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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > New owner- A few Questions
Last Post by tobyluv at 10/20/2012 3:05 PM (11 Replies)
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User is Offline Mjacqu6
49 posts Send Private Message
10/19/2012 4:52 PM

I recently had the chance to adopt two little rabbits that were going to be brought to a shelter. I am a college student and my mother is an elementary school teacher with class pets so I have grown up around small animals and I figured I could offer these two a more loving environment than a shelter. 

I did my research and bought everything they need to be comfortable and finally brought them home tonight.

They seem to love their new home (I got a HUGE expensive cage for them and a playpen to let them out in the yard to get exercise) and my only concern at the moment is that I have no idea about their genders. They seem too young at the moment to procreate but I know they mature fast and I know the world doesn't need any more rabbit babies. I plan on getting at least one fixed if they are opposite genders but I really don't have the spare cash to go to a vet just to find out their gender. Is there any way I can figure out myself at this point?

My girlfriend insists on naming them and we really want to know the gender before we do.

Also, they are both white and their feet seem to have yellow stains on them. I assume this is urine? I don't know the conditions they were kept in before I got them. Should I wash them or is this normal.

Thanks!

 


User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
2738 posts Send Private Message
10/19/2012 8:13 PM
It's strange the shelter did not know their gender. Did they give you their age? One quick easy way is to look at their tummies near the genitals and if there are two pinky skin patches approximately the same size parallel to and just slightly above the the pubic region that would be a boy. They are not necessarily right next to it they could be a centimeter or so off to each side. If you find this on one and not the other then it is probably time to book in.
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User is Offline lzrddr
17 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 8:40 AM
are these bunnies really tiny? Not hard to tell apart rabbits of different sexes as they mature, but itty bitty bunnies can be a real challenge to sex... fortunately itty bitty bunnies cannot breed (yet). If one turns out to be a female, you need to have that one spayed eventually, as that is not only important to keep her from having babies, but to keep her from developing uterine cancer (very common in rabbits). If both are females, you still need to have them both spayed. If one is male, and you spayed the female, neutering him may help with some behavioral problems but there are few important illness that result from not being neutered. However, if you have TWO male rabbits, you need to get both neutered as males happily will do it for you (even 'best buddies' or brothers) and they are not nearly as sterile or careful in their technique (end up with some serious wounds and infections}.

User is Offline tobyluv
South Carolina
562 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 10:22 AM
Depending on the breed, some male rabbits can reproduce as early as 3 1/2 months old, or whenever their testicles descend. There are websites that show the difference in genitals, you can check for testicles if the rabbits are old enough, or you can compare the two rabbits and see if their genitals are exactly alike, or if there is a difference. That won't tell you their gender, but it would tell you if they are the same sex or not. You need to keep a close watch on them and separate them if there is any possibility that they are old enough to reproduce. I know of people who were presented with surprise litters, then had another litter shortly thereafter because they didn't separate the babies soon enough.

It's already been posted, but even if they are the same sex, both should be spayed or neutered, for health and behavioral reasons. That surgery can be costly, but check around your area for rabbit savvy vets and see what the different ones charge. You may even be able to find a low cost spay/neuter program that accepts rabbits. Here is the HRS link regarding spay/neuter:
http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/...euter.html

Regarding the dirty feet, it's best not to get rabbits wet and hopefully these urine stains will wear off on their own. The rabbits were obviously sitting in puddles at times. Even rabbits with good litter habits can have some stains on their feet. If the stains persist, you could put a small amount of warm water in the sink or in a plastic tub and carefully dunk just their feet, making sure to dry them afterwards. The rabbits probably will not like this, though, and may struggle, so use caution.

Thanks for taking in these rabbits, and welcome to Binky Bunny!

User is Offline Mjacqu6
49 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 1:01 PM
I didn't get them from a shelter, an acquaintance of mine had bought them from a pet store for their kid and it "didnt work out...." So he was going to bring them to a shelter. I have no idea why, they are both very sweet. They are a bit nervous around me so I have to assume his kid wanted a pet they could manhandle....

I tried looking at their genitalia and the best I an tell they are both males. One also seems to be a bit older than the other. Im guessing they arent from the same litter. They seem to get along well though. Im thinking I should bring them to a vet to get them checked out just because I dont know exactally where they came from and to settle the gender issue for good.

