Prepare For Your New Bunny

Make Your Bunny Welcome In Its New Home

Transitioning your new Bunny Rabbit to new home

So you bought a new bunny and are waiting on its arrival.  Here is our
top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

Bringing home your new English Angora Bunny is super exciting. You are starting a new life journey with your bunny, he/she is now forever part of your family!

The first seven days and even weeks can be confusing for you and your bunny. Learning what to expect and what your bunny needs this first week can help ease your worries.

Here are some things we recommend you consider purchasing before you get your bunny home.

top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

Wabbitat Cage
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1. Housing ;
- make sure you have safe housing for your bunny that will allow enough room for hopping and relaxing.  English Angoras are not small bunnies.  They may be a medium breed but with all the hair, they can look fairly large!  Imagine what a 7 pound fluffy dog looks like and go from there.

Don't underestimate the space you need for a bunny.  Some hutches are so cute, but so tiny!  The average size we used before the Wabbitat was 30 inches by 36 inches for our smallest.  They all had shelves too!  One exception to avoiding shelves is if a bunny likes to pee on its shelf and sit in it.  Yes, we have had that and needed to remove the shelf.  Litter boxes usually fix this problem.

Bunnies LOVE hopping.  They require exercise, so if their cage is smaller than they necessary, you will need a safe exercise/play area to let them out daily. Below you can click on photos to go to the pages where they are for sale.  Or you can go to Amazon right here on this link to check out lots of options of different rabbit hutches.

Update on cages: We are in the process of switching from the Wabbitat cage to Bass stackable cages on casters.  What I love about the Bass cages is, they are made very well, have complete urine guards that surround the cages. They offer a galvanized (after the wire is welded) upgrade on some cages.  They seem to be extremely durable and the rabbits keep their messes inside these cages.  It will take some time to replace all of our Wabbitats since we have so many but the goal is to switch over completely and then we can get some nice photos to show the new set up.

Bass Cage
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Here is a photo of the first Bass cage we put together.  There are two more cages that stack on top of it.  We didn't take any photos of it when completed but here you get an idea of what they look like.

Resting Mat
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Make sure that your bunny has enough space to stretch out completely when resting. Also, if you do not have a solid floor as it is difficult to do this with the angora breed, a shelf or a resting mat is okay for them.  We use resting mats in our new cages and those work great!  Sometimes we use two per cage.  You can find them by clicking on the photo to the left.

You can click on this link The Barn and see pictures of our different cages we have used. One of the cages we are currently using are called Wabbitat by Midwest.  The "Wabbitat" is pictured above, click on photo to go to Chewy where we purchased them.

The things I do not like about these cages is that they are not tall enough for shelves and the trays are too close to the grated floor. The trays are more flimsy and very shallow as well. After a few winters, they seem to easily crack or break.

We use U-posts to stack them and move the trays further from the floor which works much better for us.  If we did not do this, we would need to clean the trays every two days.  

We can go a whole week without cleaning trays with them separated and space put between floor and tray.  There is a photo on our barn page showing how we had them stacked in barn stalls.  We use zip ties to do this.

Also, they did not supply you with enough urine guards for each cage and we have had lots of urine spray out as well.  Last, it is not an ideal cage for kindling in.  There is no baby saver wire in these cages.  If you do not breed, they will work fine. However, with all the baby bunnies we produce here at CBB, we need safe cages for our bunnies.  While we wait for all of our Bass replacement cages, we have to check on babies often.

English Angora Rabbit no Fresh veggies until 6 months old

Top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

- pick out whatever feed you want to feed your bunny.  Make sure it is something easily accessed and the store always has it in stock.  We have changed our brand of feed a few times because of stores (multiple) not keeping up with our quantity demand.  We recently transitioned from Blue Seal Show Hutch Deluxe 17 back to Nutrena Country Feeds. Nutrena is carried in a lot of different stores.

We were previously special ordering Blue Seal Show Hutch Deluxe 17 from Tractor Supply but recently, lots of rabbit breeders were complaining of multiple deaths from bad feed from Blue Seal. We lost two senior does and started losing kits just like others were. We also had several other rabbits go off feed and start to display similar symptoms and the ill ones that passed away. We did a hard and fast switch back to Nutrena.

