Important Things to Know About Raising an Angora Rabbit
Raising angora rabbits can be a fun experience, as well as a way to make money from selling their fiber. But just like any other animal, angora rabbits require care. In this article, I am going to go over the breeds of angora rabbits, how to care for angora rabbits, how big angora rabbits get, how to groom them, and why angora rabbits can be fun to raise. Let's get started.
Breeds of Angora Rabbits
There are many breeds of angora rabbits. The breeds are French angora rabbits, English angora rabbits, German angora rabbits, Satin angora rabbits, Giant angora rabbits, American fuzzy lop rabbits, and Dwarf angora rabbits. There are other breeds that look like angora rabbits, such as the Lionhead rabbit, but they are officially not a part of the angora rabbit types. But you could still raise those rabbits just like you would raise angora rabbits. They are very similar to the angora breed. Below I will go over the types of angora rabbits, and which breed would be best for you.
German angora rabbits are considered the most popular breed of angora rabbits. They are larger than some of the other angora breeds, with their weight ranging from 5.5 pounds to 12 pounds. Their hair does not shed, which means you will need to shear them every 80 days. German angoras are well known for their fluffy fiber.
Unlike the German angora rabbit, the English angora weighs in at a smaller weight. The weight ranges from 5 to 6 pounds, and they can live up to 12 years. These fuzzy bunnies are well known for their fluffy bodies, and they are unique because they have lots of hair on their entire face. Unlike the German angora, the English angora needs extra care with his hair. To prevent it from becoming matted, you will need to brush them 1 to 2 times per week, as well as shear them four times per year. A good English angora rabbit will give up to 16 ounces of fiber each year.
This breed of angora rabbit can weigh from 9 to 14 pounds, and will give nearly 2 pounds of fiber per year. They are very similar to German angoras, and sometimes are mistaken as one. But you can tell the difference by looking at their size. Although German angora rabbits are larger, Giant angoras are usually larger.
French angora rabbits are another larger breed of angora rabbits. But unlike the German angoras and Giant angoras, this breed usually weighs about eight pounds. French angora rabbits are not as soft as other breeds, but their hair becomes felted less often.
Most Satin angora rabbits will weigh in at 8 1/2 pounds. Satin angora rabbits will produce less than half a pound of hair per year. Satin angora rabbits have finer, softer, and silkier fiber than other angora rabbits.
The Dwarf angora rabbit weighs in at around 3 to 4 pounds, and can live up to 10 years. It requires less maintenance than the English angora, because his hair does not become matted so quickly. This breed does not grow as much hair either.
The Jersey Wooley weighs in at about 3 pounds. This breed has been developed from breeding a combination of miniature short-haired breeds with a French angora rabbit. They are popular show rabbits and make great pets.
American Fuzzy Lop
The American fuzzy lop is similar to a Holland lop rabbit, but it has hair like an angora. It is officially a type of angora rabbit because of its long, fuzzy hair. American fuzzy lops, also called fuzzy lops, come in a variety of colors including solid colors and speckled colors.
What Is the Lionhead Rabbit?
Lionhead rabbits are often mistaken for angora rabbits. That is because they have a lot of hair, just like angora rabbits do. However, Lionhead rabbits are not a part of the angora rabbit breed. Lionhead rabbits have a "mane" around their head, similar to a lion's mane. There are two types of manes: single manes and double manes. A single mane Lionhead rabbit has a mane of hair around their head, but a double mane Lionhead rabbit will have more hair around the head. The only way you can really tell if your Lionhead rabbit has a single mane or double mane is to check when they are babies. While their mane will not come in until they are older, you can check a newborn bunny to see if they have a V form around their flanks. If yours does, it is a double mane Lionhead rabbit. Some Lionhead rabbits do not have much of a mane, if any. This is either because yours is a mixed breed, or it is just the way your bunny is. Each rabbit will have a different look. Some will have an impressive mane, while others will have just a small amount of hair around their head.
One common question about Lionhead rabbits is this: How do I tell the difference between a Lionhead rabbit and an angora rabbit? The answer is rather simple. Angora rabbits have much thicker hair than Lionheads have. Lionheads also do not have the ear tassels that angoras have. Lionheads also do not need sheared, but do need regular brushing.
