We get lots of e-mails from people asking us about the breed we raise, how to care for rabbits, how to breed & show rabbits, & several other questions... so we decided to create this FAQ page. This page not only helps our customers, but it also helps us. Anytime someone has a question that is listed on here we send them to this page for answers that way we do not have to keep answering the same questions over & over.
If you are looking for further information on how to feed & care for your new bunny, a list of supplies you will need, how to handle or groom your new bunny, ect. then please visit our Rabbit Care page.
If you have a question that is not listed on this page please feel free to e-mail us & we will do our best to answer any questions you may have.
No part of this website may be reproduced without direct permission.
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Holland Lop FAQs
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Male = Buck
Female = Doe
Baby bunnies are called "Kits".
We recommend that all new rabbit breeders & rabbit owners join both the ARBA & your local state rabbit club. You will receive a membership card, a guidebook to raising better rabbits & cavies, & more. You can also register your rabbitry name for a small fee.
It is mandatory that you tattoo your rabbit for identification purposes before you can compete in a rabbit show. The tattoo must be placed in the left ear. Rabbits that are registered will have an (R) tattooed in their right ear.
Most breeders tattoo all of their rabbits, not just their show stock. You can tattoo a rabbit yourself using electric/battery operated tattoo equipment or you can get your rabbit tattooed at a show for a small fee.
Read this article for more info on Tattooing.
We recommend that you go to a rabbit show & talk with the breeders before deciding whether or not it is something you would like to do.
Read this website, it explains how everything works & what supplies you will need...
Generally, bucks have a better pet personality. Does can become defensive of their potential nesting areas & can sometimes be moody/grouchy when wanting to be bred.
Spaying or neutering makes either an even better pet. It is worth mentioning that a number people have unaltered pet does that are wonderful.
Not all bucks spray. We have a lot of bucks that never spray and a few who do. We have had bucks that spray all their lives while some of them would only spray for a short period in their life.
Like any animal, they can have a smell if left with a dirty cage, etc. or if you have a lot of rabbits you may get a "barn" type smell. But overall, if you have one pet rabbit and keep their cage clean you won't smell anything.
Absolutely. In fact, it is recommended if you do not plan to breed. This reduces reproductive type cancers and can reduce the smell and frequency of the bucks spray. It can also change the rabbits temperament to be more sweet and calm overall.
Here is a great article on Spaying & Neutering.
We believe that 24" x 24" is the smallest size that a doe with kits should have. Indoor pet rabbits, bucks, young rabbits, and dry does can be housed in an 18" x 24" cage as long as they spend part of their day outside their cage for exerise.
Wire Bottom or Solid Bottom? We highly suggest a wire bottom cage because the rabbits are not standing in their own urine or feces while in a solid bottom they are. A wire bottom cage for one rabbit can be cleaned at least once a week while a solid bottom needs to be cleaned once a day or every other day.
Generally, rabbits should have their own cages. Occasionally, unaltered does raised from birth together may be able to cohabitate without incident. Altered rabbits (spayed or neutered) may become a bonded pair and live happily together. Otherwise, you can expect does and bucks to become aggressive and territorial by the time they are 6 months old, at the latest. Pairs of opposite gender may breed as young as 3 months old, with disastrous results.
Yes, rabbits can easily be litter trained just like a cat! Here is a website with good information on how to litter train your new bunny...
For the litter itself, do not use cat litter and avoid clay and clumping brands (very toxic), as well as pine and cedar scented ones (proven dangerous in many studies). Bedding must be non-aromatic.
Personally we've always liked "Yesterday's News" & "CareFresh" brands for their absorbancy and ease of cleaning... but Cell Sorb, Aspen, and Gentle Touch are also good.
We prefer it if all of our bunnies would live indoors. Keeping rabbits indoors means that they will have year-round climate control and will typically receive more attention than outdoor rabbits. However, sometimes it is more convenient and less messy to keep them outside. As long as you house them in a proper location and give them plenty of attention, the choice is yours whether to house them indoors or out.
As a general rule, you should avoid keeping rabbits in temperatures below 40 degrees (F) or above 85 degrees (F). On the coldest days in the winter - drape some landscape fabric, a tarp, or a blanket over part of the cage, a heating pad designed for rabbits, a nest box with hay so they can huddle in, or hang a heat lamp near the cage.
With their thick coats rabbits overheat much easier than they freeze & can easily experience heat strokes. If you are keeping your rabbit outdoors, pay special attention to keeping them cool in the summertime or better yet, just bring them inside during the summer!
