Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Secret, Revealed...................

My orders of new nipples for my rabbits arrived 2 days ago. It's not until now I'm able to look at the nipples carefully and I wonder how this nipples work.
So, I decided to dismantle one of the nipple and study it.
As you can see in the picture, the mechanism is very, very simple. a steel rod joined to a spring and attach to a red plastic screw thing.
To open this, I just used my furniture's Allen Key ( I think that's what they call it ). That mean the nipples can be adjusted to serve water to the animals.
If you push the steel rod and find it hard to move, just loosen the red plastic screw thing until you satisfied.

And to join the nipples together, 8mm tubes are the best solution. But how to join the tube to the bottle cap?
My solution is, use the tubeless motor tire valve. Cost me RM4.50 each and you can see it in the picture. But you have to remove the core inside it first.
If you don't remove it, there will be no water flow inside it. After that, assemble the valve as you like.

Now, after knowing the secret inside the nipples, I will assemble it, maybe during this weekend and I'll post back the result.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monsoon Season... The Season That Sometimes Kills

Malaysia is now in the Monsoon Season. This season is most feared by all farmers and breeders. During this season, the unpredictable strong wind and heavy rainfall can cause death. The drop in the temperature at night can also kill the younglings. And afar from that, there are also some diseases that attack the rabbit during the rainy season in Malaysia. Several gastrointestinal diseases are most common and how to prevent and cure them:

1. Colibacillosis (
A diarrhea disease caused by Escherichia coli )

A. Etiology: Escherichia coli is a gram-negative, lactose-fermenting, indole positive rod. Rabbits are known to be affected by non-toxin producing, enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). EPEC adhere to the intestinal mucosa through a 2-step process. First, a bacterial pilus first allows attachment of the bacterial cell to the enterocyte. Second, a more intimate attachment through the eae pathogenicity island disrupts the cytoskeleton and destroys microvilli. A secretory diarrhea is induced by an unknown mechanism. Receptors for EPEC attachment to the epithelial cells are not present in newborn rabbits. They first appear at 21 days and reach normal adult levels by 35 days. The stress of weaning and loss of passively acquired maternal antibody contribute to susceptibility at this time.

B. Clinical Signs: Rabbits have diarrhea, fever, anorexia, and may consume more water than usual.

C. Pathology: Fecal-stained perineal fur and fluid-filled intestinal contents with serosal vascular injection are seen. Edema and pyogranulomatous cellularity of the lamina propria without mucosal ulceration are prominent histopathologic findings. Edema or hemorrhage can be seen in the submucosa. Small bacterial rods (arrow) adhered to and effacing enterocyte margins are common in the ileum and cecum.

D. Treatment: Fluid therapy and supportive care are indicated. The salicylates in Pepto bismol may be protective. Chlorpromazine (1 to 10 mg/kg IM) may help decrease fluid loss from the the secretory diarrhea.

2. Tyzzer's Disease

A. Etiology: Clostridium piliforme, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is a Gram-negative, pleomorphic, filamentous organism that can produce spores.

B. Transmission: The disease is spread by spore ingestion (fecal-oral). Spores can remain viable at moderate to freezing temperatures for extended periods of time (> 1 year). The disease is perpetuated in breeding colonies by the infection of bunnies born into the colony. The incidence of disease is moderate.

C. Clinical Signs: Usually rabbits are affected shortly after weaning when passive immunity, if present, has waned. Acute, profuse watery to mucoid diarrhea, dehydration and death within 12 to 48 hours after onset of diarrhea are typical. The mortality rate is high. Exposure of naive adult rabbits may cause little to no clinical disease.

