Rabbits make wonderful pets. They are smart and social animals that enjoy being held and cuddled, although this can vary by the individual rabbit.
The Jersey Wooly, in particular, is a breed of small rabbit that is easy to care for. They are very gentle, are rarely aggressive, and are good around children who know how to handle them properly.
Proper feeding and socializing and keeping an eye out for any signs of illness or injury will help owners create a safe environments for them in their homes. The following article is intended to answer some questions people frequently have about this adorable rabbit breed.
Are Jersey Wooly Rabbits Good Pets?
The Jersey Wooly was developed by New Jersey breeder Bonnie Seeley. Seeley was looking to develop a smaller breed of rabbit with a wool coat that would require less grooming than other domestic rabbit breeds.
To get the desired result, Seeley crossed a Netherland Dwarf with a French Angora. Seeley presented the result, the Jersey Wooly, at the American Rabbit Breeders Association convention held in Orlando, Florida and it was officially recognized as a distinct breed in 1988.
The Jersey Wooly makes for a great pet. Not only does their wool coat require much less grooming than other rabbit breeds, they are also especially gentle creatures.
The Jersey Wooly has even earned itself the nickname the “no-kick bunny” as they are less aggressive than other breeds and do not bite or kick as frequently, if at all. This makes them great as starter pets for young children, companion animals for seniors, and for first-time rabbit owners.
While rabbits are less trainable than domestic pets such as dogs and cats, they can be potty trained. It may take them more time than cats and dogs to learn to relieve themselves in a designated area or in a litter box.
Some rabbit owners have found it useful to place multiple litter boxes throughout the home so their rabbits don’t need to travel as far depending on where they’ve roamed. Patience is also required.
Jersey Woolies enjoy playing with rabbit-safe toys and like to be held and stroked. They are social creatures who enjoy spending time with their humans.
How Long Do Jersey Wooly Rabbits Live?
A Jersey Wooly rabbit has a lifespan of between seven and ten years, sometimes longer. Neutering and spaying rabbits prolongs their life as does proper care and exercise. Like cats, rabbits like to stay clean and will lick their fur to do so. As a result, their wooly fur can build up in the stomach.
Unlike cats, rabbits do not have the ability to vomit up these hair balls and this can cause serious digestive issues for them. While Jersey Woolies require less grooming than other breeds, regular brushing can help prevent this. If a Jersey is showing signs of wool blockage, which include loss of appetite and constipation, they will need to see the vet right away.
Having your rabbit de-wormed twice a year will also help keep it healthy and will increase its lifespan. Pairing Jersey Wooly rabbits together will not only make them happier animals, it may even add a few years to their lives. Three rabbits together? Even better.
It’s important to monitor your pet rabbit for signs of illness. A loss of fur, constipation or loose stools, runny eyes, nose, and mouth (drooling) are signs that your rabbit may be ill. Dark red urine also indicates a health issue that will need to be addressed by a veterinarian. Taking your pet rabbit in for regular vet visits will keep it happy and healthy for many years.
How Much Does a Jersey Wooly Cost?
The price of a Jersey Wooly rabbit can vary by area of the country as well as supply and demand. The age of the rabbit also factors into the price. A young Jersey Wooly might go from anywhere between $75 and $150 on the west coast but may be as high as $250 on the east coast with prices varying in the states in between.
A pet shop may sell Jersey Woolies at a higher price while some breeders may price them lower in order to get them placed in homes quickly. A responsible breeder may also choose to price their rabbits higher to make sure the owner is serious about caring for the rabbit.
Many people buy rabbits as surprise presents, especially around Easter, but their new owners are not equipped or knowledgeable enough to handle them. A higher priced rabbit will discourage a lot of these impulsive pet purchases.
How Big Does a Jersey Wooly Rabbit Get?
The Jersey Wooly is a compact breed of rabbit that was created by crossing a dwarf rabbit (Netherland Dwarf) with a French Angora. An adult Jersey Wooly rabbit weights between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds. Their ears are smaller than other breeds and stand erect at about 2.5 inches tall.
