Author Archives: Ellyn Eddy

Preventing Sore Rabbit Hocks – Learn how to prevent sore hocks in rabbits and how to treat rabbits with the condition.

Sore Rabbit Hocks

The other day my brother showed me some photos he had taken in the woods near our home. They were pictures of bear tracks. Black bear tracks. Yes, we live that far north.

One thing he pointed out in the photos was that some of the tracks were deeper than the others. Evidently bears rest more weight on their hind feed than they do on their front feet – just like rabbits. The back part of a rabbit’s hind foot is called the hock, and this area supports most of the bunnyweight. The hock is normally covered with a thick layer of fuzz, but sometimes this fur wears away, and the skin on the hock and break and bleed. Average rabbit owners call this condition “sore hocks,” though vets might term it pododermatitis or ulcerated foot pads. I’m not sure what you call it in bears.

Sore hocks can develop on any rabbit, but certain ones are more susceptible. Those would be the Rex-furred breeds (since they have short fine fur), the very large breeds (since they have more weight to bear), and excitable rabbits that stamp their feet a lot. It’s also more common in rabbits that are housed in cages with wire floors. Put two of these factors together (i.e. rex fur + wire floor) and you will need to be proactive if you want to prevent ouchie bunny feet.

Unfortunately, once sore hocks have developed, they’re very hard to treat. If the fur gets worn away, it will seldom grow back. Plus, since rabbits spend so much time on their feet, the skin doesn’t have much of a chance to heal. So it’s worth the trouble to institute a Pododermatitis Protection Plan.

That plan doesn’t have to include moving your rabbits to solid-floored cages. I don’t even recommend it. The reason why most rabbits are housed on wire floors is because wire floors are best for them. Cleanest. Safest. Healthiest. In fact, I read a study from the World Rabbit Council (summarized several years ago in Domestic Rabbits magazine) that said rabbits seemed to actually prefer wire floors if given the option.

So how can get all the benefits of a wire floor with none of the disadvantages?

Enter the EZ-Mat

Plastic resting mats (also known as EZ-Mats) are extremely popular with rabbit owners, and for good reason. They’re simply hard plastic mats – made of quality, non-toxic ABS – that lay over the top of the cage floor, giving your rabbit a place to rest off the wire. They have very smooth surfaces; all the edges are carefully beveled to prevent wear on your rabbit’s feet. And they are super sanitary. They have slots punched out that allow waste to fall right through into the drop pan. And if the mats ever get dirty, they’re easy to wash with soap and water. You can even put them in your dishwasher! (My family has never been cool with that idea, though.)

Ask around to your bunny friends, and you’ll probably find that most of them use resting mats. If you don’t have any yet for your bunnies, today is a great day to go EZ-Mat shopping, because a popular rabbit supply company is offering a three-day sale on EZ-Mats right now.

Sale on EZ-Mats

Follow the below links to save money on EZ-Mats from Premium Rabbit Supplies.

Pack of Twelve:

While you’re at Premium Rabbit Supplies, check out the other supplies we offer: cages, carriers, nest boxes, dishes, toys, and lots more. If you have any questions while you’re there, just call 1-800-809-8752 or sign into live chat. We’ll be happy to help!

But wait, has your rabbit already developed sore hocks?

If your rabbit already has sore hocks, resting mats can definitely help. Additionally we recommend that you apply some Bunny Balm (also used during rabbit tattooing) on the sore area to help get rid of the condition. I personally apply the KBtatts All Natural Bunny Balm when my rabbits get sore hocks.

You can grab some for use via:

Have a hoppy day!

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What supplies do you need for a Mini Rex rabbit?

The Mini Rex is a small rabbit breed with compact body type and dense, short, plush fur. They are incredibly soft, and amazingly sweet-tempered… at least as a rule. If you’re considering a pet rabbit, you should definitely check out this breed. And if you’re checking out this breed, you should definitely know what items you need to help it to thrive under your care. Here’s a quick list to help.

The Right Size Cage

Mini Rex rabbits weigh about 4 pounds, which means they must have at least three square feet of floor space. However, a rabbit’s needs vary with its age and stage: a junior Mini Rex will need less space than a doe and her growing litter. In any case, the rabbit must have enough space to stretch out completely when it lies down. In fact, a cage too small will not only cause discomfort, but could even cause muscular and skeletal injury! On the other hand, bunnies can be difficult to catch in cages that are too big.

The minimum sized cage for an average sized adult Mini Rex would be an 18X24″ cage. They do better, though, in a 24X24″ cage because they have more room to stretch out and exercise. These plushy bunnies do have a fondness for food, and will get chubby if you’re not careful. So in addition to a cage of sufficient size, Mini Rex should get out for exercise at least a few times a week.

