Care and Feeding of Your Angora Rabbit
- FEEDING: While plain rabbit pellets are an option for feeding your rabbit, angoras are prone to wool block because
of their long fur. Therefore a high fiber diet is desirable. The easy way to a high fiber diet is to give your rabbit 1/3 cup of mixed
birdseed and a small handful of coarse hay once a day.
I make a mixed feed for my rabbits. Take 1/2 cup birdseed, 1/4 cup rabbit pellets, 2 T. wheat berries and 1 tsp of flax seed.
Mix them together and feed 1/3 cup of this mix with the hay. The rabbit pellets provide them with vitamins and minerals they
might otherwise not get, the wheat presumably helps them grow more fur, and the flax seed makes their fur softer.
If you can get them to lick one of the mineral salt blocks that are sold for rabbits, you can probably skip the rabbit pellets.
I haven't had much success with that. They just pee on them.
If your rabbit is in an unheated area in winter, increase the seed or seed mix to 1/2 cup during the cold weather.
- HOUSING: They can be indoors or outdoors. Their cages should be big enough for them to move around in, secure
from predators, and shielded from the weather. Most of my cages are 24" x 24", which is pretty much a minimum for an
adult rabbit. I've had the cages in the house, in a minimally heated workshop, in an unheated barn, and outdoors with
plywood on top to keep off the rain. The rabbits seemed to do fine in all cases. Consider your own comfort level for taking
care of the rabbit though. Feeding them while standing out in the rain is no fun.
If you keep your rabbit in the house, have it in a cage when you're not there to watch it. Electrical cords are at the top of the
list of preferred bunny treats! Needless to say, the cage should be cleaned on a regular basis.
- GROOMING: My rabbits need very little grooming on a day to day basis. Given the chance, they stay clean, and
only have minor matting if they're sheared every three months. They do need to be sheared that often, though, or they'll mat up
horribly. I've literally peeled the fur off in one chunk from an overdue rabbit.
For shearing, I just take a decent pair of scissors and start hacking away. Hack carefully of course. You don't want to cut your
rabbit. Be especially careful around the genital area and the armpits (legpits?). Anatomy has a tendency to sneak up on you.
And keep in mind, the better a job you do of shearing, the better the spinning fiber you'll end up with. My rabbits always end up
looking like a 4 year old cut their hair, but within a month you can't tell, and they're beautiful again.
- TREATS: I highly recommend giving your rabbit papaya tablets. Shop around to find the most papaya
enzyme for your money. I give my rabbits 2 tablets a day. They love them, and it helps to prevent wool block.
After shearing and whenever they seem a little off their feed, I give my rabbits one or two Yogies yogurt treats. If they're a lot
off their feed, get them to a vet as quickly as possible. Rabbits can die very quickly once they get sick.
Fresh pineapple is another popular treat, although it's not as universally popular as the papaya tablets and Yogies. They like raw
broccoli stems when they can get them, but don't give them too much at once. Cabbage is not a good idea, nor is lettuce. Carrot
tops are good. They need something to chew on, so I save empty toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes. Some rabbits like them,
others just pee on them.
- LITTER BOXES: Some of my rabbits like to use a litter box and some don't. If yours does, and you want to give it
one, stay away from clay litter, especially clumping clay litter. Your rabbit will end up with cement butt! I've had good results
with Feline Pine, and a friend of mine uses Yesterday's News. Lately I've been using shredded paper from work. It's free,
but it's less convenient. I have to add fresh paper to the litter box every day or two. With the Feline Pine, I just changed it
once a week.
- READING: There are a couple of good angora books out there. If you can find a copy of Completely Angora
by Kilfoyle and Samson, I highly recommend it. It'll tell you more than you ever wanted to know about angora rabbits! And I've
found many interesting web sites by typing "angora rabbits" into Google. So you can research as much or as little as you like.
But this should give you a good start. Good luck with your rabbit!