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Please tell me all you know about having bunnies as pets!

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Brown.Eyed.Girl

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I''ve been thinking over the idea of getting a couple rabbits as pets in the near future lately (after seeing the Furry Babies thread
). I''ve been doing reading online as far as care, feeding, temperament, breeds, etc. but the thing is, I just really don''t know many people who have kept rabbits as pets. I''m hoping that the awesome PSers here with bunnies will stop by and tell me what it actually is like to have rabbits.

My situation is that I''m living in a 1 BR apartment with my BF. We have no other pets; if we get the bunnies, we probably won''t get any others until then pass away since I''d imagine they wouldn''t take so well to a yappy dog being introduced into their lives when they''re older! We''re going to be moving to NY in about a year and half. Neither of us has had rabbits before, although I have a Chihuahua back home and he had a golden retriever growing up.

BF is actually pretty receptive to the idea but he really wants to make sure we know what we''d be getting into and wants to do as much research as possible. In particular, he''s concerned about 1) do they smell? and 2) do they chew things a lot, and how can we stop that.

If we end up getting them, I''d prefer to adopt (although he''ll be looking for the floppy earred lops at the shelter) and get a bonded pair since we definitely want to get two if we get any. Also I think we''d lean towards getting young rabbits - not babies but also not adults - that are already litter-trained.

So can anyone tell me pros, cons, experiences, recommendations for where to look, what breeds (if any) to go for, males v. females, basically anything? I would appreciate it so so much!


Thank you all in advance!

- B.E.G.
 

MichelleCarmen

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The other day, while at a pet store, I came across an adorable, sweet little black bunny and the sales gal at the shop insisted I hold him! He was so quiet and innocent and nestled up to me. The sales gal talked of all the positives of rabbits and the only negative was that they love to chew. Basically, they are attracted to cords and if you "bunny proof" your electrical cords, you should be okay!

Two of my friends have bunnies and both keep them penned into a part of the house so that they can hop about yet not run amuck and be destructive. There is no smell unless their litter box needs to be changed!

Here is more. . .a recent thread about bunnies:
https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/anyone-ever-owned-a-rabbit.106333/
 

knitwit

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I personally have not owned bunnies but I have a animal lover friend whose family had a bunny. She said she "loved Mr. Bunny but we will never have another due to the smell".

I didn''t follow up with too many questions as I was only mildly interested in getting a couple of bunnies myself. I was considering angora rabbits as their fur can be used to spin yarn.
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 3/8/2009 6:28:05 AM
Author: MC
The other day, while at a pet store, I came across an adorable, sweet little black bunny and the sales gal at the shop insisted I hold him! He was so quiet and innocent and nestled up to me. The sales gal talked of all the positives of rabbits and the only negative was that they love to chew. Basically, they are attracted to cords and if you ''bunny proof'' your electrical cords, you should be okay!


Two of my friends have bunnies and both keep them penned into a part of the house so that they can hop about yet not run amuck and be destructive. There is no smell unless their litter box needs to be changed!


Here is more. . .a recent thread about bunnies:

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/anyone-ever-owned-a-rabbit.106333/
Oh I''m a dummy. I didn''t even think there would be a recent rabbit thread - duh. Thanks MC! And thanks for the anecdote - any plans to go back and adopt that cute little black bunny?
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 3/8/2009 7:10:27 AM
Author: knitwit
I personally have not owned bunnies but I have a animal lover friend whose family had a bunny. She said she ''loved Mr. Bunny but we will never have another due to the smell''.


I didn''t follow up with too many questions as I was only mildly interested in getting a couple of bunnies myself. I was considering angora rabbits as their fur can be used to spin yarn.
Oh that''s not good! Hmm it seems like I hear from both sides of the camp on the smell topic - that they do, and they don''t if you brush them, etc. More research necessary.

I can just picture you sitting at your spinning wheel, and every so often reaching down and grabbing some loose fur off the rabbit


Thanks!
 

