I'm very particular on what our bunnies eat. The buns are fed organic non corn-soy feed and making sure their treats are healthy and organic is just as important! Here's a quick and easy recipe I made up the other day and I wanted to share it because it's so simple and easy to do!
Step 1. Find Silicone Molds
You can use pretty much any mold that suits your fancy. Just make sure its oven safe. Consider the size of your molds; you don't want them to be too big because you want treat sized bites. I like to browse Michaels craft store to find fun shaped molds. I'm sure Amazon has a large selection to choose from as well!
Step 2. Gather Ingredients/ Supplies
-1 Heaping cup of rabbit feed ( about 6 ounces )
- 1/4 Banana
- Sliver of apple ( I cut an apple into 8 equal pieces and use half of one of the 8 pieces )
- 1/3 Cup water
- Food processor
- Cookie sheet
- Set oven to 275 F
Step 3. Combine Ingredients
Add the rabbit feed to the food processor and blend as well as you can. The finer it's blended, the better the treats will stick together and hold their shape. Then add the banana, apple, and water. Blend until a paste forms. Firmly press the mixture into the molds. If you have a mold that has small areas such as rabbit ears, be sure to press down multiple times to really pack the mixture into it. This will give you the most accurate shape!
Place molds on a cookie sheet and bake at 275 F for 15-20 minutes. Remove and let them cool for a few minutes until you can handle the mold. Carefully remove the treats. There will still be moisture on the bottom side of the treats. To help them not fall apart and also to last longer, place the treats back onto the cookie sheet without the mold. Bake for another 15-20 minutes at 275 F. Remove from oven and let them cool. Store in a cool dry place!
This blog post is long overdue but since I'm getting a lot of emails from breeders lately, here it goes!
We used to sell to breeders but due to many different reasons, we no longer will be effective April 2018. I'm not against breeding, I mean I am a breeder myself. I do believe if you breed any kind of animal, they should be apart of your family and not just stuck outside in a tiny cage and fed twice a day. If that's how you are raising you "pet" bunnies or any animal, shame.
There are several people who are interested in getting into breeding. We all have to start somewhere right? When I first started out I googled A TON of information and Facebook also has groups you can join that cover just about any topic you can think of! It's one of my favorite sources to use. There are several good books out there to help you understand rabbits from A-Z as well.
Some good books I've read are "Good Rabbitkeeping" by Sue Fox. This book covers a galore of information like the different rabbit breeds, diet and nutrition, behaviors, taming and training, and breeding. Another great book is "How To Raise Rabbits" by Samantha Johnson. This book goes a little deeper into breeding and what to expect when you have baby bunnies and how to care for your does when they are pregnant.
Click on the link below to order these books!
Good Rabbit Keeping- amzn.to/2NaaJbO
How To Raise Rabbits- amzn.to/2oBsva9
I am not the rabbitry for you beginner breeders to buy your bunnies from because I simply don't have the time to answer all the questions. You may think you just have one question for me but I hear this multiple times a day. It's not only you. I wrote this nice long email to a lady who was asking about breeding her buns and told her about all the groups to join and books to read and she responded to me that she just would rather ask me because I was a good source. I talk to between 50-100 people per day now and it's only increasing so I have to direct my business in a different direction. I want to spend my energy and time answering questions to past adoptees and for people who'd like to have rabbits as a companion. I have helpers that come to socialize with our buns but I am the only person that responds and meets all the families that contact us. This is a full time deal for me 7 days a week. I offer to all our families that adopt a bunny from us that they can contact us anytime with questions and as Blue Clover has grown tremendously in just this past year, I have to sort through what I can and can't do. I am only going to be answering emails from past families that have questions or possible future families that are interested in taking home one of our babies to be a companion. I try to keep the website packed with information for everyone to read up and have an understanding of what it takes to own and care for bunnies. If you ever have any questions (not breeding related), that you can't find on the website please contact me and ask away!