CAUTION: Every Mini Rex Cage needs a resting mat

Whatever your Mini Rex rabbit’s cage size, there’s one accessory it must have: a cage floor mat. Most rabbits can live on wire floors with no problem. But because Mini Rex have unusually short plush fur, they are susceptible to pododermatitis if they sit too much right on the wire. That’s a fancy name for when the fur wears away on the hind feet and the skin cracks. Better known as sore hocks, this can cause infection and bleeding, and is very hard to beat once a case has developed. You can soothe the skin with healing ointment, such as All Natural Bunny Balm, but the fur may not grow back, causing an endless cycle of breaking and bleeding. When it comes to sore hocks, prevention is key.

Pro tip: Premium Rabbit Supplies is running a sale on EZ-Mats! You can only access the sale page through this special link, so check it out today!

Pack of Twelve:

Ideal carrier size for a Mini Rex

Mini Rex do very well in a small 9X24″ carrier (not to be confused with a Dwarf sized carrier, which is could be called extra small). Although this seems very small for the rabbit to feel comfortable in, the size does serve a purpose. In a carrier too big, a rabbit could easily be spooked during transport causing him to rip out a toenail, fracture a limb, or even break their back and die. However, you still want the carrier to be just big enough for the rabbit to lie down, which makes the 9X24″ carrier slots perfect for a Mini Rex.

Feeding, Watering, and Accessories

Mini Rex don’t have any special needs when it comes to feeding and watering. Like all breeds, they have a penchant for tipping their food bowls over whenever possible, so it’s a good idea to get one that attaches to the cage wire. Mini Rex can drink out of bowls or bottles. If you’re not sure which would be better for your bunny, check out this article that compares the two.

Although the Rex coat makes them more susceptible to sore hocks, one nice feature is that it almost never requires brushing. All you have to do is moisten your hand and run it through the fur to pull out the dead hairs. In fact, frequent brushing can destroy a Mini Rex coat. However, like all breeds, they need their toenails trimmed regularly.

Enjoy your Mini Rex!

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Every rabbit deserves a sturdy, well-built home. One made of 16-gauge wire that will protect them from predators. One held together with heavy J-clips or C-rings, so there’s no danger of it collapsing on them. One that has a tight 1/2″ x 1″ mesh floor – mesh small enough to provide excellent support for their weight, but large enough to stay tidy by letting droppings fall through. Every rabbit deserves a cage that’s large enough – that has at least one square foot of floor space per pound of rabbit-weight – and one placed in a location that’s protected from heat, cold, rain, sun, and wind.

Give your rabbit all these things, and he’ll have a cage that will keep him safe and healthy. But what if you want to take it to the next level? How do you go over and above what’s required to let your rabbit languish in luxury?

Enter the cage trimmings.

Accessories to make your rabbit’s house into a home

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take a lot of money to turn your rabbit’s basic cage into a place to be proud of. Here a few quick accessories you can add to transform your rabbit’s house into a home:

-Door Guards. Rabbit cages are made of wire, and wire can have sharp ends when it’s cut. Cage manufacturers are careful to grind and galvanize these edges to prevent scratches, but a little extra protection never hurts. You can buy plastic door guards in five-foot lengths that clip on to the wire and protect both your arms and your bunny from scratches.

-Urine Guards. Also known as splash guards, these 4″ guards wrap around the lower walls of the cage. Perhaps more for your convenience than your bunny’s, keep your rabbit’s urine from spilling outside the drop tray on to the floor. Splash guards work especially well for stacking cages, protecting rabbits on lower levels from getting dripped on by rabbits up top. Plus, they just look snazzy. The Supreme Rabbit Home line of cages comes with urine guards and door guards already installed, but if you’ve already purchased cages that don’t have them, you can buy them separately as well.

-Resting Mats. In general, wire floors work great for rabbits. They’re clean; they’re sturdy; they’re shiny. But they aren’t perfect. Although most breeds can live on wire floors without issue, it’s always nice to provide a bit of relief from the metal mesh. Slotted resting mats are brilliantly designed to lay on top of the wire, protecting your rabbit’s feet while still allowing waste to fall through into the drop tray. The tops of the mats are very smooth and beveled just right to prevent any sharp edges that could catch on your rabbit’s toes. They’re made of high-quality ABS plastic, so they’re completely washable and hold up fine to rabbit teeth (that is, as well as any plastic can).

Newsflash! Resting mats are on sale at

Pack of Twelve:

-Hay Racks – Have you heard about hay racks? All the cool rabbits have them. Rabbits should have constant access to good hay. It’s like, pretty important. And it’s also important that the hay is clean. That doesn’t just mean that the hay isn’t musty and moldy: it also means that it hasn’t been thrown on the cage floor, where there’s an 85% chance rabbits will play with it, lay on it, and/or pee on it before eating it. Racks sit on the outside of the cage and allow the rabbits to pull wisps of hay through the bars, both promoting health and preventing a lot of waste.

