26/02/19

House Bunny Care


I’ve been meaning to put this into a post for the longest time and finally I’ve gotten round to writing it. SO, If you’ve come over from my Instagram you will already know (because I never shut up about it), I have two indoor free roaming rabbits, Leo (black) and Molly (grey).
My fur children, tiny floofs and loves of my life.

I post a ton of cute bunny pictures and videos online but I think it would be irresponsible of me not to discuss the full ~reality~ of being a bun mum. Rabbits are the perfect little pals for Matt and I. They fit with our lifestyle really well, they’re clean, quiet and pretty well behaved most of the time. It sounds like I’m writing a dating profile for them but I just wanted to start off by saying what fab little animals they are. They have characteristics of cats and dogs but at the same time they’re so different. They’re doing zooms round the flat one minute and begging for treats the next.
I never had rabbits growing up and started from scratch when I was researching about them, so here is some really basic and essential info to get you started that helped me a hell of a lot!

First of all is a rabbit the right pet for you? Rabbits are high maintenance and destructive. They get ill easily and it’s in their nature to dig and chew at whatever they fancy. Our carpets and furniture have been totally destroyed. Luckily we don’t live in rented accommodation so this is fine for us. Just be aware that even the best behaved bun will nibble on things now and again.

HOUSING

We keep our rabbits as free roaming. They don’t have a cage, this means we’ve had to bunny proof our entire home. We have a ikea tv unit we’ve made into the ‘poop & chew’ station. We basically use it to hang a hay rack, store two litter trays and keep a basket of toys. That’s right our rabbits don’t poo all over the house!! We have cat litter trays and recycled paper litter. They’re very hygienic animals and like cats spend a lot of time grooming, they’ll always prefer to use a bunny toilet if you give them one!

To be able to give them the space they need we’ve had to adapt how we live slightly. We don’t ever leave wires lying around or house plants in reach that they would nibble on. I use cable covers and a fake plant on the coffee table because of this. I think if you own a pet you want to give it the best life you possibly can. With rabbits they need a lot of space. Hutches and indoor cages are far too small. They sell these at all pets stores so you’d presume they’d be the right fit for your rabbit, but that’s really not the case. Rabbits love to run around and stretch out, there really isn’t a minimum requirement for housing sizing, just as much space as you can give them. It’s just about finding the right housing whether it’s free roaming, a ‘rabbit room’ or a large secure enclosure- whichever works best for your home. Pinterest is amazing for inspiration on diy rabbit housing if you’re after some ideas.

BEHAVIOUR

So a few people asked if they’re cuddly and can I pick them up. In short, no. Rabbits in general don’t like to be picked up or carried around, of course there are exceptions, I’ve seen lots of buns that are happy to be scooped up but it mostly just stresses them out. You can of course work on your rabbits handling but for me I don’t really see the need. While they hate being picked up they’re more than happy to climb all over you and sit on your lap (or head if they want some treats), they’re still very affectionate in their own way.
Buns should be kept in pairs or small groups. The process of introducing rabbits together is called Bonding which can take days, weeks and sometimes even months before a pair of rabbits will be ‘bonded’. I won’t go into bonding on this post because it’ll go on forever and can get quite complicated, I just thought it was important to mention you can’t just boop a couple of rabbits together and expect them to get along.

DIET

My buns are spoilt little snobs when it comes to their food, they’ll only eat the most expensive hay (great) and will push any veg around their plate thats not fresh in the last couple days (also really great). I usually have kale, spinach, basil, corriander, pak choi, and rocket in the fridge at one time and give them a selection of about 4 when we feed them. Also water bottles are pretty crap for rabbits, it can prevent your rabbit from getting enough water they need, causing dehydration that can cause gut problems. A water bowl is much easier for your bun to drink from!

HEALTH

Both male and female rabbits need to be neutered. A lot of people over look this especially if they only have one rabbit but it’s so important for your rabbits wellbeing. Male rabbits will become very hormonal at about 4ish months. Leo was a complete nightmare (sorry son), but he was. He was humping and chewing everything that moved. Matt would have to wear boots around the flat because he’d just attach himself to your foot. When he was old enough we had him neutered and that behaviour instantly stopped (neutering isn’t a complete deterrent of hormonal behaviour but it will stop your buns from being so frustrated and give them a better quality of life). Molly stopped using her litter tray when her hormones were bad (pre snip) and started nesting- which is like a phantom pregnancy thing female rabbits do. When she was 6 months old we took her to a fab local rabbit specialist vet and she was home the same day.
Although do note that rabbits are very sensitive little animals and we lost our previous bun Lola under anaesthetic for her op. It was heart breaking but female buns have an incredibly high percentage (I’ve seen 60% to 80% online so not sure which stat is correct) of developing a uterine cancer once they’re older if they haven’t been neutered.
As well as the neutering they’ll need yearly vaccinations, probably nail clippings every 4-6 weeks and they shed a lot. Most of these health points can be applied if you get a cat or a dog but rabbits needs often get overlooked. The biggest piece of advice I can give when it comes to their health is go to a rabbit specialist vet, you can search online at vets that specialise in rabbit care local to you and which veterinary practise they work at!

I didn’t want to make this post too long yet here I am 1200 words deep and there’s still so much I could mention. If you’ve got this far, big congrats haha.

Olivia xx