Lorelei

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Kept clean, house bunnies do not smell. They are easy to keep and great fun to own. They will chew so you need to supervise them when they are out of their cage while around electrical cords.

A bonded pair would be ideal and if you can get them from a shelter so much the better! It is recommended both males and females are fixed, females have a high incidence of cancers in the repro organs and conditions such as pyometra so it is usually recommended they are spayed. However rabbits are very high risk for anaesthesia so you will need to find a vet who is experienced with anaesthetizing rabbits but this is no guarantee a bunny will make it through the procedure regrettably. Males can be aggressive ( although it depends in my experience - not always) so neutering is recommended to curb this tendency. Again though there is an anaesthesia risk. I have kept 2 intact females together for years and they got on fine together. Males will fight if intact.

What I would do is look for a pair of bunnies who are friendly and don't mind being handled. Some may be a bit territorial and aggressive so look for bunnies which don't mind human interaction. Although to me a bit of aggression around food or cage isn't a dealbreaker, it depends. My bunny can grunt and snort when I feed him - hehe- and enter his cage, but this is mainly bluff!

Check to make sure the teeth line up correctly, otherwise they can grow unevenly and need clipping. Someone who is familiar with rabbits can show you what to look for, the two incisor teeth top and bottom need to align properly. Sometimes claws need clipping but if bunny gets lots of exercise on solid floors then they can keep them trimmed as nature intended. Especially in hot weather keep your rabbits cage extra clean and keep an eye on their rear end for signs of fly strike, this can be fatal so make sure your bunny's hiney is free from poop and clean. What can happen is flies can lay eggs in the faeces around a rabbits rear end if he isn't kept clean. These will hatch into maggots and eat their way into the rabbit's tissue - something you want to avoid at all costs! So keep an eye on your rabbits back end and keep it clean.

Diet - a good rabbit mix plus hay, fruits and vegetables. Go easy on the lettuce as too much can give rabbits diarrhoea which again can be fatal. A little is fine, just not too much. Fresh grass is ideal, make sure you pick grass from a non toxic patch ( treated with weed killers, fertilizers and such like). Apples, pears, fresh peaches ( my bunny adores peaches), carrots, cabbage leaves and such like are all appreciated. Your bunny will let you know what his faves are! And if course fresh water needs to be available at all times. A tip here, if you have room to store a bale of hay it works out much cheaper than small bags from a pet store and for a couple of rabbits could last you a very very long time. If hay is kept dry it will keep most of its nutritional value for a year or more. Look for hay which has a pleasant sweet smell, is clean with no dust or mould.
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 3/8/2009 7:51:27 AM
Author: Lorelei
Kept clean, house bunnies do not smell. They are easy to keep and great fun to own. They will chew so you need to supervise them when they are out of their cage while around electrical cords.


A bonded pair would be ideal and if you can get them from a shelter so much the better! It is recommended both males and females are fixed, females have a high incidence of cancers in the repro organs and conditions such as pyometra so it is usually recommended they are spayed. However rabbits are very high risk for anaesthesia so you will need to find a vet who is experienced with anaesthetizing rabbits but this is no guarantee a bunny will make it through the procedure regrettably. Males can be aggressive ( although it depends in my experience - not always) so neutering is recommended to curb this tendency. Again though there is an anaesthesia risk. I have kept 2 intact females together for years and they got on fine together. Males will fight if intact.


What I would do is look for a pair of bunnies who are friendly and don''t mind being handled. Some may be a bit territorial and aggressive so look for bunnies which don''t mind human interaction. Although to me a bit of aggression around food or cage isn''t a dealbreaker, it depends. My bunny can grunt and snort when I feed him - hehe- and enter his cage, but this is mainly bluff!


