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Advice on rabbit breeds...

Hedgehogs, Rabbits, Skunks, Squirrels, Bats, genets, civets etc.

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Unavailableartist
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Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby Unavailableartist » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:25 pm

So a few weeks back my father accidently mowed over a nest of Cottontails. He killed all but one little survivor I dubbed Houdini (an earned name after several disappearing and escaping acts). Frustrated after getting the little guy bigger boxes for him to live in, I made my whole room his enclosure. That's when it finally calmed down a lot, hid behind several strategically propped objects and furniture. It was a wild little thing always running always jumping climbing, but so easy to startle (quick little bugger he was). He/she would often run from me, and I would have to coax him back out by A.) Grabbing him or B.) sticking my hand close to him and letting him smell/follow my hand. He eventually became somewhat comfortable around me to a degree. He didn't like to be picked up, but would run around me once he recognized me. My father however got jealous and wanted a piece of the action (he's the animal expert not me, and through a freak accident died by getting squished by furniture). I spent hours learning things about rabbits, I know they don't like to be picked up often or sudden movements (which were things I tried so hard not to do with Houdini, so he/she would trust me). But dad would always barge in loudly, and give him exuberant love (which involved suddenly rubbing him against his face and whirling it around his hands). That day he picked up, placed it on my bed. Scared it jumped, from my bed and wedged itself between the dresser a the wall and got stuck... it died from us trying to get it back out.
:cry:
I miss Houdini, I probably would've released it back into the wild when it got close to adult age. So right now I'm trying to find a rabbit similar to the cottontail (I'm not going to release it, I know European Rabbits Domestics wouldn't survive here). I know they are a whole different species, but I want a wild looking rabbit that resembles a cottontail, in size and energy. I've looked at some dwarfs, but they look nothing like a cottontail. The one rabbit I found so far is something known as a Britannia Petite... but they are rare, very hard to find, and there aren't too many rabbit breeders around here.
I've also looked at some breeds that were bred for hunting, but I'm uncertain of their temperament. I know Houdini probably wouldn't have bit me much, because it was used to me, and I had since it was really young like 2-3 weeks old. Most rabbits can't be bought until they're at least 6 weeks old, and the practice rabbits are always sold at 8 weeks (some even advertise them as "handled very little for extra flightiness").

Does anyone on here have any experience with Tennessee Redbacks/Missouri Cottontail or San Juan Rabbits. Are there any other "better" breeds that resemble cottontail rabbits?
There's no happy ending, is there? :(
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Ash
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Re: Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby Ash » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:01 pm

Sorry about Houdini. That must have been a hard experience. It can be difficult keeping cottontails, so I'm glad that for the short time you had him things were successful.

I don't know too much about rabbit breeds, but hopefully someone else will chime in. I always liked the New Zealands because they're great meat rabbits and I think they're super pretty, but they don't have the wild look you're looking for.

Maybe you could talk to a rabbit breeder who breeds rabbits to sell to practice hunting. You could tell him you're looking for a pet, and that the breed of rabbit he has is what you're looking for. You might be able to cut a deal with him, like pay him extra to hand-raise it for you, or ask to get it earlier.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby Juska » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:02 pm

I don't know much about rabbits in general, but here is a list of recognized breeds from the ARBA: https://www.arba.net/abrev.htm

You can Google the breed names from there and you can learn about them yourself. I'm sure there is at least one "wild" looking breed or high energy that you're interested in.

Here's one that looks more like a wild breed, the Belgian Hare
http://www.danddsbunnyhutch.com/belgianhares.htm

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It seems they run from $75-$100
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Re: Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby Unavailableartist » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:20 am

Thanks for the replies I actually looked at ARBA list. I was also looking for unrecognized breeds, you know like there are breeds of dogs that aren't recognized by UKC... Most of them hunting dogs.
And someone who may have had experience with the "runner" rabbits used to train dogs.
I currently looking to get a netherland dwarf. Seems like the only small rabbit "breeder" near by someone in the closest city raises mini-Rex's.

My "wild rabbit" will most likely be a playmate. I've heard they sometimes playwith each other... And I'll probably be watching them more than handling. Much like I did with Houndini lol (but then again I've not really had a good cuddly rabbit). I had a Jersey Wooly or what looked like one, wound up giving it away, it was terrified of me and dad refused to care for it (he got for us, with us not even considering a rabbit). It chewed up cords and stuff, he refused to make a pin for him too.

