Lop-eared rabbit ram: breed description, maintenance and care features
Among the huge variety of pets in recent years, miniature lop-eared rabbits, or, as they are also called, sheep rabbits, have gained special popularity. These cute, funny and extraordinary animals are able to bring joy and tenderness not only to children, but also to adults. What is the care of ram rabbits and how to properly breed them at home - let's find out.
It is quite easy to distinguish a ram rabbit from other brothers, because its characteristic feature is long, ears hanging down. The first mention of furry animals with ears down along the head can be found in the works of Charles Darwin.
It should be noted that saggy ears are the result of a natural mutation: they fit snugly on the face of the animal and thereby make the small rodent look like a lamb. Lop-eared rabbits, or, as they are also called, "giants", are the largest among all representatives of their decorative relatives.For many years, breeders around the world have been working on breeding new varieties of this breed of furry animals. For example, Dutch specialists managed to create miniature ram rabbits. The Dutch breed was bred relatively recently by the scientist Adrian de Kock.
His first attempt to crossbreed a Dutch dwarf with a French ram in 1949 ended in failure, as the offspring were not viable.
However, as a result of painstaking work in 1964, 15 years after the start of breeding, the Dutch breed of miniature lop-eared rabbit-rams was officially registered. Soon, the Dutch lamb came to European countries, and after 10 years, "reached" America.
To date, the breed of lop-eared rabbits has a number of varieties:
- velveteen or plush;
|Color||Solid color, depending on the breed, can be ashen, beige, white, red, light brown, black|
|Torso||Small, rather short, but stocky, no more than 30 cm long|
|Head||Medium in size, with a slightly flattened muzzle of square shape|
|Ears||Long, hanging down, from 28–70 cm long|
|Mustache||Long enough, thick|
|Neck||Short, practically absent|
|Paws||Short, rather strong|
|Tail||Short, tightly pressed to the body|
|Wool||Thick, dense, very soft, silky, pleasant to the touch|
Did you know? Long ears hanging down are a kind of business card of this variety of rabbits. However, in newborns, rabbit ears stick up for a long time, and only after 5–6 weeks after birth, they begin to gradually decline, thus forming the main unique feature of the breed.
Characteristics and description of the breed
Lop-eared rabbits-rams are highly appreciated not only for their decorative qualities, but also for their high productivity, valuable high-quality fur, and delicate delicate meat. Animals can be classified by the following parameters:
|Direction||Meat, meat-and-peel, fur, decorative|
|Wool||Normal Coated, Shorthair|
|Female weight||1.5–2 kg|
|Male weight||2.5–3 kg, however, representatives of some breeds can reach a weight of 10 kg|
|Constitution||Strong, rather muscular, stocky, with a wide chest and strong legs, but at the same time quite fragile and tender|
|Maturity||Rabbits reach puberty in 5–7 months after birth: females - after 5, males - after 7. It is not recommended to allow animals to mate earlier than this time.|
|Fruitfulness||Medium fertility: 4–8 rabbits can be expected in one litter|
|Addiction to various diseases||They are subject to various infectious and parasitic ailments, especially viral hemorrhagic disease, dermatitis, myxomatosis, pasteurellosis. Often have hearing pathologies due to the large accumulation of sulfur in the ears|
|How many live||On average 5–8 years, in some cases 10–12 years can live|
Important! The most sensitive part of the body of lop-eared rams is the ears: they are very susceptible to various kinds of touch. Twitching, pulling, and even the slightest touch cause the animal great discomfort and even pain.
As a rule, sheep rabbits are bred for decorative purposes. However, these animals have excellent productive qualities. One of the main advantages of the breed is the early maturation of rabbits and rapid weight gain.At the age of 5–7 months, when rabbits reach puberty, they weigh from 1.5 to 3 kg already, with the largest growth dynamics observed up to 3 months. The final height and weight of animals is formed at the age of 6-8 months.
Of course, the rate of weight gain is considered one of the most important productive characteristics for farmers who breed sheep-rabbits for the purpose of selling meat products. With enhanced and high-quality nutrition, some individuals are able to gain weight up to 10 kg.