D. Pathology: Lesions in weanling rabbits include edema and hemorrhage of mucosa, submucosa, and musculature of intestinal tract (A.). It is unusual to see an enlarged liver with multifocal tan to yellow foci of necrosis or hemorrhage of the myocardium as is described in the literature. Extensive mucosal necrosis with a granulomatous cellular mucosal infiltrate may occur in the ileum, cecum, and proximal colon. Visualization of the bacterium is enhanced with use of silver stains. Argyrophilic intracellular bacteria in clusters or "pick-up-sticks" or haystack clumps are present in viable enterocytes in areas of granulomatous enteritis (B.), and if heaptic necrosis is observed, in hepatocytes adjacent to an area of necrosis.

E. Diagnosis: Histopathological examination of liver or cecum stained with silver will be diagnostic if intracellular bacterial rods are observed. PCR of feces, intestinal tissue or liver can be used to document the presence of the bacterium. An ELISA is useful to detect antibody in recovered or asymptomatically infected rabbits.

F. Treatment: No therapy has been uniformly successful. Supportive therapy may help when the enteric disease is mild and the rabbit is still eating.
G. Control: Prevent overcrowding and use good sanitation techniques. Stresses such as weaning and high environmental temperature may precipitate an outbreak. To minimize the stress of weaning, let the bunnies stay in the original cage and remove the doe. Work to prevent temperature fluctuations and keep the rabbits well-ventilated in high temperatures with fans. The spores are resistant to many disinfectants. A 1% bleach solution will inactivate spores that remain after the fecal material has been washed off soiled cages. Temperatures of water used to clean cages may also inactivate spores if the cages and supplies are allowed to contact 180oF water for no less than 15 minutes.

3. Coccidiosis

A. Hepatic Coccidia

1. Etiology: Eimeria stiedae

2. Transmission: Ingestion of sporulated oocysts (unsporulated in freshly voided feces) is the mode of transmission. The incidence of infection is moderate to high.

3. Pathogenesis: Eimeria stiedae excysts in the duodenum, travels to the liver via the bloodstream or lymphatic, and invades epithelial cells of bile ducts to begin schizogeny.

4. Clinical Signs: Signs predominate in young rabbits and may include anorexia, debilitation, and pendulous abdomen with hepatomegaly noted on abdominal palpation. Mortality is low except in young rabbits.

5. Pathology: An enlarged liver with multifocal, flat, yellow-white lesions containing yellow exudate and occasionally a distended gallbladder that contains bile may be seen at necropsy (A.). The pathognomonic microscopic lesion is marked periportal fibrosis surrounding enlarged bile ducts lined with hyperplastic bile duct epithelium that harbors inflammatory cell infiltrates, and E. stiedae macrogametes, microgametocytes and oocysts.

7. Diagnosis: An antemortem diagnosis can be made by examination of feces by direct smear, flotation or concentration/flotation methods. It can be difficult to identify E. steidae oocysts in fecal specimens since they may not be readily shed in the bile. On necropsy, the recognition of the flat liver lesions and identification of oocysts in the bile provide diagnostic information. The histological appearance of liver with identification of intraepithelial coccidial organisms will allow diagnosis from tissue biopsies.

8. Treatment: Drugs approved as coccidiostats for rabbits used for meat in US include sulfamerazine (0.02% in water), sulfaquinoxaline (0.05% in water or 0.03% in feed), sulfamethoxine (75 mg/kg BW in feed), and lasalocid (68-113 gms per ton of feed). Hepatic coccidia are difficult to eliminate with anticoccidial therapy, and lasalocid has been the most successful of the listed drugs in treating hepatic coccidiosis.

9. Control: Rabbits should be housed on wire-meshed floors. Bottoms of cages are to be brushed daily to remove adherent feces, and cleaned and disinfected regularly (1% chlorox). Weanlings should be raised separate from adults. Feeding fresh greens or hay will prevent use of forage that may be contaminated with droppings from wild rabbits.

B. Intestinal Coccidia 

1. Etiology: Eimeria magna, Eimeria irresidua, Eimeria perforans, and Eimeria media are frequently observed pathogenic species. All species infect the intestinal tract and replicate in the absorptive epithelium of the mucosa.

