Author Topic: Want a house bunny, first-time owner, advice please?  (Read 1641 times)

Offline KaraokeKid

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Want a house bunny, first-time owner, advice please?
« on: August 23, 2011, 10:08:08 PM »
My girlfriend and I have been talking about getting a house bunny. We don’t want a little skittish bunny. We want a big bunny that will be laid back and cuddly, and we want it to hang out on the couch or bed with us,  so we thought a Flemish Giant might be a good choice. She’s concerned this bunny might get too big to be our first bunny, though.

I will need to wait a while before we can get the bunny, so we can put aside enough money to be well prepared when the bun comes to live with us. Because we did a breakdown on costs, we decided we would need at least $200, probably more, to get started. We figured this cost breakdown: $60 for storage cube enclosure/housing sundries like clips and zip ties, $50 for a few month’s worth of hay, food and pellets, $10 litter box, $20 litter, $20 toys, $10 chews and sticks, a box that is free for a hiding place, calcium/vitamin chews $12, big food/water crocks $10, hay dispenser $10, nail clippers $10, pet bed that is comfy $20. Then there is the cost of fixing the bunny and the actual cost of purchasing the bunny itself. We also will need to get wire protectors for cables and cords in the house, and I thought to put plywood or aluminum sheeting (or something more suitable/economical) around the walls where the bunny’s enclosure touches, to prevent the chewing of drywall. I do have an old carpet that I can cut up for the bunny’s flooring material. Does that all seem realistic? Am I forgetting anything?

We read that a female bunny would be easier to litter box train. But at how early of an age can you spay a female bunny?

If you don’t think a Flemish is a good choice for us what would you recommend?

What is the best rabbit pellet? We were thinking Oxbow? But our rats don't like Oxbox lab blocks, so maybe bunnies wouldn't like the taste either?

Please give advice and recommendations. We have rats currently and have had guinea pigs but neither of us has had a bunny before, so the more wisdom and expertise you can share, the better! Thanks!

Offline htsr4

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Re: Want a house bunny, first-time owner, advice please?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2011, 03:25:07 PM »
You dont need to spend money on toys and chews. You can make some. My rabbits favorite toys are the ones that are homemade. Here are some things you can try
http://www.binkybunny.com/BUNNYINFO/ToyTest/tabid/65/Default.aspx
http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/toys.html

You dont need calcium chews or vitamins. Just feed unlimited hay, at least 2 cups of veggies per 6 pounds of body weight and 1/8 cup of pellets per 6 pounds of body weight. Pellets need to be plain. Oxbow, sweet meadow and american pet diner are some good pellets. I feed Oxbow and both my rabbits love them.
A hay dispenser is optional. I just put a pile of hay in my rabbits litter pans. Also if you have an extra grid you can bend it and use it as a hay rack.
 
A lot of rabbits dont use beds. They prefer to lay on a flat surface. A towel or blanket will probably be used more.
As for flooring carpet can work for some rabbits but is not the best option for others. Some rabbits dig up carpet. Some rabbits will eat carpet. If the rabbit is not litter trained it can be a pain to clean it.

You can spay a rabbit when they are 4 months but I would wait until they are a little older. If you get one from a shelter they are already fixed.

You will also need a carrier and a brush/comb
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 03:29:16 PM by htsr4 »

Offline Eileen

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Re: Want a house bunny, first-time owner, advice please?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 09:35:47 PM »
Echoing htsr4: Good idea to wait until you have money for the care. But I wouldn't worry about toys, you can make them just fine.One of my rabbit's favorite toys is a a water bottle that I filled with some pebbles and  capped back up. He tosses it all over the place and it cost me fifty nine cents.
I bought a hay rack for the rabbit I have now and it made a big mess, so I stopped using it and he doesn't care.

I use Oxbow pellets. My first rabbit Gulliver, loved Oxbow hay but the one I have now, Jake, wouldn't touch it and I had to buy it fresh from a farm.

I would strongly suggest adoption. Look at Petfinder to find a local rabbit rescue or visit the House Rabbit Society's site to find a local rescue chapter. There are sooo many rabbits that need good homes, and when you adopt from a rescue you are saving a life, opening up room for another rabbit, and save the cost of spaying/neutering.
You will have an idea of the rabbit's personality, rescues always try to match their animals to the right home.  http://www.rabbit.org/adoption/index.html

If I were you, I'd look at New Zealand Whites. They are big and laid back, but not as big as Flemish Giants. My first rabbit was one and he was awesome, he would lie on the couch with me for hours and watch television. It might be true that females have better litter box habits, but the rescue would be able to help you with that. I've always had males.

As far as a bed, neither of mine used a bed. Gulliver loved to lie on fleece blankets, but Jake digs at them and rolls them up into a ball. He likes to lay right on his carpet.

Rabbits are great pets, but they have particular health needs, so you'll need to have a vet lined up that specializes in rabbits. You can find a list of those on House Rabbit Society, see here: http://www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html

Hope this helps and good for you for doing research first!
Gulliver's Travels  may be over, but they will never be forgotten..

Offline JessicasZooCrew

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Re: Want a house bunny, first-time owner, advice please?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 09:29:16 PM »
I have had 2 flemish giants, both were fosteres. One wound up living her life out here (she was 6 when the rescue got her, lived with me 3 years) the other stayed with me for 4 years before she was adopted out. They were does and HUGE girls, Rum weighed 22 pounds, Calamity weighed 18lbs. They are a whole lotta bunny. They had more energy then most of the lop breeds I have had but were more calm then running breeds (tans, English Spots, Checkard Giants, etc) and then many of the dwarf breeds. Usually spaying and neutering calms the bunnies down so I wouldn't let that be a deciding factor. The same goes with litter training - I have never had an issue litter training a fixed rabbits.

Toys - hanging bird toys are great, the cylinder shaped cat toys with a bell inside, anything they can pick up and throw and that makes noise.

Food - plain pellets, timothy hay, veggies and fruits (though be careful if you don't go through a rescue - the rabbit may never had had a veggie and just suddenly feeding 2 cups a day could give them diarrhea which is dangerous for a rabbit so slowly introduce fruits and veggies, feed extra pellets and slowly trade the veggies for pellets). Cheerios are a favorite treat, I give human grade oats as well.

Litter boxes - Don't be surprised if you find poop outside the box. It happens. The box is mostly for the urine, which is what smells with rabbits. If you are using a bedding don't use the same bedding for the litter box. And of course never use pine or cedar.

There are many benefits from going through a rescue. They usually get cheaper rats for alters so the price you pay to adopt a bunny is usually less then what you will pay for the alter. Babies are adorable but if you wait until they are 8+ months you'll really know what the rabbit will be like when it's older.

Good luck! =)
~~Jessica And Crew~~