You are here:

Rabbits/Mini Rex Diet questions

Advertisement


Question
My daughter just adopted a mini rex/lop cross.  'Hazel' is 8 weeks old.  We are first time rabbit owners, and are very confused at the variety of diet 'recommendations' that seem to conflict when feeding a mini rex.

We do keep plenty of timothy grass and water available.  We usually feed 1/8 cup of pellets in the morning, and 1/8 cup of pellets in the evening.  Is this okay?

Is it okay to feed her 1 cup of fresh greens daily?  We've been feeding green leaf lettuce and cilantro, both of which she loves.  We also include 1 mini carrot sliced, and will sometimes top it with a sliver of strawberry.  We have also included kale and a little parsley in these 'salads', but she's not fond of either of those.

We've given her Kaytee brand Timothy biscuits baked with carrots, one a day.  She's only had them twice, but loves them.  We cut them in quarters for her.  Are these okay  for her?

We've given her Vitakraft Slims with carrot, 1/2 a slim per day. She's had 3 'halves' so far. Is this okay?

We just purchased a rabbit mineral lick.  Have not given it to her yet.  Is she okay to have these?

Will her diet change once she reaches 'maturity', and is that at approximately 4 months?

Last question.  When is it appropriate to have her spayed?

Thank you so much for your assistance!  We sure do want to do care for Hazel properly!

Answer
Hi she's very young,

avoid greens and veggies and fruit until 6 months old.

she needs to learn how to love hay right now.  timothy and alfalfa hay are okay now, more timothy than alfalfa, as you will need to stop giving her this at 1 year old.  Hay cubes are fine as treats, and timothy pellets are good now.  Get a good brand like oxbow, without any extra crap in it, just pellets - no fruit, seeds etc.  Just hay pellets.  1/8 and 1/8 are just fine for her.

mini rexes have a genetic tendency to put on weight very easy.  this is important to know once they are done growing at age 1.  if she is real active and runs a lot 1/8 and 1/8 pellets will be okay most likely.  If she is more sedentary and she starts gaining weight you may need to go to 1/8 and 1/16.  It's okay if she's hungry she'll eat more hay and that is exactly what you want anyway.  timothy hay.

at six months you can SLOWLY start giving greens in small amounts.  watch her behavior and if she gets gas pains or gets off food, just be aware you're messing with a delicate gut because they ferment in their cecum, and the bacteria makeup in there is very touchy to dietary changes.

sexual maturity is anywhere between 3-6 months, and generally you'll know this because she'll get more combative when you put your hands in her cage when she's in there, she won't like that very much and may box your hand with her front paws.  If you don't know if she is, if she hasn't gotten more cage territorial, then for sure at six months, you can get her spayed.  At one year old her body will have stopped growing and she will be considered an adult bunny.

Check the House Rabbit Society web site for awesome info on all aspects of rabbit care.  they also have pages where you can find a recommended rabbit vet around where you are:

www.rabbit.org

Rabbits

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Lee Meyer (Mr.)

Expertise

I have 7+ years of experience with House Rabbits, rescue groups, and working with shelter rabbits. I have done many educational talks about house rabbits. I have advised potential adopters, supervised bunny 'dates', fundraising/educational rabbit events, and help rabbit owners with their rabbits. I will answer questions about: general behaviors, body language, housing, toys, bunny-proofing, diet, spaying/neutering issues, nail clips, preventative measures, diet, and health questions. I will not discuss: anything that deals with rabbits for fur, food, factory-style breeding, deliberate or casual breeding by pet owners, or experimentation.

My focus is solely on rabbits as loved pets. It's why I'm a House Rabbit Society member rather than an ARBA member. If you don't view your rabbit the same way you would a pet dog or cat, please ask another expert your question.

I am not a veterinarian and cannot conclusively diagnose your rabbit. My advice does not take the place of a good rabbit vet. IF YOU THINK THERE'S A PROBLEM, DON'T WAIT FOR A REPLY, GET TO A VET IMMEDIATELY!!! Sometimes what appears to be a small problem is life-threatening.

The House Rabbit Society has references on their site for vets they have researched. There are US and international links here for vets all over the world with rabbit experience: www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html

I recommend the following resources to all rabbit owners:

House Rabbit Society - online rabbit info (www.rabbit.org)
Book: Rabbit Health in the 21st Century 2nd Ed. by Kathy Smith
Book: House Rabbit Handbook 4th Ed. by Marinell Harriman

Experience

House Rabbit Member since 2004 Discover Your House Rabbit organizer - 2006 Rabbit Adopter since 2004 HAWS Board of Education member (rabbits) since 2005 HAWS Rabbit Volunteer since 2004

Organizations
National House Rabbit Society, Wisconsin House Rabbit Society, Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS), Education Board Member for Rabbits, Friends of HAWS

Education/Credentials
BSEE, MSEE (Electrical/Computer Engineering), Marquette University

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.