2. Transmission: Transmission occurs by ingestion of sporulated oocysts. Incidence of infection is high.

3. Clinical Signs: Signs vary and are most severe in young rabbits. Poor weight gain, diarrhea ranging from mucoid to watery to hemorrhagic, polydipsia and sometimes acute death are seen. Older rabbits may shed coccidial oocysts without expression of clinical disease.

4. Gross Pathology: Fluid intestinal contents are often observed in heavily parasitized rabbits. One may see multiple white patches or ulcers on mucosal surface of the small or large intestine.

5. Diagnosis: Antemortem diagnosis can be made by examination of feces by direct smear, flotation or concentration/flotation methods. A postmortem diagnosis can be made on examination of mucosal scrapings and by observation of coccidial organisms on histological sections of intestine.

6. Treatment: As mentioned in the above section, drugs approved as coccidiostats for rabbits used for meat in US include sulfamerazine (0.02% in water), sulfaquinoxaline (0.05% in water or 0.03% in feed), sulfamethoxine (75 mg/kg BW in feed), and lasalocid (68-113 gms per ton of feed) have been provided in schedules of 3-weeks-on / 3-weeks-off periods.

7. Control: Rabbits should be housed on wire-meshed floors. Bottoms of cages are to be brushed daily to remove adherent feces, and cleaned and disinfected regularly (1% chlorox). Weanlings should be raised separately from adults. Feeding fresh greens or hay will prevent use of forage that may be contaminated with droppings from wild rabbits.


Taken from: All About Animals

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Brass or Steel ?

In my previous post I show 2 new gadget for the bunnies, today I'll post the same item, the nipple head, but from different material.
On my last post the nipple head was made using brass, but this one is made of stainless steel. After a few consultation I got from fellow breeders, they said that the brass can rust over a few period of time but not with the stainless steel. So, they suggest that for longer performance, the stainless steel is the best.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Acceptable Fruits and Vegetables for Rabbits


alfalfa, radish and clover sprouts
beet greens*
bok choy
brussels sprouts
carrots and tops*
collard greens
dandelion greens (pesticide free!)
green peppers
mustard greens
pea pods (a.k.a. Chinese pea pods)*
peppermint leaves
radish tops
raspberry leaves
romaine lettuce (NO iceberg or light-colored leaves!)
turnip greens
wheat grass 
FRUIT (NO seeds or pits)
apple (no seeds)
pineapple (beneficial enzymes)
papaya (beneficial enzymes)
Sugary fruits such as bananas and grapes should be fed only as occasional
*Good source of vitamin A, feed at least one daily 
**high in either oxalates or goitrogens, use sparingly 

Some Treats For Your Bunnies

Here are some recipe to feed your bunny… enjoy it.

( taken from the net )



500g grass hay
1cupo freshly cut grass
1/4 freshly picked clover
 green beans
2 celery tops-the leaves from the top of a stick of celery
6 carrot tops-just the leaves from freshly picked carrots
1/2cm slice of carrot(no more)
Serving method
Rinse your ingredients with clean water and serve immediately
Alternative greens include dandelions and radish tops.

Treats for rabbits
1 slice of apple,0.5cm thick
2-3 raisins
 pistachio nut
pinch of oatmeal
apple cider
dish of
 herbal tea
Serve treats fresh to your rabbit

Rabbits feelings poorly
2kg grass hay
1 cup freshly picked grass and clover
Serve fresh to your rabbit.



Foods rabbits, guinea pigs should avoid
Brassicaceous vegetables
Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale can cause too much gas to be produced if fed in large amounts to rabbits and guinea pigs

High Oxalate vegetables
Greens such as Spinach, beet leaves and to a lesser extent parsley can have high levels of oxalates. Fed in high amounts these can interfere with calcium metabolism and cause damage to kidneys. Carnivores are unlikely to consume enough of these to cause a problem but herbivores such as rabbits and guinea pigs could be at risk if fed these greens as the bulk of their diet. They are not a problem if they are fed in small amounts to healthy animals

Grain-based diets
These are too high in energy and do not contain enough effective roughage. the high energy results in fat pets and the lack of roughage contributes to dental diseases and poor intestinal health.

