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To adopt a rabbit when short of money?

(162 Posts)
chocolateroses Thu 21-Feb-19 23:26:41

So we are a stable household, married with two steady incomes. 2 young DC who don't go without and a nice house. We are always careful with money but make sure we have enough to cover all costs each month. After the mortgage and food shops can't afford many luxuries - no holidays for us etc.

My eldest DC (who is 5) is desperate to get a rabbit.

I am looking at re homing two rabbits from the RSPCA, but I'm worried about the cost. I assume I would need to pay for:

- hutch and run (these look expensive!)
- some kind of indoor cage?
-hay and food
- some kind of monthly vet insurance

- costs to buy the rabbit?

Do the RSPCA charge you? I would love to donate, but after buying the essentials above we'd be skint luxury wise for a couple of months.

I can't imagine rabbits are that expensive to keep? Unless I'm missing something?

I can't help but feel that us adopting a rabbit (who would be deeply loved and cared for) but being a bit skint to start and unable to make a reasonable donation would still be a bette option than a rabbit staying in the RSPCA?

FlibbertyGiblets Thu 21-Feb-19 23:31:27

Tbh rabbits are crap pets. They don't like petting and can bite and scratch dreadfully.

A no from me.

RangerLady Thu 21-Feb-19 23:36:07

I have 2 rspca adopted bunnies, they are now 9 and 8. Got them pre DC. Rabbits are.much misunderstood pets. They are harder to look after than people realise. Yes the rspca will charge you but I can't remember what. Hutches and good runs will be quite expensive, DH made ours. Lots of people use little sheds with a run attached. Rabbits need a lot of space. Hay to eat and some pellets,.Not the mix food it's unhealthy for them.

Vaccinations for mixy and viral hemoragic disease for 2 is about £80 a year. I donr insure.mine as rhey are.old and i wouldnt put them through medical.procedures.

You need 2 as they are social animals.

Rabbits are prey creatures and don't like being handled. They're lovely to watch and my girls will hop up and nudge me but I can't say they're good pets for children. I'd recommend guinea pigs.

chocolateroses Thu 21-Feb-19 23:36:48

@FlibbertyGiblets grin thanks! I don't actually want a rabbit, but my 5 year old asks about it every minute of everyday. Her silence is what I'd be getting!

Brownpigeon Thu 21-Feb-19 23:37:30

Even with insurance, mine ended costing me a fair bit at the vets.

Mine were great. Litter trained and spoilt with space (the whole garden).

My hutch (which was minimum size requirements, but as they had garden during day, I didn't mind) was £200.

Mine were on excel food. Hay was about £4 for a medium bag.

Bambamber Thu 21-Feb-19 23:39:40

Why does your child want a rabbit? As above, they're really not cute and cuddly animals. I would highly recommend doing lots of research before getting one

I most certainly wouldn't buy a pet if I couldn't really afford the cost of one in the first place.

Brownpigeon Thu 21-Feb-19 23:39:47

And out of all the pets I've had (hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, cats, gerbils), rabbits were probably the hardest to look after.

RomanticFatigue Thu 21-Feb-19 23:39:57

Chocolate, I used to volunteer at an animal rescue and we were always getting rabbits bought in because the kids had got bored of them. You will be looking after them for the next 10 years (if you are lucky, or look after them well - mine lived to 13 and 14). Will your 5 year old still be interested in them when he is a teenager? Are YOU prepared to clean them and take care of them?

McFrostyNuts Thu 21-Feb-19 23:40:00

Another vote for guinea pigs. Much better first pet to have.

chocolateroses Thu 21-Feb-19 23:41:09

Thanks all. I will ask hubby in the morning, if he can find some ££ for a hutch then maybe...

Brownpigeon Thu 21-Feb-19 23:41:16

My 7 year old is desperate for a dog. She's told no. I wouldn't be too persuaded by a 5 year old, they're bloody hard work!
(Rabbits, not 5 year olds! Well....)

mirime Thu 21-Feb-19 23:42:56

Rabbits aren't great pets for small children.

I had a rabbit in my teens and she was lovely, very affectionate, I loved her a lot. However, if you've ever seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail she was also a bit like The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. Twenty years later if I mention her, my DM will still bring up the time she darted out from under the sofa and bit her, and one time she leapt at me, bit, and was hanging off my hand. She terrorised the cats as well.

Lots of snuffily kisses and cuddles though.

BrendaUrie Thu 21-Feb-19 23:45:03

I know a lot of people will boak at the suggestion but rats make amazing pets. They are very loving and cuddly. Love to be handled and will just sleep in the hood of a dressing gown or pocket for hours.

They really are wonderful. They can even learn tricks and know their name.

RomanticFatigue Thu 21-Feb-19 23:45:28

And yes, to answer your questions, the RSPCA will expect a donation - they have to feed them while they are in their care and need to recoup their costs somehow. Neutering/spaying, although the rescue will probably have covered that too. Annual booster jabs. Insurance for 2 rabbits at around £15 a month each - because you won't just get one and have him being lonely, right? Get a pair, they are sociable creatures. They're not cuddly toys, they are prey creatures who don't like to be grabbed and cuddled, it goes against every instinct and they can bite and scratch as said before. They don't always but they can. And they can also be destructive - diggers indoors and outdoors! I loved my 2 but I wouldn't have rabbits again.

Maryann1975 Thu 21-Feb-19 23:45:30

I wouldn’t be getting a rabbit (or any pet) unless you actually want one. Your dc will get bored very quickly and the care of the rabbit will be left to you. I know of so many rabbits over the years who have been largely ignored because children don’t want anything to do with them after the initial excitement and parents don’t have time for something they didn’t really want in the first place.
Can you borrow rabbits for a couple of weeks while their owners are on holiday day - get it out of their system without having any long term commitment to them. This has worked with the guinea pig argument that my dc kept trying to have with me.

chocolateroses Thu 21-Feb-19 23:47:00

@RomanticFatigue we would be responsible. I can imagine the 5 year olds 'attempts' at cleaning the hutch. We've been putting the rabbit off for about a year now but she's heart set on a bunny (well I've found 2 lovely child suitable ones on the local rspca site).

