How to Buy a Bunny: Advance Preparations for Bunny Ownership.
Here are our tips for understanding a pet bunny's needs ahead of time so you can confidently prepare and then purchase a pet bunny wisely.
Wait. Let's think this through. Easter actually has nothing to do with anything.
The BEST wisdom is to actually do the research beforehand, and then you'll buy wisely.
Rabbits have specific needs and behaviors that are much different than our more familiar cats and dogs. Also, different rabbit breeds have certain care needs and temperaments. By doing research, you will be able to make the best choice for your family and the bunny, which may or may not actually include “let’s wait until next year.”
(Pictured: Mini Rex from Shepherds Purse in RI)
Do you have children? How old are they?
Young children need to be supervised at all times with rabbits, especially young rabbits. The boisterous nature of young children can startle and stress even rabbits from professional pet breeders.
This great starter book, Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits, will give you the basics of bunny care which will help you decide if this is the right time to get a live bunny. You may want to get a stuffed animal for a couple more years if constantly monitoring your young child isn’t feasible.
When selecting a rabbit, a professional pet rabbit breeder is the best way to go.
Because resistance to being petted and held is as instinctual to rabbits as breathing, the extra attention and training given by professional pet breeders is worth every penny.
Also, these specialty pet breeders will often offer a wide variety of aftercare, to include advice, grooming services, or rehoming if it becomes necessary. Raising-Rabbits has listings for breeders all over USA and even some in Canada, so there are a lot of options.
Our Featured Rabbitry listings are a great place to start your search for a pet rabbit. Here is the index page so you can find the best one for you and find out all about their services and see lots of adorable pictures of their bunnies: https://www.raising-rabbits.com/featured-rabbit-breeder-index.html.
Yes, these breeders will be noticeably more expensive, but the higher price tag is due to training the bunny to be a pet. In nature, rabbits are prey animals, so they can be naturally prone to anxiety as a survival necessity.
Professional pet rabbit breeders handle the bunnies every day starting from birth so they won't run, scratch, kick, and hide whenever you pet them.
(Pictured: Adorable Holland Lop at The Farm at Fort Mill in South Carolina.)
There is also the issue of pedigree. Is a pedigree just a fancy piece of paper used to raise prices?
(Pictured above and right: Holland Lops from Belle's Bunny Boutique in New Jersey.)
This documentation can also show if a particular breeder handles animals humanely, since the history of several different animals can be traced back to points of origin. Did a breeder sequester a rabbit with a weakness to a particular ailment, or continue breeding it because it had a desirable color?
In this fashion pedigrees help ensure the long term health of the breed.
It is true that a pedigree is only as good as it is honest. But no pedigree tells one nothing.
No, a pedigree provides a record of the rabbit's bloodlines. When several generations can be documented, whether flawed or healthy bloodlines. When a good breeder discovers an issue with a rabbit, that rabbit is removed from the breeding program. The issues could be behavior, such as poor mothering instincts, or health related, such as malocclusion (deformed teeth).
Pedigree documentation also helps keep the breed healthy by preventing excess inbreeding. If you own 10 rabbits as a breeder, you want to know exactly how closely yours are related to prevent breeding babies with congenital health problems.
Also, when a professional breeder gets a new rabbit to add to the breeding stock, they invest in the pedigree and research it to ensure that they are adding healthy bunnies to their herd, so they can make healthy bunnies for you.
How to buy a bunny: Know the housing needs in advance.
How big a space do you have? Some bunnies don’t need a lot of room and would be fine in a small apartment or dorm room. Others, not so much. If a rabbit gets cabin fever, they can be destructive.
You will also need to take into account their personal habitat. Rabbits do best with some sort of house, cage, or enclosure that includes their food, water, and litterbox.
We're not of the sort that have problems with backyard hutches. In fact, we have some really great ebooks for DIY people who may want to personalize the bunny space, or maybe save some money instead of dropping a lot of $$ on premade habitats. Check out Pet Rabbit Living Spaces.
Two other sets of rabbit housing plans can be found here.
How to buy a bunny: Well, what kind of bunny interests you the most?
Our ebook, Domestic Rabbit Breeds in our bookstore, will describe rabbit breeds in detail, helping you answer your questions as to which breed (or breeds!) will be right for you and your family.
Have you researched into grooming needs, medical care, and the costs? Many rabbits require weekly brushing, and some angoras (long hair) require daily brushing.
What about tooth maintenance? Rabbits’ teeth never stop growing, so they will chew on wood like objects to keep them filed. For most rabbits chewing is all it takes to keep their teeth in good shape.
But overgrown teeth can cause a lot of expensive and even deadly health problems. You can monitor their teeth to see if they need care from a vet. For sure don't purchase a bunny that already has overgrown or maloccluded teeth.
What about nail trims? These can be easily performed by you the bunny owner, or you can hire a vet or a groomer to do it for you. This is because their nails can also grow into spikes if you let them, and this has the potential to cause sores on the feet due to increasing the pressure on the foot pads.
Check out our World of Raising Rabbits bookstore for these and many other resources.
How to buy a bunny: Look around your home for chewable articles. Do you see a bunch of electrical wires snaking here and there? As a bunny owner, you will become quite familiar with the term: “spicy hay.” Spicy hay are any type of electrical cord a bunny can get his chompers on: phone chargers, computer accessories, power cords for lights and appliances, you name it!
Additionally, rabbits are small animals, smart and very agile. They are prone not only to gnawing, but also to digging, hiding, hopping, and climbing. Another phrase you may become acquainted with is “How the heck did he get in there?!”
Do you know how to bunny-proof your home?
Raising-Rabbits brand Chew Stix are healthy chewing sticks infused with apple to distract bunny from naughty gnawing and reduce its need to hunt out new chewing opportunities.
How to buy a bunny? It's very helpful to know ahead of time what your prospective pet rabbit should eat, and how much! It may seem pretty straightforward; rabbits are herbivores, so just feed them plants, right?
Not so much... Fruit is high in sugar. Too much fruit, and your bunny will react like you just fed Twinkies to a 3 year old. Also, certain vegetables can be toxic, like garlic and onion.
Dark green lettuce is fine, but iceberg lettuce that fast food restaurants use, is bunny fast food. Filling, but no nutrition.
And then there’s hay. Rabbits need hay for the roughage to help digestion, as well as for chewing to keep teeth filed to a healthy length.
It may seem that the easiest solution is to just go buy feed at the pet store, but sometimes factory feed sits in warehouses for several months, losing nutrients, before you pour it into your bunny’s bowl.
Some people also enjoy preparing tasty treats for their pets, and the happy bonding and play that go with it. Our ebook, Feeding Your Rabbit, tells you everything you need to know about what bunny likes and needs to eat.
The needs of rabbits as pets are not typically as familiar to us the needs of our dogs and cats. It is best to put time and effort into researching the breeds and the needs BEFORE you invest your money into purchasing the perfect rabbit. Once you do your homework, you will be much more likely to get the right bunny at the right time for your family, and enjoy them for many years.
Is this the right time to acquire a bunny or to first LEARN about rabbits? This great book pair, Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, and the Rabbit Raising Problem Solver. are perfect companion volumes!
Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits is a great beginner book, for people just starting to follow their interest and love of rabbits. This gives a great introduction to bunnies with a general overview of rabbit care and housing.
The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver goes into considerably more detail. It gives you:
How to buy a bunny? These books make it much easier! They complement each other perfectly, and will give you the knowledge you need to care for your rabbit when the time to buy is right.