Thanks for showing the Belgian Hare (they are show quality I believe that's why their so expensive, the I've seen Brittanias for about the same price)., they are pretty but big. I want to think they get up to 6-9lbs... A cottontail ranges from 2-4lbs. Here's a pic of Britannia petite it's on the small end of the Cottontail range but I've seen baby pictures of it that reminded me of Houdini.
Image
Image
There's no happy ending, is there? :(
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Re: Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:43 pm

With domestic rabbits it depends on the breed and the rabbit individual. Jupiter was a mixed rescue(maybe mini-rex-dutch) but LOVED attention and I always felt guilty for not giving him as much as I had at first but he was a horrible chewer so could not be out unsupervised at home(when I had a store he came to work with me and ran free). Anyway he would gladly sit for hours on my lap being pet and when I had the store would follow and greet people.

Wild rabbits are another story if they don't die from a heart attack and being handled the stress does a wicked number on their internal organs and they die young from that instead. Your little guy was old enough to be on his own that's why he was escaping. He likely was old enough from day one. They only need their moms for milk, nothing else. If it can eat things other than milk it doesn't need any help, for future reference.

Sorry you lost him in the way you did.
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Re: Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby Lasergrl » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:19 pm

The Tennessee red backs are mixed breeds so temperaments vary.
I have had Belgian hares and you can't beat them for personality. Brittania petite can be nasty but some are OK.
For cuddly and cute can't beat English lops but they sure done look cottontail.
I have a free range rabbit that I bred. She is Belgian hare/brittania/standard Rex cross. Looks just like a cottontail.
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Re: Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby Unavailableartist » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:44 pm

@Tamanduagirl--- Houdini was a sweet rabbit I worked hard on.... To make him more comfortable with me (he groomed, ate, and licked me at times).True a few days of food and recovery would have been enough. However he was found trying bury himself in grass clippings nearby. While his siblings lay slaughtered. I wouldn't make a habit of robbing babies, and Houdini is one in a lifetime. I probably won't find another baby orphaned/traumatized by a riding mower. But I read that if at he was at least 6in he would survive. He was significantly shorter than my hand and I have small hands :D.--- had I not let my father touch him, he would've survived to be released in the wild healthy and springy (my dad is generally ok at handling most animals, he just didn't get how easy they startle or that freezing is not a good sign).

@lazergirl- yea, I've actually read they're hyper rabbits, which is what I would like, it's just he'll live in my bedroom most of the time... While I'm away. It's the safest room I can place him in (away from dogs, nothing dangerous to chew on). I feel it'll be large enough for a smaller rabbit, Houdini rarely acted like there wasn't any space... Unlike the boxes place him in.
I'm thinking about getting a netherland dwarf the first of this month, the second rabbit may be one of the rabbits mentioned here, but i think ill gamble with the nasty Petite ;-) thanks for your insight. I may post picture later of my new rabbit.
I was thinking about making my own breed of rabbit one day, making a good Faux Cottontail.
There's no happy ending, is there? :(
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Re: Advice on rabbit breeds...

Postby FrothingMagpies » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:02 pm

Hey! I've kept Belgian hares & Polish (but you call them Britannia petites over there for some reason) so if you have any other questions about them I'd be happy to answer! I've also handled a lot of other breeds especially the rare varieties (because my main show buck for a good few years was a Thrianta so I got to meet a lot of RV breeders) at British Rabbit Council shows in the UK so while our strains will be different the overall personalities of the breeds should be the same so maybe I can help you with other breeds you're interested in too!
One thing I will say about Netherland dwarfs is they have weak immune systems & awful teeth, personally I'd recommend a Himalayan or a Tan over them for health & personality if you're looking for a small rabbit. Polish aren't nasty you just have to know what to expect - they aren't cuddly toys & have zero interest in being held or fussed over, or people really at all for that matter, they just want to play & explore constantly, but by themselves. My favourite doe loved following me around the house but not being touched, she just wanted company.
Belgians are one of those breeds where the breeder makes all the difference. Some strains are VERY sickly, unfortunately like my current buck, & are nervous & jumpy too. Juniper is always getting colds & sores on his feet for no reason, any other rabbit I've had in that hutch has been fine. But blisters & sores on feet seems to be a Belgian thing, if they're one of the weak ones then that's what they tend to get. Not that they all do, just certain strains. Others are hardy & have the best personality I've seen from any breed, a good Belgian would be my favourite rabbit. For some reason the personalities & health always seem to be linked.

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