The Jersey Wooly has a compact body with a bold almost squarish head. The unique shape of their heads even inspired the Jersey Wooly’s nickname of “mughead”.
Jersey Wooly Color
The ARBA recognizes six distinct color groups for the Jersey Wooly. Each color group includes several subgroups within them.
The Agouti group includes the colors chestnut, chinchilla, opal and what are referred to as squirrel colors.
The Broken group includes any recognized color variety combined with white.
The Self group includes black, blue, lilac, chocolate, BEW (blue-eyed-white) and REW (red-eyed-white).
The Shaded group includes the colors tortoise shell, blue tortoise shell, seal, sable point, Siamese sable, and smoke pearl.
The Tan Pattern group includes black otter, blue otter, smoke pearl marten, sable marten, black silver marten, blue silver marten, chocolate silver marten, lilac silver marten.
The sixth group is known collectively as the AOV group which stands for “any other variety” and includes the pointed white black and pointed white blue varieties.
This information on distinct color categories generally does not concern the average rabbit owner but may be important for those who present their rabbits at shows.
What Do Jersey Wooly Rabbits Eat?
The diet of the Jersey Wooly is the same as other rabbit breeds. They need a continuous supply of fresh hay with timothy hay being the preferred variety. Hay helps rabbits with their digestion and also helps keep their teeth in check as a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing.
There are several different types of rabbit pellets available for your pet. A veterinarian can advise you on the right one for your rabbit. Some pellets are high in protein and some have a higher fiber content. Rabbits prefer fresh pellets and may not eat ones that are stale.
It’s important to keep an eye on your Jersey Wooly’s weight. Just as with humans, overeating can lead to health problems. If you have a chubby rabbit on your hands, you should cut back on high fiber pellets.
While rabbit pellets are a good staple, your rabbit will also enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables including leafy greens. Iceberg lettuce doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrients, but other types of lettuce as well as kale, bok choy, collard greens, carrot tops, and dandelion greens are perfect foods for them.
Many rabbit owners love spoiling their rabbits with treats. This is fine as long as the treats aren’t commercially processed and filled with additives and preservatives. A tasty treat that rabbits love are pieces of fruit with the seeds removed. Apple slices, pineapples chunks, and strawberries will be greatly appreciated by your Jersey Wooly.
Rabbits must have access to water at all times. They will drink from a small water bowl while they are allowed to roam free range and a hanging water bottle in their cage works great while they are confined. Rabbits also need to chew to keep their always-growing teeth from getting too long, so rabbit-safe chew toys should be accessible whenever they may need them.
Do Jersey Wooly Rabbits Shed?
All rabbits shed but the questions of when and how much depends on the breed and the age of the rabbit. A young rabbit requires more grooming than an adult Wooly as they still have their bunny fur which is finer than the adult fur that will replace it.
After about four month, bunnies will shed this first coat of hair. After they have their adult coat they will continue to shed about two times per year.
Do Jersey Wooly Bite?
It is rare that a Jersey Wooly will bite its owner. They are very docile, but it can happen. Usually, it is the male rabbit that may lunge toward its owner and try to bite them. When rabbits are about four to five months old they can also become somewhat aggressive. This is attributed to the hormonal changes they are experiencing, similar to human teenagers.
These acts of aggression are mostly for show and seldom result in injury. Grunting, lunging, and biting are the rabbit’s way of saying “back off” or “leave me alone”.
Don’t worry if your rabbit occasionally act out in an aggressive manner. It is usually temporary and he or she is simply trying to communicate that something is wrong. This behavior should be corrected before it becomes a problem.
Do Jersey Wooly Like to Cuddle?
The Jersey Wooly is a gentle breed of domestic rabbit and they do enjoy cuddling, being petted, and held. How much they enjoy it will vary by individual rabbit, however. Every rabbit has its own unique personality, but an even-tempered Jersey Wooly enjoys spending time with it’s human handlers as well as other pets, especially other rabbits.
Do Jersey Wooly like to be Held?
Jersey Woolies enjoy being held and petted. They are very gentle rabbits by nature and like being around people. They got their nickname, the “no-kick bunny” due to their easy-going nature. While they do enjoy human contact, they also love the company of other rabbits and will form long-lasting bonds with them.
