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 discuss several 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 varieties of breeds of Angora rabbits. Among these breeds are German Angora rabbits, English Angora rabbits, Giant Angora rabbits, French Angora rabbits, Satin Angora rabbits, Dwarf Angora rabbits, Jersey Wooley rabbits, and American Fuzzy Lop 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 family. However, you can still raise these types of rabbits just like you would raise Angora rabbits because they are very similar to the Angora breed. Below I will discuss the different types of Angora rabbits so that you can determine 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 one to two 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 yearly.
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 are sometimes mistaken as such. However, you can tell the difference by looking at their size. Although German Angora rabbits are large, 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 8 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. Dwarfs require less maintenance than the English Angora because their hair does not become matted as quickly. This breed does not grow as much hair as English Angoras.
The Jersey Wooley weighs in at about 3 pounds. This particular breed has been developed by 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 rabbit 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 its 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 it has a V forming around their flanks. If your bunny does, it is a double mane Lionhead rabbit. Some Lionhead rabbits do not have much of a mane if any. This is either because it 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. Additionally, Lionheads do not have the ear tassels that Angoras have. Lionheads also do not need to be sheared, but they do need regular brushing.
What to Feed Angora Rabbits
Now that you have learned about 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 the following:
- Protein: 15 to 17%
- Fiber: 14 to 16%
- Fat: 2 to 4%
- Salt: .5 to .7
- Calcium: 1 to 1.2
- Phosphorus: .3 to .5
- Copper (mg): 10
- Iron (mg): 50
- Zinc (mg): 40 to 50
- The following 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
Your rabbit's main diet should be hay. Angora rabbits need hay. Rabbit pellets should 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. However, make sure you do not give your rabbits too many vegetables at once, because 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 rabbit.
How Big Will My Angora Rabbit Get?
How big your Angora rabbit will get depends on what breed he is. If it is a smaller breed, such as the English Angora or Dwarf Angora, it should only get as big as 6 pounds. Dwarf Angora rabbits only weigh in at around 3 pounds. However, if it is a larger breed such as the Giant Angora, it could weigh up to 14 pounds. The size will also vary with 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 mainly need 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 to be cuddled as much as others do. This will be discussed later in this article. The following is 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 is a good investment so that your rabbits can stay outdoors for the summer.
- Cage: As an alternative to a rabbit hutch, a metal cage can be used to keep your rabbits enclosed and safe. However, you will need to keep the cages indoors since they do not have a form of shelter from the elements. A negative to consider is that a cage is not good for your rabbit's feet. But if you will be letting your rabbit out on solid surfaces often, this is not as big a concern.
- Outdoor Pen: If your rabbit hutch does not include an outdoor pen, you will need to fence off an area for your rabbit to exercise and play. You can 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 fresh water. Make sure your Angora rabbit has a dish full of clean water at all times.
- Food: I have 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 is nice once in a while. Fresh fruit and vegetables 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. You will be surprised at how many bunny toys are available. If you go to a local pet shop, you will probably find an entire aisle just for rabbit toys and supplies. But even if you can't find rabbit toys and supplies where you live, there are many available online. Rabbit toys are usually made to engage their brains. Such toys include twig balls that are stuffed with hay. Many bunnies enjoy trying to get to the hay. Other toys include tunnels, wooden chew toys, balls, and pinecones.
How to Groom Them
All Angora rabbits need to be sheared. Some, however, need to be 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. Just do whatever is most comfortable for you and your rabbit. Next, get 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 that 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 uncut.
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 one hand, begin brushing your rabbit’s 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 a 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 rabbit'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 someone else to hold your rabbit in place. You can also do it on your own by wrapping a towel around your rabbit to limit movement. Make sure you do not cut the quick (a blood vessel). 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 true. But they also make great pets because most Angora rabbits enjoy attention from their owners, they enjoy playing, and they can be trained just like a cat or dog. Rabbits can even be litter box trained. But unlike some pets, Angora rabbits can also produce fiber that can be sold for some extra money. You may also 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.
Rabbits 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 purchase one, first consider if you have the time to care for them.
Rabbits Can Be Cuddly
"Snuggle bunny" is a saying that usually refers to humans or animals who are 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 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. Stress can prevent your rabbit from trusting you.
Angora Rabbits Give You Fiber
Not only is your pet Angora rabbit snuggly and cute, but he will also produce fiber that can be used to make money. Or, as I said earlier, if you can't imagine selling your rabbit's wool, try making your own hats and mittens or other items to keep. To make Angora yarn, you may want to purchase a spinning wheel or drop spindle. You will also want to prepare your yarn for spinning by carding it on hand cards or a drum carder.
Rabbits Can Be Litter Box Trained
It is suggested that in order to litter box train your rabbit, that it must be spayed or neutered first; otherwise, it is virtually impossible. To litter box train your Angora rabbit, cover the entire litter box with some fresh hay. It is recommended that you place the litter box in a corner in a self-contained room where your rabbit can train. Make sure you use rabbit-safe litter. Do not use clay or clumping litter that is used for cats because it can be dangerous if your Angora rabbit ingests some of the litter while eating the hay. Pine, cedar, or other aromatic wood shavings may also be harmful to your Angora rabbit's health. Place some of the rabbit’s poop and urine-soaked paper or hay in the litter box. When the rabbit leaves droppings on the floor, immediately place him and the droppings back in the litter box. Repeat this often until she has the training room mastered. After he has learned to urinate/poop only in the box, you can expand to other rooms by repeating the process. With time and patience, your rabbit can become litter box trained.
I hope that this article has helped you to learn 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 discussed how to tell the difference between Angora and Lionhead rabbits. 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. You will also need to shear, brush, and clip your rabbit. I shared some tips on how to shear, brush, and clip your rabbit's nails. Lastly, I discussed 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 the friendship and reward that comes from caring for a rabbit, as well some Angora fiber to sell or use to make items of clothing. Enjoy!