I will vent a little on here since it's my blog... I get messages from people that say " I put my boy bunny in with my girl bunny and they had babies, what do I do now?" These questions irritate the tar out of me and no offense, how irresponsible can you be? Before you put a boy bunny and girl bunny together, do some research. They will breed even if they are related! Rabbits don't have a heat cycle, their eggs drop down when they are bred. So they can get pregnant anytime. PLEASE please please don't breed at all if you haven't done the research and preparation it takes to care for a pregnant doe and baby bunnies. It's sad how many messages I get on instagram from people that say " I just bred my doe, now what?" You will not get a response from me. Now there are some exceptions such as families that buy two bunnies from a breeder that are both supposed to be the same gender and then a few months down the road they unexpectedly have babies! It happens more than you know and I understand that it's not your fault! My best advice is read up and google questions. Maybe join a group on Facebook where many people have the time to respond to your questions. Or better yet, hopefully you adopted from a responsible breeder and you can contact them and they can help you. Sorry to say this....but you get what you pay for. Search and read sales policies and read reviews before buying a pet. Just because a bunny is $5 and the ad on craigslist says they are friendly doesn't mean they have good and healthy breeding does and bucks. Ask to see pictures or ask to visit. Ask questions!! If they can't answer easy questions than that is a sign. STAY AWAY!
Anyone that adopts a bunny from us can contact us at anytime with any questions. If it is health related, I can only give advice based on my experiences. I am not a licensed vet so I can't tell you what to do but if I have experienced something similar I will give you advice on what I did and then always say if you have any doubts of their health at anytime, to take them to a vet. I get potty training questions, bonding questions, and I've even had to coach people on how to hold their bunnies properly. I am here for you for the entire life of the bunny and I will support you the best I can! So if you are a family that has adopted from us, please don't be afraid to ask any questions even if it seems silly. I want you to be comfortable and confident in raising your bunny/bunnies!
So back on track to the no selling to breeders thing... We raise our rabbits to be completely social with us. We not only bond with our baby bunnies, but ALL of our adults as well. They aren't just "breeding stock", these are my babies. I spend hours and hours every single day spending time with them, talking to them, picking them up, ect. When it's nice outside I have several pens I setup in the backyard. They get to run around and eat fresh grass and dandelions. Not only are they socialized with but they have an 1,800 sqft house all to themselves that I just remodeled! Talk about spoiled... I know it's a bit much but it's worth it to have happy healthy animals with free range space. I don't know the conditions or how other rabbitry's raise their bunnies and words and pictures can be deceiving. I want to believe all of you and it's not that I don't believe some of you, but I have had a few bad experiences where I almost cried on my way home from seeing these rabbitry's. I am not here to blast anyones name so I will never give names of who these people are. But I don't want one of my babies that I so delicately hand raised to go into a breeding program and just get fed twice a day and a head pat here and there. That's not a suitable life for a rabbit. Again, not all rabbitry's are like this!! There are some really great ones out there from what I can see from their website and reviews.
The other day I had a very disturbing conversation on the phone with "the biggest rabbitry in America". Again I don't give names so I won't say it on here. A girl that comes and helps with our buns told me about them so I thought I'd check them out. They had some really cool colors but as I kept scrolling down on their bunnies for sale page, it literally never ended. I thought to myself...it had to maybe not of been updated or maybe they had some employees that helped out. Then they had a video of their setup. It was tiny cages and it just kept going and going with what looked to be like hundreds of rabbits. As I looked through the litters I could see the color of the dam and sire and babies and some were genetically impossible to get. I know I don't know it all so I went to my genetics Facebook groups and asked on there from the pros. So anyway... I'm talking on the phone with the owner because I had some questions. He said they had 135 breeding holland lops. 135!! That's a lot. He said they breed 6-7 does per week. So I asked if he had employees or how it worked. He said it was just him and his mom or maybe he said step mom. The point is, it was two of them. He said some other people would come over and cover if they were out of town or what not. This is when my heart sank. I asked him if he socialized with the baby bunnies and he responded with "oh yeah every day". He said they had 400 rabbits for sale right now!! 400!! People let me tell you there is no way on Gods green Earth that two people are socializing with these 400 babies every day. I have anywhere between 10-35 babies per month and when we socialize with them we don't just pet them while we're walking by to feed them. They have a run in our living room where I sit in and hold each of them and snuggle and talk to them. EACH individually. I can tell the same colored ones apart, that's how close I am to them. There's no way two people are "socializing" with 400 bunnies per day. I also asked him what size their cages were. He said they were 18x30 up to 24x30. I'm not against cages, but I am against those