Recipes from Nibble Munch Chomp, the art and science of feeding your pet, by Dr. Sasha Herbert-Senior vet at the lord smith animal hospital.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Gadget On The Way.........

I've been searching for another alternatives to make my task feeding the rabbits easier. So, After searching the net, I finally found 2 item that can make my task easy.

Water Nipple Head - can be attached to a 8mm pipe and can be adjust to only use a single line  piping and single water tank. The spring that hold the nipple head is the main holder to make sure that the head never fall.

Zinc Pellet Box - will be the replacement for all my clay feeder and the metal feeder, which look alike but more expensive.

All of this will be arriving soon and for next year ( a week from now), My cages will be modified and a new installation will be made.


KNZ Supplies Enterprise

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Raya Eve Tragedy.........Monkey ATTACK!!!

Today, after breaking fast I heard a havoc in my bunny cages. I went to the cages and saw a monkey jumping around on the cages. A MONKEY. Where the heck it come from ? After I throw some peebles, the monkey climb up to the roof and ran using the power line.
I went to my cages and what a shock. 5 of my bunnies, including one of my friend's died. Their neck are broken and I cannot do a thing. This is my first time I've been attacked by a monkey. This surrounding area never had monkey before. The monkey reach the bunnies through the cages and this is my mistake, I never realized that the gap between the bars on the cage can be breached. Here is the sample of the cage.

The others that use another type of cage are safe. The gaps between the bars are small so the monkey cannot put it arms inside the cage. Here is the safest cage.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Glorious Moment Is Here

During this festive seasons, we, the management of K&Z Supplies Rabbitry would like to wish all readers 'Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri'. 

Kami ingin memohon keampunan sekiranya kami ada melakukan sebarang kesilapan, samada dengan tutur kata atau tingkah laku, gurauan yang tak kena tempat dan sebagainya.. MAAF ZAHIR BATIN.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Some improvements

10 days had past and the bunnies got better and made some improvements. Some of the infected areas had dry up and revealed a new skin. Maybe i have to wait for a few more days to returned it to their owner.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm a Vet Now ....?

Actually there is nothing to post right now. I've been tending sick bunnies for almost 2 weeks now. They are not mine. They belongs to my friends. I'm just helping them. There are 9 bunnies infected with the sickness. They got mites and I've injected them with Ivermec, got from the vet clinic here in Terengganu. Some got better and some got worst. The worst one need to be re-inject with Ivermec.. again. These bunnies will be quarantine for 4@5 weeks to make sure they never be infected again.

Here is some explanation about mites :
Ear mites - this is very common. It is caused by the mite Psoroptes cuniculi. Sometimes another mite is involved - Sarcoptes scabiei, however this mite tends to prefer the whole head area and feet and not just the ears (note that this is a mite that isn't particular about who it infects, if you handle your infected bunny, you will also start to get itchy lesions too). What you commonly find is that your rabbit starts to shake its head a lot and scratch their ears. You would also notice greyish crusty material on the ear lobe and the ears stink.
- This notes was taken from :

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My First Open Sale

Today is my first ever selling bunnies on open market. A very hectic, tiresome and full of crowd day. I snap a few pics but forgot to snap a few pics of the crowd gathering on my booth. Actually the booth is owned by Teluk Ketapang Youth Club (MAYC). I just take a corner of the booth.
A managed to sell a few pairs of bunnies and lot's of booking.
Here's the pics :

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our First Outdoor Sale

K&Z Supplies Rabbitry will be taking part in Hari Belia Peringkat Negeri Terengganu at Kompleks Stadium Tertutup Gong Badak on this Thursday, 29 July 2010. We will be selling some local bunnies during the one day event and we invite all to attend at our booth. More about this event will be posted soon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What is Nopstress ?