-Nesting Boxes. Surprise! Nesting boxes aren’t just for nests. Although boxes are essential for babies, they’re pretty popular with adult rabbits, too. Many rabbits enjoy the feeling of being in a burrow that a nest box can provide. Others prefer to perch on the top of the box, as if they were playing King of the Mountain. One thing’s sure: if you offer your rabbits a box full of straw to play with, they won’t neglect it.

Not only that, but a nest box can save your rabbit’s life. I’ve heard lots of stories about raccoons breaking into a barn and killing rabbits through the cage bars. I’ve seen it happen in my own rabbitry. A friend and I were discussing it just today, and she said she keeps boxes in her rabbits’ cages to give them shelter in case of an attack by raccoons or dogs. Better to be safe than sorry!

So how are those ideas for a few low-cost improvements to your rabbit’s home? There’s a lot more I could add, but to save us all time, how about you just take your bunny shopping at and see what he likes? Premium Rabbit Supplies has Resting Mats, hay racks, nest boxes made of both wood and metal, and lots more. If you have any questions while you’re there, just call 1-800-809-8752 or sign into live chat. We’ll be happy to help!

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Female Rabbit

Can two female rabbits live in the same cage?

This is one of the most common questions for someone wanting to buy a second rabbit, but not a second cage. It seems like an attractive option to save money, and get a friend for your lonely bunny. But many rabbit owners learn the hard way that it isn’t so simple.

Two female rabbits will fight.

Although may expect two males to fight, you may not realize females can be just as bad. When going to a pet store or breeder’s rabbitry, you may notice several animals in the same cage. What you may not realize is these friends consist of either a mom and her babies, or two rabbits who haven’t yet reached sexual maturity. The hormones of a female rabbit, once mature, will cause her to be more aggressive. She may lash out at the handler, and the other rabbit. She could even kill her if she’s trying to protect “her” territory. You might be able to solve this with a couple of spay surgeries – but that would run about $150. That’s a lot more than the cost of the second cage.

Rabbits will compete.

So, let’s say you had them spayed. Although not a complete suppressant of the hormones, it will calm them down some. They may not fight, but you still might have one die of starvation or obesity. You may think “Well, I gave them more than enough for both of them!” The problem is now that one ate more than her “fair share,” she is overweight, and the other is starving. Obesity can be just as bad as starvation because it can cause breathing issues that can develop into pneumonia, and dermatitis on the skin.

Hint: Check out the “Supreme Rabbit Home” line of cages that come standard with all the trimmings: drop trays, door protectors, urine guards, and high caliber construction.

Two rabbits in the same cage can share diseases

When two rabbits share a cage, if one gets sick, it’s likely the other will also. Two rabbits in one cage means that the cage gets dirtier faster.  And a dirty cage is a breeding place for disease.  For example, the coccidian parasite is only infectious once it’s lived in feces that have been exposed to air for a day or two – and if you have two rabbits making a mess in the cage, there’s more exposure.

You might think, “Well, I just won’t let my rabbits get sick.”  But sometimes, despite your best precautions, things happen.  For example, parasites such as pin worms or fungal infections such as ringworm can be brought in on your skin, clothes, and pets, and rabbits can easily catch it. Then once one has it, they both do. Now instead of one vet bill, you have two.

But how do I solve my rabbit’s loneliness?

The good news is you don’t have to solve your rabbit’s loneness, because rabbits don’t get lonely.  In the wild rabbits are more solitary creatures than pack animals.  If you spend time with your rabbit daily, that will provide enough interaction to keep it happy and occupied.

So will my female rabbit benefit from a companion?

Possibly.  Although rabbits do not need another bunny around, they do seem to enjoy having another rabbit in the area.  “In the area” means in the same room – but NOT in the same cage.  Rabbits strongly prefer having their own personal space, but do like to have another bunny near enough to communicate with through scent and sound.

So what’s the solution?

Go ahead and get two rabbits, if you’d like.  But make sure to also get two cages.  There have been cases in which female rabbits lived in one cage together successfully, but those are rar – and many people find this out the hard way.  Thankfully, if you don’t want the expense of buying two separate cages, you can buy a “double-hole” cage for two rabbits. This cage allows both does to have their own personal space, while still being close enough to make friends.  A double-hole cage not only costs less than two single cages, but it also takes up less space. Plus there is only one drop tray to empty, which is something nobody can complain about.

Recommended Readings:

Raising Rabbits 101 3rd Edition:

The “Hoppy” Pet Rabbit Care Guide:


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Rabbit Supplies

Every rabbit, regardless of breed, will require a cage. A new breeder may be overwhelmed with how big, and what kind to get. To find out the perfect cage size, you can use a size chart. Now the next question: What kind? There are many plastic pet store brands, or home made wooden hutches. The problem with these is rabbits can chew through plastic and wood over time, and the wooden ones will absorb urine and warp causing a dirty, smelly and unhealthy home. Cages with solid floors will cause irritation from splash back, and you will have a urine stains on the rabbits pelt. A wire cage with a wire floor is ideal for keeping a clean rabbit. They are available in small, medium, large, and giant sizes that are ideal for almost any breed.

