Raising Angora Rabbits - Health & Care Guide
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Angora rabbits are becoming much sought after companion animals. This is, in part, due to the rising popularity of rabbits as pets. They are more loving animals than many people think and can be great for families with children. With the Angora, in particular, their popularity is also due to their look. Longhair rabbits are in the minority, with few as wonderful looking as the Angora. This long hair means they have some different care needs to other rabbit breeds, but that's not all.
Find out what an Angora rabbit needs in terms of care and health with our complete guide to raising Angora rabbits.
Basic care of Angora rabbits
The Angora rabbit is one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbit. For this reason, its seasoned history means it has had a chance to develop more than other breeds. This has resulted in the following subcategories of the breed:
- English Angora rabbit
- French Angora rabbit
- Giant Angora rabbit
- Satin Angora rabbit
Differences between each variation of the breed appear mainly in their size and color of their coat. However, in terms of the Angora rabbit's care needs, they do not vary excessively. They all will need a suitable and balanced diet, regular exercise, proper habitats and proper coat care. With these points covered, your rabbit has the best chance to grow strong and health.
They are relatively delicate bunnies and will not withstand temperatures above 30 ºC (86 ºF) or below 10 ºC (50 ºF). We need to ensure their cage or hutch is located near heat sources in winter and they have sufficient shade when necessary. If we allow the rabbit to run around outside, which we should do to some degree, it is best to avoid them getting wet.
Hutches for Angora rabbits
The hutch for a rabbit is very important as it is where they will spend most of their time. You should try taking into account the size your rabbit will reach when they are an adult. Although they can be very small when we take them home, Angora rabbits can grow to be up to 4 kg as an adult, depending on their variety.
In any case, if you have access to the outdoors, you should prepare a space where they can run around freely. This should always be at times without extreme temperatures and secured so that no other animals can attack them.
In their normal hutch, the Angora rabbit needs to be able to move within the cage to exercise their muscles. Although you may take them out daily, constricting them when in the hutch will be very harmful to them. The floor of the hutch needs to have a substrate, usually hay or straw. Wood chips and shredded newspaper need to be avoided.
One corner of the hutch should be a place where they can relieve themselves. They will normally choose where they want to go. After they have done so, you should put more substrate in this area to absorb their waste and promote hygiene.
Food bowls and water bowls should be the same as any rabbit. However, it is best to use a water bottle with a nozzle. Water bowls are not good for any rabbits, but Angoras especially because it can lead to their long fur getting wet.
Diet of Angora rabbits
As with all rabbits, Angora rabbits are herbivores. Their diet mainly consists of hay, fruits and vegetables. Hay is essential for a diet's proper digestion and needs to given in an endless supply. It provides them with a lot of fiber and helps keep their digestion regular. Hay is not only great for their diet, but it can be used as their substrate as Angoras will enjoy sleeping in it.
We also need to supplement their hay diet with rabbit food and, to a lesser extent, fresh fruit and vegetables. The rabbit feed you should give to an Angora should be slightly higher in protein than short hair rabbit breeds, at about 18%. This will help to keep their coat in the right condition. Whatever feed you buy, make sure it is quality.
When raising Angora rabbits, you need to know that newborn and infant rabbits will need to start on a diet of milk. Ideally, this will need to be done by their mother. Unfortunately, some rabbits may be taken from their mother too early or there is a health reason they have been separated. To know how to feed newborn Angora bunnies, take a look at our article what to feed a baby rabbit.
Also, not all fruit and vegetables are suitable for rabbits. Our article on recommended fruit and vegetables for rabbits will explain more.
Caring for an Angora rabbit's coat
The fur is the most characteristic element of the Angora rabbits. It is long and silky, and is used in the textile industry as wool. This is why we must take care of their hair in a special way to avoid knots and so our rabbit is not hindered by unfettered hair growth.
Brushing Angora rabbits
We must brush them at least two or three times a week with an appropriate brush. There are many types of brush on the market. Use one that is not too hard, since the fur of the Angora rabbit is very sensitive. Some caregivers use two or more types of rabbit hair brushes for different parts of the body.
Rabbits, even if they are calm, can be very scared if they are forced to be brushed. We should take it easy, reassuring and caressing the animal in preparation. We will brush with the hair and not against the grain all over the back. Take care not to hurt or scare them, so start slow. Little by little we will also brush the most delicate areas such as the face, ears and belly. Take your time especially the first few times.
Over time you will see how it is much easier to brush them and they are much calmer. With some basic brushing routines we will avoid the formation of knots and tangles, as well as eliminating any excess dead hair. Rabbits, like cats, eat hair and it can cause problems for them in the form of hairballs. We can give them malt paste to avoid this.
Grooming Angora rabbits
It is best to keep hair growth of Angora bunnies controlled. Angora rabbits grow a lot of hair and, if we don't cut it regularly, knots will form and the hygiene of the animal will deteriorate. As with brushing, the rabbit must be calm when being groomed. With scissors we can carefully trim the hair, using our fingers to leave a certain margin between the hair and skin. Their skin is very sensitive so we must leave a thin layer of hair as protection.
The first time you go to cut their hair, talk to your veterinarian. They will advise you on the best brush for your rabbit and will indicate how you should proceed to cut their hair. Later, at home, it is best to cut their hair with someone else present so they can secure the rabbit and keep them calm.
Of course, your Angora rabbit will also shed at different times of the year. With an Angora, this may be more obvious than with other breeds. However, if you think they are molting too much, it could be a problem. Our article on why my rabbit is shedding a lot will help you learn more.
Angora rabbit nails and teeth
The nails and teeth of rabbits grow continuously throughout their lives. This is why they need particular care and attention.
When the rabbit moves and runs, they wear down their nails. They will also do this by scratching against the ground or other hard surfaces. However, since we often keep them in areas without hard surfaces, there are times when we will need to trim the rabbit's nails for them. You should ask your vet to do this the first time and then observe how it is done properly. After this, you can do it yourself at home. Always be very careful not to cut through to the nail bed. It can be very painful and become infected.
Angora rabbit teeth will never stop growing. We don't need to trim them ourselves as they should do it through chewing hay. However, we should also provide wood blocks and other chew toys to help them wear their teeth down. If we do see the rabbit has abnormal teeth growth, we should go to the veterinarian where they can be worn down.
Bathing Angora rabbits
Although some people recommend bathing rabbits once or twice a year, the truth is that rabbits do not like water at all.
Rabbits, like cats, spend time grooming themselves. With this, a good brushing routine and sufficient grooming, we should have not need to bathe them. The only time we should bathe them is if they get so dirty, they cannot properly groom themselves. However, in many of these cases, we should be able to wipe the rabbit clean without having to give them a full bath.
If you do decide your Angora rabbit needs a bathe, then we can wash them. Follow the method and tips provide in our article on can I bathe my rabbit to know how to do so safely and effectively.
If you want to read similar articles to Raising Angora Rabbits - Health & Care Guide, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.