Important! Rams - pretty voracious rabbits, therefore, if keeping these animals has a decorative purpose, it is very important for breeders to monitor their nutrition. Obesity can provoke health-most dangerous diseases, in particular, damage to the liver, heart, and digestive tract disorders.
In addition to high meat performance, lamb rabbits boast high-quality and valuable fur. The animal skin is soft, dense, the coat is thick and silky, with a beautiful plain color.
Lop-eared rabbits are distinguished by their wonderful character, calm temperament, and complaisant disposition. They are very sociable, sociable, playful, easily get used to the owner and adapt to new conditions.
Their playful character is especially appealing to children. However, it is not recommended to get an animal if there are small children in the house, since they can hurt the rabbit, and he, in turn, is able to respond with aggression or even bite. In other cases, these animals are friendly, quickly make contact.Many people wonder if these rabbits live alone or prefer a company. Animals can perfectly live alone, although they are not against sharing housing with other relatives. Usually lamb quickly find a common language with each other and, when they know each other well, form close ties, continue to be friends until the end of their lives.
Advantages and disadvantages of content
Sheep rabbits get along well with both adults and children, due to which they quickly gain universal love. However, their content is accompanied by a number of rules and requirements that must be met to maintain good pet health and desired productive qualities.
- The content of fold animals has such advantages:
- good adaptation of animals to various environmental conditions;
- calm, balanced and peaceful character;
- relative ease of care;
- unpretentiousness in nutrition;
- fast growth and weight gain.
- Meanwhile, keeping a ram rabbit at home has a number of difficulties:
- high tendency of animals to various infectious and viral ailments;
- low immunity of sheep;
- regular mandatory hygiene procedures for caring for the pet, in particular, combing out wool, removing sulfur from the ears, clipping claws, etc .;
- daily games with a pet: a rabbit needs games and communication every day, so if he is deprived of care for a long time, he is able to take offense and begin to show aggression in order to attract attention.
In addition, it is very important to provide the animal with a full, balanced minerals and vitamins nutrition. Otherwise, he will begin to seriously hurt, which can even lead to death.
Rules for choosing good individuals
Lop-eared rabbits are quite exotic pets, and to acquire a purebred individual, one should pay attention to some characteristic signs.
Signs of Purebredness
Signs of purebred sheep rabbits are:
- rounded, with a rather wide forehead, “lamb” head and muzzle of square shape;
- almost invisible neck, shallow eyes, perfectly pronounced nose;
- firmly set ears hanging down in the form of a horseshoe, 24 cm long;
- wide and strong chest;
- flat broad back;
- strong short legs;
- tail close to the body;
- thick, shiny, soft, dense, distributed throughout the body coat;
- uniform coloring typical of normal-haired breeds.
Signs of marriage
The signs of marriage in this breed include the following:
- weakly expressed small head, clearly visible neck, deep-lying eyes;
- vertical position of at least one ear, short length of the ears (less than 24 cm);
- narrow, shallow chest;
- uneven back with a hump;
- fairly long, curved, unshaven legs;
- sparse, piled, with bald spots on the body of the fur;
- atypical color, with spots, "stains" or patterns on the body.
Features of keeping rabbits at home
Despite the fact that sheep rabbits adapt well in the external environment, when they are kept, several simple principles of nutrition and maintenance must be observed.
Regardless of whether the animal has the ability to move freely indoors or not, it needs a home.
Housing is based on the following requirements:
- The size. Ideally, the larger the cage for the animal, the better. However, the minimum dimensions of the structure are 80 × 80 × 50 cm per individual.
- Temperature. Lop-eared lambs are quite thermophilic, therefore they need a warm microclimate. The optimum temperature regime is considered to be 20–22 ° С. In winter, animals are kept in well-heated rooms, since hypothermia of individuals can lead to their death.
- Litter. The best litter material for the cage is considered shredded, dried wood shavings or newsprint without printing labels. The litter is recommended to be changed daily, otherwise dampness may occur.
- Ventilation. The housing of the rabbit should be well ventilated, but at the same time be away from drafts or direct sunlight. Humidity in the room should average 60–80%.
