Care of Netherland Dwarf Rabbits
Taking care of Netherland Dwarf Rabbits is much like taking care of any rabbit. They make fantastic pets, but you need to learn how to care for them properly to keep them healthy and happy.
You can get one from a show breeder; they often have pet quality rabbits available for reasonable prices.
They will also be able to share tips on how best to care for your new pet. Pet quality rabbits may not be a color recognized for showing, may weigh a bit too much or may have other issues that don't fit the standard that are not related to health.
Before you bring your new Netherland home, you need to have a cage set up. The cage should be the largest you can afford. Your rabbit may be small, but he will appreciate as much room as you can give him. I use 24"X24" cages for mine, although 18"X24" is considered sufficient.
Netherlands are active little rabbits and like to race around, binky, and play with toys. Mine often run laps inside their cage.
You can choose a wire cage for easy cleaning with a tray below to catch droppings, or you can get a solid bottom cage that needs bedding and a litter pan.
Your Netherland Dwarf rabbits will need a food dish and a water bottle. Fresh water should be available to your rabbit at all times. A high quality alfalfa or timothy pelleted feed
is recommended for the bulk of your rabbit's diet. A Netherland only needs about ¼ cup of pellets per day, no matter how much he begs. Overfeeding your Netherland can upset his digestive system, make him fat, and harm his health.
Fresh, green hay is a good supplement. Timothy or orchard grass offers lots of fiber. You can get pellets and hay online or at your local feed store. Feed stores often break down large bales and bags of feed into smaller portions for pet owners.
Fresh herbs and vegetables should be given as treats. Don't overdo it. Herbs like parsley, dandelion leaves, blackberry leaves, lavender, borage and comfrey make excellent, healthy treats. Stay away from cabbage, zucchini, lettuce and other vegetables that are full of a lot of water. They can upset your rabbit's delicate digestive tract.
Netherland Dwarf rabbits have a unique digestive system. They eat their food and it passes through once as a cluster of soft, smelly droppings known as cecotropes. Your rabbit will eat the cecotropes so the food can pass through his system a second time. The wastes that could not be used by the rabbit the second time are passed as the dry droppings most people are familiar with. It is important to keep your rabbit's cage clean. Droppings and urine should be cleaned out a few times per week.
Care of Netherland Dwarf Rabbits during temperature extremes.
During hot weather, keep your pet cool. Netherland Dwarf rabbits can die from heat stroke very easily. A frozen 2 liter bottle usually is adequate on days hotter than 80 degrees. Your rabbit will lie next to it, lick it and possibly play with it. Cold weather can be dealt with by putting more hay or straw in your bunny's cage for him to burrow into.
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