Basic Bunny Care
PELLETS: Rabbits require low protein, high fiber. You should feed your pet rabbit pellets that are between 15 and 16 percent protein, and at least 20 or 21 percent fiber (18 percent protein for breeding and raising babies). Make sure the rabbit pellets you feed are hard, green, and dust free. Our rabbits are fed Purina Complete rabbit ration, and a small bag of feed will be provided when you purchase your bunny to help with transition.
Any changes in feed should be done over about a week's time, mixing the new feed with the old. Don't let uneaten pellets stack up - make sure you give just enough for them to finish off, and toss out any that get moist or moldy. This also helps you know when a rabbit isn't feeling well and has stopped eating.
Feed your rabbit as much fresh rabbit pellets as it wants until it reaches about 3 months old. After that, the standard rule is 1 ounce of feed per pound of the rabbit. Most Holland Lops do well on a ½ cup of rabbit pellets per day. That should keep them at a happy and healthy maintained weight. Of course, an extra busy or nursing rabbit will require more food.
HAY: It is also highly recommended that you feed your Holland Lop as much hay (timothy or other grass hay) as it wants to eat, at least 3 times a week. Make sure the hay is fresh, mold free, dust free, and preferably green. Also, twigs or wood from fruit trees give your pet something to gnaw on.
WATER: Make sure your rabbit has as much fresh, clean water as it wants at all times. Water cans work well for adult rabbits, but bottles are necessary when babies are small so they will not drown. Water containers will have to be periodically cleaned with bleach water to keep algae from growing.
FRESH FOODS: Wait to add any fresh food until your bunny is at least 3 months old. You can begin to introduce fruits and vegetables at that time, one at a time in small quantities. Fresh foods to try: parsley, leaf lettuce (not iceburg), spinach, collard and other greens. In smaller quantities: raisins, carrots, apples, oranges, and sweet potatoes. Dandelion greens and blackberry leaves are a safe treats that rabbits love, and can be used with babies as well (in small quantities). Pineapple and dried papaya are good for shedding or extra-furry rabbits.
CAGE: Holland Lops do well in 24" x 24" cages, but slightly smaller can work if the rabbit is given a play time regularly. Wire-bottomed cages help keep the rabbit clean and makes clean-up easier. If you have a cage with a pull-out tray underneath, it is best to line it with absorbent material to reduce smells and splashing.
LITTERBOX TRAINING: A rabbit can be taught to use a litterpan fairly easily. A good source of information can be found at:
LOCATION: Rabbits have a fur coat, so cold is usually not a concern. Make sure your hutch is out of the rain and wind. In case of extreme cold weather, a box may be added for your rabbit to sit in. Since temperatures above 80° can be deadly for a rabbit, make sure the cage is in a shady spot with good airflow in hot weather. Also make sure that the sun never hits inside the cage in the afternoon. When it is really hot in the summer, you can give your Holland Lop a frozen bottle of water or a wet stepping stone to lie against. Misting their ears with water, covering the cage with a wet towel, and/or using a fan to blow air near (not directly on) the cage can help keep your rabbit cool as well.
BREEDING: If you are thinking of breeding your Holland, you will need cages that have "baby wire" along the sides to keep the babies from crawling out. Also the expecting doe will need a nesting box filled with hay (sawdust at the bottom is good) given a couple days before she is due. She will make a hole in the hay and line it with her own fur to keep the newborn bunnies warm. In very cold weather, newborn rabbits might have to be protected by bringing their nesting box inside during the night. Similarly, in extreme heat the box can be kept inside during the day. Since mother rabbits only nurse their babies a couple times in the day, they can be kept apart from their babies for up to 8 hours. The babies will live in the nest box until they are fully furred and able to hop around the cage (2-3 weeks old). After that it is best to remove it and clean it out, since they will likely use it for a litterbox.
Care & Grooming
BRUSHING: Holland Lops (unless they are fuzzy-furred) do not require brushing, but they do like it and it is very healthy for their skin and hair. Rabbits molt usually twice a year with the change of seasons. They are getting rid of their old coat and putting on a new one. If your Holland is molting, it is helpful to brush it to help remove the hair before they ingest it (which can cause a deadly fur ball). Fuzzy Holland Lops will require more regular brushing.
NAILS and EARS: You will need to clip their toenails every couple months, or as they appear needing it. You should also check your rabbit's ears for earmites (crusty brownish areas inside the ear) and wax buildup. If you notice any earmites, you can purchase some earmite medicine drops to put in them. If wax buildup is all that you see, you can clean the ear out with a q-tip and some mineral oil.
EYE / FUR MATTING: Baby rabbits (especially in more furry breeds) need to be checked for inturned eyelashes/sticky eyes between 2-3 weeks old. If the fur around the eye is matting, simple wet the area with water and gently pull apart the fur until the eye is visible. Wash off any sticky substance and brush fur away from eye. Check several times a day and if sticking continues clip back long fur around eye. Usually a rabbit will outgrow this problem in a few days if it is taken care of properly.
A similar trouble can happen with young rabbits (and older ones with fuzzy hair) of matting on their bottoms, due to wet droppings sticking to their fur. Check baby rabbits as soon as they begin hopping around (2-3 weeks) and make sure that any sticky build up is washed off with warm water. Sometimes clipping of the fur is necessary to remove dried mats (use small sharp scissors), but be very careful not to cut too close to the skin. Watch out for any signs of diarrhea (often caused by stress or improper food) which can quickly cause death in a young rabbit.