AT Home Pets

Just another RabbitTalk Blogs site

Some links to attend to if you are interested

By Agriculture Canada, 1988.

Boies’ Pet Stock and Game Farm.  1917.

Links to a whole bunch of rabbit related books.

I decided about two years ago that I was tired of lots of babies being born with nestbox eye and thought to do some research into the matter.

I was having entire litters getting it, to the occasional litters not having it.   Most litters having at least one or two kits with it.

My policy with nestbox eye.   If clears up within five days, all is good.  If goes beyond five days kit is culled.  I do not medicate, I will use the teabag treatment if the eye seems bad.  Any kit with a white pussy eye gets culled immediately and the rest of the litter will be sold as pets regardless of their quality.

The research I did said that it was caused by bacteria in the nestbox and that to get rid of it one merely needed to keep the nestbox very clean.   So I stepped up my cleaning regime.  It reduced the incidence, but not significantly.

Incidence went down to occasional  litters not having it and rare litters with everyone having a problem, but still with plenty of issues.

Since I care for all my rabbits the same this didn’t explain why some does didn’t get nestbox eye in their kits and others invariably did.    So I thought, okay, let’s do an experiment.  Let’s transfer kits from one doe  to another…one “nestbox eye” prone litter for a litter not prone to get nestbox eye.   I found it absolutely fascinating to learn that the prone to nestbox eye litter still got nestbox eye while the other did not irregardless of which doe was providing the care for them.

This led me to wonder if there was a genetic component.

Ergo, I do not keep as breeders any kit that gets nestbox eye.  This dropped the number of kits getting it dramatically.  BUT didn’t eradicate nestbox eye in my herd.  Most litters being clean, with a few litters getting at least one, but in my poorer does,  generally about half the litter can be involved depending on the time of year.   I would like to reduce this even further.

So this got me thinking over this past year that I wonder if there is a seasonal component with this.

So I went back through my records and discovered hmm… whenever I have seasonal changes I get problems with nestbox eye…granted… more frequently with certain lines, as some does never seem to have an issue, whereas othersare more apt to have at least one with a problem (though not always).

Most predominately in the spring, less frequently in the fall, never in the summer and very occasionally in the cold of winter.   I find that quite intriguing.

I suppose this means that it will take me a few more years to winnow down the culprits.

Makes me wonder what else I need to consider and what else I need to do.

I LIKE that 90% of my litters have kits with clean eyes, but would like to get that up to 95% by the end of the year if possible.

If there is bacterial component…

  • does it show up in the spring because in the winter it’s harder to properly clean out the nestboxes?
  • does the warm/cold cycle of spring/fall changes encourage bacterial growth?   I would think the warmth of summer would be more of an issue in this regard.
If there is a genetic component…
  • do I need to look at completely get rid of does that throw kits with even one nestbox eye kit?
  • should I continue to only keep those kits back that have no incidence of nestbox eye OR am I wasting my time doing that IF there are others in the litter who suffered the ailment?
  • should I treat it like I do significant genetic issues… cull mom and dad and start new lines?
What other factors do I need to consider?
  • How much weight do I put on the fact that I use tarp housing?  I know that it does not breathe as well… and I note that when I lose does to going off feed, is the same time of year that I have more incidences of nestbox eye (predominately spring seasonal changes)
  • is there anything else I need to consider?
some sources of information
This Word File.
plus information on various rabbit boards that I belong to.


The Politics of Pet Dogs and Kennel Crates

I thought this an interesting article on how PETA works to further their agenda on not owning pets.

I was more than a little surprised to find that there is an active campaign being pursued to ban the use of kennel crates for dogs. This has resulted in a number of articles in mainstream newspapers and magazines, as well as vigorous lobbying attempts to get the use of kennel crates for dogs classified as a form of animal abuse.

