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Rabbits/Mixing wild and domestic rabbits (Was: rabbits fighting)

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Question
My cat brought me a very small wild bunny around 7/8/13. he was so small i was feeding him through a syring. I put him in the cage with my male nuetured 1 yr old bunny. I took both bunnies and cage to my mothers as i left the country for 6 weeks. i returned 2 weeks ago and brought both bunnies home. at my mothers they got along very well. since being at home they have been fighting the older bunny is chasing the little one around the cage, i had planned on letting the little one go this weekend as he is wild. not tamed. they were both o.k when i checked on them this morning this afternoon i came home to find that the older bunny has ripped the skin/fur off the little bunnies back. i have seperated them, and used bactrim spray on his back as he will need to heal before i let him go. is there anything else I can do for him? a vet is completely out of the question. thanks for any help you can give

Answer
Hi Crystal

Wild rabbits and domestic rabbits are not the same species and cant ever been housed successfully together.  Sometimes a domestic bunny will tolerate a young rabbit being introduced, but as soon as that new rabbit begins to develop sexual hormones (which is about 7-8 weeks of age for a wild rabbit), the domestic rabbit's instincts to kill the intruder kicks in and in time, they would have fought to the death.

With regards to the injury, I'll need to see photos of the size and depth of the injury before I can tell you if you can treat it or not.  it's not possible for me to prescribe a treatment without seeing the extent of the injury.

If you follow up with photos, i'd be happy to help.

On another note, wild rabbits frequently carry tape-worms of which there are 3 varieties.   Since  your older bunny has shared a cage with the wild bunny, its almost certain that he has then as well (if the wild rabbit had them).  There are three species of tape-worms and rabbits generally carry 1 or 2 of the 3.  The species that rabbits carry break off in tiny segments, as small as the head of a pin, and pass them in their stool.  Because the flecks are so tiny, you will not see them.  Wild rabbits live a relatively short life; 1-2 years is typical; none live pass the age of 3, so they generally pass away before the tape-worms do any serious damage.  However, domestic bunnies can live up to 8 years, and if left untreated, your domestic bunny will  develop serious issues from the tape-worms long before his natural life span is up.  You will need to de-worm him 3x, with the treatments being 3 weeks apart.  It is necessary to do it 3 times to kill the adult worms, immature worms, and newly hatched worms still in egg casings; they hatch in cycles.

Also, wild rabbits (even newborns) are prone to a variety of fur and ear mites which can take several months to show up, so you'll need to keep a close watch on your bunny for months ahead.

Lastly, there has been an increasing rate of both Rabbit Tularemia and Hepatic Coccidiosis in Wild Rabbits.  Since your bunny has tore the skin of the wild bunny, there was direct exposure with bodily fluids so the risk of Tularemia is high (if the wild bunny had it).  If you cleaned the cage daily, leaving no fecal matter longer than 24 hours, then the risk of the coccidiosis is low, however, if there was ever a time where fecal matter stayed in the cage longer than 24 hours, then you should treat your rabbit for coccidosis as well.  It's a 16 day course of albon.

Once I see the photos of the injury, I can give you further advice.

Lisa L.

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Lisa L.

Experience

I was introduced to meat rabbits at the age of 3. Began working with them on my own at the age of 8 and started my own large commercial rabbitry at the age of 20. I'm 46 now and for the past 26 years I have owned a large herd of meat rabbits and have become well known as the turn-to person whenever a problem arrises.

Organizations
Member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Member of the Rabbit Industry Council. Member of the Yahoo - Meat Rabbits Group. Member of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. Administrators of the FaceBook "Rabbit's as meat" group. Owner of Yahoo - Raising Meat Rabbit's for maximum yield group

Publications
Yahoo Meat Rabbits Group. www.rabbitzinger.com American Council of Animal Naturopathy www.raisingrabbits.com FaceBook "Rabbit's as meat" group. Owner of Yahoo - Raising Meat Rabbit's for maximum yield group

Education/Credentials
There is no formal training for raising rabbits; its all hands on. I have had a steady rabbit breeding operation for 24 years and have read every book there is on raising rabbits for meat. Additionally, I am a member of several rabbit groups and associations as listed below.

Awards and Honors
None - there are none in this field.

Past/Present Clients
I have helped countless people over the past several decades. These have been people I knew personally or those referred to me by one of the many rabbit organizations I belong to.

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