Rabbits – ear mites

One of my rabbits got ear mites.  When she first arrived and I checked her over it looked like there was dirt in one of her ears – so I looked it up and discovered she probably had ear mites so I put oil in her ears for a week and thought no more about it.  Then, last week, I noticed one of her ears looked black and, sure enough, her ear was all scabby and the ear mites were back with a vengeance.

So I’m treating both ears with oil every day – any oil is fine but I find sunflower oil flows better than olive oil and I use a medicine tube to administer it.  It’s quite easy and I massage the base of her ears afterwards which she seems to enjoy.

The rabbit ear mite, Psoroptes Cuniculi, is a parasite and has 4 different life stages – egg, larva, protonymph and adult mite with eggs hatching after 4 days.  The oil stops the mites being able to move, mate and lay eggs and eventually they die, but you need to persevere as the cycle can take as long as a month.

There’s no need to bathe the ears as the scabs will just fall off once the mites are destroyed and the ears usually heal quickly.


It’s really easy to administer the oil with a medicine tube as you can do it one-handed and hold the rabbit still with the other hand.

I shall be treating all my rabbits weekly with oil until I’m sure we’ve got rid of the ear mites altogether and then it’s probably as well to treat them once a month – and that way I can keep a check on them.  My rabbits are kept in cages so there’s less chance of ear mites spreading but it’s still a good idea to move rabbits occasionally and thoroughly clean their living quarters with disinfectant.

_DSC0110rabbit 4 weeks oldSM

New Zealand White Rabbits

New Zealand White Rabbits

_DSC0113baby rabbitsSM

Rabbits form an integral part of my recycling programme as they like the plants my hens and ducks do not like so I can recycle nearly all the weeds in my vegetable garden and the peelings (eg apple) and trimmings (eg spring onion tops). Also any surplus vegetables provide food – my hens love courgettes – and marrows if I’ve missed one! And the ducks and hens love slugs and snails – and caterpillars and other insects that damage my plants.

Every day I get real pleasure from digging up some choice titbits for the hens, ducks and rabbits and watching them enjoy them along with their regular food.

Food plants that rabbits like: * feed in moderation
*Apple – whole fruit, peelings,
Twigs and leaves of most fruit trees including hawthorn
Borage – young leaves and flowers
*Brassicas – broccoli, sprouts, cabbage,cauliflower, kale – feed sparingly to avoid urinary problems
Carrot tops and thinnings (contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not keen on carrot roots but they do love carrot tops)
Chickweed (although I find hens prefer this – particularly chicks – hence the name!)
Clover (they love Clover)
Jerusalem Artichoke
Kohl Rabi
Marsh mallow
*Parsnip tops
*Parsley (useful tonic)
Plantain – young leaves only – avoid roots and seeds
Raspberry – young leaves – good for pregnant does (as we humans have raspberry tea when birth is imminent!)
Salad burnet
Sage – young leaves useful for digestive upsets – in moderation
Shepherd’s purse – also useful for digestive upsets – ad lib
*Spring onion and onion – green tops
Sow thistle (not common or creeping thistle)
*Spinach thinnings or young leaves
*Strawberry – young leaves


Nasturtiums in October

Nasturtiums in October – until the first frosts – then “… they’re gone willy-nilly, umbrellas and all”_DSC0021  The rabbits love nasturtiums and it’s a real treat for them to still be eating them so late in the year.  I give them just a few leaves a day – too much can cause tummy upsets – and they love the growing tips best – they must be the most tender leaves and shoots.