Are toys for rabbits silly?
Bunnies love to chew and play. Toys fulfill both physical and emotional needs. They need to chew to keep their teeth healthy and trimmed. Play relieves stress and boredom, so it can prevent undesirable behaviors. Bun Mums and Rabbit Daddies can keep bunnies safe with all natural chew toys.
Raising-Rabbits has its own line of all natural, non-toxic bunny toys Made in the USA. We have big toys for rabbits to hang from their cage walls down to small Chew Stix for casual nibbling. If you want to learn 8 reasons why your rabbit needs toys, keep reading.
If you're already convinced, click here on our Bunny Bazaar page to start shopping. (Just because bunny is staring at you and judging you, don't feel pressured... much.)
The star rabbit of the 2010 ARBA Rabbit Convention in Indianapolis was an English Angora with a ring of baby keys, which he
threw repeatedly into his water dish. The resulting splashes nailed the
passersby, who then paid him some very complimentary attention.
Who would expect a
show-diva to be such a clown? That rabbit had more repeat visitors, and people
dragging their friends to see it than any other rabbit on the aisle.
Whether you own a pet rabbit or raise livestock or wool rabbits, consider these eight suggestions about toys for rabbits. Perhaps your own rabbits will enjoy them.
Rabbits like to make noise and have fun. Throwing things around the cage can show displeasure - "you need to hurry up with those pellets, human!"
But raising cain with the toys also relieves boredom and helps satisfy does' hormonal needs to rearrange the furniture. Think clean empty tuna cans. Tuna cans have a lip that the rabbits can grab with their teeth and then throw them around making a lot of noise, something rabbits love to do. But if you can imagine a whole jailhouse full of inmates rattling their metal cups against the bars of their cells during a riot, you almost have what tuna cans sound like at breakfast time.
Several of the Raising-Rabbits bunny toys have jingle bells that also make a satisfying noise.
Toys for rabbits will be chewed on, so they need to be non-toxic. Some major chain stores may carry cheap toys, but they are often foreign sourced in countries with much lower safety standards and use toxic chemicals. Good quality pet toys may seem initially expensive, but the huge savings in avoiding trips to overbooked vets will easily cover the costs. One emergency vet visit will cover the cost of a lifetime of safe, quality pet toys. Remember, light weight, sturdy and noisy are the goals here.
Be careful with those rabbits that are especially prone to chewing: If there are edges to the plastic they will get chewed. If the rabbit starts treating the plastic like filet mignon, replace it with something wooden. I’ve had to take the Legos away from some of my rabbits.
Rabbits benefit from some exercise. The easiest way to do this is cut a piece of 2X4 the depth of their cage and place it on edge between the food bowl and the water bowl so they have to hop over it to get from one to the other. (I suppose you could fasten it to the cage with a fence staple, but it will eventually need to be removed depending on chewing and urine absorption.) I also dangle treats from the top of the cage, like fresh greens, so they have to "stand up" to get them.
Mental stimulation is a good thing for rabbits. They are curious and social. The more variety you can give them the more their personalities will show. I trade toys from cage to cage when the original fascination wears off. (Ideally, all rabbits with shared toys are healthy, so germs don't get shared as well.)
Rabbit toy sharing is just one
more way to foster rabbit introductions between two pet rabbits unfamiliar with each other, or a breeding buck and doe before they actually meet. Think of it
like an on-line dating service and/or the trading of e-mail.
Each rabbit will have marked its toys by “chinning,” leaving their unique odors on the toys. Upon introduction of the doe to the buck she will immediately recognize the handsome fellow and be willing, theoretically, to accept his mating advances.
Toys for rabbits
are optional. It’s fine to allow a rabbit to lie in its cage all day with nothing
but pellets if you want to. Really. Rabbits have gotten along like that for
hundreds of years. Livestock meat production is a legitimate use of rabbits.
Turning them into pets would be counter-productive if you are responsible for their eventual processing. Still, a little cage enrichment and common sense might help high strung rabbits be less neurotic, like Tans maybe, or Britannia Petites.
Toys for rabbits can be "mass produced." Get a bag and collect pine cones. Five minutes - 45 toys.
Get an 8 foot long 2X2 board and cut it into two inch squares. Depending on how well you use power tools and how OCD you get about measuring, you could have around 45 toys in a half hour or less.
Ask a carpet dealer for empty cardboard rolls (from the center of the carpets) and cut them into 6 inch chunks. These make great tunnels and a place to flop down and rest.
(Find a few more rabbit toy ideas at the Pet Rabbit Care page - see tip #8.)
Note: Because eating Ponderosa pine needles can cause miscarriages, it would probably be wise to not give pine cone toys to brood does.
Toys are fun for YOU. Making them gives you a chance to be creative and interact with your rabbits. But if this doesn't mesh with your goals for raising rabbits, then it's okay - don't bother. My hope is that you enjoy the time you spend with your rabbits, whether it's spent grooming, feeding, or cleaning the trays.
I personally feel great satisfaction when I've restored order to the shed and all the rabbits are flopped out or munching feed. Even if the rest of my day is hectic, at least my rabbit world is in order.
We know that commercial rabbit toys can be expensive, but some of them are so stinking cute and creative! Our fruit-infused rabbit chew stix are amazing chew toys, but perhaps you'd like to see some favorite commercial rabbit toys:
About the Author:
Kim Martin, an Indiana rabbit breeder, raises Angora rabbits for their wool, which is harvested regularly at no harm to the rabbit.
Kim is also the creator and formulator of high-fiber Bunny Bran Branola, which Raising-Rabbits now sells under the Raising-Rabbits brand. Bunny Branola placed on top of the regular feed serves as a delightful diversion and chewing opportunity all by itself! It additionally helps prevent fur block, and the added oils improve the quality and density of the fur.