Author Topic: Need to know bunny basics!  (Read 5450 times)

Offline Aich

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Need to know bunny basics!
« on: November 20, 2011, 10:43:18 AM »
I'm Aich, I was on this forum before as Paefin but lost that account. So hi everyone  :wave2:

A little background -- I'm 15 years old and have 2 rats whom I love dearly and 3 little girl mice, whom are the most adorable little buggers ever!

I'm now considering adopting a rabbit. I'm going to be adopting from the fairfax county animal shelter. I'm going to probably adopt the oldest, biggest rabbit they have, since I'm a sophmore in high school and may not be able to take it to college with me. (Of course, my parents will take care of it for me if it ends up living longer than three years, but we're hoping that won't happen because my parents don't really love rodents.)

I think I have the time and we definitely have the money for it.

Moving on to the important stuff. I do have some questions about my potential bunny.

Will a shorthaired rabbit be able to go through a Northern Virginia winter (down to maybe 15 or 10 degrees farenheit) without an insulated shed or heating? Many websites I've read suggest that rabbits are fine then. If it does get adjusted to the cold, will I be able to bring him or her inside to play with me without harming her? Some websites suggest that can be dangerous.

What will I feed my rabbit? Can she eat the same food I give my rats and mice (mixed cereals and grains with some dog food mixed in) with timothy hay added? Or should I take out the dog food since rabbits are herbivores?

Thanks in advance for any help I receive, I'll definitely be back here if my parents do agree to the rabbit (I suspect they will). And please mention if there's anything in specific that you think I wouldn't know about bunnies, because you're probably right!

I really want to do this right, so thanks again for your help! -Aich

Offline Lace_and_Buttons

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 07:01:07 PM »
So, I'll start by saying that rabbits aren't rodents, they are of the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha. Their teeth grow constantly like rodents, but they are in a different order. Probably doesn't make a difference to your parents, just thought I'd say so though.

Before you get a rabbit, I'd make sure that your parents are invested in the care of them. You can't count on a rabbit dying before you go to college, and rabbits can live up to 10 years. Even if you get an older one, chances are that they'll still be around when you go to college. Another consideration is the cost of a rabbit. You'll want to provide proper housing for them, which depends on the rabbit you get. Many people use exercise pens for cages or make their own, as ANY store bought cage you can find is going to be too small. I run a small rescue and my rabbit rescues have the run of a hallway and bathroom, which is about 40 square feet of space. Beyond housing, rabbits eat A LOT. They cost much much more in food per month than mice or rats (you're talking around 40 bucks, if you're lucky, per month per rabbit). Toys, bedding, and other supplies also cost a lot. Not to mention vet bills. Are your parents paying for this? Because if they aren't you have to be prepared to shell out 50 bucks a month (food, hay, bedding, etc.) provided that nothing goes wrong and you don't have to go to the vet.

Honestly, I would never keep a rabbit outside. There are outdoor predators, a lot of temperature changes, fleas/mites/etc. It's a lot of hard work to make a safe outdoor enclosure for a rabbit (you've got to give them protection from the elements, predators, and make sure they can't dig out of their enclosure), plus it's harder to interact with them on a day to day basis. For me, it's a lot easier to remember to feed an animal and give it the attention it needs when it lives inside with me.

Please do not feed a rabbit what you feed your mice and rats. Rabbits over a year old need a high quality timothy hay based pellet (1/4 of a cup a day for a six pound rabbit), 2 cups of fresh veggies (feed at least three different veggies a day), and unlimited timothy hay. Hay makes up 75% of their diet, and believe me, they eat A LOT of it (I had 3 rabbits go through 9 pounds of hay in a month). Here's a link to diet for rabbits, it also has a link to what veggies they should be fed: http://binkybunny.com/BUNNYINFO/Diet/tabid/60/Default.aspx .

I would suggest finding a rabbit specific forum for more research. I like Binky Bunny: http://binkybunny.com/FORUM/tabid/54/Default.aspx and their basic information pages are also good: http://binkybunny.com/BUNNYINFO/tabid/53/Default.aspx .

