Bringing Home Your Baby!

Bringing Home Your Baby!

By Jacqui Odell

Congratulations! You have brought home a new best friend- a bunny! You will find that your new rabbit companion will bring you much joy, though your vaccum cleaner may not necessarily agree!

Some of the first things you will want to do is set up an area for bunny only. I recommend an area that is easy to clean, such as a floor where you can easily sweep debris straight outside, or, designate an old vaccum for your rabbit area only as you will need to clean up every day, or, at the very least, every other day. Rabbits poop constantly, but luckily, it’s very easy to clean up.

Many people prefer to keep their rabbits outside, however, for this article, I will not focus on that.

When I unexpectedly received my first bunny friend, I hadn’t a clue what to do or how to take care of him. Unfortunately, he was confined in the kids’ bathroom for a few days while I scoured the internet in search of information. Thankfully, this time around, I was a quick study and he was soon permitted the run of our home!

If you choose to keep your rabbit indoors, you can do that relatively inexpensively, and still have a “hoppy” bunny! Here is what you will need; you can find these items for a few dollars or a bit more at a WalMart or a pet store:

BOWLS A water dish that won’t tip, preferably a clay one. Unless you are going to be keeping your bunny in a small cage, you do not need a drip spout water container. Rabbits can drink just like other animals. One or two food dishes which won’t tip over, again, heavy, of the clay or similiar type.

LITTER BOX: You can buy a regular cat box, but do not buy cat litter as it is dangerous if ingested or breathed by bunnies! Hay is an excellent choice. Other types of litter to use are derived from alfalfa, oat, citrus or just plain old paper, though paper will do nothing to take care of the strong urine smell of a bunny. As rabbits are very clean animals, it’s very important to clean their areas often. It’s also important that, once you have arranged their area, to leave it ‘as is’ as much as possible, as rabbits are creatures of habit and like their areas just so.

FOOD: HAY! Hay is very important to a bunnies’ diet! Rabbits are vegans, and therefore must have grass, hay, some fruits and veggies. If you are going to a farmer for hay, you want the square bale hay, not the round bale. The round bale is ‘junk’ hay- the type cows eat. Rabbits’ digestive systems cannot handle that type of hay. You also do not want to offer straw. A moderate amount of pellets are okay as well, unless you happen to have an underweight bunny. They adore carrots, apples, pears, timothy grass. Limit cabbage and lettuce as this can give a rabbit diarrhea.

What we did was have a bag of carrots, pellets, (dried, processed rabbit food), timothy grass and apples always on hand for our rabbit. We let him outside in a roomy cage during the day to eat plenty of fresh grass, clover and some pellets, and at night we gave him free access to pellets, timothy grass, a bit of apple, carrots and pears.

WATER: Rabbits drink A LOT! Always provide fresh water. We have two dogs and two cats, so we change our water several tmes a day. Change your rabbits’ water at least two or three times daily. They all drank from the same bowls, so I wash the bowls every day as well.

SLEEP: Rabbits are nocturnal, meaning, they are active in the early morning and evening hours. They will find somewhere to sleep during the day. My rabbit usually slept under my bed. However, this is not encouraged because rabbits tend to dribble quite often and it’s hard to get under a bed every day to clean up rabbit poop! This is a good time to put the rabbit in its’ own private spot.

Rabbits love to hide, so a small doghouse, a box with windows cut out, or even a chair with a big sheet or a blanket covering it are all good places for a rabbit to hide out and feel secure.

TOYS AND CHEW-THINGS: Rabbits not only love to chew, but they must as well. Their teeth continue to grow, so they must always have something to chew. Good choices, of course, are carrots, fruits, untreated wicker, pine cones, cardboard, and twigs. If you do allow your bunny to have free run of your home, you must bunny proof, which is akin to baby-proofing, as your bunny will chew everything- wires, furniture, and a lot more.

Choose cardboard, baby toys (laugh as they throw these and kitty toys!), phone books, balls of any size. Give too many toys, not too few. If you give too few toys or activities, you will soon find your baseboards, sweaters, wires, furniture, shoes and other things chewed!

Now that you have the basics, settle in for a few days with your new bunny! Keep your bunny in a designated spot for those few days as he or she learns to use the litter box, learns where his or her food is and just learns that you are a friend.

One last thing: Be careful when picking up your bunny- he or she is not a kitten or a puppy! Rabbits are very shy and easily scared creatures, and they are animals of prey, so when you pick them up, let them know you are there, and pick them up from their sides, and carefully- NEVER by their ears, and never from behind as you will startle them and find yourself with some nasty scratches. Earn their trust. If at first, your bunny will not allow you to hold him or her, don’t fret. I will address that issue in another article, as well as a favorite rabbit issue of mine, called grooming.

If your rabbit does approach you in the meantime, talk to him or her softly, scratch him or her behind the ears, under the chin, on the back jaw and on the top of the head.

This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.

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