- Tray. A prerequisite for the arrangement of the cage is the installation of a special tray where the animal will go according to its natural needs. The tray must be installed in one of the corners and well attached to the wall. As a rule, lambs can defecate at the same time as eating food, so the food feeder can be mounted immediately above the tray.
Important! It is strictly forbidden to keep the pet in the cage for days. You need to regularly arrange his walks, play with him, give him the opportunity to run.
Lop-eared rabbits lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle, often prone to laziness, have a low metabolism, and therefore are prone to obesity. To prevent overeating, you should strictly monitor the diet of animals.
The basis of the sheep menu is: hay, which should always be present in the cage, and special feeds made from a mixture of various grains. Hay in large quantities contains fiber, which has a beneficial effect on the digestive system, improves and speeds up metabolic processes.
In addition, it is recommended to include:
- green food: meadow grass, plantain, yarrow, nettle, dandelion;
- fresh vegetables: carrots, potatoes, broccoli, radish;
- fruits: bananas, apples, pears;
- grain mixtures: oats, wheat.
- beets, beans, cauliflower or white cabbage, tomatoes or potato tops;
- any dairy products (however, if the rabbit’s age does not exceed 2 months, it can in rare cases be soldered with milk);
- meat and fish;
- crackers or chips;
- bread and flour products;
- food from the person’s table.
Important! Up to 6 months should not be fed rabbits with fresh herbs, vegetables or fruits, since the digestive system of babies is not yet able to fully absorb fiber
Twice a day, lamb need to offer special fortified supplements - granules for rodents, which include 16-18% of protein, as well as all the necessary vitamins and minerals. They feed their pets 2-3 times a day, preferably at the same time period.
The drinker must always have clean, fresh water that the rodent will drink as needed.
Care and hygiene
Increased attention should be paid to pet hygiene and grooming. Rabbit ears need special care. To clean the ears of sulfur, you can use ordinary cotton buds, which very carefully and accurately remove the exudate.
1 time in 2-3 weeks it is necessary to cut the claws, and for this you should purchase special forceps - clippers. It must be remembered that excessively large claws can provoke deformation of the joints of the limbs, which is very dangerous for the health of the rodent.The lop-eared pet has a thick, dense coat of different lengths, so it should be combed out regularly and foreign objects should be removed. In rare cases, it is allowed to bathe and wash the rodent. To remove dirt, it is recommended to wipe the contaminated parts of the body with a damp cloth.
It is equally important to monitor the cleanliness of the rabbit's home. Every day you need to change the bedding material, wash the feeders and drinking bowls. It is recommended to clean the tray at least 2 times a day - in the morning and in the evening. Complete disinfection of the cell must be carried out once every 1.5–2 months.
When deciding to purchase a fold sheep, you need to be prepared for the fact that caring for it will take a lot of time.
After all, the animal must provide:
- daily walk for 1.5–3 hours;
- care for ears, hair and nails;
- everyday games;
- a full, balanced diet.
Unfortunately, these rabbits are quite susceptible to various diseases, therefore, starting from the age of 45 days and reaching a weight of 0.5 kg, the animal is recommended to be vaccinated. The vaccine allows you to protect your pet from such serious ailments as hemorrhagic disease, myxomatosis, pasteurellosis.
Important! It is especially important to vaccinate animals that often leave their homes, attend various exhibitions and competitions.
For a larger number of infections, it is sufficient to vaccinate once every 12 months. Revaccination is carried out 3 months after the first injection. Further vaccinations are done according to a specially developed vaccination schedule.
How to tame a pet?
Lop-eared rams are very cute, funny and playful creatures, which should be trained gradually, starting from a very young age.
Tame the kids as follows:
- they approach the cage with the rabbit quietly, calmly, without sudden movements, while gently and tenderly turn to him;
- the cage's doors are left open so that the ram has the opportunity to independently leave its home, overcoming fear;
- if the pet is aggressive, then it is gently pressed with his palm to the floor;
- always to encourage the animal treat him with various treats;
- daily calmly and affectionately talk with the animal, offer food from the hands.
The sheep love to spend time sitting on the hands or knees of the wearer, but they negatively relate to all kinds of “squeezes”, they can even bite painfully. Rodents get along well with cats, dogs, turtles, parrots. Also, if the owner shows persistence and perseverance, they can learn to respond to the nickname.
