2. Boredom and depression are common symptoms of loneliness in rabbits. Rabbits left alone in a home while the human guardians are away will often resort to destructive behavior, hyperactivity, or withdrawal.
3. Studies have shown that bunnies who live with a member of their own species are healthier, cleaner due to mutual grooming, and also live longer.
4. As even the most bunny-diligent guardian will tell you, we can never fully speak bunny! As soon as a bond between two bunnies happens, the shared adventures and happiness are painfully obvious! In fact, it seems we never really know the true personality of our bunny until she/he is sharing a home with another.
5. By adopting your new friend from a shelter or rescue group you can save two lives, which is even better than saving one!
To read about bunny bonding, please see THIS article.
When you adopt a rabbit, you want to be assured of several things. You want him/her to be mentally and physically healthy. You want to know the pluses and minuses of living with a rabbit. You want reliable information on how to prepare your home and to care for your rabbit. You want a rabbit that is a good match to your household. You want rabbit knowledgeable people to consult with when questions come up about your rabbit.
Foster parents at ECC are very knowledgeable about their charges and can answer the questions you may have about rabbits in general or about an individual rabbit. In addition, all of our bunnies are spayed/neutered (or will be prior to adoption), most of them are already trained to use a litter box, and are socialized. Or volunteers can discuss with you an individual rabbit's quirks, can advise you if a rabbit will adjust to children and/or other household companion animals, their food preferences, and their general temperament. This means that you can get lots of great help before you make a decision about the rabbit that you are interested in and thereby avoid potential pitfalls.
In addition, we are motivated by what is in the best interest of rabbits, their health, and their longevity. We keep up on the latest veterinary literature, often have consulting rabbit veterinarians, and know which products are best for your rabbit.
All this adds up to a better chance for you and your rabbit living happily and healthily together, and decreases the chances of yet another rabbit ending up abandoned and homeless.
At what age should rabbits be spayed or neutered?
When is a rabbit too old to be spayed or neutered?
Can you tell if a female rabbit has already been spayed?
Did you know that rabbits (like kittens, guinea pigs, fancy rats, and many others) are BEST in pairs?
We often see the hesitation in adopting a pair with new adopters, and hear about the space and time restrictions, or even apprehension related to medical expenses for two bunnies. While these are all valid concerns, the truth of the matter is that adopting is a long term commitment, and consideration should be given to the adopted animal’s both physical and emotional needs. Providing a companion of their own species is just as important as feeding your bunny properly, allowing for daily exercise, and getting yearly (or semi-yearly, in the case of older bunnies) checkups! Here are just a few of our favorite facts about why bunnies are best in pairs.
1. In the wild a community or warren consists of as many as one hundred individuals working together to create, maintain, and peacefully share a network of tunnels. Their lives include daily cooperation to find food, guard against predators, protect, raise, and teach their young ones. Having one bunny alone in a home is a far cry from the natural order deeply built within every rabbit.
The purpose of bunny-proofing a room, or a designated area of the room, is to be able to have the rabbit(s) out, and not worry that they will injure themselves by getting stuck, or chewing on something that could harm them. Here are some important elements to consider while bunny-proofing:
If not free-roaming in a bunny-proofed home, rabbits should be kept in the largest possible enclosure, preferably a pen versus a cage (but a sectioned off room is even better!), and should have ample time outside of the cage to explore and get exercise (at least 4-6 hours everyday). As a result all apartments/houses that are home to a rabbit (or the one room signed for out-of-cage time) need to be bunny-proofed.
We recommend the 30" or 36" height pen- ideally use two of these pens clipped together for your rabbit. For the purpose of bunny-proofing, pens are ideal as it is easy to bend them around furniture, they are lightweight- allowing to be moved and swept under, and they can be folded and stored when not in use.
To see some examples of bunny enclosures at Empty Cages Collective’s foster homes please see THIS Dropbox picture folder.
A bunny's diet should consistent mostly of timothy hay, supplemented with some fresh greens and a small amount of pellets (they should not be getting much if any fruit).
Most adult rabbits maintain a good body weight on a limited amount of pellets daily, while others may require an unlimited amount. A rabbit's metabolism can change throughout their lives based on many factors including age and health status, so the amount of pellets may change accordingly. It is always best to have your rabbit seen at least yearly by a rabbit savvy veterinarian to monitor his/her weight prior to adjusting the amount of pellets fed.
Bunny owners need to buy a lot of timothy hay- not only is it the predominate part of the rabbit's diet but it serves as enrichment and bedding as well!
Some safe greens include romaine, red/green leaf lettuce, parsley, kale, carrot tops, cilantro, dandelion leaves and dill. Greens to avoid are any gas producing greens including, but not limited to: broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach and cabbage. Every rabbit may have a different response to a particular green so introduce any new green slowly and in a small amount to make sure it is well tolerated by your rabbit.
Rabbits need to be constantly eating or they will die, so you need to be able to check in on them enough to make sure they are doing so (not eating for even 8 hours can be fatal). Not urinating or defecating for more than 8 hours is an emergency for a rabbit.
More information on rabbit diets can be found here.
It's best to have your bunny drink out of a dish rather than a water bottle because it is easier and more natural. She will be able to drink more water which is better for her health. Get heavy (ceramic) dishes with sides that go straight down so she won't be able to knock them over.
To keep your bunny litter-trained, get a large litter box, line with newspaper and a rabbit safe litter and pile timothy hay on top. Your bunny is a grazing animal and will spend much of her time munching hay and will go to the bathroom in the litter box as well. It might sound strange to eat and poop in the same area, but this is the best way to keep them litter trained. The hay also protects their feet from the wet litter. Never use clay, corn or crystal litter, which can be fatal to rabbits. Feline pine or Yesterday's News are good litter brands for rabbits.
More info here.
The very best toys for your bunny are free! You can take toliet paper tubes and stuff them with hay or crumple plain non-glossy paper. A covered, enclosed area is essential for your new bunny's habitat. Because rabbits are prey animals, they like to have a safe place to hide. This can be just a cardboard box with an opening she can hop into. You can also stuff a cardboard box with newspaper and hay and watch her dig and explore!
Your bunny will dig, chew, fling and nudge toys. The main rule is anything you give your bunny should be edible so no plastic.
More information on toys for rabbits can be accessed here.
The best treats are herbs! Rabbits loves cilantro, basil and fresh oregano. You can also give very small pieces of fruit. Fruit and carrots have a lot of sugar in them which can contribute to slow gut or stasis (more info under HEALTH and in attached docs). The treats that look like colored cereal sold in pet stores is full of dye and other chemicals. Rabbits also do not need the salt licks sold in pet stores. More information on rabbit treats can be accessed here.
Healthy pet rabbits can live between 8-12 years!