So You want to Raise a Rabbit?

by Barbi Brown

Part Two

You have the place, now pick a rabbit.

First, you have to find one!

There are many places to buy a bunny depending on your budget, your plans for a bunny and availability. But in any event, shop around! Don't just buy the first one you see...be selective in the process and you won't regret it.

You can find rabbits many places. Animal Shelters, Rescue Organizations (such as the House Rabbit Society that take in abandoned or sick rabbits. They have them spayed or neutered and ailments treated before placing them in homes they find suitable.) Auction, 4H & FFA Projects, Back Yard Hobbyists, Rabbit Shows and Fairs, Feed Stores, Pet Stores, or Breeders.  The Internet offers access to most of these resources as well as newspaper ads, bulletin boards at feed and grocery stores. 

Tips on Selection:

Please select the bunny you like, not one that is pushed on you. Consider the sellers advice about which is healthiest or gentlest but use your own instinct and make a selection that you really love.

The first and foremost consideration that applies to wherever you buy your rabbit is............CLEANLINESS!

How clean is the operation? A clean rabbitry is a good indication of the health of the animals.

Select a breed appropriate for your family and the space available.

Many people want a small rabbit because of limited space.  Keep in mind that the rabbits are natural prey animals and as such, the smaller Dwarfed breeds are more easily threatened and may be more nervous and excitable.  The medium to large breeds tend to be more docile.  I suggest looking at several different types of rabbits before making a final decision. If you are planning on a yard bunny it would be wise to consider the large or giant breeds.

Which ever breed you settle on be selective about which one you choose from the litter.

Stand back and watch them for a little while. See which are the most active. Is there one that sits off by himself? Stay clear of that one, he may be sick or just plain shy. Many people are fond of the runt of the litter. Again, this may or may not be the best choice.

Ask if you can open the cage (some does, or their breeders, can be real cranky about strangers around their babies) and see which one comes up to greet you. Look for bright eyes and healthy coat. The fur doesn't have to be shiny, just thick and resilient. If the fur is very dull and thin, the bunny may be sharing nourishment with a parasite, or simply got "hind teat" in a large litter!

Ask to see the teeth or check them yourself. They should close like people teeth, top over bottom.

Rub your hands all over the body and feel for any scabs. They may be from litter mates fighting and could abscess or the may be caused by fur mites.

Nicks in the ear may not be as serious if not weeping. Ears heal quickly and get groomed better than wounds buried in long fur on the body.

If you are looking for a show bunny be sure to tell the breeder so they can check for any disqualifications such as mismatched toenail color making certain all toes and nails are present. Rabbits have 4 toes on each foot plus a dew claw on each front foot. Look also for stray white hairs on solid colored rabbits, paying close attention to areas under front legs.