I'm hoping she won't just loose interest, aware she might. But feel she should have a chance. We're aware we will be looking after it ourselves for the long haul though.

I might ring the rspca and see what they think tomorrow.

Wolfiefan Thu 21-Feb-19 23:47:58

If you don’t want a rabbit (or any other pet) don’t get one. Your 5 year old won’t do all the care. That will fall on you.
Rabbits aren’t often keen on being handled and most hutches and runs are stupidly small.
And if money is seriously short? A hamster cost us nearly £100 in vet fees about 30 years ago. They’re not cheap.

Wolfiefan Thu 21-Feb-19 23:48:28

Say no. It’s not hard. confused

SnagAndChips Thu 21-Feb-19 23:48:40

I have 2 rescue rabbit and agree with everyone else- they are not great pets for little kids as they hate being picked up. Our rescues are great but have run of the garden all day and are locked in a large run at night. They poo and wee a LOT, you have to clean them often, they eat everything in sight.
They can live to 12 years.
A cat is a lot better suited to a 5 year old.
(but I love watching my buns and they like to lick my feet)

CountingFireflies Thu 21-Feb-19 23:49:55

Agree completely with @BrendaUrie ! Rats are brilliant pets. Sociable, clever, trainable. I had a rat as a teenager and he'd quite happily cuddle the crook of my neck while I did my GCSE revision. They love being handled too, and if you put the time and effort in you can teach them tricks.

chocolateroses Thu 21-Feb-19 23:52:38

Hmmmm starting to think I just can't be arsed with a rabbit!!!!!

Thanks for the input guys.

I think if we got any other pet - rat or cat etc she would still pine for a rabbit and not be happy. She's obsessed. Her birthday party was rabbit themed, with a rabbit cake and invites. Her room is rabbit themed. She's had bunny soft toys that walk along and hop, but she's still desperate.

I'd love to get one for her but.... I really don't think I want one

buzzzzzzz Thu 21-Feb-19 23:54:25

I have 4 of the things living as a group with a 10 foot long by 5 foot wide house and 10foot square run, they get let out daily when I can keep an eye on them. Built it ourselves but it still cost close to £800 to set up with a second hand shed.

Love them but they are a pain in the arse to keep well. Need lots of cleaning, daily grooming for the long haired one, checking for fly strike daily or twice a day in summer, nails clipped every 6 weeks, fresh food, hay and pellets, daily spot cleaning, weekly full cleans. All of this and not one of them likes being held so you have to try catch them, do it all quickly and make sure they forgive you afterwards.

They are hilarious to watch especially when they are happy - binkies could never fail to make a person smile and they love a good head rub on their own terms. Interacting with them is always sat on the floor and on their terms, no holding allowed.

They can get some quite serious health problems, and ensuring they keep eating is essential, if they stop for any reason it becomes a major emergency requiring vet visits, syringe feeding and big vets bills. Fear, pain, illness, or stress can stop them eating and that develops into gut stasis.

If you got them from the RSPCA they would have had their vaccinations for the year and been neutered. So I would imagine the charge is more than you would pay in a pet shop but for very good reason and would save you money overall.

I enjoy keeping them but imagine a five year old would get bored quickly.

We but hay in square bales from the farm at around £5 a go and that lasts a month, pellets are £10 a bag but last a long time - you only feed a small amount of those, about an egg cup full per rabbit a day, then there is fresh herbs, veg and wild flowers which we grow ourselves for them.

We cut nails ourselves but if you need the vet nurse to do it they charge about £15 a go. Vaccinations we pay about £30 a year each I think, get a small discount for taking them all in at once.

Neutering was expensive. Insurance is £10 a month each at the minute but that doesn’t have high cover and I really would prefer a better if more expensive policy.

Other costs are mainly toys and entertainment - if you don’t give them enough to do they chew the house and run out of boredom, or start misbehaving in other ways.

Tillygetsit Thu 21-Feb-19 23:54:41

Guinea pigs are so much friendlier and "chirp" at you! My sister runs a rabbit rescue and we look after them if she's away. Some can be positively evil.

Chelseajunior Thu 21-Feb-19 23:56:16

Look on gumtree or local Facebook for sale groups, you will get a hutch etc much cheaper than in the shops. As long as you have pet insurance (a few pounds each month) and can afford the food for them, give cuddles and play time then you are doing a good job giving an animal a loving home 🏡

mirime Fri 22-Feb-19 00:00:06

I'd love a rat, but I also fancy a couple of degu. When DS is older though, and when we don't have cats - the latter might never happen.

We had a couple of hamsters when I was young as well, found them to be lovely, they had a lot more character than I think people assume. Made them a large cage linked by a tunnel to the stupidly small one pet shops always sell. Our daft ginger fluff ball of a cat used to sleep on top and have his tail pulled through and used as part of the hamsters bed. One of them started to wash her face every morning when I was putting my moisturiser on, which was very cute.

Whatsnewpussyhat Fri 22-Feb-19 00:01:12

Your child is 5. Say no. You don't even want bloody rabbit and it's you who will be looking after it not her.
The cute fantasy you have in your head is far from the reality of constant care they will need.

Wolfiefan Fri 22-Feb-19 00:01:33

At that age my dd wanted to be a kitten. hmm
Keep it to the books and the cuddly toys etc if you don’t want one. It is unlikely to live up to the cute and cuddly 5 year olds dream and you could be looking after it until your child is a teen. shock

Lovingbenidorm Fri 22-Feb-19 00:03:28

I once had a lop eared dwarf.
Unbelievably cute to look at but I’m not joking when I say that rabbit was a hairy bag of razor blades..
I used to put her in a run in the garden and needed oven gloves to pick her up to put her back in her hutch.
Your 5yo is too young to be responsible for a pet
Is likely to lose interest quickly
Then it’s you up to your eyeballs in rabbit shit
Don’t do it!