What to Feed Angora Rabbits
Now that you have learned the different types of angora rabbits, it is time to get started on how to care for them. The first thing we will go over is what to feed them. It is recommended that your rabbit's diet contains this:
- Protein – 15 to 17%
- Fiber – 14 to 16%
- Fat – 2 to 4%
- Salt – .5 to .7
- Calcium – 1 to 1.2
- Phospherus – .3 to .5
- Copper (mg) 10
- Iron (mg) 50
- Zinc (mg) 40 to 50
- Amino Acids:
- Cystine & Methionine – .7%
- Arginine – .6%
- Lysine – .5%
- Vitamin A - 6,000 to 10,000
- Vitamin D - 500 to 1,500
- Vitamin E - 20 to 60
With that being said, your rabbit's main diet should be hay. Angora rabbits need hay. Rabbit pellets can be another part of your angora rabbit's diet. You can buy rabbit pellets at a local feed store. As for treats, fresh vegetables and fruit are welcome for your rabbit's diet. Make sure you do not give too many vegetables at once, as it may cause diarrhea. Good vegetables to try include carrots, beets, broccoli, chard, collards, and turnips. You can give up to one cup of fresh veggies per day to your rabbit in addition to dry rabbit pellets and hay. Some people give their angora rabbits pineapple and papaya, which will help prevent wool block (build-up of hair in the digestive tract). Dandelion leaves, plantain, yarrow, yellow dock, and red clover from your yard can also be fed to your angora bunny.
How Big Will My Angora Rabbit Get?
How big your angora rabbit will get depends on what breed he is. If he is a smaller breed, such as the English angora or Dwarf angora, he should only get as big as 6 pounds. Dwarf angora rabbits only weigh in at around 3 pounds. However, if he is a larger breed such as the Giant angora, he could weigh up to 14 pounds. The size will also vary with each each angora rabbit. Some angora rabbits are simply larger than others, even if they are the same breed.
Supplies Needed for Raising Angora Rabbits
All rabbits need mainly three things: food, water, and shelter. However, most bunnies always love extra toys and treats, and especially attention from their owners. Depending on how much time you spend with him, your rabbit should enjoy visiting with you. But all rabbits have different personalities, and some may not want cuddled as much as others do. But I will talk more about that later. As for now, I've made a list of some supplies you will need to start raising rabbits:
- Rabbit Hutch - A rabbit hutch is an outdoor enclosure that provides shelter for rabbits. Some rabbit hutches have a little pen that allows your rabbit to run around in, but others are simply a four-sided wooden cage with a roof. A rabbit hutch is meant to be kept outdoors. If you will be raising indoor rabbits, you may not need a rabbit hutch. However, a rabbit hutch may be a good investment in case you want to let your rabbits stay outdoors for the Summer.
- Cage - As an alternative to a rabbit hutch, a metal cage can be used to keep your rabbits in. However, you will need to keep the cages indoors since they do not have a form of shelter. A con about cages is that it is not suppose to be good for your rabbit's feet. But if you will be letting your rabbit out on solid surfaces often, this shouldn't be a big deal.
- Outdoor Pen - If your rabbit hutch did not come with an outdoor pen, you will need to fence off an area for your rabbit to exercise and play. You could also train your rabbit to walk on a leash. If your angora rabbit is an indoor pet, consider making a bunny-proof room for your bunny to run around in. Make sure to have a litter box available, and block off all electric cords and outlets.
- Water - All animals need water, it's as simple as that. Make sure your angora rabbit has a dish full of clean water at all times.
- Food - I've already discussed what to feed your rabbit, so now it is just as simple as keeping your rabbit's dish filled. You may want to treat your angora rabbit to some fresh veggies and fruit once in a while.
- Treats - Treats are not necessary for angora rabbits to survive, but it does brighten up their day. Fresh fruit and vegetables can make great treats for bunnies.
- Toys - Angora rabbits enjoy toys that they can chew. They also like toys that they can pick up and throw around - which is an adorable move you should try to catch on camera. You would be surprised at how many bunny toys there are. If you go to a local pet shop, you would probably find an entire aisle on rabbit toys and supplies. But even if you can't find rabbit toys where you live, there are so many rabbit toys online. Rabbit toys are usually made to engage their brains. Such toys include twig balls that are stuffed with hay. May bunnies enjoy trying to get to the hay. Other toys include tunnels, wooden chew toys, balls, and pine cones.
How to Groom Them
All angora rabbits need sheared. Some, however, need brushed as well. Here are some grooming tips and instructions for shearing your angora rabbit.
