Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wire-bottomed cages

People sometimes have issues with rabbits in wire cages.

They cite: broken nails, kits with broken legs, sore hocks and bumble foot.

Seeing as I have no clue what bumblefoot is other than an infection guinea pigs can get in wire cages (which is why guinea pigs should not be housed on wire). I did a bit of research. Ah...and I learned that bumble foot in rabbits is known as sore hocks. Sore hocks that I know about.

Best solution is prevention!
1. clean, clean and clean. Keep things clean.
2. breed for good hocks. Just like anything else, health can be bred for. Breed for animals with thickly furred feet. Fur acts as a natural cushioning agent.
3. provide resting mats for animals susceptible to it. Keep them clean too! :)

Kits with broken Legs
Haven't seen this. Therefore can't talk with it much.

Prevention is simple enough. Fill the bottom of the cage with tons and tons of hay, or way more resting boards than what is normal. Voila! Kits and their legs are safe! :)

Broken Nails
I suspect that this too can be bred for. Breed for rabbits with slower growing and/or stronger nails. But I don't know that for sure. Just a suspicion as most things can be bred for and I know when trimming the nails of 21 adults....their nails really vary in thickness, sharpness and rate of growth, even among similar species.

BUT prevention is once again very simple. TRIM NAILS! Very regularly, every 4-6 weeks, take out your bunnies, trim their nails. Multi-task if you might....trim nails, brush coats (if moulting), take pics, weights and such like. BUT trim those nails regularly. Short nails don't catch on cage floors.

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