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Looking at getting some Rabbits any advice please.

(22 Posts)
DeathMetalMum Fri 21-Feb-14 20:38:46

I am thinking about getting some rabbits in the near future (maybe in the next 6 months to a year). I am just looking for some advice really does anyone have any good books or websites I can read to find oit a bit more info - havn't had rabbits before.

I would be looking at outdoor rabbits as we dont have a lot of space indoors to keep them I have read it is possible to keep them outdoors all year. I think we would be looking at two rabbits what type of hutch and what type of places would we look to buy a hutch from? Also a run though guess I would find both in the same type of place.

Anything else I need to know - I have had a brief read of the rspca website so far.

Mogz Sat 22-Feb-14 07:58:00

You'll need a much bigger hutch and run than are usually sold in pet shops, for two bunnies you want a hutch at least 6ft by 2ft and a permanently attached run at least 6 ft by 6ft. Single story hutch only as ramps can be tricky for larger or older bunnies, even youngsters can fall from them. Your best bet it to buy online or find a local carpenter to make one if you're not handy yourself.
If you want very good care advice head over to the Rabbit Welfare Association, it's also worth looking up some info on rabbit language as they can be harder to read than a cat or dog.
Two bunnies is best, male and female, both desexed. Try to get them from the same rescue at the same time so they'll already be bonded.
Please be aware rabbits are not good pets for kids, a lot of them don't want to be picked up and hugged and they can live for 10 years, they're a big commitment and deserve more than a hutch at the bottom of the garden and a minute of seeing their human when food is delivered. They are funny, mischievous, playful animals that can be greatly rewarding.

Jcb77 Sat 22-Feb-14 09:21:17

Hello Deathmetal.
Lovely idea! Incredibly rewarding pets but as 'difficult' an option as a cat or dog, just different. I have 6 bunnies at the moment (3 indoor, 3 outdoor). They are wonderful things who bring a lot of laughter and fun. BUT, they are hard work, can be very expensive (Harvey ate staples. Stupid bunny. £1k later he was ok.....) and need a lot of care. (I also have 3 cats that are easier, about the same price to 'maintain' and more cuddly). Bunnies are not really suitable as children's pets, if that's what you were thinking, despite what the cute fluffy pics would have you believe. They are prey animals that hate being picked up and will kick (bloody hard) when scared. I have quite a few little marks from a grumpy bun! Bunnies are intelligent and social animals that need a lot of stimulation and bunny company. Think of them like a dog that walks themselves, given space to do so. They need as much company, interaction and poo-management!
That being said, they're wonderful. My indoor 3 play, groom (so cute) and sleep together. They have the run of the (open plan) downstairs and are allowed in the living room under supervision. They go in a 4x2 cage at night only, which is their 'hutch'. They are destructive - you have to very carefully 'bunny proof' indoors or out and assume ANYTHINg withing nibbling reach will be. Bye bye skirting boards, wires and plants sad
The outdoor 3 have a 6x4 shed and the run of the garden. No need for a law mower :D.
They produce a lot of poo (less of an issue outside - great fertilizer but can look messy) and caustic wee which needs cleaning when they use it to scent mark their bedding/territory.
They need vaccinations every year too which can be about £50 per bunny, as well as any emergency care, as a cat or dog would. Girls need spaying or they get uterine cancer (and breed) within a few years. Boy need castrating or they can be aggressive and their wee STINKS!
As pp said, the rabbit welfare association is a great source of advice (and some horrible pics of what can happen to bunnies when people don't understand their diet, needs or how to care for them). They're on fb and have some fab photos of happy buns! Bit like mn for bunny mummies.
If I haven't put you off, you'll need at least 2, from a rescue centre please, and much more space than a hutch. Regular strokes, treats, tones of hay and straw, and a lot of love. In return, you'll get amazing memories, happy pets and they joy of seeing the little fluffs snoozing in the sun, washing and chasing each other, coming to you for a headrub and ear tickle, digging holes in your lawn and just being delightful. Good luck with what you choose.

FernieB Sat 22-Feb-14 10:27:17

Echo what everyone else has said. Do look at the rabbit welfare association. They are great pets but a lot of work - cleaning out, grooming, Feeding etc. they don't normally like being cuddled on knees but loved being stroked if they have all paws on the ground. They chew everything and if being kept outside will need access to a large run. They can dig their way out of runs so you'd have to think about that.

They can be expensive in terms of food, hay, annual vaccinations and they all need neutering.

They are lovely though.

TheReluctantCountess Sat 22-Feb-14 10:29:44

We have had a lot of bunnies over the years, all outdoor. They are lovely pets, but need attention and stimulation like any other pet. Even in the rain and snow.

DeathMetalMum Mon 24-Feb-14 12:59:09

Thank you for the advice we have two young dc I was thinking that rabbits might have been nice for them. Maybe due a re-think.

Mogz Mon 24-Feb-14 13:23:55

You may be better off with guinea pigs or fancy rats as pets that are better suited to some supervised interaction with children.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 24-Feb-14 21:48:20

Guineas are lovely but you might struggle if you are limited for space indoors.
I keep mine out in their Pighouse in summer and by day but they come in for winter nights (usually Guy Fawkes til Easter depending on the weather)

We have two boars who are Love Sponges but they need a fair bit of space and are unfeasibly messy little creatures.

You might not like the idea of rats but you could have a Rat Kingdom on different levels so give them height with less floor space.

