This page is devoted to help you find answers to our most frequently asked questions, quickly and efficiently. They are great questions and I am more than happy to go into greater detail if more information is needed or desired. It will continue to develop over time, as we receive more questions.
I need help deciding between a buck (male bunny) and a doe (female bunny). What are the main differences in behavior?
Does vs. bucks is a huge area of personal choice. Generally speaking, bucks tend to be more mellow and laid back, especially after being neutered, but waiting until that point can be interesting. Bucks can spray, display courtship behavior like circling their favorite person in an almost herding-like fashion, and, of course humping anything they can hug to their bodies.
If we have a buck who sprays, that behavior usually begins around 7-8 months of age at the earliest. We tend to see it more in our older herd sires who are telling us they want to breed. Since we find homes for our babies when they are young, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact percentage of bucks who would actually spray prior to being old enough to be neutered. We have had a few bucks stay with us until they were 6+ months of age before finding their forever homes, and they did not exhibit spraying tendencies. I would conservatively guess that 15% of bucks would spray before 6 months, while about 60% of unneutered bucks will spray after 12 months of age. Neutering makes a huge difference.
When does reach sexual maturity, they tend to display behaviors indicating their need/desire to breed, as well. Digging in the corner of their cages, lunging when you reach into her cage (as though protecting a litter of babies), nipping, and pacing (hopping around in circles) tend to be the more obvious issues. These, too, will dissipate after being spayed, so they wouldn't be long-term problems.
Does can become nippy at 4-6 months, if they are going to develop that tendency at all. One day, you could have a perfectly lovely, well-behaved little girl, and the next day you could be wearing a bandage on your hand because her body started producing hormones that make her vigilant in protecting herself and the babies she could be carrying (in her mind). Plum Bun, Anastasia, and Babette are all rabbits we have to watch carefully before handling in their cages, even when they are not pregnant, because they are all cage defensive. When they are out of their cages, they are totally fine, relaxed, and sweet, but they have very strong mothering instincts that we need to be aware of at all times. Again, since we find loving homes for the majority of our babies who are spayed when they reach 6 months of age, it is difficult to estimate what chance a doe kit would have in developing this tendency. Based on the numbers in our own herd, our best guess would be 25%.
It's mainly a matter of what you can deal with until they are old enough to be altered. Bucks can be messier and more embarrassing, but does can be a bit more unpredictable and can nip. It is very important to note that not all bucks and does will develop these issues.
I need help finding a rabbit knowledgeable veterinarian. Where do I look?
Our first stop in finding bunny savvy vets is http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/ This recommended resource was compiled by the House Rabbit Society and is organized by state. I do not know how frequently it is updated, so please call any potential vets to make sure they are still with the practice listed.
Rabbits are considered "exotic pets", so if you cannot find a vet near you on the vet listing, you might want to let your fingers do the walking and look for listings in the yellow pages or online that advertise a doctor who works with exotic pets. Be careful and make sure he/she knows the proper types of anesthesia and antibiotics that are rabbit safe before you are in an emergency situation.
Word of mouth recommendations by other bunny owners can be a helpful way to go.
If you have a county extension office with an active 4-H organization, you could call their office and ask if they know of a good rabbit vet they rely on for their programs, or if they could direct you to the person in charge of running the rabbit show at their county fairs. It may take some legwork on your part, but your county extension office can give you a wealth of information.
Do you ship rabbits?
No, due to the nature of our personalized bunny-matching process, our schedule, and homeschooling commitments, we do not offer shipping.
We welcome your questions. Please contact us here.
Hot Cross Buns Holland Lops is a small-scale, family-run breeder located in Oberlin, Ohio. ARBA & HLRSC members.