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victorkent
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Narnia
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Howdy,
We mostly use our mini-rex rabbits (very, very soft, very, very friendly and very, very hardy) as our main bunny. But we also use a 13 lb Flemmish giant for our Boy to Bunny illusion. We also have a female Dutch and an Angora.

My experience (and it's proving true with our Dutch) female bunnies can be moody. Males just seem happier and easier to work with and gnaw less. If you give them too much freedom, run of the house, I found they become harder to work with in the props.

Give them lot's of roughage. My breeder said too much lettuce and cabbage could be hazardous. They need the fiber, so wheat hay is a great daily treat and alfalfa occasionally as a treat is fabulous.

For travel, a cat or small dog carrier with a mesh on the bottom to keep them out of their poop. At home a cage big enough for comfort say 24" X 24" for a small bunny.

The small bunnies can live 6-8 years. The big ones 3-6 years.

Check out our bunnies...http://magicgames.virtualave.net/animals.htm
-have fun they are great pet-friends those bunnies!
John 3:16
http://www.victorkent.com
http://www.kentfamilyillusionshow.com
[email]victor@victorkent.com[/email]
Alan Munro
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When I had a rabbit, I was amazed how cheap it is to raise one. And they're very easy to care for.

I've seen a breed of rabbit that Doug Collins from Battle Creek, MI raises, called a "hotou" (excuse the spelling). It's a very small breed, around 2 pounds fully grown, mostly white with black circles around the eyes. If I were getting a rabbit, that's what I'd get. Besides, the rabbits have great personalities, making them good pets.
Daniel Faith
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Neenah, Wisconsin
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I don't like my rabbits running around too long and never with my dogs in the house. I have Alaskan Malamutes and the predator comes out in them often. I let them out for some exercise and then back in the cage they go. Can't tell you how many cords have been chewed up.

Any tips on potty training them? A litter box is available but they don't use it normally. I have never been successful at getting them to use it. They leave a trail everywhere they go.
Daniel Faith
p.b.jones
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Hi,
Confine them, only allow them a bigger area (a bit at a time) when they go where they're meant to.
Phillip
Zack
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If you have a rabbit, or are thinking about getting a rabbit, do yourself and the rabbit a favor and go to http://www.rabbit.org. There's plenty of info there.

The very small breeds like hotots and Netherland dwarfs are good for magic, because of their size, but they tend to be high strung and *****y. (Of course there are always exceptions) Mini-rexes are not as small, but they have much better personalities.

As far as potty training: Keep your rabbit in a cage, and don't clean it for a couple of days. The rabbit will choose a corner of the cage to go in. When you find out where this is, put a litter pan on top of it. He will begin goin in the pan. When you give him freedom of the house you will porbably need to keep more then one litter pans.

My rabbit goes in two places: In the bathroom corner and under my desk, so I keep a box, lined with hay under each.

Use either hay or care-fresh... never cat litter. (I prefer hay, and so does my rabbit.)
p.b.jones
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Hi,
With regards to rabbits and cats, I have 3 Netherland dwarfs and 3 cats. You need to watch them at the beginning but usually there is no problem. when the bunnys are babys I sit in the garden (if I sit in the garden the cats will all come and sit out too. I bring a water pistol with me and if the cat in any way goes for the bunny I spray the cat in the face. Though I usually have no trouble.

James asked about the size of pouches, well James in my opinion as an animal lover too.
I would never Bag a bunny, they simply do not like it, Yes they may stay and sit there, but if you look at their body language and listen to their verbal comunication you will find that they like to have their feet on a solid surface. If you buy a bunny and plan on bagging or pouching it, James, I think you will give up by a stab of conscience. I have had other magicians argue with this point and show me how their rabbit goes in the bag. But I have never been convinced.
Phillip
Fast Eddie P.
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I just wanted to say that I've also been considering adding a rabbit to my family and this post has been full of great information. Thanks to all!
Decomposed
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Swore I wouldnt, but went out and bought one....wanted a white one but got a black dwarf, 4 months old and 2.4 lbs....high strung, working with him daily.
Princess_Meg
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Quote

Holland Lops are a DELIGHTFUL breed. They are fairly small, have big floppy ears, and snowshoe paws. They are one of the few rabbit breeds that are bred for personality. They are friendly and make terrific pets. They come in a variety of colors, and are mind-blowingly cute, which makes them great show animals.