Bucks can become temporarily sterile in EXTREME heat, but this does not mean that all bucks will be sterile in the summer. Does do not become sterile. If you don't want unwanted litters... don't put them together at any point.
If you really want litters during the summer we suggest bringing your rabbits indoors, in a temperature controlled room. This way they will stay cool & your buck(s) will be less likely to become sterile during the hot summer months.
Due to the extreme heat & humidity that we have here in Louisiana, we do not recommend breeding during the summer (unless your rabbits are housed indoors with an AC) as it is very hard on the rabbits. All of our rabbits live indoors, but we still try not to breed during the summer if we don't have to.
"Charlies" are broken colored rabbits with less than 10% color (not enough color). These rabbits cannot be shown, but can be used in a breeding program. You usually get Charlies when you breed brokens to brokens, charlies to charlies, & brokens to charlies. Here is an example of a "Charlie" Mini Rex:
Notice how this doe has no nose markings, very little body color, & very little color around the eyes.
"Booteds" are broken colored rabbits with too much color. These rabbits cannot be shown, but can be used in a breeding program. Here is an example of a "Booted" Mini Rex:
Notice how this buck is almost completely colored except for a little white on the head, neck, & feet.
Photos by: Backyard Bunnies Rabbitry - This was our first (and only) Broken Red bunny from when we raised Red Mini Rex.
We feed our rabbits "Rabbit Star" pellets by "Lone Star", grass hay, and fresh water daily. In the winter, we sometimes give rabbits ages 4 months and older 1 tsp. of raw oatmeal (old-fashioned, not quick or instant). For Mini Rex & Holland Lops you should feed 1/2 cup - 1 cup depending on their weight & how energetic they are (rabbits who pace back & fourth may eat more). General rule: 1 oz. of feed per 1 pound of body weight. Bunnies under 4 months old should be free-fed.
We give our adult rabbits (6 months and older) weekly treats. Safe treats include: raw sweet potato, carrots, celery, apple slices (without seeds), & italian parsley. There are numerous other acceptable treats which may be given in very small quantities once or twice a week. We do not feed our rabbits any type of lettuce just to be safe, especially not Iceberg as it can cause diarrhea and/or death.
We buy our feed ("Rabbit Star" commercial pellets by "Lone Star") at our local feed store...
Evangeline Feed Store
Ville Platte, LA 70586
For more info on the brand of pellets we use, visit this website.
Years ago it was a good idea to supplement your rabbit feed with a special rabbit salt or mineral block, but now days rabbit feed is a complete feed and there is no need to supplement with these salt licks. Rabbits like to play with them, but we found that the salt rusts the cage floors very quickly.
We think it's best to wait until the rabbit is a senior (6 months and older) before getting fresh fruit & veggatable treats. It's always possible that a treat would not agree with your rabbit and cause a reaction such as diarrhea. An adult-size rabbit has a better chance of coping with the change in the diet and any resulting reactions. Treats should be introduced slowly, one at a time, with observation of any ill effects on your rabbit.
Yes. Rabbits should have something to chew on at all times. It helps releive boredom and keeps their ever-growing teeth short.
Here are some items that are OK for rabbits to chew on:
hay, apple, willow, & aspen branches; cotton towels, untreated fresh pine lumber 1"x2"s or 2"x4"s; untreaded wicker or willow basket with hay in it--let the bun chew the basket as well as the hay, toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay, cardboard boxes, empty oatmeal containers, & hard plastic cat ball toys.
Being caged animals, rabbits do not require shots such as rabies. Vaccinations are not necessary. Always check with your vet for recommendations.
We worm our rabbits with Safeguard for horses (small, pea sized amount) and treat them twice a year with Ivomec. Check with your small animal vet for recommendations.
The best way to prevent disease is to keep all water bottles, crocks, toys, cages, & pans clean, worm twice a year, quarantine all new rabbits before bringing them near any other rabbit(s) you may have, & do not offer stud services.
Rabbits can get sore hocks if they do not have something solid to stand on such as a plastic resting mat, a board, or a peice of floor tile. All rabbits can get sore hocks, but we find that the Mini Rex are more vulnerable due to their thinner fur so it is very important that you check their feet often, clip their toenails regularly, & that they have a solid place to get off of the wire.