I would look over those and you'll get a good idea. But really, if your parents aren't invested and excited about the prospect of taking care of a rabbit when you go to college, I'd stick with what you have. It's not fair to the pet, and it likely will lead to neglect after you leave if they aren't serious and educated too about the necessary care.
Taking care of animals is a full time, fulfilling duty, and I wouldn't have it any other way. AR Rescue and Sanctuary: http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Rodents-AR-Rescue-and-Sanctuary/268227383214728

Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 12:30:08 PM »
You're right, I will either get my parents' full approval or plan to take the rabbit to college with me. (There are bunny-friendly colleges out there! I checked :) ) My parents will be paying for the animal, possibly with help from me, but they're not the type to abandon an animal in need if I can't pay my part of the deal.

I agree about not keeping it outside, I think I would keep it in the basement as most of the family doesn't go down there often so smells or noises would not be so much of a problem. It's also well insulated and stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Your other points are very good, I've been doing a lot of research since I originally posted, so thank you for the information and for bringing up the point about my parents. I think I was indeed rushing into it and I definitely need to put more thought into it before I do anything. I'll be running this by my therapist who works with my family.

-Aich

Offline Lace_and_Buttons

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 12:39:53 PM »
Taking your time with this is good, and doing as much research as you can (and also making sure that the information you collect is accurate) will let you know beforehand if a rabbit is the pet for you. I don't know what pets you've had other than rats and mice, but rabbits take a lot of work and upkeep. They need monthly grooming (brushing, nail clipping, checking their teeth, cleaning their scent glands) and ideally they should be spayed or neutered, which helps with litter training, behavior, health, and generally, life span.

Rabbits also typically aren't as social as rats, not by a long shot. It depends on the rabbit, but most don't like to be held and many aren't cuddly animals. It can also take months for them to learn to trust you.

Just a few more things to consider.
Taking care of animals is a full time, fulfilling duty, and I wouldn't have it any other way. AR Rescue and Sanctuary: http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Rodents-AR-Rescue-and-Sanctuary/268227383214728

Offline Sorraia

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 01:49:43 PM »
Definitely take your time doing the research. While rabbits can live outdoors, it is much much better for them to live indoors with their family. Outdoors present a lot of variables and dangers, much the way it does for cats (really, it is best for cats to live indoors too! though many people don't keep their cats indoors all the time...). Look for or build the biggest enclosure you can, but keep in mind rabbits like to have lots of room to play. I have a double-level Bunny Abode for my two rabbits, and it suits them well but they still need to come out for play time to stretch their legs. Some people build "x-pens" for their rabbits which can work well too, given the right circumstances. (For me a secure cage is necessary, since I have two dogs in the house. Though the dogs are not allowed access to the room the rabbits live in, a secure cage is a double security measure just in case the dogs do manage to get in that room.)

I personally do not find rabbits *that* expensive to care for. The most expensive part of their care is the veggies, but since they can eat a lot of what I can eat, I'm mostly sharing with them. I have horses, so I buy hay in bulk instead of those cute little packages you get from the pet store. That means I'm paying $16 for some 70-80 (maybe as much as 100) pounds of hay. My rabbits do NOT eat that much hay in a month! The amount of hay they eat in a month actually costs pennies. (Horse hay IS suitable for rabbits too, as long as it is properly stored and handled. Horses are more sensitive to feed than cattle, so it needs to be clean and free of mold, just as it needs to be for rabbits. Hay that has been properly baled and stored will be clean, dry, free of mold, and nutritious. If you buy horse hay, you just want to be sure you have a place to store it - the bales can be large! You will also want to ask to check inside the bale, don't just judge by the appearance of the outside.) I also buy pellets from a local mill, a 50 pound bag (which is well over what my rabbits can consume in a month) costs about $10. If you don't have these options you might end up spending a lot more in feed, but these are considerations you can keep in mind.

Daily attention and grooming are big things for rabbits. They really are social animals, and if you can it may be better to consider looking for a bonded pair than a single rabbit. Even though my rabbits are a bonded pair, I definitely notice they get upset if they don't get the same amount of attention every day. If for example I don't feel well for a few days and can't give them as much attention, they will be mopey and aloof the next day I am able to give them more attention. Rabbits, even short-haired rabbits, do shed a lot too, so grooming is essential. Rabbits will groom themselves and ingest some hair, forming hairballs that can cause dangerous or even fatal impaction in their intestines.

As already stated rabbits aren't that cuddly either. Mine are very interactive with me, one more so than the other (they have very obvious personality differences), but they do NOT like being held. They don't even tolerate being held. They would much rather have me sit on the ground while they hop around exploring, playing, and coming to me to investigate before going on their merry way. They aren't quite as hands-off as goldfish, but definitely not nearly as tolerant of handling as rats.

