Tag Archives: proper care of bunnies

Bunny update from our gal pal, Franny!!!💐🌷🐰🌸

Franny and her hubby and four kids share their home with their three much loved (and litter-box trained!) rabbits! Here is Linus and Gretta, best bunny buddies! pics: Franny McKeever

By Franny McKeever

Easter is approaching and, as a rabbit lover and rabbit rescue volunteer, I am writing to request you do not buy a rabbit for Easter!

If you are interested in having a rabbit, it should be for all the right reasons and not because of a holiday – and certainly not as a gift. Bunnies fill our animal shelters in the months following Easter. The unlucky ones get dumped outdoors to fend for themselves after families realize what is involved. They do not survive.

Rabbits are every bit as nice a pet as a family cat or dog and will live with you as a companion for eight to 10 years, if cared for properly. However, they are not low-maintenance starter pets, as some people assume. They have traditionally been kept in outdoor hutches or cages, and so it is no surprise that they are neglected without much thought. Rabbits are actually wonderful, sociable, skittish, demanding pets. They need a person to understand them and take them seriously!

First, rabbits need to live indoors. They will need a bunny-proofed area in your home to be free and exercise for at least four hours a day. Ideally, they will have a large exercise pen, bunny condo or bunny-proofed room in your home to call their own. They will have a litter box that is changed every couple of days and stocked with hay twice daily.

They will also receive a large leafy green salad of bunny-safe vegetables and fresh water. They need bunny toys to play with and chew on and lots of attention on their terms. They will need their nails clipped every few weeks and they will need to be brushed. They will also need an exotic pet vet, and you will want to have a separate fund or pet insurance, as exotic vets can be very expensive.

Franny’s “Stella”!

Bunnies are very fragile prey animals that should never be picked up by a child. They don’t generally want to be picked up at all. If they do not get enough attention, they often do better with a bunny friend that they must gradually learn to trust in a process called “bunny-bonding.” This will not work with every pair of bunnies, since they are very particular about which bunny they can work things out with!🐰This can only happen after they are spayed or neutered – which is a necessary procedure to keep bunnies healthy and well behaved pets.

All bunnies should be spayed or neutered, and one way to avoid the $200 to $500 cost is to adopt a bunny!

Adoption is the very best way to bring a spayed or neutered rabbit into your home! You will be giving a bunny a home and at the same time perhaps become one less person perpetuating the bunny breeding business that causes the overpopulation of bunnies in the first place.

So if you are truly interested in having a bunny for the eight to 10 years they will live with you, absolutely do your homework first!!

Learn all you can about the care involved. Decide first if you have the time to dedicate to these wonderful, funny and spirited animals that need the same love and room to run around as any larger animal does.

Please understand that a bunny is not a novelty pet to be purchased as a seasonal holiday gift but rather a long-term commitment to be loved and cared for every day of their lives!

What will you give the Easter Bunny this year?

Lilac, 4-6-2017 pic: R.T.

Reposting for Easter …

By Kendall Bryant

Easter is almost upon us, or as we in the sheltering world say, “Brace yourselves — it’s rabbit season.” I’ve rescued rabbits for 10 years, and I volunteer in the small-animal room at my local shelter. And every spring, it seems as though, for many cast-off Peter Cottontails, the bunny trail leads straight to our door.

While most of us consider cute, scampering rabbits to be one of the quintessential signs of spring, it can be a tough time for many of them. The ways in which we inadvertently cause them to suffer — for everything from fur to floor cleaner — would make any bunny hopping mad.

Let’s start with the Easter Bunny. Every year, breeders and bunny mills churn out irresistible baby rabbits for parents to put in their children’s Easter baskets. And every year, for several weeks after Easter, shelter workers take in a deluge of these same rabbits — after they have chewed through electrical wires, books, baseboards, doorjambs and all the Easter lilies.

What breeders and pet stores often fail to mention as they’re ringing up those fluffy little bundles of Easter joy is that rabbits, like all animals, have some particular needs. They chew incessantly (their teeth never stop growing), and they have special dietary needs (think less lettuce, more hay). They require constant mental stimulation and space to run around in, and they get depressed when confined to a cage. They can live for up to 12 years.

So, when Bugs turns out to be more work than parents bargained for, he usually finds himself tossed out like a stale Peep. He might be dropped off at an animal shelter, relegated to a cage outside or simply turned loose in the wild, where he won’t stand a chance against starvation, harsh weather and predators.

But buying bunnies on a whim and then abandoning them once reality sets in is just one way that we cause them to suffer.

