What exactly constitutes as abuse in the rabbit world? Well, that would depend in part on the breed of rabbit you are raising. There are rather obvious forms of abuse such as inadequate housing, unclean conditions, cages that are too small where the animal cannot move about naturally, lack of human interaction, etc. When it comes to angora rabbits, there is much more work involved. Oftentimes folks do not understand just how much work these beautiful animals are.
Rabbits need plenty of space so that they may fully stand up on their hind legs to observe their environment. They should be able to toss themselves on their sides (flop), do binkies, & stretch out. Being able to fully stretch out is very important when it is hot as this position enables them to cool themselves in the summer. When you see your bunny laying on it's side stretched out while in your presence (assuming there is nothing wrong) this indicates your bunny feels very comfortable with you & trusts you.
Rabbits need toys to play with, pumice blocks, apple twigs, & goodies to chew. They need hay & a good quality feed. Just like us, fresh air, sunshine, & shade are all necessary for a good life. They should be allowed outdoors on pasture where they can leap & play. Supervision is necessary in these situations unless you build a permanent outdoor area for them with protection from the elements, places to hide, ensure they cannot dig under their fencing & escape, & protection from predators, aerial & on the ground. If you chose to raise your angora rabbit permanently on pasture you must groom them every day - no exceptions. They will quickly become matted with dirt, feces, & debris. A daily clean up or even a twice daily clean up is strongly encouraged.
Even though rabbits are social creatures, you should not house them together. Bucks will fight, kicking & biting at each other for dominance. Kicks with sharp nails can tear the other rabbits skin. Biting is a bloody business. If aggressive enough, they could kill. Does will also fight but they are typically not as violent. It is possible to house does together but is not a good idea. Does that seemingly got alone for months or years could suddenly turn on each other. If you get your rabbits fixed so they cannot breed, they can usually be housed together without issue. A fixed rabbit also tends to have less health problems & lives longer than a rabbit that is not fixed.
Daily grooming's of your angora bunny are essential. Not only to the health of your bunny, but it also allows you to bond with your ball of fluff. The more often you groom & handle your bunny the more likely you are to catch problems before they become potential disasters. Bunnies can easily damage toe nails, get sore hocks, & injure themselves if they panic due to predators or loud noises. Regular grooming also means you are less likely to have a matted rabbit. Mats hurt. You want your bunny to view you as a source of pleasure, not pain.
Bucks are territorial & will throw or fling their urine at other males. If housed close to each other you will have urine wars & any bunnies in the range of this war will be covered in urine. It's nasty & avoidable. Do not house your bucks close together. If your buck is one who flings his urine, be sure to have walls up to protect the surrounding area. Most bucks in my experience do not typically fling their urine if they are adequately housed away from other males. Does will also sometimes throw their urine. This is common when they are excited about a buck. Rabbit urine smells horrible & is very difficult to clean. If your bunny is covered in urine, the fur will look ratty rather than a soft cottony cloud. You will also be able to feel the dry urine. It feels rough & sticky. Comb the bunny as best as you can with a slicker brush & get him or her away from the urine flinging bunny immediately. I do not recommend bathing your bunny. A wet bunny can easily get hypothermia & die. You can try sprinkling some organic cornstarch on the bunnies coat & then comb or blow it out. You will not want to harvest this wool for spinning unless you don't mind dirty stinky wool. It is best to slowly comb it out & let it grow out. You will know when the wool is okay because it will once again be soft and clean.
For those of you who know me, you know that I have a no questions asked return policy on all of the bunnies I sell. I will take back any bunny you no longer want free of charge. You don't have to explain anything to me, I just want my bunnies to have happy lives. If you ever find you cannot care for, or simply do not want to care for your bunny anymore, please contact me.
For how to care for your angora rabbit view my in-depth post on Angora Rabbit Care. I discuss which foods are safe, water bottles, food bowls, feeding, nail clipping, health problems, grooming, housing & more.
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