Bunny Breed Guide: New Zealand White Rabbit

Updated on June 2, 2008

New Zealand Whites are popular rabbits as pets, in the show ring, and unfortunately in the laboratory and meat/fur farm. New Zealand White Rabbits are easily distinguished by their relatively large and solid bodies covered in dense white fur, their upstanding white ears, and their red eyes. New Zealand Whites have become the poster child of the Easter Season, and are often depicted as being the Easter Bunny.

The name "New Zealand White" is a bit of a misnomer however, as New Zealand Whites were originally bred in America. They were destined for the meat and fur trade even at their inception, and fate has not been much kinder with their widespread use in laboratories. However, as with many animals bred to be slaughtered or tested on, the New Zealand White Rabbit has a cheerful and friendly disposition. They are affectionate, intelligent, and one of the easier breeds to teach tricks. These factors make the New Zealand White an ideal pet choice, as unlike many of the other rabbit breeds, they are less likely to be standoffish and aggressive.

How big will they get ?

Generally New Zealand White Rabbits grow to the following sizes:

Buck: 4 - 5 kgs / 9 - 11 lbs

Doe: 4.5 - 5.5 kgs / 10 - 12 lbs

If you are interested in showing your New Zealand White Rabbit, here are some of the characteristics you should be looking for:

Head: Should be strong and muscular looking, but should not be out of proportion with the rest of the body. The neck should not be long, in fact, a non-existent looking neck is highly regarded in the New Zealand White Rabbit. Those little red eyes should be bright and alert, and should be a nice deep red, and the ears should stand erect.

Body: The New Zealand White should have a broad and muscular body, well shaped, with large, long back feet and short front feet. There should be plenty of 'meat on the bones', though this should not tip over into sloppy heaviness. The toenails should be either white or flesh colored. The fur should be nice and dense, and should be a lovely white color. It should not be too soft, but have a stiffness to it. If your rabbit is moulting, it is not a good time to show him or her.

Faults: It is not considered positive if a New Zealand White is too long, or too short in the body, has fur that is woolly or stained, or that tends towards a yellowy cream color rather than white. Long narrow heads also find disfavor, as do ears that don't stand nicely erect.

Showing rabbits can be a lot of fun, but even if your New Zealand White isn't a champion, they are sure to be a delightful pet and a quiet and gentle companion.


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      Amanda 16 months ago

      I have a Newzelan Red and he is very scared of me he is 1 and he has not been handled in his life... I try to touch him and he just runs the opposite way of me. And he is currently not eating

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      bri 21 months ago

      Does anybody know how old my rabbit has to be in order it show it?

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      trina 3 years ago

      hey i have a NZW her name is snowflake. she is the cutest thing.. but she isn't really friendly. she doesn't really like to be petted, she crawls in corners n just stay there and she runs away from me sometimes what can i do i think she semi hates me help!

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      Reggie 5 years ago

      how do I know if my rabbit is a female or a male? Pls. tell me. I have just a regular white rabbit. I don't think it's NZW.

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      Easton Ranchhand 5 years ago

      I found a small New Zealand rabbit. It's very hot in central california during the summer. I put it it my large chicken cage. I gave it fresh water and greens, with a couple of blackberries and a slice of apple. It's cage is covered and under a large tree. it stays much cooler under this tree than the ambient temp. My question is, what temp is the max for this kind of rabbit? Is there anything extra I should do, to properly care for this cute little rabbit? I searched many web sites, however none mentioned temp. Thank you for any assistance offered.

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      Scott 5 years ago

      Not eat dog or cat have u ever eatin at a chinese resturant or barito joint in the bad side of town. Trust me its not beef or chicken. The best burito i had was from a place that closed 2 weeks later they caught them dumping dog carcus into the dumpster across the street.

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      Bunnies are Great 5 years ago

      Why is it ok to eat rabbits but disgusting to eat dogs and cats? Rabbits are friends NOT food.

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      christiana litzza 6 years ago

      i have a new zealand white rabbit and i have bred her with a buck californian because i cannot find a buck new zealand white rabbit. If anyone in california close to napa has bucks that are New zealand white rabbits please e-mail me @ christianalitzza@hotmail.com i really need a buck so i can put the baby rabbits into the because they must be a pure breed.