The Best Food and Water Equipment

Inside that cage, you will need food and water containers. Rabbits tend to chew their food dishes which can cause abscesses on their neck and chin. In addition, it is a pain to replace the chewed dishes. Metal food dishes are great because they are still inexpensive, and you don’t have to replace them as often. They are available in 5oz and 12oz sizes. Also, you have a choice to use a cup or bottle as a water container. Bottles can be a healthy choice for rabbits because they can’t dip their feet in the bowl. That is, of course, only healthier if it is kept clean. Many different brands of bottles only open in a narrow top which can be a pain to clean. However, the Lixit Flip Top water bottle makes cleaning and filling easy, and is equipped with a no drip spout.

Safe Rabbit Carrying Cages

In order to safely transport you rabbits, it is important to have carrying cages. Rabbit carriers should be wire like their cage in order to maintain cleanliness. The size required will depend on the size of the breed. A carrier too big will allow the rabbit to spook and injure itself; however, you want it big enough to allow the rabbit to lie down. It is recommended to have enough carriers to safely evacuate all of your rabbits in case of an emergency.

Supplies for your Rabbit First Aid Kit

Another necessity would be a first aid kit. It should contain nail clippers, Quick Stop, Syringe/Medicine Dropper, Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment, Vaseline, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Q-tips, baby wipes, and hemostats. These are general, multi-purpose equipment and remedies for any accidents away from home. It is not a substitute for medical attention, though, so if you don’t see a quick recovery, take them to the vet.

Tattoo Equipment for Rabbit Showmen

Tattoo equipment is a must for anybody who is interested in breeding. Even if they are intended for brood or pet, it is good to be able to identify them and avoid mix ups. You can choose either a clamp or pen. A clamp is preferred for large breeds; however they have a limited number of digits and are very expensive. Pens are the preferred method for smaller breeds or breeders who have a preference for longer tattoos. In addition to the tattoo pen or clamp, it is important to have baby wipes, rubbing alcohol, ink, cleaning equipment, and petroleum jelly. KBtatts offers a complete, including most of the materials listed above, and more for a very competitive price.

Important Grooming Supplies for Show Rabbits

Grooming supplies are important to any show breeder. With the exception of rex furred breeds, you will need a comb, slicker brush, and baby wipes to keep the fur in top shape. For rex fur, you would use a pumice stone. Also, keep nail clippers on hand at all times as well. You never know when you are looking over a rabbit before putting it on the show table and it was missed when clipping nails. Another piece of show equipment is a show table. This is a great investment because it provides buyers a surface to look at a rabbit, and you a surface to groom your rabbit. It is also important to know what not keep in your grooming supplies. The use of tweezers, scissors, powders, or other materials that alter the natural appearance of the rabbit is against the rules.

Producing Pedigrees for your Rabbits

Building a pedigree is one of the most important parts to raising rabbits. Pedigrees are not only the selling point to many buyers, but they also help track weights, varieties, and lineage. Using the Easy Rabbit Pedigree Generator, you can create a pedigrees within minutes. It will also store information, so you can have both a hard copy and an electronic copy of all your pedigrees.  Additionally if you’re looking for a pedigree that will wow your customers, grab a custom pedigree design.

Recommended Rabbit Pedigree Software:

Information is Invaluable

And lastly, it is important to keep literature you can refer to when questions arise. One of the most common questions is: Where did THAT variety come from? Fortunately, there is The Rabbit Coat Color Genetics Guide to answer that question. It will also arm you with the ability to predict the possible outcomes and warn you to shy from breeding together certain varieties. Another great book, celebrated for its comprehensive approach, is Raising Rabbits 101.  It gives you tips and tricks on improving the overall health and quality of your herd.

Recommended Readings:

Raising Rabbits 101 3rd Edition:

The Rabbit Coat Color Genetics Guide:

Credits: Rachel Taylor contributed to this article.

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How to Build a Rabbit Cage – A Step by Step Tutorial to walk you through the Rabbit Cage Building Process.

Building a Rabbit Cage

The Right Supplies for Building a Rabbit Cage

Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar:  Your kids wanted a rabbit.  You agreed — as long as they just got ONE rabbit.  I mean, a rabbit is cheaper than a dog, right?  You could pick up a bunny from a local breeder (it’s only $20), build a quick cage for it, and then have a new little critter keep the kids busy for a while.  Call it a responsibility lesson in a cage, right?  Sounds easy.  And then you actually have to build the cage.

Suddenly, when you start looking at wire guages, mesh sizes, and prices; j-clips, c-rings, and pliers; door-latches, urine guards, and drop trays – building a cage becomes exponentially more complicated.

Supplies you need to build a rabbit cage

It’s not that tough, really: you just need to know where to start.  If you browse around our blog and website you can find articles that go into detail on different types of wire and clips, but in case you’re in a hurry, I’ll give you a cheat sheet here.  (That rabbit can’t live in a cardboard box forever, right?)