Sore hocks or pododermatitis is a pressure-related condition in which the “soles” (weight-bearing undersides) of rabbits’ feet become raw and inflamed, and in particularly severe cases, ulcerated. Pale pink calluses covered by a fold of fur can often be seen on the bottoms of rabbits’ paws. Pododermatitis arises when these sensitive areas become highly aggravated. If the state becomes very serious, oozing ulcers will develop, making the rabbit vulnerable to infection. The condition is painful for the rabbit. Apply Neosporin ointment every day until sores are gone. If there is an infection please see your local small animal vet.
No, unless the consistency is more like blood than urine. Normal rabbit urine ranges from a color that looks like lemonade with milk in it, to orange juice with milk in it, to fruit punch with milk in it. Sorry if I just ruined all of your favorite beverages! lol Red in urine is undigested protein.
When new rabbit owners first see a "cecal pellet" they usually think it is diarrhea, but it's not. It's a special food/dropping made by rabbits.They are partially digested foods that are passed from the rabbit and then reingested. You may not see your rabbit do this, but when she appears to be bathing her belly and she comes up chewing, she's probably just taken up a cecal pellet. It is from these cecal pellets that a rabbit gets the majority of their nutrition.
Unlike most other mammals, rabbits produce two types of droppings, fecal pellets (the round, dry ones you usually see in the litterbox) and cecotropes. The latter are produced in a portion of the rabbit's digestive tract called the cecum. The cecum contains a wild brew of bacteria and fungi that are normal and beneficial for the rabbit. In fact, the rabbit cannot live without them, since the cecal flora produces essential nutrients (e.g., fatty acids and vitamins) that the rabbit cannot produce on its own.
How does the rabbit get those vitamins? It eats the cecotropes as they exit the anus. Sound disgusting? Maybe to us, but not for a rabbit.
Cecotropes are not feces. They are nutrient-packed dietary items essential to your rabbit's good health. A rabbit usually produces cecotropes at a characteristic time of the day, which may vary from rabbit to rabbit. Some produce cecotropes in the late morning, some in the late afternoon, and some at night. In any case, they usually do this when you're not watching, which might be why some people refer to cecotropes as "night droppings."
Anyone who lives with a bunny has seen a FECAL PELLET. These are the small, brown "cocoa puffs" that we all hope end up mostly in the litterbox. They are round, relatively dry and composed mostly of undigested fiber. Rabbits do not ordinarily re-ingest fecal pellets. A normal CECOTROPE resembles tightly bunched grapes. It is composed of small, soft, shiny pellets, each coated with a layer of mucus and pressed into an elongate mass. The cecotrope has a rather pungent odor, as it contains a large mass of beneficial cecal bacteria. When the bunny ingests the cecotrope, the mucus coat protects the bacteria as they pass through the stomach, then re-establish in the cecum.
Here are two examples of "Cecal" droppings...
The gestation period for a rabbit is only about 28-34 days! That's only a one month pregnancy. From our experience, most does kindle (give birth) on day 31, but it varies. Some does can be early or late.
For first time mothers, the kits are born dead approximately 50% of the time & remember that peanuts always die.
When we had a doe have a peanut it was very clear that it was a peanut. Although peanuts are smaller than normal kits there are several other distinguishable characteristics that set the peanut apart. Our first peanut lasted three days. It was quite sad to watch it as it seemed to just wither away. Many breeders will put peanuts down immediately while other will just let them die naturally.
Anyone breeding dwarf rabbits will run into peanuts occasionally. The problem is the dwarf gene. A kit that receives two dwarf genes will be a peanut. They lack the growth hormone so they cannot grow or develop at all. No one is really sure why this produces a kit that is so underdeveloped. Unfortunately, a peanut never survives. Rarely, will live as long as three weeks and usually dies within 2-3 days.
What many new breeders want to know is what a peanut really looks like. The first noticeable difference is the size. A peanut will be twice as small as a normal sized kit. It is important to remember that size is not the only difference between a peanut and a normal kit. Their heads will sometimes be too large for the body and they can have small deformed limbs. Usually the ears are considerably smaller than the other rabbits in the litter. The eyes of a peanut actually bulge out substantially more than a normal kits. The normal kits eyes will have a slight bulge, but this is very pronounced in the peanut.
Probably the biggest difference is in the hindquarters. The hindquarters of the peanut are less than half the width of the normal kit. It is clear when you see a peanut that it is very underdeveloped on the outside which is a pretty good indication that there is some underdevelopment internally. We handle our kits from the moment they are born. Usually they are very lively and will often use there nose to dig in your hand for food. This is rarely the case with a peanut. Peanut are often very listless, and at first may even appear to be dead.
Here are two examples of "peanut" kits...