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      dude 6 years ago

      i am going to raise these rabbits for food i am building my hutches this weekend

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      Jessica 6 years ago

      I just purchased a new zealand white rabbit because my son fell in love with it. he is 2 years old and named his rabbit Blue!! im excited he is growing up with a variety of animals.

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      Jeannie 6 years ago

      Our New Zealand White is almost 10 years old, she is truly the best pet we have ever had. Relaxed, funny, affectionate, very intelligent and a very intuitive companion. She is neat and clean, meticulous with her litter box and loves to play with children and adults. We do not allow others to carry her for fear of injuries by inexperienced well meaning friends.

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      tones 6 years ago

      XD These rabbits r the best

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      chowawa 6 years ago


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      Meagan 6 years ago

      Im getting two NZ babies next week for the show table!!! One is going to be named "MJ's Nivens McTwisp" tattoo MJ011 (buck) and the other I haven't decided his name, maybe "MJ's Chesire Chance"???? (buck) Opinions? His tattoo will be MJ021. If you have any comments or suggestions on names please email me at meagan.BVBlove@yahoo.com! Thanks and good luck to everyone with their bunnnies!!!

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      jac 6 years ago

      what are the rabbits breeds which have red eyes ?? since I am confused are my rabbits are new zealand or other kind?

      Thank you

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      Frosty 6 years ago

      Just got my first ever NZ Rabbit. I never knew how smart these animals are until I got one. He's simple sweet and fun to have as a pet. I understand if ppl need to survive however, I don't believe in torture so I am however against experimenting on these animals. Labs should stick with rats.

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      Mamabear 6 years ago

      Well said. I liked Philip's:

      "I also love NZW. I enjoyed this site very much with the pictures, captions, and espically the coments. I am a God fearing man and I love the Lord. In his book he tells me that all living things were put here for the benefit of Mankind. It tells me that if it benefits Mankind to eat the flesh of a rabbit then God bless them. Likewise if it benefit Mankind to love and befriend a rabbit then God blesses them also. Thank you, and God bless all Rabbit Lovers."

      As well, was very well put.

      Had a NZ white bunny, loved it and am perfectly alright to feed my kiddos the nourishment the Lord has provided for us.

      Be glad, ladies that you love your pets as we are all glad to see you happy in those relationships you nurture. I do not see where we cannot have both.

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      homesteader hal 6 years ago


      life on the farm is hard. When you are farming to survive, it is impossible to live without eating meat. Yes, it is true that some people are vegetarians and are ok, but usually these people do not have to work as hard as back-to-basic homesteaders, and I don't think my family could live through the winter on the small amount of vegatables we grow in our garden. As for rabbits, they are the most unexpenseve, economical and healthy producers of meat. AND, no one thinks cows are cute, why not? After all, they are, at least to me, and are animals with "feelings" too. Do you know how inhumanely they (and meat chickens) are treated on big farms? When I drove across country, i passed many cow farms whose cows had no room to move, there were acres and acres of cows smashed together smothered their own waste. If they died no one would even notice because they would not be able to fall, they were being held up by their neighbors. Do you eat the poultry, ham, and beef from the grocery store? Our rabbits live hundreds of times better that they, which is why I raise them. and of course, God created animals partly to fulfill the needs of our bodies. We have the intestines and teeth of canines, not monkeys. And souls, unlike animals. Enjoy your pet rabbits, but remember not to pass judgements on others.

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      Jessica 6 years ago

      All those comments about people eating the Rabbits: how about we eat parts of you and we will call it even !!!! It's Wrong to eat them or use them for testing there so cute. As i do understand they breed like crazy and sometimes it has to be delt with i don't like it though any animal should be able to live a full life and if we kill them it should go hand in hand with killing one of us as we breed like cray and should be delt with!!!!!


