I’ve raised a few different breeds throughout the years and I’m currently waiting for a pair of Champagne d’Argent rabbits. This breed is said to be one of the oldest from France. I love their temperament and disposition as well as their beautiful coats.
The Champagne d’Argent breed makes great show rabbits and pets, and provides a good source of meat. They are friendly and docile which makes them easy to handle and a good choice for young children if cared for properly. This isn’t a large breed, but the meat-to-bone ratio is fairly well suited for the dinner table.
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Description and a Quick History
The Champagne d’Argent was developed in Champagne, France sometime in the late 1600s. The name ‘Champagne d’Argent’ translates to the silver rabbit of Champagne in French. Champagnes are also known as The French Silver Rabbit. This rabbit breed can weigh anywhere between 6 and 12 pounds when they’re full-grown.
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Kits are usually born all black with the silver color growing in as they mature. The silver coloring begins in the belly region and grows upward, then finishes over the back and face by the time they’re 6 to 8 months old. Their color continues to get lighter as the rabbits age. The nose and ears are usually a bit darker than the rest of the body once they reach full maturity.
Feed and Diet
There are many brands of rabbit pellets available for bunnies and rabbits. I like to make sure mine have an assortment of goodies to munch on rather than relying solely on pellet feed. Here are just a few different things that rabbits eat:
- Hay and Straw – feed rabbits bundles of hay or straw equal to their body weight daily.
- High Fiber Pellets – the bag of pellets will provide instructions on proper feeding amounts.
- Daily Greens – 1 cup of veggies for every 4 pounds the rabbit weighs.
- Foraged Plants, Herbs, Weeds – I like to let my rabbits forage for their own food regularly, and they will eat until they are content.
- Fruit – due to the high sugar content in fruits it’s best to give them as treats in small increments. Limit fresh fruits to 2 tablespoons daily.
Rabbits have a variety of foods they can and will happily eat but there are also some foods to avoid. Here is a list from PETA listing 15 foods that can harm your bunnies.
Chewing and Chew Toys
Chewing is a totally normal, natural, and somewhat necessary behavior. A rabbit’s teeth are similar to a bird beak. They are constantly growing and need to be trimmed regularly.
Chewing is how the rabbits keep their teeth maintained properly. It is important to keep an eye on what exactly your rabbit is chewing because there are some things that are harmful and can be deadly.
Safe Items for Rabbits to Chew
- Wood: aspen, pine, apple, ash, birch, hazel, poplar, maple, spruce, pear
- Compressed alfalfa cubes
- Woven grass baskets
Unsafe Items Rabbits Shouldn’t Chew
- Plastic treated wood
Often times, simply having hay and straw to chew on a daily basis helps to keep a rabbit’s teeth trimmed nicely without any risks of injury due to overgrowth.
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Rabbits like to chew and play just like cats and dogs, and every other animal in the world. I’ve had a few rabbits that liked to play fetch, although I didn’t always get them to bring it back so much as roll it all around the house.
Housing and Bedding
Indoor rabbits can be housed in cages. Sometimes dog kennels with removable trays can be used. Outdoor rabbits live in rabbit hutches. Rabbit hutches have to provide safety from any harsh elements and predators. It’s their home and it is meant to keep them safe. I appreciate the combination hutches that offer both housing and an outdoor run.
Nesting boxes are wooden boxes used to stimulate an underground burrow that a mama would make to birth her litter of kits. The box is usually filled with dry grass, straw, and hay, and the mama uses her fur for warmth and comfort. Nesting boxes can be used as little beds for both male and female rabbits, but they serve a bigger purpose for the mamas and babies.
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Wood chips make good rabbit bedding. Pine and cedar, in particular, also help to naturally deodorize a rabbit’s space. Straw, grass, or hay also make fantastic bedding for your rabbit. The bedding will need to be replaced on a regular basis to make sure it stays nice and clean.
Brushing and Shedding
Rabbits shed on a regular basis just like any animal with fur. However, every three months they go through a massive shedding. Even short-haired rabbits have more fur than I ever imagined, so it is important to brush your rabbits once a week. When they’re shedding, you may have to brush them every day.
When rabbits go through their big shed it goes one of two ways. They’ll either shed all of the extra fur within a day, or they’ll be shedding like crazy for a couple of weeks before the furball madness comes to an end.
Speaking of furballs, rabbits clean themselves similarly to cats and can end up with a furball. The problem with that is, rabbits cannot vomit so if they DO get a hairball, it can cause a blockage in their little belly leading to starvation. Here are some tips to help you prevent your rabbits from getting a hairball in the first place.
I have done a lot of research on caring for rabbits, and everything I found strongly advises against bathing a rabbit. It is not in a rabbit’s nature to swim or immerse themselves in any body of water. Bathing rabbits is a big no-no! Rabbits tend to go into shock when put under stressful situations such as a bath. It is extremely frightening and could lead to the death of your rabbit.
If your rabbit needs to be cleaned off for some reason, it is best to use a washcloth, pet-friendly soap, and lukewarm water to spot clean the bunny. Wind and water are a dangerous combination for rabbits. Use caution if your rabbit gets wet and make sure they are in a warm dry place.
Rabbits make great pets, farm animals, show animals, and furry friends. There is such a variety that I bet there’s a rabbit for every type of person out there. Always do your research before getting a new animal to be sure you know all of the important details. Happy farming!