size cages especially with no free range time. I asked if the rabbits ever got to go in pens outside or taken out of their cages. He hesitated and trying to find his words said..."well....yeah about every two to three weeks we let them out for a little bit". TWO TO THREE WEEKS?! My heart is breaking just writing this right now. I could tell by the way he answered that he was lieing or just really had no idea exactly how often the bunnies were let out. Lastly I asked him about genetics, pretending I didn't know much. I asked how he could of gotten a frosty colored baby from a blue tort and black otter. He said "throw everything you think you know about genetics away. I've been breeding for 11 years and have had impossible colors come from my breedings." Genetics don't lie and there are some crazy things that happen but either he doesn't know his colors or he couldn't remember who exactly he bred to who. Or maybe I'm just being rude but this conversation really bothered me. I told him I was interested in coming to see his setup this summer and he said they don't breed too much in Summer, mostly just for Easter and Christmas. HORRIBLE!! People if you ever talk to a breeder and the conversation is anything like what I am describing right now...run. Some people say that they are rescuing the poor bunnies from that mill but you aren't. You are giving them business which they keep increasing their breedings. Their bunnies started at $250 so if you do the math and they had 400 bunnies for Easter and 400 for Christmas, that's $200k per year. This ladies and gentleman is called a bunny mill. If you have a different opinion I respect that and maybe this blog isn't for you to read.
Wow that felt really good to get off my chest. I will not name the rabbitry or their names so do not ask. I've given enough information that if you ever came across their website you will know what i'm saying!
So due to one thing after another, I can't imagine one of my babies being sent to a place like that or being housed in a tiny cage and never let out. I did cut back a few months ago and was just selling to breeders I have a trusting relationship with but then came the floods of emails how it wasn't fair that certain people got a bunny from me but they couldn't have one. So I just decided to cut it all off completely and my mind is made up. I still have people emailing me telling me they take good care of their bunnies and they are apart of their family as well. They are pleading to have one of our babies still. All I have to say is good! Keep up the good work and give breeders a better name! There are no more exceptions. We are selling to pet homes only and I would appreciate if everyone could respect my change in direction! I love seeing all the great things on instagram with certain rabbitry's and it fills my heart with joy! So keep up the good work and never stop improving your rabbitry, not for money's sake but to better the care you provide for your fur babies!
Due to the extreme demand for our bunnies, I have decided to add a few more does to our family of buns! Meet Luna and Piper! Luna's color is a chinchilla and Piper is a broken squirrel. I cannot wait to see the beautiful babies they will have this summer! Genetics has been really interesting to learn about and now that I have a grasp on it, I've been planning who I breed to who more strategically. There should be some new colors coming starting from actually TODAY following throughout this summer! We also should have a few more litters each month so for those of you that have been waiting, I hope this helps the odds of getting a baby from us!
We've started our bun mansion remodel on our 1,800 sq ft. shop that is going to be all for the buns! SUPER EXCITED! They will be inside and there will be updates on our instagram page under one of our highlights from start to finish! I get hundreds of messages a day which i'm now unable to answer to majority of them. My priorities are important in my life and family comes first and my buns are handled and cared for on a daily basis. I was starting to get to the point where I was sitting in front of a screen from morning till sun down answering every comment or message that came my way and a lot of it was the same questions. I hope our website can answer most of your questions and if you have any other questions about caring for or adopting one of our buns that our website may not answer for you, please contact me and I will get back to you! The best way is to fill out a contact form on the website or text me! Visit our contact page for that info.
I've been getting several breeders contacting me asking me questions about breeding and unfortunately I have to limit myself and set boundaries around how much I can do in a day. We no longer sell to breeders due to many different circumstances that I won't get into here. There are many good breeders out there and it's unfortunate for the ones that are irresponsible...also won't get into that here! If you are a breeder, you can google or even join a ton of groups on Facebook to answer your questions! That's what I do!
So back on track...
I am so excited for bun mansion to be fully renovated because we will be opening up workshop days that you will be able to sign up for! They will be geared towards the caring for and raising of a pet rabbit. We will cover topics such as what they eat, drink, toys they play with, housing setups, and the seriousness and joyfulness it means to be a bunny parent. And of course you will be able to see our bunnies and hold any baby buns we have at that time! There will also be a time for questions as well for non breeding purposes. If you are wanting tips and advice on breeding, these classes are not for that. They are directed for families that aren't quite sure what it all entails to own a rabbit and maybe want to come out and see different setups and have a realistic view of what owning a bunny means.
