When Easter is around the corner, many people consider buying a pet rabbit, sometimes on a whim or as a gift for small children. While rabbits do make wonderful indoor companions (who can be litter-trained, just like cats), people should take the time to learn the reality of pet rabbit ownership.
Archive for the ‘Rabbit Care’ Category
The University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences is conducting a study of how rabbits are cared for in the UK.
According to Dr. Emily Blackwell, a member of the research team: “We are keen to hear from rabbit owners about all aspects of their rabbit’s life as very little is currently known about the way pet rabbits are kept in the UK. We want to know where rabbits live, how they behave, what they eat and how healthy they are, as well as how they interact with their owners.”
If you live in the UK and own a rabbit, go to www.survey.bris.ac.uk/awb/rabbitsurvey to complete the survey. Everyone who fills it out will have the opportunity to win 100 pounds.
As January comes to a close, we are entering a time when many people may be suddenly inspired to buy a pet rabbit. The Chinese Year of the Rabbit starts February 3rd, and Easter is around the corner on April 24th. Of course, at My House Rabbit, we love having rabbits as pets, and we love that many other people share that sentiment. However, before prospective bunny owners make any impulse buys, we wanted to encourage a few things:
Do your homework about pet rabbits first! Make sure a bunny is right for you and your family. Check out these articles:
- Thinking About Getting a Pet Rabbit?
- Children and Pet Rabbits
- Bunny Proofing Your Home
- Housing Options for Your Pet Bunny
Second, if you have done your research and are certain you can provide a loving home to a bunny, we strongly encourage you to adopt a bunny from a rescue or shelter. Shelters are overrun with homeless bunnies in need of forever homes. Check out the following article for many reasons why adopting a bunny is preferable to buying one from a pet store or breeder.
In closing, please don’t make impulse bunny buys! Pet rabbits are long-term commitments, and they are not by any means low-maintenance pets.
Wabbit Works, maker of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet, is having a pre-holiday sale of $5 off hay boxes and $5 off shipping if you order now. If you have free reign bunnies in your home, this hay box is a very good addition to your current setup. It greatly reduces mess, the hay stays dry and clean (eliminating a lot of waste), and you don’t have to keep replenishing the rabbit’s hay throughout the day.
For all UK rabbit owners: the RSPCA wants to hear from you!
Rabbits are the third most popular pet in Britain, and many end up in shelters across the country. The RSPCA is launching a campaign to improve rabbit welfare, and the first step is gathering information about rabbits and their owners currently.
So if you live in the UK, own a rabbit, and care about rabbit welfare, take the survey here: Great Big Rabbit Survey.
If you participate, you can download a free rabbit screensaver and enter a free prize draw for rabbit food and supplies.
We’ve recently added a couple new articles to our collection.
The first one describes the potentially deadly condition, GI stasis, and discusses causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. If you’re a bunny owner and unfamiliar with this condition, it’s an important read.
One very serious, fairly common health issue pet rabbits face is gastrointestinal stasis. GI (or gut) stasis is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely. [Read more]
The second article serves as a beginner’s guide to growing your rabbit’s food yourself. It will depend where in the world you are if the timing is right to start gardening – for me in New England, the gardening season will probably wind down in a month or so. But, for those who are new to gardening who want to give it a try, the article will provide an introduction, giving examples of vegetables that are fairly easy to grow. And when the time is right, you will be able to get started on your very own bunny garden.
One of the great things about owning a pet rabbit is that you can grow a lot of their food yourself in a backyard garden. In fact, you don’t have to be a master gardener or own a huge plot of land to grow a few of your bunny’s favorites. [Read more]
When we switched from store-bought timothy hay to a locally-grown timothy hay-orchard grass mix from a farm, we realized there was one disadvantage. The hay was more tangled together than the store-bought kind, and Cos, being very greedy/possessive of her food, started running away with large clumps of hay in her mouth. The hay got all over the carpet, and it was a big pain having to constantly clean it up.
Enter the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet. We recently acquired this durable (but lightweight) hay feeder from Wabbit Works. It’s actually large enough to hold a substantial amount of hay, unlike the hay feeders available at the pet store. This feeder caters to a rabbit with a proper hay-based diet. It keeps the hay contained (so no dragging large clumps out of the litterbox anymore), and it fits next to a litterbox. (We actually have three small litterboxes surrounding it because our rabbits seem to like having options.) There is less waste because the hay stays more or less in the feeder rather than being sat on in the litterbox.
Cosette eating out of the Screwy Rabbit Hay Buffet.
Coco takes his turn.
Cos gets jealous…
and joins him.
I get a lot of emails describing the same scenario: Bunnikins has taken to hopping on the sofa and peeing on it. It’s a frustrating situation and one that has happened in our household as well. I remember after the third time it happened with Cosette a few years back, I had picked her up and put her in her cage. (She still had a cage back then although it was always open.) I closed the cage door and closed the kitchen door where the cage was located. But even in the other room I could hear her thrashing around in the cage trying to break free. For a rabbit who detests being picked up and despises even more being cooped up in a cage, this was the greatest insult. I felt bad locking her in – and I did let her out again after an hour - but after that time, she never peed on the sofa again.
I later came across an incredibly useful article on the House Rabbit Society website which helps shed light on this behavior and suggests ways to train your rabbit. The article is called “FAQ: Training,” and under the heading “Behavior motivated by social structure,” it delves specifically into the peeing on the couch problem.
Anyone who is experiencing this issue should read the article. The entire article is actually very enlightening as well- covering various issues that most bunny owners will come across at some point.
Cosette with co-editor P.A. Smith in 2006.
We decided to build another 4×4 raised bed devoted just to lettuces and other bunny greens. They really do consume a lot. So yesterday I planted three different kinds of green leaf lettuce, more cilantro, and some basil plants.
In the fall, we’ll do another round of romaine lettuce, plus we’re going to try growing some bok choy as well.
In our new raised bed, we planted three different kinds of looseleaf lettuce, basil, and cilantro. In the background, we have a pot of mint, more lettuce, and carrots growing in the raised beds behind.
The cilantro I planted a few weeks ago in one of our other beds germinated. So Cosette will be happy in a little while when it’s big enough to eat.
We’ve expanded upon our experiment from last year to grow some of Coco and Cosette’s food. This season, we have four raised beds of fruits and veggies – both for the bunnies and ourselves.
For the bunnies, we have growing: Lettuce (pictured above), carrots, basil, broccoli leaves, dandelions, and apples (our trees have fruit this year!).
I might try growing cilantro next spring because it’s Cos’s favorite, but I’ve heard it can be difficult to grow.
UPDATE: Bought some cilantro seeds. I read that I still had time to plant them. So we’ll see how that goes. Also bought a mint plant that we’ll keep in a separate pot because apparently they spread quickly.