FedericaFusilli Fri 22-Feb-19 00:13:49

Don't do it if you don't have money to spare!
They are wonderful animals, it is a joy to see them running and binkying around, and just being, and I would rather have rabbits than any other pet (so I really understand where your daughter is coming from) but they can be expensive if they get ill. Mine got ill when they were new, before the insurance kicked in. And the housing adds up - eg if they jump out of an indoor pen and you need to get a higher one. I spent over £1500 in the first year, a lot of which was on vet bills, but also on housing and equipment.

Even if, as for most people, the insurance will cover vet bills, you usually have to pay out first and then reclaim it, so you need to be able to afford that. Emergency vet bills are especially extortionate. And of course it's not 100% guaranteed the insurer will pay out.

As a prey animal, rabbits tend to hide pain as long as they can, so they are often more ill than other animals before you become aware of it.

Perhaps when your daughter is a bit older, if she is still interested, she could volunteer for a rabbit rescue and even get into fostering some.

PenguinPandas Fri 22-Feb-19 00:14:12

We've just got two (and have a cat) - one was £25, the other £45 - they are adorable - got a mini Lion lop and a lavender mini lop. Both ours will be cuddled. We keeps our indoors and are similar to a cat, you can litter train them. My kids are older 12 and 13. Out in gardens a lot get killed by foxes which wouldn't be great to explain to a child. Children often want one pet for a month then another so I wouldn't worry about getting an easier pet.

You do need to get them neutered, vaccinated etc so few vets fees. Food isn't much. They don't always bond. Our male is very keen to bond with our female but she's not so had to separate.

Maybe start with an easier pet though our rabbits are adorable but will be you doing the work. Have seen a fair few for sale as kids lost interest so you need to want it for you.

FurrySlipperBoots Fri 22-Feb-19 00:15:53

If you're on the fence (and it sounds like you're leaning towards the 'no' side anyway) just don't do it! If you get any pet for a child it has to be because YOU really want it, will bond with it, care for it even when it's pissing down with rain on a winter's night and you don't feel well, cough up for vets bills (and rabbits are prone to illness - if they stop eating it's deadly and they need immediate hospitalization). They're also prone to problem teeth which need regular burring by the vet (mine were done every 6 weeks sometimes at a massive cost!) It would hurt your daughter more to get her rabbits and have it all fail than to get her a realistic toy bunny and have her learn that we don't always get what we want. When I was little I wanted a pony in the back garden. Sometimes life is unfair.

Oh, and one of my rabbits bit my nipple once, as I was carrying him against my (clothed!) chest. OUCH!!!

NCforthis2019 Fri 22-Feb-19 00:16:35

No please don’t Get one - your child is 5. She will get bored of it and you will end up looking after it. It’s irresponsible.

starshollow1 Fri 22-Feb-19 00:17:03

Fgs. Rabbits do not make good pets for children. The reality of a rabbit would likely be very disappointing for your DD and the poor rabbit would end up with a miserable existence once is been forgotten about.

PenguinPandas Fri 22-Feb-19 00:17:53

This one looks a bit of work grin

Wakk Fri 22-Feb-19 00:21:16

Rabbits are really cute to look at but terrible pets.

We used to have lots and I've still got the scars, the bites really really hurt.

Most of them hate being picked up and cuddled, they scratch and kick and bite. It's unusual to find one that can tolerate it, so kids get bored of them.

Also after a bite or two it becomes less appealing to try and catch one.

The RSPCA charge you for their neutering fees and an adoption charge and paperwork. Cheaper to buy from a pet shop but then you'll have to pay injections and neutering.

I still love rabbits but not as a child's pet.

MonaChopsis Fri 22-Feb-19 00:33:27

Get a cat and call it Bunny. She's 5, she'll be delighted!

barryfromclareisfit Fri 22-Feb-19 00:39:59

No. Rabbits are crap pets for children. They bite, scratch, don’t want to associate with you and if they’re house rabbits they’ll make your whole house their hutch. Great for active old women with lots of spare cash, who aren’t houseproud and enjoy mucking out.

Syrian hamster. Bigger the better. Full of personality and live about three years.

Nat6999 Fri 22-Feb-19 00:40:33

Don't do it, my DS wanted a rabbit, we got him a mini lop, forked out for a cage & all the equipment, it was bloody vicious, hated being stroked & only lived 23 months before we found him dead in his cage. This was after paying over £100 to have him neutered & vaccinated, in total he cost around £500 over his life. Get him a pair of guinea pigs or a hamster.

ritzbiscuits Fri 22-Feb-19 00:47:44

'Please' do not get a rabbit. I also have a 5 yo and there is no way kids that young should be driving your decision to get a pet!

My mum was a loving breeder for 25+ years and it takes a good amount of money to looks after them properly. So many poor rabbits are brought up in shit condition, eating crap quality food and kept in dirty hunches. And that's before your DS are (unintentionally) mishandling them, then will inevitably lose interest. To bring up rabbits in sufficient standard costs more money than you think.

Many are also bred in vast quantities on farms. Before Mum need her own we had bought various rabbits with all sorts of health complications, leading to vets bills and premature death in cases. You don't know anything about these rabbits background (the RSPCA won't either) and could easily develop complications.

I had to wait until Junior School age before I had my first one, and was made to read every book in the library about looking after them first. I was made to clean out their hutch and hated it!

I love bunnies but I certainly won't be getting one! Too much hassle around everything else I need to do!

