Monday, May 5, 2014

What to do if you're allergic to your pet rabbit

If you or another family member is allergic to your rabbit, but you want to keep it, try the following steps to minimize your discomfort:

Step 1: Regular grooming. “With all rabbits, get in the habit of grooming them on a daily basis, five minutes a day,” advised Margaret A. Wissman, DVM, DABVP — Avian Practice, in Florida. However, the person with allergies should not be the primary groomer, and/or he or she should wear a mask when grooming the rabbit.

Step 2: Restrict your rabbit’s movement in the house. Keep at least one room “rabbit free,” as well as the bedroom, where you probably spend 8 to 10 hours of your day.

Step 3: A pet shampoo formulated for use on rabbits might help. Wissman cautions against using human shampoos, which are too harsh for a rabbit, or overbathing. Rabbits “should only be bathed on occasion, not routinely,” Wissman advised.

Step 4: Use common sense while handling a rabbit. “Don’t put your face right in the bunny fur. Your immune system is sitting right there. You want to keep the rabbit dander away from those regions,” Smith cautioned.

The Right Breed For You 
Calebrese, along with the rest of her family, is allergic to a variety of animals, including rabbits. Yet, she counts many animals among her household companions, including a Blue Holland Lop. “We just took our time choosing a breed,” she said.

Although this breed of rabbit worked for Calebrese’s family, each person must discover which breed works for them. As a general rule, however, an Angora rabbit is probably not the best choice for someone with allergies. An Angora, or other longhaired rabbit, needs additional grooming and, therefore, will shed more dander, collect more dust, and lick its fur more often, thus spreading the saliva protein. Smith cites the Rex breed as having a lower shed count than an Angora.

To determine which breed is right for you, spend time with various types of rabbits, or offer to foster or pet-sit a rabbit in order to gain exposure to a variety of breeds. If you’ve had extreme allergies in the past, a visit to an allergist might be a good idea — a specialist can test for specific allergens.

Is An Allergy To One Animal An Allergy To All?
What if you’re thinking of adopting that adorable rabbit you saw last week, but you already know that you’re allergic to cats and dogs? Will you be allergic to a rabbit too? 
“Immune systems are very specific. An allergy to one species doesn’t necessarily mean to another,” Smith explained.

Smith is highly allergic to guinea pigs and cats, somewhat allergic to dogs and hay, but not at all to rabbits. To combat her hay allergy she uses caution while handling it. 
“Rabbits are a great alternative to cats,” Calebrese said, because cats are one of the main sources of pet allergies.

Clips taken from an article found at

So What if I am a Breeder?

Yes, I breed quality, healthy and show quality, papered rabbits. That does not make me a bad person or mean that I am over populating or causing more unwanted rabbits in the shelters. Nor am I taking homes away from a shelter rabbit. First off, we do NOT have a shelter near me, nor do most people. Second, my rabbits are loved and if they are going as pets, placed in homes that I feel are good. This does not mean a shelter rabbit is losing out on a home. Yes, adopting from a shelter is good but for those who want a giant breed rabbit, even in a city that has a shelter for rabbits, it is hard to find one. The ones that don't go to homes as pets stay in the show circuit. Other responsible breeders who are making sure they are producing HEALTHY and quality rabbits to continue on the breed will get them. If everyone only rescued, many many breeds would die out. 

I raise on a variety of different surfaces. Any with white feet are on wire bottom cages with a resting mat, not one has ever gotten sore hocks in my care on the proper gauged wire for the breed, and some are on solid bottoms with litter pans. The only rabbit I have EVER had get sore hocks had never been in a wire bottomed cage in her life. At three years old she had lived her life with me in a dog Kennel and a litter pan that was always clean and she developed sore hawks. After getting her in a wire bottomed cage, she finally cleared up. She is now back in a dog kennel until she has any other issues. Wire bottomed cages are not bad like people will lead you to think either, They keep them clean and out of their own filth, they give proper ventilation and so many more pro's than con's if used correctly. Plus, no one wants to see yellow footed rabbits, it just makes them look dirty and does not look good while showing.

A breeder has to keep their animals healthy for showing and, well, breeding. You can't show, breed or sell unhealthy animals nor do you want one in your barn. A breeder, not a back yard breeder who will produce mutts and focus sales towards holidays and gifts, cares about the breed, the standards and the well being of their animals. We give the females proper spacing between litters and do not over breed them. The stereotype breeders have is thanks to those who do not care.