I will have to look up the site, but there is one rabbit forum I'm on that's got a lot of great information. I *think* it is Rabbits Online, or something like that, but I'm not entirely positive.
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Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 03:07:27 PM »
I am doing lots of research, don't worry. :) if I do get a bunny she/he will be a well-fed, appropriately vaccinated little bunny princess!

I am wondering about the cuddly part though. I know that some rabbits like to be petted. Are they cuddly as long as you're not holding them in place or up in the air? Could I, for example, sit BESIDE my rabbit (given that I got the cuddliest one out of about 8 at the adoption centre right now) and pet her and would she lie there and enjoy it? Honestly, I'm looking for the most cuddly pet I can get. Are ferrets more consistently cuddly than rabbits?

Or what WOULD you recommend, cuddles-wise? The thing is that I can't have a dog or a cat (we already have a dog and my mom is basically the only one he'll cuddle with), it has to be a small pet, and I have to be able to take care of it entirely or almost entirely on my own. Should I look for something other than a rabbit? I think a raabbit's really what I want though... :P

Offline Lace_and_Buttons

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 04:21:15 PM »
I am doing lots of research, don't worry. :) if I do get a bunny she/he will be a well-fed, appropriately vaccinated little bunny princess!

I am wondering about the cuddly part though. I know that some rabbits like to be petted. Are they cuddly as long as you're not holding them in place or up in the air? Could I, for example, sit BESIDE my rabbit (given that I got the cuddliest one out of about 8 at the adoption centre right now) and pet her and would she lie there and enjoy it? Honestly, I'm looking for the most cuddly pet I can get. Are ferrets more consistently cuddly than rabbits?

Or what WOULD you recommend, cuddles-wise? The thing is that I can't have a dog or a cat (we already have a dog and my mom is basically the only one he'll cuddle with), it has to be a small pet, and I have to be able to take care of it entirely or almost entirely on my own. Should I look for something other than a rabbit? I think a raabbit's really what I want though... :P

Honestly, rats (specifically squishy boys) if you want cuddly, and even then it depends on the rat. Most small animals (save for ferrets really) are prey animals and have prey instincts, i.e., most of the time they don't like to be held, restrained, picked up, or "cuddled". And with ferrets, it depends. I don't have much experience with them myself, but my friend has two, and one WILL bite if you try to hold her and the other will tolerate being held for a few minutes, before getting squirmy and wanting down. Really and trully though, as far as prey animals/small animals go, rats are the most exquisitely affectionate I've ever seen.

Rabbits are affectionate in their own way, and I think they are fun to interact with. And they can grow to trust you but it can take weeks or months, and even then, they may not be the cuddly mush you're looking for. Some rabbits will come up to you and interact with you when they want attention, or climb in your lap, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. It's hard to see how they will actually be in your home when they are in a shelter as well, because it's not comfortable in those places, and I'd imagine they are on edge there from all the weird sounds, etc.

In my experience, out of 5 rabbits that I've taken in, one was a sweet and affectionate boy, the others were varying degrees of scared whenever I was around at first, or they cared more about running around constantly, rather than stopping to sit by me. Even the sweet boy wasn't take affectionate, not like a rat would be anyway.

In short, it takes a while and I think it's a rare rabbit that is cuddly and likes being held, and it takes patience to build that trust. But even if they aren't cuddly, I think they are still super entertaining and fun to watch.
Taking care of animals is a full time, fulfilling duty, and I wouldn't have it any other way. AR Rescue and Sanctuary: http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Rodents-AR-Rescue-and-Sanctuary/268227383214728

Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011, 05:46:02 PM »
I don't know, I just feel this draw to rabbits. So I'll probably try at least fostering one anyway. I've heard the larger, the cuddlier, so I'll probably go for just the biggest bun they have at the shelter (IF my parents end up letting me get one, which seems much more iffy than it did before now). I know she/he'll cost more and require more room, but so be it.  :yelcutelaugh:

I do have two rats, but they're girls (they were adopted and the only options at the time). I love them dearly but they're pretty affectionate, but not cuddly at all. So I want to try rabbits. We'll see if they meet my animal needs :)

Offline Sorraia

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 05:58:38 PM »
I am wondering about the cuddly part though. I know that some rabbits like to be petted. Are they cuddly as long as you're not holding them in place or up in the air? Could I, for example, sit BESIDE my rabbit (given that I got the cuddliest one out of about 8 at the adoption centre right now) and pet her and would she lie there and enjoy it? Honestly, I'm looking for the most cuddly pet I can get. Are ferrets more consistently cuddly than rabbits?

