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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Is my rabbit healthy?

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    • Jusma
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      Hi. Can someone please look at the attached images and tell me whether my rabbits are healthy. I adopted them from someone a couple of days back. I have had rabbits in the past, but this one feels really skinny and has patches (depression) in its fur. However, it is very alert, runs around, eats well, and drops nice round and firm feces.

      I am currently feeding it mostly Bermuda Grass, as I am in India without access to Timothy Hay. I also give it either Cauliflower leavers or Coriander twice a day, in addition to a slice of carrot (to get it to warm up to me and litter training) a day. The previous owner claims it’s one and half months old, but it really looks big for that age. 

      Appreciate any advise to get it much healthier again.


    • Bam
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      Hi Jusma and welcome! I can’t find any attachments to your post. If your pics won’t upload, they are possibly too big (bigger than 500 Kb). The easiest way to get your photos on her is to upload them to an external source like Photobucket, imgur etc and then paste the link in a post.

      Bermuda grass sounds fine, hay is grass, only dry, and bunnies need grass for fiber. Cattle can graze on Bermuda grass and that should make it ok for bunnies.

      Grass is the basis for a healthy bunny diet, then you can add fresh greens little by little, piece by piece. If you see the poop go smeary, you stop that particular green and try another.

      A 6 week old bun is not very big. They really shouldn’t leave their mother until they’re 8 weeks but some people will sell them at a younger age. They are stronger when they are a bit older, so it’s only good if yours is older than 1,5 months.

      When you try to fatten an animal up, you do it slowly, you don’t want to upset the tummy. Do you have access to rabbit pellets?


    • Jusma
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      Thanks for your reply Bam.

      Apparently, I am supposed to click on the ‘Add file to post’ button, which I didn’t do earlier. I hope it shows up now.

      I also hope that I misunderstood the age or the other guy is mistaken, since this rabbit is way bigger than another 2-3 month one that I had.

      However, the rabbit in question is more active than the other and stands on her hind legs and runs around a lot. However, when I pet her, she really feels skinny and I can feel the hard bones of her skull more prominently than my other rabbit.

      I’ll try to get access to good rabbit pellets, but is there any alternative? Also, I should ideally only be special feeding the skinny one, yes?

      I mostly feed them grass and 2-3 big leaves of cauliflower in a day, or a bundle of coriander. I also feed a slice of carrot.


    • Bam
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      You need to click the Insert image button after you’ve uploaded the pic. Here’s a thread with instructions provided by our member Pinky: https://binkybunny.com/FORUM/tabid/54/aft/143815/Default.aspx

      We have an Indian member who uses Vitakraft plain pellets, (she’s in new Delhi) I also think you might get Science Selective in certain parts of India. You can do a pellet-less diet, of course, since the rabbit was on this earth long before the pellet was invented, but if you do, you should give a broad variety of fresh greens to fill all the nutritional needs the bun might have. Grass (hay) is still the most important food though, and the diet should consist of 80-90% good quality hay (grass). A bun needs lots of low-caloric food with a high percentage indigestible fiber both for its teeth and for their tummies.

      It’s recommended that you give all buns that are under 6 months unlimited access to food, but that’s tricky in your case since you don’t have pellets. We have an Indian member who feeds her buns a little bit of chick peas, they must be cooked in some way I think, but I haven’t asked =/ Chick peas are high in protein and fiber but must be introduced really slowly. You can also give a few pumpkin seeds, (plain and raw), they’re also high in protein + ok for a bunny tummy. Oats are also easy on the tummy. But only give a tiny amount. All new food must be given in small quantities for starters. For a malnourished bunny, too much rich food at once can be very dangerous, so go really slow.

      The bones of the skull can be felt even in an otherwise nicely rounded rabbit. I have one rabbit with a really knotty, bony head, but he’s not skinny. Here’s a little picture-guide to a rabbit’s weight:
      http://www.therabbithouse.com/diet/rabbit-weight.asp

      A young rabbit might look skinnier than an adult rabbit simply because it hasn’t yet developed adult muscles. Like a foal or a calf.


    • Jusma
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      OK, let me try this one more time.

      I guess I am confused because I am comparing it to the other guy. He has a nice fluffy and even fur all around. When I touch his forehead, it’s slightly thick and fatty like the softness around the wrist. For the rabbit below, it feels like knuckles.


    • Jusma
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      Here is a comparison of my two bunnies. You will notice that the white/brown one has an even fluffy fur.

      –DELETED–

      They eat so much grass together everyday. I tried feeding them pumpkin seeds today, but they didn’t bother going toward it, let alone curios nibbling.