I may be a breeder but at my place we rescue just as many if not more animals than we sell. I educate my community on why animals do not make good gifts, refuse to sell at any holiday or as gifts and I will take any animal I have sold or re homed back if it didn't work out for them. We take in rescue rabbits, cats and wildlife and we rehab them and find them new homes or release them in the case of wildlife. I have been an active member of rescues since I was a child with nearly every animal in my care having been a rescue. Yes, even some of my prize rabbits came from bad homes/breeders. The very rabbit this site is based off of, Milo, came from a horrible place. The people thought that it was OK to carry him by his ears, he was not fed enough for his size and he was scared and mean towards people due to it. I worked with him and he turned out to be an amazing member of my family and barn. Mailey, my very first French Lop  came from a farm where she over powered them and she thought if she could them then she could anyone. She is now one of the best rabbits and trusted around the smallest of kids. No more attitude issues, nothing. I have stories like this for several other rabbits in my barn now but my point is not to tell stories of how they have been miss treated but to show that an animal does not have to come from a rescue to be rescued nor are all breeders bad. In fact most breeders I know, or at least the ones who care about the breed standards and are not raising animals as a profit but to improve and carry on the breed, refuse to sell as gifts or Easter and other holidays and have similar views as myself. 

As a breeder and a person who's heart is animal welfare and rescue I can tell you that BREEDERS are not the bad ones in all of this, most of it is the uneducated people who are buying from pet stores, fairs and back yard breeders who are raising no particular breed or for standards and are breeding too close together so they can have more to sell as gifts or a novelty item not knowing that a rabbit can live well into its teens not just a couple months/years. They are a long term commitment and social animals. They need interaction not just to be in a cage in a child's room to be played with when remembered about. 

If you are going to rescue, I applaud you! It takes a special person to take on the baggage most rescue animals carry from previous homes. But if you are going to purchase, please do so from a responsible breeder who has quality animals and purebreds. Someone who will answer your questions and be there to help you through any hurdles you encounter in your rabbit owning journey.

Proper Giant Breed Nutrition

First and foremost, you should always pick a feed and stick with it.  The constant change is hard on their guts.  If your rabbits are doing well on something don't switch because something is cheaper. If you are going to switch, switch because it is a better feed or because you can't get the other one anymore. 

Fiber is an extremely important factor. Anything below 18 is really too low.  Rabbits can do fine on lower but for the larger breeds many think they do better on the higher. Fat is also important.  A minimum of 2.5- 3 is better.  

Protein is another extremely important piece of the nutrition puzzle. A giant breed such as the French Lop should be on an 18% protein blend. In some areas this can be hard to find in a quality feed but for their development and overall health of your giant breed rabbit. 

I personally struggled with finding a feed that worked best for my rabbits. It was a nightmare for a while. My two French lops started losing weight and there was nothing I could do to fix it. They were eating fine, getting treats and exercise and still, dropping weight and deteriorating. I found out that they needed a feed with 18% protein in it and most feeds only contain 15-16%. I was feeding a feed with 15% and it just wasn't enough even with treats and fresh veggies daily. Once I started learning more about it from experienced breeders they turned a major corner and started gaining their weight back and becoming my healthy and happy rabbits they were before. Most people are unaware that not all feed is equal for each breed. Their size, activity level and portions all determine which feed to choose for your rabbit. The issue is how do you know what your breed needs? If you are buying from a breeder, they should inform you what to look for in a feed for that specific breed as well as send you a small bag of feed to help transition your new rabbit over to what ever feed you decide to put him on.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Inspiration at its finest

A song that hit me very deep recently is a song called "Giants Fall" from a very inspiring artist by the name of Francesca Battistelli. I have followed this singer from a very early chapter in her career and with each single and each record she puts out her faith shines through and is a true inspiration for all. This particular song hit very near and dear to my heart in the opening verse. "Everyone's telling you to let go of what you're holding to" is exactly what I faced growing up in school. The lack of support from peers and those who kids and young adults should be encouraged by is astonishing to me. I was raised I can do anything I put my mind to and when someone said I couldn't it made me push that much harder to achieve it. From being Chapter President and Team Captain in my FFA Chapter to publishing my first book, even in raising rabbits, Every time someone says I CAN'T I find a way to DO. This song makes me feel stronger and more determined and I hope at least one other person can feel that way by hearing it. I would just like to say a big thank you to Francesca for putting words to a feeling and for the inspiration she has given me throughout the years I have been a loyal listener. 

"Everyone's telling you
To let go of what you're holding to
It's too late, too far
You're too small, it's too hard
Throwing water on that spark
Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons
The things you're not seeing
But oh, maybe they don't
Know what you know
That you're not alone

Don't you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight
He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall"

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Milo & Me Meet and Greet turn out

Every year Milo & Me teams up with local breeders to head to the local Central Square Mall for the day before Easter Carnival with some of our rabbits in the campaign against buying rabbits for basket stuffer's at Easter. With every year, more and more people come to meet the live rabbits and have their picture taken with them.  This year, the turn out for the Milo & Me meet and greet was astronomical! We had people lined up well before the gates opened at 11 o'clock Saturday morning and it was supposed to end at 1 o'clock but we didn't get the gates closed again until 2:30 due to the extreme number of people who came out to visit us at the Easter Carnival! Pictured inset are from the left, Nash and Tucker, who were two of our biggest stars. They just hung out all day for pictures with the kids and did wonderfully.