Roger the Bunny

by Jean
(Ranburne Alabama)

Yesterday my husband adopted a little blue-grey and white bunny but of course he didn't bother to find out how old he is or anything. It doesn’t seem that he has spent very much time being handled as he is very timid and freaks out a little when he is first picked up, although I understand rabbits are at the bottom of the food chain and are naturally nervous animals so he is most likely simply still adjusting to his new home.

Since I have no idea how old Roger, which (after finding out it is a boy) is what I named my bunny, is, I need to know if there is a way I can tell? The man my husband got him from did say to feed him rabbit pellets because he was too young to be eating lettuce and such, but is that right? After being weaned shouldn’t they be able to eat rabbit pellets, of course, but also other things like lettuce and carrots and such? If it is right when would he be old enough to?

Today I have been handling him wanting to get used to the attention and I was eating a carrot a little while ago, he showed a lot of interest in the carrot so I cut off a small circle and gave it to him and he has been munching on it on and off for about an hour now (he stops when there is a noise that scares him and he will just sit there for a little while and I pet him trying to show him that it's ok).

He seems to like the carrot I just want to know if it might be bad for him? Should I not let him finish it, or have any more until he is a certain age? Also he makes this odd little sound, almost like a tiger’s chuffing, it kind of sounds like maybe he's grinding his teeth? I've never had a rabbit before so is this normal? Or should I take him in to the vet? I apologise for the unnecessary bits but being a first time rabbit owner I'm nervous about my new furry companion's health.
Thank you.

***** Karen Sez *****
No doubt by now you've figured out the answers to quite a few of your questions, but I'd like to respond to you just in case.

Yes, your bunny is just figuring out its new life. It'll learn quickly, I think, and become comfortable with you. But the timidity won't entirely disappear because of its "prey" status in life.

You can figure out the sex of your bunny very easily (I hope) here:

Weaned rabbits can certainly eat lots of different foods, IF their intestinal bacteria are correctly balanced to digest what they eat. Was the bunny's mum eating carrots and lettuce and other greens along with pellets? Then the bunnies can also.

If not, then it would be much safer for Roger if you would wait to feed it fresh green forages and especially carrots and apples and sweet foods until it is at least 12 weeks of age. This is beyond the age at which the intestinal flora has finally increased to enough numbers and the correct species of digestive bacteria that they can safely protect the bunny from an intestinal upset if it eats something it is not used to. That is probably why the breeder suggested the bunny was too young to eat anything but pellets.

The odd chuffing sound and teeth grinding noise, in the context of your rabbit, are most likely very normal and happy sounds. I suspect that Roger is going to be a great enjoyment to you for a number of years to come! I certainly hope so!

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