My feed

to access all these features

Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about the health of your pet, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.

Small pets

rabbit buying advice

25 replies

Blowninonabreeze · 19/02/2016 18:31

We're thinking about buying 2 rabbits as family pets and I'm in the early stages of researching them. (Purchase likely April/May)

Daft question, where is an ethical place to buy them from? I've only ever seen them in places like pets at home, but not sure where they get them from? Are they bred responsibly?!

All advice gratefully received

OP posts:
Wolfiefan · 19/02/2016 18:36

Research carefully. Rabbits can live for years. They often see out those years in unsuitable hutches.
They aren't always great family pets. Can be hard to handle. Need frequent handling or they won't be tame. They can have health issues. We had one with teeth that didn't meet. They needed regular trimming.
That said we had 4 bunnies growing up and I love them.
Watching with interest for more knowledgable folks and their advice!

Monkeyfeet12 · 19/02/2016 18:42

Rescue definitely. And yes do loads of research. They're not the best pets. We have two house rabbits a male and a female, both had to be neutered and vaccinated. They've had two horrendous fights!! Food is expensive and diet is very specific. They're lovely, have fab personalities and make us laugh out loud. But easy pets they're not!

DickDewy · 19/02/2016 18:46

I have seen people warning against Pets at Home on here, but we have had rabbits and hamsters from them and have been quite impressed with the staff's level of knowledge and care.

I'm so pleased you're getting 2 - rabbits really need company. Make sure their hutch is big and tall and that they have a really big run with lots of interesting things for them. Ours had an enormous run with a couple of tree stumps and underground tunnels. It was big enough that the children could go in and sit with them - rabbits hate being picked up ime, or ours did despite being very friendly.

Goadyflattery · 19/02/2016 18:46

Anywhere near Scotland?Grin
Apparently rabbits are the most neglected pets, I had one as a child and look back and think that we didn't know what we were doing.
Our local rescue has lots of rabbits and Guinea pigs. Might be worth a try?

rabbit buying advice
FernieB · 19/02/2016 21:48

Definitely a rescue. They'll be bonded, neutered and desperate for a nice home. There are loads of rabbits in rescues. People buy them for kids under the mistaken impression that they are fluffy, cuddly things that will snuggle on knees. They are at least fluffy! Very few like being picked up, although they will accept being stroked when they feel like it. So kids get bored with them and they end up neglected in a too small hutch at the end of a garden.

They are intelligent (mainly) and need lots of room to run. Do your research. Try the RWAF website for advice. There are other good rabbit websites but I can't remember them at the moment. Make sure you're getting them because you want them, not any kids, as you'll be looking after them. Think about who'll look after them when you're away.

Definitely look at rescues though.

fiverabbits · 19/02/2016 22:01

How old are your children ? I advised someone on here to let their children who were over 7 to sit in with the rabbits and let the rabbits come to them instead of the children trying to stroke/pick them up. I have 5 second home rabbits, 3 of them came from Pets at home. All 3 are big rabbits, 2 who were brought to be pair was up for rehoming at 16 and 22 weeks. The biggest weighs 4.9 kg and is difficult to pick up even by an adult. He is lovely, doesn't mind being picked up and loves a cuddle but is not really suitable for a child/someone not used to rabbits.

SoftSheen · 19/02/2016 22:11

The most ethical means of obtaining rabbits is from a good rescue. They should be able to supply you with a bonded (and neutered) pair.

Rabbits can make very good pets, provided you have realistic expectations. They can become very tame and friendly, but (with a few exceptions) most don't enjoy cuddles.

Rabbits need plenty of space. An average sized pair will need a hutch of 6' x 2' x 2' as a minimum, with an attached run of at least 10' long. Hutches sold in pet shops are rarely big enough. Larger breeds require a shed or wendy house to live in. Rabbits like to jump and run about, and need access to the run for (at least) the greater part of each day. They are great fun to watch, particularly in the early evening when they tend to be most active. Some people give their rabbits access to a run 24/7, but if you live in an area with lots of foxes it might be wise to keep the rabbits safely confined at night.