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      minhaj 6 years ago

      so sad

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      mairah xxx 6 years ago

      hi im mairah,i had a rabbit who sadly dided and my mom never let me have another one ,now im missing her really bad ,how can i get my mom to let me get another one plz help xxx

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      Maddie 6 years ago

      I have a

      new Zealand white and she is very intelligent she knows what time to go in her cage for "bed" she knows her name and understands some

      things. she is very friendly and loves to be pet. she acts like a

      dog because she will lick you if you put your hand by her mouth and scratch at the door if she wants in

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      Sammi 6 years ago

      Hi Alex, i have many breeds of rabbits, and a few have been rescued bunnies. One in particular was very unsociable, wouldn't let us touch him/pick him up. Trying to feed him was a pain as he used to attack our hands. He used to bite the younger children in the house and was so bad we were really planning on giving him up or having him put down he was that bad! Instead i brought him with me everywhere and let him have free lay to my house. He usualy stayed in the living room and had his own nests etc. Instead of sitting on the chair, i sat on the floor, the rabbit used to come up to me in his own time. and after a long time of just sitting with him. he would happily come up to me and allow me to stroke him. He had the garden to himself and he loved to jump around and was very hyper. He became very friendly indeed. He still doesn't allow me to pick him up, but will allow me to stroke him and doesn't attack when i go to feed him.

      My advice is to be patient with your rabbit. Give him time and he will warm up to you! :)

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      Alex 6 years ago

      Hi, I have just been given a New Zealand White that was found a stray and the vet is not sure how old she is, she is fully grown though. She is a little skittish around us and wont really let us touch her, i was wondering if anyone has had experience with this as i would like to know if she will warm to us?


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      Leila 6 years ago

      I've just got my nz.He's 5 weeks old. He is the sweetest pet you can ever have! He is very clever and determined as to what he wants, and loves company.

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      N/A 6 years ago

      Hey, I am considering getting a new Zealand white, but I look at other breeds too. I also like the Champagne D'argent, and the californian, but I'd like some advice as to which one I should get.

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      Abbi 7 years ago

      Just got a New Zealand for free. I'm not that big into breeding or anything, but her dam and sire were champs, so maybe I'll do a little showing and breed her...

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      Pippi 7 years ago

      Thanks soooo much! Oh and I give my rabbit a lot of exersise in a horse stall!

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      Leila 7 years ago

      Pippi, it is better to just buy one new cage but be sure to give your rabbit lots of freedom!

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      Pippi 7 years ago

      OK, this will probably like super CRAZY, but my mule got in my barn, and totally destroyed the whole barn! Sadly the rabbit hutch got kinda crushed too:(The rabbit's ok, but I don't know if I should bother fixing the completely DESTROYED rabbit hutch, or if should just get a new one. Oh, and one more thing, my friend, Nina, has a Flemish Giant and I thought it was super adorable and stuff. Anyway, does anyone know anything about those kind of rabbits.......ANYONE.......please! Oh and if anyone knows anything about the destroyed rabbit hutch that would be awesome too! Thanks sooooo much to who ever answer me!

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      ChinchillaGuru 7 years ago



      i am the creator of rabbchilla

      call me

      xox chichilla guru

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      Pippi 7 years ago

      steph,I think your rabbit is a Californa Rabbit....I'm not sure....but I'm pretty positive. Anyways, we have our rabbit hutch in the barn, and our mule broke the side! We had to move our rabbit into a different hutch....but how do I fix the other one?

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      steph 7 years ago

      hey I was just wondering,,

      I bought my bunny from a Market, got

      him his shots and everything but I never found out what breed he is. he's not a dwarf and he grows fast, he's ears stick up and he has dark eyes. his fur is White and sometimes a bit of an off White, he has about an average amount of fur - not too long, not too short. but his ears, nose, feet and tail are all grey. he isn't fat-looking either.

      any ideas?

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      Danielle 7 years ago

      Hey I've got two of those rabbits and they are sweet but very wild so be careful they can open the cage door

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      jason smith 7 years ago

      please call me your friend

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      Emlou 7 years ago


      Ok so I have a NZW bunny and he is about 6 monthes old and he so cute and sometimes he wants to cuddles! His name is Mickie. I don't know what kind of cage I should get him because I don't know how big they can grow. Anyone???

      I want to have a pet that is playful and frienldy. He mostly likes to keep to himself. He comes over to me and wants me to pet him,but how do I get him to play with me??

      What do they like to play with that isn't harmful or they might swallow?? Thx everyone!

      Do they like to

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      Rosajfz 7 years ago

      Any suggestions as to how to tell a New Zealand from a Rex? I just rescued a rabbit from a veterinary school, and I'm not sure what she is. I'd say she's about 8 or 9 pounds. She's all white with pink/red eyes and the cutest ears that go straight up. Thanks!