Many of the fur accessories, trim and jackets that you see in stores are made from rabbit fur because it’s often cheaper than other animals’ skins. Rabbits on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to tiny, filthy metal cages and often have their necks broken while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain. On angora farms, rabbits scream and writhe in pain as workers tear the fur out of their skin. I couldn’t wear a coat made of rabbits any more than I could wear one made of golden retrievers.

Rabbits’ mild manner and the ease with which they breed also make them a favorite victim of experimenters, who use them to test chemical products, burning their skin with noxious chemicals and dripping substances into their eyes, even though superior non-animal testing methods are readily available.

And it should go without saying, but anyone who cares at all about rabbits shouldn’t eat them. The House Rabbit Society and other rabbit advocates have been fervently protesting outside stores that sell rabbit meat.

We humans have long had a hard time thinking straight about other animals — we keep some as “pets” while serving up others on our plates — and our treatment of rabbits shows just how schizophrenic our relationship with other species can be.

So this Easter, let’s give rabbits a break by vowing not to wear them, eat them or buy cosmetics or household products that were tested on them. (You can check to see if a company is cruelty-free by using PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies searchable database.) And if you’re really ready to give a rabbit a lifetime of care, hop on down to your local humane society or rabbit rescue group to adopt one — preferably right after Easter.

These companies don’t test their products on bunnies … Support them!



A kind of Easter Parade!

Proper care of rabbits



Rescued rabbits!

By Franny McKeever

As a volunteer with the House Rabbit Network, a rabbit rescue organization based in Woburn, Massachusetts, that rescues and adopts out well over a hundred bunnies each year, I have seen the post-easter/spring flood of abandoned bunnies, dumped in various locations after the novelty of a cute bunny wears off and the reality of the care involved sets in.

This flood continues year round.

The luckier ones get rescued and survive.

Domestic bunnies do not belong outside any more than a pet Yorkshire Terrier does. They are not suited or accustomed to extreme temperatures. They are easy prey for a variety of animals. How is a white bunny with black spots going to blend in and hide outdoors? So while some people unthinkingly assume they are giving a bunny it’s freedom others will simply leave the bunny in a box somewhere or worse.

Some bunnies will be left off at shelters to possibly await euthanasia if not adopted soon enough because space is limited.

The problem is that a bunny is treated as a novelty pet, sometimes described as a starter pet.

The truth is a bunny is  high-maintenance pet.  A house rabbit is a pet that requires research and understanding. This is assuming that the person does know that a rabbit is an indoor pet that does not thrive in an outdoor hutch, cowering in the corner near the garage.

A bunny must have time to roam in a bunny proofed area of a home, as a cat or dog would, surrounded by those who love him.

So this is the destiny that awaits a huge population of bunnies, irresponsibly bred by breeders and sold to the public or pet stores, perpetuating this cycle of unwanted rabbits at Easter time and throughout the year. Pet stores advertise young bunnies for easter, often not quite weaned. Even the most experienced vet would have a hard time identifying the gender of these young bunnies and yet they are sold off sometimes in pairs causing yet more unwanted bunnies.  Reckless, but well meaning adults buy these bunnies for their children, who understand even less about interacting and caring for a bunny.

As a prey animal, a rabbit needs to have space to trust that they are safe and should not be bombarded by the high activity of a child. They have fragile bones that can easily break if dropped by a child, who doesn’t know that rabbits don’t really want to be held in the first place, but rather feel safer when their feet are on the ground. Parental supervision is critical with small children.

More knowledge is required in regard to feeding. Rabbits are prone to digestive issues and they can easily develop GI symptoms, which can worsen quickly if not tended to correctly. Therefore dietary understanding is extremely important. Bunnies must have fresh hay at all times and also be correctly fed the right fresh vegetables.  Most treats found in pet stores are not actually good for your rabbit.

Pet store owners and breeders may also neglect to tell you that rabbits must be spayed and neutered at 3-5 months of age to prevent certain cancers as well as make them happy and well behaved house pets.

Otherwise litterbox habits will generally go out the window as bunnies start marking your house up with territorial droppings. There can be personality changes as well. This is very often the time when uneducated bunny owners decide to abandon their bunnies.

Adopters know that you save the cost of this very expensive operation when adopting from a shelter and at the same time give a former Easter bunny or unwanted bunny a home.

So before you consider surprising some family member with a rabbit, take into consideration an entirely bigger picture. Be sure you are totally committed to caring for one of these wonderful and entertaining animals for the next 10-12 years. Take the time to research bunny care and decide if this is really the right pet for you.

A bunny should never be an impulse buy. It is a very affectionate, social but also high-maintenance pet that deserves to be treated respectfully and not as a commodity.