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    Rabbit Care Quick Tips and Q and A for Beginners

    Q. Where can I find the most accurate and up to date information about rabbit feeds offered at Tractor Supply Company?

    A. Everything you need to select the right kind of feed for your rabbit is listed on the back of rabbit feed bags. Visit your local Tractor Supply Co. store to find out more about rabbit feeding.

    Q. What do I feed my rabbit?

    A. Rabbits, not unlike other animals, need carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals every day. Specially formulated rabbit pellets contain the proper amounts of nutrients necessary to keep your rabbit healthy.

    Q. How much do I feed my rabbit?

    A. Breed, size, age and environmental changes will affect your rabbit’s nutritional requirements. When you purchase the rabbit, ask the breeder how much you should feed that particular breed, and always consult feed packaging for feeding recommendations. Closely monitoring the body condition of your rabbit will help you determine if you need to increase or decrease the amount of pellets fed. If you are switching to a different brand of pellets, do so slowly by increasing the amount of new pellets mixed with a decreasing amount of the old. This will help prevent digestive upset.

    Q. Is it okay to feed treats to my rabbit?

    A. Treat foods such as strawberries, pineapple, pears, melons, peaches, tomatoes, and apples should be limited. (No more than 1 tablespoon per 4 lbs. of body weight is a good rule of thumb.) However, you should never feed salty or sugary treats, such as nuts or chocolate to your rabbit.

    Q. What causes my rabbit to get diarrhea, and what should I do about it?

    A. Several factors can contribute to intestinal inflammation (diarrhea). Stress, disease, changes in the diet, and even genetics can cause digestive upset. Newborn and weaning rabbits are more susceptible to diarrhea due to immature digestive systems and lower immunity levels. Pellets should be withheld for 2-3 days if your rabbit develops diarrhea. Feed only grass hay and plenty of fresh water. If the condition does not improve immediately, consult your veterinarian. Diarrhea is very serious, and is a leading cause of death in rabbits.

    Q. What is the white residue on the dropping pan of my rabbit’s cage?

    A. It is calcium carbonate. Rabbits are not able to regulate the amount of calcium in their blood as well as other animals. When the calcium level in the blood becomes excessive, the calcium is expelled from the body in the form of calcium carbonate in the urine. The build-up of the calcium carbonate on the dropping pan gradually turns into a chalky white film.

    Q. What causes hairballs, and how do I prevent hairballs?

    A. Rabbits shed, and occasionally the rabbit hair shed can be consumed along with feed. Also, some rabbits may pull hair from themselves or from other rabbits because of boredom. The hair becomes lodged in the digestive tract and can continue to grow in size. This causes a reduction of feed intake and may even cause the rabbit to stop eating altogether. Regular grooming can remove loose hair and help prevent hairballs. Feeding loose grass hay will also help ensure proper digestive processes by increasing fiber intake.

    How to Handle a Rabbit

    Rabbits are fragile animals that must be handled carefully. Their bones are so delicate that the muscles in their powerful hind legs can easily overcome the strength of their skeletons. As a result and if not properly restrained, struggling rabbits can break their own spines. To pick up your rabbit, place one hand underneath the front of the rabbit and the other hand underneath his back side, lifting him carefully with both hands and bringing him against your body. Never let a rabbit’s body hang free, and never lift a rabbit by the stomach or by the ears.

    Rabbits can be social animals that respond well to handling, but they are quite fragile and must be handled with care. To pick up a rabbit, place one hand underneath the front of the rabbit and the other hand underneath its backside. Never let a rabbit's body hang free, and never lift a rabbit by its stomach or by its ears. Children should always be supervised when handling rabbits.

    Other Supplies You May Need While Caring for Rabbits

    If you have rabbits or are thinking about getting rabbits, Tractor Supply carries the supplies you may need:

    • Rabbit hutch or hutch kit
    • Hay kob
    • Rabbit drinker tube & bottle
    • Small animal bedding
    • Rabbit food
    • Rabbit feeder