The right wire to build a rabbit cage

Choose the right wire for your cage.  Don’t compromise on cheaper wire.  It won’t last nearly as long, and won’t protect the rabbit nearly as well.  The wire for the cage sides should be:

-14 or 16 guage

-Galvanized, GBW (galvanized before welding) is fine

-1 x 2” Mesh

I recommend buying a 1 x 2” mesh roll of wire that is 18” or  24” wide.  Making your cage dimensions in multiples of six inches will ensure that standard sized urine guards and drop trays will fit in them.

The wire for the cage floor should be a little different.  Floor wire has a tighter mesh and is sometimes galvanized after welding to produce a smoother surface.  The wire for rabbit cage floors should be:

-14 or 16 guage

-Galvanized (GAW is a little better, but GBW is fine, too.)

- ½” x 1” Mesh

As you see, the main difference is the ½” x 1” mesh.  Do not keep rabbits on anything larger than a ½” x 1” mesh for the floor.  Anything larger will not provide enough support for their feet, and presents a greater risk of feet or toes being caught in the wire.

Pliers and Clips for Building Rabbit Cages

First off: the clips.   You’ll need something strong to hold the pieces of wire together.  The common clip-of-choice is the J-clip.   It’s a small pice of galvanized steel bent into a J-shape, that wraps around two pieces of wire and holds them securely when bent with special pliers.  J-clips are very strong; you usually only have to use 3-4 per side when attaching the cage pieces together. sells J-clips in one pound bags.

Another option is the C-ring.  This is a lighter duty ring that’s often used for attaching cage floors.  If used in enough quantity it’s still very strong, and it’s preferred for floors because it won’t catch as much debris in it as a J-clip will.

Both C-rings and J-clips need special pliers.  At least, you’ll probably want to get special pliers  — I’ve tried it with both specialized and needle-nose pliers, and the special ones are about 500% faster.  You can usually buy those wherever you buy the clips.

Lastly you’ll need some wire cutters, available at Menards or perhaps in Dad’s old tool box.  Ready to get started?

Drop Trays and More

Think that was all?  Oh no, there are a few more things you should grab to round out the cage.  Try a door latch, for instance.  You can use either a simple spring or a fancier one, as long as it holds very securely.

You’ll also need to decide if your cage will need a drop tray.   This depends on where you’ll be keeping the cage.  If it will be in the house or garage, you’ll need something to catch the droppings.  Even if your cage is outside, you might prefer a tray to keep things neat.

There are many more do-dads you can add to a rabbit cage,  but I think that covers the most important ones.  A couple of goodies to check out are urine splash guards, which help keep your floors clean, and plastic door trim, which wraps around the edge of a cage door to soften the wire edges.

Building a Rabbit Cage Step-by-Step

Got everything together and ready to roll?  Great!  Let’s get started.

1. Plan your cage.  Plan out and write down what size wire pieces you will need to make the cage you want. Purchase the wire and supplies.

2. Cut your wire.  To make a 24×24” cage, you’ll need:

-One 24”x24” pice of floor wire ( ½” x 1)

-Four pieces of 1 x 2” mesh wire that are 24” times the hight of your cage

-One piece of 1” x 2” mesh wire that’s 24” x 24” for the cage roof

-If you want to make a “slider” cage so the drop tray can slide in an out of it, you’ll need an additional 24” x 24” piece of the 1” x 2”

-One piece of 1”x2” mesh wire that is at least 8” x 10”, for the cage door.

I sympathize – it’s not easy on your hand to cut all that!  When you’re done, check back here for step number three.

3. Lay out all your pieces on the ground in the way you want to clip them together.  Make sure all the pieces of wire are flattened after coming off the roll.  Jusing J-clips or C-rings, clip all four sides of the cage floor.  Then raise the sides up and clip them together.  Lastly clip on the roof.

Important – if you are making a cage with a slide-out drop tray, you’re going to add an extra step in here.  Instead of attaching the floor to the bottom of the cage sides, you’ll want to attach it about two inches up the cage sides, leaving enough room for the drop tray between the floor and the bottom of the side wire.  You’ll also need to cut down the piece of wire that will form the front of the cage to make a gap where you can slide the tray out.  Then attach your extra 24” x 24” piece of 1”x2” wire the the very bottom of the cage sides, to hold the tray in.

4. Cut out a door.  I usually like to cut the cage door before I attach the roof of the cage.  The size of the door hole you cut depends on the size cage you have and the size of the rabbit you intend to go in it.  But an 8” x 10” door works for most small breeds.  Go a few inches larger for big breeds.  The door hole should be slightly smaller than the piece of wire that will actually form the door, so the door will overlap.  Attach the cage door with J-clips or C-rings on one side so it will swing, and attach it on the other with a secure latch.  Rabbit cage doors can either swing up or swing out; whichever you find easier.  Cover the edge of the door with plastic trim for safety

5. Attach the roof w/ J-clips or C-rings.  Add the urine guards, drop tray, stand, or whatever else you need, and your new cage is all ready for your bunny.  Congratulations!

