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Help - looking after rabbit and guinea pig and know nothing!

(11 Posts)
OllieinOrange Wed 03-Jul-13 14:12:45

Title says it all smile
Said yes to looking after a rabbit and GP for 3 weeks. They have just arrived but because the owner was in a real rush, she didnt do much of a handover and now I feel a bit out of my depth!

I have to make up the hutch. Have put newspaper down - but what else? There are some sort of small woodchip things, hay and straw. Do they need all 3? <<clueless>>

The owner says her rabbit has the run of the garden and just goes in the hutch at night. Not sure that will be possible here due to gaps under hedges etc. I guess I can try and make some sort of run for it.

Am now off to google "rabbits for dummies". Any tips would be very much appreciated!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 03-Jul-13 14:50:48

Do the guinea-pig and rabbit share a cage?
They shouldn't live together for numerous reasons but if they do there's not much you can do because the are someone elses pets and they will be used to it.

I don't have bunny experience but WRT the guinea:

newspaper and hay is fine. They shouldn't have woodshavings (if that's what she's given you) but they can have some equine bedding like Megazorb, or hemp based bedding.
Straw- they shouldn't really it's a bit sharp for GPs (but I use soft barley straw for my boys in the back of their bed) .It's not got any nutritional value compared to hay.

GPs like hay/guinea pellets /veg + water
Rabbits have limited rabbit pellets + unlimited hay+grass
GP pellets have Vit C in them.

Don't give the guinea-pig potato or iceberg lettuce or anything from a bulb (onion,leeks). Buttercups are poisonous (our garden is rife at the moment, nghtmare trying to site the run). Flowering bulb plant are poison.

Your Guest Rabbit might be fine at home out free ranging but he doesn't know your garden-and yes he's likely to escape grin
GPs are MUCH more vunerable to damp, cold and predators so I would only put him/her out in a secure run, if weather permits.
Lock him up securely at night (and rabbit)

Will your friend contact you to give you more detail?

There will be others along soon wink

OllieinOrange Wed 03-Jul-13 18:50:23

Thanks for the really useful reply 70

They only have to share a hutch overnight. I will be brave and give the rabbit the run of the garden tomorrow but will limit the GP to the hutch - or having a run around the kitchen.

This is going really show up my lack of animal knowledge but do I give them one lot of food (ie fresh veggies and bowl of dried food) a day or is it better to given them bits throughout the day?

Am still feeling clueless but they seem happy enough though.

MissPricklePants Wed 03-Jul-13 18:58:29

I have 2 rabbits and 2 piggies (they don't live together.)

Rabbits need unlimited hay, small portion of pellets and some greens. Things like Ivy and plants from bulbs are poisonous to rabbits. The straw and wood shavings are unnecessary, hay, hay and more hay. They obv need fresh water and ideally lots of room to hop around. is the rabbit ok with being handled? they are awkward to catch and put back in a hutch if not. Also rabbits are at their most active at dawn and dusk so should not be in a hutch for long (mine don't have a hutch, they have an outhouse and 24/7 run access.)

As for the piggies. they need pellets (ones with vit C) veg and lots of hay!also some places to hide and snuggle up.

MissPricklePants Wed 03-Jul-13 18:59:21

as for feeding mine get dried food in the morning, veg in the evening and hay topped up during the day.

guineapiglet Wed 03-Jul-13 20:02:26

Hi Ollie - did your friend lend you a run at all to pop the guineas in during the day? Wondering whether you can improvise with anything, even for an hour outside if you can keep them company. I rabbit sat for a friend last year, and went round the edges of the garden filling in any potential escape holes with bits of wood, bricks etc, to try and make it escape proof - needless to say it didn't work sad and the little blighter escaped to be found chomping the neighbours' prized veg later on.

YOu could build the guineas a temporary kind of run if you have any bits of wood lurking in the shed, just something to contain them. I once used an upside down laundry basket whilst on holiday !! smile Good luck!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 03-Jul-13 20:28:49

guineapiglet that reminded me of when I had my pigs as a child.

"The Moths" (two Himalayan pink eyed who liked the dark and ate wool carpet grin ) used to go out in a washing basket ( the black/white and her piglet were Free Rangers).

Our lawn had these weird crop-circle type shorn areas. Though if you looked closely the GP droppings were the clue. We didn't have ET just GP.

FernieB Wed 03-Jul-13 20:29:50

Where are you? It may be that you're near to someone here who could loan you a run.

I'd be wary of letting the rabbit free range in a garden it could escape from. You are very kind agreeing to look after them, but your friend really should have given you more information.

OllieinOrange Wed 03-Jul-13 21:56:31

There is a lot to think about isn't there? Its like having a newborn baby all over again!

Got asked out of the blue and felt I couldnt say no. We are not in the UK - in mainland Europe. Our garden is quite small but no grass (unless you count the bits growing between the stones!). Feel bad for the rabbit now. Have spent a lot on new flowers and shrubs recently too so will have to be on rabbit watch when its out and about. Will see if I can get hold of a run though - several Mums from school have rabbits.

The GP is very timid - dives into a tube thing everytime anyone goes near it. Rabbit v sweet - have had it pottering around the kitchen this evening. Even caught DH talking to it smile

Thanks again for all the tips - feel a bit more in control now.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 03-Jul-13 22:09:17

They sound lovely- by the end of the 3 weeks you'll be buying your own (guinea-pigs obviously but I'm biased) or reaching for your largest cooking pot grin.

In the abscence of grass give plenty of hay (and make sure they have fresh water ).
I used to give my guineas ReadiGrass (dried short cut grass fodder) in winter but my little boy sneezes when he eats it. My other boar has hayfever-type drippy clear snot with fresh grass (sigh).

Don't underestimate what destructive little toads rabbits can be indoors - cables, wires, they don't care.
GP are a bit chewy too , they're not angels wink.
My childhood ones would eat the laces from the shoes while we wore them.

Empress77 Wed 03-Jul-13 22:25:22

careful with free run of the garden as rabbits and guineas are total houdinis, but they defo both need more exercise than a hutch-good idea to use the kitchen (be careful of wires etc). Lots of hay and grass & some veg like brocilli all good. Need to keep the hutch cleaned everyday. And make sure the rabbit is eating everyday -theyll die very quickly if they stop eating (think how they eat in the wild-they are grazers - their guts have to be on the move all the time), but if shes pottering around the kitchen that sounds good & the move to your house cant have stressed her out too much. They are super lovely to look after!

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