top of page
  • Writer's pictureGray Bunny Grower

Rabbits - What To Expect In Spring

It's spring! Finally! The grass is greener, trees are getting leaves again, flowers are blooming.... and your rabbit is being weird. What's going on? Let's talk about it.


Breeding Instinct:


If your bunny is intact (maybe even if it isn't), your doe may box at you, start stashing hay in a corner frantically, she might even suddenly become extra territorial and growl or even bite you. Bucks aren't immune, though it's unlikely they'll start nest building. They may chase you (or other pets), nip at you, be destructive, chew on things they've never chewed on before... the list goes on.


It's hormones and the biological instinct to reproduce. If your doe has not been near a male - *she's not pregnant. She just wants to be. If she's a pet bunny, you're either going to have to ride it out and wait for the hormones to calm or you might want to consider having her spayed. If you're a breeder, she's telling you she's ready.


The same goes for your buck. You just have to wait it out. If you do not have plans to breed, it's the perfect reminder to reassess if maybe it's time to have your rabbit spayed/neutered.


*If your doe is a pet and you have more than one rabbit who have not been spayed/neutered you MUST take her seriously. Give her what she needs for babies (a nest box, extra hay, etc.) and give her time. Rabbits are notorious for being misidentified as male/female by pet stores, breeders, rescues, and even Vets. And because they have the potential to reproduce very fast (copulation can take 3 seconds - literally) and very young it can happen without you ever noticing a thing.


Illness:


Spring is wonderful, particularly if you live in a climate with a lot of snow. The grass, the weeds, the sheer green of it all. You may be excited to take your rabbit outside to play. To enjoy the sunshine. Go for a walk if they're harness trained. But before you do that - you may want to consider the possibility of your rabbit contracting an illness. While some things are easily treated, others, like Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease are not only unable to be treated - but are fatal. Of course, you don't want bunny to have to live in a bubble, so to mitigate the risks, be mindful of where you take your rabbit. Try to stay away from areas with large wild rabbit populations, places where a lot of pet rabbits frequent, and if you live in an area with high RHD risk, consider looking into vaccinations for your rabbit if they're available. If you show rabbits, now is not the time to be lazy with your quarantine schedule. Keep all rabbits in quarantine for 30 days minimum after returning from a show. In countries other than the United States, Myxomatosis is another common fatal illness. Thankfully there are vaccines available.


Cleaning: If your rabbits are outdoors (especially in areas that drop below freezing), now is the perfect time for a deep cleaning session. No matter how clean often you clean your rabbitry, there are going to be residues and things you just can't get without water and soap. Where we are, we can't hose down/pressure wash/or even use buckets of water to clean in the winter because it will all freeze quite rapidly and create more of a problem. The first warm spring day has us pulling out the hose and the pressure washer. We put the rabbits in temporary holding cages and disinfect everything. Even with indoor rabbits, spring is the perfect time to deep clean their area.


Brushing: As long as you're deep cleaning their homes, you may as well deep clean the rabbits as well. They don't need a bath or anything, but a rabbit who is molting will lose dead fur rapidly. Just like a dog, it's a good thing to brush them and try to keep that under control. It gets stuck everywhere and to everything, and can even lead to a blockage from grooming. We've found that most rabbits don't mind being brushed at all. Not all rabbits need to be brushed, many have minimal loss, but some will lose a LOT of fur, and they may benefit greatly. And it never hurts to have another reason to handle your rabbit.



Day Old Giant Chinchilla Rabbit baby
One Day Old Giant Chinchilla Rabbit

Babies: If you are a breeder, this may be one of your most favorite times of year. Spring babies are arguably the best babies. They make everything seem brighter somehow. Even if you breed year round, spring babies are special. Just remember they're still susceptible to the sudden changes in temperature that are so common. Your babies must be protected (just like the adults hopefully are) from wind, wet, and direct sun.


Heat: Sometimes we forget that it gets very very hot in the sun, and in the spring this can be especially dangerous. The setup that is protected from the sun in mid summer due to leaves on the trees, may leave your rabbits exposed to constant sun and no way to avoid it on a hot day in spring. In forums and groups that I participate in, I see just as many heat stroke deaths in rabbits in the spring as I do during major heat waves in summer. The lack of leaf coverage, sudden swings in temperature, and a still present winter coat are a recipe for disaster.



This is the perfect time of year to get things cleaned up, refreshed, and make sure you know what you're dealing with in case of a sudden spring heat wave. Anything I missed? Comment below and let me know! Anything you have a question about? Comment, message us on Facebook, or use our Contact form. We are always happy to answer any rabbit care questions.





0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page