of a rabbit is delicate.

Brushing a rabbit

Now can i have my solitude back?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ashley's Kits - 18 Days old

Now, you could see how cute the baby rabbits are.

They're starting to eat what mommy eats (pellets & hay). Even so, they are not ready to be weaned for they still feed on mommy's milk.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pines' Rabbit

Here's some of our residents... *drum roll* Ta-daa...

Woody Toy (Buck): Little Bit, 8-9mths
He is litter-trained (just not 100% accurate yet!) and is the only one who could respond to its name!

Angora (doe): Muzzy, 1yr++

Blue Eye Angora (doe): PoPo, 1yr++
A feisty rabbit. Don't mess with her less you'll loose a finger

Local Lop Ear Rabbit (Buck): Robin, 1yr++
Check out his huge head and massive body structure.

Local Lop Ear Rabbit(doe): Molly, 1yr++

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blissful Weekend

Weekends always meant more time at the backyard, more time with the rabbits. So today...

1. We returned the kits to the respective dam.

If you notice, these kits are feeding on their mother's poop. These are actually cecal pellets and are sometimes referred to as night droppings or Cecotrophs. The cecum contains a natural community of bacteria and fungi that provide essential nutrients and may even protect the rabbit from potentially harmful pathogens. They provide vitamins and proteins that are essential to a rabbit's health. Besides, it prepares them for feeding on solid food such as hay or pellets.

2. We also allowed Toto, our Holland Lop to stretch his legs. Here's some pictures of Toto.

*sniff*sniff* "what's cookin'? Not my cousin I hope..."

"Yes, you called?"

Toto: "Watch me hop".

It's good to allow your rabbit to have a "free run" once a week. We suppose it's good for the rabbit's psychology and well-being. When it cannot contain its happiness, you can expect a binky! :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kits and more kits

11 August 2010 (Wednesday) sometime before dawn, Ashley gave birth to 10 baby rabbits! 1 of them was born deformed without a prefect leg and we suppose it died still born. Nevertheless, the rest of them were all "in the pink of health".

The babies came in various color and sizes. None of them resemble Ashley. Looks like Bebe's gene is more dominant!

Dam: Ashley

Sire: Bebe

Various color and sizes. Now, which of the parent is a dutch carrier? Hmm...
We have a brown, a black and a blue dutch-like kits!

2 Days later...

Tiniest and Biggest

Like father like son (or daughter)

The dam rarely nurse the kits right after delivery. Usually the 1st nursing will be the night after the kindling. As mentioned in our previous post, we only allow feeding twice a day. This is because the rabbit's milk is RICH and could sustain the babies for 24hours a time. So you have to make sure all of the babies are well fed. Well fed babies are warm and round-bellied.

Ashley feeding and cleaning the kits

A dam usually stands over the babies to nurse them and does not lie down in the nest. She also cleans them by licking the bellies and bottoms of the babies to stimulate elimination like a cat.

The nursery

15 Baby Rabbits

By the way... Sean & Jess' Kits Day 3 onwards - Jumpin' Jelly Beans

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sean & Jess' Kits - Day 2

Growth of fur is slightly visible especially on those who resemble Sean. Size wise, not much of a difference compared to the day before - when they're just born. The kits look very much like Smeagle of Lord of The Rings and that's NOT cute at all. Now speaking of cuteness, we don't exactly encourage people to buy (or adopt) rabbits based on cute factor alone. Neither are we denying the fact that our interest in rabbits also started with "Oh look! How cute is that fuzzy-wuzzy bunny". There's nothing wrong with falling head over heels or love at first sight for its "cuteness" but the message that we are trying to convey is: Consider well. It's a long term commitment (they can live up to 6-7 years or some longer depending on various factors). Think carefully. Sleep on it. Talk to your love ones who in someway or other would be affected by the additional "family member". Don't worry about someone else is gonna buy the cute rabbit you saw on display in the pet shop that's so CHEAP (or so you think but you will be surprised with what better offer you can find on the internet especially buying from breeders). By the way, do you know that you can find rabbits that are "cuter", "prettier", "fluffier", and "CHEAPER", etc. if you buy from a breeder? Reason being, rabbits sold at the pet shops are "rejects". Breeders do not want to keep the "stocks" for their breeding program because it lacks certain characteristics or features which could improve or at least maintain the quality of their stocks. So yea, in a way you can say rabbits sold at the pet shops are of inferior quality. Think: a breeder could sell a bunny for RM250.00 to a buyer. But if he has to sell thru a medium - pet shop, the pet shop takes 40% and breeder only 60%. So there you go!

