For anyone who has a rabbit - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-19-2003, 05:33 PM
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I was thinking about getting a bunny and I just wanted to get some advice about a few things from people who have a rabbit or know a lot about them.

First of all, is it healthy to keep a bunny indoors all the time? I was thinking about putting the bunny cage in my apartment year round, is this sanitary and healthy? Can bunnies really be potty trained? Where is the best place to get a bunny?

I am not very knowledable about bunny care but I haven't yet decided if I want to get one yet although I am seriously considering it.

If anyone has a bunny, could you please tell me how they are as companions overall...thanks so much!
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#2 Old 03-19-2003, 05:53 PM
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Two rabbits is better than one IMO.
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#3 Old 03-19-2003, 07:04 PM
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Well, I don't have a bunny, but I can answer some of your questions.



Yes it's okay to keep a bunny indoors all the time. Actually, I think it's safer that way: the bunny isn't exposed to extreme weather, insects, predators, stupid neighbours etc. Plus you get to see him/her more often and snuggle them more You'll just need to bunny proof your house, i.e. secure electrical cords, covering up outlets, etc.



As far as being sanitary, as long as you clean out the cage once a week, there shouldn't be a problem.



Yes bunnies can be potty trained. The rabbits I took care of at the shelter used a litter box all the time for peeing in. Not so much for the poops, but those are easy to clean up.



A shelter or rabbit rescue would be the best place to get a bunny. Don't trust pet stores! Not only do they contribute to pet overpopulation by supporting breeders, pet store animals are usually not well looked after. They can have a variety of health problems, and depending on how stupid the staff is, could even come to you pregnant. So I definately recommend either a shelter or a rescue.



Lots of times shelters will have rabbits, but they don't advertise them like they do their dogs and cats. So call around.



As far as general husbandry, I would recommend that the largest cage you can afford. I hate to see bunnies stuck in tiny cages. Also, do not get a cage with a wire floor, as these can lead to foot problems. They will also need floor time and cuddle time



Never use cedar or non-kiln dried for their litter, as studies have shown these can lead to health problems. I would recommend Care Fresh.



For food, good quality rabbit pellets, fresh veggies, and HAY! Hay is really important for roughage, and for their teeth.



They'll need a little house that they can hide in, a wood block to chew on, and toys.



Also, you may want to look for a rabbit that has been neutered or spayed. They tend to be less aggressive, more friendly, easier to litter train, and live longer. And unless your rabbit is altered, getting a friend would be difficult; same sex because they might fight a lot, different sex because you'd have loads of babies on your hands. If you can't find one that's already been altered, the surgery is relatively as safe and easy as it is for dogs and cats.



I love bunnies, and was very tempted to adopt one we had at our shelter, but with 2 guineas, a cat and a dog, our apartment is kind of full. They are wonderful little guys, fun to cuddle with, and fun to watch hopping around.



Good luck with your decision. I know Avalon has a bunny, maybe she'll post about her experiences.
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#4 Old 03-19-2003, 07:05 PM
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http://rabbithugs.uniquepixie.net/rabbitinfo.html



They say it is easy to potty train a rabbit...
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#5 Old 03-20-2003, 08:47 AM
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Thanks very much for all your info Silver C, you have been very helpful!

Great link Mushroom, thanks!
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#6 Old 03-20-2003, 06:53 PM
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First of all, check out the House Rabbit Society website at:



http://www.rabbit.org



They have some great information about rabbit care.



It is actually better to keep your pet rabbit indoors. Rabbits do not respond well to changes in temperatures or extreme temperatures. It's best to keep them in a regulated environment.



Rabbits are very clean animals! They groom themselves like cats do and, in my experience, are extremely easy to litter train. As a general rule, rabbits will usually pick a corner of their cage to urinate in, and all you have to do is stick a litter box or pan in that corner. As long as you keep on top of the cleaning, rabbits don't smell. I usually clean litter boxes out every second day and that keeps them non-stinky.



The best place to get a rabbit is from your local rabbit rescue or humane society. Rabbit rescues will usually have a lot of wonderful rabbit care information available for you and will help you out with sources for good rabbit feeds, toys and housing- which is harder to find then you'd think! They also usually adopt out spayed or neutered rabbits, which cuts down your vet bills in the future. Some Humane Societies will spay and neuter rabbits before adoption, and others will not.