NOPSTRESS WITH ELECTROLYTES Nopstress is scientifically formulated combination of water soluble electrolytes and vitamins to combat stress in poultry during hot weather, vaccination, disease, transportation, etc. It supplies the essential vitamins which are especially required to improve resistance to disease infection during stress. Nopstress is easily dissolved in water, leaving no residue and sedimentation. 

contains per 150g:
Vit A - 1.0mil IU
Vit. D3 - 200,000 ICU
Vit. E - 300 IU
Vit. B6 - 200mg
Vit. B12 - 1.0mg
Ascorbic Acid - 2,000mg
Folic Acid - 25mg
Vitamin K(MSB) - 500mg

Contains Electrolytes of Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium as the Chloride, Acetate and Di acetate salts.

Direction for use:
for tank and barrels
dissolved 150g (1pct) in 200L of water. mix thoroughly

for automatic medicators
Dissolved 375g in 4L of water. Set the medicator to deliver 40ml of solution/4L of drinking water.

Use as sole source of water
Make sufficient fresh solution daily and to be consumed within 24hr. change medicated water every 24 hrs.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

HOW DO I KNOW MY RABBIT IS PREGNANT - Taken From Shamza Blogpost

Many people don't realize their rabbit is pregnant until she begins to have babies. But there are a few signs to look for that might give you an idea before then:
    • your rabbit begins to gather hay in her mouth
    • your rabbit puts on a lot of weight in the abdomen
    • your rabbit starts to dig in her feed bowl
    • you see movement in your rabbit's abdomen
    • your rabbit starts to pluck fur from her legs, abdomen, and sometimes back
None of these is sufficient to diagnose pregnancy. Rabbits do have false pregnancies, gain weight, and dig in the bowls for other reasons. And, conversely, many pregnant does show no signs of pregnancies until a few minutes before they are ready to kindle.
About 11 to 15 days after breeding, an experienced breeder can palpate a doe and often determine whether she is pregnant. It's definitely possible to miss the small fetuses or to detect fetuses that fail to mature.
By about day 27 or 28, it is possible to feel the fetuses once more in the abdomen. It takes much less skill at this point to feel the babies, but it does help you if you know what an non-pregnant doe feels like.
What To Do
Unless your doe is underfed, there is no need to increase her feed during pregnancy, though some breeders will increase it during the last week. The exception is for very large breeds that produce huge litters. I do not increase the feed for my Hollands when they are pregnant.
If you know when your doe was bred, place a kindling box into her cage on day 28. She is due on day 31. Yes, it is just 31 days from breeding to kindling!
If you don't know when or whether she was bred, place the kindling box into her cage now. Be sure to keep an eye on her because does will use the nest box as a litter box if it is placed too soon. You will need to clean the hay as needed.
You can fill the box with hay or straw. Or, you can place the hay or straw into her cage and she will make the nest herself.
You can make your own nest boxes. Or, you can order them from an on-line rabbit supply company such as Bass Equipment Company.
You can read more about caring for newborns at The Nature Trail Rabbitry.

False Alarm

Once you are sure that your doe has not been with a male for at least 35 days, you can assume that the pregnancy was a false alarm. 

Source :

Merging To A New Era

As I stated before, this is not just a part time game but it will be my additional income. So, to make it more business-like, I merge this project into one of my company, K&N Supplies Enterprise and name this project as K&N Supplies Rabbitry. 
So, from now on, all transactions will be made under this company. I will post the bank account later when the new batch is ready to enter the market.
Here's the new logo :

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The New Bunnies

Here are the pictures of the new batch of bunnies I bought. These pictures are taken from their owners' blog post.
Sorry, only 4 pictures of NZW can be obtain. The Chinchilla pic will be uploaded soon.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Bunnies in The Joint

The last batch of my new bunnies arrived early this morning (Saturday). 5.00am to be exact. The first batch arrive 1 hour late, at 6.00 pm on Thursday. They all arrived by Transnasional buses. Thanks to pakcik drivers. The new bunnies adapt very quick and their condition are very energetic after a long 7 hours of journey inside a box. Their pictures will be uploaded soon.