There are many many different activities we'd like to open up to do for the public but once the time arrives and there is a more concrete plan, I will make more announcements! SUPER excited for 2018 and you should be too! Here's some sneak peak pictures on the remodel at the very beginning!
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might!
I think a formal introduction is necessary finally! My name is Adriana and I am the owner/ operator of Blue Clover Rabbitry. It's important for our families and future families to know where exactly their bunnies come from and how they are raised. We have so many buns that are shipped out of state, and those families don't get to come see the atmosphere that their babies are raised in. I'm hoping I can explain and express in this blog the process of how babies are raised here!
There are so many different rabbitry's out there and each owner runs and operates differently. Everyone has their own opinion on how to raise rabbits but I wanted to dig a little deeper for you all to understand how I run my rabbitry and how our babies are raised! We handle our bunnies from day one when they are born. It is not dangerous for our bunnies to be handled when they are newborns because our rabbits are domesticated and we have a very strong bond to all of our does. They will not reject their babies like wild rabbit mothers would do. So when you see pictures of baby bunnies in my hand, don't fret! They are safe! Baby buns like to be warm when they are little, so even though they mostly just sleep, this is the most crucial time for bonding with them that will shape their future! We cuddle them up in the palm of our hands or tuck them in warm pockets. Did you know their eyes don't open until they are 10 days old?! That's such along time to not see anything! So their first sense is touch. Once you've created that warm and safe bond holding them in your hands, when their eyes open they can quickly associate that you are a safe zone for them. Bonding with them when they are newborns is a crucial part of raising rabbits here at Blue Clover!
Around two weeks is when the bunnies are starting to be alert and learning to hop around, which by the way if you haven't seen...is adorable! They don't have their balance quite yet so there's a lot of tipping over and rolling. A lot of pictures I post on instagram are of baby holland lops and we have so many people asking what breed they are because their ears are sticking straight up. Holland lops are not actually born with floppy ears. Depending on several factors, it can take anywhere from 2.5 weeks to 4 months. If they flop at 2.5 weeks, it's literally the cutest thing on planet Earth that you'll ever see... This stage is where it starts to get fun because they're responsive to you and since they're starting to eat solids, you can feed them strands of hay while you're holding them. I may have a little obsession with baby buns....ok maybe a big obsession! This is what I do full time 24/7. It's not a hobby, its a lifestyle. Sharing my bunnies with the world has been a dream come true and I'm so thankful how much God has really blessed it!
At three weeks old, the buns are running around and very responsive to their surroundings. This is usually when we take pictures to post on our website for upcoming reservations. One place rabbits love to be pet is right above their nose. Sometimes when you start, they don't want you to stop and if you take your hand away they'll come running and nudge you to keep petting them. To have a three week old do this to you is priceless. At three weeks they weigh about a half a pound...if that. They still fit in the palm of your hand and some may even start giving kisses at this stage.
We have play pens inside that they get to exercise in. Our buns are also beginning potty training before they leave. We've had some families say that their bunnies picked it up in one day and others, it's take a week or two. We do have information on our website about potty training, so if you want some successful tips or trouble shooting advice, check out our other blogs or "how to care for bunnies" page. The rest of their time here we just make sure to bond and hold each bunny every day. Our number one priority is social time each day with the babies, so when we have months where we have more babies, it may take us a few extra hours to respond to messages. My niece who is now 5 is a big helper when she comes to visit. She is so gentle with the bunnies and loves holding them. We also socialize them with our boxer puppy Bailey! It's important to us to socialize them together because there are other families out there that have other pets and it makes for an easier transition when they've already been in contact with a dog before. Our rabbits are not afraid of our dog and most of the brave little bunnies will go up to her on their own once they've had a few snuggle sessions.
