So, the first thing I will tell you NOT to buy is...your rabbit! I know, I know. Little baby bunnies hopping around in pet store pens are admittedly adorable. However, if you buy a bunny from a pet store, you are essentially sentencing a rabbit sitting in a kill shelter to death. If you adopt a bunny from a rescue group (like 4 Lil Pigs n Buns), it means the rescue group can take in another bunny from a kill shelter. If you adopt directly from a kill shelter, you are also saving a bunny! Adopting from a rescue group has many benefits. You pay only a reasonable adoption fee, and the bunny will be spayed/neutered already. All bunnies need to be spayed/neutered for health and behavioral reasons (aside from the obvious!). If you take a bunny to a vet to be fixed, expect to pay over $200. Rescues can also help match a rabbit's personality type to you. Contrary to popular belief, rescues often have many breeds (often purebred!) available for adoption.
|Although those cute little pet store bunnies are tempting, please don't support pet stores who sell them.|
|The author's bunny pen (guinea pig pen is attached) This is an example of a pen made from storage cube panels.|
|An exercise pen set-up|
Earlier, I let you know that bunnies are easily litter trained. So, that means that you don't need to fill their entire space with litter. Let me start with what NOT to buy. Clumping clay cat litter might seem like a good idea, but it can be deadly if your bunny ingests it by causing intestinal blockages. As with guinea pigs, stay away from pine and cedar shavings. Corn cob litter can also cause blockages if ingested. What kind of litter should you use? Any litter made from recycled newspaper is great - Carefresh, Yesterday's News (buy the cat version, it's much less expensive). Another option is pine pellets (not shavings - pellets are okay). You can buy wood stove pellets (NO accelerant!) or a product such as Equine Pine or Feline Pine. Some people simply use newspaper and hay as bedding. To encourage litter box use, fill the box with nice, fresh hay. Bunnies like to eat and poop! For more litter training tips, check out the House Rabbit Society's advice.
Here's where the actual "Eat this, not that" section begins! I'll begin with photos of products that we do NOT want to see your rabbit ingest!
|"Fiesta-style" pellets with seeds and colored bits. The WORST pellets you can give.|
|Here's a quick rule of thumb: if it says "Kaytee", don't buy it. This package is part of the Kaytee "Pro-health" line. These treats certainly do NOT promote health.|
|Just say no to treat sticks. If it contains honey, seeds, or nuts, don't buy it. This one is a triple offender (8 in 1 Ecotrition Treat Stick).|
I told you what kind of pellets NOT to buy, so what kind should your bunny have? The answer - a high quality, timothy-based pellet. Yes, it will be more expensive than the junk pellets, but just think of the fact that it will save vet bills in the long run! Good brands include Oxbow, Zupreem, and Mazuri.
Bunspace, Leith Petwerks, and Busy Bunny) have wonderful healthy bunny treats! (but use in moderation, of course!)
|Bunny Potpourri from Bunspace.com - my bunnies loved this!|
Toys and Miscellany
What toys should you give your bunny? It can be challenging finding the right toys for your bunny. First things first: try to determine how your bunny plays. Is he a digger? A tosser? A chewer? A destroyer? Think outside the box - many plastic baby toys can be fun for your bun! Try stacking cups or plastic key rings. Or - think inside the box! Place old phonebooks (glossy covers removed) inside a cardboard box (with a door cut for access). My buns have hours of fun inside their cardboard box. Apple twigs and willow baskets are fun to chew! Pet Rabbit Toys has an excellent selection of toys to buy. Whiffle balls are fun to toss and roll around. Here are a few appropriate bunny toy examples:
|Available at pet stores! Finally a pet store product I can recommend!|
|Another pet store winner!|
|Available from busybunny.com (Basket 'o Balls)|
|Available from busybunny.com (Apple sticks)|
|Everyone loves playing in boxes!|
Oh, and the best toy for your bunny? Another bunny! Rabbits do best with a friend of their own kind. Believe me, it's no more difficult to care for two than it is for one. February is Adopt-a-Rescued-Rabbit month! If your bunny needs a friend, 4 Lil Pigs n Buns will be happy to have your (fixed) bunny come on a bunny date to choose a friend!