After a week of babying the herd, everyone is back to normal so we believe we also got a bad batch of Blue Seal. Because Blue Seal will not recall, we will no longer use or recommend their feed. For more detailed information about this, please contact us directly.

​We send transition food home with your bunny and require that you feed it for the first few days THEN start mixing slowly with the new feed.  

We use feeder bins that hold a good three plus days worth of feed at a time. Some bunnies are stinkers and like to dig their food out so we limit how much we put in theirs each day. So we free feed but a lot of breeders do not do this. So far, we do not have any problem with free feeding.  

The feeder bins need cleaned about every two to three weeks just to make sure they are not harboring any bacteria from any water or urine that gets in it.  If you have a rabbit that likes to spray, check these feeders often.  Kits like to sit in feeders as they eat so those would need cleaned more often as well.

Although some breeders may disagree with me on this, I recommend free feeding if you can when growing out a junior. Why would you limit feed with a bunny that is growing? It is not as important on a senior age rabbit but we free feed all of our rabbits to know everyone is getting enough to eat.  If you find some rabbits over eating, you can address those individually.  

Our brand of feed we use is called Nutrena Country Feeds. It is a 16% protein and great for most all breeds. Angoras really should be fed an 18% protein feed. However, we give enough extra protein in their treats (BOSS) to make up for this. We have never noticed a difference in the quality of coat on our fiber rabbits so this works for us.

Nutrena does offer an 18% feed called NatureWise. We have fed it as well. It doesn’t come in 50 pound bags though. They canbe found in 40 pound bags. Not all stores carry both of these but we have usedboth interchangeably at times

The above photos are all different feeder bins we use.  Some hold hay and come in different sizes. Each photo has a link to take you to view where you can purchase them. Some are called "J feeders", but they are all gravity bin type containers that attach on either the inside or outside of the rabbit cage.

Salt & Mineral Blocks
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We also highly recommend these salt and mineral blocks that we use as well.  Lots of people  say that they do not need this.  However, most of them love this and you will find it rare for any rabbit to turn its nose up to a salt and mineral block!

My only complaint is that the wire it hangs on can get wet and rust.  I replace the wires often with regular wire.

English Angoras can not burb or vomit

Top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

3. Treats
- we use a mixture that all of our bunnies get no matter what age.  It is BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds), calf manna (for nursing moms) and old fashioned oats (raw).  They get a little bit of this every few days in the winter/colder months.

I have also purchased BOSS at Walmart where they keep bird feed. Make sure the  seeds are the black ones and not white ones or black with the white stripe down them.  You do not need to shell the seeds.  The bunnies eat the entire shell.

Watch the bunnies treat intake as they can get too much and become over weight.   We are not precise but we try to be careful and watch their weight.  

We also give papaya pills (chewables) that we purchase in the vitamin section at WalMart about once a week/one per bunny.  This is something they all love but it also is supposed to help prevent wool block.

The oats can be purchased from any grocery store. I buy both the Quaker brand and off brand.  As long as they are the old fashioned and NOT the quick oats, they are all the same to the bunnies.  

Calf-Manna and BOSS can both be found at farm supply stores like Tractor Supply and Rural King.

Fruits and Veggies!
They LOVE their fresh food.  
We provide everything our bunnies need with their pellets and hay daily.  However, they absolutely love natural food that was meant for them from the beginning.  We are careful in feeding veggies because some of our rabbits will get diarrhea because not everything agrees with their digestive system.  Each bunny seems to be a bit different so we do not feed veggies daily.  Our bunnies get veggies a few times a week. We only feed what is listed as safe.

Also, it is recommended that you start to introduce veggies no earlier than 6 months of age and only one at a time.

Please read up online about what natural plants rabbits can and cannot have.  Here are a few pages we found online to help you out:

we make sure that there is a water dish with mom and babies

Top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

4. Water
- generally we use water bottles.  However, we do live in the midwest where temperatures in the cooler months can drop below freezing.  We add a water dish under the water bottles for the freezing days.

It is much easier to pop out an ice cube from a dish than it is to thaw out frozen water bottles.
 It doesn't stay below freezing here for longer than a day or two normally, we keep the water bottles in the cages (only taken out to clean).