In the 2nd photo it is quite obvious which kits are peanuts as they are much smaller than the 2 normal sized kits.
Photo on Left by: welsh's honeybuns. Photo on Right by: Backyard Bunnies Rabbitry
More Info on True Dwarfs, False Dwarfs and Peanuts.
Yes, as long as you rub moms belly to get her scent on your hands. We always touch our kits as soon as they are born to make sure they are okay & to remove any dead kits. Sometimes the kits will fall out of the box or crawl away from it's siblings & get chilled so it is very important to check on them. It also makes them tame by handling them from day one. Just be sure to hold onto the kits well while holding them because they can be pretty jumpy & wiggly & can get seriously injured if dropped.
One question many new rabbit breeders face is determining if the doe has fed her kits. Often the doe is never seen in the nestbox once the kits are born. It is not uncommon for a doe to feed her kits once or twice a day and often at times not very convenient for us (usually late at night or early in the morning).
So how can you tell?
This is what a well fed kit looks like...
See how big and round his belly is? A way to tell if they are being fed is if they have '"Frog" bellies. Their bellies will also sometimes have a whtie tint to it. Rather than just having a straight body or having stomachs that are shrunk in after their rib cage, the babies will have a round belly - protruding out to the sides like a toad - when they have been fed. You’ll also notice that the belly area is much wider than the head, this is also another good indication that the bunny has eaten. Another thing, from our experience, is that right after they've been fed they will sometimes pee while being held.
Kits that are not being fed will be skinny, their stomachs wlil be sunken in, and the skin on the belly will be loose and wrinkly.
We always check the bellies of our kits a couple of times a day to make sure that all of the kits are being fed.
Photo taken by: Backyard Bunnies Rabbitry - the kit in the photo is a 1 week old Holland Lop.
Rabbits are very difficult to sex when they are young, but you get better at it with experience. Around 2-3 weeks usually you can see enough to make a pretty good guess.
You will need to put your fingers right next to either side of the genital area and gently press down. This causes the genital area to "pop" out more so you can see the inside better. This doesn't hurt the rabbit.
Young bucks will have a protruding "tube" with a circular hole on top. The hole usually has somewhat of a slit or large opening which confuses most people, making them think it is a doe. Older bucks are much more obvious because they have a testicle on each side of the penis. Bucks have testicles that descend between 9 - 20 weeks of age.
Unlike bucks, does have a "slit" that goes ALL the way down to the body. It is an opening that starts at the high point and ends where the genitals meet the body, near the anus. When viewed from the side it looks like a pyramid. Sometimes the area appears to have some dark red or purple coloring (this is the best time to breed the doe) while other times it is light pink.
Here is a photo of a 5 week old Bucks penis...
And here are two photos of an adult Buck...
This last photo is of an adult Does vagina...
See how the slit goes all the way down to the body? Babies & Jr. Does look pretty much the same, except smaller!
Here is a really clear photo of the difference between a buck & doe...
There are at least five reasons why breeders may foster kits to another rabbit...
#1 So that single babies are not overfed, possibly leading to obesity and splay legs.
#2 So that one doe may be made available to sell or to rebreed sooner (I don't think this should be done for every litter, but you can do it after a small litter if the doe is in good shape).
#3 If the doe dies or is a bad mother.
#4 If a doe lost her litter in an attempt to help her hone her mother instincts and perhaps help her reproductive hormones along.
#5 To even out litters, relieving the burden on a dam with a larger litter.
If a doe has nursed a litter, you can rebreed as early as five weeks after kindling. The doe must be in very good condition though. Otherwise, we like to wait until the kits are seven or eight weeks old to rebreed. If the doe has a dead litter, we rebreed her 3 days after kindling if she is healthy and her vent has returned to normal.
A lot of exciting things happen during the first month of a kits life. Their fur begins to grow, their eyes & ears start to open, they learn how to hop in & out of their nest box, & a lot of other interesting things.
Please view our Kit Development page for more details!
Raising and showing rabbits is a hobby that generally costs more money than it generates. All of the money we make off of our rabbits goes right back into the cost of feed, water, electricity, medications, cages, supplies (nest boxes, hay racks, floor mats, grooming supplies, ect.), & our familys time, but we hope to one day manage our hobby to the point that the income matches the outgo.
In our opinion, there is only one reason to raise rabbits: for the love of it!
Holland Lops live between 7 and 12 years. To extend the life of your pet, consider spaying or neutering. Excessive breeding of does can shorten a doe's lifespan.