    • Bam
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      She does look thin, but healthy, good spirit in her eye and nice posture. It’s difficult for me to say how thin, there are big differences between breeds and how they should look. She looks a bit like a Polish or a small Belgian hare, rabbit breeds that are very slim and bred to look like small wild hares.

      The loss of fur can be due to normal molting. Rabbits can molt in patches and look positively moth-eaten for quite some time before the new fur has grown out. It doesn’t mean the rabbit is sick or malnourished.

      It’s great that they’re eating lots of grass. As for the pumpkin seeds, many bunnies won’t try new food until it’s been presented to them several times.

      If you can, you can weigh the thin bun in a kitchen bowl on electrionic scales and make a weight curve. That way you can follow her weight over time, like you do with a (human) baby. If her weight goes steadily up, in a nice and not too steep curve, I think you can just keep feeding what you are feeding. But if her weight doesn’t change or if she looses weight, you need to adjust the diet.

      Do you know what gender they are? If they are boy and girl, you’ll need to separate them before they become sexually mature, otherwise you’ll get lots of babies. ( I referred to the all-brown one as “she” because she looks like a pretty little girl to me, but that does not mean she is a girl, you can only tell a bun’s gender by looking at the genitals.)


    • Jusma
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      Thanks Bam, I really appreciate the inputs. It is a female and the other one is a male. I am waiting for them to reach six months and will get them neutered/spayed. I don’t mind if they give birth once though.

      Will try to get it weighed soon. Right now, although she eats off my hands and comes close, she runs away when I try to pet her.


    • whitepumpkin
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      If the underweight one is the female it would seem like a great stress on an already underweight female if she were to get pregnant. It might be best to separate
      them until spayed or she gets to a healthier weight or health issues are addressed.
      If the male is the skinny bun, you’d probably want to make sure he is healthy before letting him breed so you can have healthy babies.


    • Jusma
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      Both of them are less than three months old. Don’t rabbits usually start mating until they are four months? When is the earliest I can get them spayed/neutered?


    • Bam
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      It’s recommended to separate them at 12 weeks, especially boys can reach sexual maturity at a very young age. A boy can be neutered as soon as his testicles drop, and that usually happens around that time. A girl needs to be a bit older to be spayed, I think 6 months to a year is what’s generally recommemnded. It does depend on the vet though, so you’d have to ask your vet what he/she considers old enough.

      whitepumpkin is of course right about breeding a very young,under-weight and possibly malnourished doe, it’d be very dangerous for her health. The BB forums do not allow discussions about intentional breeding, so if you want to know more about that particular subject, please choose another forum, f ex rabbitsonline http://www.rabbitsonline.net/

      But we do of course welcome all other questions about health and nourishment and behavior etc!


    • LittlePuffyTail
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      They really look like the SnowShoe Hares we have around here. Gorgeous!


    • Jusma
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      Does she look like she has gained weight? The fur looks much better though. I was able to find some hay that they use for horse feed recently and have been mixing both bermuda grass and hay. She finishes it. However, since I bought her, I noticed that she is pooping smaller and lesser, but it is dry and brownish.

      I addition to the size of grass/hay that I have made available to her everyday, I also feed about 2-3 big cauliflower leavers or equivalent cabbage or coriander. I also feed her about 10-15 pellets a day, which is less than a handful.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I don’t know about looking heavier, but she certainly looks alert ! She lloks like she’s try to cross a busy road !!! LOL
      Lovely shape but I’m guessing she could BOING very high indeed with those hind legs !!!
      I’m also thinking (though of course the breed will make a difference) that she looks older than 6 weeks !!
      Either that or you’ve got a mega bun on your hands – check those ears out !!! LOL

      Keep us updated – we love to see baby buns grow !


    • Jusma
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      Yes, she is by far the most alert rabbit that I have seen so far. The moment I enter the room with a vegetable she comes running. Also with pellets concealed in my pocket. She likes to constantly stand on her hind legs and once tried to jump the balcony wall. She made a three feet jump.

      Not a “Lap Rabbit” though. While she’ll jump all over me for food, she will not let me pet here, even when standing on the ground. The above two photos were taken after following her for a long time to catch her still in one place.

      BTW, in case it helps. Her diet before I got her was mostly cabbage and carrots. When she first came, the droppings were full black, really big and oval in shape. Now it is round with the brown of the hay showing on the outside.