There are some methods of restraining and confining dogs which have problems. Tying out dogs on chains or ropes for excessive amounts of time has been shown to have negative effects. Obviously tying a dog out for long periods without access to adequate shelter from the elements can be harmful to a dog’s health. However there are also psychological problems that result from this practice, the major one being that it increases the level of aggression in dogs. The reason for this is that a dog’s first response to anything that it interprets as a threat is to run away from the situation. Restraining a dog on a short tether prevents him from fleeing, and therefore, the dog self protectively chooses to attack whoever he sees as a potential danger before they get a chance to harm him. This aggressive attack behavior soon becomes habitual—a fact that has been recognized for a long time. There is even a manuscript recovered from the ruins of Pompeii which describes the procedure for turning a dog into an effective guard dog, and its major recommendation is to tether the dog on a short lead near the door of the home or other premise that needs to be protected.

Contrary to the information on the use of tie outs, I knew of no evidence suggesting that the judicious use of kennel crates can cause problems for dogs. In fact, there is a reasonable consensus among dog behaviorists which suggests that the use of a kennel crate is extremely helpful in many ways. …….

Many of the negative attitudes toward the kennel crate seem to arise from people anthropomorphizing. ……. However dogs are not people. The major progenitor of dogs was the wolf, and wolves spend a good deal of their day in a den. Dens are simply small caves, or burrows that the wolf had dug out. These often provide just enough space for the animal to stand up and turn around. The den is viewed by these canines as a place of safety and our domestic dogs seem to have inherited that behavioral predisposition. …….. For this reason I keep a kennel crate in a corner near our living room with its door propped open. At almost any time during the day I am apt to find one or another of my dogs comfortably snoozing away in the crate. ……..

Thinking, perhaps, that I had missed some new scientific data against the advisability of crating dogs I reviewed the current research literature on crating and found nothing negative, however I did encounter what appears to be one of the sources of this new negative attitude toward kennel crates. Apparently, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently began an ad campaign condemning the use of crates for dogs, under any circumstances. Thus a recent half page ad in the Wall Street Journal has the heading “Be an Angel for Animals” and goes on to say “Don’t ever crate or chain them.”

I therefore decided to check the PETA website to see what their arguments against crating were. Instead of finding any data I found only polemics, with statements like “No matter what a pet shop owner or dog trainer might say, a dog crate is just a box with holes in it, and putting dogs in crates is just a way to ignore and warehouse them until you get around to taking care of them properly.”

As I paged through the various articles on their website, it became quite clear to me that PETA is not against the practice of crating, but it is actually against the practice of pet ownership. Thus they state “we believe that it would have been in the animals’ best interests if the institution of ‘pet keeping’-i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as ‘pets’-never existed.” They also go on to say, “This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering”.

The crux of their argument against pet keeping seems to be that we are “depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior. They are restricted to human homes, where they must obey commands and can only eat, drink, and even urinate when humans allow them to.” I must admit that I found this to be particularly puzzling and unsatisfying. My wife and I have raised five children, and have nine grandchildren, and when they were young they were taught to obey simple commands and requests as part of their socialization. Our children were only given the opportunity to eat and drink according to our scheduling, and certainly were not allowed to urinate anytime and anywhere that they chose during the period of their toilet training. We certainly did not feel that we were engaging in child abuse by utilizing these basic child-rearing practices. To treat a dog in much the same way that we treat our own children, including providing the love and support that they need, does not appear to me to constitute animal abuse, or an argument against the keeping of pets.

I believe that PETA really has no scientific evidence to support the complete abolishment of the use of the kennel crate. It seems to me that their actual desire for banning crating is that in so doing they would make keeping dogs in the house more difficult and the housebreaking of puppies less reliable. This advances their anti-pet agenda by taking away some of the pleasure of pet keeping and in that way it would further their programme aimed at denying us the companionship of our dogs and cats.