I am continually seeking to provide better care for my rabbits. It's a continuous road of learning the do's and don'ts of raising them! A few things we've changed in the past year is adding apple cider vinegar to their water, which if you are interested in learning more about that, we have a blog post on the benefits to adding it to their water. We've also switched to an organic non soy-corn feed which has made a huge difference in their fur. A lot of people that come to see the bunnies always ask why they are so soft. The feed is one of the main reasons! We also are going to be busy bees remodeling our 700ft shop to accommodate our bunnies housing this Spring. Our online store may be small right now because bonding time comes first and since the demand has grown astronomically, we have a lot more babies to attend to daily. When there is a little bit of down time, that is when I get to sowing bunny quilts or making hay bin/ litter box combos for local orders. Youtube will be another thing being improved this year with videos of current babies and "how to" videos. If you haven't subscribed yet, do so! We have big plans for 2018 and can't wait to make the announcements as we hit each milestone!
God bless you all!
First you will want to buy a litter pan, but not just any litter pan. On the market for rabbits you will find these litter pans that are a triangle shaped which can be placed in the corners of your cage. These are not the most effective ones to use and I do not recommend them. If you do choose to buy one of the corner pans and you are having trouble potty training, switch to a square one. Try to find a pan that is stable enough that if they push their feet on the edge, it wont tip over.
For litter, we recommend using a shredded paper or pellet form to absorb urine. Do not use clay-based or clumping litter as this is harmful to rabbits’ respiratory systems. Look for a litter that is odor absorbent, as rabbit urine has an unpleasant smell. Put a thin layer of litter at the bottom of the litter box- just enough to absorb wetness. If you do not have a hay bin/ litter box combo, we recommend adding a thin layer of straw to the top of the litter in the pan because rabbits like to chew on something while they’re in their litter box. There’s no need to fill it too high since rabbits don’t bury their droppings like cats. Plus, when you clean the litter box, you dump the entire contents out each time. Don’t fill too high or you will excessively waste a lot more litter than necessary.
You’ll want to limit their free roam space in the beginning to get them acclimated to their new area. Buying a puppy pen to confine them in one area is a good idea. As they are progressing in their training, you can open their space up more until they are fully potty trained. Then feel free to let them free roam with full access to their litter pan. If for any reason they start having accidents, retract their space again until they’re using their litter box. Some families have multiple litter boxes depending on how big of a space they have to run around in.
Here are a few other tips for those stubborn, “outside-the-box” bunnies:
· If an accident occurs, wipe up the urine with a paper towel and pick up stray poop and place both in the litter box. This helps get the message across that the litter box is the place that they should do their business. Keep in mind that rabbits are generally not 100% perfect with their litter box. Sometimes they leave a few droppings next to the box, or they urinate over the edge of their box. This is normal, so placing a plastic mat under their litter box or putting the litter box on a tile floor makes it easier to clean up these little mistakes.
· Bunnies here at Blue Clover Rabbitry begin potty training before they leave. Some rabbits pick it up right away within a day, while others may take a few months. Be patient and persistent! If you can see they’re about to go outside their litter box (they may lift their tail or sometimes they sort of shimmy down in a seated position right before they go), try to pick them up and put them in the litter box.
· If your bunny is insistent on going in one corner of the room, sometimes it’s easier to give in to their stubbornness, and place a litter box in that corner.
· If your rabbit is pooping/spraying pee everywhere, this is probably due to your rabbit marking his territory. It’s a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in order to calm down their hormones and lessen the likelihood of territory marking. Sometimes it can take up to a couple months for the spraying to stop so be patient. You can buy a litter box with tall sides to help avoid urine being sprayed out of the pan.
Even if your buns live outdoors, you can still potty train and we would recommend doing so for cages without a drop pan. This allows the cage and rabbit to stay cleaner.
Godiva and Balloo just had some beautiful chocolate babies that will be ready to go to their new furrrever homes right in time for Valentines day! Keep updated on our instagram @bluecloverrabbitry for videos and pictures of these babies! Chocolate is a rare color in holland lops and not many breeders have them so contact us on January 12th when reservations start! These babies will be ready to take home on February 8th!
Psalms 63:3-4 Because your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise you. Thus I will bless you while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Our Christmas babies are getting bigger each day! They are so adorable and I'm so pleased with the new colors that are starting to show up! I really try to make colors and markings that are unique and rare. We just got our first ever lilac otter vienna marked baby and he/she is gorgeous! We are going to be keeping this one to hopefully produce more of that color in about six months.
