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There are so many ways I could start this post… It is certainly not one I ever thought I would be writing. But as more and more people are getting house rabbits I feel I need to step up and share the truth about rabbits and give my best advice so you can have the best success possible.
If you like people to sugarcoat things and tiptoe around the truth then this post will not be for you.
But if you want someone to lay it out on the table and share what over 20 years raising rabbits has thought me and the way they behave naturally then keep on reading friend.
This post will share the key issues you will have when having a house rabbit and the basic care posts will be linked at the bottom.
- Rabbits Are Not Dogs
- Rabbits Chew ALL THE TIME
- Rabbits Leave A "Trail"
- Rabbits Do Not Need A Budy
- Choose Your Rabbits "Space"
- Free-Roaming Your Backyard Is A Very Unhealthy Idea
- Animals Creative Structure And Predicability
- Quick Indoor Rabbit Tips
- Quick Cage Tips
Rabbits Are Not Dogs
This is the worse mindset that the media, commercials, and the pet market are showing you.
Rabbits are not dogs… let me say it again for the people in the back.
RABBITS ARE NOT DOGS! They do not behave like them, they do not have the same instincts, and yet the pet market is putting them in scenarios that force them to act like one.
Rabbits do not have a pack mentality, they a reserved and prefer solitude. Often only letting a few critters or humans in their “trust” circle.
They are by nature preyed upon animals. So loud noises scare them and crazy behavior (children screaming and acting crazy) is not good for rabbits.
Calm behavior and a confident attitude will help them trust you and will their trust.
Rabbits Chew ALL THE TIME
This is something you will not stop. They test things out with their teeth and learn about their surroundings by nibbling on things. Their teeth constantly grow and things like baseboards, kitchen cabinets, and a table leg are all perfect places to wear down their teeth. This leads me to another point in raising rabbits.
Any kind of cloth or soft material that could be swallowed will kill your rabbit. Their digestive systems are extremely sensitive and if they swallow a string from a towel or a piece of plastic could cause gas and clog up their intestines.
Rabbits Leave A “Trail”
While rabbits do tend to go to the bathroom in the same space they also leave trails of turds as they go. It’s partly how they tell other rabbits that this is their territory. So while yes you may be able to “potty train” your rabbit you will always have this part happening.
Rabbits Do Not Need A Budy
This is another aspect of the pet market trying to sell you on an idea based on emotion and not logic. Rabbits are not pack or herd animals. They don’t live in groups and even in the “colony” that people are trying to sell you on these days each rabbit still has its own space AWAY from the rest of them.
Rabbits will be far more friendly with you if they have YOU as their companion, not another rabbit.
Remember how I said they only have room for a few in their “trust” circle? Well, guess what? If you get another rabbit you are no longer as important to their social side. If you want to read more about my thoughts on having a buddy for a rabbit read this post.
Choose Your Rabbits “Space”
I had a very attentive follower on the rabbitry Facebook page a while back and I could tell he held rabbits on a whole different level. (More explanation on that later)
I later took a call from this person and there was some SEVER priority adjusting that needed to be made. The rabbit was allowed to let run free around the home and this person openly told me that the rabbit had pretty much destroyed their home. So much so that the family did not want another rabbit because of this.
If you choose to give your rabbit its own space that is more than its cage in your home a small bedroom is more than sufficient.
Free-Roaming Your Backyard Is A Very Unhealthy Idea
Sure the space to get around might seem like a good idea. BUT you don’t know what animal has walked across your yard when you weren’t looking. Rabbits are very sensitive and if they just a get a nibble of something that a wild animal dropped or left a trace of it could make them sick.
The best alternative is to have a puppy playpen on something like your back patio or a picnic table. Putting them in the grass could cause them to get coccidiosis or pick up something else from another animal and it’s just not worth it in my personal opinion.
Your Rabbit NEEDS Clear Boundaries
You have boundaries in life. You can’t just walk into a secure building without clearance or approval. Do you sit there at the door wishing to be on the other side? Do you let it ruin your day? No. You just say “ok, I can’t go in there” and move on.
A rabbit is the same way. They don’t know what they are missing IF you don’t give them a taste of the other side.
There is certainly nothing wrong or cruel to have rules and structure to have your rabbit live by. Letting your emotions make decisions over letting them go where ever they please will leave you with a badly behaved rabbit.
Think through where you would let your rabbit go and put up barriers to keep them there.
**DO NOT FOR ANY REASON HAVE A “CHEAT DAY** <—- I mean it! Here is why.
You can’t reason with rabbits. You let them out in a space once and you will have to fight them to keep them where they are supposed to be. To the point of them thrashing and kicking if you pick them up and possibly even biting you. Its like a child throwing a temper tantrum.
If you want to take them somewhere to sit with you pick them up. Carry them to that place. Let them stay right by your side or on your lap. Then take them back when you’re done.
Animals Creative Structure And Predicability
It doesn’t matter if it is a dog, cat, or a goldfish. Animals need and want predictability. They want to know what to expect and when to expect it. And when you mess with that you literally rock their world.
So the next time you feel guilty for a boundary or rule just remember that you are putting that on yourself.
Quick Indoor Rabbit Tips
- Clear out any fabrics or paper that the rabbit could eat and ingest.
- Find a baby gate to put up in a doorway or hall to keep your rabbit in your designated space.
- Put out VERY SHORT carpet so the rabbit does not walk on slick floors but also is less likely to be ablt to get a hold of the carpet hairs. ( I don’t like the idea of a carpet a whole lot BUT a rabbit does not have pads like a dog does giving them the ability to grip the floor. They could damage a leg or hips on the solid floor.) If you can pinch the carpet in your fingers its too long. Here is an example of what I mean.
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Quick Cage Tips
There is a camp that thinks wire floor is awful for rabbits and another that thinks it’s the leather way to go. (Bet you can’t guess which one I’m in😜)
Here is why solid floors are a problem.
The waste will get on their rear end and even cover them over so they can’t go to the bathroom.
But even more than that rabbits respiratory systems are extremely sensitive and the ammonia that is in their waste will cause breathing issues for them. Which can be deadly for a rabbit.
And if you are thinking “well just clean it more often” let me ask you a question. Do you have the schedule where you can check it every hour? Yeeeeea. Didn’t think so.
Even if you clean it in the morning and again when you get home after work. It will still leave the rabbit in a mess for quite a while.
Here are a few other blog posts that will help you on your rabbit-raising journey.
If you have decided that having your rabbit as a house pet is not right for you make sure to read this post to find the best outdoor cage for the. 5 Tips To Find The Best Outdoor Rabbit Cage
It might seem like I have come down hard on almost every aspect of having a rabbit indoors and that’s because I still in good conscience can not say that it is a healthy or good idea for your rabbit. But if you are determined to do it the things above are what you are going to have to figure out in order to have a healthy relationship with your rabbit on top of not having it eat something that could be terminal.
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