Unfortunately they have been having a modicum of success. Because of such misleading publicity and lobbying campaigns there are a number of venues that have passed laws against tying dogs out. This is sensible if we were dealing with tethering dogs for long periods of time, or without adequate shelter, but some of the legislation has been as extreme as the ad campaigns used by PETA which incorporate words like “don’t ever”. Thus here in my hometown of Vancouver, a woman was recently fined $250 because she tied her dog’s leash to a bicycle rack while she ducked into a grocery store to pick up a couple of items. The dog was tied out for less than 10 minutes, and could easily be seen by its owner through the store’s window. Tying a dog out for a few minutes on a shopping trip does not constitute dog abuse, but legislating against such a common practice could discourage people from having dogs since it would mean they could not take their pets with them when they move around town. This appears to be the kind of thing that PETA really wants to advance— to bring about an end to the keeping of dogs and cats as pets—not the protection of animals.

Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: Born to Bark, The Modern Dog, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, How To Speak Dog, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs, Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies, Sleep Thieves, The Left-hander Syndrome

Four research articles on baby rabbits and how they keep warm.

Private Heat for Public Warmth: How Huddling Shapes Individual Thermogenic Responses of Rabbit Pups

By providing public warmth with minimal individual costs at a stage of life when pups are the most vulnerable, huddling buffers cold challenges and ensures a constant allocation of energy to growth by reducing BAT activation.

ScienceShot: Baby Rabbits Band Together

Such cooperation, like investors making a joint business venture, comes at a small private cost, as generating heat uses body fat that in turn uses up oxygen, and using too much oxygen can stunt a rabbit’s growth.

Why do heavy littermates grow better than lighter ones? A study in wild and domestic European rabbits.

Our study indicates that at least two main mechanisms account for this relationship in our study species: heavier pups had a higher milk intake and also showed a more efficient conversion of milk into body mass. Furthermore, our study suggests that the better milk conversion by heavy pups was driven by three synergistic mechanisms: heavier pups had comparatively more huddling partners in the nest, they did not need to perform large amounts of proactive behavior in order to reach and remain in a central position within the litter huddle, and they could maintain a comparatively higher body temperature most probably due to their more favorable surface area to volume ratio.

Brown adipose tissue and the response of new-born rabbits to cold. I was unable to copy and paste a quote from the article. Scientific language used, has pics to show where the brown adipose tissue is. I found it interesting to learn that cold baby rabbits can increase their oxygen intake.

1. post a list of what you do daily.    Feed, water, clean etc.  Have name tags for your animals.

2. if living in an Animal rights dominated area.. DO NOT TALK about your livestock.  Simply make it a point to not talk about them.

3. keep your livestock clean.

4. know the law, stick within it.  Seriously.. saves you a whole heap of grief if you do this.

5. stay on friendly terms with your neighbours if you can.

6. if the law is against you… MOVE!   Seriously folks, I hear about some the locales that people are in and how they skirt the laws and it’s like I just want to scream at them.. “MOVE”.  Tell people loudly about WHY you are moving and taking your legitimate business elsewhere.    Some areas are punitive to folks and very nanny state-ish.. and it’s like just get up and move somewhere less dangerous to you and yours.

7. be nice, be courteous, be respectful.

8. Don’t let people on to your property if threatened.   So if served with a warrant, keep them out on your porch.  Close the door.  Don’t let them in.   Call a lawyer.

9.  If selling pet stock be alert.  Don’t let people into your animal habitat if you have any concern about them.   Site animal husbandry issues if you must.

Anyone else have ideas that should be added to this list?

There’s been a story on the rabbit boards lately about a fellow who had his rabbits stolen, and then returned with the hold out of one rabbit named Roger.

Well it seems the person holding on to Roger fell in love with him immediately and didn’t want him returned for fear of what might happen to him.   But they were able to work things out and thusly Roger was returned home.

Now theft is theft.   And the folks who stole the rabbits should be punished for it EVEN THOUGH they returned them.    The lady holding on to Roger should have returned him immediately once she knew he was stolen property.. but animals being animals she got attached and therefore tried to purchase him (which would be an understandable action).

