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Small pets

What do I need to know about having rabbits as pets?

18 replies

Dancergirl · 08/08/2013 17:41

Dds 1 and 3 are keen on having rabbits. We've never had anything small and furry before, we have a very much loved cat.

My questions: if I get 2, should they be male or female? What do I need in terms of equipment? Can they live outside all year round? We don't have a garage or shed. What's involved in looking after them other than the obvious feeding etc? How often should the hutch be cleaned out?

And where's be the place to get them? We adopted our cat from Cats Protection, is there a similar organisation for rabbits?

OP posts:
Wheresmycaffeinedrip · 08/08/2013 17:53

They are best kept in pairs. Male and female is best but you do have to get them neutered.

They aren't always cuddly, many rabbits don't like being held so are t the cuddly cute pets that people expected. They can however be very friendly it all depends on the rabbit. They do take some work and handling (if they allow) to get them used to being handled etc. they can be kept outside bit winter months they will require heat pads , lots of straw, and insulated hutch covers and be placed in a sheltered area of the garden.

They also need vaccinating just like cats and dogs do they aren't a "cheap" pet. Hutch needs cleaning out about twice a week with daily removal of the toilet area. They need daily exercise and they can be noisy at night in way of chewing and thumping and running about in the hutch.

I love my bunnies though, I'm very lucky mine are pretty good at being handled and are beautiful. :)

readysteady · 08/08/2013 17:55

You need a male and female ideally already bonded and neutered see your local rabbit charity, they need a large hutch and run system if properly insulated lots of hay you can keep them outside if a sheltered spot. Lots of good rabbit websites for advice. They take daily care with a full clean at least weekly. They don't need rabbit food as such just lots of hay and grass and some veg. Do your research before just buying one from a pet shop.good luck

FernieB · 08/08/2013 19:17

As your DDs are so young a rabbit may not be the best pet for them. They do not like being held and can bite and scratch to get away. They need a huge amount of exercise and would need access to a large run. They can dig out of runs so would need to be supervised. They need vaccinations, claw clipping and regular brushing. They would need as large a hutch as you can get - most hutches in pet shops are not actually big enough. There are lots of good websites which give advice.

Floralnomad · 08/08/2013 19:24

I have a single ,large very grumpy rabbit . He lives out all year ,he has a 6' hutch to sleep in but all day is out in his pen which is about 10'x20' and like a rabbit adventure playground . I don't think rabbits make good children's pets ,I got ours from the RSPCA and its taken about 6 years for him to start being remotely friendly . Having said that we had a Belgian hare before this one and he was very friendly and very much like having a dog .

Bakingtins · 08/08/2013 19:31

They need a lot more space than most petshop hutch/runs would give them.
They need vaccinating and are prone to chronic dental problems which means expensive treatment.
They are social and should not be kept singly.
How you feed them is critical to good health, at least 90% grass or hay, with small amounts of veg and pelleted rabbit food, not muesli type.
They are not good for small children, don't like being lifted, have a powerful kick and can easily injure themselves or scratch the child if not handled securely.

Guinea pigs probably easier on all counts, but still need attention and cleaning out, and are a 5-8 yr commitment.

AdmiralData · 09/08/2013 17:18

Oooh if only I had asked this question myself two years ago lols. I have a giant house rabbit called 'Father Jack', he lives inside my home and is litter trained. He is incredibly loyal but will only be 'handled' (stroked) when he feels like it. They can be quite temperamental. Hay is a massively important part of their diet and they will need a fresh, clean supply every day. Clean food and water bowls are a must. Litter trays (if you choose a giant house rabbit) must be kept clean too which I find fairly easy. He has refused from day one to sleep in a pet bed of any kind so we resorted to freshly laundered bath towels that have been ironed with scented water and he will cuddle into those quite nicely :) (he is a bit mad). I also have a female house rabbit who is in the middle of litter training, she is incredibly playful but still a little skittish. I highly recommend a giant rabbit as long as you are prepared to pay them alot of attention, (mine sulk otherwise) HTH.

Steamedcabbage · 10/08/2013 20:18

I agree with the others on here. Although I dearly love rabbits (have two) and sing their praises as often as I can on Mnset ... if you don't mind me offering a really honest opinion... I think I would wait until your dc are a bit older (8 or 9 yrs is the ideal minimum age for rabbits I think) and until then, have guinea pigs instead.

I've kept both and gps are much more child friendly (as long as you are very calm with them when they first arrive).

As others have said, rabbits are not always amenable to being picked up, they can bite and scratch quite badly and generally can be a bit grumpy. This depends on how much you interact with them of course, but it can also just depend on the individual personality of the rabbit you end up with.

Gps on the other hand are very happy to be picked up and you can sit them on your lap etc - they are also much more vocal - and squeak when you open the fridge door etc.

If you do go for rabbits in the end though, there are lots of organisations around the country where rabbits are crying out for a good home. And the advantage of adoption is that you can buy and already bonded pair and they are sufficiently mature that their gender can be identified (not easy for first few months!)

Rabbits are very intelligent, full of curiosity and energy (and can jump quite high and run very fast and chew everything in sight) and so I think my best advice would be to take them on with the same mind-set that you would have when buying a puppy. Keeping them locked up in a hutch is no longer thought good practice. They need a lot of space with an outside run attached and need to be able to be able to get plenty of exercise every day and do things which come naturally to them like chewing and digging.

Good luck!

Steamedcabbage · 10/08/2013 20:19

Envy at AdmiralData's giant house rabbit!!

AdmiralData · 10/08/2013 21:45

steamedcabbage - he thinks he is a dog, in all fairness looooools.

Steamedcabbage · 11/08/2013 10:52

Fantastic name too! ... Is he a Flemish Giant? I once saw some in the garden of a house we were viewing (live in Belgium) and I couldn't get over their size ....

Steamedcabbage · 11/08/2013 10:52

Sorry for small hi-jack DancerGirl

Good luck with your decision!

tabulahrasa · 11/08/2013 10:57

They need way more space than you'd think.

Oh and yes, you get rabbit rescues...the RSPCA also have them available for adoption.

DoubleMum · 12/08/2013 13:51

We have house rabbits and love them to bits, as do our DCs (8 & 11). They don't want to be picked up though, and wouldn't sit still on your lap although one does love to be snuggled if you're on the floor with her. They come when we call and are generally like mischievous little puppies. They have free range of the downstairs so don't need to be put out in a run although we do in nice weather. Rabbits are easy to litter train, and I'd advise using a litter tray in an outside hutch too, much easier to empty every day.

AdmiralData · 12/08/2013 22:19

steamcabbage Nopes not Flemish, just plain English white giant :) x

Steamedcabbage · 13/08/2013 10:13

Didn't know there was an English variety of giant - thanks AdmiralData - [hurries off to Google]

AdmiralData · 13/08/2013 20:54

Sorry steamedcabbage he is an English grey but my bunny book insists he is 'English white' regardless of colour :)

Steamedcabbage · 14/08/2013 07:40

Same as horse terminology then AdmiralD!

CatsAndTheirPizza · 15/08/2013 00:50

I'd get one when it has already reached sexual maturity so that you can see what sort of temperament it has.

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