Oh! There's another point to note... Rabbits are cute when they are young (peak of "cuteness" is between 1-2months old) but when they reach maturity, that's when you can see their long pointy ears and face - another "lab rabbit". Pet shops often take in rabbits which are barely 2 months old and it's a huge NO to separate the kits from its mother below the age of 2months, even though they may be nibbling on pellets and drinking from the feeder. There could be adverse effects on the well being of the bunnies in future.

So think before you make a purchase or opt to adopt a cute bunny. Now back to Jess' bundle of joy...

Generally, rabbits nurse the kits once or twice a day when no one is around. Their instincts would tell them to keep away from the kits except to nurse them to avoid any unwanted attention of predators. Since we separated the kits from its mother, we kinda reschedule the nursing time according to the "our timing" so we had to force Jess to nurse her kits. She is of course, unwilling to nurse her kits. We had to hold her down and gently stroke her so she would stay still and nurse the kits. Otherwise she is rather fidgety and would hop around. Once she even resorted to bite anyone who attempt to restrain her. What a feisty mom!

Stroking Jess

While Ashley in the other cage is expecting real soon... check out the huge bump. We're guessing 8 kits or more judging by the size of it. Now, most of the time she is resting and there are hardly any digging or biting of the grills of the cage (which is her new found interest/ addiction of late).

Yummy mummy

We also caught her in action: busy building her nest with hay and shreds of newspapers.

Ashley engrossed in building her nest. Oblivious to the fact that we were recording her every move.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sean & Jessy's Bundle of Joy - Day 1

Nothing beats the monotony of a mundane Monday than being greeted by a nice surprise upon reaching home from work - A bundle of joy. Yes, 6 kits! 6 fully formed and healthy baby rabbits, shuffling around the tray beneath Jessy's cage with 1 of them struggling to break free from being stuck in between the floor of the cage (here's a note of advise: if you are expecting, please cover the floor with a mat or mesh wire). We had to use tools to ply open or rather widen the gap in order to free the poor kit. Good thing the kits are hardy and would not die (even - if) from falling off a 2 story cage!

Please note that this is a planned pregnancy which we "arranged" a groom for the doe, having in mind a vague idea of how we wanted the offspring to be ("lab rabbit" is an experiment which went awry so think before "you do"). We were just unprepared for the kits for we couldn't tell if the mating was a success or if Jess is pregnant... But, we reckon after a few rounds of experience, it should be easier to tell if the doe has it. Anyway, Congratulations to the proud parents - Jess and Sean!!! *clap* Well done Jess!

Dam: Jess

Sire: Sean

who are the proud parents of these kits.... 6 in total!

Look how tiny...(and so obscene) LOL!

Cleaning with a damp cloth cos the kits were a little "bloody" and dirty for some landed on jess' poo!

This is how we clean the kits

Healthy kits

For the 1st few days we had to separate the kits from the dam to prevent it from being trampled or hurt in any way such as scratches caused by the dam's sharp nails. It is until feeding time (twice a day, morning and evening) that we brought it back to jess for cleaning (the dam would lick the kits feces) and feeding.

Because these kits are not with its mother, we use a baby napkin or a "good morning towel" to cover it and to keep it warm and fuzzy throughout the day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

SOS: Rabbit Heat Stroke?

Sometime last week we received a distress call from a lady who bought Milo and the following is an extract of our conversation...

"Oh no! My rabbit died. What to do?" She asked with a pinch of sadness in her voice.