I agree 100%. My partner and I have Holland lop. She is adorable and super smart. The kids love her, and she is very loving and loveable. She licks my face every chance she gets! It sounds like there are a lot of great rabbit breeds out there, but for myself, I will stick with my Holland Lops. Sophie is the greatest pet ever Smile

Follow this link for pictures!
http://www.geocities.com/lit12help/Sophie.htm

Megz
Until next time..

Princess Meg
Decomposed
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Very cute bunny! DO you use it for shows?
Princess_Meg
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We are starting to. My partner has produced her maybe 3 or 4 times? Not too much yet, but gradually we're working her in. However she is now able to pick a card out of a deck, so it looks like she will have a good career in magic Smile love her to bits

Megz
Until next time..

Princess Meg
Bob Johnston
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Philadelphia, PA
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The House Rabbit Society is one of the best sources for rabbit information. There are many local chapters.
http://www.rabbit.org/

I have had Wellington for about three years and I will try to cover some of your questions in no particular order.

Keeping a rabbit (domestic) outdoors is flat out cruel. They are so defenseless and cannot even cry out for help. Wellington is in a large rabbit cage in out kitchen. We let him roam only in rooms with no electrical cords or things on his large list of “things I like to chew on.”

When I first got her, she tended to pill (crap) all over. Now she uses her corner litter pan that is in her cage. Several times a week I bring her up to our den and she sits on my lap and explores the recliner. She can stay there for two or three hours and never pills or pee. When I take her back to her cage, she heads right for her litter pan.

They need things to explore and play with, as they are very curios. Most rabbits die early because of bad (fat) feeding. They need hay (timothy) and some alfalfa and water. Some veggie treats are OK, but not too much. The House Rabbit Society has tons of information on keeping your rabbit healthy. The Society also has rabbits up for adoption.

Domestic rabbits are very dependent on your care and affection. She is a good traveler from home to a show, but must have water as well as the hay. I cover the bottom of her large cat carrier with hay when we travel. I have the kind that had an extra door on top to get her out without to much trauma.

Rabbits do not need to eat their droppings (pills.) They do it for a short time when they are young because they taste the food in the droppings. There is an amazing amount of folklore and misinformation about rabbits out there. Please trust the House Rabbit Society, they are very caring people.

Wellington has become a very important part of our life. At children’s shows, I do not hide her away after he comes out of the Bunny Box. She truly likes to see the kids. I know this because she has the freedom to go back into her carrier but chooses to look at the kids. Little girls spend time with her as I clean up my props.

On one of my school shows, a little girl held Wellington in her lap and cried for 30 minutes as I cleaned up. She (Wellington) evokes amazing feelings from some kids.

Note: I am not confused about her gender. Sometimes I say “he” and sometimes I say “she.” This is because I thought she was a he when I got her, but she turned out to be a she. She can be very aggressive when she is in her cage because it is her space. When she is out and on my shoulder in the recliner, she licks (grooms) my face, constantly. They do not see distance very well and are very vulnerable to breaking bones when they fall. Very few vets can set their very thin bones. They have none of the agility or a cat or dog.

They love to rearrange things. As their front feet are of no “picking up” use, their mouth in a handling tool. Wellington can spend hours rearranging a dishtowel.

Bob
Decomposed
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Bob,

You said: "Most rabbits die early becouse of bad (fat) feeding. They need hay (timothy) and some alfalfa and water. Some vegi treats are OK, but not to much."

