Welsh's HoneyBuns Rabbitry
Colorado Springs, Colorado

lionhead, netherland and holland lop rabbits
in the pikes peak and front range region of colorado
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Lionhead Rabbit FAQ's
These answers are in the opinion of Welsh's Honeybuns based on our experiences and care. Other breeders may have different opions based on what works for them.

-- How do I know if I have double, single or no Lionhead mane offspring?--
-- What is the difference between double and single mane Lionheads?--
-- What is a Hybrid (F) Lionhead and why would I want one?--
-- What is the show status of the Lionhead breed?--
-- What personality does a Lionhead rabbit have?--
-- What is a Teddy/Wooly Lionhead?--
-- Epilepsy in Lionheads?--
-- Do Lionheads need special care and grooming?--
-- What are the Vienna, Sport, Harlequin and Dilute Genes?--
-- What colors will I get when I breed my Lionheads?--

General Rabbit FAQ's
-- Where can I find a breeder in my area?--
-- Where can I find a good rabbit vet?--
-- Do rabbits smell?--
-- How big does their cage need to be?--
-- Where can I find an outside rabbit hutch

-- What do I look for when purchasing a rabbit?--
-- What sex / gender is my rabbit?--
-- Can I take my rabbit on an airplane?--
-- How long do rabbits live?
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-- How big do rabbits get?
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-- How soon can a rabbit breed?
--
-- Will my new rabbit get along with my other rabbits?
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-- Do rabbits get along with guinea pigs?
-- Do rabbits need shots?
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-- How much should I feed my rabbit?
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-- Are bucks more aggressive than does?
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-- Can rabbits be litter trained?--
-- Can my rabbits become sterile in the summer?
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-- Do rabbits eat their babies?
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-- Can I neuter/spay my rabbit?
--
-- Are Mini Lops smaller than Holland Lops?--
-- I have an aggressive rabbit, what do I do?--
-- Why does my rabbit scream when I try to pick him up?--
-- I can't get my rabbit to eat his medicine--
-- Can rabbits have heart attacks if they are scared?--
-- Do rabbits get cancer?--
-- Why is my rabbit tattooed?--
-- What is a 'peanut' rabbit?--

Lionhead FAQ's
-- How do I know if I have Single or Double Maned Lionhead Offspring? --
The picture on the left are ofsingle mane babies. They look like no-mane babies until they start to develop their manes. The picture on the right is a double mane baby. Note the flanks are bald in a v-shaped area. This is where their wool will grow in later. They are very easy to recognize a few days after birth. Once they start to develope their manes, this look will no longer exist and it will be difficult to tell single mane from double. If you have a mixed litter - make sure to mark your babies in some fashion by around 3 weeks or so. I paint the double mane toenails with bright red - or mark an ear with a permanent marker.
Double + Double = 100% double maned offspring

Single + Single = 50% single maned offspring
, 25% double, 25% no mane
Double + Single = 50% double mane, 50% single maned offspring
Double + No Mane = 100% single maned offspring
Single + No Mane = 50% single mane, 50% no mane offspring
Remember these are just common percentages. The breed is too new to say that is exactly what you will get. It's all part of the fun on working with a developing breed.


-- What colors will I get?--
What color babies will I get from my parents? Colors are fun to figure out. Based on each parents pedigree you can figure the likely color of your litters. There will inevitably be some 'unknowns' in your genotype so you may get surprise colors. This is all part of the fun when breeding rabbits AND these new colors help you fill in the unknowns in your parent's genetics. For a quick and easy way to tell what colors you will get click here.

-- Double vs Single Mane Lionheads--
Double mane is much thicker and goes up to and around the shoulders (looks like a lion's mane) as well as a wool 'skirt' along the belly and hindquarters. They will shed most of the 'skirt' around 6 months. The single mane is around the head and ears (looks like a sunflower) and their 'skirt' is typically less than on a double. Double manes frequently have too much wool when they grow into adults - this can show up as wool on the face ears and flanks. But single manes typically lose much of their manes by the time they are adults. So developing your herd usually will mean you work with both for the best results.

-- What is a Hybrid? (F) and why would I want one?--
An (F) Hybrid line is produced by breeding a purebred Lionhead with another type of rabbit. For instance Lionheads are commonly bred with a Netherland to produce F1 offspring. Then you would breed an F1 back to a purebred Lionhead or another breed or even another F1 in order to produce an F2. (Note: if you breed an F1 to an F2 the offspring will still be F2) You breed one more time and you have an F3. Here's the goal:) When you breed your F3 back to a pure Lionhead.....the offspring is a new purebred line of Lionheads. Why would you do this?? It is way to adjust your bodytypes. For instance, you would use good Netherland stock to reduce the ear size and body size of your Lionheads. This is used to develop the Lionheads closer to the desired standard and colors while still keeping the Lionhead line pure and with the mane gene. Why would you purchase one? Hybrids are typically cheaper than purebred Lionheads but they still carry the mane gene. Depending on what F line you get, you can develop your own herd of Lionheads without purchasing a whole group of purebreds. Also, if the traits have bred in correctly you will end up with smaller Lionheads with smaller ears and better traits all around. Often the hybrids can have better body types that a purebred. There is no problem showing hybrids in Lionhead shows. F1, F2, F3 and PB Lionheads are all showable as long as they meet the working standard.

-- What is the show status of the Lionhead breed?--
See the Showing Lionheads section

-- What personality do Lionheads have?--
Lionheads are more similar to Netherland's than Hollands in personality. Overall they are more skittish than the 'laid back' breeds. Of course, handling them at a young age greatly affects their personality and friendliness. They typically will grow to 3.5-4.5 lbs. Like the long haired breeds - Lionheads are susceptible to 'wool block' and you will need to take preventative measures to ensure their health. Plenty of Timothy hay...and I use a regular supply of papaya.

-- Do Lionheads need special care and grooming?--
They need a little more care than a regular short haired rabbit, but not nearly as much as a long haired rabbit such as an Angora. The knots in thier wool needs to be combed out before they accumulate into a larger mass. On my very wooly older Lionheads we have only needed to brush them out about once a week. Because of the wool, you do need to watch them carefully for wool block (GI stassis). When they are shedding you will need to groom them more frequently so they do not injest their hair and wool which could cause an intestinal blockage. We give our Lionheads wool block powder once a week. Other than that they are pretty much like any other rabbit as far as care.

General Rabbit FAQ's

-- Where can I find a breeder in my area?--
You can visit the international directory http://www.rabbitandcavydirectory.com. You can also view our breeders links which list many Lionhead breeders and others who have asked to link on our list.

-- Where can I find a good rabbit vet?--
In Colorado Springs I would highly recommend Dr. Albertson at North Academy Veterinary Hospital. She is an excellent exotics doctor who is very knowledgeable on rabbits. I've tried 6 vets in the Springs and she has been the most knowledgeable. She has rabbits of her own and is the only one in the city who will perform surgery on broken rabbit bones. I have heard good recommendations from many vets for Dublin Animal Clinic but have never used them personally. If you just have a regular checkup, birthing problems etc, many times a trusted 'exotics' vet will work. Centennial Animal Hospital has been great for us and they also spay/neuter. For other cities and states check the house rabbit society www.rabbit.org

-- Do rabbits smell?--
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 pet rabbit and keep their cage clean you won't have a smell.

-- Do rabbits smell?--
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 pet rabbit and keep their cage clean you won't have a smell.

-- How big does their cage need to be?--
At least 18 x 24 for a rabbit up to 5 lbs. You should aslo give them some runaround time each day. Some breeders will say 36 x 36 if the rabbit will be in the cage all day. Nicer is always better but we have found 18 x 24 to be fine for most small breeds and 24 x 24 to be plenty big for small breeds. Over 5 lbs will increase the size of the cage along with the size of the rabbit.

-- What sex / gender is my rabbit?--
Rabbits are very difficult to tell when they are young. Around 3-4 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. Bucks will look like a slighty protruding circular hole. Does will look like they have a slit. Here is a site with pictures.

-- Can I take my rabbit on an airplane?--
Airlines do not consider rabbits to be domestic animals like dogs or cats. They consider rabbits to be 'farm animals' and 'rodents'. Therefore they are not allowed to travel in the cabin of the aircraft. Rabbits can only be shipped via 'cargo'. Cargo is usually about $160 for up to 50lbs. The rabbit must be in an airline approved cargo carrier. They often sell these at the cargo area for approx $40. They also require a vet's health certificate for each animal issued within 10 days of the flight. Typically vet certificates are around $35 each. Remember that not all airlines fly cargo - and cargo does not go to every destination. Some states only have 1 airport where cargo is delivered. There are also heat and cold restrictions based on each airline's specifications so you'll need to check the day of flight on whether or not the animal can travel cargo.

-- How long do rabbits live?--
Rabbits typically live around 6-8 years, although some can live as long as 10-18. House pets live longer than outdoor rabbits, and pets live longer than wild rabbits.

-- How big do rabbits get?--
That depends on the breed of rabbit and if they are purebred. A mixed rabbit can vary greatly in size from what they are 'labeled' at the pet store. Netherlands typically get to abotu 2.5 lbs. Holland lops and Lionheads get to about 3.75 lbs. Flemmish giants can get up to 18 lbs. Research the type of rabbit you want before you purchase, or as your breeder about their specific rabbits.

-- How soon can a rabbit breed?--
Rabbits sexually mature around 4 months of age. Note: dominant rabbits will "hump" each other within about 4 weeks. This does not mean they are breeding, they are just showing their dominance. You should separate them around 3 months to prevent any unwanted breeding.

-- Will my new rabbit get along with my other rabbits?--
Most rabbits will start to fight around 3-4 months. Unless 2 girls have been raised together from a young age it is unlikely they will get along. But if you get 2 baby girls, most of the time they can live together. 99% of the time 2 boys will not get along. Males are territorial and will fight to the death. Older rabbits will usually fight a new baby if they are introduced but I have seen very laid back older rabbits which will tolerate new babies. Older does will rarely tolerate new babies which are not theirs. Boys and girls typically will get along. If you don't want babies you can have 1 or both neutered. If rabbits are introduced and do not get along, it is most likely that they will never get along.

--Do rabbits get along with guinea pigs?--
Typically yes - here is a good article on that.

-- Do rabbits need shots?--
No, rabbits do not need shots and vaccines like dogs or cats.

-- How much should I feed my rabbit?--
You don't want your rabbit to become obese which can cause many health issues. Babies and nursing does should be fed as much as they want. Regular rabbits should be fed on average 1oz of food for every pound of rabbit.

-- Are bucks more aggressive than does?-
They can be more territorial, and therefore may be more aggressive towards other bucks. BUT we have seen no difference whatsoever in their behavior towards other female rabbits or people or other pets. Each rabbit will have their own personality so just look how the rabbit acts before you purchase them. Their personality will not change much in bucks and does. Usually our bucks are considerably more laid back than our does.

-- Can rabbits be litter trained?--
Absolutely. Click here to learn more.

-- Can my rabbits become sterile in the summer?--
Bucks can become temporarily sterile in EXTREME heat. But this does not mean your buck 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.

-- Do rabbits eat their babies?--
No. They aren't like gerbils. We handle all of our babies the day after they are born. BUT if a mother is confused (especially if it is her first litter) she may accidentally eat a baby when she trims their cord, or if she is trying to pull them out of the birth canal. She may also eat a brand new baby in confusion if she is extremely scared. This is why you should always put birthing mothers in a quite stress free place.

-- What is a 'peanut' rabbit?--
A peanut is a baby rabbit which has received a dwarf gene from each parent. They are somewhat common in the smaller breeds (dwarfs / hollands). Receiving a dwarf gene from each parent causes the rabbit to be genetically deformed and will usually die quickly after birth. 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. Sometimes the peanuts can look normal however and will last up to around 6 weeks before thye die suddenly. Usually this is proceeded by a lack of eating/drinking and the rabbit will stop growing for the last 4 days or so before they die. There is nothing you can do for a peanut, they are gentically deformed and will not live.

-- Are Mini Lops smaller than Holland Lops?--
No. This is a common misconception. Holland Lops are the smallest Lop breed are are usually a full 1 to 2 lbs smaller.

-- Can I neuter my rabbit?--
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 buck spray. It can also change the rabbits temperament to be more calm overall.

-- I have an aggressive rabbit, what do I do?--
Like people, rabbits have different personalities. Aggressive rabbits tend to also be more inquisitive and less afraid as babies. Agressive rabbits also have the ability to be aggressively friendly. For instance when you get home they may be the one to run up to you and run around your feet and even bump into your feet to show how excited they are. Many aggressive rabbits are also territorial. When you reach into their cage they sometimes will charge your hand with their head or even use their front feet to paw you. This is simply because you are invading their personal space. Let the rabbit hop out of the cage on its own rather than reaching in to get them out. Typically the rabbit will be fine once they are outside of the cage. When putting the rabbit back in their cage, put them in butt first. Then the rabbit won't be tempted to scratch and jump to get into the cage. A rabbit should never bite (unless you are hurting them or if they are extremely frightened of something). To break the habit of biting use a small water sprayer to spray them lightly if they bite. Or put water on your fingers and flick it at them if they move to bite. Rabbits hate water so use this only in extreme circumstances. Remember that females will become agressive when they are pregnant. Just be gentle and calm with them during this time.

-- Why does my rabbit scream when I try to pick him up?--
If a rabbit is especially timid, has been extremely frightened by new surroundings or has not been handled much they can scream when you pick them up. But, most of the time when a rabbit screams it is because you have surprised it or lunged at it quickly in order to corner it or catch it. This is their natural defense and can be pretty surprising the first time you hear it. Just hold the rabbit gently and pet them until they calm down and stop screaming. Handle them more in their new surroundings and they will get over it quickly.

-- What are the Vienna (Sport), Harlequin and Dilute genes?--
The Vienna gene (sometimes called the Sport gene) can cause a white stripe on the rabbits body. Typically it runs down the face. It can also show up as different degrees of white markings in the rabbit's coat, other mismarks and white toenails in your dilutes. Some people want the gene, and others do not. This gene (v) can be present if there are blue eyed whites in the rabbit's line. It is something that should be noted to the person purchasing the rabbit in case they do not want the gene present.
Harlequin is the 'solid' version of broken tri-color. The Harlequin gene is prevalent within the Lionheads imported into the USA. This color is fine if that is what you want. But like the BEW it can really mess up your colors if you're trying to work with regular solids. If you find you have it please note it and try to control it while you work on your herd.
Please always let your buyer know if your rabbit may be a harli carrier. If you do have it, do not breed to any colors not ee. This way you will be able to see the carriers. According to Gail Gibbons (holder of the 2nd certificate of presentation) if you want the presentation/showable colors you must breed out ej (Harlequin). For more on the specific color genetics visit her site http://lionheadrabbit.net/Gen%20Genetic%20colors.htm
The Dilute gene is needed to produce 'blue' offspring and other 'blue' colors. This is another matter of preference and should be noted to the purchaser. Depending on your breeding program you'll need to decide if you want to work on the dilute colors. If not, it is best to avoid this gene in order to properly develop your other colors.

-- What is a Teddy/Wooly Lionhead?--
A Teddy or Wooly is a Lionhead with a very active wool gene. Meaning that they are usually more wooly than a regular Lionhead. They are usually double maned and have wool over their whole body. They can also have wool on their face and ears. This is usually not shed even when they are Seniors. They are not showable but can add wool to your herd. For instance if you have a rabbit which doesn't have much of a mane but has a great body type - you can use your Teddy to create better maned babies with nice bodies.

-- I can't get my rabbit to eat his medicine--
If your rabbit doesn't like to eat certain things there are ways to trick them. For liquid doses, you can pour the dose on raw oats, you can put the medicine on toast, you can add tiny amounts of pepermint or licorice flavor to the dose, you can put the medicine on calfmana (rabbits looooove calfmana). If you use any of these things just make sure they are in very small amounts. Usually rabbits won't eat much at a time and you want to make sure the whole dose is consumed quickly. For pills or powders you can sprinkle the powder on papaya, bananas or some fruit that they like or you can mash up the fruit with the powder and syring feed. For liquids that you are having problems oral syringe feeding you can mix the dose with a tiny amount of yogurt (good for the stomach).

-- Can rabbits have heart attacks if they are scared?--
Some rabbits can have heart attacks if they get extremely scared. A breeder we know lost one of her rabbits during a thunderstorm due to the loud noise. Someone who purchased a rabbit from us lost rabbit to heart attack when their dog ran up to the rabbit for the first time. This is extremely rare though. We expose our babies to our dog, and other loud normal noises from a young age. By the time they are weaned they never even flinch!

-- Do rabbits get cancer?--
Rabbits can get tumors. If a rabbit is unneutered/unspayed AND has not been bred they have a much higher rate of cancer.

-- Why is my rabbit tattooed?--
A rabbit must be tattooed in order to show. This properly marks the rabbit so there are no mix-ups on the show table. It is also used to identify which rabbitry a rabbit came from, breeding used and other tracking from the breeder. For more information on how to tattoo a rabbit click here.

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