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08 May 2008 @ 12:39 am
Flemish Giant & general care questions  
Hello!  I'm a new member.

We have a ten week old (or so) Flemish Giant named Duke.  We've had him for about three weeks and I'm fairly certain he's doubled his size since then.  He is a sweetheart who loves being pet.

We've been feeding him unlimited pellets and unlimited Timothy hay.

We took him to the vet yesterday for a "well bunny check".  I just wanted to ask some questions and the vet was awesome.  But she said to feed Duke unlimited hay and only about 1/8 cup of pellets per day (as a treat).  This seems to contradict what I've read online at the House Rabbit Society.  I don't want a fat rabbit, but I also don't want to starve my little (soon to be very big) guy.  So...suggestions?

I have a question regarding hay also: I bought a 1# bag of Timothy hay at Petco and the hay had nice long strands.  It looked like tasty hay.  When we ran out I sent my husband to buy more.  He came back with the Petco brand Timothy Hay.  The stuff looks and feels like yard clippings.  Which do you think is better?  Or does it matter?  Duke always ate all of the stuff I bought, but it seems as if there is always leftovers with the new stuff.
We are having a small issue with nibbling on clothes.  Any suggestions?  I gently redirect him, so it doesn't bother me much.  But he is officially my six year's bunny and she is scared of being bitten.  He did get through to skin when he was "exploring" her pants.  It was my fault.  I thought he was just sniffing.

What do you use as bedding?  How often do you change it?  Duke is mostly litter box trained, but he does leave pellets in his cage (which seems normal from what I've read).  Should I be scooping out  the random pellets once a day and change everything every couple of days?  He will use the litter box and then suddenly switch where he urinates (to the opposite  side of his cage).  I've been moving the litter box to his "hot spot" where it might be.  Is this correct?

Grooming?  What kind of brush do you use?  The soft hair brushes don't seem as if they would do the trick and the wire brushes look scary.

Duke has a four foot long cage where his litter box, food, and water are kept.  It is a wire cage with a solid bottom.  The door to his cage is left open and his cage is surrounded by a kid's play yard.  It is a temporary solution and we are working on expanding his space.  He can enter his cage when he wants and he also has some room to hop too.  In the past few days he has started hopping on top of his cage to have a look around.  So far, he hasn't made a move to hop *out* of his cage.  But it is a concern I have.  We are in the process of moving, so the house is absolutely not bunny proofed (hence, the play yard).  Tonight when he was hopping down from the top of his cage it seemed as if he got a foot caught in the wire top of his cage.  That seems as if it would be a bad thing.  Should I look at making the top a solid surface for him?  Is he likely to try and jump out?

Duke likes to sit in his litter box (regardless of whether or not the cage door is left open).  Do bunnies like to feel surrounded by something?  If so, what do you recommend to fill that need? I'm fine with him sitting in his litter box, if there is a bunny-need not being met, I'd like to fix it.

Finally, how do you pick up your bunnies?  I was picking Duke up  around the middle, scooping him up, and then holding him close to me and he seems fine with that.  But the vet & co. did this thing where they slid their fingers underneath him and held his feet while they lifted him up.  It seemed pretty nifty, but I can't figure out how they did it and Duke hops away when I try it (but he's fine with the way I was picking him up).  The vet said Flemish Giants can easily suffer back trauma because of their size (weight and length), so I'd like to get the pick up correct now.
Kitzira: DW - Lonely Angelkitzira on May 8th, 2008 08:41 am (UTC)
For a young rabbit, I've usually understood that it's unlimited pellets (well, reasonable amount.. a bowl per day) and occasional handfuls of alfalfa along with the timothy until they're 6 month of age.

The Hay should be long and green. If it's lost its greenness, don't buy it.

Bedding, I've always used carefresh for my own animals and aspen for the animals at the shelter. As long as it's not pine or cedar, you can try anything you want.

As a secondary comment to the litter-box training, if it's not neutered, he'll start leaving pee and poop everywhere, marking his territory. As he gets older, he may get a bit aggressive as well. So it would be good to talk to the vet about the best time to neuter him.

And with picking him up, you do want to support the butt/hindquarters someway. If he freaks out and kicks out his hind legs while only being held at the chest or belly, he can screw up his spine that way.