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Pet Care


Small Animals


Rabbits - a bit of background

A female rabbit is called a doe (some call them a dam), the male rabbit is called a buck and the newborn babies are sometimes referred to as kits. There a lots of rabbit breeds, from lop ears to the huge Flemish Giants (some of which grow to 9kg!). There are dwarf rabbits that you will find in your local pet store and these don't generally grow as large as the normal rabbits.

Rabbit care - knowing the basic health parameters

A rabbit's normal body temperature is 39.5°C with a pulse rate of a whopping 300 per minute. Most rabbits can live up to 7-8 years and they are most productive breeding wise for the first 2-3 years of their lives. Rabbits practice caecotrophy. You may read about rabbits being coprophagic, they eat their own feces and that's what caecotrophy is - they ingest contents produced by the caecum (the large colon of the rabbit). The colon of the rabbit produces 2 kinds of feces - the hard pellets which are just excreted and what you find in your rabbit cages, and the soft droppings (which are rich in water and micro-organisms) which are ingested by your pet rabbit. Your pet rabbit will ingest these soft droppings (caecotrophs) as soon as they are passed out through the anus so it's highly unlikely that you will ever find any on your rabbit cage floor. If you feed your rabbits ad lib, you will notice that there is a 24 hour cycle to their feeding. They will eat most of their food in the evening, night time and early morning (and this is also when they will produce the hard droppings). The soft droppings on the other hand are usually produced in the times between 9am-5pm.

Rabbit care - feeding your pet rabbit

Do not feed your rabbit hamster or mice pellets. You can feed guinea pig pellets to your pet rabbit but you cannot feed rabbit pellets to your guinea pigs and hope that they will thrive. You can opt to feed your pet rabbit just the pelleted food, but I usually like owners to give them additional food like fresh fruit and vegetable waste. Hay supplementation is also great for their overall health as it gives them added fiber which would prevent hair balls from forming. If your rabbit is fed a lot of green food, you may notice that he/she will not drink much water. That's okay because they will be getting the bulk of their water from the food. Having said that, you must always ensure that your pet rabbit has access to fresh water daily even though you give him/her lots of green food as a precautionary measure just in case he/she feels like a drink.

Rabbit care - behavior issues

Most of what pet rabbits do can be traced back to their wild cousins. So if you know how rabbits behave in the wild, it will give you a fair indication of what your pet rabbit is likely to do in the domesticated situation.

Rabbits are by nature very clean. You will notice that your pet rabbit will often choose one spot in their cage to deposit their droppings and urine (the exception being when a buck wants to mark his territory in which case you will notice that he will spray urine everywhere, and I mean everywhere and he may decide to deposit his droppings all over too). If you notice your buck rubbing his chin on everything (new toys are often a target), it's because he's 'leaving his scent' on it to say ' this is mine'.

Rabbits will burrow. They adore digging tunnels. If your rabbit cage or hutch has no floor, you will end up with escapees in the garden. Also beware when you opt to give your rabbit a free 'run' in the garden to let him/her stretch the legs, if you aren't supervising, you may end up with a lost rabbit if they burrow out of your yard. Does tend to dig really deep tunnels - usually in preparation for her impending litter.

Rabbits will cohabit quite happily with guinea pigs but 2 bucks will end up fighting if they are put in the same cage. Castrating them will not always solve the problem.

Rabbits are in general quite easy to tame if they are handled regularly from birth. There are breed differences in this area, some rabbit breeds are easier to tame than others. French lops are usually quite docile and will permit you to handle them without much trouble. I have found that dwarf rabbits surprisingly enough seem to be nervous and sometimes can be quite aggressive when compared to other breeds.

You will notice that your rabbit will sometimes thump their hind limbs. This behavior is akin to the rabbits in the wild who will stamp their feet as a warning to the others in the warren to sound the alarm that danger is approaching.

The 'attack bunny'. Don't laugh, it does happen and it happens frequently. You will sometimes encounter situations where you open the cage door of your rabbit to take him/her out for a cuddle only to find that he/she lunges at you with bared teeth and claws. This is common when rabbits hit sexual maturity or if your doe is pregnant. The way around it is to open the cage door, allow the rabbit to come out the cage of its own accord and then you can safely handle them.