That's going to depend on the individual rabbit. My two current rabbits don't really care to be petted much either. I can pet the male 3 or 4 times before he's done, and the female 2 or 3 times if I'm lucky. *Maybe* able to get a couple more pets in if I distract them with food (especially the female, she's a little more food motivated than the male). They are interactive with me, but they prefer it be hands-off interaction, and prefer to initiate the interaction.

Many years ago I had a mini rex rabbit who was quite a bit more tolerant of handling, but I also had him from the time he was a little baby. For him it may have had a lot to do with early socializing. I could hold him for a certain amount of time before he got irritated with me, though he still was NOT a cuddly pet. He did let me pet him though. I wouldn't say he necessarily liked petting, but he also didn't just tolerate petting (somewhere in between those two levels). He most preferred interaction in the way of games than physical contact.

A rabbit I had before him hated ALL kinds of physical contact. She didn't even much like interaction, she preferred to do her own thing and be left alone.

Quote
Or what WOULD you recommend, cuddles-wise? The thing is that I can't have a dog or a cat (we already have a dog and my mom is basically the only one he'll cuddle with), it has to be a small pet, and I have to be able to take care of it entirely or almost entirely on my own. Should I look for something other than a rabbit? I think a raabbit's really what I want though... :P

I have no experience with ferrets, and very limited experience with hamsters and mice. Between guinea pigs, rabbits, and rats, I would recommend rats if you want a cuddly, interactive pet. In my experience guinea pigs weren't very interactive or cuddly (may have just been mine though), rabbits are interactive but not cuddly, while rats are both.
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Offline Sorraia

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 06:03:53 PM »
I don't know, I just feel this draw to rabbits. So I'll probably try at least fostering one anyway. I've heard the larger, the cuddlier, so I'll probably go for just the biggest bun they have at the shelter (IF my parents end up letting me get one, which seems much more iffy than it did before now). I know she/he'll cost more and require more room, but so be it.  :yelcutelaugh:

Fostering is a good way to see if rabbits are right for you. I don't know that I agree with "bigger is cuddlier" though. My LEAST friendly rabbit was the biggest (not a giant, but a larger mixed breed rabbit). My MOST friendly rabbit was a mini rex. The two rabbits I have now are I think what would be classified as "medium" (mixed breed, one is part rex, one is part dwarf), they are just a little bigger than my mini was. So in my experience (very limited with larger breeds though) is that smaller is actually friendlier.

I will say the feed store I buy my horse feed from has a Flemish Giant as their mascot (talk about a BIG rabbit!!!). He is friendly, and will come up to the side of his pen and let you pet him. I have no idea if it's actually cuddly or just likes getting attention and being pet though. And again some of it may have to do with early handling and socializing. If you get an adult rabbit, it will pretty much be "You have what you get" and not much will change. If you get a baby, there might be some more flexibility in teaching the baby to tolerate more handling than an established adult.
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Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2011, 06:24:06 PM »
Yes, I think the fostering is a really good idea. And thanks for the tip about the bigger is not cuddlier... I dont' even remember where I read that but I guess it's wrong  :doh:

I do know that a younger rabbit will be more socializable, but I'm committed to adopting any further pets I get (I've bought a hamster and three mice in the past, but my rats are adopted) so anyway, I'll probably be getting an adult. I do want to at least meet the rabbit at the adoption centre before I pick one out, if not foster one, so that I'll (hopefully) know how much of a cuddle-bunny I'm getting.

