Who is being unreasonable - rabbit related thread (furry kind)

(18 Posts)
GothJuice Sun 10-Feb-13 15:48:42

Hi, please help me to settle a long running argument regarding our two indoor house bunnies.
Very brief history, two, 3 yr old rabbits living in separate pens, in my dining room and I am unable to let them anywhere near each other as the female bunny has 'form' in being fairly vicious with the male bunny. Therefore double the living space and double the time to care for them.
The rabbits have fallen out of favour with the rest of the family as both kids have become allergic to them and my DH didn't really want them in the first place, so it is mainly me who has to do all the care.
The problem is, although they are fed, watered, sheltered and have their health needs met- they do not get any exercise or human contact at all outside of being fed and cleaned out. They have individual pens which are 5x5 ft so although ok as a living space, they are not getting any exercise.

DH wants me to give the bunnies away to an animal rescue because he wants the dining room 'back' whereas I feel that although they aren't getting everything they need, they are possibly getting far more than they would in a rescue.

Am I BU? Would they be better off being re-homed?

Any opinions gratefully considered.

libertyflip Sun 10-Feb-13 15:51:33

Could you try and find one or both of them another home? Could they live outside in a run over the warmer months?

katiecubs Sun 10-Feb-13 15:52:41

Why can't you let them or keep them outside?

To be honest it does not sound like a nice life for them - I have kept many rabbits and they are extremely intelligent and love company.

If you can't give them what they need I would rehome them with someone who will.

mrsbunnylove Sun 10-Feb-13 15:53:55

is this a test?

yes, you should rehome through a rescue, ideally keeping your rabbits with you until a permanent home is found. you may need to vaccinate and neuter your rabbits if you haven't done so already. a rescue will arrange homechecks etc

rabbits don't need human contact but they do need to be with other rabbits. they need space to play, which many don't get.

your family don't like the rabbits and you don't have enough space in your life for them. that isn't a criticism. a reasonable person would rehome when a good home can be found.

GothJuice Sun 10-Feb-13 16:05:01

Thanks for your opinions, I do think they deserve a better life I just wasn't sure whether they would actually get one via re-homing.
The local rescue is just absolutely jammed with rabbits who never seem to 'move on'

Both rabbits are very good around humans, one is very sweet and lovely, the other is feisty and full of character.
The feisty one was a rescue rabbit who (unknown to me) can not be bonded with other rabbits, I got her in order to keep the male one company - but I can't even allow them to sniff each other through wire mesh without it 'kicking off'

By the time I realised the bonding wasn't going to happen, I felt mean taking her back to the rescue as she'd apparently already been returned 3 times before I took her.
During the bonding attempts, the girl caused some very nasty injuries (she locked on to the boys face) and I was advised not to try to bond them again ( by the vet)

I do have a very large garden but I worry about how they would cope outside in the weather - and even if they went out, they would still be single bunnies.

I actually am quite bonded to them but as you say- I'm not giving them what they need.

traineeTL Sun 10-Feb-13 16:06:57

Are they neutered?

The pens they are in are far too small for them to be in all the time and they NEED company, it's not fair to keep them on thier own they need a friend.

Advertise them on gumtree etc. Do not sell them. Look for someone who has had a pair and has lost one. You need to set them up on some dates.

quoteunquote Sun 10-Feb-13 16:07:02

contact your nearest one

they will be far happier if they are put in an appropriate social group.

or dinner

mrsbunnylove Sun 10-Feb-13 16:26:56

don't advertise them on gumtree!

riverboat Sun 10-Feb-13 16:32:22

I think both of the options you propose: either keeping them even though it's not ideal that they're not getting more human/other rabbit contact OR giving them to a rescue place, sound reasonable to me. They're only rabbits: they're not being treated cruelly at the moment and afaik are unlikely to be in a rescue centre either.

Twattybollocks Sun 10-Feb-13 17:39:52

Well frankly they are better off than most pet rabbits in this country, who live in tiny hutches at the bottom of the garden in solitary confinement. I wouldn't try to rehouse through a non rabbit specific rescue, there is a rabbit specialist forum who may be able to help you though. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/
You are right, they do need either human company or that of another rabbit.

tinygreendragon Sun 10-Feb-13 17:46:43

When I had rabbits I was told by my vet that a rabbit needs as much exercise as a small dog. So for the little space and exercise they are currently getting, I would rehome.

countrykitten Sun 10-Feb-13 17:48:38

DO NOT advertise them on gumtree! As you sound like a really caring rabbit owner I am sure that you would never do that anyway. Are both of your rabbits neutered? If so you could ask your rabbit rescue to take them both and bond them for you (it can be a lengthy process, some of mine have taken a couple of weeks) and then get them a really big outdoor hutch so that they can live together outside. If they are not both neutered then this could be why you are struggling to bond them.