I've been thinking why there are not a single company that can transport pets like rabbits, cats, goats or anything breathing in Malaysia? This is to be consider as a new business. For what I see that there are lots of needs for this kind of business.

Maybe our MyRPA can do something about it. Buy a fully equip and state of the art van or small lorry for this business. open braches in every major city and we might even lead the this business.

That's just my point of view.

To Shamza, the chinchilla is very big and heavy, my daughter call it giant. And the NZW is so adorable. She made a spin when you pat it on the back.

To NewHillz, the buck has a unique tattoo and the does are really hungry.

Thanks to both of you, Shamza and NewHillz, maybe I can buy lops from you, maybe next few months.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ketapang Bunnies and Teluk Ketapang Homestay

I just integrated this blog with Facebook and received lots of queries and comments regarding this blog. For your information, Ketapang Bunnies is part of Teluk Ketapang Homestay product. We are still improving our rabbitry to house more high quality bunnies. So far we accommodate 20 bunnies ( after we sold 34 bunnies last month ) and will received 5 more bunnies in a few days. The 20 bunnies we have are pet bunnies ( mostly a cross breed between Lionhead and Anggora, we call them Ganu Fluffy ) and the additional five are meat bunnies ( 4 New Zealand White and a Chincilla ).

Our rabbitry are schedule to be open to public in November 2010. but lot's of work still in progress. For those who want to buy some bunnies from us, please wait for our announcement or advertisement.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Improvements !

It has been more than two months I post on this blog. I'm very busy in the past 2 months and not been able to make post. Now, with all the works are done, maybe I can start to make new post regularly.

On my previous posts maybe you've seen my cages, the wooden ones and after using it for a few months, the BRC and the woods start to break and some are beyond repairs. So I sketch a diagram and sent it to a welding shop to make a new one, TWO new ones.

here are some of the old cage pictures :

Above : When it's new
Below : When it's old and broken

These are the pictures of the new cages :

I'm still waiting for 4 NZW and a Chinchilla to arrive maybe next day or so.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

RABBIT DIET - Taken from Shamza's Blog

What are the basics of a good house rabbit diet?

A rabbit's diet should be made up of good quality pellets, fresh hay (alfalfa, timothy or oat), water and fresh vegetables. Anything beyond that is a "treat" and should be given in limited quantities.

What makes a good pellet?

Pellets should be fresh, and should be relatively high in fiber (18% minimum fiber). Do not purchase more than 6 weeks worth of feed at a time, as it will become spoiled. Pellets should make up less of a rabbit's diet as he or she grows older, and hay should be available 24 hours a day.

What kinds of veggies should I feed my rabbit?

When shopping for vegetables , look for a selection of different veggies--look for both dark leafy veggies and root vegetables, and try to get different colors. Stay away from beans and rhubarb. Here's a suggested veggie list.

Is feeding hay important?

Hay is essential to a rabbit's good health, providing roughage which reduces the danger of hairballs and other blockages. Apple tree twigs also provide good roughage.

What quantities of food should I feed babies and "teenagers"?

  • Birth to 3 weeks--mother's milk
  • 3 to 4 weeks--mother's milk, nibbles of alfalfa and pellets
  • 4 to 7 weeks--mother's milk, access to alfalfa and pellets
  • 7 weeks to 7 months--unlimited pellets, unlimited hay (plus see 12 weeks below)
  • 12 weeks--introduce vegetables (one at a time, quantities under 1/2 oz.)

