Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Is a bunny right for you and your family?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that bunnies are the perfect small pet for their family by assuming that bunnies will need little upkeep and care. And even though bunnies are so much fun to take care of and have around, if you're not willing to put in the work, maybe a bunny is not for you!

Our bunnies (from left to right): Lucy and Penny
My husband and I have two rescue bunnies and even though they bring much joy to our home, they are definitely not an easy pet to take care of. My husband and I did not do that much research on our bunnies, so we had to learn as we went along, but these are some of the important things I think you should look into if you are considering a bunny as your family pet.

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1. Bunnies are extremely social, which is why I would also recommend getting them in pairs. Lucy and Penny (our bunnies) are best friends and love being and playing together. It makes it easier for when we are both at work or school and leave them home alone. Anyway, like I was saying, bunnies are social animals so you will need to place their hutch/cage within your home to keep them at their happiest. They need to have a place of their own to relax that is secluded but not far away from your family.

2. Our bunnies have free range of our home (other than our rooms) so we have to take certain steps to bunny proof our apartment before we let them out to play. Bunnies do love to bite on cords, a lesson learned the hard way for us. Now, we have a wire gate that we put together using wire storage squares that goes around our entertainment area in our living room that keeps bunnies from getting into, and biting all of our important cables.

3. Activities: Bunnies need to have toys to play with and stuff to chew on at all times. Believe it or not, bunnies are smart creatures and need their daily brain stimulation to be at their happiest, not to mention that they will make your personal things their own chewing toys if they don't have plenty of their own. My bunnies love to hop in and out of shoe boxes (and they also love to chew on them).

4. Nutrition: Bunnies need hay and lots of it. You will need to feed your bunny Timothy Hay everyday day. Experts recommend for bunnies to eat a ball of hay that is at least the size of their own body per day. Also, feed them pellets, fruits and veggies. And, fun fact, do not feed carrots to your bunnies often. Carrots have a lot of sugar which is not good for little buns. We get our Timothy Hay from Small Pet Select. A 20 pound box has lasted us as long as 5 months before for our two bunnies.

5. Bunnies have very different personalities. Most bunnies do not like to be picked up (they are prey animals after all), some love to be close to their human, while others would rather maintain their distance. You have shy bunnies, and assertive bunnies. Lucy is extremely assertive and will attack the vacuum if it's in her way, while Penny while rather hide away and cuddle up by her sister when she gets scared by any loud noise. Penny also loves being held, while Lucy will scratch and run away if held for too long.

6. Rabbits can live for more than 8 years so they are definitely not short term commitments. They require love, exercise and attention - just like a dog or a cat.

7. They require constant changing of their litter. We change our bunny's litter every 2-3 days. Before we got Penny it was maybe like every 4 days. The point is, bunnies really like to poop and if you're not comfortable with having to clean up poop, then maybe get a fish?

8. Other pets: if you have other pets, it may be tricky to have free range bunnies depending on your other pets. We have two dogs, a terrier and a Pomeranian. I was a little worried about the terrier and how he would handle the bunnies, but he has been so so gently and loving. Like always, you should  supervise any bunny-dog play time. Even though Toby has never hurt the bunnies, we would never leave them alone. Accidents do happen!

If all of this seems like a hassle and you are feeling discouraged, don't! It's really not as hard as it seems! My husband and I are so used to taking care of the bunnies that it is second nature to us. Bunnies are great and loving and will provide so much joy and happiness to your home. They thump and hop and run and squeak and are absolutely adorable and fun to watch. If you want to know where to start, or if you have any other questions about bunnies, leave them in the comments!

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