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      sierra 7 years ago

      I have 2 new zealand show rabbits!!! They are the best kind of rabbits i have ever had. They are so nice and the always want to cudly with me. I have a buck and a doe..... the does name is sissy... and the bucks name is bongo!!! NEW ZEALANDS ARE AWSOME!!!!!

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      sam 7 years ago

      I am getting 2 nz because my rabbit I have had for 10 years ran away I haven't seen him in a week. His name was rambo!

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      mylindag 7 years ago

      I have 7 rabbits. I am going to start concentrating on New Zealand Whites as I know how sweet they are. My mum has one that has had the most beautiful babies and everyone loves their natures, even my kids handle them easily. I had one when I was a child and she was like the town pet. Everyone knew and loved her. I would walk her around the street or take her in a dolls pram. I am looking forward to having lots more pets like her.

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      Bunnyboo 7 years ago

      I don't have a new zealand, but I have a Havana named Shadow. She is very cute!!

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      Pippi 7 years ago

      So....i know I just wrote 11 days ago....but anyways...So I think you will have alot of fun with your rabbit...is it a New Zealand rabbit...oh...and I like the name Crimison...where did you come up with it?

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      So 7 years ago

      This is my first time having a rabbit, a buck. Very interesting and fun. I named it Crimson.

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      pippy 7 years ago

      ah sorry i read ur comment sooooo late..but thaks for ur website..i have found many rabbits there..:)

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      pippi 7 years ago

      My rabbit keeps tiping over her water dish....what should I do......oh,tiffany, I am sooooo happy your rabbits had babies...yay....I bet they are cute....our dog just had 14 puppies....they look like abunch of little rabbits too...I hope for the best for your little bunnies!!:)

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      tiffany 7 years ago

      i have 5 adult new zealands...and 2 of them had babies!! ones name is pretty girl and she had 9 babies!!(they are soo cute!! the other ones name is angel and she had 7 of them!! they are also cute!!hehe haha

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      posey 7 years ago

      im gtting 4 ofthem to show in my local 4-h club fun does any one have ny advise or tips on showing this breed?

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      Evasive 7 years ago

      B, your rabbit is grumpy because she isn't spayed.

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      Lisa Ann 8 years ago

      I show and breed New Zealand Whites...they are beautiful and I treat them with respect. But when I cull my herd, they go in the freezer. It's quick and painless. I eat what I raise and I eat what I grow in the garden. The way food is produced today is just a bit too much for me to stomach, so self-sustained farming is the way I've chosen to live.

      If you want an idea of what I'm talking about, grab yourself a BigMac and fries and watch "Food, Inc." Let me know whether you finished your burger and fries...then reconsider your views about sustained farming.

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      pippi 8 years ago

      Hi! I was going through all the comments and stuff....and I saw Prasha's comment and first of all...sorry:(...secondly,I know your comment was awhile ago...but.. to get a rabbit either go on Petfinder.com if you want an indoor rabbit...or if you want an outdoor rabbit google it.

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      Pippi 8 years ago

      I was reading this other website a couple of weeks ago, and it said that it is a ba d thing to keep rabbits outside for many reasons, but during the winter we have heatlamps and staw to keep them warm, and frozen bottles of water in the summer, and we can't put them in the house because of dogs....is that true and what do I do?

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      maria 8 years ago

      u know i said i was gunna get 2 new zealands i gt them but they died a week later i was devastated they froze during the night a word of advice get a 1 floor hutch because they keep them more warm in the winterthan bigger hutches thank u


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      johnycakes 8 years ago

      i just love these rabbits in the fri'n pan or barbequed

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      8 years ago

      i have a new zealand white and she is so grumpy! when you feed her she basicly attacks you, when i bought her i done some research and there supose to be loveable rabbits but mine is so grumpy, she chases my dad around the garden. she bites everyone and everything shes only happy when i give her trimmed peas! she should be nice really as she gets treated lovely. shes always running round the garden and its massive so she has loads of space and has a lovely shed to live in as we thought it was cruel to keep her in a tiny rabbit cage, any advice?

