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Lord and Lady House Bunny

Updated: Dec 16, 2018


Delivering the bunny donation

An important part of Cat's Punky Stuff is the donation I make to local rabbit rescues. At the start of December I contact them, asking them to make a list of needs, or I phone their vets and pay towards their bill or put them in credit for the next emergency, dental or spaying. Rabbit rescues have a really tough job, and only the truly dedicated can house, economically support and care for troubled or unwanted bunnies. I have had house rabbits for over 16 years, always getting them from a rescue, never a shop.

Theo, the Teddy Bear Lionhead

I care for my bunnies in quite an eccentric way, having spent years watching them at 'work' and play, quickly realising what they prioritise. They have full roam of the house, I rarely pick them up, they have a get-away hide-hole, I always have them in pairs and we live to fit in with the bunnies, not them having to fit in with our lives.


The following information is quite extreme in bunny care, and not always textbook. I wouldn't expect there are many bunnies living like mine, and the summary section lists the basic essentials for their simplest needs.

Coco Bunny

Why a bunny?

Anyone who has a house rabbit will tell you they are crazy, fun and full of personality. They are very destructive so it is essential to bunny proof your house. They will slay dangerous electrical wires, may burrow into your sofa, or even peel the wallpaper! I guess I would say owning a house bunny is like having a puppy for up to 12 years. Like a puppy they are easy to educate, can cost just as much to keep, but give them everything they need, you'll have a less destructive, great companion . This may sound like it is intended to put you off from owning a house bunny, but the joy and love they give easily out-ways their creativity!.They do not necessarily need full roam of the house 24/7. Mine are because I am at home all the time, but a large penned off corner in a room would make a great, safe bunny haven, and protect your house!

Coco and Jack aka Jack and Coke!

Condemned to life in prison

Forgetting a bunny in a 3 ft prison cell at the bottom of the garden is totally unacceptable*. It is like putting a highly active, curious human in the bathroom for life! Rabbits need lots of space for binkies, (running, jumping, skipping and twisting all at once at high speeds), whizzies, (running around the house at full speeds!) and enough head room to be able to stand on their hind legs. The average shop bought hutch does not allow them any of this. If you don't want the bunny in the house, a small garden shed with a very safe outdoor pen is great in the garden (this is a whole new blog! ).


Bunny Heaven

Whether your house bunny is to have a huge indoor pen or free roam, they need certain essentials. I have a large indoor hutch in a quiet part of the house, tucked away from too much footfall which is always open so they can come and go as they please It has all their food, hay, litter box and bedroom in it. Must haves to keep a bunny happy are:

1. A large supply of small animal hay and daily fresh water. Mine use bowls as personally I feel bottles aren't natural for them, but bowls are more work as they need cleaning out regularly. I gave mine a choice of bowl or bottle for a few weeks, and they always went for the bowl. They chose not to have bottles, other bunnies may be different, give them a choice. (Small animal hay has been cleaned so safer than horse/cattle barn hay.)

2. A dark, warren-ish type place to go and hide and get away from it all. Bunnies are prey animals and need a safe, hidden place to totally relax. As time goes by, your bunny won't need that get-away as much, once they trust you (and know you are stood watching guard over them as they sleep!!!). Mine have a 2 ft square box with a small door cut in it, filled with straw and hay kept in their indoor hutch.

3. No claws on floors! 'Lava floors', (laminated flooring, lino and tiles) are not a bunnies friend. All of mine either walk on rugs, their own carpet pieces or small animal straw.

4. Dust free good quality food. I give mine a guinea pig muesli type food, but pellets are great and less wasteful. I like the muesli as it smells great, is full of dried fruit, and most importantly they really like it, with each mouthful being a variety, rather than 'pelletty-sameness'. Guinea pig food is full of extra goodness which is not only good for bunnies, but it helps keeps coats super soft. (You cant feed bunny food to guinea pigs though, they need those extra goodie bits!).

Tee the Rex in her tee bag!

5. Fresh fruit, herbs and veg. Bunnies love most things green, kale, spring greens and broccoli. They love herbs, grapes, banana, apple and strawberry, but it is important to know what ratio to feed in. I have had some rabbits that have eaten Marmite on toast, chilli and would steal a Haribo if they got the chance, but as a rule, its vitally important to feed your bunny correctly. They have quite delicate tum tums, so don't over do the sweet treats!

6. Toys and activity centres. Rabbits are incredibly curious, intelligent and love to play. There is a huge market for rabbit toys, willow balls being a huge favourite. It is easy to make fun toys for them using cardboard boxes and natural jute twine.


Mr Husbunny

As with all animals, they do better when they have a partner. Keeping bunnies on their own isn't great, as they need to bond with their own kind. Two house bunnies is no more work than having one, but remember needing the vet is never cheap. Bonding a pair is something a rabbit savvi person can do, as it's important to understand what is hateful fighting and what is establishing a pecking order.

Coco being nosy

I rarely pick my rabbits up, but instead lay on the floor with them. Communicating on their level alleviates any stress they may get from being picked up. A day will come when your rabbit will choose to hop up onto the sofa to demand a nose rub from you. It is amazing once you get that bond and it is extremely therapeutic and relaxing to sit like a bond villein, stroking your bunny.


I clip their claws myself, as house rabbits walking on rugs get long claws as nothing files them down. Shining a powerful torch onto a claw shows where the blood vessel is, so you know how much to snip off. I choose to have two people, one to hold the bunny whilst the other uses the torch and clippers.

King of the Beasts Lord Theo

Summary

Once you understand rabbits and get to know their ways, you won't know how you used to live without one. Everybody has different opinions on how to care for them, my ways listed here work for me. There are some great Facebook pages that have a world of helpful knowledge. My favourite is 'Bunnies are Assholes', which is actually a secret group on Facebook, as the odd swear is the norm, but don't be put off by this, they all have excellent knowledge about bunny welfare!! Once you have lived with a rabbit, you'll understand the necessity for foul language!!! So, to care for a happy house or garden bunny :

Give them plenty of space

Good balance of dry, fresh and treat foods

A warren type environment somewhere quiet

Look after their claws

Live with them as if you are a member of their warren, don't expect them to like living as a person

Supply plenty of toys or feel the full wrath of their force

Protect parts of your house you don't want them to make theirs. They will savage an iPad cable and won't think twice about taking out the remote control by chewing off the buttons!


Having house rabbits really make a home. There is nothing greater than having your bunny follow you about or looking up at you as you talk with her/him or doing crazy binkies of happiness at top speed! House rabbits rule!


*Please note that all rabbit rescues use hutches, but the quality of life and exceptional care they get, regularly getting a run out etc makes up for the small, temporary living space.

Black/tan rabbit is Tee, a Rex rabbit rescued from a hell no animal should have to experience

Black bunny is Coco, from a caring, loving home but unwanted

'Floofy' beige bunny is Theo, a Teddy Bear Lionhead, from a local rescue, another unwanted pet

Brown bunny is Jack, found 'free to a good home' in a PET SHOP! He was a totally wild, unmanageable little guy who had obviously come straight off the Fens, with no compassionate handling. Free rabbits go for snake food and baiting, so I took him there and then. He had to deliver parcels with me for a few hours in the van, but once home, I bonded him with Coco! He spent his life terrified, but we did what we could for him. We never picked him up, (except for the claw trauma!) and never walked towards him. He would relax if stroked when he was in his hutch, but other than that, he was left to be a bunny. Very sad little case, but he loved Coco, as she did him, so at least he knew love in some form!





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