Furrydogmum Fri 22-Feb-19 07:24:32

We got our bunny as our oldest son went to secondary school at 11, son now 21 and bunny still going strong. He's very much my responsibility but thats ok for me - he kisses me but growls at dh 😬 they are not easy pets by any stretch..

Decormad38 Fri 22-Feb-19 07:27:44

I have two rabbits. One of which is rehomed. They take quite a bit of looking after and need space. It’s not fair to keep them in a hutch. I have a big aviary type home plus an indoor area so they have space.

Decormad38 Fri 22-Feb-19 07:31:14

Also when rabbits are frustrated usually due to cramped conditions they get frustrated and can bite. My poor adopted bun was kept in a crappy hutch before here and she has needed alot of care. At first she would lunge but now she is happier she will let me stroke her and pick her up. It annoys me that people buy rabbits and do no research first! Its not that difficult to read a few websites!

Maneandfeathers Fri 22-Feb-19 07:33:21

Agree with the majority here. Rabbits make terrible pets.

If you were seriously considering a small pet I would go for something like a Guineas pig which are much more interactive and have nicer personalities.

BlueTrews Fri 22-Feb-19 07:34:10

I've still got a scar on my hand from my 'pet' rabbit years ago! it was evil!
we bought 2 together as we were informed they love company. They had a huge cage like a small shed with an outside run.
One morning I went out and Mr evil had killed his mateshock
Try explaining that to a 5 year old!
I've never seen a friendly bunny.

GirlfriendInAKorma Fri 22-Feb-19 07:38:55

We have a pet that the kids hassled me for.

Fast forward 2 years and I don't even think they remember they have it. I do all the work. Which is why I would never have chosen a rabbit.

EvaHarknessRose Fri 22-Feb-19 07:39:17

Hold firm OP, don’t do it - Its a rite of passage 1. Prove you can nag parents into getting you one 2. Realise its a bit yukky, scary and or boring 3. Take no more interest 4. Parents disappointed in you and telling each other I told you so 5. Parents shamefacedly rehome rabbits. Out of all my friends who have gone down the get a pet for the child route, none have worked out in the ‘teach them responsibility way’. Cats and dogs are different.

Decormad38 Fri 22-Feb-19 07:41:27

That was a bonding issue and they should have been separated at the earliest sign. There would have been signs. The issue is kids get them then lose interest so basically don’t do it unless you yourself are interested and want to keep rabbits.

Wakk Fri 22-Feb-19 07:41:59

The cages stink too when you clean them out.

AFistfulofDolores1 Fri 22-Feb-19 07:43:46

How has a five year old got you so wrapped around her little finger? (To be clear, this is about you, not her.)

Bellatrix14 Fri 22-Feb-19 07:44:01

Rabbits are lovely pets in my opinion, but probably not a very good choice for a 5 year old. I have two and they are both fairly high maintenance (mine live indoors but I don’t think that makes much of a difference), they need their toilet area cleaning out every day and a pretty much constant supply of hay, which might not be ideal if you’re all out of the house all day. I could put a day’s worth of hay in with mine, but they would wee on it at some point and then refuse to eat it because someone’s weed on it hmm They’re also not massively ‘cuddly’ pets, if you were to buy one from a specialist breeder then it probably would be, but that would defeat the point of adopting one!

I haven’t got mine insured but they are on the vet’s healthcare programme which is £7.50 per month per bunny and includes all their yearly vaccinations, bi annual check ups and a treatment that is meant to prevent fly strike. Mine also both need their teeth filing down once or twice a year which wouldn’t be covered by insurance even with they were insured and is about £80 a time... They should also really live to be between 10 and 12 but generally only live to be around 5-7, which is an indicator of how badly taken care of a lot of them are.

As other people have said, maybe start with something more low maintenance and see if you end up doing all the work? I wouldn’t recommend a hamster though. I’ve had a couple and they’ve either been lovely or evil. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground!

Mumphineasandferbmadea Fri 22-Feb-19 07:52:42

Rabbits dont make great pets. Rats on the other hand are amazing.

TrendyNorthLondonTeen Fri 22-Feb-19 08:01:23

Rabbits are expensive to keep. Food, hay, they need vaccinations, vet treatment can be very expensive (if you can find a vet to treat them) and as already previously pointed out they also bite, scratch, and generally hate being picked up.

If you don't want a rabbit then do not get one. Expecting a five year old to be responsible for a pet will not work.

Adversecamber22 Fri 22-Feb-19 08:08:53

My friend has a very beautiful looking indoor rabbit that has free roam of the house and garden. It is only put in a cage when they are out. It is a consummate arsehole who is very territorial and leapt at me when I apparently sat in its favourite part of the sofa.

gamerwidow Fri 22-Feb-19 08:19:25

Another voice to the get a guinea pig crew. They are essentially rabbits with short ears and love to play and be handled if they are used to it.
If you insist on getting a rabbit then they need lots and lots of space permenant access to an outside run is best they aren’t the sort of animal you can leave in a cage all day and let out for 10 mins for a bit of petting.

gamerwidow Fri 22-Feb-19 08:21:04

I'd love to get one for her but.... I really don't think I want one
There’s your answer I’m afraid. At 5 years old it’s ultimately going to be your pet if you won’t love it and enjoy it you’re not going to be able to look after it.

Trottersindependenttraders Fri 22-Feb-19 08:29:16

Op, I say this kindly but please only get the rabbits if you are prepared to look after them yourself. I don’t just mean feed and clean them out but groom them, pet them, spend time with them. It’s not just the cost but the time you need to be prepared to give. Please don’t get them for them to sit in a hutch in the garden, largely ignored - that would be cruel.

We got guinea pigs as family pets. DC lost interest after 5 minutes as I knew they would, but as they live indoors with us and are pretty much just mine really, they get plenty of time, attention and love.

rookiemere Fri 22-Feb-19 08:29:24

Seriously just don't do it.