But perhaps I really should just get the boy rat at the centre. But I'm afraid that even a boy fuzzbutt wouldn't be cuddly enough. I don't know really, so I guess I'll do the fostering and find out! :)

Offline Lace_and_Buttons

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2011, 06:27:54 PM »
I think getting a neutered male rat would be a great idea, provided that you have the cage space. But fostering a rabbit and seeing how it works is good too.
Taking care of animals is a full time, fulfilling duty, and I wouldn't have it any other way. AR Rescue and Sanctuary: http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Rodents-AR-Rescue-and-Sanctuary/268227383214728

Offline Sorraia

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2011, 07:38:20 PM »
From what you say, I really think rats are going to be a better pet than a rabbit, it's just a matter of finding the right rat. My rats over the years have had their variations in personalities and temperaments, but the majority of them (male and female alike) have been more cuddly and affectionate than rabbits.
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Offline JessicasZooCrew

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 08:19:12 PM »
Most of my unaltered rabbits have lived 8-9 years, my altered rabbits have lived to be 10-12 so unless you are adopting a rabbit that is at least 8-9 years old he/she will probably still be alive once you go to college.

While rabbits seem to do fine in cold temps and can even handle snowy conditions (you do have to worry about the water bottles freezing so must check them constantly) I do not recommend keeping a pet rabbit outside. Even when I was breeding and showing I kept 36x24 sized cages for my rabbits (most breeders raising the breed I raised use cages half that size). We have a room (which I still refer to as a barn even though it's not really) that my rabbits live in, an insulated tempature controled room that I keep between 70 and 75 year round (hey, in the summer months, we get temps of 105 - I'm lucky to get it to 75 and it's usually 78 in the main house). Do NOT feed them dog food - they need a well balanced rabbit food, such as the timothy based pellets from oxbow, and lots and lots of timothy or orchard grass hay and fresh veggies and the occasional fruit (mine also enjoy a snack mix I make of cracked oats, cherrios, bran flakes, dried papaya, banana chips, and apple chips once a week - their Sunday treat since I cannot give floor time on Sundays due to my work schedule). I have 12 bunnies plus 2 fosters. Of the 14, I have 3 boys and 3 girls that still need to be speutered but still manage to give the rabbits 4 hours minimum of out of cage time (I make 5 groups) so that is something you must commit to.

If you are going to keep a rabbit outside do not keep them in direct sunlight. Find a nice shady area that will protect them from the sun, wind, and rain. Remember rabbits can dig tremendous tunnles so they cannot be left to roam freely.

Highschool is a busy time so be sure you have the time and energy a bunny will take. Maybe your family can find a local rescue and do foster care for now? Then after college you will know if you want to add a bunny to your family or not.
~~Jessica And Crew~~

Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2011, 10:22:36 AM »
I am definitely planning on keeping the rabbit inside, probably in my room.

Another issue I need to be informed on - how much do rabbits smell, if you, for example, cleaned the litterbox(es) every day and the rest of the cage maybe once a week, ASSUMING that the rabbit was about 90% littertrained? Less or more than rats? Less or more than mice? (Mice are REALLY stinky, for their size!) One of my parents' main objections to the rabbit is the possibility of smell.

I do think I have enough time for a rabbit, but fostering one before I adopt will help me make sure I do. But I don't do a lot of things after school. I have pretty bad depression and anxiety which keeps me at home a lot, but doesn't prevent me from doing things that I want to do, just things that I don't want to do. (That's how depression works.) So I do have quite a bit of empty time for a rabbit.

Right now, as for the college thing, I'm pretty much planning on finding a pet-friendly college. Sometimes my adopted rats are the only little people keeping me alive, and I don't think I could live without some kind of pet. So I think I'll have to find a college that will take me AND a rabbit.

I think I have the diet down :) we used to have a guinea pig who had similar (though not the same) requirements.

My parents are planning to take me to the shelter on friday to turn in our form for foster requirements, unless our family therapy (yeah I know we're crazy :P ) changes my parent's minds and they decide it's ok for me to adopt one. Honestly I'm still hoping to just adopt and jump right into it. I'm definitely planning on taking the rabbit I pick to somewhere in the shelter where I can socialize with it a bit and see if it seems more cuddly or skittish, and choose the more cuddly one. I actually have a mini-lop 'picked out' (unofficially) who looks very cute and friendly, but pictures have nothing on actual interaction, haha!

Sorry that was so long!

-Aich

Offline Lace_and_Buttons

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2011, 12:28:05 PM »
Is it going to be caged or free roaming in your room? Make sure that either way you rabbit proof your room, because they WILL get themselves into trouble and chew things they aren't supposed to. I've heard of rabbits burning down houses from chewing wires, and at the very least, if wires are left out and they chew them, they could electrocute themselves and die. Wires need to be blocked off or covered to make sure that they don't have access to them. They may dig in your carpet if you have it, so you'll need to find a way to discourage that. They also have the striking ability to destroy walls, molding, and anything that you leave out, so take that into account. I'd proof BEFORE you get a rabbit. Here's a good page about rabbit proofing: http://binkybunny.com/BUNNYINFO/BunnyProofingYourHome/tabid/61/Default.aspx .

