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ok all you rabbit/guinea pig experts, what do I need...

(17 Posts)
wannaBe Sun 29-Jun-08 20:33:18

dh has agreed that ds can have a rabbit. He's been on and on and on for about a year about getting one so is adament that's what he wants, even when he talks about the things he would buy with his pocket money the rabbit is at the top of the list..

so on Thursday we get his school report, and the idea is that if it's a good report (and we are confident it will be judging by comments from teacher) we will go and purchase the rabbit on Friday after school.

So, what do I need to know.

We have ordered a hutch (one of those double story ones) and a run online.

I know I need things like food bowl and waterbottle and rabbit mix and hay. But what else? What do you use for bedding for example, and do you line the hutch with anything and so on.

I've never had a rabbit before, and although I've read up on them thought I would come and ask those who have been there.

Also, on the off chance ds decides to have guinea pigs instead, similar info please..?

NutterlyUts Sun 29-Jun-08 20:49:30

Bedding is usually shredded paper, and the hutch floor is usually lined with newspaper and/or sawdust. For ease of cleaning you can put down lino offcuts first, so its wipeable. Depending on the size of your hutch you may be able to fit in a corner litter box, which would make cleaning it a whole lot easier as the bunny would then do its business in the one place.
The best rabbit food is Excel so the rabbit can't pick out his/her favourites and not get a balanced diet. No green stuff until over 6m.
I would suggest getting the bunny checked at the vets the day you get him/day after to make sure you're not buying a poorly rabbit. The vet should also talk you through vaccines for the rabbit, and about spaying/neutering (A good idea as it stops dominant and stroppy behaviour)
And finally, the most important thing I can say is check your bunny every day - make sure s/he has clean fresh water, food and spend a minute to check his/her bum to make sure its clean. If there's any poo, clean it up (gross i know) to prevent flies laying their eggs there, leading to fly strike (the bunny is literally eaten alive). If you have space in the run (and the finances) get 2 bunnies so they don't get lonely.

Guinea pigs are the same basically.

Alambil Mon 30-Jun-08 00:21:35

My sister's rabbit got fly-strike; very disgusting and awful for everyone... do check the animals regularly

Cavycare Mon 30-Jun-08 00:44:51

Whatever you do don't get a guinea pig and a rabbit together.

muffinmum Mon 30-Jun-08 00:53:34

NutterlyUts has pretty much everything down,the one thing i would add is hay,hay,hay.rabbits digestion systems stay healthy if they eat all the time,never ever let your bunny run out of lovely sweet smelling hay and you are unlikely to get teeth probs.i used to bed mine on straw and sawdust.if your bun has a dirty bottom or hasnt passed any poo for 4hrs or hasnt ate anything in 4 hrs then take it to a vet that deals with rabbits. not all vets are good with bunnies so worth asking around before you get yours.

thumbwitch Mon 30-Jun-08 01:27:53

DON'T PUT GUINEAPIGS ON SAWDUST! I lost my first one, the most fantastic g'pig, through sawdust - he got a large splinter in the back of his tongue and despite going to the vets (who are mostly not that hot with g'pigs) he got septicaemia and died - I was heartbroken! (aged 28 at the time, didn't have any children then). Keep them on straw and hay. Or shredded newspaper but their feet get inky. Not shredded office paper as it's too sharp for their feet.

Guineapigs also are (I think) the only other mammal (other than us) that cannot make their own Vitamin C so it is important to ensure that they get daily fresh fruit/veg that contains Vitamin C, or dried g'pig food that has it added. Rabbit food is not a good option for g'pigs as it doesn't have Vit C added and can have something else added (I forget what) that is bad for g'pigs.

Good veg/fruit for g'pigs: greens, kale, tomato, cucumber, carrot (whole, need it to keep their teeth down), celery, broccoli, apple, banana (occasional treat).
Not so good: spinach, lettuce (oxalates can cause kidney stones in g'pis), parsnip (many don't like the flavour)

Lots of hay and occasional fresh grass - not too much or they can get diarrhoea (mind you, mine were all housepigs so didn't get out much!).

Water bottle essential - some will drink lots, some will drink almost nothing but so long as they have the daily fresh fruit/veg that doesn't matter.

G'pigs need to have their claws clipped regularly - for this reason I would advise getting one with pale claws, not black ones, so you can see where the quick is!