Check to make sure the teeth line up correctly, otherwise they can grow unevenly and need clipping. Someone who is familiar with rabbits can show you what to look for, the two incisor teeth top and bottom need to align properly. Sometimes claws need clipping but if bunny gets lots of exercise on solid floors then they can keep them trimmed as nature intended. Especially in hot weather keep your rabbits cage extra clean and keep an eye on their rear end for signs of fly strike, this can be fatal so make sure your bunny''s hiney is free from poop and clean. What can happen is flies can lay eggs in the faeces around a rabbits rear end if he isn''t kept clean. These will hatch into maggots and eat their way into the rabbit''s tissue - something you want to avoid at all costs! So keep an eye on your rabbits back end and keep it clean.


Diet - a good rabbit mix plus hay, fruits and vegetables. Go easy on the lettuce as too much can give rabbits diarrhoea which again can be fatal. A little is fine, just not too much. Fresh grass is ideal, make sure you pick grass from a non toxic patch ( treated with weed killers, fertilizers and such like). Apples, pears, fresh peaches ( my bunny adores peaches), carrots, cabbage leaves and such like are all appreciated. Your bunny will let you know what his faves are! And if course fresh water needs to be available at all times. A tip here, if you have room to store a bale of hay it works out much cheaper than small bags from a pet store and for a couple of rabbits could last you a very very long time. If hay is kept dry it will keep most of its nutritional value for a year or more. Look for hay which has a pleasant sweet smell, is clean with no dust or mould.
Thank you sooooo much Lorelai! That was so comprehensive and helpful! I can definitely see I need to research more, but I knew I could count on you PS ladies to get me off to a HUGE start!
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Oh...I did have the thought though after reading the other bunny thread. I''m allergic to cats (not dogs or anything else though). I didn''t think that I might be allergic to rabbits too...need to research.
 

neatfreak

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14,167
We had one as a kid, ours really did stink even though it was cleaned daily. Luckily it lived in our barn, but NOT something I would want in the house.
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 3/8/2009 10:04:08 AM
Author: neatfreak
We had one as a kid, ours really did stink even though it was cleaned daily. Luckily it lived in our barn, but NOT something I would want in the house.
Aw that''s too bad about the smell. Yeah no barns near me either
 

NewEnglandLady

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My sister owned a bunny at the same time she owned a pot-bellied pig. The bunny was very sweet and was litterbox-trained, but was such a chewer. It chewed through electrical cords and the carpet. Between the bunny and the pig, which rooted at the carpet, she decided to get hardwoods, but the bunny still chewed up the crown molding. I wonder if Bitter Apple works for rabbits? Maybe there is a similar product called Bitter Carrot :)

I do remember that the bunny was kind of smelly, but I think it may have had something to do with how often it used the litter box. It seemed to go a lot...my sister cleaned it out every day. I don''t know what it is about little furry creatures smelling...before we were able to have dogs my husband and I had a hampster and while we loved that little guy like crazy, he was a stinky one!

Good luck with the research and pleeeease post pictures if you get one!!
 

elrohwen

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Nice to see someone else considering a bunny! I was going to post the link to my old thread, but MC beat me to it.

As far as allergies go, do you have an allergist? If you do I'd highly recommend asking them to test you for rabbits. I just happened to be seeing a new allergist who was in the process of re-testing me and threw in rabbits. It turn out I'm not allergic to them at all despite being pretty allergic to cats and some other animals. The second best option would be to go to a shelter and spend time around some rabbits and see how you react. They can shed quite a bit, so if you're allergic to them it could make you miserable when you have fur floating around your house. Also, a lot of people are far more allergic to the timothy hay than to the rabbits. This is my main concern, but there are hays other than timothy that people tend to be less allergic to so you can always try something different.

As far as breeds and genders: I've been told that males have a better chance of making good pets because females are more likely to be territorial (spaying and neutering cuts down on a lot of the aggressive behavior). By adopting from a shelter, both rabbits will be spayed or neutered (bunnies are always fixed before bonding them in a shelter situation). You will also be able to tell what their adult personalities are like. Bonded pairs tend to have one female and one male because those tend to be the easiest to bond, but I'm sure you could find a pair of males or a pair of females. It really comes down to which bunnies have the personality you're looking for.