Rabbit urine has a particular smell, but it depends on whether they are neutered or not. I get a lot of unaltered rabbits in, and it does smell "interesting," but the smell is pretty successfully covered depending on what litter/bedding you use. I used to use aspen for them and have since switched to paper pelleted litter (which a lot of rabbit owners use), and it made a big difference. Aspen almost didn't cover the smell at all, and I don't smell it at all with the paper litter.

It'd be good to print out the diet requirements for them so you don't forget. I have foods that my rescues can and can't have printed out as a quick reference, because it's easy to forget what's good and bad for them. Also, make sure you go slow when introducing vegetables, only adding one at a time, because that way, if their poop gets soft and they have a negative reaction, you will know what caused it.

Honestly, I really think you should foster before you adopt. Returning a pet because you underestimated the requirements is mortifying for you and it's unfair to the pet. With fostering you can determine whether it's right for you, and if it isn't, no harm done. I really hope you continue to do research and look through various forums for rabbits before taking on the responsibility of one. They are a lot of work, and can be destructive and a lot of people don't realize that before getting one.
Taking care of animals is a full time, fulfilling duty, and I wouldn't have it any other way. AR Rescue and Sanctuary: http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Rodents-AR-Rescue-and-Sanctuary/268227383214728

Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2011, 12:38:31 PM »
With all respect, I think I do understand the work and destructiveness. I have rats who chew up earbuds and will get into my walls by chewing, and I expect bunnies to be 10x worse. The thing that makes me less likely to want to foster is that it actually is a more complicated process than adopting! I don't know why, but it involves a criminal background check and a home visit which will delay things some, whereas adopting only involves proof of residence and identity from my mother. And I am hopelessly impatient! I will definitely talk through the possible issues with my parents before we choose to adopt or even foster, though. I would indeed be sad and embarassed to return a rabbit, so that's an excellent point.

Thank you for the rabbit-proofing link! It would probably be caged in my room but allowed to free-range whenever I'm around to watch it. I will probably buy a puppy pen or two and pen off the more dangerous areas in my room so that the rabbit could not be hurt, but I will definitely bunny-proof everything else as much as possible. I have read that it's a learning experience, so I'll probably watch him or her like a hawk for the first few days, to see what he or she gets into, and check on dangers occasionally after that. Most of my wires and such are pretty inaccessible, though.

I actually think I'm going to go clean up my room a little and see what proofing will need to be done now, so I can see if I think it's manageable to do and maintain, and, if we decide to get a rabbit, when I"ll have to start bunnyproofing!

Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2011, 02:33:35 PM »
Alright, I checked out my room and there's this great little corner that I cleared out when i moved some furniture and cleaned up, which looks perfect for a bunny. There is one electrical outlet and I think a phone line (? not sure) which can both be covered over with duct tape in a pinch. We also have those outlet blockers for little kids. The rest of it is basically bare floor (hardwood :/ so will probably have to cover with old newspaper or towels or something) with one wall being a wooden wall and the other is regular wall with no molding. So I think it's pretty much proofed already. The rest of the room is pretty neat too, all the cords are out of rabbit reach that I can see. If I clean it up a little I think it should work beautifully as a free range slash cage space.

Next topic - the rats. I have two rats, as previously mentioned, and I'm wondering - will the rabbit be upset by seeing/smelling them? The potential rabbit room (my bedroom) is the same room I usually free-range the rats in. If I can keep the rats away from the rabbit (the rabbit in the cage and the rats out of it) will this be a problem? Or will they learn to live with seeing each other (no contact of course, I know that rabbits could easily accidentally kill rats and rats could probably do quite a bit of damage in retaliation!) and smelling each other on a daily basis?

I also have mice in a storage bin on top of another bin, probably three feet off the ground. Will they be in any sort of danger? The bin is open-topped (the rats can't get up there).

Thanks for all the help and advice so far!

