What is a Responsible Rabbit Breeder? Responsible.pdf
Humane Show Rabbit Breeder Standards Newstandards.pdf
Humane Rabbit Standards for Commercial Meat Breeding Meatst.pdf
Rabbit Education Society Breeder Survey Results BSur.pdf
Incidence of malocclusion among rabbit breeds, Netherland Dwarfs, & Holland Lops Malocclusionincidence.pdf
Rabbit Education Society Pet Store Report:
By Carol Garrett
Subject: mortality rates in young bunnies....
There are reasons why many states have laws against the sales of bunnies under certain ages- usually 8 weeks. Both the immune system and the digestive system of rabbits is even slower to mature than puppies and kittens. Despite 'early weaning' practices, this does not change. The stress endured by a young bunny just because of early weaning is often enough to kill them. Then, consider the stress of moving to a totally different environment- one that is bright, noisy, with lots of people. Then move them again to a new owner and factor in kids, other pets, another new environment, etc.
I am one of those breeders who has fielded HUNDREDS of calls from bunny buyers whose 'new pet' died, over the last nearly 20 years. The majority of these dead bunny's had one thing in common- AGE. All were under 8 weeks, most were 6 weeks or less. I started doing some of my own investigating, and came up with some interesting figures on mortality rates.
under 4 weeks: 80% 4-5 weeks: 60% 5-6 weeks: 50% 6-7 weeks: 20% 7-8 weeks: 10% after 10 weeks: 1%
What I have found out is that the majority of people who have bought young bunnies, that died soon after purchase, DID NOT GO BACK TO THE SELLER TO COMPLAIN. This leads the seller to believe that no complaint=
no problem, so they go on about their business thinking there's no problem.
I would like to see pet stores who sell bunnies start taking names and phone numbers of customers, and start checking up on how bunnies are doing a month down the road.. I think many would be somewhat shocked at what they find out. In some of my observations, I noted that a number of buyers who had
bunny's die, just kind of shrugged it off and went and bought another one. Ces' la vie..... I've heard of people treating goldfish like that- I just always thought cute fuzzy little things like rabbits would be treated much nicer.
This is why, despite the fact that someone buys a bunny that dies, they keep going back for another one to try again. This also explains why some pet stores still have such a high demand for the bunnies even though they keep croaking- they have such a high demand just because they do croak so often. It makes me sick. I know that not all pet stores are like this. I know some are not nearly as callus and uncaring, but many are and thats a fact.
Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen, I would never ever consider selling any bunny under 6 weeks old, under any circumstances. In fact, I make every attempt to hold buyers off until the bunnies are 8
to 10 weeks old. It is the only way I can guarantee their ultimate health and survival. Their systems are just far too sensitive- too much can happen. Waiting 2 weeks can literally save their lives.@RES
A comprehensive rabbit information and breeder support website Raising RabbitsWRSA Study Effect of Cage Floor and Stocking Density on Growth Performance and Welfare of Group Housed Rabbits
Clinical Feature and Rapid Plasma Reagin Antibody Titers in Spontaneous and Experimental Rabbit Syphilis Saito, Tagawa, Mimura, Hasegawa Mar 2005 Study Link
Epizootic Rabbit Enteropathy (ERE) Emerging problem in the rabbit world thought recently started in the US (circa 2009). Sudden onset of bloating, rambling noise in stomach, often goes off feed, diarrhea sometimes present, high mortality and spreads. Often breeders think it's a feed issue. Not much seems to help other than providing hay to infected individuals and feeding hay to unaffected herd members until after deaths cease.