We have another great post from guest blogger Randi, this one on the importance of finding a bun (or buns) who is the right fit for you/your home/family.

One of the most important things that you can ever do is pick out a house rabbit (or they pick you). Not only do you have to think about what level of maintenance you can handle and have time for, but also the fact that the rabbit(s) that you pick are the ones that will stick with you for 5-14 years. I remember how difficult it was for me, because I was deciding between three different bonded pairs and I was terrified of making the wrong decision.

Here is some advice that I think you should keep in mind, because it definitely helped me to make the right choice. The main thing that I remembered was to look for personality and my connection to the rabbits rather than the breed I wanted, or how cute certain ones were. I have heard a very inspiring story on the Howcast YouTube Channel as well, where a lady went into a rescue and was only interested in adopting a holland lop. She picked out one that she liked and was in the middle of signing the adoption papers, meanwhile another bunny of a different breed was jumping up against the side of the cage trying to get her attention because he/she knew that they wanted to go home with her. The lady ended up going over and spending some time with that rabbit, and that was the one she ended up taking home, so stay open minded.
When I was trying to decide what buns to adopt, I was between Ron and Hermione, Citris and Ellie, and Mira and Arthur. Ron and Hermione were the ones that I had wanted pretty much from the beginning, but when I got to the foster home, after spending some time with them, I could tell that I just did not have a connection with them. Citrus and Ellie did not play that much, which when you think about it, made my decision a little easier. In the end, I knew that Mira and Arthur were the buns that I was meant to have because they were all over me the whole time, and I knew that I would be the happiest with them.

Now that you know what to look for when adopting a house rabbit, your life might be made a little bit easier if you think of these important tips.

Romeo & Juliet, snuggle bunnies

Romeo & Juliet, snuggle bunnies

Sleepy bunny!

Sleepy bunny!

Bunny on a bed!

Bunny on a bed!

We have a very special Easter-themed post from Randi this week, and we can’t thank her enough. This is an excellent post well worth reading!

There are so many rabbits out there who have been neglected, dumped, and forgotten about. And there are quite a few reasons (excuses, cough cough) for this awful occurrence, one of which is Easter. Most rescued bunnies end up in their position because people get their kids a rabbit for Easter and don’t realize the commitment that it takes. Therefore the rabbit is too difficult for them to take care of and the kids lose interest, so the poor little rabbit is dumped outside to fend for himself. Also, don’t forget that it is very easy for an un-spayed female rabbit to become pregnant, which will only add to the over-population of neglected house rabbits. So please help take the dread out of this holiday, and don’t adopt a rabbit if you aren’t serious or entirely sure.

Another problem is people choosing breeders over rescues/shelters. This is a MAJOR idea to keep in mind when deciding to get a house rabbit. I must warn you that you will become very tempted by all of the cute pictures of your favorite rabbit breeds from rabbitries. I have been in this position before, so please take it from me, that rescues are the way to go. Adopting from a rescue will save you the $200-$500 that you would’ve spent to get your rabbit spayed/neutered plus you won’t have to figure out what your bun’s personality is yourself. There are a lot of popular rabbit breeds in shelters too, but more so, you must keep personality and your connection to the rabbit in mind (which is a whole other topic). Hopefully you have an idea about why to get rabbits from rescues, and a fun-fact for when you’re on the internet looking for adoption centers is to always stay away from the words FOR SALE, BREEDERS, RAISING, RABBITRY, and SHOWING.

Now that you know the benefits of adopting rather than buying rabbits, I must ask, what is the point in buying from a breeder? If everyone stops buying from breeders and adopts instead, then breeders will eventually get the message that we’re not going to support them anymore. Then they won’t breed as much and many rabbits in shelters/rescues have a better chance of finding their forever homes, not to mention you won’t miss out on getting the rabbit(s) that you were meant to have.