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      CArmel  8 years ago

      I am interested in getting a pair of whites and would like very much to know if there is a breeder here in Oregon. I have had a pair before but they are gone now and I miss them very much.

      Thank you for any information I can get.

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      Pippi 8 years ago

      My rabbit has a runny nose. What should I do? Does this mean shes sick? ps.should I be worried?

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      Chelsea 8 years ago

      I got a New Zealand Black this past August. He’s now around 8 months old. I haven’t seen him in a couple months, as I’m in Italy, but my dad has been updating me on him. He’s the sweetest boy ever, and he gives me kisses when I ask for them. He also likes to hop up, and hit his feet together, or do little flip-type movements. I can’t wait to see how big he is when I get home in a couple weeks! But when I get home, my dad and I are buying a new cage for him, since he’s going to outgrow the one he’s in now. The one he’s living in currently was used for my dwarf rabbit that passed away when I was in Hawaii this past July. So, if anyone knows what size a cage I should get, or has any pictures, please e-mail me at purplepolarbear@live.ca

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      Prasha  8 years ago

      hi all! i love newzealand rabbits! i used to have one for 8 yearz then it died of old age..they are amazing pets and veryy smart! iam actually looking for a newzealand rabbit again but i just don't know where to look..can someone here tell me please? i tried craigslist but they did not have newzealand! if you have any info please pleaseee email me at prashamathur@yahoo.com thank u :)

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      Tarja 8 years ago

      Just wondering...Would you kill the rabbit to eat it?.. Would you cook it yourself?...what if you don't have fire, would you eat it?..when you see a rabbit do you think, "what a delicious rabbit, I would like to take a bite", or " oh, how cute rabbit? ..just wondering...

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      brianna 8 years ago

      hi i have 3 bunny i love this web sit

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      ass hoal 8 years ago

      hi you are stuiped i love bunny maet so fuck you by by sea you leter........................well did you think i was done not for now sea you .....................................bitc teal your mom she is a mouther is a mouther fucker???????????..............By by by by by by by by by by7 by by by by by by by by by by by by by b ygiwufDJKO

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      marie 8 years ago

      Hi my name is marie i have 10 bunnys i love bunnys. i have 1 newzealand bunny..... see you leter.

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      lola 8 years ago

      It´s really ironic, because rabbit is my favorite food...

      But my bunny is also just about the best pet I´ve ever had, new zealand white :D .. will that stop me from eating rabbit? no, will it stop me from loving my bunny and not eating him? no...

      however lab testing on animals is wrong, test on yourselves but not animals..

      as for farming them, we are humans we require it :/

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      logan 8 years ago

      I would ask a vet!!!

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      keith forward 8 years ago

      my doe has in the last couple days given birth to ten babies but as yet i have not seen her feed them is this normal they all seem well but i am worried they will starve because i do not want to interfere thanks urgent reply please

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      Logan 8 years ago

      I just got two New Zealand whites. I wanted to show them at the fair...but I don't know what to feed them. Anyways I realy like them.

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      ndill0228 8 years ago

      Thats what I read online. Im going to get a cat harness at first. and a light weight leash.

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      Raggits 8 years ago

      I don't have experience with that sort of training but can suggest a walking leash, that doesn't put a lot of pressure on the neck but distributes it over the shoulders so you don't break its neck or back. It's a harness actually. Works on cats.

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      Nici  8 years ago

      I just got three new zealand whites, 2 females and a male. and we are going to be breeding them. One of the females are 5 weeks old, and i wanted to start training her to walk on a leash. are there any tips that anyone knows on how to do that?

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      Q-Tips Mom 8 years ago

      i just got a new zeland white for my birthdaty. she is a month old nd i named her q-tip cuz she's all white but her feet,tail,ears and nose are grey. she's adorable and so friendly.

      great starter bunny!

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      teddy 9 years ago

      i like to eat them

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      Philip 9 years ago

      I also love NZW. I enjoyed this site very much with the pictures, captions, and espically the coments. I am a God fearing man and I love the Lord. In his book he tells me that all living things were put here for the benefit of Mankind. It tells me that if it benefits Mankind to eat the flesh of a rabbit then God bless them. Likewise if it benefit Mankind to love and befriend a rabbit then God blesses them also. Thank you, and God bless all Rabbit Lovers.