Building a good quality cage definitely requires more time and money than you might initially think, especially since you have to buy two different sizes of wire, but it’s definitely worth it.  A cage that you can make from supplies at Home Depot simply won’t offer the kind of protection as an all-wire one will.  By ordering actual rabbit cage wire, you can both provide the best housing for your critter, and have the pleasure of making it yourself.  That said, if the math comes out to be too much when you consider buying the raw materials, you can always consider pre-built cages also.  The Supreme Rabbit Homes from are shipped “knocked down,” so all the pieces are there; they just need to be clipped together.  These cages can still offer you and your kids a little time of “building” a rabbit cage together, while providing you with all the supplies in one package.

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The study of coat color genetics has taken the rabbit world by a storm.  Breeders remain extremely interested in this important subject.  Not only do you need to know color genetics to be able to choose your breeding pairs wisely, but the study is fascinating in itself.  Here five fun facts that you might not have heard before about an important rabbit color.

Fact 1. The color we call “chestnut agouti” is the original rabbit color.  It shows the “normal” gene in every category.  As you may notice, wild rabbits appear chestnut agouti.

Fact 2. Every other color results from a mutation of one of the genes that makes chestnut agouti.  A mutation happens when some genetic information is lost in the process of transferring a gene from a parent to its offspring.  As a result, almost all other colors are less dominant than chestnut agouti.  If you breed a pure chestnut agouti to almost any other color, the resulting babies will be 100% chestnut agouti.

Fact 3. Chestnut agouti shows a beautiful blend of pigments.  If you look at a chestnut, you’ll see a brilliant blend of black and red pigments.  The top of the rabbit looks brindled with the two colors, and if you blow into the coat, you’ll see black and red/orange form concentric rings on the hair shaft.  All recessive mutations of the chestnut genes limit this pattern, either by reducing the color intensity (so the black hairs would become blue or chocolate) or by preventing the two pigments from interacting properly.  (For example, a solid black rabbit has the potential to produce red pigments, but it doesn’t because the self pattern gene isn’t giving the red pigment a place to show up.)

Fact 4. Chestnut shows the normal dominant gene in every main category.  So a pure chestnut – one that didn’t carry any other colors – would have the genotype AA BB CC DD EE.  A rabbit that had the most recessive gene in every category – the genotype aa bb cc dd ee –  would be albino.  Another highly recessive color is lilac tortoise – the genotype aa bb CC dd ee.

Fact 5. There are a couple mutations that produce a color pattern that’s actually more dominant than AA BB CC DD EE.  These are in the “E” series, and the names of them are Steel and Dominant Black.  The steel gene will cause the black pigment to over-produce, so it covers up some of the orange pigment in a chestnut, and only lets the light tips of the hairs show.  You can see that illustrated in the picture below.

Bonus fact:  If you enjoyed this article, you can learn more about rabbit color genetics through the book, “About Bunny Colors” from Rabbit Smarties Publishers.  This guide is written in simple language (no, it really is!) so that any rabbit breeder can quickly learn how to use color genetics in their breeding.  It incorporates advice from many rabbit raising experts, including ARBA judges and national-winning breeders.

Recommended Reading:

Rabbit Color Genetics

The Rabbit Coat Colors Genetics Guide by Ellyn Eddy:

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In the last post I got to share with you the bottom-half of my top ten list of favorite rabbitry supplies.  Now I’m even more excited, because I get to talk about the top half of the list!  And it starts with…

Rabbit Tattooer

5. The KBtatts Complete Rabbit Tattoo Kit.  Ten years ago, almost everyone used clamp tattoo kits to earmark their rabbit.  But once the battery-operated pen came on the scene, rabbit breeders flocked to grab one.  Handheld electric pens make tattooing so much easier, both on the handler and the rabbit.  (In fact, it has many advantages over clamps.)  And I’m convinced that the KBtatts brand battery operated tattoo pen is one of the best in the market.  The complete kit comes with a replacement needle, ink, ink wells, a cleaning kit, and more.  Check it out!

Rabbit Home

4. The Supreme Rabbit Home for Small/Dwarf Breeds.  I raise a dwarf breed, so naturally dwarf sized cages are my favorite.  But all of them in the “Supreme Rabbit Home” line are fantastic.  They come complete with a slide-out drop tray, so you don’t have to buy that separately in order to stack your cages.  And they’re decked out with all the trimmings, including urine guards, door trim.