DS is 12 and egged on by DH was desperate for a dog. He would walk Ddof, cuddle him, play with him rather than on the X box. Fast forward 9 months and we have a small pit pony of a dog that DS has to be bribed to walk.Thankfully DH is the primary owner so I only have to do loads when he's not around then feel terribly resentful as DS is nowhere to be found when DDog wants out in the garden and letting back for the 98th time.

can you volunteer to spend time with animals or look after your neighbours when they go in holiday- believe me they will be delighted. Or we had gerbils before the dog - again DS showed little interest but they were quite cute, ate the inside of toilet rolls and outside leaves of lettuces and on,y needed their bedding changed once every 1-2 weeks.

Brownpigeon Fri 22-Feb-19 08:32:31

My 5 year old is desperate for a unicorn. She wants her party unicorn themed. Everything is unicorn themed; toys, biscuits, accessories.

She won't be getting one for obvious reasons.

But the point is the same - they all have obsessions. They can't all have what they want.

To add to another post re: teeth / vets. Some Insurances won't cover teeth and they can need doing a lot.

Mine didn't cover dietary requirements. So I had to pay out £490 At the vets one time, she died shortly after.

Hollowvictory Fri 22-Feb-19 08:33:25

Rabbits are considered unsuitable pets for young children.
Vets fees are the expense if the rabbit was poorly.

SaucyJack Fri 22-Feb-19 08:38:48

Guinea pigs are much nicer pets if you want a hutch-type animal.

There’s no greater joy than the sound of a piggy that hears a carrier bag rustling.

Never met a nice rabbit, and I like most animals.

ThameslinkSurvivor Fri 22-Feb-19 09:19:12

Guinea pigs! Rabbits are terrible first pets, especially for small children.

Whereas guinea pigs are very docile, don’t mind sitting on your lap and having a stroke, and generally don’t need as much vet care.

Divgirl2 Fri 22-Feb-19 09:23:24

Rabbits are a really bad pet for young children, they can literally be scared to death, and live much longer than you'd think.

Get a rat instead.

Soubriquet Fri 22-Feb-19 09:25:08

Buy a hutch and then chop it up and use it for firewood.

Hutches are not suitable for rabbits at all.

A friend of mine has adapted a shed for her two rabbits. It has various levels as well as a tunnel leading to a huge outdoor run.

Rabbits are not cheap animals. They are very expensive animals and not as social as people make them out to be

Ooar Fri 22-Feb-19 09:29:14

Can you commit to possibly 10 years of looking after a pet you never wanted originally? Rabbits can live a long time.

At 5, I asked my parents for every animal under the sun and was always told no. It won’t damage her long term to not get a rabbit! Just say no.

Personally I love rabbits and have owned many lovely ones. I think they’re great pets but they take up a lot of space and time. They’re not great pets for kids as previous posters have said!

Autumn101 Fri 22-Feb-19 09:29:52

We have a rescue rabbit, she’s lovely but in less than 2 years has done more damage and cost us more than our cats have in 10 years!!

She has free range of the garden and has eaten so many of my plants, chewed through hoses, poops everywhere....... She comes inside as and when she pleases and has chewed internet cables, sofas and more. She beautiful and feisty and makes us laugh and we love her but I had no idea she’d be this high maintenance when we got her.

Also where we live (not UK) there’s no pet insurance available and a nasty abscess last year ended up costing up not far off £1000 for all the treatment

houseofrabbits Fri 22-Feb-19 09:31:58

Absolutely do not get a rabbit. Firstly, rabbits needs companions so you would have to get 2 not 1. Secondly, they need 60 square feet of permanently accessible space whether they are inside or outside (as per RWAF guidelines) which is expensive to set up if they can't have a whole room. Thirdly, they are extortionately expensive! I have 2 house rabbits, I've also had cats, dogs, a horse and hamsters and rabbits come second only to the horse! Both rabbits are insured but they get ill at the drop of a hat so vet care is usually emergency. Finally, they are crap pets for children! They don't like being picked up or cuddled and don't like sudden movements or loud noise.

houseofrabbits Fri 22-Feb-19 09:34:15

I realise my post makes it sound like I hate rabbits, quite the opposite actually, I adore them, but they are not good children's pets at all and I am so glad my parents never relented when I spent years asking them for a pet rabbit.

BarbarianMum Fri 22-Feb-19 09:41:58

If your daughter is still rabbit obsessed in 3 or 4 years time I would consider it. Then she'll have demonstrated a consistent passion and be old enough to do a lot of the care. In the intervening years she can learn about rabbits and if she gets the opportunity for hands on experience, so much the better.

MatildaTheCat Fri 22-Feb-19 09:45:08

YABVVS (silly) to even consider getting pets on the whim of a five year old. If YOU have a burning desire to look after and pay for unrewarding pets for many years to come then do as you wish- free country.

You will be doing it alone, the five year old will be bored or fed up with the rabbits after approximately five minutes. It’s highly likely that adopted rabbits will have been placed for adoption because they turned out not to be gorgeous, cute flopsey bunnies and were as described in the first reply.

If you do go ahead buy the kit second hand, there will be masses on gumtree or similar.

RolaColaAllTheWay Fri 22-Feb-19 09:46:08

We looked after a rabbit for 2 weeks. It was a nightmare. Better of getting a gerbil!

Beamur Fri 22-Feb-19 09:48:36

Lots of good advice on here!
A real rabbit will only disappoint your DD at this age, it won't be anything like she imagined it would be.
I think the desire to cherish and care for a pet is a good one though. I have guinea pigs and they are cute, but still need quite a lot of looking after (feeding, cleaning, nail clipping) and the start up costs for a large hutch etc can mount up.
It is true that hamsters are either delightful or psychotic, but if you are lucky and get a nice one they are sweet, fun, really cute, not expensive to set up and don't live too long. So a good way to find out if you enjoy having pets.
Someone suggested a cat and I would agree with that. Cats are easy pets. Need feeding, fuss on their terms, let them out and you won't need litter trays. I pay £10 a month for each of mine at my vets which covers vaccinations and check ups and a discount on treatment.