I have been watching them carefully all day and I am concerned that the younger one is not eating a proper variety of foods. the older one is eating the hay the pellets and the leafy greens (kale and romaine) but the younger one seems only interested in the pellets. I gave them both a carrot and the younger one ate that but he hasn't even touched the hay and he sniffs at the kale and lettuce but didn't eat any. is this an age thing or should I be concerned?
They both also seem to be scratching themselves on occasion. should I be worried about fleas? My larger animals have always had flea collars but I never remember it being an issue with smaller animals. Is there some over the counter treatment I should use or is this something I should talk to a vet about? 

 

I read that rabbits love playing in boxes so when I took them out today I put out a shoebox for them but they were both nibbling on it so I took it away. I was worried that they would get sick from the ink or chemicals in the cardboard. Is this ok for them or should I keep them away from any sort of commercial box with ink and such on it. 

 
Thanks


User is Offline tobyluv
South Carolina
562 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 2:12 PM
Even if they are both males, it's still not a good idea to keep them together. If a male has reached sexual maturity, he may fight with another male. Rabbits can seriously injure each other if they fight.

I would be a good idea to take these rabbits in for a checkup. That's recommended for any new rabbits. The vet can hopefully determine then what gender they are. Sometimes even vets get it wrong, though. Did you see testicles on either rabbit?

It's usually advised to start giving greens and veggies to rabbits when they are 12 weeks old. Start slowly, and only try one at a time. You don't want any stomach upset. It could be that these rabbits have never had greens. Young rabbits can have alfalfa hay and pellets, then you can transition them to Timothy hay and pellets when they are closer to a year old. Orchard grass hay is usually a favorite since it is sweeter. Sometimes you have to practice tough love to force the rabbits to eat hay, since it's so important. You do that by reducing the amount of pellets. Although, young rabbits normally get unlimited pellets. Try different brands or varieties of hay to see what might tempt the younger one.

If you see them scratching a lot, it could be fleas or mites. For fleas, you need to get medication at the vet - either Revollution or Advantage, the kitten formula. You place some drops on the back of their neck. The vet could check for parasites too.

Please be careful when taking them outside. Predators can come from nowhere and attack rabbits even if you are nearby. These are predators on the ground and in the air. Unless a rabbit is in a totally predator proof enclosure, they are vulnerable. Even nearby predators can frighten them which might possibly cause them to panic and hurt themselves. And being outdoors, they are more likely to pick up parasites such as fleas.

You don't want rabbits to eat a lot of cardboard, but it is safe for them to chew. The corrugated kind might be better for them.

User is Offline Mjacqu6
49 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 2:22 PM

I do believe I saw testicles on both of them, I am no expert though and I could be wrong. 

One seems to be immature still and the other seems to be much older. They sleep together and groom each other all the time, but I'm guessing that would stop when the other  matures and they will start fighting?

If I get them both fixed can they live together? I really wanted them to be together because I spend a good part of the day out of the house and I don't want them to get lonely.

For all I know they might both be fixed already... the previous owners didn't seem to know anything about them. I am going to call around to vets on Monday and set up an appointment ASAP. Do you think its safe to keep them together for another few days? They seem to be the best of friends at the moment. 

I have been home watching them all day and I didn't observe any sexual or hostile activity at all.

Thanks for all of the responses so far. Very helpful!


User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
2738 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 2:28 PM
They should be fine for a few days. If you start to see any aggressive behavior like boxing and chasing then you will want to separate them immediately.
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User is Offline Mjacqu6
49 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 2:34 PM
If they are both males, will they be able to live together after getting neutered or will I have to keep them separate even after.

User is Offline tobyluv
South Carolina
562 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 2:38 PM
Neutered males can live together, but you never know how two rabbits will get along, no matter what their sex. Even though they are bonded now, that can change as they mature, and you would have to try to re-bond them

User is Offline Mjacqu6
49 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 2:50 PM
Thanks for all of the help! I was trying to avoid vet costs but not at the expense of their welfare. I'll go get them checked out and see what their doctor recommends regarding surgery etc...

One last thing... Are there any other questions / concerns I should bring up with the vet when I see them besides what I have asked here? I am so thankful to have found a caring community to help me through my first few days as a rabbit owner. You people have been great.

User is Offline tobyluv
South Carolina
562 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 3:05 PM

If you've seen anything that causes you concern, like if one had trouble eating, or seemed to be straining while going to the bathroom, or had irregular poop, etc., then certainly mention that. The vet will check their teeth, ears, weight, skin, feel for lumps and bumps, whatever is included in a checkup. And he or she will probably run a fecal test to check for internal parasites or intestinal coccidia.

If their nails need clipping, then you can get the vet to do that.

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