Rabbits can live for 8+ years, and need to be vaccinated and neutered, just like a dog or cat. Long-haired breeds require regular grooming, lop-eared breeds are prone to ear mites, and larger, heavier breeds are particularly prone to fly-strike. Take all these things into consideration.

Rabbits are not difficult to feed, but despite this, many become overweight through being fed unsuitable diets. The bulk of their diet should be good quality hay, supplemented with smaller amounts of rabbit pellets and green vegetables, with slices of fruit and carrots given only occasionally.

LastGirlOnTheLeft · 19/02/2016 22:15

I have always kept rabbits and have got them from pet shops. They need a LOT of care...not low maintenance as some people think! My dad made a run for them in the garden that I pull about every day across a massive lawn so they have fresh grass. I have tarpaulin that I pull over the run if it showers, held down by bricks. And they have a whole 10 feet greenhouse to themselves at night when it is cold, with soft soil so they can dig! I pick dandelion leaves as well as buying them food. My rabbits live for ten years BECAUSE of the effort.

fiverabbits · 19/02/2016 22:31


You sound like me. The 6 rabbits I have live in a double glazed extension at the back of the garage, in the winter they have a heater and in the summer they have a fan. On nice days they have most of the raised vegetable plot that is 28ft by 4ft with 3 hutches that is covered by tarpaulins for shade/ protection from wind and rain and then there are runs from this so they can go onto the lawn. We grow vegetables so that there is always something fresh for the rabbits. We have a camera in their house that shows up on a screen in the house so we can see what they are doing. The DD goes to see them at 5.20 am every day before she goes to work, then someone goes at 8am, 1pm,5pm, and 8pm.

Goadyflattery · 19/02/2016 22:37

Sounds like rabbit heaven five

midnightmoomoo · 19/02/2016 22:38

Oh a camera!!! I would love one of those.......I don't think I'd get anything done though, I love watching my bunnies play!!

LastGirlOnTheLeft · 19/02/2016 23:02

Hi five ( see what I did there Wink)

Wow that sounds fantastic! Yes you do sound like me..just caring about our rabbits, making sure they are sheltered, fed, watered, and cared for!!

rockabella · 20/02/2016 00:08


You are likely to get a rabbit to suit your needs and family that way, and you will also be given better advice and the rabbits will already be bonded and likely to be neutered (which is very important!)

Also, get the biggest run/hutch you can afford! Rabbits need a few hours to run about each day out of their enclosure, and if you are keeping them indoors you need a rabbit proof room as they will chew!

Do a lot of research, and with a little time an effort rabbits can be rewarding and wonderful family pets :)

EastMidsGPs · 20/02/2016 08:13

Or you could consider piggies ... ☺

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 20/02/2016 09:42

East much as I love guineas (and I do, mine are very spoiled and though they don't have a camera, though my DH bought a tiny camera to set up to my PC, I didn't let him though ) they have their Pighouse ( old playhouse) their heater, their fan, their removeable windows which are re-inforced with metal bars and mesh for flies, their run, their indoor cage................)

They are so different to rabbits (in practically every way apart from the fact they have fur). The things I don't like about rabbits are all the characteristics I love about guineas Grin.
Guineas are a bit dim , completely dependant and you need to think everything for them.
But they are huggable, bribeable and with the exception of my GP5 , non bitey as a rule.

So, I think if someone really set their heart on buns and got guineas, they'd be disappointed .

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 20/02/2016 09:43

Someone described rabbits as vegan cats which is quite apt Smile

FernieB · 20/02/2016 11:21

I would always have described myself as a bunny person, then nearly 5 years ago I was persuaded to get piggies for my DDs. I am a total convert to piggies (cover your eyes 70 - don't read thisGrin). They are lardy lumps of wheekiness and brilliant lawn mowers. I love my rabbit but he's a lot more work than the pigs, more destructive (he is a house bun) and naughtier.

Whatever you get OP, go the rescue route and do your research first.

megletthesecond · 20/02/2016 11:41

Rabbits need space and more space.