LaLoba Fri 22-Feb-19 09:51:02

My adored, cheeky chappie of a rabbit is quite a cuddler as rabbits go, but that is because he lives in a child free household. They can enjoy human interaction, but it takes a level of patience and self restraint that can’t be expected from a 5 year old. Most adults don’t seem up to the task. Honestly, I wouldn’t.

And as others have said, he is more work than my dogs! If a rabbit is going to have a happy life (which I’m assuming is a given), you have to accept some damage to your furnishings - everything has signs of nibbles around here.

alaric77 Fri 22-Feb-19 09:52:54

I have 2 opposite sex so kept apart. Can't neuter due to being made a single parent and cant afford it. They do have their yearly injections though. Male is lovely easy to pick up etc. Female is savage and charges, bites, growls... I had to splash out for a huge hutch run attached as she used to have a separate one but was impossible to transfer her from hutch to run due to her aggression. She one jumped at me and landed on my shoulder - i had nightmares about it. Apart from that there is the going out in the cold to feed/clean in winter. They are well looked after but regret getting them daily. Also have indoor piggies which are no bother at all.

Foodylicious Fri 22-Feb-19 09:52:57

Another saying dont do it.

I had both a hamster and a Guinea pig as a child and and ashamed to admit I looked after them terribly.

The novelty did wear off pretty quickly.

So I would not look after them properly then feel racked with guilt.
I still feel bad now.

It does not matter how obsessed she is.
She is only obsessed with the idea of having a rabbit and can have no concept of what it will actually be like.

I don't really get the whole 'caged' pets for others pleasure thing and think it's pretty unfair and unnecessary.

Just keep saying no gently but clearly.

It sound that like most people you will not be in a position to buy her a pony if she asked for one, no matter how obsessed she is.
I dont think you need to treat this any differently.

TheFairyCaravan Fri 22-Feb-19 09:54:54

We've got 2 Guinea pigs. They're my pets although my adult kids love them. 4 weeks ago one of them got an ulcer on her eye, we had the choice of having it removed or putting her to sleep. She's 2.5 and healthy, they have a lifespan of 5-7 years. DH said straight away to have the eye removed. The bill was almost £500. You can't really insure a Guinea pig, so since we go them (and our hamster) we've been putting money in an account just in case. She's doing ok, now.

There's a lot to think about when you get any pet and, I'm not saying you're one of them, but a lot of people see small furries as disposable. They don't take into account that they can live for years and the kids will get bored, they don't take into account the potential of a massive vet bill and they don't take into account just how much it actually costs in time and money to feed and take care of them properly. If you really don't want a rabbit please don't get one.

Foodylicious Fri 22-Feb-19 09:55:04

If you do want a family pet, you would perhaps be better with a cat?

Still alot of commitment/cost, but if you got a rescue cat you would know more about its temperament etc

hardyloveit Fri 22-Feb-19 09:59:23

If you are actually going to go ahead (I wouldn't personally give in to a five year old esp if I couldn't afford it)
Look on Facebook for second hand hutches etc be cheaper than brand new. Hay straw food etc will need to be bought regularly
Make sure u can afford all the appropriate things and any extra incase of emergencies.

pumpkinpie01 Fri 22-Feb-19 10:07:36

We have a rabbit as I had fond memories of always having rabbits and guinea pigs as a child and thought it would be lovely for my DS5. Im wondering if my memory is failing me as it must have been the guinea pigs that were cuddly, would sit on your knee and run up to you. My rabbit is unpredictable but is more likely to attack your hand than not, she chews everything when she is out, she runs behind furniture so she cant be caught. I have frequently thought I would like to get rid of her but cant think who would want her! I would honestly get a cat. Take her somewhere where she can handle them , she will get kicked a few times then will soon change her mind.

OneStepSideways Fri 22-Feb-19 10:12:12

Rabbits in hutchs are usually unhappy and nervous. They need a big open space to run, jump and play, such as a fully fenced garden with an open shed (keep them in the shed at night in case of foxes). They're prey animals and don't like being handled unless you've had them as babies and handled them daily. Please read up about rabbit psychology before getting one. They rarely make good children's pets.

Also think of vets bills, one of mine had an abscess that needed surgery and racked up hundreds in the space of a month!
You also need to pay for hutch cleaning products, fly-strike protector (to stop flies laying eggs on their bottoms which can cause maggots to eat into the rabbit), anti flea/mite stuff.

Cleaning a hutch is a horrible job. They don't all use a litter tray as books have you believe so it's a daily job of sweeping out poo and smelly damp straw, scrubbing, letting it dry. They like to chew wood so hutches often get destroyed (one of ours chewed a hole in the hutch floor and dug a burrow to freedom!)
We also had an issue with mice coming into the hutch after the food, and it was full of spiders.

Blondephantom Fri 22-Feb-19 10:31:59

I have always told my children that it wouldn’t be fair to the pet if we had one. I’m at work all day and they are at school. Poor pet would be lonely. I don’t mention the fact I don’t want one because of the hard work involved even though that does come into it. We compromised on regular visits to a petting zoo instead. Maybe you could sponsor a rabbit at a local petting zoo for a small fee?

chocolateroses Fri 22-Feb-19 10:36:50

Thanks everyone.

The hutches I've looked at have big runs attached. Admit though I'd need to check if it's big enough before buying. We also have a large empty shed they could have the full run of.

I am an animal lover and just think we could give a rabbit a lovely life in a nice garden. My DC would love it.