Me personally… someone steals my rabbit I’d get my back up…but if they offered me good money for him it’s be like okay…He’s ALL YOURS.     But that’s me, and my breeding program hasn’t quite gotten to where I want it be yet so it’s not the end of the world for me if a rabbit is sold.

I DON”T like theft.  I do not like people thinking that because they are “animal liberators” or “animal rights” or “animal rescue” types that it is OKAY to steal.  It is NOT okay to steal regardless of how you coach it.

But the query is: how does one who breeds livestock and sells it or eats it deal with animal rights folks.

1. Know if how you keep your animals is in keeping with standard cares of practice for your species.

2. Do you treat your animals well?   Do other folks know you treat them well?

3. Do you know your rights when it comes to keeping animals where you are?   Do you skirt the law?

4. Do you treat your opponents with respect and care?   Do you mind your  language and your thoughts (as your thoughts will colour how you write)?

5. Know your stuff.

  • If you breed for show.. WHY do you do so?   What’s the point?   What do you do with your overstock, or the less than appropriate animals?
  •  If you breed for the pet market can you show that there really is no over pet population for your species of animal?     What do you do with those that don’t sell?   Do you have a return policy?
  • If you breed for consumption WHY?   Can you show the benefits of eating your own food?   Do you know the studies involved it?   If breeding for animal consumption do you know what may or may not affect the animals you are feeding?
There are folks,  a MYRIAD of differing opinions out there.    Some based on fact, and some well,… not so much.  But they are opinions none-the-less.
If you know your animal that you breed and you know your reasons for doing what you do it goes a long way.   If you treat people respectfully, that too goes a long way in getting both sides of an issue to simply listen to each other.

… cause me to want to cry.

Young doe.
Lovely young doe.
i’ve been trying for a good half year to get kits off her.
I give young does four kicks at the can.   This means a pass for the first litter, and then three chances for successful litters just like my main herd.      I am thinking of revising this though and going to two chances before removal from herd.

Anyways, this young has had dead kits, stuck kit, no litter, and stuck kit.

Today I removed the stuck kit and since she was rather big in the belly thought perhaps there might be a kit within.   So I killed her to see if I could save a kit.    I so wanted to a kit off this doe.   No kit.

Just the one small stuck kit.   This kit should NOT have been an issue for her to deliver but apparently she was not the type of rabbit to successfully bear young.

Betty was not a doe who would have made for an excellent pet, – she was a very shy, reclusive type doe – so she would have be culled ultimately afterwards.   So the death is not an issue.

BUT I so dislike this.   I hate it deep within.   I do not like causing animals pain.  I dislike hearing them cry because of a stuck kit.    These types of things make me want to throw in the towel.

Ultimately though I breed for health and vigor in my herd.

Difficult decisions mean that in the long run.. my herd will be the better and I won’t have to deal with this again (I hope).

So my heart can weep, but my herd will be stronger.

FDA announcement here:

To expand a bit: ‘Labeled use’ is the use printed on the factory label. When the ivormectin says “for use in cattle for the treatment of (lists species of parasites) at a IM dose of X ml per 10 lbs, not for use in lactating dairy cattle, stop use X days prior to slaughter” – then the drug is labeled for cattle at that dose, by that administration route (injected IM) for that disease (parasites) and with that withdrawal period.

“Extralabel use” is using drugs in a way not labeled. It is not legal for laymen to use a drugs in a MEAT animal unless that drug is labeled for that species and use (see: “do not use in lactating dairy cattle”). In some cases, giving a drug by ingestion instead of injection, or vice versa, significantly increases the length of time the drug is in the body of the animal.

All the previously legal extra-label uses that are now prohibited by this new rule were under the direction of a vet, as it was not legal to use this drug extralabel without vet direction.

It does not matter if the drug was bought with a prescription or OTC – it matters if the drug is labeled for that animal, so that the directions can be clearly understood and the proper withdrawal times followed.

(MEAT here referes to meat, egg, and milk.)