Occasionally, your rabbit may not wish to be held and it may let you know with a grunt. It’s best to recognize this and give them some space. If your rabbit continues to be unsociable or acts aggressively it may be a sign of a physical ailment.
Do Jersey Wooly Need Haircuts?
Jersey Woolies don’t need to have their fur clipped or trimmed but they do need to be brushed, especially while they still have their first coat of bunny fur. As Jersey rabbits shed their coats, usually two times per year, they will need help removing some of that extra fur. Much of it can be pulled out by hand or brushed off of their bodies.
Rabbits do groom themselves, like cats, but they cannot regurgitate hairballs so they need help with their grooming to prevent blockages in their digestive systems. Once the rabbit experiences this type of fur blockage they need to be taken into the vet for medical treatment.
Are Jersey Wooly Smart?
Jersey Woolies are considered to be a smart breed, but they are not trainable in the same way as cats and dogs. They can be taught to go potty in a specific corner or in a litter box as long as they don’t have to travel too far to get there. Jersey Wooly owners enjoy these rabbits more for their sweet and gentle nature than for their intelligence.
Do Jersey Wooly Need a Companion?
Jersey Woolies are much happier and healthier with a companion. Pairing your rabbit with another Wooly is ideal, but Woolies also get on quite well with dogs and cats. That said, dogs with high prey drives, like those bred to be hunters, will probably not get along with your small rabbit.
If a Wooly is the only animal in the home, it needs extra attention. They are highly social animals and require play, exercise, and attention to thrive.
When Can a Jersey Wooly Get Pregnant?
A Jersey Wooly that is in contact with male rabbits can get pregnant as early as 12 weeks old. The gestation period is between 28 and 31 days. After the third week of pregnancy a nest box should be prepared for the arrival of the litter. The box should be lined with fresh straw with a layer of wood shavings placed underneath.
The pregnant doe should be given access to the nest box on the 27th day of the gestation period and the owner should monitor the nest for kits making sure to remove any that are stillborn.
How Many Babies Do Jersey Wooly Have in a Litter?
Smaller rabbit breeds like the Jersey Wooly typically have litters of between three and six kits. Jersey Woolies are bred from the Netherland Dwarf which makes it susceptible to inheriting the double dwarf gene. If inherited by a kit, referred to as a peanut in this case, it is always fatal.
Are Jersey Wooly Social?
Jersey Wooly rabbits are very social animals. They enjoy the company of humans and other rabbits. Rabbits that are kept in pairs are happier than those who are isolated. They also get along with most other household pets, but cats and dog breeds that have a high prey drive can pose a threat to rabbits.
Jersey Woolies like and need space to roam free and explore their surroundings as long as it is indoors. If you do take your rabbit outside for exercise be sure it is closely supervised at all times. There are many predators that pose a risk to these small rabbits, such as foxes, coyotes, owls, and hawks. There may also be poisonous vegetation in your yard that could be harmful if ingested by your rabbit.
How Do You Groom a Jersey Wooly?
Jersey Woolies were bred to be an easily cared for pet rabbit, but this doesn’t mean they never need to be groomed. Bunnies who have yet to shed their first coat of fur require more grooming than adults, but even adults need regular brushing.
When a Jersey Wooly sheds, much of the loose fur can be pulled gently out by hand causing no pain or discomfort to the animal. A slicker brush is also helpful in removing this loose fur and from removing fur that has become matted.
It is important to keep rabbit hutches clean from droppings. This will also help keep their coats clean. Urine stains, also called hutch stains, are removed with mixtures of common household ingredients such as baking soda and water or lemon juice and water.
As a part of the grooming process you should also check your Wooly’s eyes, ears, and rear end for any redness or other signs of irritation. Rabbits also require regular clipping to prevent nails from getting too long. Your rabbit also needs plenty of safe things to chew on to prevent their teeth from growing too long.
Unlike many other mammals, a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing, which may result in what is called malocclusion or overgrown teeth. When this occurs the rabbit will stop eating and can starve to death unless the problem is corrected.