Want A Bunny For Easter?
Bunnies sure are cute and cuddly with those tiny twitching noses and long silky ears. They are hard to resist, especially when your child has been begging for one and Easter is on its way. But the sad fact is according to Huff Post around 80 percent of all bunnies bought for Easter gifts end up abandoned at animal shelters or worse yet, let go into the wild. Like any other pet, a bunny takes work and dedication to keep it happy and healthy.
Before you decide to bring one into your home learn what it entails. Check out the following facts on keeping a pet rabbit.
The Humble Abode
Domestic rabbits do best when kept indoors. Here, they are safe from predatory animals and the cold chill of winter and extreme heat of the summer months. Bunnies also grow very quickly, so the housing will need to be roomy enough to accommodate it as an adult. The enclosure should allow your bunny to stretch its legs, stand up, turn around and also do a few hops. There are a variety of styles of “hutches” and cages you can provide your pet.
- Puppy Pens – these can be used to give your pet bunny a bit more room and still be a part of the family life. Here, you can set up everything it needs to be happy; food, water, litter box, toys, etc.
- Bunny Condos – these have multi-levels and are made specifically with your bunny in mind. They allow ease-of-access and can be moved outside for a change of scenery on a warm summer’s day.
- Cages – these are not as large as the Condo, but will supply a suitable area for your bunny to relax, however, many cages are simply too small, so giving your bunny plenty of out time is a must.
Free Range vs. Caged
Rabbits by nature are very social animals and can live up to 10 years-of-age. They thrive when they interact with people, other bunnies or calm and willing family pets. For these reasons keeping it secluded in your home can lead to physical and psychological problems. A bored or sad bunny may start to nip or become very lethargic. For this reason some pet parents opt for giving their bunny free range (or semi-free range) of their home.
Rabbits are curious and persistent chewers so bunny-proofing your home is a must. This includes putting away cables, electrical cords, cleaners, kids toys and even your houseplants. If you allow your pet rabbit to roam free in your home, you may want to consider potty training (yes, it’s possible) by setting up a low litter tray, lined with old newspaper and placing it in a designated area in your home. With a little training, your pet bunny will begin to use this as its bathroom. To get started, you may want to keep your bunny enclosed in a small area of your home while its in training to avoid unwanted accidents.
The Right Bunny food
As kids we may have been told that bunnies eat lettuce and carrots, but in reality, it takes a whole lot more than just salad fixins to keep a rabbit healthy. Oftentimes, bunny parents may mistake that dried out pellet mixture found in all pet retailers as a “balanced” diet; however, this is far from the truth.
Rabbits need fresh hay for digestion and good dental health. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide your rabbit with added vitamins, nutrients and variety, as well as moisture for kidney and bladder functions. In addition, rabbits need specific foods as they grow and develop. Check out our friends over at House Rabbit Society for a complete feeding-stages guide of a pet bunny.
Here are some fresh foods your pet bunny may enjoy:
- Fresh parsley
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
- Bell peppers
- Apples (without stems or seeds)
Kids and Bunnies
A bunny can be your child’s best friend and a wonderful way to instill the values and responsibilities of being a good pet parent. However, bunnies can also be frail and need to be handled with care, so assess whether your child is ready for this fuzzy pal. Most older children are able to handle a bunny once they have been shown the proper techniques. Just look out for the back legs of even a petite rabbit. They are extremely strong and can cause injury to both itself and a child if handling is done incorrectly.
The best way to pick up a bunny is by sliding your hand under its front legs and gently lifting while supporting under its hind end. NEVER let a bunny dangle or lift it up by the ears.
Rabbits naturally groom each others’ faces and down their backs, so most bunnies enjoy being petted gently in these areas. However, like any other pet, bunnies will develop their own personalities. Happy bunnies will make soft purring sounds, do happy flips and jumps in the air, make honking or buzzing sounds while running in circles, zip around a room and even flop down in utter contentment. On the other paw, an upset bunny may growl, kick imaginary dirt in your face (back kicking while moving away from you), nudge you to be bossy and even scream. Know what your bunny is saying. This could mean the difference between being bitten and having fun.
If you are considering one of these adorable animals this Easter, be sure to do your homework. Like other pets, bunnies are not a toy to be discarded after the season has past. Learn the ins and outs of this wonderful little critter, so it can bring cheer and joy into your life and to make sure you and your child are fully able and willing to give it the life it deserves.
What’s Your Take?
Do you think it’s a good idea to give or receive a bunny or chick during the Easter holiday? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Founder of KirinGie.Me. A dreamer and believer that humanity can come together for the greater good and well-being of the pets we love. You and I can make a difference to reduce pet abandonment, relinquishment and euthanasia through community support, corporate sponsorship, and city partnerships. Ask me how and get involved.