If you are considering buying a Rabbit for a pet there are a number of important points to remember.
What questions should I ask?
There are lots of questions you should ask the breeder before you buy a bunny.
Is this rabbit suitable for my family and circumstances? Talk to several breeders about the rabbits that are available so that you get the one that is most suitable for you
What will I need to have or do before I can get my bunny? The breeder can advise you about the most suitable hutches to use and the food and equipment you will need before you bring you bunny home.
Has this bunny been handled much? Were its parents friendly, happy healthy bunnies?
Is the hutch they are in clean with plenty of food and water. A clean well fed bunny is much more like to be healthy and vigorous.
Is this bunny healthy? Ask to check the bunnies teeth and ask the breeder to explain teeth malocclusion to you. NEVER buy a bunny with maloccluded teeth—no matter how cute it is! You should check its ears for ear canker and make sure its eyes are clear and bright. You shouldn’t buy a bunny with runny eyes or nose or with noisy breathing as they may be signs of future illness problems.
What diseases can my bunny get? Ask about RCD and Myxomatosis. Ask about vaccinations for RCD and how to protect your bunny against these diseases.
Ask the breeder how to clip your bunnies nails
Ask if your rabbit needs grooming. If so ask to be shown how to groom properly. If you are buying a long haired rabbit the seller should be prepared to spend some time teaching you how to groom. You should also be able to contact the seller later if you are having problems grooming. We do not recommend that you get a long haired rabbit unless you are prepared to spend time grooming or have the bunny clipped regularly.
There are several reasons why you should not buy – or sell - a rabbit before it is eight weeks old. Any member of the West Australian Rabbit Council is bound by our Code of Ethics not to sell bunnies before they are eight weeks old.
A rabbit's stomach operates at a low pH once it is on solid food. The few weeks between switching from milk to solid food involves the baby rabbit (kitten) eating some of its mother's caecal pellets to obtain its own supply of gut bacteria. This bacteria has to develop to proper levels and move the gut environment from neutral to low pH. This takes time to mature, and between 4-8 weeks, the gut pH is often unstable. Hence diarrhoea from stress, sudden changes in diet or too high a level of moisture foods like lettuce can occur. Past 8 weeks they are usually weaned and the gut is more stable in what it can cope with.
Young rabbits have a poor immune system response. This means they do not fight infections as well as an adult can and so get sick very quickly and easily. Their lack of stamina then means treatment is hard to do and they often die at this stage if stressed. After 8 weeks the immune system can then cope much better to diseases that they might meet in their new home.
Behavioural damage. The same happens to kittens and puppies who are weaned too early. They can become aggressive or develop annoying habits to compensate for that early insecurity. Bunnies that are weaned late always seem to be more calm and confident.