Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Rat, Ferret





  • Male= "buck"
  • Female ="doe"
  • Breeding age from 4-10 months; Pregnancy lasts 31 days
  • Litter size 1-12         Wean @ 4-6 week
  • Diet: bad diet is the most common cause of disease in rabbits. Rabbit pellets do not provide the complete diet for a rabbit.

A rabbits diet should be based on a grass diet free access to grass is ideal. Next best is dry grass = "hay". Lucerne/alfalfa and clover are all very high in calcium and should be fed in small amounts only.

Rabbits should be offered fresh leafy green vegetables/herbs daily: broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, beet carrot tops, brussel sprouts, spinach leaves, Bok Choy, chickory, kale, mustard greens, dark leaf lettuce and herbs (parsley, danelions, coriander, basil, dill, mint) rate: 2 packed cups of fresh greens per kg per day. Some rabbits also love fruit.

Never leave your rabbit outside on hot days, even in the shade, as this can be the same as leaving it in a hot car. Every summer rabbits died from heat stroke because the owner thinks that the rabbit is OK in the shade. In the wild the rabbit can escape into its burrow or under cool vegetation.

Preventative health

Unfortunately there is not a vaccination for myxomatosis available in Australia. Calici virus (which causes a haemorragic disease) can be vaccinated against. One vaccination is satisfactory if the rabbit is over 10 weeks old (2 two if first vaccination is given at less than 10 weeks) and then an annual booster will give and maintain immunity.

To prevent trasmission of these disease rabbits must be kept shielded from mosquitoes and free of fleas. Revolution can be used in rabbits for fleas and mites. NEVER USE FRONTLINE. Advantage can also be used for flea control.

Rabbits make better pets if they are desexed so it is advisable to get you rabbit desexed even if there is no chance of it breeding as they have a better temperament if desexed




  • MALE=”hob” weigh 1-2 kg
  • FEMALE= “jill” weigh 500-900 g
  • BABY= “kit” Average litter 8-10 kits; Gestation 41-43 days; Eyes open at 30-35 days; wean at 6-8 weeks. Handle a lot from 4 weeks so docile with humans.
  • Life expectancy
  • Diet: Ferrets are carnivores feed high quality protein 30-40% red/white meat (NO Fish or Dairy Products) and 15-20% fat. They do not digest fibre, plant protein or complex carbohydrates. They have sweet tooth so avoid sugary foods.

What’s best? commercial Kitten foods; raw meat and bones; raw egg, occ fruit.

Be careful what they play with,as foreign body ingestion is common.

  • Can easily be toilet trained but have a short gut so needs lots of trays so don’t get caught at wrong end of the house!

Preventative health

  • Vaccination:Canine Distemper 1/6 of Canvac C3 or C4 @ 8 and 12 weeks then annually
  • Heartworm Prevention:dose higher than dog/cat REVOLUTION or HEARTGUARD (red for kittens)
  • Worming: FELEX PASTE 1mg/kg
  • Desexing: @ 4-6 mo A MUST FOR NON BREEDING FEMALES or get oestrogen induced bone marrow suppression MALES less smell, better pets

*Sexual maturity @ 4-8 months

*Breeding season (southern hemisphere) August/September to April

  • Descenting NO!! Smell mainly from skin not anal glands If desexed much less smell especially by 2-3 years of age.
  • Prone to ear mites and sarcoptic mange =REVOLUTION





Rats can be fabulous pets, just ask anyone who has ever owned one. They come with their own little personalities and can become very attached to their owners.

  • Male=buck adult weight 400-700 grams
  • Female=doe adult weight 200-500grams
  • Breeding from 5-12 weeks (averge 8 weeks)
  • Duration of pregnancy 22-23 days
  • Eyes open 13-16 days old
  • Weaning 5 weeks (male and female litter mates should be separated by 4-5 weeks)
  • Life span 2-3 years

Rats are highly intelligent, social animals, and although they love human company it is best if two rats (of the same sex) are kept together as pets. Rats love to do mutual grooming and curl up together to keep warm. Male rats can be desexed to minimise any aggressive tendancies.

Because rats are intelligent and inquisitive it is best to keep your rat busy with lots of activity and toys. It can be a lot of fun turning the cage into an adventure playground using ropes, ladders, tree branches, shelves, hammocks, and flowerpots. As rats love to climb, a cage that can have shelving is ideal, in this way it is possible to give the rats maximum space with out taking up too much floor space.

Rats should be fed wholegrain rice, vegetables: broccoli, potatoes, peas, carrot etc, wholemeal bread, fruit, like apples, cherries, grapes, banana and animal protein. The animal protein can be in the form of a good quality dog food, occassionally cooked liver and kidney and if available meal worms.

Guinea Pig


The guinea pig or domestic guinea pig, also known as cavy or domestic cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae.

  • Lifespan 4 – 8 years
  • Gestation: 59 – 72 days (Adult)
  • Weight: 0.7 – 1.2 kg (Adult)
  • Length: 20 – 25 cm (Adult)

Guinea pigs are sociable pocket pets, are easily tamed, and can live for up to ten years. Their friendly nature makes them fantastic pets. They’re also very intelligent.  Guinea pigs are happiest when kept with other guinea pigs. However, if you do keep males and females together, make sure both animals are the same sex or at least one gender has been desexed. 


Guinea pigs are herbivores. To keep them healthy and happy, they need:

  • a constant source of good quality fresh grass or grass hay, such as Meadow, Oaten, Pasture, Ryegrass, Timothy or Wheaten hays. This is important for wearing down their continuously growing teeth.
  • fresh, leafy green vegetables and herbs every day, such as broccoli, cabbage (in small amounts), celery, endives, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and other Asian greens, and dark-leafed lettuce varieties; and herbs such as basil, coriander, dandelion, dill, mint and parsley. Carrot tops should only be given as an occasional treat.
  • small quantities of high-quality guinea pig pellets. These should have a minimum fibre content of 16 per cent.
  • a daily source of vitamin C, such as small amounts of citrus and kiwi fruits, is very important.
  • a constant source of clean, fresh water

Do not your feed guinea pig:beans beetroot biscuits bread breakfast cereals chocolate clover or lucerne (Alfalfa) hays corn nuts onion peas potato spinich sugar sweets

Guinea pigs need lots of space to exercise – the more the better. Do not use sawdust, straw or wood shavings in the hutch, a guinea pig needs a soft, clean, dry surface at all times, they can quickly develop foot problems. 

Guinea pigs love a chewing log made of untreated wood to wear down the teeth, and overturned boxes to hide incheck the length of your guinea pig’s teeth and toenails. If they are too long, get your veterinarian to trim them. 

Daily grooming is essential for long-haired guinea pigs, and ensures their coats remain in good condition. 

Regular handling will also help build their confidence, and encourage them to become friendly and sociable.