So no pellets??? I took some of the coastal hay out of the cage today so "Chedder" would eat some pellets which he did. He is 4 months old. I have alfalfa hay as well and he loves it dearly but baffled on the pellets issue. Seems just hay would not suffice.

Thanks

Wayne
Bob Johnston
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Sapolice:

This information is what a Vet that specializes in rabbit care directed me to read.

It can be found at the House Rabbit Society website. It is worth reading. I give my rabbit some of the rabbit mix (with pellets) once a week, keeping in mind that a fat rabbit is not insincerely a healthy rabbit. Please take the time to go to the Society site for good care information

Here is what they say about feeding your rabbit:

Animal Fat and the Protein Myth.
Humans are now learning that we require a lot less protein than previously believed. Even strict vegetarians may consume more protein than necessary. Rabbits possess neither the need for animal protein nor the capacity to process it, and their fat requirement is also low; 1-2% is plenty for most.

Studies have shown that rabbits, like human beings, develop arteriosclerosis-like symptoms when exposed to the cholesterol in animal fat (Cheeke 1987, 325; Beynan 1990, 185-186). Experts in rabbit nutrition have said, "It is well recognized that vegetable oils usually are more digestible and have a higher energy value for swine and poultry than do animal fats. This appears to be true in rabbits also" (Cheeke 1987, 99). Why, then, do we sometimes see animal fat and animal fat derivatives on the ingredients list of rabbit pellets?

Since pellets are manufactured and marketed primarily for breeders, and since most breeder rabbits are subject to more stress than house rabbits, many brands of pellets are labeled as "performance" feeds. These brands contain a high level of protein (16-22%), which is probably necessary to keep alive a rabbit who lives in an environment without climate control, is bred as often as possible, or is nursing most of the time. Physical, environmental, and psychological stresses require high energy levels for survival.

A healthier protein percentage for spayed or neutered house rabbits is approximately 12-14%, a level at which it is possible to find pellet brands that contain no animal fat and list at least some actual ingredients on their labels. People who buy small amounts of "rebagged" pellets in bulk at pet supply stores should be sure to ask to see the bag the food came in and read the label carefully. Purchasing a 25# bag and splitting it with a friend may be safer and more economical. Unfortunately, one well-known manufacturer recently increased the protein in their maintenance diet to 16%. Although the food still contains no animal fat, this is more protein than a house rabbit needs.


Not the Best for All Rabbits.
Having said all this, it may still come as a surprise that in recent years many veterinarians and house rabbit caretakers have come to the conclusion that commercial pellets, particularly when fed in large amounts, may not be the best choice for all rabbits. After all, pellets were developed for breeders as a concentrated source of nutrients. They contain all the vitamins and minerals a rabbit requires in a palatable form that keeps for many weeks, is easy to feed, and is (compared to dog or cat food) extremely inexpensive.

The highly concentrated nature of pellets ensures that rabbits gain weight quickly, important for many breeders since those rabbits not bred are often slaughtered for meat by the age of 16 weeks. (UFAW Handbook 1987, 426).

Clearly, when "production" is the goal there is considerable pressure for weight gain and maintenance, and very little concern with geriatric matters. Needless to say, no house rabbit lives under these conditions. Most are spayed or neutered, live indoors with minimal environmental stress, and can expect to make it to six to twelve years of age. In these rabbits, the concentrated nature of pellets can lead to obesity and its attendant medical problems.



A Better Way.
Because of several potential problems associated with pellets, some veterinarians now recommend that pellets be not only rationed, but also rationed quite severely. Instead of giving the rabbit all she can eat in a day, a night, or a few hours, we have been considering the following amounts as maximums (Brown 1994):

5-7 lb of body wt. 1/4 cup daily

8-10 lb body wt. 1/2 cup daily

11-15 lb of body wt. 3/4 cup daily

There is evidence that small breeds (under 2 lbs) may require a diet higher in energy and lower in fiber than the larger breeds (Cheeke 1987, 324). Several foster homes have experienced digestive problems in rabbits under 4 lbs who were put on severely restricted diets.