Personalities seem to be based on individual rabbit, not breeds (like in dogs). I've heard a lot of good things about Holland Lops (which I will be getting) and even Mini Lops (a little bigger than Hollands). These rabbits are definitely on the small end, but are usually described as being calm and friendly; however, the general trend is that the larger the rabbit, the calmer they are. Little rabbits tend to be more skittish. But since you'll get to meet them, don't worry too much about breed! Their personality will probably be well known by the shelter, especially if they're living in a foster home.

For places to read about diet, health care, and behavior I'd recommend rabbit.org and binkybunny.com (though you may have already checked out both of these).

My final recommendation is to ask a shelter if you can foster a bonded pair. They are often looking for new foster homes and it would allow you to have a trial period to make sure bunnies are right for you. And if you love the bunnies you're fostering, you can keep them!

ETA: Many dogs and cats get along very well with bunnies, so I wouldn't worry too much about wanting to get another pet. With proper introductions and socialization, I imagine most dogs would get along with bunnies eventually unless they had a very high prey drive. Bunnies can live 12 years, so don't think you have to have a dog free household for that long.
 

elrohwen

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Date: 3/8/2009 10:27:52 AM
Author: NewEnglandLady
My sister owned a bunny at the same time she owned a pot-bellied pig. The bunny was very sweet and was litterbox-trained, but was such a chewer. It chewed through electrical cords and the carpet. Between the bunny and the pig, which rooted at the carpet, she decided to get hardwoods, but the bunny still chewed up the crown molding. I wonder if Bitter Apple works for rabbits? Maybe there is a similar product called Bitter Carrot :)

NEL, I''m pretty sure you can use bitter apple for rabbits. I''ve also heard that wiping some perfume on furniture works ... though I''m not sure I want my house to smell like perfume. Lemon oil is also supposed to work well. I''ve heard that some bunnies aren''t big chewers, and others chew like it''s their job. So significant bunny proofing could be in order for a bunny who wants to chew every piece of furniture and every baseboard you have.
 

Lorelei

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Most welcome BeG, just shout if you need any more bunny info and I will do my best to help!
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 3/8/2009 10:27:52 AM
Author: NewEnglandLady
My sister owned a bunny at the same time she owned a pot-bellied pig. The bunny was very sweet and was litterbox-trained, but was such a chewer. It chewed through electrical cords and the carpet. Between the bunny and the pig, which rooted at the carpet, she decided to get hardwoods, but the bunny still chewed up the crown molding. I wonder if Bitter Apple works for rabbits? Maybe there is a similar product called Bitter Carrot :)


I do remember that the bunny was kind of smelly, but I think it may have had something to do with how often it used the litter box. It seemed to go a lot...my sister cleaned it out every day. I don''t know what it is about little furry creatures smelling...before we were able to have dogs my husband and I had a hampster and while we loved that little guy like crazy, he was a stinky one!


Good luck with the research and pleeeease post pictures if you get one!!
Thanks NEL! lol I was reading on Wikipedia about how bunnies like to spend a lot of time on the litterbox - oftentimes eating while they''re there! Maybe that contributes to the smell
How did your sister like having a pot-bellied pig??? I don''t know anyone who had one!
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 3/8/2009 10:42:54 AM
Author: elrohwen
Nice to see someone else considering a bunny! I was going to post the link to my old thread, but MC beat me to it.


As far as allergies go, do you have an allergist? If you do I''d highly recommend asking them to test you for rabbits. I just happened to be seeing a new allergist who was in the process of re-testing me and threw in rabbits. It turn out I''m not allergic to them at all despite being pretty allergic to cats and some other animals. The second best option would be to go to a shelter and spend time around some rabbits and see how you react. They can shed quite a bit, so if you''re allergic to them it could make you miserable when you have fur floating around your house. Also, a lot of people are far more allergic to the timothy hay than to the rabbits. This is my main concern, but there are hays other than timothy that people tend to be less allergic to so you can always try something different.