    • Gina.Jenny
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      We rescued two little girls of a similar build, last summer. They were both underweight, and I bought a small bag of barley rings to help them gain weight. These are designed to provide a high calorie food for horses. The girls only got two rings a day, as well as pellets, but their fur improved, and they gained weight nice and steadily, and they absolutely loved to sit and crunch them. I don’t know if this is something you could buy, if pellets are a problem? It is important though to keep it to only a couple a day, as you want healthy weight gain. Once the girls reached a nice weight, I started breaking the rings up, and gradually reduced the amount they got, until the bag was finished. Somewhere that sells horse hay might also stock these and let you but just a small amount?

      I would only suggest these while the bunny is underweight, as I don’t think they are suitable as a staple part of a bunny’s diet!


    • Bam
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      I just have to say she’s stunningly beautiful.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I agree bam – she looks like a model that Beatrix Potter may have used to sketch !!!


    • Jusma
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      Thanks, all credit goes to the rabbit’s mother 🙂


    • Jusma
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      So LittlePuffyTail was on to something. My rabbit has some sort of a digestion problem and I had taken it to the vet. Apparently, I do not have a rabbit at all, it is a Hare and classified as an Indian Wild Animal. I am supposed to give it over to the Zoo once it makes a full recovery.

      Anyway, redid the play area a bit after my weekly washing of her area.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Now that a bunny proof play-room !!!! LOL
      Ohhh what a dilemma you have….
      How is bunny (sorry, Hairy ! lol) doing? Is she friendly? Have you been to the zoo to see if she would be looked after there….? If she would have many friends of her own kind…?
      How do you feel about giving her up?
      Is it illegal to keep her? Would anyone know?


    • Azerane
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      She’s gorgeous. I’m sorry that you have to give up your “rabbit” but at least you know she’ll be well cared for at the zoo! And what a unique opportunity to care for a hare.


    • Bam
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      Really a great opportunity to care for a hare. I’m sorry that you can’t keep them but they would probably be difficult to keep in a home long term since they’re not domesticated animals. They will need lots of space to run and jump. I hope they’ll get that.
      Thank you for updating us on this. And for showing us these lovely pictures!


    • LittlePuffyTail
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      I had suspicions she was a hare. So sorry you have to give her up after taking such good care of her.


    • Jusma
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      Actually, this was not my first visit to the vet, and I go to the local Government Veterinary College Hospital. There is a different doctor every day of the week and they follow a case sheet. Dr. Saturday was the first to mention she could be a Hare and took a couple of photos to confirm. Although judging by the species around where I live, it could be a hare for sure… (Google Image)

      Anyway, she needs to get healthy first before we consider taking her to the Zoo. Now they want me to give it a mostly root based vegetables – carrots, raddish, beetroot, potatoes (does not eat this), tomatoes, etc. and they have me stop the pellets and vegetables such as cauliflower leaves, cabbage, mint and coriander, which I was giving earlier.

      In reality, she urinates only in her litter box and I had given here free roam on the upper floor of our house, which is unused… and also a free roaming time in our garden (once a week), where she gets to eat stems and leaves (no pesticide). I am going to see whether it’d be OK to have her rehabilitated in my family farm in the village.


    • Bam
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      That would be so lovely, if she could be rehabilitated at your family farm!
      I don’t know if potatoes are very good though?. It’s very high in starch and absolutely not recommended for rabbits unless boiled.
      We have hare’s here too and they really look a lot like your girl.
      It’s weird they were sold to you as rabbits. Do you think they were caught in the wild? Hare’s don’t burrow so you could find a hare’s kit lying in the grass same as a baby deer.


    • LBJ10
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      She is very hare-like, but she is also missing the “black nape” as seen in the Google pictures you linked to.


    • Jusma
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      Posted By LBJ10 on 2/15/2016 11:33 PM

      She is very hare-like, but she is also missing the “black nape” as seen in the Google pictures you linked to.

      That’s a great observation, and was what I was going to reply when I first read Bam’s reply above. The store where I bought it, sources their rabbits from a village in my state. Either a hare without the black nape could have been mistaken as a rabbit, or Dr. Saturday among Dr. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, could be mistaken by it’s long ears. Anyway, I’ll confirm next Saturday when I go for another check up.

      She has started binkying again, but droppings are still going small and dark black.


    • Bam
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      I googled “Indian hare” and got a lot of pics of black-naped hares both with and without the black nape. Maybe the black doesn’t come until the hare is adult? She looks way too much like a hare to not be a hare. I’m glad to hear she’s binkying again =)
      We’ll be very happy for updates!


    • Jusma
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      Dr Saturday was not in and Dr Tuesday was there as a substitute, and even he didn’t confirm whether it is a Hare or Hare Like. Anyway, her droppings are more regular looking now. I published a video to YouTube.