Guinea Pigs

1) Do guinea pigs make good pets?

Indeed they do! guinea pigs are wonderful little animals, my list is endless to why I think guinea pigs make ideal pets. They are charming, very affectionate, intelligent, talkative, all have unique personalties, can be very comical, cuddly, inquisitive and they rarely bite. For me personally and from my own experience with other smaller animals, I would go as far as saying guinea pigs are the most ideal pet to share your life with. Of course I am biased and I do appreciate all animals are different and all have endearing qualities, but for me, a guinea pig is awarded 10/10 for being so idyllic. Guinea pigs can live up to 5 to 7 years, so you'll hopefully have many happy years with your little friend.


2) Where will my guinea pig live?

I personally believe that guinea pigs should live in-doors as part of the family. You'll notice more quickly if they are poorly and be able to give them care and attention throughout the day or night. Another option if you really don't have room in your house is that you have a secure hutch inside an out-building like a shed, with heating for the cold winter months. I would not keep guinea pigs in a hutch outside, they can be exposed to all sorts of weather and be vulnerable to predators. So please don't consider this as an option. If you need cage ideas please visit my Housing Page


3) Will my guinea pig need a cage mate?

Yes, guinea pigs are a herd animal and need the company of their own kind to be truly happy. Even if your able to donate a lot of time to your piggy, you can't possibly give them 24hr attention, so getting another guinea pig as a cage mate will stop your piggy becoming lonely when your absent. Together, guinea pigs can develope a close bond with each other, play, talk and do all things piggy, even enjoy a game of tug war with a piece of carrot. Guinea pigs really do love the company of their own kind.




4) Can my guinea pig live with my rabbit?

There are many reasons why you shouldn't allow a guinea pig and a rabbit to live together or even have their free range time together. Rabbits have very strong, powerful back legs and even a small rabbit could really hurt a guinea pig or even kill a guinea pig. You may think that your bunny likes your guinea pig and wouldn't hurt them, but rabbits only have to get excited and they can easily kick out by accident. Having been kicked by accident by our two bunnies, who are the most friendliest bunnies I have ever known, their kicks really hurt and can even cause bruising so imagine what they could do to a guinea pig! Rabbits also have different dietary needs. Rabbits have also been known to bully a guinea pig or try and mount them, so please don't consider mixing guinea pigs and rabbits at any time.


5) Can a guinea pig share the same household with other pets?

Yes, but you need to be extremely cautious. If you have free range predatory animals like a dog or a cat, never leave them together unsupervised, not even for a few seconds. Cats and dogs have natural instincts to hunt and a quick moving piggy could arouse their natural instincts. Even if your cat or dog is very friendly, they may even think that they are just playing with the piggy, not realising they are hurting them. A possible solution would be while your guinea pigs are having their free range time in a safe room ( for example: no wires, no household plants that the inquisitive piggy can reach ) then you could place your cat or dog in another room, leaving messages on doors to alert other family members. You will have to make sure you have a very secure cage for your guinea pig, as some cats or dogs might work out how to open the cage door! Remember young inquisitive toddlers can also learn how to open a cage door. Pets like rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, rats and mice should not be introduced to a guinea pig. Pets like hamsters can bite a guinea pig, even though they are much smaller. In the interest of the guinea pigs safety, its best not to introduce any other type of pet to your guinea pig and be very cautious at all times.


6) Can I afford to keep a guinea pig?

You will need all the initial supplies, cage, bedding, food, accessories like food bowls, water bottles, toys, a secure carrier for vet visits. The accessories will last quite a while, but you will need a constant supply of bedding, hay, pellets and fresh vegetables. One of the most expensive as well as one of the most important things to consider are veterinary bills. If your guinea pig became poorly and needed treatment, would you be willing to pay the veterinary bills?. If the answer is no, please do not adopt a guinea pig or any other pet. As an owner of any pet, you should be fully be prepared to take on the responsibility of making sure your pet is well cared for, happy and trips to the vet when needed.


visit a pet store first and try to look into what are the differrent cages available and then have this cage in a place in your home where your dogs cant access them. after this let me know, we will guide you further.

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