How to breed rabbits 0 241

Mating rabbits should be easy and it is, but there are some key tips that you should know before you try. Here we explore how to breed rabbits at home:

Breed the same breed

Never try to cross breed rabbits, as this can lead to complications. Keep the same breeds together for the best results.

Find homes before you breed

Rabbit litters can be big, so you need to ensure that you have space for the little ones to grow and homes for them to go to when they are old enough. Finding homes for rabbits is often easy, but you should get a waiting list in line before you breed them.

Take the doe to the buck

You should never introduce a buck to the doe’s cage. Rabbits are very territorial and the fur will fly if you introduce a male to a female’s cage. Instead, introduce the female to the buck’s cage and things will be a lot calmer.

Observe

The buck will usually mate with the doe immediately. After a few sniffs around the back of the doe, the buck will mount before falling off with a grunt. The male may also act strangely after this, thumping the cage floor and basically showing off.

Let them at it

Two or three successful matings will increase your chances of success in breeding, but you should keep an eye on them during this as rabbits can fight even during mating. Allowing two or three matings before you separate the rabbits will increase success rates and litter sizes too.

Remove the doe to her cage

Once the mating is complete you can return the doe to her cage. Within eight to 10 hours of mating, the doe will ovulate and should then become pregnant. Your doe may then be aggressive for the next few days, so give her some space and leave her alone in her cage.

Try and try again

If this process for mating doesn’t work then you simply need to try again. It will become quickly clear that your rabbit is pregnant because of clear behaviours that will be displayed and nesting practices, but you should give the rabbit a couple of weeks between each mating to start displaying these.

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3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 222

Pet rat behaviour

Rats have been given a bad name by decades of bad press. Far from the dirty, disease-filled pests that are portrayed on our screens, these sociable, clean animals have a few surprising perks to owning them.

These sociable, friendly pets are highly trainable animals who show affection for their owners and have many cute little quirks that make them great companions. They also have a very strange way of showing they’re happy!

With that in mind, here are three surprising behaviours of pet rats.

1. They are incredibly playful animals

This one will be no surprise to those who will have seen the boxing, chasing and excited jumps with their own eyes, but many are unaware that rats spend lots of time playing with each other and their owners. One scientific study actually showed that rats giggle when they are tickled. It’s highly recommended that you fill your pet rat’s cage with lots of enrichment toys and interact with them daily. Many owners report that their pet rats love being chased or to wrestle their hands!

2. They are incredibly social animals and love to show affection

Rats are incredibly social creatures. While of course every animal has its own personality and there are exceptions to the rule, they need to live with at least one other rat and most enjoy lots of daily interaction with their owners. It is not a rare sight to see pet rats snuggled up in the laps, pockets and sleeves of their humans. They will also nibble and lick them, as they would other rats, in a show of affection.

3. They boggle their eyes when they are happy

Surprising when first witnessed, one of the most peculiar aspects of rats is the way they display their contentment. While cats purr and dogs wag their tails, when a rat is very happy or relaxed they will brux and boggle – which is a sort of teeth grinding and very fast bulging of the eyes.

Rats are brilliant pets for all ages and there are many positives that come from owning these friendly, misunderstood animals.

What can degus eat? 0 258

What can degus eat

When they’re living in the wild, degus focus on dietary fibre. It makes up about 60% of their diet, with the other 40% consisting of natural vegetation. But when they’re kept as pets, you’ll need to keep a close eye on what you feed your degu.

Good quality hay

For the most part, your degu’s diet should consist of good quality hay. There are lots of brands that will suffice, but two of particularly good quality are Timothy Hay and Meadow Hay. Keep an eye on the colour: if it’s pink or white, you should throw this hay away as it’s growing mould. If it’s green, it can cause bloating. Occasionally, you can mix some Alfalfa hay in with your regular hay. It’s high in protein, so great in small doses.

You can top up your degu’s bowl with a little bit of guinea pig or degu-specific food, but don’t go overboard. It’s important that your degu doesn’t start ignoring the hay because it’s got a range of health benefits, including the maintenance of a healthy gut and strong teeth. Around 10g of degu food a day should do the trick.

Human food in moderation

The good news is you can feed your degu some of your human food! Give them to your degu in moderation though, as they can cause gas and bloating. On rotation, you can feed them the following foods around once or twice a week:

• Asparagus
• Carrot tops
• Dandelion leaves
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Fresh herbs
• Brussels sprouts
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Courgette
• Green beans
• Beetroot
• Dried herbs
• Pumpkin
• Butternut squash
• Marigold flowers
• Radish

Some sugary foods can be an occasional treat for your degu. In excess, they carry the risk of diabetes, so we’d only recommend doing this once a month.

• Apple
• Cherry tomatoes
• Peas
• Sweet potato
• Carrots
• Cucumber
• Sweetcorn or corn on the cob

When it’s treat time for your degu, give them a tiny amount (one or two) of:

• Sunflower seeds
• Peanuts
• Pumpkin seeds
• Whole nuts

As a general rule, the main thing to avoid giving your degu is fruit not listed here, rabbit food, hamster food or anything with molasses.

Just like us, degus love food – whether it’s good or bad for them. Bookmark this page to make sure you give your degu a balanced diet, and happy feeding!

Learn more about caring for your degu and other pet care advice here: http://www.nichepets.com/category/mammals/degus/