Yes, they make great pets. Holland Lops are very popular and well-liked by many rabbit enthusiasts, pet owners and breeders because of their compact size and attractiveness. They tie as the smallest breed of the lop-eared rabbits with the American Fuzzy Lop with an ideal adult weight of 3.5 lbs for showing in ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) sanctioned shows.
Their stocky, muscular-appearing body, is characterized by broad shoulders, deep chests, and short thick legs. Holland Lops are small loveable rabbits who have wide long ears which hang down near their cheeks. The most common colors you will find in Holland Lops are tortoise shell, broken tortoise shell, black and broken black. Holland Lops share a color guide in the ARBA Standards consisting of well over twenty colors with the fuzzy lop!! Hollands are very gentle and affectionate rabbits. They are great for pets, showing, and breeding and are very easy to care for!
In Holland Lops we specialize in Black, Black Tort, and some of the more rare colors... Chocolate, Siamese Sable, Seal, Sable Point, & Blue-Eyed White (BEW) as well as VMs & VCs. We have both Broken & Solid patterns.
We have raised many different colors in Holland Lops, but our favorites seem to be the Siamese Sables, Sable Points, & BEWs.
There are 6 Lop breeds...
American Fuzzy Lops
...and there are some breeders out there who mix Lionheads with Holland Lops to create "Lion Lops".
No. This is a common misconception. Holland Lops are the smallest of the Lop breeds and are usually a full 1 to 2 lbs smaller than the Mini Lop.
Ears on Hollands will lop sometime between 3 weeks and 6 months, perhaps occasionally later (even as late as three years). Bunnies that have narrow crowns or are slow-maturing will lop later. Bunnies with wider crowns or long and heavy ears, and those that mature more quickly will lop sooner. Almost all Holland Lops can exhibit ear control when they are excited. Ear carriage should be evaluated when the bunny is relaxed.
Even though Holland Lops may be able to reproduce as early as three or four months old, wait until they are six or seven months old. Does have an increased chance of fetal death and complications. Bucks may suffer a lack of early success that effects their future breeding potential.
The age that does stop producing offspring varies greatly. Some breeders have experienced a noticeable drop-off in fertility after age 3 while some does produce regularly to age 5 or after. Older does should be kept in production (as long as their health is good), otherwise their fertility may be permanently lost.
Just like does... The age that bucks stop producing offspring varies greatly. Some breeders have experienced a noticeable drop-off in fertility after age 3 while some bucks produce regularly to age 5 or after. It really depends on the rabbit.
Our adult Holland Lops have ranged from 2 pounds to 4 1/2 pounds. Holland Lops may be a bit smaller or a bit larger than that, but most fall between 3 and 4 1/2 pounds.
In theory, they could have 12, with their 31 day gestation period. In the wild, they have about 7. But in our opinion 2-4 per year is a healthy number of litters for a Holland Lop.
Holland Lops usually have between 1 - 5 kits per litter and larger does can sometimes have more. I looked at our last twenty litters and found that there was an average of 3 live kits per litter. I should note that we breed does twice in one day, 7-8 hours apart, to increase litter size and to increase chances of the doe "taking". Also, some lines of Hollands are better producers than others. Your actual results may vary.
Unless a kit is being sold with its parent, it should not leave the rabbitry until it is at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned. In some states, it is illegal to sell a rabbit before the age of 8 weeks. We generally remove the litter from mom at 7 weeks if they are weaned and leave the litter together for another week to lessen the stress of being without their mother. Then the kits are technically ready for new homes. A 3 - 4 month old bunny is in a much better position to withstand the stresses of moving to a new home, however, and can weather a mild illness better than a baby. Especially families with young children should consider a junior rather than a baby. We do not sell rabbits below the age of 2 months.
Holland Lops are considered to be a senior at six months of age. He or she is fully sexually mature at that age, too. Although a Holland may gain a few more ounces in weight after this age, they are pretty much the size they will be by then. Holland Lop bucks especially continue to mature towards their optimum showing potential until about 18-24 months old. Then, they may continue to be shown until age 5 or after. Note: Holland Lops could breed as early as three months old, but it is not healthy for the doe. It is best to wait until both rabbits are 6 months or older before breeding them.
Go to the "Holland Lop Rabbit Specialty Club"'s website at www.hlrsc.com. There you can click on both "Locate a Breeder" for the breeders e-mail addresses and "Links" where you can choose to browse through websites by members sorted according to state. Chances are you'll find one that either lives or shows near your home.