The gotland rabbit is a rare rabbit breed originally from the Gotland island in Sweden. It is a natural breed that developed by itself and did not go through any breeding program. The rabbits were first kept for their meat and pelts around the 1500s.
When show breeds came along and grew in popularity, they became rare. The breed was discovered again in the 1970s in Gotland island. In this article, we will be looking a little deeper into this breed. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Is the Gotland Rabbit Breed Endangered?
The Gotland rabbit is an endangered rabbit breed and it is listed as endangered. They are currently very few in number. The Gotland Rabbit Society has been working on preserving them and keeping them alive.
There is an official gene bank registry where they register the pure breeds. Many rabbits look like Gotland rabbits but only the ones born to registered parents are accepted as pure breeds.
What is the Size of the Gotland Rabbit?
The gotland rabbit is of medium size and matures slowly compared to other rabbit breeds. The rabbit has slender pointed ears and big round eyes.
Most of them have brown eyes, but some do have blue eyes. Being curious in nature, the eyes have an alert appearance. Their noses are narrow, and they have a muscular abdomen.
The female and male genders may look a little different but at the same age, they weigh the same. Adults weigh an average of 3-4 kgs.
A doe has a fine elongated head while a buck has a rounder head with a dense muzzle.
The gotland rabbit does not have a specific color scheme but has many color varieties. The fur is smooth, shiny, short, and mostly straight. Some gotland rabbits have rex fur which grows facing outwards.
Gotland rabbits have a friendly temperament which makes them adorable pets to keep. They are curious, active, energetic, and social. These rabbits are great for both inexperienced and experienced owners.
They show a deep interest in their environment and will roam around observing their surroundings. This breed does well with companions and will love interacting with you from time to time.
If you have male and female Gotland rabbits, they can breed and produce kittens all through the year. Their gestation period is 30 days and they have 6-8 kittens per litter.
They have a lifespan of 9 years. The does are great and protective mothers to their young.
Care and Requirements
Gotland rabbits are easy to take care of. Here are some of their requirements:
The gotland rabbit is generally healthy with few genetic defects and diseases affecting them. They have genetic diversity. This rabbit breed is known as hardy because of its resistance to diseases and ability to adapt in any environment.
They do not get sick easily. Feeding them a healthy diet and keeping them away from stressful conditions will strengthen their immunity. A strong immune system helps your pet fight infections and ensures they remain healthy.
Gotland rabbits are inquisitive in nature. They need a big cage and a spacious pen. Their cage should be big enough for them to jump, stretch, and walk around comfortably.
Take them out to the pen often for fresh air and exercise. Regular exercise keeps them fit and prevents obesity in your bunny. You can bond with them during this time too.
The Gotland rabbit requires a well-balanced diet to be able to thrive. Their food should consist of:
Provide quality grass hay like Timothy, orchard, and brome every day. Your pet needs a constant supply of hay. Hay is rich in fiber which is good for digestion and chewing on it wears down their ever-growing teeth.
Do not give Alfalfa hay to adult rabbits. Alfalfa is rich in proteins and calcium which are good for baby rabbits who are still growing. Adults should not have too much calcium.
Rabbits love vegetables and they will readily chew up everything you offer them. Vegetables are rich in nutrients but you should feed them in small amounts. Provide a variety of vegetables regularly.
Some good vegetables you can feed your bunny are bok choy, carrot tops, broccoli, kale, spinach, collard greens, and green peppers.
Herbs provide your pet with vitamins, nutrients, and medicinal properties. Rabbits can eat both fresh and dried herbs. Mix in different herbs with their food to add flavor.
Safe herbs for rabbits are cilantro, coriander, sage, rosemary, oregano, basil, dill, and mint.
Fruits are great treats you can offer your pet occasionally. However, you should give them in small amounts because they have a lot of sugar. Too much sugar can lead to unhealthy weight gain, obesity, and cause tooth decay.
Give your Gotland rabbit small pieces of delicious fruits like apples, melons, grapes, oranges, peaches, apricots, berries, and bananas. Remove all seeds from fruits before feeding because seeds can choke them.
Supplement your rabbit’s diet with high fiber pellets once in a while. Opt for healthy pellets and not the muesli types of pellets. Give your pet a ¼ cup of pellets per 5 lbs of their weight.
You should provide your bunny with clean water 24 hours a day. Some rabbits like drinking water from sipper bottles while others will prefer drinking water from bowls.
If you are using sipper bottles, check them regularly to ensure that they are not clogged. If your rabbit likes drinking from a bowl, use heavy ceramic so that it does not tip over and spill water in the cage. Check it from time to time to change the water if it gets soiled with feces.
The Gotland rabbit is an indigenous endangered rabbit breed and they are very few in number. They are related to the rare Mellerud rabbits.
They are hardy rabbits and can be kept outdoors. Gotland rabbits are curious little pets and can be kept by inexperienced owners.