Never purchase a rabbit at a pet store! Not only are most pet store rabbits unhealthy because of improper nutrition, social groupings, housing etc. but buying any animal from a pet store increases the number of unwanted animals.



Rabbits are pretty territorial animals, but they are social and need to have interaction with another animal- rabbit, guinea pig or human (or preferably two or all of the above!) The good thing about rescues is that they usually adopt out rabbits in pairs, so that way you know you are getting a good match.



I was a total cat person before I got to know my first rabbit, and now I don't think I'll be able to return! They are amazing animals to have around, but they do take a lot of care and are just as expensive as a dog or cat to keep.



Good luck, but be careful, once you venture into the world of the rabbit, you may never come back!
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#7 Old 03-20-2003, 07:04 PM
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some stuff in addition to SilverC's great advice:



always make sure you get timothy hay (or another grass hay such as oat) and NOT alfalfa or any other type of hay mixed with alfalfa (a legume). alfalfa is too high in calcium and protein for buns.



i made my buns a cage out of rubbermaid cubes (or neat idea cubes) which i attached together with ties. the rabbit cages that are available commercially are usually too small, and the ones that are big enough are usually hugely overpriced. I made my cage for about $100 (Canadian)- and has a cool second level and rugs. the floor space is easily four times that of a commercial cage that retails for $100 and it was fun to make.



check out Cavy Spirit, they have awesome cages for our wonderful cavy friends that can be modified for rabbits....



http://www.cavycages.com
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#8 Old 03-21-2003, 02:32 PM
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Thanks VPrincess, I think you have definitley persuaded me to get a rabbit, they do sound like a great companions!
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#9 Old 03-21-2003, 04:06 PM
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Our humane society always has several bunnies. I would imagine there will be quite a few a month or so after Easter. Might want to check with them.

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#10 Old 03-21-2003, 06:50 PM
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oh, i'm so glad you are seriously thinking about getting a rabbit.



we need more responsible people giving rabbits homes!
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#11 Old 03-22-2003, 08:44 AM
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Tova, please contact your area shelters and if they have no rabbits, ask them to put you in touch with a rescue group. Actually, if you can tell me what state you're in, I have a friend who has been involved in bunny fostering for years and she might be able to provide me with names of orgs in your area. She's told me many heartbreaking stories about having to turn away rabbits. With Easter coming up, you can bet that the shelters will be overcrowded with them soon, and since they're not the usual critter people think of adopting, they're often euthanized.



I'd also suggest getting two. Get what's called a "bonded" pair. Sometimes the arrive in the shelter that way and it's hard for the shelter to find a home for them without splitting them up.



From what I've heard about them, they make wonderful companion animals.
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#12 Old 03-23-2003, 09:39 PM
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Thanks to all for your responses!

Tsila, I'm in New Hampshire, if you could give me some organization names, that would be very helpful!
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#13 Old 03-24-2003, 07:06 PM
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My friend who fosters bunnies gave me this link. One option you may want to consider is to try fostering a rabbit first. That way, you save a rabbit from being the next one moved down "the line" at the shelter and you also get to experience what it would be like to care for one so that you can figure out if you think it's the thing you really want to do.



http://www.worldpath.net/~wchess/index.html



There's also a link to a rabbit care site at the previous website that could be of help to you at some point.



http://rabbitcare.cjb.net/



I think you'll have fun. My friend and her family have been opening their home to bunnies for years and aside from the heartbreak associated with fostering rabbits that she knows would otherwise be killed, and having to say "no" to people who are constantly trying to get rid of the adult end result of what was really cute at Easter, I think that she finds it entertaining and rewarding.
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#14 Old 03-25-2003, 12:22 PM
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Soilman loves rabbits. Rabbits love soilman. Free rabbits visit soilman. We sip tea and chat.



Rabbits are not an endangerd species. Animal shelters don't usually have rabbits that need a home. There aren't large numbers of rabbits who "need a home." People get "pet" or "companion" rabbits -- from people who breed rabbits for a profit.



