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To be worried about the school rabbits? WWYD?

(452 Posts)
lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:17:16

Dd's school acquired two very cute little rabbits recently. She has been very keen to sign up to take them home to look after for the weekend so today we collected them for the weekend.

I'm really shocked to see that they spend pretty much their entire lives in a tiny living space which does not allow them to move around or stretch out. My guinea pigs have a much bigger cage than they do. The rabbits cage allows them to only do one hop from length to length (if that)

We're animal lovers and I'm very worried about them. So much so that I'm willing to buy them a bigger hutch to donate to the school.

In my situation what would you do about this? We have never had rabbits but I do know they are intelligent, complex and are often rehomed due to a lack of understanding about their care needs. What would you do?

lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:18:56

I myself have a spare guinea cage which still probably isn't big enough for their needs but I've put them in there for the weekend and they can stretch out and do about 4 hops from end to end.

cardibach Sat 13-May-17 00:20:37

Do they have a run at school? Is the cage for weekends just small so it's easy to transport?

lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:22:24

The hutch is the same one that they live in all the time. They do have a run at school but they are not out in it very much at all.

user1491572121 Sat 13-May-17 00:24:17

Are you sure? Weren't you worried about them when you saw them in the cage at school?

user1491572121 Sat 13-May-17 00:24:37

Or are you thinking it's their only home because your child has said so.

Essexgirlupnorth Sat 13-May-17 00:24:44

The RSPCA won't rehome rabbits to you unless you have a 6ft hutch and a 6ft run so I would buy them a new hutch. Poor bunnies

lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:26:59

Yes, I've seen them for the first time today.

I was wondering whether they could keep the smaller hutch for when they need to be moved. I'm not sure how they would respond to us offering to donate a bigger hutch for most of the time they are at school?

CornflakeHomunculus Sat 13-May-17 00:28:00

Could you direct the school towards the Rabbit Welfar Association, particularly their 'A Hutch is Not Enough' campaign?

They do a really good rabbit care booklet which you can either buy here or print out from the PDF link on the same page.

lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:29:14

Thank you cornflake.

NorthumbrianGirl Sat 13-May-17 00:29:33

I think offering to donate a larger hutch is a lovely thing to do. Space for 1 hop is far too little.

Floralnomad Sat 13-May-17 00:33:48

I thought the days of schools having rabbits / Guinea pigs were long gone , poor little things . I'd definitely speak to the school about their living conditions because even being in a bigger hutch is unsatisfactory and what happens at weekends , presumably they just stay in the hutch because the parents aren't going to be properly equipped with a safe run etc .

lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:46:13

Yes I wasn't asked questions to see whether we are in a position to take care of them adequately. They are such lovely rabbits and I feel sad for them. They are going home with different families each weekend and in the school holidays.

lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:48:49

This is the living space they have from above.

lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:52:24


lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 00:53:31

Oops sorry. So as you can see they don't have much space. I've not heard of schools having animals much these days.

MeadowDream Sat 13-May-17 00:55:05

They need a lot more space than they currently have sad
They are lucky bunnies to have found someone kind like you to take notice

MeadowDream Sat 13-May-17 00:57:04

link for that picture here

MsMims Sat 13-May-17 01:10:55

That hutch is atrocious. Also rabbits don't do well being moved around from one place to another, the stress of doing that every weekend could easily make them very sick. They are an exotic pet and not for the faint hearted - I bet most parents responsible for them at weekends would be clueless about what they should be fed and how serious it is if they become sick/ go off their food, (unless they have rabbits of their own and take a keen interest in their welfare.)

Well done for helping them out OP. I agree with PP, they are very lucky to have you looking out for them! The RWAF is a great source of info and will provide advice free of charge if the school calls/ emails them.

Do you know if they've been neutered and vaccinated?

Bunbunbunny Sat 13-May-17 01:14:31

Rabbits are not pets for children, feel for them being passed around every weekend to a different location. sad They're easily scared and quite sensitive creatures, it will be really unsettling for them. The hutch is far too small for them, it is cruel to keep them in such a small place. I have a house rabbit and he has the full run of our place quite lucky he's well behaved so doesn't chew everything! Our bunny was a rescue rabbit and he was in a similar hutch with his partner, they couldn't groom properly and had a horrible skin condition because of it.

Hutches were designed for rabbits that are bred for meat not for them to live in. It's a shame the school didn't look into it properly before buying the rabbits, if the school needs a recommendation they should look at manor pet housing love this company, not cheap but worth every penny! I'm going to buy a pen when we move much better than a hutch.

Just looking at the photo they don't have enough hay for them, they need to eat their own body size every day. Can't really tell but their poo looks on the small size as well. Have they got any toys? The more I look at them in that the hutch the sadder I feel. Toys can be simple things like toilet rolls stuffed with paper & treats, foraging boxes with herbs etc hidden. This site sell great rabbit toys my bunny loves the binky balls

Was you given advice on food for the rabbits?

e1y1 Sat 13-May-17 01:14:38

WTAF - that isn't enough space for one rabbit.

Please give info to the school from RWAF, the "a hutch is not enough" video is on YouTube I think, (only ever watched it once, was too upsetting). Will be on the website that cornflake linked.

I have 2 house bunnies, and the behaviours and personalities, melt my heart. To lock them up - couldn't comprehend it.

e1y1 Sat 13-May-17 01:15:09


lottieandmia Sat 13-May-17 01:25:00

I was only given dry food and told to give them that twice a day and some awful hay. As I say I've put them into a big rabbit cage that I have which probably still isn't ideal but is much better than what they currently have. I did wonder about toys - I'll get some for them. I've also been giving them lots of our own hay which is Alfalfa king Timothy hay and they've been eating that.

MidniteScribbler Sat 13-May-17 01:39:58

I definitely think you need to talk to the school. That is not fair on the rabbits at all. If their only going home on the weekends with a student,

I have two class rabbits, but they only go in three days per week (M, W, F) and they go home with me every night, weekend and holidays. There is no way that I would ever either expect, nor trust, parents to care for them. The days when they are at school they travel in a smaller cage to get too and from, and then are either in a hutch in the classroom, in a pen just outside the door of the classroom where they get to stretch their legs, or get free range of the classroom at various points during the day. When they are at home they have a large outdoor pen and hutch that they can run around in. I only allow them in to school three days a week (one day on, one day off) as I think it is enough for them, the rest of the time they need to relax and play in their pen.

As a parent, I wouldn't take home a class pet either (and we're a complete animal house here). Too much responsibility. What if something goes wrong? Does the school have an arrangement with a local vet if the animal gets sick on the weekends? Not all parents would have the money, or the inclination to pay for vet treatment. What if someone has a dog or cat and it attacks? Who is responsible. No way! If the teacher wants a classroom pet (and I think they can have a fantastic role in the classroom if managed correctly) then the teacher needs to be the one to take on the full responsibility for the care and maintain welfare standards.

Guepe Sat 13-May-17 01:41:48

Sounds incredibly thoughtless on behalf of the school. What age group(s) are the children who take the rabbits home?

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