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      maria 9 years ago

      i am getting 2 new zealand rabbits in a day or two and i am so exited about it!!! They are so cute!!! Just thought that id share that with you.

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      Ashleigh 9 years ago

      Im adopting a NZW this wensday 1-21-09 from the San Mateo SPCA

      So i am reachering them. This page was helpful ^.^

      my friend told me to feed him pineappel once in a while, to help disolve the hair in his tummy. That true?

      anyways iv named my bunny "Iko Iko"

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      annie 9 years ago

      theese rabts r cool

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      lulu 9 years ago


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      jessica lee 9 years ago

      i have a doe new zealand white and her anme is cloe.she is sooo cute and already knows a trick!!!im sooo happy but i still don't no how much im sposed to be feeding her...any ides?

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      Matthew 9 years ago

      Hi does anyone know were to find a nz white breader in NewZealand??? Im wanting to get one but don't know anyone that breads rabbits. lolz, thanks.

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      Lauren :) 9 years ago

      I have a one year old New Zealand white and her name is Sparkle! I love her very much, and she is an excellent pet! Very friendly and playful! :)

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      rino 9 years ago

      They may make good pets but they taste even better!!

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      mady 9 years ago

      i just got a mini lop/new zealand white and he is 10 weaks old i whanted to know about how big he will get.and what to name him he is so cute.

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      keith kuhn 9 years ago

      Unfortuantely the author of this piece on New Zealand Whites is oblivious to the fact that many people,myself included, gain sustenance from these animals and have every right in the world to continue doing so. To list as "unfortunate" the fact that some are used for food is ridiculous. We need , as a society , to get away from wimpy and politically correct notions of how others are supposed to "feel" about animals. I do not believe in cruelty and cull my meat rabbits quickly and efficiently, and they make absolutely fabulous meals and this is indeed a very "local" food as it is produced in my backyard. I take umbrage at those who are so ignorant of sustainable farming and are such wimps they have to resort to talking about how "cute" animals are to get their point across. If this is all the intellectual weapons they have, God help them!

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      Jazz 9 years ago

      My grandad bought me and my sister a newzealand rabbit each on the 21/08/08 and he is going to get us a buck to breed. My sisters is called paige mine is called fluffy their both females.

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      Bunniez 9 years ago

      Salt and vinegar crisps and biscuits are not very good for your bunny. It may like them, but they can make it sick.

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      jordzy k 9 years ago

      iv got a new zealand and its called bruce, its growlls at people and like salt and vinigar french fry crisps, and buscuits.

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      felixrabbit 9 years ago

      Well, bunniez...It's so true about a New Zealand White.... My Felix is a New Zealand White, he's so friendly, intelligent, and seems to understand few things. Once he sees me packing my things to my bag (the routines before I go to campus) he'll hop to his cage and sit sweetly... and when he sees me coming home, he'll bite the wire-wall, asking me to get him out of his cage, and then dance around my feet happily. The surprising thing (maybe because he's a male) he always thumps at me, or growls, or nips my toes everytime he sees me talking to a man/boy... and the more silly thing, he likes to tease the neighbor's dog until the dog's crying in desperation (he'll approach the dog only if the dog's tied in a leash...if the dog in unleashed, Felix won't even dare to wander out of the house!).... Smart, isn't he?

      I just can't understand why many people say "I'm getting sick of seeing those red eyes" everytime they see a New Zealand White.... perhaps they should stay with me overnight and watch Felix...it would make them understand how precious this breed is.

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      Rebecca 9 years ago

      great name Abby! I'm also looking to get a new zealand white rabbit. I am still looking at different names as i love to name my pets and it take sme a long time to find the perfect name!

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      Abby  10 years ago

      I am going to get 1 rabbit. It is going to be a New Zealand. I am going to name it blossom. Do you think that is a good name?

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      Jessica  10 years ago

      I love to play volleyball too! And I have 2 dogs. My buck rabbit right now is named Tibble. I still don't know what to name the others. I was thinking either Rose, Bell, or Lily. What do you think?

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      Jessica 10 years ago

      Hey I love rabbits. I just started 4-H and I have 1 rabbit so far. I am going to get 5 more soon! Just thought I would share with you.