So now you have seen my point of view as to why you should get your rabbit(s) from rescues/shelters, and as Easter rapidly approaches,
we have to think of the rabbits so that we remember not to put any of their lives at risk. If we all work together, hopefully this year we can reduce the size of “Easter bunnies” and rabbit breeders.

Now, please enjoy some pictures of Randi’s buns, Romeo & Juliet!
Pretty bunny
Bun in a tunnel!
Handsome!

We’re back with another edition of Randi’s Rabbit Tips, and we have a feeling this one will be very popular - we get so many questions from people all over the world about what kind of housing/habitat is best for buns, and we love Randi’s approach to figuring out how to make her lovebuns as comfy and happy and safe as possible. :)

It can be a real challenge to find the perfect cage for your rabbit(s). There are plenty of options out there, but most may not meet your bun’s expectations. If rabbits could tell you their reactions to cages, they would probably say things like “too small, I can barely move, or I’m claustrophobic.”

I know we all want to make our buns happy, and a tiny cage isn’t the way to do it. I’m sure most of us have been through the dreaded “age of cages” (or at least that’s what I’m calling it, LOL), which is the long period of time that you cannot find the right cage, and you start to get really irritated. When I was first looking for a cage I personally wanted to give my buns lots of room to run and play, but there aren’t many cages that you will come across having these qualities. And if you will only settle for these requirements then I’d suggest an ex pen or letting your bunny(s) go free range (in a safe environment of course), because it’s important that your bun gets the right amount of space and exercise.

I’m sure some of you have been curious about my rabbit cage experience, ever since I said that Romeo and Juliet were little masterminds who would try anything to get out of their cage at night. Well I personally think that the story is kind of amusing. The first rabbit cage that I tried was an IRIS plastic pet pen that was made for dogs, so it was obviously large enough for my rabbits to live in. I was happy with the cage itself, but Romeo and Juliet are REALLY smart so they were able to hop over the side at night and when I was at school. I knew that this was NOT going to work, so we got a mesh roof to velcro over the top of the cage. I was so excited when it came in the mail because it was SUPPOSED TO make my life easier. But Romeo and Juliet somehow un-velcroed the mesh roof and still got out. I ended up improvising and layered a bazillion sheets over the mesh roof, plus the side of a large wooden baby crib to hold the sheets down. By now you have might have guessed that even this couldn’t keep my rabbits from getting out of the cage. Well… You guessed right!

As annoying as this cage was, I had to live with it for a while and get woken up every night. Also it was a pain to clean. But luckily one day my mom went out and bought a new cage that would keep the buns in once and for all. (It was the Living World Deluxe Habitat from Petsmart, and it works amazing for one rabbit, but is also really good for two. Don’t worry, this time it actually did:-)

The cage that I have now might be smaller than the other one, but the bunnies are free ranging my room most of the time anyway. Also this cage provides a sense of security for the buns so that they know that they have to control themselves. The buns seem happy with it too, which is the most important thing out of this process.

I do have some rabbit housing ideas for people if you don’t want to pay for an expensive cage, or even if you just want to get crafty.

* you could use baby gates or an ex-pen of some kind to close off an area for your rabbit(s) to run and play. This idea also allows you to have room to put in a litter box, toys, cardboard boxes, etc

*you can use NIC grids and zip ties to make your own cage of the right size, so that you bun(s) have some room at all times

* build a rabbit condo with ramps and a level or two, which will get your bunny(s) plenty of exercise (you can find these on YouTube)

* if you have the space, give your rabbit(s) free range of a room and just put a small cage in the corner with a litter box

* build your own cage or area out of wood, which allows you to add your own personal touches

* please remember to bunny proof their space for their safety as well as your stuff’s stafety :-)

It’s really important to find a good rabbit cage that not only makes you happy, but most importantly makes your bunny(s) happy. It can often be a long process, but the hard work really pays off when you see how happy your buns are:-)

Romeo & JulietRomeo & Juliet, snugglingSnugglebuns!

Let us know in the comments if you have any housing/habitat ideas and stories of your own to share!