I love to watch fancy rats - the does are really agile, the bucks are Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz grin in their Rat Hammocks.

FernieB Mon 24-Feb-14 22:23:46

Definitely not rabbits for young children. They don't like bring held and can bite, kick and scratch if unhappy. They are not really pets for kids.

Guinea pigs are cuddlier and a lot more interactive but would be better indoors in winter as they don't really do cold!

Pointeshoes Tue 25-Feb-14 09:30:32

Hi , bunnies are lovely! We have boy and girl mini lops, they are so friendly and love being stroked but as it's been said they don't like being picked up. You do have to be careful when you have to do their nails that they don't kick off you!
Ours started off in separate cages upstairs and then we got the boy neutered- this is something you must consider when getting two bunnies. Two is always better and a boy and girl are the easiest to put together. Ours love each! They live in the kitchen and come in to the living room in the evening. Surprisingly they haven't chewed anything in the kitchen, I think we are just lucky though. I make sure they have enough to play with, like tunnels- wicker, chew mats and toys, and lots of fresh hay. They go toilet in a hay box, which is basically a large plastic box with a lid. I cut a hole in the side using a hacksaw. I put the cardboard bedding (from pets at home can't remember the name) in the there with hay. (From timothyhay.co.uk in big bags for £20, and it's fab). So they are completely litter trained. Fresh water in two bowls available all the time and food - they have selective science pellets, morning and night which adds up to an egg cup full a day for each bunny. We give they herbs mostly and the occasional veg, fruit. You can find safe lists on google.
The main thing is giving them enough safe space. Ours are all sleepy in the day but in the evening they love to do laps around the sofa.

We are getting a Wendy house - from argos- for them to go outside in the summer in the day time soon. The plan is to have the Wendy house - 4ft by 5ft on slabs then attach a tube to an 8ft by 6ft wooden run. I've just bought the tube and connection kit from 'runaround.co.uk'. So the run can be moved on the grass.

We have guinea pigs too who live upstairs in the winter then go out in a 6ft hutch with a run attached over warmer (haha) months. But I wouldn't recommend them for children either as most are not fussed on human company, would rather eat grass ! ....and they poo and wee where they want too!

rabbits United is a useful site with lots of knowledgeable people.

Pointeshoes Tue 25-Feb-14 09:34:12

Oh and the girl bunny will be getting neutered once she's a bit older, to prevent cancer and lengthen life.

Mogz Tue 25-Feb-14 10:26:44

Runaround.co.uk are fantastic, I met them at the east of England show a few years ago, thought the products were great for people who can't rabbit proof an entire garden.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 26-Feb-14 14:40:03

"A wild rabbit would run 5 miles a day"

I've just watched the "A Hutch is Not Enough" video.
Sobering stuff and sadly far too common an occurrence.

FernieB Wed 26-Feb-14 16:04:03

They do need oodles of space to run and many have nowhere near enough room.

70 - I have just told Current Bun he is supposed to run 5 miles every day. He is not convinced that applies to indoor buns only the inferior outdoor kind confused. He's more of a relaxing on a carpet type of bun. Although he does have mad moments when he tears round the house at full speed throwing a few binkies at the same time. Then he sleeps for 5 hours!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 26-Feb-14 16:40:48

Ah, Current Bun has the option to run 5 miles of laps round the house.
He chooses to run to the food bowl and away from the guinea-pigs.

Obviously indoor rabbits are superior to their wild cousins. Indoors have evolved to the micro-climate of modern house living.

(GP1 and GP3 reckon they are very clever to have evolved from Darkest Peru to Darkest Essex. They've never been further than Kent grin )

Mogz Wed 26-Feb-14 17:02:02

Aaah I love bunny binkies.

FernieB Wed 26-Feb-14 17:04:39

Mogz - it's the way he stops and states at us after a binkie awaiting our admiration wink

Mogz Wed 26-Feb-14 18:26:38

Our thriantha used to do that, if he thought we weren't paying enough attention he'd toddle over to us and thump on our feet. Or try to pull our shoelaces as hard as he could. I miss having a house bunny.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 26-Feb-14 19:20:01

I had to Google "Rabbit Binkeying" grin
I thought it must be like 'Popcorning' in guineas.

Ahhhhhh, it's lovely in a slightly bonkers way

FernieB Thu 27-Feb-14 07:02:54

Binkies are very funny as are 'mad runs' - where the bunny races round changing direction every few steps. They look slightly demented grin

Your GPs should be proud of themselves - it's a long way from Peru to Essex. My boys are rather smug that they have coped with the harsh northern climate of Cheshire and also have learnt how a fridge works and how to train a person to collect things from it. They've evolved well and are certain the next generation of GPs will have their own fridges.

HSMMaCM Thu 27-Feb-14 08:03:16

I have rabbits. One came from the rabbit rescue and they always have pairs needing rehoming. DD (age 14) was able to choose which rabbit she wanted to try to bond her existing rabbit with. She sat with them and groomed them and found the one she could handle best.

They have a shop bought rabbit cage with the door open, inside a large dog run. They free range with the hens and ducks every day.

My mindees also stroke and feed the rabbits. Luckily they are not biters and can just hop away when they've had enough.

FernieB Thu 27-Feb-14 08:16:11

That sounds like a great set up. You're right they do need the space and ability to get away when they've had enough attention.

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