What quantities of food should I feed young adults? (7 months to 1 year)

  • introduce timothy hay, grass hay, and oat hays, decrease alfalfa
  • decrease pellets to 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. body weight
  • increase daily vegetables gradually
  • fruit daily ration no more than 1 oz. to 2 oz. per 6 lbs. body weight (because of calories)

What quantities of food should I feed mature adults? (1 to 5 years)

  • Unlimited timothy, grass hay, oat hay, straw
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pellets per 6 lbs. body weight (depending on metabolism and/or proportionate to veggies)
  • Minimum 2 cups chopped vegetables per 6 lbs. body weight
  • fruit daily ration no more than 2 oz. (2 TBL) per 6 lbs. body weight.

What quantities of food should I feed senior rabbits? (Over 6 years)

  • If sufficient weight is maintained, continue adult diet
  • Frail, older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up. Alfalfa can be given to underweight rabbits, only if calcium levels are normal. Annual blood workups are highly recommended for geriatric rabbits.

If I feed fewer pellets, how do I compensate?

When you feed a lower quantity of pellets, you must replace the nutritional value without the calories, which is done by increasing the vegetables. Also, a variety of hay and straw must be encouraged all day long, we do this by offering fresh hay a couple of times a day.

Related Articles

  • Suggested Veggies

  • Suggested Fruits

  • Veggie shopping list for your mobile phone

  • Poisonous Plants List (from OR Rabbit Advocates)

  • Pellet Nutrition

  • Food Pyramid

  • The Importance of Fiber

  • FAQ: Treat Foods

  • Lowering Blood Calcium

  • Natural Nutrition Part II: Pellets and Veggies

  • Digestibility in the Rabbit Diet

  • Primary Author(s): Marinell Harriman
    Sources: HRH, various articles from the HRJ, RHN

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    Fact About Rabbit - New Zealand White

    New Zealand white rabbits are a breed of rabbit, which despite the name, are American in origin. In 1916, W.S. Preshaw bred the first litter of New Zealand white rabbits with a plan to produce a rabbit that would be excellent for meat and fur trade. The original breeds that were used are unknown, but Angoras are believed to have played some part. (Verhallen 23-35)


    New Zealand white rabbits were bred for their meat and fur, but their body type helped to contribute to them becoming the favorite breed of domestic rabbit. New Zealand whites have well-rounded bodies; slender and muscular faces with round cheeks; large, long back feet; and small, short front feet (Rubins). They have long perforrated ears that stand straight up. Unlike the thick, snowy fur on their bodies, their ears have shorter fur that allows the delicate pale pink of their skin to show through (Rubins). The most noticeable characteristic of New Zealand white rabbits is their bright eyes, which range in shade from pale pink to bright ruby red (Rubins).
    New Zealand white rabbits have large, broad, and muscular bodies. Bucks (males) weigh between 8-10 pounds, while the does (females) weigh between 9-12 pounds (Verhallen 23-35). In addition to their greater size, females are distinguished by the presence of a dewlap, which is flap of fur below the chin that is pulled for a nesting box during pregnancies.


    New Zealand white rabbits have a genetic deviation called albinism. Albinism is caused by a lack of melanin, which is a vital pigment that gives all creatures, including humans, their skin/ fur/ hair/ eye color. The snowy coat of a New Zealand white rabbit is a normal length like other rabbit breeds.


    The diet of a New Zealand white rabbit is no different than for any of other rabbit breeds. A high quality feed pellet (protein ~ 15-16%), along with unlimited timothy hay and fresh water and exercise will maintain a healthy individual.

