Information and unique products for Dogs, Cats, Rabbits and Backyard Chickens

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bunny Gardening for Beginners

One of the great things about owning a pet rabbit is that you can grow a lot of their food yourself in a backyard garden. In fact, you don’t have to be a master gardener or own a huge plot of land to grow a few of your bunny’s favorites.

Bunny Garden

Container Gardening

If you’re new to the gardening world or have limited space, a great way to grow vegetables is in containers. You can build a 4×4-foot raised bed fairly economically using planks of untreated pine. You could even use scrap wood. But you have to make sure that the wood you choose is free of chemicals that can leach into the soil. In addition to raised beds, you can grow a lot of plants in pots. The key to container gardening is making sure you use a good potting mix that provides essential nutrients, aeration, and moisture control.


Romaine lettuceLettuce is fairly easy to grow. You can direct seed lettuce into a raised bed, and you can grow several plants in a small space.
For head lettuce like romaine, you can grow four heads per square foot. For leaf lettuce, you can grow as many as 16 per square foot. With leaf lettuce, you have the added benefit of being able to clip leaves from the outside and leaving the plant to replenish itself. With head lettuce, once it’s grown, you chop the entire plant and reseed.
Lettuce is a cooler weather crop, thriving in temperatures around 50-60°F (10-15°C). They do best planted in the spring and fall. However, you can find more heat-resistant varieties from seed banks like that you can grow all summer long. In very hot climates, you may want to place your raised bed in a shadier location or construct a shade to keep them cooler.

Bok Choy

Bok choy (aka Chinese cabbage or pak choi) germinates and grows quickly. Direct seed bok choy into a raised bed in the spring or fall as it is a cool weather crop. The soil should be loose and rich. Take care to weed your raised bed so the weeds do not take vital nutrients away from the bok choy plants. After about 45-50 days, bok choy reaches maturity. Be sure to harvest the plants before the weather gets hot because they will bolt (go to seed) quickly.

Rabbit eating carrotCarrots

Carrots can also be directly seeded into a raised bed, although it’s best to use smaller varieties for container gardening. Carrots prefer loose soil, free of rocks, to grow. Aside from thinning the plants to 16 per square foot and keeping the space weed-free, carrots are fairly easy to maintain.
The Paris Market carrots seen here provide just enough of a treat for rabbits. (Carrots should be given sparingly to rabbits.)  They enjoy the leafy tops as well.


Herbs are great for containers. You can grow an assortment of herbs like basil, oregano, mint, parsley, and cilantro that your rabbit will love. Some herbs, like mint, are best placed in pots because they are hardy and spread easily. Mint can easily take over a space if not contained.


What can be easier than growing weeds? Growing dandelions is a snap. Most likely, you’ll even be able to collect the plants and seeds from your own yard (as long as your yard isn’t chemically treated.) If you’re going to plant dandelion seeds, it is best to place them in pots so they don’t spread to the rest of your garden, strangling out other plants. All you do is take a handful of seeds, spread them over the top of your soil, cover them ever so lightly with dirt, and then water. (Dandelion seeds need light to germinate.) Before you know it, you’ll have a pot of delicious greens for your rabbit to enjoy. And these hardy plants keep coming back even after you cut the leaves down.

Some Tips

  • Make sure you thin the seedlings, leaving only the strongest plant in the allotted space. This allows healthy plants the room and nutrients they need to thrive.
  • Make sure the container you use has good drainage. Soil should be moist but not muddy.
  • Alternating the placement of plants by square foot (so that you don’t have all the same kind of plant in one raised bed) can help prevent the occurrence of disease and pests.
  • Plant crops successively for continual harvest.

About the Author

Abi Cushman is the proud owner of two mischievous agouti rabbits named Coco and Cosette. She also co-edits the fun wildlife website called Animal Fact Guide.


Flowers Toxic To Rabbits

Safe Plants For Rabbits

Disclaimer: This list is provided for informational purposes only. To the best of my knowledge, all the plants listed here are safe for rabbits when fed in moderation as directed; however, neither I nor Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm will be responsible in any way for any ill effects that may occur from using these plants. Please use botanical names for identification purposes; common names vary from place to place and are not a reliable tool for identifying plants. 

12 Things You Didn't Know About Rabbits

Easter Infographic: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Rabbits
Infographic: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Rabbits
by Vetstreet

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rabbit Hutch/Cage Size Guide

Rabbit Hutch/Cage Size Guide

Rabbits need somewhere to eat, sleep, hide, and go to the toilet, plus room to hop, run, play, jump, and dig. To provide enough space for all this, the minimum recommended size for the living space, e.g. hutch or cage, is 12 square feet (1.1 square meters), for example 6'x2' (1.8mx0.6m), with the addition of a larger area (32 sq. ft.) for exercise. This is just the minimum though; try to give your rabbit as much space as you can.

Living Space - Minimum 12 sq. ft

Your rabbit's living space should include an enclosed sleeping area, space for a litter tray and feed/water bowls and room to move about and have a few toys. It is essential that your rabbit has the room to stretch in all directions. A living space that's too small can affect your rabbit's health - causing spine problems, muscle wastage and obesity.

Rabbit Hutch Width

A relaxed rabbit will fully stretch out when resting, so your rabbit hutch/cage should be wide enough to allow you rabbit to lie with its legs stretched. This also allows for plenty of room to turn around.
A minimum width of 2' (60cm) is recommended for small to medium sized rabbits and 3' (90cm) for large to giant breeds.