I wanted to write this blog because reservations will be starting in only eight days and we have had a ton of families interested in our bunnies for Christmas. What I've told each family is to contact me as early as possible on the reservation date to hopefully get the bunny of their choice. I know families will be contacting me at midnight and if I am awake at that time I will reply right away to reserve you. Otherwise when I wake up I will answer my messages in order of when they came in. Please be prepared in advance so it will be an easy process for the both of us! I take deposits through Facebook messenger or Venmo. Facebook messenger has a set up process that is very easy so please google the directions on how to set up payments on Facebook messenger and have your account set up before contacting me! I would say Venmo is easier than Facebook messenger to set up for some people so see which method will work best for you! Both services are free to use! If for some reason the bunny you wanted gets reserved before you or if they all get reserved right away, we are having a few more litters hopefully any day now and those will be ready the first week in January to take home! Reservations will begin sometime near the end of November for those litters. We strive to raise the most loving bunnies and in order to do that, I can only breed what I can manage to care for. We spend every day with our rabbits and they each are interacted with. I will not be increasing my breeding's just to sell more bunnies. These are live animals who are apart of our family and not a factory or bunny mill!
Before reserving please also check our sales policy at the bottom of our " Bunnies For Sale" page! Blessings to you all and I hope you each find a beautiful bunny to add to your families this Christmas!
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Are you considering buying two bunnies together or maybe you already have one at home and you want to get him or her a friend? Here are some tips to bonding those buns so they can successfully live together!
Buying two babies at the same time
The easiest way to bond bunnies is when you buy two young rabbits at the same time. They are used to being in a litter with all their brothers and sisters so they aren’t territorial yet. I always recommend getting them spayed or neutered because it calms down their hormones and helps them to bond better. Also be very careful when having a boy/ girl companionship because the female can get pregnant very young. Sometimes as early as 10 weeks. Not likely, but it is possible. Keep them separated until at least one is fixed. Don’t think because they are brother and sister that they won’t breed. They WILL breed when they’re matured.
Already have one but want another?
Already have a bun and want to get another one? Again I suggest getting your current bunny fixed before bringing in a second one even if it’s the same gender. The new baby bunny won’t have any issues bonding with your first bunny. It’s more; how is your rabbit going to react to a new one in his or her territory? Rabbits are very territorial so make sure they have enough space when bringing in another one. Rabbits are groomers and it’s the most adorable thing to watch them clean each other’s ears or lick one another’s forehead. These are comforting actions for rabbits and one idea you can take into action beforehand is stroking your first bunny’s forehead to mimic the action of another rabbit grooming him or her. This way when your new bun comes into the picture and starts grooming the other one, he or she will be used to the action.
Putting them together for the first time
Watch them closely and do not come home and put them together right away. I suggest sitting on the couch and having both bunnies on your lap. Hold them both right next to each other with your hands on top of them. Then separate them and repeat again every fifteen minutes or so for at least three times. Then keep your new bunny on your lap and let your other bunny go free range on the couch and see if he or she responds to the new one. In small amounts of time each day bring them together in an open space and watch very carefully how they react to each other. If aggressive behavior such as biting or ripping fur out happens, separate them immediately. Humping is a normal action for rabbits. It’s more of a dominance thing. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to get them fixed. It should heavily reduce the urge for them to hump each other.
Don't take your eyes off them just yet!
Watch them closely until you feel comfortable taking your eyes off them. This could take anywhere from a week to several months. It really depends on each individual rabbit. It’s a wonderful thing for rabbits to have a companion so if you are considering having more than one I encourage you to try these tips in bonding them.
If you have bonded rabbits already, please feel free to comment below and give your input and experienced suggestions!
Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
It’s that time of the year again where Seattle is showered in pumpkin spice lattes. Fall brings in cooler temperatures and we’ve even had some below freezing nights in early November. We house our buns outside but frequently have them inside for bonding or photography sessions. Especially the little newborn babies; we try to keep them inside as much as possible until their fur comes in. I have a lot of families around this time of year ask about keeping their bunnies outside in a hutch and if it’s ok for winter time. So here is my opinion and knowledge!
Heat Lamps? Yes or no?