I found two beautiful bunnies on the local RSPCA site which are stated as fine with children at all ages. There was another who needed to be homes as a single bunny - she wasn't suitable to be homed with any other rabbits. I think I fell in love with the pair of rabbits I saw and just started thinking how lovely it would be.

I think though I have under estimated the work involved. For now I think it would be too much for us, financially and effort wise. I don't think I'll even call the RSPCA to chat about it more. Maybe in a few years I will consider it again x

LellowYedbetter Fri 22-Feb-19 10:39:09

I had guinea pigs for years. They are lovely animals, gentle, sociable and very funny. I then bought a rabbit as my GPs died and it was a whole different ball game. She was lovely but she scratched, didn’t like attention and wasn’t all that much fun bless her. I wouldn’t get another one but I’d certainly buy guinea pigs again if I had the time for them.

chocolateroses Fri 22-Feb-19 10:40:16

Thanks for suggestions of other pets. We can't have cats - allergies. Hubby doesn't like guinea pigs (I'm gutted!)

I LOVE rats, but DC terrified.

BlackInk Fri 22-Feb-19 10:44:37

We have two rabbits and they're lovely smile

Of course there's cost and time involved, but it's about priorities.

Rescue bunnies tend to cost about £30 each, but they should come to you neutered, which is expensive and essential. They need to have a companion really.

You will need a large hutch and run for them, but don't need an indoor cage as well. A well-insulated outdoor hutch with loads of hay etc. is fine in all but the most extreme weather. Our bunnies live in a converted wooden playhouse, which we picked up v cheap from a Facebook selling page and converted ourselves. They also get out to play in the garden and / or house every day.

They are pretty cheap to feed in my experience. A small handful of pellets each a day, plus unlimited hay, grass and weeds from the garden and any kitchen veg scraps - carrot peel, cabbage stalks, end of the cucumber, apple cores etc.

Vet wise we've been lucky and over the past 10 plus years have only ever spent money on vaccinations, which are essential.

My 6yo daughter adores the rabbits and is perfectly capable of cleaning them out by herself. They are great pets, full of personality and extremely sociable. The more love you give them the more you get back.

We also have a totally adorable hamster. He is far more lovely than we ever imagined a hamster could be.

ThameslinkSurvivor Fri 22-Feb-19 10:44:40

Thanks for suggestions of other pets. We can't have cats - allergies. Hubby doesn't like guinea pigs (I'm gutted!)

Your husband "doesn't like guinea pigs"?

I'm baffled that someone could be fine with getting a rabbit and not a guinea pig. Guinea pigs are quite simply easier, lower maintenance versions of rabbits.

LellowYedbetter Fri 22-Feb-19 10:49:08

Guinea pigs are hilarious and cute but they do stink (the males, anyway)

BlackInk Fri 22-Feb-19 10:52:15

Guinea pigs are rodents. Rabbits are not, and are actually more closely related to horses smile

Some people (not me) just don't like rodents. GPs have the rodenty feet and body shape I guess.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 22-Feb-19 11:00:37

I've had guineas as a child and my DD (now nearly 17) and I have kept them for eight years.

They have their charm but they have their limitations .
If you are considering rabbits in the future (having taken on board all the excellent advice above) then don't see guinea pigs as an easy "starter" pet substitute .
Guinea-pigs are amazing in their own right they are not a compromise because someone wants a dog/cat/rabbit

They are messy , the hay gets everywhere . We have our old girl up in the small bedroom (next to DD0 with no door so she cn whitter away and help DD with homework. She's the last of the line , we've always been in the neverending spiral of getting another pig or two (we had 5 at one stage)

My DD is bloody brilliant with them, we have always shared the feed/clean routine . But there will be times when she's ill, or away , it falls to me . I owned half of the pigs , but it is the adult who is responsible , morally and legally.
At 9 my DD was a bit unsure picking up her large male guinea-pig , I wouldn't trust a 5yo to (let alone a rabbit)

I have had one pig that was a bit bitey (we have all rescues) . The others would only clash teeth with you if they missed the food , but it was no more than a gnaw.
Anything with teeth can use them if they want .

Guineas don't have vaccines , they are only neutered to bond mixed sex (unlike rabbits who need neutered for health/behaviour)
They also need careful monitoring , they are quite fragile .

We had to have one euthanised in Oct , one in Jan and it breaks your heart each time

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 22-Feb-19 11:04:00

Guinea pigs are hilarious and cute but they do stink (the males, anyway

Whoah there - they do not stink if your animal husbandary is up to scratch. And males are tidier than females .
They only time our male smelled was when he was ill.
Females when they're in season do very strong pee (but it lasts a day or two)

We had boars and sows ( same sex and mixed over the years) they were given fresh bedding daily .
Its the hay that smells , not the animals

Magicpaintbrush Fri 22-Feb-19 11:05:56

If you are going to part with money for a small pet then rats are far and away the best of the bunch - friendly, loving, entertaining and easy to look after - honestly, they are so much better than rabbits. Its like having a dog in miniature.

Blackbutler86 Fri 22-Feb-19 11:06:25

I took home a rabbit from the care home where I work as they didn't want him anymore. I estimate he's cost me around 1k as I had to buy everything, his original hutch was a tiny piece of junk so I got him a 6ft double plus a 12ft x6ft run attached by tubing from a company called runaround (that cost like £40 alone). Then he needed enrichment, plus all food, hay, bedding etc. He then decided to dig up all the grass in his run and almost dug out a few times so I had to mesh the floor, then paved half of it as he still tried digging. He hadn't seen grass before coming to me so I think he was just overexcited by it. He has a digging sandpit now.