Once pellets have been reduced, it is equally important to make sure that fresh grass hay is available to the rabbit at all times, and that fresh vegetables be given in larger amounts than has previously been recommended (up to 2-4 cups a day). Actually, because of the problems usually associated with the overfeeding of pellets, some rabbits do better if they receive no pellets at all. Instead, they eat several cups of fresh veggies a day and all the grass hay they want. Other rabbits still eat pellets, but receive significantly less than the above amounts, with a corresponding increase in the amount of vegetables offered. These more extreme measures are particularly helpful for overweight rabbits who need to lose weight safely. Treats should be limited to small (1 tsp.) amounts of fresh fruit. Most starches should be avoided, since too much carbohydrate has been associated with enteritis. Oats and barley in small amounts can be digested by rabbits but can, nonetheless, provide more calories than necessary.

In feeding trials in which pelleted feed was reduced to 50% of normal intake and the diet was supplemented with greens, young rabbits maintained normal growth. When the amount of pellets was reduced to below 50% of "normal," growth rate declined (Pote et al 1980). These studies indicate that even young, unaltered rabbits do well on a reduced pellet diet. Since most of our house rabbits need to lose weight rather than gain, reducing pellets below 50% should not affect spayed or neutered adults adversely.


What kinds of vegetables?
There are different opinions regarding which vegetables are the best for rabbits. Nearly everyone agrees that carrots, carrot tops, broccoli, and parsley are safe, and that beans, potatoes, and some lettuces are potentially problematic. HRS members and fosterers have used many veggies with success, including collard, mustard, dandelion and turnip greens, spinach, kale, endive and Romaine lettuce.

It is best to feed at least 3 types of greens daily (along with carrot, perhaps), because feeding one type only can lead to nutrient imbalances (Brown 1994). However, such imbalances are less likely to occur if at least a small amount of pellets is given each day.

Kale, mustard greens and spinach contain high levels of oxalates, the salts of oxalic acid, which can accumulate in the system and cause toxicity over time. Rather than eliminating these veggies from your list (because they are highly nutritious and loved by most rabbits), limit your use of them to 1-3 meals a week. One method is to feed kale (with other veggies) for several days until 1-2 bunches are gone, and then avoid buying it again for a week or so. The same precautions can be taken with the veggies that are high in calcium if your rabbit is prone to urinary tract stones. Particularly for rabbits who eat no or few pellets, try to include at least one veggie daily that is high in vitamin A (such as carrots, collard or mustard greens, endive, or parsley). If all these instructions seem complicated, simplify things by making sure you vary your rabbit's diet as much as possible to avoid giving too much or too little of any one food. This makes good sense for all of us!

The most important aspect of increasing the amount of vegetables in a rabbit's diet (and the amounts mentioned here represent a radical increase for most rabbits) is to do so gradually. Even if a particular vegetable is safe for your rabbit, giving her a cupful when she is unaccustomed to such riches could wreak havoc on her digestive tract. Instead, begin with something that has been previously successful, such as carrot. Increase the amount slightly, and as long as no diarrhea occurs, add a small portion of a new veggie every few days. This way, you can be sure which food is the culprit if digestive problems are experienced.

The best fresh foods for rabbits are those that have been grown organically, without the use of pesticides; in any case, be sure to wash your rabbit's vegetables thoroughly. Rather than scraping carrots (which removes the nutritious skin), scrub them with a vegetable brush. The key is to remove any dirt or pesticide residue, and to check carefully for rotted areas. Unless you are sure wild dandelions are protected from pesticides, check at your local health food store for organically grown ones.