Ps. My dad is warming up to the rabbit idea - it sounds like they may be close to caving, and I know they'll love it once we have it :)

Offline Lace_and_Buttons

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2011, 02:48:20 PM »
I'd be careful with the duct tape, some rabbits like to chew it. Even if you think they can't get to the wires, they can squish into pretty small spaces so I'd use storage shelve grids or plastic casings for the wires just in case, you'll also want to block off the area underneath your bed unless you're cool with it being under there and there isn't anything it can get into.

It depends on the rabbit really. They may thump if they are bothered by the rat. One of the rabbits I took in got upset and started thumping when I put a guinea pig in its cage next door to him, but it'll depend on the rabbit. Be very very careful when the rats are out, and make sure they keep their distance. Even if they can't get in the playpen (which I'd imagine they could easy slip through the bar spacing of most xpens, the rabbit can bite through the bars, and chances are that it will. They can be VERY testy and territorial, and a rat doesn't stand a chance against a bite from a territorial rabbit. The mice should be fine, how far are they from the ground? I'd also make sure it's secure, because a rabbit can easily knock it over by accident.

I'd make sure to that when you get a rabbit, you're in it for the long haul. It may be very much like the mice, which aren't as affectionate as the rats, and it may always be that way. If that's the case, are you going to get bored with it after a while? That's why I think that even though fostering takes more work to get cleared, in the long run it's a better decision because you can decide if they are the right pet for you.
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Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2011, 03:02:24 PM »
The mice will be fine, I'm actually planning on moving them downstairs to be in the room where the rats have their cages.

I do think the rat situation is iffy. I might just make a folding cardboard barrier to block the rabbit off completely for when the rats are out. Thank you for the tip about the duct tape! It's pretty safe under my bed as far as I know, but I might block it off to prevent me having to squish under there and retrieve an errant rabbit!  :yelcutelaugh:

I'm still considering fostering as an option. I'm just not sure what I'm going to do quite yet. Honestly I think I'd be fine even if I had a really antisocial rabbit for 15 years, but it's definitely something to consider. Not to sound haughty, but I'm generally pretty good with animals and getting them to come out of their shells (even if it takes a while) so I'm willing to work for the rabbit's affection, and I doubt it will remain COMPLETELY non-interactive, as long as I pick one out that's relatively friendly to begin with. (I'm definitely going to tell the adoption workers what I want, I assume they'll know the rabbit's personalities okay.)

So we'll see what happens. My parents have agreed to fostering but not adopting so far, so I might just end up doing that.

Offline Sorraia

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2011, 04:17:55 PM »
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Another issue I need to be informed on - how much do rabbits smell, if you, for example, cleaned the litterbox(es) every day and the rest of the cage maybe once a week, ASSUMING that the rabbit was about 90% littertrained? Less or more than rats? Less or more than mice? (Mice are REALLY stinky, for their size!) One of my parents' main objections to the rabbit is the possibility of smell.

I think my bunnies smell right now, but I’m pregnant so my sense of smell is more sensitive than normal. (Thank you hormones!) ;)

Pre-pregnancy… no I don’t think they smelled that much as long as the litter boxes were cleaned out daily. The urine can build up in the bottom of the box, but there’s an easy fix to that: pour in some white vinegar, let it soak, then rinse. Works like a charm! The urine build-up will be whitish or slightly off-whitish in color. As long as the litter boxes are cleaned, I didn’t notice any odor besides their hay.

Even rats shouldn’t smell much if kept clean, but I definitely notice more “animal smell” from my rats than the rabbits. In my limited experience with mice, they smelled the worst.


And about rabbit proofing the room – DEFINITELY a must. My bunnies will chew on ANYTHING they can. I’ve put plastic tubing over any wires they *might* ever have access too, but also tried to hide those wires out of reach as a double precaution. The plastic tubing will help slow them down if they do manage to get a hold of those wires, I just need to be diligent about checking it and replace as needed. Otherwise, my rabbits have chewed on my baseboards as well as my rubber door stops. They’ve also had fun chewing up my baby/pet gates that help keep them confined to one room without having to shut the door (I need the door open so I know what’s going on in the rest of the house while I play with the bunnies). They’ve got plenty of toys to keep them busy while free ranging, and that does help curb some of their destructive behaviors, but they do still like to chew anything and everything within reach. I think of it this way: They don’t have hands, so they have to explore with their mouths, and as “grazers” they have a need to always have something in their mouth. I’ve found “Bitter Yuck” spray to be a pretty good chewing deterrent for the baseboards, door stops, and baby/pet gates. They’ve been pretty good about leaving the carpet alone, my cats have done more damage than the rabbits…