As I have dogs I had to build a whole fenced and gated off area for all this to go in which was a few hundred. For the cold I had to get a special thermal cover with another plastic cover over that, water bottle covers a heat pad. He's a lone bunny as vets said he's too old for neutering (he's 10). I love him and he's fun to watch but he doesn't like being handled, he will take treats from my hand so I take that as he likes me and he comes over whenever I go to see him. Moral of this is that rabbits are hard work and expensive! They need more than people think.

proton Fri 22-Feb-19 11:16:33

OP by your own admission you don't want a rabbit so DON'T BUY ONE. Your dc will grow bored and ultimately the poor bastard will end up neglected locked away in some hell hole. I used to volunteer at a rabbit sanctuary so I know what I'm talking about. They only let adults adopt

katseyes7 Fri 22-Feb-19 11:17:53

l have three house rabbits. All of them are insured, and we're with the 'health club' at the vets which covers them for nail clips and their yearly vaccinations.
However. Even with insurance, you have to pay an excess. For my oldest rabbit (she's 8) it's £85 for each separate course of treatment. The 'health club' at the vets is £5 a month each. Their insurance premiums are over £100 a year each. The eldest one is nearly double that.
A small bag of pellets is about £5, that lasts about a month. l spend about £5 a week on greens and the same on hay.

l agree with previous posters - rabbits aren't really suitable for children. They want to pick them up and cuddle them, and as rabbits are prey animals, when they're picked up, they think they're going to be killed. l've had my first one for four years, and he still fights like a tiger if l pick him up. He's quite happy to be petted on the floor, he gives me nosebumps if l say "mummy kiss?", but l don't pick him up unless l absolutely have to as l don't want to stress him.
lf you adopt, they should be neutered and vaccinated. But l personally wouldn't keep rabbits outside in a hutch especially if, as you say, money could be an issue. My friend keeps hers outside, they have a fabulous 'shed' with blankets and cushions, and a huge run. But it cost her a lot of money. They need a hutch at least 6' x 2' x 2'. That size is just for one rabbit, they need room to move and stretch.
The two little boys next door to me pestered their parents for a rabbit after seeing one at a friend's house. They're nice people, but the poor thing lived on it's own in a hutch in the garden. lt was fed and sheltered, but they lost interest. lt used to break my heart seeing the poor thing sitting on it's own. lt died last year, and it was only two, poor thing. My eldest is 8, has always been a house rabbit and is healthy and very feisty.
l'll be honest. l'd never had rabbits until l got Bertie four years ago, and l had no idea of the work involved. l've had dogs, and rabbits are a lot of work. They're also very fragile health-wise so you're constantly checking on them 'just in case'.

l wouldn't part with my three for anything. But l took them on with the mindset that when l get an animal, it's for life. l help out at my friend's rescue, and it breaks my heart. Please think very long and hard.

BrizzleMint Fri 22-Feb-19 11:27:15

Rabbits are very hard to look after and have as pets, guinea pigs are a better alternative for children but don't underestimate the cost of buying hay and pellets regularly plus fresh vegetables daily.

Inferiorbeing Fri 22-Feb-19 11:41:15

We have a house rabbit and are just about to adopt a second (please remember they should be in pairs or groups!) They cost quite a bit, need lots of space and toys etc. They aren't a cuddly animal but our girl is super affectionate and loving, personally I wouldn't get one for a child as they need a lot more than people think

chocolateroses Fri 22-Feb-19 12:03:02

How much cleaning out etc do guinea pigs need? I would have thought their upkeep would have been similar to rabbits?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 22-Feb-19 12:12:00

Rabbits can be litter trained .
Guinea pigs hold no truck with this though our males used to have a pooh corner .

Our old lady can go two days (she has a 4'x2' cage) when we had more than one it was daily cleaning .

I know there are people who can make their cage last a week ! but our pigs would've needed gills.
You don't use sawdust or shavings with guineas , they can use non dusty paper or some non scented equine bedding.
I use puppy pads (ours don't chew them) and newspaper and sometimes a fleece (depending on the season)

Lightofday Fri 22-Feb-19 12:16:27

Having kept rabbits for 20 years, they actually make wonderful pets. But I would second that a guinepig would be better for a five year old as rabbits don't tend to like being picked up and may scratch.

Also, I wouldn't like to put anyone off rescuing but my exp with rescue rabbits is that they need a bit more work and a lot more time out of their cages (more prone to cage stress) so I would probably keep those as outdoor bunnies with lots of garden space (and time) as they can also be more destructive in-house.

Neutering is probably the main cost and whilst some rabbits are fine without, others may develop behavioural issues (plus there are higher cancer risks in non neutered rabbits). Teeth problems are common in rabbits (hooks growing on backteeth fir example) and may result in expensive vet visits. Cost of adoption was £35 if I remember right.

But yeah, get her a couple of guineapigs instead. If she still wants bunnies at ten AND you do, then go for it.

ralphi Fri 22-Feb-19 12:22:51

Get a hamster or some guinea pigs, I have had rabbits, guinea pigs and a variety of hamsters, and whilst rabbits can be lovely they can also be difficult personalities, are hard work, and bite easily. And you always need two of them, or they can be really quite psycho.

Guinea pigs and hamsters can be kept inside, a hutch or cage is much cheaper (make sure you get a sufficiently large one though, hamsters need space). Hamsters dont eat much and they dont cost much new either. Guinea pigs are much more cuddly but are easy enough to keep, and both animals can have their feed supplemented with things that would otherwise be binned (cauliflower leaves, brocoli stems etc).

sillysmiles Fri 22-Feb-19 12:24:02

At 5 I really really really wanted a pony. We lived on a farm so had the space and was used to large animals.

I'm now nearly 40, own our home that has stables and paddocks - but still do not and never have gotten a pony.

Mainly because imo getting a pet is not just about what you get for a pet but about what you can give to a pet.
You have 5 yr who's obsessed with rabbits - so she is going to be trying to pick it up and cuddle it. Which is normal 5 yr behaviour. You have everyone here saying rabbits don't like being handled and some can be evil!!
I think in this case you are going to have to say no, and occasionally bring her to a petting farm or something like that to see rabbits.

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