When we are raising a litter of kits, we make sure that there is both a water dish and water bottle with mom and babies. We used to use the Lixit bottles that are no drip and top fillers so we did not have to remove them to fill.  We have found that many of them started leaking.  This very well could have something to do with them freezing on the few cold nights we had. I read that they will drip or leak if frozen so we have tossed most of the Lixit bottles now and replaced with cheaper water bottles.

Now we have a variety of different types of water bottles. So far, we are not using an automatic water system.  This is by choice.  I worry about there being a clog or system malfunction and not knowing it. We clean our water bottles thoroughly every week to two weeks. This all depends on the individual rabbit as well. They are rinsed daily when filled up.

We have some bucks that like to pee down the water bottle and it needs cleaned a lot  more often. We wash water dishes a few times a week. Make sure your bunny has water at ALL times.

All pictures below are supplies we use.  There are links to places you can buy them if you click on individual photos.

This bottle brush, pictured to the above, comes in handy for cleaning bottles weekly.

Please just refrain from feeding adult rabbits Alfalfa hay.

Top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

- we feed grass hay and it is purchased from a local farm by the bale.  We have several rabbits so we buy about 4 bales each month.  
The hay is very important at all times because it is something for the bunnies to chew on continuously and keeps their GI tract moving.  It is not putting weight on them and works as a teeth grinder too.  

Bunnies teeth continue to grow so they must have something to gnaw on to file their teeth down.  Besides toys, blocks of wood and other things as options, hay works great too! We will feed other types of hay as well but we do not feed Alfalfa hay ever.

If we find ourselves in a bind and running low, we also have bought our hay from Tractor Supply in a compressed bale that has been running $20 a bag. It equals a regular square bale amount. Picture and link above  by clicking on photo. There are smaller bags that can be purchased in the small pets area of these types of stores, including Walmart.

It is recommended that you should feed your bunny Timothy hay but it is safe to feed other grass hays, Orchard hay and even peanut hay.  Please just refrain from feeding adult rabbits Alfalfa hay. There are lots of other hay options that I haven’t listed as well.

one of the quickest ways to entice it to eat is by putting it in the yard with grass, clover, plantain,  and dandelions at his/her leisure!

Nature's Salad Rabbit Treats
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Top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

- if your bunny stresses and you catch it not eating its pellets, one of the quickest ways to entice it to eat is by putting it in the yard with grass, clover, plantain,  and dandelions at his/her leisure!  You will be surprised how fast it will put that in its mouth!  Unfortunately the time of year can have a great affect on this option. Some people don't have it at their fingertips but if you is the best thing!

Google some things that are okay to give you bunny and you will find that there is a lot that you might walk outdoors and find easily.  Stay away from gassy foods like light green leafy veggies.  

The darker the better but always double check to see if it is safe. Same thing for fruits.  Our bunnies love apple tree and willow branches! Dandelion leaves and flowers are absolutely one of the best things for them.
If you have none of this available, we have found this product available at Walmart  in the small pet section.  It has dandelion in it.  We used to use it for our cavies as a treat and noticed the bunnies loved it as well.

I have read about others using it when their rabbits won't eat their feed.  It is the Rosewood Naturals "Nature's Salad".  Pictured above with link if you click on photo.  Walmart seems to have the best price on it!

Probiotics in the water is nice when transitioning as well.  We use Bene-Bac (pictured below) powder and have always had great results but there are several brands out there.
 Farm stores like Tractor Supply carry probiotics for animals (chickens, goats, etc...) that all work the same.

Probiotics In The water
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This is a must have in my opinion. It seems to keep really well on the shelf and it is a powder so you have lots to go a long way when needed.  Just add to water and change out as directed.  This product (Bene-bac) comes in gel form as well.

For adding probiotics to water, it is recommended by our vet to discard it after 8 hours because it will spoil.

Just remember this, a bunny can stress and you may not even know it.

Top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

Stress signs that warrant a vet visit
- messy stools, diarrhea, not eating, not drinking, then the obvious signs like not moving or able to stand, head tilt, loss of proper use of a limb(s).  Please include anything that you feel should be a reason to see the vet!

The earlier you catch a problem, the better off your bunny is.  If you do not pay attention, the bunny can only go so long before you find yourself with a lifeless bunny.  

