Talk to me about bunnies!(15 Posts)
We are planning on getting a rabbit In a couple of weeks.
Have had piggies before but not rabbits since I was child so I need to know all there is to know from you bunny experts please.
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits don't generally make good pets for children, if that's what you're intending. They often don't mind a fuss (on their terms), but hate being picked up
They should never be kept alone, always in pairs (so need to be neutered)
They need way more space than you'd imagine (the vast majority of caging/hutches sold in pet shops are way too small).
They need annual vaccinations/health checks
Their diet needs careful consideration, the majority of their diet should be hay, with a small amount of pellets (never museli) and limited veg/herbs. They have very sensitive digestive systems and quite a few things are toxic to them, so always check before feeding something new
They are very good at hiding illness/pain, so it's important to get them to the vet as soon as you notice a problem (like refusing food), as they can deteriorate rapidly
If you google RWAF, they have some excellent advice on care and housing (including min housing sizes)
They can be expensive if they get poorly, so you will either need insurance or have funds to cover vet bills (we were quoted 3.5k!!! to pin a fractured leg, we went with the splint option instead, but the bill still ran to about £800)
And please, please go to a rescue, rather than a pet shop. They are busting at the seams with abandoned bunnies
I hope this hasn't put you off, they can be very rewarding pets, but too often, people take them on, before realising how much care/consideration they require
Rabbits are great but not the best pets for children as they generally don't like being picked up and can kick, scratch and bite to get away. For kids, get pigs - far more interactive and cuddly. Rabbits will accept being stroked but often prefer to have their feet on the ground. Many kids get bored with rabbits as a result and there are lots stuck in rescues as a result. They're funny to watch running round and chasing each other but they do spend a large amount of time lying down.
You need two bunnies - they should have company of their own kind (never get two boys). I don't know if you're planning indoors or outdoors but most cages or hutches sold in pet shops aren't big enough for them as they need lots of room to run. They need daily access to a large area for exercise.
They need annual vaccinations and both sexes should be neutered. If you go for rescue bunnies, they'll often be neutered already and be a bonded pair. Also consider who'll look after them if you go away, they can live up to 10 years, so are a long commitment.
The kids love them so on balance worth it. But a lot of work and expense so ensure you up for that. Also if you get a pair get at least one neutered. We bought "sisters" and ended up with 5 extras...
If you get does, get them neutered regardless....there's a really high risk (I've seen 80% quoted) of them getting uterine cancer before their fifth birthday otherwise.
I'm going to disagree re the two boys thing - two females are more likely to fight, particulalry if unnuetered.
I can recommend a free ebook called the language of Lagomorphs which is well written and gives a good insight into bunny psychology!
We got landed with a bunny thanks to XH getting one from a mate. Brought it home in a cardboard box and then I had to run around getting all the stuff for it. Bunny was lovely to look at, but hated people with a passion! I have a couple of scars from him freaking out as I moved him from hutch to run. They can live a long time, too - up to 12 years - so giving a 12 year old a rabbit is fine, but they (or you) might still have it when they are 24.
I had bunny neutered in the hopes of making him less bolshy, but no luck.
bastard didn't die under the anaesthesia either He finally popped his clogs one sunny afternoon. He wasn't much mourned in our household, poor creature.
We've had house bunnies- they really bonded with us and used litter trays. My favourite loved being snuggled and would leap up to lounge about in bed or on the sofa with me just like a cat. He was too docile to do a lot but we had one who would chew absolutely everything, especially wires, so had to do a lot of safeguarding and supervision. Makes me so sad to think of bunnies stuck by themselves in hutches at the bottom of the garden. I think as pets their needs are woefully misunderstood.
Ours in a hutch but live free in enclosed garden during day so can run around. Agree seems sad for them to always be in hutches / runs.
Free range garden bunnies work well too. We've also had those and just made sure they're safe at night. I think people really underestimate the space they need! I'd have a bunny in a heartbeat now if we had the time/space, but I'm not at all sure i'd buy one specifically as a child's pet.
Great advice thanks so much for your replies. It's my 9 yr old ds who's desperate for bunnies. We previously had guinea pigs so fancy a change! Already have a large 2 tier hutch and run.
Was only going to get one though so am now re- thinking about getting 2!
We are about 6 months in to bunny ownership now after never having them before. Things we've learnt along the way are:
Our kids adore them and actually our bunnies love to be stroked and cuddled by the kids, although the vet advised from day 1 to be affectionate and show them fuss - a bun will acclimatise quite quickly to the status quo apparently, so if you don't do much interacting or picking them up and this is the lifestyle they'll accustom to and be very resistant to being cuddled the few times a child might re try. Our vet said it's a vicious cycle that has caused so many unwanted bunnies in rescue. So she advised we make sure they get regular attention and fuss from all members of the family and they'll get used to it.
We have a double storey hutch, with a panelled pet fence to about a 9ftx4ft run space that they are free to run about in from morning till night. Definitely be prepared for them to need more space than you think. The more we looked in to it, the more we realised we had under estimated how much space they like. Our buns love to run and hop about the space, it also has steps and bits to hide in etc to keep them happy, as I think a bored rabbit can be quite a destructive thing and will start chewing, scratching at things etc.
They have cost us a bit more than we anticipated both through the space required and bits and bobs to keep them entertained but they are worth every penny for the kids who absolutely adore them and love bursting out the door in the morning to give them their grub and let them out. We have 2 rabbits, a mini lop and an angora mix, both very chilled and happy to be handled but I think there are some breeds that are less child friendly so could also be worth a research prior too.
We have two rabbits since a year now. Originally a boy/girl sibling pair but the boy died unfortunately from a throat issue (couldn't eat anymore) and so we got the girl a new friend.
All came from an animal rescue, they are normally checked by a vet, come fully vaccinated and should also be neutered, both male and female. I had non-neutered females before and had fake pregnancies which stressed both girls and also both died from uterine cancer. There are so many abandoned rabbits, getting them from a rescue means unloved animals are having a great second chance. Most of them don't end there because of behaviour issues but because the owner got bored or couldn't cope for various reasons.
Both live outside in a hutch/run combo plus they have a 10ft run on the lawn. They live outside the whole year so in winter they are buried in a mountain of straw plus the hutch is covered in insulation foil and tarpaulin.
My two don't like to be picked up. My friend's rabbit is the most placid one you can find, he is not bothered at all. So, it really depends on the individual animal. But even if they are just for stroking in the run they are very funny, have great personalities and entertaining.
They need stuff to chew on. Rabbit teeth grow so hard things like cardboard boxes/tubes, willow tubes and balls etc are necessary on a daily basis. The hay also takes care of it but it is not really enough.
I had four rabbits for nine years, the most recent of my rabbits.
They are not good pets for children, at all.
Go to Rabbits United and read about care, health etc.
Get at least two. They don't like to be alone, it isn't fair.
Bear in mind they scratch and bite. If they bite and hold on, getting them off is quite a task, and they can cause a lot of pain!
Expect them to live eight or more years - fifteen years isn't unheard of. Bigger rabbits have shorter lives.
They will need to be neutered, for temper and to avoid some cancers.
Every time you go to the vet, your pet is 'an exotic' and will cost you the earth.
Honestly, get a single Syrian hamster, preferably an extra-large long haired one, instead.
They do make wonderful pets but are expensive and need a lot of attention. Please consider getting a bonded pair from a rescue rather than a pet shop, there are lots out there that need a loving forever home. We have two and I wouldn't be without them however I could do without the £2000 vet bill from one and constant house destruction from the other! I'd also strongly recommend insurance. We did have it but didn't renew hence the massive vet bill.
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