Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
East Riding of Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Posted Jan 30, 2013
As a child growing up, Rabbits were a popular collection of mine.
My first (and only) female rabbit put me off the females, due to being very hormonal and constantly plucked her fur for nest making. She was not an overly friendly rabbit and nipped regularly. She sadly passed on at the age of just 4.
My first Lop male rabbit was a saint, and the type of rabbit any child would want to grow up with. He was friendly, loved being held and would hop over to sit in your lap if you were sat nearby. If you scratched/rubbed his back, he would have to lick anything in front of him, your foot, the floor, anything.
He developed tumors around his esophagus and sadly was euthanized at the age of 8.
My last two rabbits after him were related (from the same breeder) and lived together. One was the runt of the litter, and developed cataracts. They were inseparable and the larger of the two provided support/guidance for the other who, by the age of 2, was fully blind. They were both very sweet, friendly rabbits. The blind rabbit passed on at 5 years, and his brother died shortly afterwards, from what appeared to be simply "A broken heart"
All my Lop rabbits lived on fresh shavings & hay (as I have horses, this was easy to come by. I suggest if you own rabbits/guineas, don't waste money buying small bags of shavings for £3/6 when you can buy an entire large bale for £6, exactly the same product and you're gaining at least 8x the amount for the same price. Same with hay, a good conventional hay bale would last you quite a long time, same with straw if you used it.
I fed my rabbits on a mixed diet (maize, oats, peas, etc), plenty of wood to chew, fresh fruit and veg. We built custom cages that had a screen to protect from any rain & snow, and they had shelves for additional play. We had custom runs & pens for on the grass which gave them a lot of freedom without getting lost in the garden.
Their water bottles were wrapped in drainpipe insulation in winter to help prevent freezing.
For children, rabbits are often a great pet, though from my experience, females can be quite temperamental/hormonal and can find this can put children off if they're regularly bitten. (like me)
I'd suggest though, make sure your child wants one for good reasons. It's common for children to fall for the "cute" factor and then not be interested in cleaning them out (which can cause poor health and attract flies which can lead to fly strike).
It's been some years since I had rabbits, and would love to have another one day. Currently it's not overly practical and would not be able to spend enough time with one.