Rabbit Hutch Length

The hutch should be long enough for your rabbit to take at least 3-4 hops without bumping its nose on the end. A medium sized rabbit covers about 18" (45cm) with each hop - see me measuring/photographing my rabbit Scamp hoping here.
Keep in mind the total floor area too, if your hutch is 2' wide, the length would need to need to be 6' to make 12 sq. ft. total.

Rabbit Hutch Height

Rabbits stand up on their back legs to check their environment is safe, and your rabbit's hutch/cage should be tall enough to allow this without your rabbit being hunched over or folding its ears against the roof.
A height of 2' (60cm) is usually adequate for small rabbits but large breeds may need closer to 3' (90cm). It's okay if some areas, for example tunnels or sleeping boxes are lower as long as the majority of the space is full height.

Run/Exercise Space - Minimum 32 sq. ft.

The minimum recommended exercise space is 32 square feet (e.g. 8'x4'). As with the living space, your rabbit will need to be able to stand up fully. Although not compulsory, it also helps to add a little extra height to allow for jumping and for objects to stand jump/stand on. You might like to consider your own height too - being able to comfortably walk inside your rabbits exercise area can make interacting with your rabbit easier.

Linking Living & Exercise Space

Ideally you'd provide the living and exercise space as one large area, or two areas your rabbit can move between freely, for example a cage attached to a pen or a hutch linked with a tunnel or ramp to a secure exercise run.
Keep in mind rabbits are most active in the early mornings and late evenings and may become frustrated if confined to a smaller living area when they most want to be running and playing.

Recommended Hutch/Cage Sizes

These recommendations for accommodation size are based on The Rabbit Code of Practice for the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which states:
The living area should be as large as possible. At least:
  • big enough for your rabbit to lie down and stretch out comfortably in all directions;
  • be high enough for it to stand up on its back legs without its ears touching the top; and
  • be long enough so that it can move around, feed and drink. As a guide, your rabbit should be able to take three hops from one end to another as a minimum.
Your rabbit should have daily access to a run where it can run and jump. The run should be as large as possible to allow your rabbit to stretch upwards to full height and to run, as opposed to just hop.
The RWA (UK) recommend a minimum hutch size of 6' x 2' x 2' with the addition of an exercise run of 8'x4' to meet the duty of care requirements under the Animal Welfare Act. The RSPCA are currently gathering evidence and will present guidelines in 2014.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

ARBA Recognized Rabbit Breeds

ARBA Recognized Breeds
Click here to purchase the New ARBA Standard of Perfection!
The American Rabbit Breeders Association currently recognizes 48 unique rabbit breeds and 13 different breeds of cavies. Within many of these breeds, there are also several (in some cases numerous), varieties (coat and eye-color variations), that demonstrate the diversity which draws so many into the fascinating and rewarding hobby of rabbit and cavy husbandry.

Below are resources that will aid individuals in their decision process when determining which breed or breeds are right for them - whether the focus is on procuring foundation stock for a show or breeding hobby or simply adding a companion animal to the household.

Below are pictures of all currently recognized breeds of rabbits and cavies. Each breed is backed by a national breed specialty club and it is highly recommended that those interested in one or more breeds contact the secretary of the national specialty club for information regarding breeders who may have breeding, show, or pet stock available.

In addition, most national specialty clubs have a website promoting their breed and organization. If a website is available, clicking on that breed's picture below will connect you to the corresponding website for the associated specialty club if a website is available. Please Note: The ARBA does not maintain the websites for the national specialty clubs and is not responsible for the availability of those sites. . Specialty clubs without a valid website address will be linked instead to their club's information found on the National Specialty Clubs page on this website.

The ARBA also offers the Standard of Perfection booklet which contains not only detailed descriptions of each recognized rabbit and cavy breed and variety, but also features a glossary of terms, information related to exhibiting and judging, and more. Published every five years, the Standard of Perfection is the ultimate resource for the rabbit or cavy breeder/exhibitor.

Click here for Breed Abreviations. Click here to jump to cavy breeds.

Visit the American Fuzzy Lop website.
Visit the Beveren website.
Visit the Hotot Rabbit Breeders International website.
Visit the Champagne D'Argent Rabbit Federation website.
Visit the American Checkered Giant Rabbit Club Website.
Visit the Cinnamon RBA website.

Visit the American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club
Visit the Lop Rabbit Club of America website.

Visit the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders website.
Visit the Florida White Rabbit Breeders Association website.
Visit the Lop Rabbit Club of America website.


Visit the Holland Lop Rabbit Specialty Club website.
Visit the National Jersey Wooly Rabbit Club website.
Visit the National Lilac Rabbit Club of America website.
Visit the North American Lionhead Rabbit Club website.
Visit the National Mini Rex Rabbit Club website.

Visit the American Satin Rabbit Breeders Association website.
Visit the American Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club website.
Visit the Palomino Rabbit Co-Breeders Website!

Visit the American Satin Rabbit Breeders Association website.
Visit the National Silver Fox Rabbit Club website.
Visit the American Standard Chinchilla Rabbit Breeders Association website.
Visit the American Tan Rabbit Specialty Club website.

 Visit the American Cavy Breeders Association website…
 View the Abyssinian description on the ACBA website.
 View the Abyssinian Satin description on the ACBA website.

View the American description on the ACBA website.
View the American Satin description on the ACBA website.

 View the Silkie Satin description on the ACBA website.
 View the Teddy description on the ACBA website.

View the Teddy Satin description on the ACBA website.
View the Texel description on the ACBA website.
 View the White Crested description on the ACBA website.

Visit the American Cavy Breeders Association website.

© American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. 2014

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