IME you need either a very secure garden so they can free range in for some time every day and/or space to be a house rabbit at night, they aren't happy being cooped up in a hutch or run. Think of them as more like cats or dogs. They're fantastic if treated properly.

I'm more of a piggy person (squeaky little lawnmowers) but I loved my late bunny for the few years I had her.

EastMidsGPs · 20/02/2016 12:00

Was joking about piggies rather than bunnies Smile
Am surrounded by bunny people .. those with indoor rule the roost bunnies and neighbours with 2 who appear to be semi feralConfused
Go for bunnies ... and pls consider rescue recently dropped off blankets and newspapers at my local rescue and she actally had more buns than gps in.

fiverabbits · 20/02/2016 13:17

More on how my rabbits live. Even though they are outdoor rabbits they have a rota to come indoors at least once a week for a cuddle, check on claws etc. Summer who is 7 years old comes in at 5 pm to sit on a chair and watch TV and eat his tea, he goes back out at 8 pm when the DD has to go to bed because of getting up at 5 am for work. In the better weather they take it in turns (Rosie and Wispa are a couple, Star and Dolly are a couple and then on their own are Summer and Biscuit because they hate each other, must be a ginger thing) to run loose in the garden and if the door is open they come in the house.

Wolfiefan · 20/02/2016 13:21

Five that's lovely.
We had a bunny that lived to be 13 I think. 13 years stuck in a tiny hutch or silly run. Hell.

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 20/02/2016 13:44

Ah, I love my lardy lumps of wheekiness (and yes they are brilliant lawnmowers even though we end up with rectangular locust invaded patches that makes out lawn look like weirdy crop circly things have occured Grin )

I love the fact when they scuttle off (as they do) "We don't want to be catcheded " , we need to scoop them up and say "No you don't"

Whereas a rabbit would give me a Naff off look and I'd be "Erm, okay"

I like creatures that don't climb. Don't object to being cuddled in my cardigan. Don't feel the need to be free range but actually appreciate being kept secure.

But a lot of people find them boring.

Yesterday we tried to find some dandelions but failed. GP6 was in the Pighouse wheeking because he heard us.
Their range of vocal communication is another plus point (and yes other furries make sound but nothing like piggies Grin )

Back to rabbits, they are the most neglected small pet sadly. And now getting to Spring and Easter, how many children will be nagging their parents for a rabbit? Sad

fiverabbits · 20/02/2016 14:41


I have had rabbits since 1982 when my DD was 3 and my DS was 1 but they were mine to look after. As they are now 37 and 35 years old but still live at home we are all looking after the 6 rabbits, I have always said NO pet should be left to a child not even a hamster.

70isaLimitNotaTarget · 20/02/2016 15:04

I browsed Gumtree Rabbits over the past 24 hours.
There were in excess of 250 rabbits for sale. Shock
One site.
One day.
250 rabbits.

OK, some might be re-posted
A handful were Rescues.
Most were baby rabbits (possibly Breeders, but more likely Hobby breeders or accidental)

Many were 6+months old single rabbits.

And (I don't know how much vaccines cost but I paid £58 to have one of my piggies castrated) many were neutered/vaccined and for sale for £10. So basically they wanted rid.

I have never kept rabbits myself but that has saddened and angered me .
I'm regularly putting my blood pressure up a notch reading about the guineas that "Kids got bored with/want a puppy/got allergic to/grew out of"

Stay.Off.Gumtree 70.

five the piggies belong to DD and I , but as the alledged adult, I do most of it , even though I tell DD that my pig doesn't pee or pooh so she should do the cleaning. Hasn't ever worked Grin

fiverabbits · 20/02/2016 17:04


That is awful about gumtree, I can't look at it.

When we bought Summer 7 years ago from a breeder along with his brother and sister she said are you going to breed from them. She was stunned when we said No they are going to be neutered. We have 8 second homers and fostered one for 14 months but we have been offered loads more but didn't have room for them. We will never buy a rabbit again only rescue them.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.