Holland Lops: I recommend at least an 18”x24” cage for these bunnies, but it is best to use a 24”x24” in my opinion. My Holland Lops are housed in 24”x24” cages except for Juniors that are housed in 18”x24” and does with a litter are housed in 24”x36” cages.
English Lops: These bunnies need at the very least a 24”x36”cage. The bigger the better though for the larger bunnies!
I highly recommend the use of an all wire cage with a wire bottom and a pull out drop pan. I use pine pellets in the drop pan that are sold at Tractor Supply or Southern States in 40 lb bags. Pine pellets absorb the urine and greatly reduce smell. Pine pellets can also be used in a rabbits litter box if your bunny is litter box trained. From my experience, pine pellets are the safest, cheapest and most effective thing to use. I do not use any type of “bedding” for my rabbits. I get asked this question a lot and the reason that I do not use bedding of any kind is that it can be very messy and unsanitary. Plus, it would fall through the wire anyway of the cage. Other acceptable things to use as litter is Yesterday’s News pellets, aspen or pine shavings or Carefresh litter. Never use cedar shavings with a rabbit, since cedar mixed with urine can cause a toxic reaction.
I do use resting boards in all my cages (even the Holland Lops). This is a necessity for the larger breeds of rabbits-especially the English Lops. Resting boards prevent the occurrence of sore hocks. I purchase these from a cage supplier, but they can also be purchased at Tractor Supply. You can also use ceramic tiles for the rabbit to sit on as well.
Urine guards are excellent to use to prevent urine from spilling over the sides of the rabbit’s cage. These can be purchased at Tractor Supply. All of my cages that I use have urine guards.
I also recommend that your rabbit be kept inside for many reasons. The rabbit will be more accessible to receive the care and attention it needs, it will be safer and the temperature will be better controlled indoors. If your rabbit must live outdoors, make sure that your cage is weather proof to keep your bunny cool and in the shade. The rabbit should not ever be kept in direct sunlight under any circumstances. The cage must also protect the rabbit from rain or windy conditions and be predator proof! A good solid roof is a must for the cage. Rabbits do better in the winter than the summer. English Lops can however run the risk of getting their ears frost bite in the winter and this can cause the ears to break off, which is very painful to the bunny. If the temperature is above 85 degrees in the summer, then the rabbit should have a fan to cool it off and plenty of shade and water. You can also freeze 2 liter soda bottles with water and place it in the cage. The rabbit will lie up against it and cool off.
No, you cannot house two rabbits together in the same cage regardless of gender under most circumstances. Rabbits need separate cages and once they being to sexually mature they may fight even with their own gender!! If you have the bunnies spayed or neutered, you can begin the process to have them bond to one another. This is usually done best with two spayed does or a buck and a doe (only if they are spayed/neutered) and this process of bonding them may take a while. My Flemish Giant buck named Bart is neutered and he is bonded to Bella, my spayed French Lop doe. They live in the same 8 foot long cage and adore one another and groom one another. They are also litter box trained. Since they are bonded to one another, they should never be separated because it is likely they will grieve without each other. After your rabbits are spayed or neutered, contact me and I will give you advice on how to get them bonded to one another.
Bella and Bart
I recommend that a rabbit’s cage is completely sanitized monthly- including the entire cage, drop pan, water bottle, food bowl, resting board, etc. Rabbits require a clean environment and this is necessary for the health of your bunny. The drop pan and the litter box soiled areas should be scooped daily. The drop pan and litter box should be completely cleaned out weekly and fresh litter should be used. I use diluted bleach to sanitize my cages and other rabbit supplies. It is time consuming and a lot of hard work, but I am a firm believer that sanitizing the entire cage monthly is essential to keep down smell and illness of my rabbits.
Rabbits need to be fed Timothy Hay daily. This is important to keep their digestive tract running smoothly and to prevent potential upset stomachs. I will occasionally give my rabbits Orchard Grass as a treat as well.
Rabbits need to be fed a good quality pellet with at least 16% protein. I use Manna Pro Gro for all of my rabbits, which is an 18% protein feed. Other feed that I would recommend is Nutrena or Purina brands. I generally feed about a ¼ cup of pellets twice a day for the Holland Lops and ½ cup twice daily for the English Lops.
The best kind of food bowls to use are the ones that hook onto the wire cage, so the rabbit cannot dump it out. If you use a regular food dish, you can guarantee that the rabbit will toss it around its cage and dump all the food out daily!
Treats should be given in moderation. Rabbits love steamed rolled oats, veggies and fruits. When giving your rabbit greens, look for greens that are dark in color, like dandelion, parsley, romaine lettuce and cilantro are just a few to choose from. Do not ever feed your bunny iceberg lettuce however! You can also give small slices of carrots, sweet potatoes, banana, or apple as a treat every now and then. My rabbits love blueberries as well. I don’t feed any young rabbits treats until they are between 5-6 months of age.
Rabbits also need clean drinking water daily.
Rabbits can be easily litter boxed trained once they are at least 4-5 months of age. A rabbit will usually eliminate in a particular corner of the cage always. Place a corner litter box that will attach to the wire cage in the corner that the rabbit uses. It may take a couple of days and sometimes you have to change the litter box to another corner, but eventually your rabbit will understand. You can also place a treat(s) or hay in the front of the litter box to entice it to the litter box. Once the rabbit is fully litter boxed trained, it will rarely go outside of the litter box. Having your bunny spayed or neutered will also help with litter box training.
The more attention and time you give your bunny, the sweeter he/she will be. Rabbits like attention and to be petted, but rarely do they like to be picked up and held for long periods of time. Rabbits are busy animals that like to stay on the go. If you are looking for a lap animal that will sit with you for hours on end, a rabbit is not something you should consider. When you let your rabbit out to get exercise, make sure that the rabbit is supervised at all times. Rabbits love to chew on electrical cords and other dangerous objects, so watch your bunny when it is out of the cage. Rabbits can get along well with other animals as long as they don’t feel threatened by the animal.
Rabbit’s behavior can change through out its natural growth cycle. Rabbits reach sexual maturity as early as four months of age in the smaller breeds. In some, you will see aggression, and in others little change whatsoever. Either way is normal, and like any teenager, once they get used to the way they feel they should calm down. Because of this change in personality and behavior, I strongly recommend spaying or neutering your pet. All animals’ behavior will change somewhat at sexual maturity.
Rabbits like to chew and to maintain healthy teeth they need to have something to chew on. Rabbits like toys made of wood, straw or grass hutches. Some baby toys that are all plastic are also safe for them. Some cheap toys for rabbits are dried out pine cones, sticks, toilet paper rolls and small cardboard boxes. These are all safe toys for your rabbit to chew on and also give the rabbit hours of entertainment.
Rabbits do not require annual shots or vet care, unless they are sick. Once again, I recommend getting your bunny spayed or neutered and can give you several vets that perform these surgeries for relatively cheap. This prevents unwanted pregnancies in rabbits, reduces hormonal aggression and can reduce the urine smell. Female rabbits that are not spayed or bred are prone to uterine cancer, so spaying the doe will eliminate this risk. I use Ivermectin three times a year to worm my rabbits and to prevent ear mites, fur mites, etc. I also use Corid three times a year as well to prevent coccidia. I use Acid 4 Way Pak for my rabbits that have just come back from a show or if they are under any type of stress as well as for my weaning babies to help prevent enteritis. If your rabbit becomes ill, stops eating or pooping, or develops diarrhea contact me immediately or take your bunny to the vet! Any of these symptoms can be deadly if not treated quickly.