There are so many buns in rescue that sending them there would not be ideal imo.

maninawomansworld Tue 12-Feb-13 09:41:45

It doesn't sound like a great life, locked in the dining room all the time. Rabbits need outdoor space to engage in natural behaviours, not to be locked in a pen indoors!
Try to rehome them in a responsible way. If you MUST dump them on a rehoming centre maybe give a little donation to help with their care while they are looking for a new home for them?
I'd probably ask around at the school or something if anyone is thinking of getting rabbits.

maninawomansworld Tue 12-Feb-13 09:43:41

quoteunquote - that rabbit stew recipie is brilliant, it's one of my regular meals in the winter!

Takes a bit longer to make than the recipie says and also if using wild rabbits rather than farmed ones you need to add about an hour to an hour and a half to the cooking time to get them nice and tender!

aldiwhore Tue 12-Feb-13 09:51:30

I think you need to rehome them unfortunately, especially as the children have allergies... living with a perma drip nose is miserable!

I wouldn't worry about them being outside, they have fur coats and actually are supposed to live outdoors... central heating is worse for a bunny than being outside. Even a house rabbit needs the outdoors.

Rehoming is the right thing to do.

countrykitten Tue 12-Feb-13 20:23:47

There are a few people on here commenting on what rabbits need and want without really knowing what they are talking about. Rabbits LOVE being houserabbits and I have had both outdoor and indoor rabbits for over 20 years. On average my houserabbits have lived until they are 10 or so, my outdoor rabbits not so long. My four houserabbits are litter trained and and have dog beds to stretch out in and they also have the run of the boot room plus their own cages to go in should they need to.

I no longer keep any of my rabbits outside and get very upset when I see single rabbits sitting in four foot hutches at the bottom of someone's garden for years on end - they are the most neglected and abused animals in the UK. It is very depressing.

poppypebble Tue 12-Feb-13 20:32:37

My rabbit lived to the ripe old age of 12. He lived in a hutch indoors but went outside everyday in a run and also had the run of the living room when I was at home. He was an only rabbit, but had 3 cats and a dog for company. He was the boss of them all and would spend hours curled up with one particular cat.

If you must rehome, keep them until a new home is found, don't burden a rescue centre because you can't be bothered to show them some affection. Why can't you get a run and pop them outside for a bit everyday?

I wish people would not get animals that they aren't committed to long-term.

GothJuice Wed 13-Feb-13 15:21:35

Hi , thanks for the responses.
Just to be clear, our family circumstances have changed over 3 years of having the bunnies. It hasn't always been like this.
We actually got the second bunny to provide company for the first one (bunny1 arrived almost a year before bunny2)

Prior to this, bunny1 had a lot of roaming time in the house and a lot of time with the family but after reading the rabbits forum we decided it would be better for him if he had rabbit company (who incidentally advised against house bunnies being moved outside during the day)
I think our problems began when bunny2 could not be bonded with bunny1, I think I made a big mistake in not returning her to the shelter immediately but I kept her because she'd already had such a difficult start, been rejected many times and despite her aggressive behaviour she did eventually settle down and is very much a 'people' bunny.

The bunny's do come out of the pens but they have to be supervised at all times as they approach each others pens and start trying to attack each other through the pens (despite chicken wire etc) - during attempts at bonding, bunny2 caused bunny1 some very serious injuries and I'm terrified of them going anywhere near each other.
Because of this, the bunny's can only come out in the evening after work and I have to supervise them (individually) all the time they are out of the pens (whilst cleaning them out)

In amongst all this, the dc have developed allergies and can no longer 'help' me with the bunnies so I'm left with a full time job, a child with SN and two bunnies and a brain injured cat! ( who would definitely attack the rabbits if he got the chance)

I'm a little confused by some of the advice here as I was told by the rescue and by the rabbit forums not to put them outside ( central heating turned off in their room) as they were house rabbits .

Both bunnies are vaccinated, neutered and litter trained.
My DH (despite disliking the bunnies) stayed behind at home, missing a family holiday to syringe feed bunny2 through out the day and night and give her injections when she developed GI stasis.

I do love the bunnies actually and I am quite attached to them but I'll be honest in saying that I can not currently able to give them the time and exercise they need, if they were a bonded pair, it would be so much easier because I could put them in a heated playhouse in the garden with a run - however I have been told that they can not be bonded.

I feel that my affection for the bunnies may have clouded my judgement on what was best for them and I consider myself to be 'overwhelmed' rather than 'uncommitted'

Thank you all for your advice and honesty, I will take whatever steps needed to ensure their lives become more enriched. I won't 'dump' them on a shelter or rescue as it wouldn't be fair on them (or on my bunnies), I definitely won't give them away on a website but I will look for a way forward.
I don't like seeing them cooped up all day, they are looking depressed and I feel terribly guilty about it all.

Can I just ask whether you think living separately outside (still with little human contact but with exercise) would be better than rehoming?

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