Catching Problems Early
One potential side effect of this more natural diet, is that it is easier to notice when your rabbit has a decrease in appetite. This may help you to notice some illnesses more quickly. If a rabbit fed in this way backs off her food even slightly, there is probably something wrong (early enteritis, for instance) which can now be treated several days earlier than it would otherwise. Most rabbit caretakers welcome this peace of mind, and most veterinarians are thrilled to see a rabbit before the problem becomes an emergency.

Bob
p.b.jones
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Hi,
The only thing that the above does not take into account is selective eating. A huge percentage of bunnies are selective (they eat the bits they like most like us) this is where pellets come into their own, the bunny cannot be selective. I personaly feed my bunnies (kept bunnies for 30 years) russel rabbit supreme mix which is a combo of pellets and other ingredients

Protien 14%
oil 4%
fibre 14%
ash 5%

Phillip
Bob Johnston
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Phillip is right and is clearly a person that cares about the thoughtful care of rabbits. I use a mix that is very close to the one he has in the UK. I have also found that the “selective eating” is sometimes followed by a “cleanup eating.”

I did find a good source for the food that Phillip recommends. I am going to give it a try, Thanks Phillip.

Here is their link. They also address my concerns about a seperate mix for young growing rabbits.

Click Here!

Bob
Magic.J.Manuel
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I have danced upon
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Wow so much great Bunny info! I would like to address the question about the Mini-Rex rarity.

I like the Mini-Rex and feel that its very soft fur is an extra bonus to its nice personality. While it may be true that finding a pure white rabbit is difficult, it is not necessary. The broken (spotted) white/black variety is very popular and very pretty. They are bred to be about 60/40% white/black, but many Mini-Rex breeders have mostly white babies that are considered pet quality since the show standard is 60/40. Dagar-Rex, my Mini-Rex, has a black stripe down his back in the shape of a dagger, plus black ears and eyes. Most people are aware that modern domestic rabbits are not always pure white and comment on his attractive markings. Also, in a doves to bunny box his head does not stand out so the change from doves to bunny impact is delayed providing a little time mis-direction between the actual change and when the box falls apart revealing the white ball is a bunny.

Anyway you can find Mini-Rex breeders at the Ohio Mini-Rex Club
http://www.omrrc.com/
or the National Club http://www.nmrrc.com/ These clubs have competitions like Four-H and often have pet quality available. Also their web sites have classified ads.
I found one at a bird and small critters show.
Please check shelters first since there are many bunnies that are in need of homes, and fixing is included. Having pets spay/neutered is essential. Like dogs and cats, bunnies that have been fixed have fewer health problems, are less territorial and don't produce unwanted offspring.
One more thing, please do not use cedar shaving or odor absorbent cat litter, bunnies spend a lot of time in the litter box and the chemicals and fragrant oils can cause respitory problems. Use straw, hay or the recycled newspaper products and just keep changing it every couple days, disinfect the litter tray every week, and it will not smell too bad.
Nothing would get done at all, if man waited so long that no one could find fault with it.
Decomposed
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Excellent! I am trying to get mine to eat veggies now that he is diving into the pellets:) I agree, cutting back on pellets. I have a 16% protein percent mixture.....

Posted: Apr 15, 2004 10:38pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My rabbit is now eating veggies, pellets, hay and alfalfa.....mixed diet daily of course:)
Bob Sanders
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Gentlemen,

I have really enjoyed reading these posts about rabbits and the care they get from magicians. And I really wish some of the "animal rights" organizations had the same understanding and compassion for them. It is the side of the coin that is seldom seen by the public. Ironically, it is something magicians don't need to hide.

I'm proud of you.

Bob
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

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Decomposed
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Bob,

I have several animals...I use to own some rabbits about ten years ago but they started eating the neighbors gardens. I allowed them to run free in a fenced in yard.

Im still getting use to this little one and him me. Learning from so many magi (Wellington etc) has helped me tremendously to not discard their routine "behaviour" as abnormal.

Wayne
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