If you are planning to keep a hutch nearby your house such as on a back porch or side of the house; this is in my opinion an easier way to keep them outside. Most areas around your house will have electrical outlets. Heat lamps are a must when below freezing for our farm. Some other rabbitries use straw and pack it into each cage for the rabbits to burrow but I prefer an actual heat source for our buns. Remember to always securely attach the heat lamp to the outside of the cage or hutch. Never put the lamp on the inside of the cage because it could severely burn your bunny or get knocked down and start a fire! Also keep the lamp far enough away from hay so a piece doesn’t accidently catch on fire. Don’t be afraid to try a heat lamp out just because of the danger of a fire starting. As long as you take safety precautions and set it up securely you should be fine! We’ve been using them for over seven years and have never had an issue. The only issue I had is one year I put a heat lamp on each individual cage and back at that time it was nine cages. Let’s just say our power bill did not appreciate it. Now we have an amazing set up where four cages can share one heat lamp. Even if your hutch is not near the house, you can always run an extension cord out there to hook it up. Most local feed stores should sell them, or you can always purchase online. I would recommend buying one that has a clamp attached so you can mount it easily.
Frozen water bottle issue
Water bottles will for sure freeze outside as well. One option would be to put the heat lamp close enough to the water bottle where it stays unfrozen but doesn’t get too hot. You may need to test this out for a few days to get it right. If you put the heat lamp too close to the water bottle, then all the water will “magically” disappear within the same day usually. Another idea is to purchase a heated water bottle. This would be the most ideal route to go so you don’t have to worry about frozen or dried out water bottles. All you need to do is plug it into an outlet and make sure to fill it with fresh water when necessary.
Board up those open sides
For hutches we recommend buying one that has a hide away area with four enclosed walls and an entrance hole for them to access inside. Also the main part of the hutch should at least have one solid side. In the fall and winter time when it starts to get windy you can buy cheap plastic roofing or get a few pieces of plywood to board up the open sides. Especially at night when it’s the coldest time of day. Keep in mind if you choose this option but still have a heat lamp, you’ll need to cut a nice sized hole in the temporary pieces where the heat lamp can still have access to heat the hutch.
Well structured hutch for snow fall
If you live in an area that gets heavy snow fall during the winter make sure your hutch can bare the weight of all that snow! Make sure your roof is in good condition and if anything, when you go out to see them each day, just brush off the snow that has accumulated on the roof that day.
All in all, if you can bring your bunnies inside or at least in the garage during winter, that is the ultimate and best solution. But if that is not an option then try these ideas to help ensure that your bunnies will be safe outside during the colder months. For those of you that have had success or any good tips on weather proofing outdoor bunny areas please feel free to leave a comment to help other bunny owners or soon to be bunny owners!
"Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail," Job 38:22
It’s important to plan ahead before purchasing a rabbit. Figuring out costs of owning one is a responsible way to begin your research! Also making sure to buy quality products can help reduce costs in the long run. Make sure your family can financially afford to care for them for the long term. The average life cycle of a rabbit is nine years. I am going to break down costs for you and give you valuable resources of where to purchase feed, hay, cages, treats, and toys.
Water is the most crucial and valuable thing to remember to give to your rabbit. It’s important that they have fresh water daily. There are three different types of water containers that are commonly used for rabbits that I will list the pros and cons to. Some great websites to check out is Chewy.com, Petco.com, Petsmart.com, or Amazon.com. You may also compare prices at your local pet/ feed stores. We’ve found that the most unbeatable prices are between Chewy.com and Petco.com. Petco price matches and they also have a rewards system to earn $5 for every 100 points earned.
The standard water bottle attaches to the cage. Prices can range between $4-$20.
Water bowls are the more natural way for them to drink out of. A heavy ceramic bowl is the best option to use because light plastic bowls can easily be picked up and thrown around the cage. If your rabbit chooses to throw their bowl around you can purchase a bowl that attaches to the cage so it cannot be moved. Prices can range between $1-$15.
These are mainly used for dogs or cats but can also be operational for rabbits. Prices can range between $7-$38.