    Domestic use

    In the beginning New Zealand white rabbits were not bred to be a domestic pet. Instead they were bred for their excellent fur and meat. Fryers are slaughtered at two months of age and older rabbits are sold as roasters. The rabbits with high grades of fur are used to make fur coats and fur trimmings. The lower grades are used to make felt hats and glove linings ("Commercial Rabbit Raising"). New Zealand white rabbits are the number one meat rabbit in the United States (Bare 63-65).
    Along with commercial purposes, New Zealand white rabbits are also used for laboratory purposes. Over one million New Zealand white rabbits execute roles during laboratory testing. Rabbits react similarly to humans to diseases and medications. This reaction allows them to be used at pharmaceutical laboratories, the U.S. Public Health building, cancer research centers, and university hospitals. New Zealand white rabbits have been used to develop tests and drugs for diseases like diabetes, diphtheria, tuberculosis, cancer, and heart disease. The effects of skin creams, cosmetics, special diets, and food additives have also been tested on New Zealand white rabbits. (Bare 63-65)


    A female rabbit (doe) is fertile all year long. The gestation period is around 28–31 days. A few days before birth, a nest box should be provided for the new mother. The doe will pull fur from her dewlap and, along with hay or other materials provided, will create a nest. The young are called kittens and are born hairless with their eyes closed. Fur begins to grow in by day 5 or 6 and after 10 to 12 days the kits' eyes will open. At the age of three weeks their mother will begin to wean them off milk, meanwhile the kits will begin to eat hay and pellets. The average number of kits per litter is six but can range from two to twelve. Because rabbits are induced ovulators a doe can become pregnant by the simple act of mating if conditions are right. A doe can get pregnant soon after birth.
    Cannibalism is rare but can happen. In the wild it is a defensive mechanism to remove all blood and dead tissue from the nesting area to avoid detection by predators. If young are stillborn or die after birth, many times the doe will ingest the remains. Males (bucks) rabbits have no part in raising the young. In the wild, bucks will kill litters to induce the female to mate with them, therefore passing along his genes. (Rabbit Production, Cheeke et al.)
    New Zealand Whites are popular rabbits as pets, in the show ring, and unfortunately in the laboratory and meat/fur farm. New Zealand White Rabbits are easily distinguished by their relatively large and solid bodies covered in dense white fur, their upstanding white ears, and their red eyes. New Zealand Whites have become the poster child of the Easter Season, and are often depicted as being the Easter Bunny.
    The name "New Zealand White" is a bit of a misnomer however, as New Zealand Whites were originally bred in America. They were destined for the meat and fur trade even at their inception, and fate has not been much kinder with their widespread use in laboratories. However, as with many animals bred to be slaughtered or tested on, the New Zealand White Rabbit has a cheerful and friendly disposition. They are affectionate, intelligent, and one of the easier breeds to teach tricks. These factors make the New Zealand White an ideal pet choice, as unlike many of the other rabbit breeds, they are less likely to be standoffish and aggressive.
    How big will they get ?
    Generally New Zealand White Rabbits grow to the following sizes:
    Buck: 4 - 5 kgs / 9 - 11 lbs
    Doe: 4.5 - 5.5 kgs / 10 - 12 lbs
    If you are interested in showing your New Zealand White Rabbit, here are some of the characteristics you should be looking for:
    Head: Should be strong and muscular looking, but should not be out of proportion with the rest of the body. The neck should not be long, in fact, a non-existent looking neck is highly regarded in the New Zealand White Rabbit. Those little red eyes should be bright and alert, and should be a nice deep red, and the ears should stand erect.
    Body: The New Zealand White should have a broad and muscular body, well shaped, with large, long back feet and short front feet. There should be plenty of 'meat on the bones', though this should not tip over into sloppy heaviness. The toenails should be either white or flesh colored. The fur should be nice and dense, and should be a lovely white color. It should not be too soft, but have a stiffness to it. If your rabbit is moulting, it is not a good time to show him or her.
    Faults: It is not considered positive if a New Zealand White is too long, or too short in the body, has fur that is woolly or stained, or that tends towards a yellowy cream color rather than white. Long narrow heads also find disfavor, as do ears that don't stand nicely erect.
    Showing rabbits can be a lot of fun, but even if your New Zealand White isn't a champion, they are sure to be a delightful pet and a quiet and gentle companion.


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