      YouTube Video Link


    • Bam
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      That is a great video!!! And what a lovely room she has!

      She seems very happy and healthy, binkying and flopping and eating like that. She reminds me a bit of our member Cottontail’s (wild) Eastern cottontail rabbit Peter, although he was smaller. What does a wild Indian rabbit look like?


    • Jusma
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      The Black-Naped Hare is the most common hare found here. I am not sure which Wild Rabbits we, if any, given our climate and forest terrain type.

      Actually in India, you are not even supposed to have a rabbit native to the country as a pet. Ideally it should be a breed of an imported rabbit, but law enforcement is not strict either, since 90%+ of the pets are cats and dogs.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I vote keep her if you want to !!!
      I’m sure that kind of binkying and jumping are natural reflexes to avoid capture, so outdoors she’d be fine too, she’s very fit, but I reckon she’s just fine where she is… have you decided to keep her or not? (or to get her a friend !!)


    • Jusma
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      That’s the parting question that I have for the doctor always. They advised not to buy a friend until now. I hope that’ll change next Saturday. Although, if it is a Hare, apparently, they live alone in the wild. I may still keep it, if given an option.


    • Bam
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      I hope you get to keep her. If you want to. If your vets say you can.

      It’s not legal here either to have a hare as a pet, and I do think a vet would object. It’s also illegal here to have a wild rabbit as a pet, but since they’re the same species (European rabbit) as the domesticated ones, noone would know unless you told them. Crosses between domestic buns housed in outdoors runs and wild “visiting” rabbits are quite common.

      Vienna, a hare’s binkying to avoid getting caught is innate and really rather complex and so clever. They do a 180 degree binky, run back in their own tracks, then take a big leap 90 degrees to the side. And they can run just hours after they’re born just like foals or deer. They’re really cool. I love seeing the hares on the fields now in early spring when they run together (mating season). They look like they’re having such fun.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I wanted to put a youtube clip of snowhare being chased and winning, but the really good vid that I saw, the hare got caught out by a hole after a really good defence.
      So here’s another one I’d already seen…. have you seen this…… A.M.A.Z.I.N.G bunny survival skills !! Like being in a washing machine….
      I saw a nature doc where they explained the scientific reasons why the bunny survived… I can’t remember what they said…
      Enjoy !!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvb2HyM5Hoo


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Anybody watch it this link ? It’s brilliant !!


    • Bam
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      I watched it. It’s just amazing.


    • sunshinesocks
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      That was quite possibly one of the anxious 5 seconds of my life! But totally amazing video.

      The hare is beautiful, and whatever happens you’ve done brilliantly.


    • Jusma
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      The video was awesome, but this comment made the video even more so…
      “The rabbit saw the snowboarder pull off and decided to show the noob how it’s done ! “

      Anyway, not sure whether I should continue here, but I took my bunny for a review to Dr. Saturday and she’s got the all OK. He also maintains it is a Hare, but said the only way to confirm it was to take a hair sample, which can only be done through legal channels. In other words, he let me have the option of keeping the “Hare” or taking a test where the forest officials will take it, if confirmed.

      I also got the bunny a friend, but could not find another similar one at the store. The shop keeper insisted that it was a rabbit and not a Hare, but Dr. Saturday was also the doctor with the most number of interns during his practice, so I am not sure whom to believe.

      The bunnies cuddled on the way home. I put the new one (a girl) in a box and in the entrance to the other’s play area. Towards the evening though, the older one jumped over the box and entered the room, while I was tending to the new. I had used the older’s litter box and water bowl for the new. After a few seconds of sniffing around and an eskimo nose kiss with the new bunny, it pounced to bite the new one. I immediately pushed it away and put it in its cage as punishment. Will strictly keep them apart for the next two weeks.

      The old one was docile while it was hovering around the box, but the moment it entered the new one’s box, I guess it triggered the territory control factor. I am not even sure, what will happen, if they are of two different species. The new one is a pretty spritey and curios girl. She jumps around her small box and came out to me within an hour or two.


    • Bam
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      You can start a new thread if you like, or you can go on with this one, it’s possible to change the thread-title. I and I think many more would really appreciate to hear more about your hare/rabbit and new rabbit. It is very interesting.
      We have a bonding-section if you want to discuss the bonding of your two, but of course noone here has any hare-experience. Bonding two rabbits is not always straight-forward, so if they don’t become friends right away, that’d be normal even if they are both rabbits.


    • Jusma
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      I created a new thread – Link

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Is my rabbit healthy?