Providing a quality feed is so important to your rabbits overall health. Don’t be misguided by the brands that state that their feed is “premium” or “made with all natural ingredients.” Look for the ingredients on the nutritional label and make sure they have a high fiber content. Fiber is what pushes everything through the digestive system so be sure to try to find a fiber percentage of 16-18%. The higher, generally the better. We feed our rabbits Modesto Mills Organic Rabbit Feed. It’s corn and soy free which I am not against either of those ingredients but those are more fillers than nutritionally beneficial. The main ingredient should be grass based such as timothy or alfalfa. Cost of rabbit feed depends on quality of feed and size of bags. I suggest purchasing your feed online because it usually ends up being cheaper. Amazon.com, Chewy.com, or Petco.com are great places to order Oxbow, a brand we recommend along side Modesto Mills. Modesto Mills is milled in Oregon and sold in limited stores around the Pacific Northwest. Do some research around your area and see if there are any locally sourced rabbit feeds nearby.
For Oxbow, expect to pay around $12 for a 5lb bag, $25 for a 10lb bag, $39 for a 25lb bag. Holland Lops usually eat about 4 ounces of food a day. So let’s do some math…
5 lb. Bag of Oxbow $12
4 oz/day x 4 days = 1lb/4 days
4 days x 5lb bag food = 20 days
$12 bag food / 20 days = $.60c per day
$.60c per day x 30 days = $18 per month
25lb. Bag of Oxbow $39
4oz/day x 4 days = 1lb/4 days
4 days x 25 lb bag food = 100 days
$39 bag food / 100 days = $.39c per day
$.39c per day x 30 days = $11.70 per month
For the most part, buying in bulk is usually the best option for saving money in the long run. On the flip side, I wouldn’t recommend buying a 50lb bag of feed if you have only one rabbit because the food may go stale before you finish the whole bag. Nutrena is another brand that is nation wide. We used to use them until we went organic. I don’t prefer this brand but we never had a problem when we used it. I will compare the prices for this brand to the Oxbow brand.
25lb. Bag of Nutrena $14
4oz/day x 4days = 1lb/4days
4days x 25lb bag food = 100 days
$14 bag food / 100 days = $.14c per day
$.14c per day x 30 days = $4.20 per month
Hay is 80% of your rabbits diet and they must have access to it at all times. Hay is high in fiber and keeps their digestive track healthy and moving. Check with your local farmers to see if you can get ahold of some local fresh timothy, oat, or orchard grass hay. A good place to check is Craigslist.org. It is much cheaper to buy a bale of hay which can weigh up to 100lbs for $10-$25 depending on where you’re located. Although if you only have one rabbit I suggest buying smaller quantities so the food doesn’t go stale.
Cages/ Free Range Spaces
Rabbits can be kept indoors or outdoors. If you’re keeping your bunny housed outside be mindful of weather and temperature. Rabbits are heat sensitive but there are ways to keep them cool in the heat of the Summer such as putting frozen water bottles in their cage or keeping a fan on for them. When looking for a hutch I recommend buying one that has enough space for them to run around in. Also make sure to have a boxed in area for them to hide in. This also keeps them out of the bad weather. Hutches can range between $20-$400 depending on where you buy them. Craigslist or any phone app similar to offer up is a good place to check out for used hutches. This will most likely be your best bet for finding the cheapest one. Although Amazon has pretty reasonable prices too and they are brand new. When looking online to order one make sure to read the dimensions because their pictures can be deceiving and make them look a lot bigger than they are. Reading reviews is also a good idea.
If keeping your new pet indoors, there are many different options for housing them. Our favorite cage is the World Living Habitat Cage in a large or extra large size. Petco or Amazon is a great place to order these cages. They usually range between $70-$120. Once potty trained it’s also a fun idea to section off a free range area in the house for them. Either use a dog exercise pen to keep them contained or look on Pinterest for awesome ideas. You can easily set up a play/ living area for them for under Treats/ Toys
It’s important that your bunnies have things to occupy them and chew on. There are so many products to choose from and most are very inexpensive. Petco.com, Chewy.com, and Amazon are all great places to purchase these items. Apple sticks are always a big hit. You can even find sticks in your yard for free for them to chew on. Just check and make sure they are ok for your rabbit to have. Hay mats are also a great thing for rabbits to have. Rabbits teeth continuously grow so it’s important they have things to chew on the help control their teeth growing. Check online for all the fun toys there are and compare prices. Online is usually a lot cheaper then going into a pet store. Pet stores have such a high mark up price on their products. For instance Petco will be more expensive in store than online most of the time. Always check online first! Toys will range between $1-$12.