Well, there isn't much you could do once it has lost its pulse. No amount of CPR would be able to bring it back to life. It was heartbreaking...

She said, "When I returned from work, my kids were playing with it. Awhile later I noticed it was lying motionless on the floor with saliva around its mouth. Hubby pronounce D-E-A-D."

We then pressed on to question and diagnose the cause of it. Okay, we are not certified vet but certainly we would like to know how it died so we could document it in our library of raising rabbit.

"Where did you keep the bunny?"

"Under a shade."

"Is it exposed to direct sunlight?"

"Umm... yea, late afternoon the sun would shine on it..."

Afternoon sunlight is the HOTTEST in tropical countries and it is a HUGE NO for bunny sun bathing. If you should (which is not necessary) allow the sun for some natural sterilization of your bunny (and cage), it is advisable to do it in the morning when the sun (i.e. before 8.45am, West Malaysia) is not as hot. Failing so, you may end up with a baked rabbit for lunch. Anyway, let's get back to the story...

"Well, probably it had a heat stroke...." We made a wild guess. It was rather hot in the afternoon last week and even to us human, stepping out of the car upon reaching home from work around 6pm+ is as if walking into an oven! The weather was hot and unforgiving. Now, what's more for a young bunny of barely 3months being exposed to the heat.

After that she didn't say much and the conversation ended with a promise that we would notify her when we have our next litter of Holland Lops.

So now, we would like to share a thing or two on heat stroke. Temperatures or heat index numbers above 90F place your rabbit at risk of heat stress. Do bear in mind, your bunny wears a fur coat year round in a tropical country!

Symptoms:heavy panting, salivating, confusion, inability to move and may lead to convulsions.

1) Place a tile, a marble tile preferably because marble is a poor heat conductor. It will not absorb heat from sunlight shining on it, and instead it stays cool.

2) Large blocks of ice can help cool your bunny on hot days. Freeze water in an unused water bottle and let your bunny lie next to them. If your bunny drinks from a bowl, pop some ice cubes in it so that the water is cooler. Holland Lops will sometimes lie with one ear in a bowl of cool water since a rabbit's ear help remove heat. If your rabbit is not a lop, mist its ear by dabbing with a wet cloth to help him cool (NOTE: the cloth must not be dripping wet less the water drips into the rabbit's ear). A wet towel may also be used to wet the coat of the rabbit. Gently rub the water into the fur so it reaches the skin because the rabbit's fur is liken to the duck's back.

3) During the night when it is cooler, open the house and allow air ventilation to get it as cool as possible since during the day, heat is trapped in the house. In the morning, close up the house and pull blinds, shades or drapes shut to keep the hot sun out.

4) Air conditioning: too much for your electric bill? No worries. Use a fan to circulate air or let it blow across a block of ice to cool the air. NOTE: Don't blow the fan directly at your bunny and make sure the fan and cord are safely out of your bunny's reach. If you are staying in a terrace house, rooms on the lower floor is always cooler.

5) If you must transport your bunny in the hot afternoon, turn on the air-con in your car before allowing your bunny in it. Or, if your vehicle has a faulty air-con, wrap an ice pack, ice cube or frozen water bottle in a towel and put it into the carrier with your bunny. NEVER LEAVE YOUR BUNNY LOCKED IN A CAR ON A WARM DAY -NOT even if you have the windows down! Temperatures can rise to deadly levels within minutes. Do not take for granted even if your car is parked in a basement car park or a shaded car park.

If you find your rabbit acting weird, not itself, unresponsive, uncoordinated or having convulsions, spray him with water (NOT COLD). Seek immediate veterinarian attention where IV fluids and medication can be administered. Failing so, adverse effect such as damage to the kidneys or DEATH may take place.

A good rule of thumb is check and observe the behavior of your little bun friend everyday. Because they are prey animals, they are good at hiding their weaknesses until it is too late to seek for veterinarian attention.

In Memory of dear Milo - Pictures of Milo (and siblings)
RIP Dear Milo

Milo drinking from bowl

Happier times with siblings