Nest Box

3. Galvanized Steel Nest Boxes.  One time my dad built me some wood nest boxes.  That was very sweet of him…but the boxes were too bulky to fit in the cage door.  I love the little steel ones.  They are so cute and compact, and yet they are even more functional than wood boxes, because rabbits can’t chew them, and they’re so much easier to clean.  They have removable wood floors, so if the floor wears out, you can replace it, while the box itself lasts indefinitely.  If I get more breeding does, I’ll have to get more of these boxes.  In fact, maybe I should ask for some for Christmas…

Rabbit Carrier

2. Triple-hole Rabbit Carrier.  Again – cute, compact, and functional my three words for this carrier.  It’s so much more convenient and so much cheaper than buying three single holes.  And if you show rabbits, it’s also extremely necessary.

1. EZ-Crock.  I know, I’m always talking about how much I love EZ-crocks.  But I don’t know what I’d do without them.  I haven’t discovered any other dish that’s nearly impossible for rabbits to tip, but simple for the caretaker to remove.  They’re sturdy plastic that holds up in summer and winter, and they are a smooth bowl shape that doesn’t harbor fines or algae.  Plus, they come in three handy sizes.  Win, win, win!

By the way, you can buy all these supplies and others from our recommend rabbit supplier at

Bonus round – My top Favorite Rabbit Books

Okay…as a bonus, here are my top favorite rabbit books.  I didn’t want to include these in the top-ten list because they’re not really equipment, but good information is essential to any rabbit project’s success.  So real quick, here are my top three recommendations in books you should check out (not in any particular order):

The ARBA Standard of Perfection.  If you raise rabbits for show, you’ll need to know what’s in this book.  If you are competing in 4-H or Youth contests such as Showmanship, Breed ID, or Royalty, you doubly need to know what’s in this book.  And if you are preparing to become a judge or registrar, you absolutely need to have a copy.  This is the official standard against which rabbits are judged in the United States.

Raising Rabbits

Raising Rabbits 101.  Reading websites is fine, but you’re not going to get as complete info as if you purchase a book – such as the excellent Raising Rabbits 101 – which lays out the details of rabbit care and breeding information.  It’s written by a professional, one who has put the sweat and tears into making a rabbitry work – not just produce rabbits, but produce winning rabbits.  Check it out.

About Bunny Colors.  Ever hear your friends talking about “marten patterned himmie” and wonder what on earth it means?  Ever wonder what colors you’ll get when you breed Bugs and Fluffy, or how to produce a certain color you’ve been hoping for?  Ever wondered how to get better color quality that will help you achieve new heights on the show table?  Here’s the book for you.  “About Bunny Colors” spells out the essentials of rabbit color genetics in a way that YOU can understand.  Many readers have commented that when no other genetics resource made sense to them, this book opened the door to mastering rabbit color genetics.

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There are a lot of rabbit supplies that I like.  There are a lot of equipment items I find useful.  But there are a few items that I am especially keen on.  A few that, when I stop and think about it, I realize my rabbit keeping  venture would be a lot more difficult if I didn’t have.  A few that I cross my fingers hoping they’ll not discontinue.  A few that make me want to jump on twitter, or write a blog post to tell my friends about how cool these products are.  So let’s go for it!

My Top Ten Favorite Rabbit Equipment Items– Part One (#10 thru 6)

10. The EZ-feeder.  Some people prefer galvanized J-feeders, because they sift fines better and come in more sizes.  But I’m sticking with the EZ-feeder.  I love how it’s made of sturdy plastic, stronger than cheap plastic feeders you might find at a tractor supply.  It hooks on to the cage more securely than the galvanized feeders I’ve used.  Also, unlike the metal feeders, it doesn’t have sharp edges, doesn’t have crevices for feed dust to gather in, and doesn’t rust.

9. Carefresh ® Bedding. Using a high-quality bedding in your drop trays is worth the effort.  After the hard work of cleaning trays, it’s so rewarding to smell a sweet rabbitry thanks to the fresh shavings.  There are a lot of good rabbit beddings out there, but Carefresh® is something special.  It’s totally free of dyes, inks, and oils, and it’s even heated before packaging to kill any bugs that might be heated in it.  Carefresh® absorbs both moisture and odor, as all great beddings should.

8. J-clip removal pliers.  It might seem like an odd one to land on the list, but I love this little dude!  If you build your own rabbit cages, a pair of J-clip removers will be one of your best buddies.  At least, it will if you’re like me, and accidentally stick the J-clips on in all the wrong places.  Of course, you’ll also need his twin, the pliers that will attach the J-clips in the first place.

7. Comfort Harness and Leash.  Most rabbit owners like to take their bunnies out of the cages for a chance to romp.  This rabbit-safe harness and stretchy stroller leash allows you to broaden your bunny’s horizons by taking him for a walk.  It’s also essential if you plan to compete in rabbit hopping competitions – which are growing in popularity.  Don’t use a cat harness for rabbits, because it can put too much pressure on the rabbit’s neck.  Instead use this comfort harness that’s designed with the bunny’s safety in mind.