Notice I merely stated some facts, blandly, and did not make any effort to debate anything.
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#15 Old 03-25-2003, 03:05 PM
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Sorry to disagree with your "facts" Soilman, but there are thousands of rabbits who need homes. Like you said, these rabbits are bred to be pets. As a result they can't survive in the wild. Shelters have lots of rabbits that need homes.
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#16 Old 03-25-2003, 06:13 PM
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many shelters have rabbits up for a adoption. i can also list off more than a dozen websites around North America that are associated with rabbit rescues. the only reason why there aren't as many rabbits at shelters as cats and dogs is because people who own rabbits seem to be more idiotic than most dog and cat owners, which doesn't say much, and frequently dispose of unwanted rabbits outside instead of at shelters, feeling that rabbits can survive in their "natural habitat". however, our domestic rabbit is not the same species as wild rabbits and can not survive in the wild.



soilman, are you implying that just because rabbits aren't endangered means we shouldn't care about them?
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#17 Old 03-26-2003, 09:48 AM
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Tsila, I went to the House Rabbit Society site and ended up calling the number closest to my home town. The man was very helpful but I suppose he made me see more of reality when I talked to him and I realized that I probably cannot afford a rabbit financially. I'm a little bummed because I really wanted a little rabbit friend. Anyway, he said that medical costs can be very high for rabbits and there usually is always at least a few costly hospital trips with a rabbit in it's life time. He has a few rabbits and has spent over $400 in the last few weeks and that is just not something I can do!

He knew of 2 bonded rabbits that needed a home and the present owner was going to throw in the cage and supplies for free. Sounded nice but then there's the cost of spaying and then all the medical in addition to that. I guess this is just something I can't do right now financially. I didn't realize that they had so many medical problems. Maybe I should just get a cat (eventhough I really can't because I have 2 birds).

Anyway, I'm a little disappointed but I know it wouldn't be smart to take a bunny into my life if I couldn't take care of it properly.
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#18 Old 03-26-2003, 02:16 PM
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aww i think the cost of living with a cat as opposed to a bun is very similar, excluding cost of the cage, but if the owner of the pair is throwing it in free it's not an issue. are the pair same sex? if they're bonded already maybe they're not aggressive enough to even need spaying right away, it could be something you save up for and do later.

as far as food and litter, i don't think it'd cost any more than it would for a cat. and honestly i have no problems providing for my cat even though i'm rediculously broke. a big bag of food lasts me a few months and is only about 20 bucks, ditto for the litter. it's like 10 bucks a month if you break it down that way. i don't know how much rabbit food goes for, but i know you can use the same litter i have for buns, which is yesterday's news, recycled newspaper pellets. very cheap and lasts forever.



mind you i don't have a bunny so i couldn't tell you about medical costs, but like i said if they get along already spaying could probably be put off for a bit

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#19 Old 03-26-2003, 03:23 PM
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This is from the Calgary Humane Society webpage. Prices are Canadian:



Quote:
The Rabbit Budget

For a medium sized (5kg), spayed female rabbit (costs to trim teeth are not shown here):



One Year Cost (Approximate)



Food and Supplies 11kg bag of pellets every two months @ $8.00 $48.00

Alfalfa cubes or bales @ $4.00 48.00

Fruits and vegetables 20.00

4 bales of wood shavings or straw per year for bedding 32.00

3 tubes of anti-furball medication @ $7.50 22.50

1 bag Yesterday's News litter (30lbs) every 3 months @ $18.00 72.00



Veterinary Care Annual exam 51.00

Nail trim every 2 months @ $10.00 60.00



Vacation 2 weeks rabbit care @ $10.00 per day 140.00



Subtotal $493.50

GST $34.55

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL $528.05



One Time Costs:

Spaying (female) and tattoo $150.00

Indoor housing (hutch, cage or kennel) - varies 80.00

Food bowl and water bottle or bowl 10.00

Brush and comb 12.00

Harness and leash 12.00

Litter pan and scoop 8.00

Good book on rabbits 10.00

Toys 20.00



Subtotal $302.00

GST $21.14

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL $323.14



Healthy rabbits generally live 5 to 8 years. The above does not include emergency medical care. Rabbit owners should plan to spend 1 to 2 hours a day cleaning, handling and exercising the animal. A thorough cleaning of the enclosure should be done weekly.



Is it worth it? YOU BET IT IS!



