The Angora Rabbit is a variety of domestic rabbit that is commonly bred for its long, soft wool, which they produce in copious quantities. At only 11 microns in diameter it is finer and softer than cashmere. There are many individual breeds of Angora rabbits. They are: English, French, Giant, and Satin, German, Chinese, Swiss, Finnish, Korean, and St. Lucian.
They are known for their humorous appearance, as they oddly resemble a fur ball with a face :). The Angora Rabbit is renowned for being among the most calm and docile species of animal, but should be handled carefully. Grooming is necessary to prevent the fiber from matting and felting on the rabbit. A condition, wool block, is common in Angora rabbits, and should be treated quickly.
Angora Rabbit Dietary Needs
These rabbits are shorn of their wool every three to four months throughout the year, when bred commercially. As with all rabbits, abundant and unlimited hay should be provided for the Angora Rabbit. The fiber the rabbit gains from the hay helps prevent wool block. It is also recommended particularly for Angora and other long-haired rabbit species that any pellet feed have at least 13% fiber. Fiber content can be found in the nutritional analysis on the food bag.
Additionally fecal impaction can be caused by dehydration. This can be prevented by providing copious amounts of water as well as a salt lick, to encourage drinking water. Since rabbits ingest their wool when they groom themselves, clipping their wool at least once every 90 days is considered a must to prevent wool block from occurring.
A dietary supplement of papaya (from the vitamin section of the grocery store) in their diet helps wool to break down in their digestive tract. The wool swallowed by a rabbit cannot be coughed or vomited up, and will cause it to slowly starve to death as its digestive tract fills up with ingested wool; if left untreated, wool block can lead to death.
It is widely held among serious Angora breeders that ample cage space to exercise and feeding fresh, horse-quality hay on a daily basis will help keep the wool moving through the system and prevent wool block. It is also widely held that feeding both fresh pineapple and fresh papaya occasionally will aid in breaking down the ingested wool, and aid in its passage through the rabbits’ system.
Another helpful tip for loose wool control includes giving the rabbit a pine cone to play with. They nibble them, throw them around, and they turn into a good wool catcher in their cage. When the pine cone is all nibbled or full of wool, replace it. Rabbits do not possess the same allergy generating qualities as many other animals.
The average rabbit can live for about 7–12 years when kept indoors and well-cared for. However, many outdoor rabbits have a shorter lifespan.
Todd Sain Sr.