Vets can prescribe drugs in ‘extra label’ manners under specific circumstances to meat animals, and only if they give a new withdrawal time for that use.

For some drugs, the FDA has completely prohibited their use in food animals, even under prescription of a vet. Some of these drugs are still widely used in companion animals, to include horses. For other drugs, the FDA permits labeled use, but prohibits use, even under the direction of a vet, in extralabel ways. So far, this has been done to prevent widespread use of sensitive antibiotics and prevent increase in drug resistant organisms. (This applies to theraflu and the like, which can’t be used in poultry to help fight off avian influenza.)

The link goes into more details on why the rule was put in place.

An exerpt is quoted below:

“FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is issuing an order that prohibits the extralabel use of cephalosporin drugs (not including cephapirin) in cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys. In its order, FDA is prohibiting what are called “extralabel” or unapproved uses of cephalosporins in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys, the so-called major species of food-producing animals. Specifically, the prohibited uses include:

* using cephalosporin drugs at unapproved dose levels, frequencies, durations, or routes of administration;
* using cephalosporin drugs in cattle, swine, chickens or turkeys that are not approved for use in that species (e.g., cephalosporin drugs intended for humans or companion animals);
* using cephalosporin drugs for disease prevention.

The following exceptions to the prohibition apply:

* Extralabel use of approved cephapirin products in food-producing animals;
* Use to treat or control an extralabel disease indication, as long as this use adheres to a labeled dosage regimen (i.e., dose, route, frequency, and duration of administration) approved for that particular species and production class; and
* Extralabel use in food-producing minor species, such as ducks or rabbits.”


Another article you can look at.

  1. “The action was taken, the agency said, “to preserve the effectiveness of cephalosporin drugs for treating disease in humans. Prohibiting these uses is intended to reduce the risk of cephalosporin resistance in certain bacterial pathogens. If cephalosporins are not effective in treating these diseases, doctors may have to use drugs that are not as effective or that have greater side effects.” “

one of my beefs with rabbit people is the calling of various behaviours as being aggressive.

In this day of political correctness and needing to be accurate with language this one bothers me… much as culling can mean a WHOLE host of things some with negative overtones.

Is the bunny aggressive OR is there other terminology that we can use?

An aggressive rabbit is not a pleasant rabbit to work with.   It is a rabbit that when allowed to roam around chases its’ people, turns around and tries to bite them, when being handled flails madly even when held securely (though that also just might be a very frightened rabbit), bites with no apparent provocation, and such like.    This type of rabbit will bite when you feed it, pet it, etc.

Train these rabbits if you can.    This article may be of assistance.  Also knowing more about the language of langomorphs may prove helpful.

Now… A normally pleasant rabbit that chooses to bite you might be responding to something in the environment…aka your perfume, deodorant etc.

Now.. lets say you have a rabbit, particularly female, that does not like you coming into HER space.   Is this rabbit aggressive?   OR is this rabbit reacting in a way that nature tells her that she should?    Does that mean that she is being aggressive OR does it mean that she is being space protective?   In the wild rabbits are known to defend their turf.     They can act in an aggressive manner to do so, but the reasoning behind it is defensive not offensive.   This rabbit wants to defend her’s how she keeps her babies safe!     Cage protective rabbits tend to be female though I’ve met the odd male that is like this as well.     Those bucks don’t tend to stay around here long.

Now in reality in life… whether a rabbit is acting defensively or offensively doesn’t matter in the end result…no one wants to get bitten or scratched.  BUT as a breeder my response is different.

You are being cage protective… I can live with that.  I will teach you that I am good, that I am not going to hurt you or your littles, that I will give you treats, and pets and backrubs and be alert and give you time to adjust to me.     I will breed those cage protective young does to give them something to do with those crazy hormones.  My expectation is that you won’t hurt me and you will NOT hurt your littles.   I won’t rush you, I will give you time to adjust.