The Cat Budget

For a spayed female, 12-pound, domestic long haired cat:



One Year Minimum Cost (Approximate)



Food and Treats 4 cans of cat food (396g) per month @ $1.99 $95.52

1 bag dry cat food (3.6kg) per month @ $18.95 227.40

12 tins of cat treats @ $2.00 24.00



Veterinary Care Yearly visit - exam and vaccinations 71.00



Grooming 1 container cat litter per month @ $12.00 144.00

6 trips to vet for nail clipping @ $15.00 90.00

4 tubes of anti-furball medication @ $7.50 30.00



Vacation 2 weeks cat care @ $10.00 per day 140.00



Subtotal $821.92

GST $57.53

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL $879.45



One Time Costs:



Spaying (female) and tattoo $150.00

Food and water dishes 8.50

Collar, leash and harness 18.00

Brush and comb 15.00

Litter pan and scoop 8.00

Small scratching post 30.00

Cardboard travelling box 5.00

Toys and miscellaneous 20.00



Subtotal $254.50

GST $17.82

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL $272.32



The above does not include emergency medical care, initial vaccinations, the cost of an outdoor cat run or bed. This also does not include the cost of your time needed for walking, playing and caring for your cat.



Is it worth it? YOU BET IT IS



Like it says, this doesn't include emergencies, which happen for cats just as often as for rabbits. With cats and dogs, you can get Health Insurance, that will cover a certain amount of the bills. At the present time, rabbits aren't covered.



If you really feel that you can't afford it, then I think you are doing the right thing by not getting a pet at this time. More people need to act as responsibly as you
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#20 Old 03-27-2003, 07:54 PM
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I spend about $50 a month on feed for my rabbits (hay, pellets and vegetables) and I get furball medication every few months. Alot of people don't realize that it's costly to keep rabbits, but they are definately worth it if you can swing it! There are ways to save some money- use newspaper instead of shavings etc. for bedding (if they don't eat the newspaper!), make toys for them instead of buying, build affordable housing, try to find hay from a local source and not from the pet feed store etc.



Hopefully one day you'll be able to adopt a rabbit or two!
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#21 Old 03-27-2003, 07:58 PM
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We have a bunny- we just got her before Christmas, and already she is one of the best friends we've ever had.



Also: don't buy one of those crappy commercial cages! Half of them aren't even big enough for buns! I built mine in the neat ideas cubes style for about $40. I will tell you all about it, when I get home tonight.
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#22 Old 03-29-2003, 12:18 PM
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Tova, check your messages. I sent you some info.
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#23 Old 05-12-2003, 12:46 AM
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i know everyone has already given lots of great information but i just have to share...



i used to have three bunnies (they have all passed away unfortunately) and they were some of the most beloved companion animals i have ever had the pleasure of sharing a home with. i would love to adopt more but right now i have a cat so it isn't really an option.



naturally it was kind of costly but it didn't seem to be more expensive than caring for a cat or dog. we trained them to use the litterbox and it was pretty effective except we would find some stray "presents" here and there. we gave our rabbits a cage which they usually slept in, so it could be their space, but we left it open and gave them free reign of our house, which was bunnyproof. we also took them outside and let them run around supervised in a fenced area of the garden for short periods of time and they seemed to really enjoy it.



one word of advice to any girl who decides to adopt a bunny: make sure to keep your shoes put away. i had to throw out several pairs of my favorite shoes because my bunnies nibbled them to pieces.



if you someday decide it would be practical to bring a bunny into your home, i wish you the best of luck! sorry for such a long post, but i love my little bunnies so much, and i would be happy to see anyone experiencing the same kind of joy. call me the bunny evangelist.
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#24 Old 05-12-2003, 09:19 PM
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I just wish ours was poop trained properly. ...and she bit through Trevor's mouse two days ago and killed his mouse port.
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#25 Old 05-13-2003, 01:01 AM
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for a second i thought you meant a real live mouse
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#26 Old 05-14-2003, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
i would love to adopt more but right now i have a cat so it isn't really an option.



i have 2 bunnies and presently 8 (i foster) cats (and a guinea pig too!). the cats all get along with the rabbits. perhaps your cat might too. i think it depends on if the cat was once a "feral" and had to kill its food in order to survive. my cats couldn't kill a fly if they all tried together. well, i guess they could trample it to death.
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