Quote
Next topic - the rats. I have two rats, as previously mentioned, and I'm wondering - will the rabbit be upset by seeing/smelling them? The potential rabbit room (my bedroom) is the same room I usually free-range the rats in. If I can keep the rats away from the rabbit (the rabbit in the cage and the rats out of it) will this be a problem? Or will they learn to live with seeing each other (no contact of course, I know that rabbits could easily accidentally kill rats and rats could probably do quite a bit of damage in retaliation!) and smelling each other on a daily basis?

My rabbits (past and present) never cared about my rats. They maybe checked out the cages once or twice, then went about their merry way. They could have cared less. Things might be different if the rats are out roaming at the same time as the rabbits, but I don’t allow that as a safety precaution for both animals involved.

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I also have mice in a storage bin on top of another bin, probably three feet off the ground. Will they be in any sort of danger? The bin is open-topped (the rats can't get up there).

This might be, depending on how adventurous your rabbit ends up being. Of my two bunnies, the female doesn’t really care about heights, she prefers to stay on the ground. My male however, wants to get into EVERYTHING. He WILL “climb” on top of anything he can. I’ve seen him climb on top of boxes, bags of bedding, and more. He is like a little kid, just has to get his nose into everything.

One more thing – I’m sure you already know this, but wanted to mention anyway. ;)
Take all the time you need picking out a rabbit. Don’t get one just because it’s cute, pick one that you really feel you “click” with. This will be your best bet when getting your next forever friend. The two rabbits I have now were described as fairly “hands off”. They preferred not to interact, just run around and be watched. I was told they would take some time to get used to me, at least a couple weeks. I fully expected that. I had “bonded” with their photos on the rescue sites months before I actually adopted them (I wasn’t comfortable with the prospect of adopting when I first started looking, so when I was finally in the position to adopt some 6 or more months later I was surprised and delighted to see those two rabbits still available!), and was anxious to meet them in person. I got to meet them at a PetCo, during one of the rescue’s adoption events. I sat down in the pen with them. The female was pretty stand-offish, the male was more curious, neither one wanted to be touched. Even though there wasn’t much in the way of personality in that specific situation, I felt I “clicked” with them. Took them home, got them set up in their cage, and let them be so they could settle in a little. The next day I decided to let them out to run around, just to see how they would do. It’s like they’d lived here their entire lives! They started running around, “binkying” all over the place, came to me to visit, skipped, jumped, completely made themselves at home! There’s no guarantee you will have the same experience, but if you pick an animal you feel you truly “click” with, you will have a better chance. Just keep in mind the shelter (or adoption events) are scary places, and the rabbit may be nervous or anxious. Do your best to judge the rabbit’s personality and pick one that fits with you. Keep in mind you might see changes in the rabbit’s behavior or personality as it settles into your home. Really not too unlike picking out a dog or cat from the shelter.
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Offline Aich

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2011, 04:23:05 PM »
Thanks for the tip about clicking with a rabbit! I'd never really thought of it that way. The rats and mice I didn't have to pick out, they were the only ones available of the species at the shelter for the rats and the petstore for the mice. So that kind of advice is really helpful.

I have this sort of gift with sensing auras and personalities from people and animals (don't laugh, I know it sounds weird but that's the only way I can describe it) so I'll be able to look at the rabbit's aura colours and pick out a nice deep blue or purple if one's available, or maybe a yellow-green. (I know, I'm weird  :-[ )

I might just randomly fall for one though, that's been known to happen with me (with my hamster (RIP Friscuit!) and dog, I just randomly laid eyes on one and it was like THAT ONE IT MUST BE THAT ONE THERE IS NO OPTION THERE IS NO QUESTION I MUST HAVE THAT ANIMAL). I shall try to actually use some sense though! :yelcutelaugh: :yelcutelaugh:

Offline Sorraia

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Re: Need to know bunny basics!
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2011, 12:09:24 PM »
Here's the bunny forum I am part of. Lots of good information here:

http://rabbitsonline.net/
NOM-ology A study in rat nutrition.
http://nom-ology.blogspot.com

Confessions of a Rat Breeder
http://bwr-rats.blogspot.com/