I find that over time you know what happens???   These cage protective does tend to be make excellent mothers and they settle down once they realize that nothing bad happens.  Their kits come back, they look and smell the same, and OH>>> I got a treat!!!!

You are being aggressive little rabbit???   Well… different attitude requires a  different approach.   I very strongly dislike aggressive, acting always on the offensive rabbits.   You are fine in your space but not out of it?   You want to bite and scratch and carry on as if the world is ending?   ACH!  Not good.    These rabbits get more handling not less.  They are towel wrapped and carried.  They are trained.   Rewarded for being nice using food and nose/back rubs.    I work hard with them for three weeks and if there is no improvement over three weeks… then they get a death sentence if I can’t locate an appropriate home.

Though  the odd aggressive rabbit  to knowledgeable owners and sometimes… get this…sometimes they do better in a new home!    It’s happened at least three times that I know that a crazy attitude rabbit here goes to a new home and becomes miss or mister sweetness personified.  Go figure.     Sometimes I do not understand rabbits as much as I love ‘em.

BUT there are way too many good nice rabbits in the world to fight with a nasty tempered rabbit for an extended period of time.      Every rabbit can be useful in the world either as a companion animal, breed animal, fur animal, or food animal.   All types of value are equal in my opinion.   and not every rabbit can fill every role… so they fit the role they are best suited for.

Did you know that many rabbits respond really well to having pressure applied to their forehead?   Works marvelously with many rabbits.. not all.. some simply can’t settle down for anything.. they have it so engrained within them to fight fight fight that they just can’t settle.   But for those who are aggressive due to fear concerns pressure on the foreheads (which often results in eyes covered and head held down) helps to settle them down.   Rather amazing to watch if you can stand back within yourself and observe it.  :)

Pick your rabbit if you can, from a person who breeds for temperament as one of their main concerns.    There is no sense purchasing a rabbit that by the time it is six months old is trying to chase you out of the house or won’t let you do anything with her/him at all.

I have to admit.. I do like this.  :)    A fellow is working with children to keep them out of the gang life.  He’s using gardens to help.


WOODLAKE — When Manuel Jimenez first set eyes on the land below a levee, thick with brush and weeds, the one-time field worker envisioned a place where youngsters could escape the temptations of gang life and learn about the San Joaquin Valley’s most vital industry.

But, like many places in California’s farming belt, this Tulare County town of 7,280 flanked by citrus groves had few resources. Best known for its annual rodeo, Woodlake has been devastated by gangs.

….Over the past seven years, Jimenez found a way to teach hundreds of young volunteers farming techniques, work habits and communication skills to prepare them for jobs or college. …. Youth are encouraged to taste and smell everything in the garden.    ….

With creativity and help from the community, they turned 14 desolate acres into lush gardens of vines, vegetables and fruit trees. The local police chief credits the program, Woodlake Pride, with helping fight local gang crime…..For years, Jimenez had gathered children and planted flowers and vegetables in vacant lots. When the city purchased a railroad right-of-way on the northern flank of Bravo Lake, he offered to convert it into permanent gardens. The city provided land, water and insurance.A local farmer donated money for irrigation and snacks. Area companies donated tubing, fertilizer and plants. …… Jimenez brought doughnuts and hot chocolate. He joked and had long conversations with the children. He took them to dinner, the zoo and hiking.Each plant Jimenez chose told a story; it was unique in smell, flavor, appearance or history…..The gardens became a community gathering space. The fruit is not picked and visitors can sample ripe produce right off the branch…..Jimenez and 10-year-old Roman Ramirez huddled next to tomato plants.”Mijo, you need to cut here,” Jimenez said, demonstrating the use of pruning shears and referring to the boy as his son. Then he let Roman clip the plants…..The program has helped steer many youngsters away from that path, the chief said. Children wearing gang colors are sent home to change. The Jimenezes counsel them against the gang lifestyle and encourage them to pursue higher education…..”You can’t wait for somebody else, like the government, to do things for you,” Jimenez said. “You need to get up and fix the community yourself.”
Read more here: