Purina® Rabbit Nutrition E—Newsletter

FEATURED STORY | A few of her favorite things: Amity Angels Rabbitry

Sixteen year old Heather Fitzgibbon has raised rabbits her whole life. Though she started out by just helping her dad, by the age of eight Heather began caring for them all on her own.

Heather's dad raised New Zealands, but her first purchase was a black Dutch doe rabbit and a buck soon after. In 2007, Heather began raising show rabbits. This was the same year she started Amity Angels Rabbitry, her personal, small rabbitry in Amity, Pennsylvania. She usually keeps around 50 rabbits during the warmer months, but downsizes to about 30 in the winter. She predominantly raises Californians and Himalyans. But every now and then, Heather will include a different breed as a pet or as she calls it, a "show pet."

"Raising rabbits is a lot of fun, and it's hard not to get attached to all the bunnies!" Heather said. "Showing rabbits is a lot of fun, too, and if you win a best of breed or place well, it's a great feeling! You feel proud and happy, and it makes you want to spoil the rabbit that won."

But for Heather, it's not all about winning. One of her favorite parts about raising rabbits is the opportunity to meet all kinds of people with the same interests.

"Whether it's at a show, having people come to my house to buy rabbits, going to people's houses to buy new rabbits, or even just through 4-H or the county fair, I love meeting new people," Heather said. "Also I, of course, enjoy the rabbits and all the fun and hard work that they are. Because in the end, it pays off."

Though Heather, who is a member of 4-H, ARBA, CRSC, OCRSC, AHRA and WCRBA, attends shows in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, she also enjoys trying out new breeding combinations and always loves the outcomes.

"Sometimes I mix breeds together, because I like to see what comes out for fun and to experiment," Heather said.

Looking back, Heather realizes how much she had to learn along the way and continues to discover many new things.

"What surprised me the most about showing rabbits when I first started is how much there is to learn," Heather said. "Something I recently found out that surprised me is how domestic rabbits also make tunnels as nests for their young like wild rabbits do. Some of mine prefer making their own tunnels over nest boxes. Their tunnels are amazing to look at."

Heather feeds all her rabbits Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Show Formula Natural AdvantEdge® rabbit food from Ruff Creek General Store in Prosperity, Pennsylvania, keeping herself and her rabbits happy.

"I like the results I see through my rabbits by feeding them Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Show," Heather said. "It's a great quality feed and the rabbits like it, too! Also, it always smells nice and fresh!"

For other young, or old, people interested in getting started with rabbits, Heather's advice is to have fun and not worry about following all the rules at first.

"If you are just starting out or if you're a 4-H'er and don't want to spend a lot of money on rabbits, you don't always have to. Yes, it's better to buy a pedigreed rabbit if you're going to show, but I have bought a lot of nice rabbits without pedigrees and they have actually done better than some of my pedigreed stock," Heather said.

To learn more about Heather and Amity Angels Rabbitry visit amityangelsrabbitry.weebly.com.

Heather took the Purina® See the Difference 60 Day Challenge, putting Purina® Rabbit Chow™ rabbit food to the test and saving a little money by doing so. By signing up your rabbits, you'll get $3 off your purchase when you buy one bag of eligible of Purina® Rabbit Chow™ rabbit foods. Visit www.purinadifference.com to learn more and get started!

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RABBIT TIPS | The 4-Square Philosophy for Success

Rabbit toenails become quite sharp and rabbits can scratch if they become frightened or are not handled properly. Rabbit toenails can be trimmed very easily with either trimmers that are used for humans or the type that is used for other pets. The toenails of rabbits are trimmed in the same manner as those of a dog or cat, and they should be trimmed regularly at three-month intervals.

The rabbit's front incisors grow approximately one half to three-quarters of an inch per month. It is very important that these incisors are aligned so that they continue to wear off the tooth growth regularly. If the incisors are not aligned properly, the teeth may grow excessively long and inhibit the animal from eating properly. If necessary, teeth can be trimmed on a regular basis to prevent any problems as there are absolutely no nerve endings in the incisors of a rabbit.

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GET TO KNOW | Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Complete

Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Fibre3® Natural AdvantEdge® rabbit food is a natural*, corn-free rabbit food that provides superior nutrition for rabbits of all ages. It helps younger rabbits get a great start and helps older rabbits maintain ideal body weight. Free of all fillers, preservatives and artificial colors, Fibre3® Natural AdvantEdge® Rabbit Food provides complete nutrition, giving your rabbits the food they need for growth, health and longevity.

  • The Natural AdvantagEdge® Formula—superior, consistent, natural* nutrition FREE from all fillers, preservatives and artificial colors
  • High fiber—for normal digestive tract function and overall health
  • Corn-free—created especially for the unique needs of rabbits
  • Great for rabbits of all ages—high fiber content is ideal for both young bunnies to help them get a good start, and to help older rabbits maintain ideal body weight.
  • Added lactobacillus, yeast and yucca shidigera—supports digestive health and aids in odor control
  • Complete, natural nutrition—no additional supplements necessary. Great for rabbits of all ages and perfect to maintain a healthy body weight
  • High-quality plant proteins—loaded with natural nutrients found only in plants that optimize vitality and support immune function
  • Highly palatable—for proper intake and growth
  • Purina® FeedGuard® Nutrition System—stringent quality standards help ensure many of the industry's highest quality ingredients available are used, provides greater nutritional consistency bag after bag and considers all key nutrients and their interactions with each other to better support overall rabbit health
As always, when changing your rabbits from one feeding program to another, make the change gradually, over a five- to seven-day period. Mix the new feed with the old, gradually increasing the amount of the new feed (it's always important to allow time for the rabbits' intestinal flora to adjust to any new feed). Continue to feed at the same time each day—evening is best. Clean the feeding dish daily so uneaten food does not become stale and moldy. And always provide plenty of clean, fresh, cool water to rabbits at all times.

*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients

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