A favorite activity of the fold is a variety of games:
- jumping from any kind of hills;
- chasing balls, small objects that jump and roll;
- digging pits and undermines;
- running through tunnels, various obstacles.
Important! During the “game hour” you should hide all things valuable to a person, since a playful animal can ruin them.
As mentioned above, lop-eared rabbits, sheep, in case of non-compliance with hygiene conditions and proper nutrition, quite often undergo various ailments. They especially suffer from: lesions of the auricles, HBV, myxomatosis, dermatitis, disorders of the digestive system.
The risk group is represented by individuals who often walk on the street, go to exhibitions and competitions, and communicate with other animals.
Of course, vaccination is considered the best prevention of infectious and viral diseases, which significantly reduces the risk of developing the disease and reduces the likelihood of death to almost zero.
In addition, the simplest measures for the prevention of diseases are considered to be the banal maintenance of a comfortable pet living environment, a full, fortified diet, a sufficient amount of fluid and the absence of stressful situations.
Particular attention should be paid if the lamb:
- refuses food and water;
- behaves oppressed, listless, shows apathy to others;
- begins to shed rapidly;
- does not react to anything.
Breeding of lop-eared sheep is not accompanied by special difficulties, neither physical nor financial. The breed is unpretentious, however, during mating, you should still pay attention to some aspects.
The animals are completely ready for mating by 8 months. If the female and the male begin to behave uneasily, they are placed in a separate cage and left for 1 week. The owner has the opportunity to learn about the results of mating only 2 weeks after she thoroughly palpates the female’s stomach. Pregnancy proceeds quickly - 28–31 days.
Did you know? The record holder for the length of the ears is a decorative rabbit nicknamed Nipper's Geronimo. The length of his ears from the tip from head to bottom is as much as 79 cm.
Selection Principles for Reproduction
For mating, completely healthy individuals who have reached puberty are selected.For dwarf species, it is recommended to choose a female and male weighing no more than 1.5–2 kg, respectively, since exceeding these figures makes the fertilization process almost impossible.
This species of rodent is less fertile than other species. For one litter, the female is able to bring from 4 to 8 cubs.For homogeneity of the tribe, it is recommended to interbreed individuals of the same species, identical in color, shape of ears, quality of coat, approximate size and weight.
It is forbidden to cross sheep with other breeds, because the offspring will be, firstly, rather weak, secondly, with the presence of genetic abnormalities, and thirdly, it will lose its unique feature - lop-eared.
Care and feeding of young animals
In the first month of life, newborn rabbits are kept with their mother, who feeds them milk. Further, young animals are “transferred” to a separate cage, in the best case scenario they form a group of 3 individuals in each dwelling. When the babies turn 3 months old, the males are separated separately.
It is believed that up to six months, small lamb should eat as much as they want. However, this breed is very prone to obesity, so the amount of feed eaten should be strictly controlled. The basis of their diet is shredded hay and special feed intended for rabbits.
Rabbits do not require any special care on the part of humans, because the females have a well-developed maternal instinct and perfectly look after the offspring.
Unfortunately, breeding lop-eared rabbits do not differ in a strong immune system, therefore they are vaccinated to protect the body from one and a half months old. One week before the proposed vaccination, animals are given anthelminthic drugs.
If you do not take such measures, then during the development of antibodies after injection, when the body lends itself to high loads, the health of the pet can be significantly weakened.
One of the most important are vaccinations against hemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis. Myxomatosis vaccination is carried out on the 28th day after birth, and after 17 days injections from HBVC are carried out.
Revaccination, which makes it possible to consolidate the results, is carried out after 3 months. Further, all vaccinations are done as planned, according to a specially developed scheme.
Dwarf lop-eared rabbits-rams are amazingly funny and cute creatures, which both adults and children love for their calm disposition and playfulness. Hornies are not particularly demanding of care and diet, but daily need human care, communication and attention.
For careful handling, good food and comfortable conditions, furry animals will answer their owners with devotion, gratitude, and will be able to fill their lives with new colors and fun.