So Easter is fast approaching and I’ve being seeing many ‘rabbits are for life, not just for Easter’ posts doing the rounds. It’s something I feel strongly about so thought I’d quickly pop a post together with my take and advice… after all, if looked after properly, bunnies can live up to 10 years!
We had bunnies as kids and yes, one was for Easter, and like many children we only wanted to do the nice bits and after the excitement had worn off we left them to mum to take care of. They also spent all day every day sat in cages, alone and only got company when we tossed some food in. We didn’t know any different, but thats just not an excuse.
Having now had 3 house bunnies I’ve learned so so so so much about who they really are and feel strongly about how they should be kept and, dare I say it, they shouldn’t be given to children as pets!
So here’s my top five facts/ pieces of advice that I think everybunny should know.
Oh poop… If I stop eating and pooping, i’ll likely be gone within 24 hours
This is the one I hate the most… “I don’t know what happened, he just stopped eating and died”, Grr!
Bunnies have complicated little digestive systems which means their little guts need to keep moving. They eat, poop out cecotropes (soft grape like poops that are full of nutrients and vitamins), eat them then poop out the round pellets. If their guts stop, there’s a gas and bacteria build up and they die. Harsh but true.
As soon as bunnies stop eating and pooping get them to the vets ASAP as they can be saved. They will need drugs to kick start their gut and there is no time to waste, they go down hill very quickly. We aways have a tube of Fibreplex on hand as this can help slow down their decline and pain, an experienced bunny mummy can see the signs.
Did you know carrots aren’t actually good for rabbits as they contain lots of sugar!
I’m incredibly sociable… but only on my terms
Rabbits are social creatures and should never be kept alone, that said the bonding process is not an easy one – Just like humans, not all bunnies get along but find the right match and it’s true love for ever.
We did have two but, not long after losing Chip, Wally developed Pasturella (a bunny cold thats hard to shift but can be carefully managed) meaning it would be very unfair to get him a mate. As such he relies on us for company. Bunnies want to be around you, the more time you spend with them the more character and personality comes out.
Wally will follow us around, run over to us, nudge our feet and even pull on the hem of our trousers for attention but will take himself away to a quiet place when he’s had enough. They need you around but they need a calm environment to retreat to when it all gets too much.
Yes I’m cuddly but I don’t like to be picked up
They might look like squishy cuddly toys but they’re not. If you want something to snuggle they get a soft toy. Rabbits should be handled as it makes health checks and nail clipping easier but its rare to find a bunny who likes to be cuddled. Wally loves a snuggle, he likes to be close in but only when his feet are firmly on the floor and knows he can get away if he wants to.
Did you know bunnies purr?! When they are super happy and content they vibrate and make a soft crunching sound. The better the tickles, they better the purr.
Do I want to scoop him up and cuddle him? Yes, all the time, but don’t be selfish, respect their little bunny boundaries!
Hay all the way…. I need my body size in hay every day
This is something we’ve learned the hard way! Hay is a bunny super food and ideally it’s all they actually need. Not only is it the single best thing for healthy and happy guts, it’s also vital for their teeth.
Rabbits don’t really need pellets but if you do choose to give them they need to be seen as a treat rather then what they need to survive on, usually a tablespoon a day is fine. Fresh greens are important but no more than a small handful each day. Hay HAY all the way, they should be eating their body size every single day and basically just be pretty much continuously grazing on it.
Bunnies teeth constantly grow and only hay keeps them worn down. Its all in the way they chew, pellets are greens are up and down, similar to humans but chewing hay means chewing side to sign too and this keeps their teeth nice and short. Both Chip and Wally had to have surgery to file their teeth as they weren’t getting enough hay and anaesthetic is super dangerous for wee bunnies!
I’ll keep you in a tiny cage all day and see how you like it!
Seriously, how happy would you be if you were locked in a small room with nothing to do all day every day? Why is this different for rabbit?! They’re bright and happy little souls capable of love, playing, and feelings.
They need space to move around, space to run and binky (a binky is the cute little jump and flick in the air they do, like a lamb), they need things to do and discover, things to keep them mentally challenged so they don’t get bored or depressed.
Did you know bunnies love toys as much as dogs and children, keep their environment enriched with different toys and activites.
Don’t forget the need to destroy things is in their little bunny nature, scratching things is just burrowing and chewing cables is just their way of removing annoying roots from their burrow – they think they are helping. The more things you give them to do the less they will choose to destroy your house.
3 in 4 rabbits bought as Easter gifts end up abandoned or dead within the first year!
How disgusting is that! So if you’re thinking of getting a bunny this Easter (or any time) just remember that its a little heartbeat that you are responsible for and should only commit if you’re wanting to do right by them.