As far as breeds and genders: I''ve been told that males have a better chance of making good pets because females are more likely to be territorial (spaying and neutering cuts down on a lot of the aggressive behavior). By adopting from a shelter, both rabbits will be spayed or neutered (bunnies are always fixed before bonding them in a shelter situation). You will also be able to tell what their adult personalities are like. Bonded pairs tend to have one female and one male because those tend to be the easiest to bond, but I''m sure you could find a pair of males or a pair of females. It really comes down to which bunnies have the personality you''re looking for.


Personalities seem to be based on individual rabbit, not breeds (like in dogs). I''ve heard a lot of good things about Holland Lops (which I will be getting) and even Mini Lops (a little bigger than Hollands). These rabbits are definitely on the small end, but are usually described as being calm and friendly; however, the general trend is that the larger the rabbit, the calmer they are. Little rabbits tend to be more skittish. But since you''ll get to meet them, don''t worry too much about breed! Their personality will probably be well known by the shelter, especially if they''re living in a foster home.


For places to read about diet, health care, and behavior I''d recommend rabbit.org and binkybunny.com (though you may have already checked out both of these).


My final recommendation is to ask a shelter if you can foster a bonded pair. They are often looking for new foster homes and it would allow you to have a trial period to make sure bunnies are right for you. And if you love the bunnies you''re fostering, you can keep them!


ETA: Many dogs and cats get along very well with bunnies, so I wouldn''t worry too much about wanting to get another pet. With proper introductions and socialization, I imagine most dogs would get along with bunnies eventually unless they had a very high prey drive. Bunnies can live 12 years, so don''t think you have to have a dog free household for that long.
Thanks so so much Elrohwen! Fostering is a fantastic idea - I''m so glad you suggested it. I would hate to find out later down the line (after adoption) that I''m allergic and just can''t handle it. I''ll definitely look into that option more.

I don''t have an allergist- I just found out not long ago that I was allergic to cats (never had been until a year ago when I ran into the dandruff-monster that is my friend''s cat and suddenly I can''t get near any cat without tearing up). I was looking for info on Russian Blues online too - hypoallergenic cats anyone?


Lops are so adorable - and what I read about them did make it seem like they were really well-suited (of the rabbit breeds) as pets. Plus they are just SO cute!

Thanks again!
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 3/8/2009 11:59:52 AM
Author: Lorelei
Most welcome BeG, just shout if you need any more bunny info and I will do my best to help!
Will do - thank you again!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 3/8/2009 7:37:59 AM
Author: Brown.Eyed.Girl


Oh I''m a dummy. I didn''t even think there would be a recent rabbit thread - duh. Thanks MC! And thanks for the anecdote - any plans to go back and adopt that cute little black bunny?
I''d LOVE to adopt that bunny. . .the only problem is one of my cats may eat him alive!!! lol She''s got major attitude and even growls and hisses at me (usually when she''s cuddling on my lap and I want to get up so I move her!)
 

elrohwen

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Date: 3/9/2009 7:38:34 PM
Author: MC

Date: 3/8/2009 7:37:59 AM
Author: Brown.Eyed.Girl


Oh I''m a dummy. I didn''t even think there would be a recent rabbit thread - duh. Thanks MC! And thanks for the anecdote - any plans to go back and adopt that cute little black bunny?
I''d LOVE to adopt that bunny. . .the only problem is one of my cats may eat him alive!!! lol She''s got major attitude and even growls and hisses at me (usually when she''s cuddling on my lap and I want to get up so I move her!)
MC, I''ve heard stories about bunnies bossing cats around, so you never know
You would just need a bunny with more attitude than your cat. Then again, that much attitude in one household might be over doing it.
 
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