6. Deluxe Nail Trimmers. The girl I bought my first rabbit from was very sweet and knowledgeable, but she told me that human fingernail clippers would work fine on my rabbits’ nails.  Um, that wasn’t the case.  Human nail clippers are likely to break rabbit nails off higher than you meant to cut, because they pinch the nail instead of slice it.  Guillotine-style pet nail trimmers are faster and less stressful to use, slicing the nail off cleanly instead of snapping it.  Use these, and you’ll have less need for styptic powder.

Keep an eye out for part 2 of this post tomorrow to catch my top five favorite equipment items.   And what about you?  Which things in your rabbitry make your life easier? I would be interested to hear your response in the comments section below…

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How to Tattoo a Rabbit – A Step by Step Tutorial to walk you through the Rabbit Tattooing Process.


10 Steps to Tattoo a Rabbit Using a Battery-Operated Handheld Pen

A handheld electric pen is by far the best option for tattooing your rabbits.  It’s much safer, neater, and less painful than methods used in earlier days.  When done correctly, the battery-operated pen can give you wonderfully clean and legible tattoos.  Here are ten steps – plus a special secret—to help your tattoos come out first-class the first time.

1. Prepare your kit.  Before you even go get the rabbit, lay all your tattoo supplies out in easy reach.  This ensures that the process will be as quick and fluid – and therefore as successful – as possible.  You should have your ink in your inkwell, your inkwell in its spill-proof holder, your tattooing and stencil pens in easy reach, and your Bunny Balm open and ready to go.  (You can get all these items in the KBtatts complete tattoo kit.)

Rabbit Tattooing Pen

2. Prepare the ear.  Rabbit ears, just like ours, can accumulate wax and dead skin.  In order to get a clean tattoo, you want to clear all this away with cotton balls and alcohol before beginning your tattoo.

3. Secure the rabbit.  Go and get Bunny from his cage, and then make sure he is held securely before you begin working.  The best option is to have someone else hold him for you.  You’re looking for a hold that is firm, but not too tight, and will not put too much pressure on Bunny if he starts to struggle.  Rabbits feel safer if their heads are covered, so have your helper tuck Bunny’s head under his or her arm.

4. Stencil the tattoo.  This is a step that many breeders miss, but it makes for a better tattoo in the end.  Take a special skin marking pen and stencil the tattoo in the ear before you go over it in permanent ink.  This way you can make sure it will all fit, and look balanced and neat.  Remember, if a judge can’t read your rabbit’s tattoo, he or she can disqualify it from competition.

5. Balm the ear.  Many breeders coat their rabbits’ ears in special balm or petroleum jelly after tattooing.  But here’s the secret – balm the ear prior to tattooing also.  The jelly will control the flow of ink, making it come out smoothly and evenly without running.  Try it!  You’ll be surprised at the difference.

Bunny Balm

6. Ink your pen.  Once the rabbit is held securely, get your pen ready to go.  (You don’t want to ink it too early or the ink will dry out.) Turn the pen on BEFORE dipping it in the ink well.  This will get the ink all up in the needles evenly.  Dip just the end of the needles into the well!  The motion of the pen will draw the ink into the center of the needles, where it should be.  Never dip it in so far that the ink gets on to the pen head.

7. Tattoo Away!  Now you’re ready for action.  Hold the rabbit’s left ear open and against something solid, like your finger.  Hold the needle at a slight angle to the ear and tattoo with a gentle pressure.  You do NOT want to push the needle all the way through the ear; you’re just trying to insert ink right below the surface of the skin.  Re-ink your tattoo pen whenever it runs out until you’ve finished the tattoo.

8. Smear the ear.  When you’re done, wipe away any excess ink.  Then cover the tattoo with a balm or jelly to hold the ink in.  Using a special all-natural balm, like KBtatts Bunny Balm, can help prevent infection as well.

Bunny Balm

9. Clean your kit.  When Bunny is all settled back in his cage, it’s time to clean your kit.  Always, always wipe the excess ink off of your needle right away; it will give it a much longer life.  You can buy a special cleaning brush for the best results.  Pack up the rest of your kit so it will be ready for next time!

10. Record the tattoo.  After you tattoo a rabbit, write it down.  Make note of every rabbit you tattoo – its parents, color, and date of birth.  You may often find this list to be of great help down the road when a buyer contacts you about a certain rabbit, and you need to remember quickly which one that was.  You can download free record keeping sheets from

I hope these steps gave you some pointers to help your tattoos come out better than ever.  But wait, there’s one more step!  If you haven’t purchased your tattoo kit yet, I guess you should start there!  You can get all the supplies you need for successful tattoos from the KBtatts complete kit, which contains a pen, a replacement needle, ink, an inkwell, bunny balm, a cleaning brush, and more!  Check it out on

Rabbit Tattooing Pen


Grab the KBtatts Complete Tattoo Kit from!

This is part 3 in our series on rabbit tattoos.  Don’t miss Part 1 –“The Why’s and How’s of Rabbit Tattoos” and Part 2 — “Choosing your rabbit’s ear number.”


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