How to Shear an Angora Rabbit:
Lay a towel down so that you do not get hair all over your clothes and floor. You can either shear your angora rabbit on a table or on your lap. Either way works good. Just do whatever is most comfortable for you and your rabbit. Next, take your rabbit shears (pet shears), or use scissors. Rabbit shears may not be sharp enough to cut thick hair, depending on the brand of the shears and breed of rabbit you have. If you use scissors, be very careful you do not cut your rabbit's skin. Their skin is very easy to cut. Make sure you have some blood stop powder ready in case you do cut your rabbit's skin. Once you finish shearing your rabbit, store the fiber in a bag or bucket. Don't forget to shear your bunny's stomach and feet. If you want you can leave the ear tufts on.
How to Brush an Angora Rabbit:
To brush an angora rabbit, place a towel on your lap and set your rabbit on the towel. Holding a slicker brush in your one hand, begin brushing your rabbits hair. Pay special attention to his ear tufts, between the ears, under the chin, and on his side furnishings (the hair on his cheeks). Use a wide-toothed brush on matted areas. If you will be grooming your rabbit for show, you will also need to use a blower to blow your rabbit's hair. A blower will make your rabbit's hair look extra fluffy.
How to Clip Your Rabbit's Toenails:
Don't forget to clip your bunny's toenails. If your rabbit spends a lot of time outdoors digging in the dirt, you won't really need to clip his nails. But for indoor rabbits or rabbits that are in cages, you will need to spend some time clipping the nails. Some people take their bunny to the vet to get his nails clipped, but this is not necessary. You can easily do it on your own at home. All you will need is nail clippers (which can be bought online), and perhaps somebody to hold your rabbit in place. But you can do it on your own by wrapping a towel around your rabbit to limit movement. Make sure you do not cut the quick. Have some blood stop powder nearby in case you accidentally cut the quick. If your rabbit has darker nails, you will need a flashlight to see where the quick is.
Why Angora Rabbits Make Great Pets
Most people would think that angora rabbits make great pets because they are simply adorable. And yes, that is quite true. But they also make great pets because most angora rabbits enjoy attention from their owners, enjoy playing, and can be trained just like a cat or dog. Rabbits can even be litter box trained. But unlike some pets, angora rabbits can also give you lots of fiber that can be used to make lots of money. Or you could use your rabbit's fiber to make your very own hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, socks, sweaters, and so much more! Here are some of the reasons why angora rabbits make great pets.
They Are Adorable
Angora rabbits are very adorable. That is why many people want them for pets. Keep in mind though that angora rabbits do require some care, so before you buy them because of their cuteness first consider if you have the time to care for them.
They Can Be a Snuggle Bunny
"Snuggle bunny" is a saying that is usually referred to humans or animals that are being extra cuddly. But true to its name, snuggle bunnies can also refer to rabbits. Keep in mind that not all angora bunnies will want to snuggle. Just like us humans, each rabbit has his own personality. It is important that you never put your rabbit in a stressful situation. If your angora rabbit does not want to be held, do not hold him. By making him stressed you will only be ruining the trust he has in you.
They Give You Fiber
Not only is your pet angora rabbit snuggly and cute, but he will also give you lots of fiber that can be used to make money. Or, like I said earlier, if you can't imagine selling your rabbit's beloved wool, try making your own hats and mittens to keep. It is never too early to prepare for winter. To make angora yarn, you may want to purchase a spinning wheel or drop spindle. You'll also want to prepare your yarn for spinning by carding it on hand cards or a drum carder.
They Can Be Litter Box Trained
To litter box train your angora bunny, cover the entire litter box with some fresh hay. It is recommended to place the litter box in a corner. Make sure you use bunny-safe litter. Do not use clay or clumping litter that is used for cats, as it can be dangerous if your angora rabbit ingests some of the litter while eating hay. Pine, cedar, or other aromatic wood shavings may also be harmful to your angora rabbit's health.
I hope that this article has helped you understand more about angora rabbits. There are many different breeds of angora rabbits. Some people mistake the Lionhead rabbit for being an angora rabbit, but there is a difference. In this article I talked about how to tell the difference between an angora and a Lionhead. Next, I went over how to care for your angora rabbit. You will need to have food, shelter, and water available at all times. There are also many fun treats and toys that you can give to your rabbit for fun. But not only must you supply your angora rabbit with food and shelter, you will also need to shear your rabbit. I went over some tips for shearing your rabbit, brushing your rabbit, and clipping your rabbit's nails. And lastly, I went over the reasons why angora rabbits make great pets. I hope that this article has inspired you to begin raising your own angora rabbits. Soon you will be rewarded with lots of angora fiber, as well as a lasting friendship with your pet bunny.