We are not responsible for the loss of a bunny, but we will do our best to help you out.  If you do not pay close attention the first week to two weeks, you won't know how your bunny is. Just remember this, a bunny can stress and you may not even know it.

The symptoms can show up an entire week after the stressful situation!  
A good example is bloat.  Another thing to be watchful of and read up on. When bunnies cannot pass gas, it builds up to bloat and is a very painful death for a rabbit!  Try to avoid this happening!

When a rabbit doesn't eat, the digestive tract is not moving.  This will cause a build up of gas which can lead to bloat.  If you notice your bunny has a tight, bigger than normal abdomen, this is a sure sign of bloat and it is in a lot of pain.  Grinding teeth is a sign of it being in pain. Please try to have veterinarian on hand or reachable who is familiar with your  bunny so you can rush the bunny to the office immediately if you suspect anything harmful is going on with your rabbit.

Critical Care
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Critical Care is something to always have on hand as well.  You never know when you will need it and it has a good shelf life:

Below are pictures of gripe water and gas relief drops that lots of breeders use for symptoms of bloat in bunnies in order to relieve their gas and sooth the tummy.   I have used them successfully once.

Both can be found in the baby section at Walmart. Remember to always discard after use because they both have a short shelf life.

 Rabbits go to the bathroom while they eat most of the time.  This makes it an easy way to train them.

Top 10 list of what you need to prepare for your new bunny.

Multiple bunnies
- we keep all of our babies together until they leave here for their new homes.  Sometimes they are 4 months old in some cases.  Once they leave here, it is up to you as to whether you keep them together or separate. If they are pets, we highly suggest bonding them and keeping them together.  If they are not going to be altered, then you need to be sure to separate males and females around 4-5 months and up.

Some bunnies get along great and then one day they wake up and get in a fight.  There is no rhyme or reason to this madness.  Play it by ear if you need to but always know that there is a chance that they can start fighting. Be very watchful and careful with two males.  

They really need to be neutered before they try to harm each other.

9.  Bunny bedding
- English Angoras do not need bedding.  It will only stick to their fur and make for long periods of grooming for you!  The best thing you can do if your bunny is not supervised is to give them a fleece blanket.  A messy alternative is a big pile of hay.

10.  Litter box training
- bunnies are pretty easy to train to use a litter box.  You don't want to give them full run of the house and expect they know where to go to the bathroom but if you set them up in an area or hutch with a litter box, put it in the corner and they will use it!  We always suggest the kind of litter box with a grate on the top so they keep their body out of the wet and soiled litter. It is always a great idea to put their food and hay above the litter box.  Rabbits go to the bathroom while they eat most of the time.  This makes it an easy way to train them.

Rabbit Litter Box
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This is one of the litter boxes we have.  Click on the photo to see where you can purchase it.  They come in different sizes.  We use the large size for our English Angoras.

We have also purchased the cheap cat litter boxes that do not have lids on them.  We fill them with hay and let the bunnies train by sitting in them and eat their hay.  There have been a lot of rabbits that use this strictly as a litter box and we just change out the hay every day.

It works great as well. The hay does not get in the coat and cause problems like pine chips would.  
We have also used pine pellets and made grates from hardware cloth and bent to fit in the cat litter pans.  This works like a charm and is a much cheaper route as well.

A word of caution:
Watch out for predators with your bunnies!  Even our pet dogs might like to get a hold of your cute bunny and they can hurt them quickly!  Outside hutches can be broken into by stray dogs and lots of other wild animals such as opossums and raccoons. Never assume they are 100% safe.  

We keep our entire herd inside a closed building. We can open it up during the day to get a nice breeze but always close up at night! ​Remember, even friendly dogs who love to chase and play, can easily give a rabbit a heart attack from the chase or barking. Stray dogs or coyotes will attack rabbit cages and get them open in some cases so it is best to be very cautious of these possibilities.

at country bumpkin bunnies we adore our bunnies

'Rabbits have a subtle repertoire of body language to communicate so they don't draw attention to themselves. They use these signals to bond with their hutch mates, and the humans in their lives to say 'I love you'.
- Rosie Bescoby, animal behaviourist

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