Don’t underestimate the indoor space they’ll need
Bunny-proof the house, have a big cage or a run. Once litterbox trained, a bunny can happily run free around your house much like a pet cat or dog, though most owners still like to have some sort of cage to hand for when they’re not there to keep an eye.
Rabbits are naturally curious, so rabbit-proofing the house really can be a job. Getting all your wires covered (or lifted three feet), covering skirting boards and furniture legs, and preparing for their inevitable efforts to dig, burrow and chew is not for the faint-hearted.
Inside or outside?
You’ll need to decide whether you’re having an inside bunny or an outside one. There are many strong opinions on this, with benefits and drawbacks attached to each. Inside, they are an integral part of your home, and more likely to become a pet like a dog and a cat, sitting next to you on the sofa and boinging around the living room.
If kept outside, their life will be more natural, and many owners can allow their rabbit more space to dig, run and frolic as every bunny would naturally. But bear in mind, an outside bunny must be on your mind every single day of the year. Not that an inside bunny won’t be, but there is no let-up from the elements. They aren’t hardened to tough extremes of weather and will need fresh hay, drinking water and a clean space as well as exercise throughout snow, wind and rain (which they’ll need to be adequately protected from). What’s more, bunnies housed outside should never be kept alone.
Be a pal
If you can’t dedicate several hours a day to hanging out, consider getting a second rabbit.
Rabbits are truly sociable animals and locking them in a cage alone all day when you’re busy is unadvised. Getting a second rabbit means they’ve always got a mate on hand (not that kind! Make sure you get your bunnies neutered!) to hang out with and keep them entertained.
Hay is best
Forget all of those fancy, different coloured pellets you see in the pet shop. Your rabbit’s primary diet should be hay and lots of it. This is ideally supplemented by a few greens every day, a sprinkle of plain, fibre-rich pellets (not making up the biggest part of his meal by any stretch), and the occasional vegetable and fruit as a treat. Most importantly, they need access to clean water.
Buying the basics:
There are a few items you need to tick-off your checklist before you bring your bunny home:
Cage, hutch, run, rabbit-proofed house (with or without baby/puppy gates)?
Straw, fine paper, wood shavings…all are types of bedding for you to choose between.
All rabbits should have hay as the primary ingredient in their diet.
Extra rabbit foodstuffs to supplement the hay include pellets, many of which are designed for your rabbit’s age or breed.
Bunnies are curious, mischievous little bouncers! More toys means less boredom and less appetite to chew things they shouldn’t, like your favourite furniture.
Treats are a great way to show your bunny some love, occasionally. You can even teach your bunny some basic tricks if they’re amenable.
Get ready for the love!
Bunnies have different temperaments. Unlike a pup who will 99% always love being showered with kisses, some bunnies will show affection just by wanting to be in the room with you, whilst some might like to snuggle on your lap. Don’t crowd your new fluffball; give him or her time for her personality to come through, so you know how to give them the love they deserve!