Last updated on October 31st, 2018 at 05:56 am
- Size: Small or mini
- Purpose: meat, laboratory testing, show animal, fur, and pet
- Average lifespan: 5 to 8 years
- Body types: Compact
- Average weight: 1.8 to 2.7kgs
- Who can have them: Singles, seniors, couples, a family with young children, first time owners, apartment dwellers.
- Comparable breeds: Dutch and Polish Rabbit
History and origin
This small rabbit breed that is recognized by ARBA (accepted in 1967) was developed by Orville Miliken, an ARBA judge by crossbreeding an albino Dutch, an albino Polish, and a small sized New Zealand White. Afterward, he did selective breed to come up with the Florida white bunny which looks like a smaller version of the New Zealand White.
This all-purpose rabbit developed in Florida as a small rabbit for laboratory testing and meat that will have good production as well as an excellent dress-out ratio that is favorable to be consumed by home breeders.
They “have a compact body with firm flesh, small bones, small heads and small feet, excellent feed to meat conversion and a nearly 65% meat-to-bone ratio” (source – Wikipedia.org) meaning you will have little wastes as you process it.
From 1967 to 1999, this bunny has been refined by several highly skilled rabbit breeders including famous names such as Fibber McGehee, Oren Reynolds, Dale Allison, Billy Dodge, Larry Petty, Kat Stearns, and Dr. Terry E. Reed.
Fibber McGehee is mainly known to have helped the rabbit have a compact commercial body type.
The bunny has worn several ARBA awards including the best in shows.
Size, color, and appearance
These bunnies have a compact body type that is meaty and a round, small, sturdy head and a short neck. Its ears are thick and stand in an upright position, but at times, they may fall on either side of the head.
Also, the “depth of its body is equal to the width throughout the shoulders, ribs, loins, and hindquarters (source – Adoptarabbit.com).
Seniors weigh 4 to 6 pounds with 5 pounds being the ideal weight while juniors’ weight should be between 2.25 and 4.5 pounds.
During judgment, they consider their coat which is awarded 65 points and the remaining 35 points are for its fur and firm flesh.
As its name suggests, it comes only in a white color without any marking and pink eyes (albino eyes).
Their coat has flyback high-quality white fur on their sleek and tight pelts. Its fur does not shed much unless it’s molting.
Caring for your Florida white bunny
Their diet consists of an unlimited amount of hay (70%) such as timothy hay, and about 1/8 to ¼ cup of good quality pellets, rabbit friendly leafy greens (such as basil, kale, parsley, collard greens, mustard greens, etc.), small amounts of fruits and vegetables and unlimited fresh water.
They can be indoors or outdoors rabbits. Outdoor cages should be raised, weatherproof and secure from predators and have a sleeping. If indoors, provide them with an enclosure where it can go and hide. This will make them feel safer.
Ensure their cages are spacious and the right size to allow it to hop around, stretch and stand upright. It should not have a wire bottom (go for solid bottomed cages).
You can also include a litter box inside its cage, and if it moves freely inside your house, provide several litter boxes where it often goes to urinate.
Take your Florida white rabbit to a secured garden to play for at least two hours a day or let it play inside your house if you do not have a backyard.
If they freely move in your house, rabbit-proof your home to ensure they do not chew electrical codes, furniture, carpet, sheetrock, among other things. Instead give it things to chew such as the alfalfa cubes, cardboard boxes, pine boards that have not been treated as well as rabbit toys. They will help avoid overgrow teeth.
Brush your rabbits once a week or more times when they appear to be shedding a lot of furs (i.e., molting) to remove any dead hairs and reduce chances of the hairs ending up on your clothes, carpet or furniture. Remember you will still need to remove the fur from your furniture and clothes.
In case your bunny is dirty, spot-clean it using a damp towel. Avoid bathing your rabbits since they can develop health issues including hypothermia for a rabbit.
These bunnies are hardy, healthy and do not have a specific disease or condition that selectively affects them.
However, if you notice any symptoms of ill-health such as watery diarrhea, not hopping, drooling, lethargy, fever (excessive of 105°F, runny nose, and eyes, fur loss, dark red urine, inability to defecate, see your veterinarian.
Neutering your buck and spaying your doe (reduces chances of uterine cancer) is recommended if you do not want them to breed. It is also good for their health and will reduce aggressive behavior.
Indoor bunnies might lack Vitamin D that is usually obtained from the sun, therefore, ensure you take them out to enjoy sunlight and fresh air.
Finally check for any rabbit fleas, mites, earwax buildup, ticks and ensure their bottoms are not soiled as they can encourage flystrike.
Temperament and behavior
They are docile animals that are often gentle, relaxed and well-natured making them an excellent choice for beginners.
They also make excellent mothers and tend to show their personality the more they get used to you. Therefore, socialize them while still young.
If socialized, they can interact well with kids and other pets. Young kids should be taught how to handle these small cute animals.
Besides these traits, they are not very popular pets since they come only in one color, as opposed to other breeds that come in many colors.
Finally, unlike dogs and cats they are not easy to train, they will need more time and patience to be able to use their litter boxes. Also, ensure you have several litter boxes in your house if they are indoors to avoid droppings all over the house.
Florida white rabbits for sale
Do you want to have these rabbits for their pelts, meat or as pets? You can readily find them from reputed Florida white rabbit breeders, rescue centers as well as on rabbitries around you. Pets are not shipped. You may need to go there by yourself and pick the ones that you like.
To get a Florida white rabbit near you, use search engines to find them as well as on classified ads. Their prices will range from $25 to $100+. Purebred and pedigreed rabbits tend to be more expensive.
Finally, if you need to breed them, it is good to know they usually give a litter of around 6-8 kits.
- The Florida White Rabbit Breeders Association: http://www.fwrba.net/index.html