G'pigs can be more docile than rabbits but that depends hugely on the g'pig and the rabbit! As cavycare says, do not keep them together - if the rabbit gets scared and kicks out and hits the g'pig, it is likely to have internal damage which could be fatal. NB: G'PIGS DON'T BOUNCE - do not drop them, their legs are too short to withstand the shock and it can kill them. They can also freeze to death so must be protected in harsh winter weather.

If your g'pig gets sick, try {{http://www.cavy-vet.co.uk/ this site]] for an appropriate vet, or try the Cambridge Cavy Trust

Sorry if TMI - g'pigs are fab but have slightly different needs from rabbits.

thumbwitch Mon 30-Jun-08 01:30:14

arse! this site for appropriate vet - that'll teach me to preview posts first! wink

Maybe another rabbit? They like company.

My rabbits hutch has cheap lino on the bottom. They normally wee in one corner so in that corner I've put a cat litter tray with Bio-catolet litter in the bottom and then hay on top. They like to sit in it and be able to eat hay while they have a wee!

Rabits' diet should be 80% hay/grass to keep their teeth down. So mine only have a handful of pellets once a day. They have a hayrack with more hay in it. And then some hay on the floor of the sleeping compartment. Rabbits are prone to respiratory problems and shouldn't be on sawdust.

katw3kitts Mon 30-Jun-08 11:32:51

Please check out your local RSPCA or equivalent

They always (sadly) have hundreds of unwanted rabbits and guinea pigs looking for new homes.

They give you great advice and only ask for a donation smile.

Boco Mon 30-Jun-08 11:41:34

We got 2 baby boy guinea pigs a month ago and we're all completely in love with them!

They are SO friendly now, they meep and chatter whenever we go up to the hutch, they're so cuddly and chunky and CUTE. They're in their run, doing a little twitchy dance and sqeaking away to each other. I would recommend, definitely, lovely things.

Didn't know about the sawdust tip though - will remember that because ours have sawdust on top of the newspaper.

I got my rabbits from here; www.rabbitrehome.org.uk/
They have lots of rabbits needing homes, often young ones.

My vet told me to avoid Pets At Home and other pet shops as the rabbits are frequently incorrectly sexed and often have ringworm!

RubyRioja Mon 30-Jun-08 12:10:48

I would say gps rather than rabbit tbh, I think they are more robust as pet and better suited to environement.

Get at least two from a breeder, deffo not pets at home (although their equipment is good ime).

I would avoid coronet type as they are faff to comb/trim. We have a lovely self coloured and a teddy, which looks like a hedgehog.

I'd try ringing aroudn breeders to see who will have some ready.

muffinmum Mon 30-Jun-08 14:59:32

oh definately go to a rabbit rescue place!well pointed out katw3kits, there are loads at our local sanctuary and they are all gorgeous

lindseyfox Thu 03-Jul-08 19:14:01

hutches should be at least 6ft wide and 2ft high (inside) so rabbit has enough room to lay out stretched and also to stand on hind legs.

pets at home do 2 good ones lavendar lodge and thistle hall, we have one of each for our 2 bunnies.

need lots of toys, love loo rolls.

feed plenty of hay and give plenty of water.

get the rabbit from a rescue

handy site www.rabbitrehome.org.uk

wannaBe Thu 03-Jul-08 21:17:49

We don't have any rescue places near us sadly and I don't have a car.

But I would rather cut off my right arm than buy from pets at home. We have a very reputable small local pet shop near us though and I will buy from there.

Dh is building the hutch in the garden as I type.

BigBadMousey Thu 03-Jul-08 21:29:36

GPs are far better pets than rabbits.

They are very friendly, talk a lot and are easy to handle. Rabbits can be very grumpy and are rather prone to teeth problems (Gps are too but less so IME)

Get two of wahtever you choose. We have always had two male GPs together. As long as they are together from a young age you should be fine - alternatively 2 x females are fine.

Female rabbits should be spayed to prevent an early death dut ovarian cancer (££££££££s)

chunkymonkies Wed 09-Jul-08 19:40:57

We have two girl guinea pigs.
My DSs wanted a pet each so we researched it quite a bit - I always wanted a rabbit but when we asked about it, rabbits seemed to need more injections etc... Guinnea pigs are great for kids to handle - ours have never bitten or anything. Would recommend the same gear that everyone else has - we have a hutch with a run at the bottom but they never go down there so we also have a separate run.

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