We are starting a very fun new column here with guest blogger Randi, and we are kicking it off with her top five tips for new bun owners. Enjoy!

Hi my name is Randi, and I am 13 years old. I like to write, read, and draw, but the most important thing to know about me is that I love animals (cats and rabbits especially).

I am also the proud owner of two sweet, hay loving California bunnies who I adopted from the House Rabbit Network. As a young first-time rabbit owner, I can tell you that with great bunnies comes great responsibility. As prepared as I was for getting a house rabbit, there is nothing that compares to the first few nights with your bun. Well… that is if your rabbits are little masterminds who will try anything to get out of their cage at night (lol). This shouldn’t be a problem though if you have a cage/hutch that is more stable than mine was.

At first it was scary for me to know that all of the responsibility of having my two buns, Romeo and Juliet (originally Mira and Arthur), was on me. I think everyone gets scared that they might do something wrong when they first start caring for their rabbit. But even though your bun relies on you for most things, it will be perfectly fine as long as you do your research (believe me, I know :-D).

Don’t get me wrong, it did take some time to get used to life with rabbits, but in my opinion, after we got to know each other it became one of the most fun experiences that I’ve ever had. Which is why the five most important tips of advice that I would recommend to all new bunny owners are:

1- Research, research, research! I can NOT stress this enough. If you get a rabbit and you don’t know anything about taking care of him/her/them, the internet is your best bet if you don’t want to do anything that you will regret later.2- Plan your rabbit’s living space ahead of time. If you don’t have a cage, hutch, ex pen, etc ready for your bun(s) when you take him/her/them home, then they will have to roam around until you do have something. And let me warn you, rabbits do have a destructive side.

3- Bunny proof EVERYTHING you think your rabbit could get into and even things you don’t.  I went to charge my phone one day, and the charger was chewed in half! You still have a chance to keep your things safe.

4- Rabbits should live indoors! Out of all the information I have learned about bunnies, this is one of the most important. I can not tell you how many people that I have heard say their rabbit got killed or attacked by a predator.

5- I think the most important thing though, if you don’t already have your rabbit, is to get them from a rescue or shelter. There are so many poor neglected bunnies out there who need your help, and there is a very good chance that one of those bunnies is meant to have a forever home with you too. Plus rabbits in shelters and rescues are already fixed, which could save you a good $200-500 depending on where you live.

As you can see, being a rabbit owner definitely has its ups and downs, but I found that everything is all worth it for my little bunny friends. They certainly are one of my top priorities in life, and they make things so much less boring :-)

Juliet being beautiful.

Juliet being beautiful.

Romeo loves Juliet (left to right)

Romeo loves Juliet (left to right)

Oh, Romeo

Oh, Romeo

Wilbur 3.25 lbs, DOB 05-2013

Wilbur is a feisty young puffball who loves people and attention. He will lick you and groom you and will tooth purr when he receives facial rubs. He can be a bit nippy if you try to pat him when he is eating and makes a little grunt. This is just part of his lively personality. He is better suited to older kids or adults that understand when to give him space. He is active and needs plenty of space to be happy so an ex pen or free range would be best. He loves Dandelions and needs a little help with eating more hay. He uses a litter box fairly well. He was found hanging around a family chicken coop so has not had the love and attention he deserves though he still has plenty of love to give. Please give Wilbur the home he so deserves.

"I like to think of myself as low in maintenance and high in entertainment."

"I like to think of myself as low in maintenance and high in entertainment."

Our newest foster, Hopscotch insists on speaking for herself and I wouldn’t dream of preventing her from doing so. Here’s her pitch…

I’m an adorable lion head house rabbit, a very special breed that came into being in Belgium. This means I speak English with a Dutch accent.

Far from Belgium and anything Dutch, I ended up for sale as an 8-week old baby and was bought by a young boy who feared for my life at a New England fair. He could not keep me.

Since then, more than a year later, I have been moved around a lot and grown wary about being picked up and even touched, so I would do best in an experienced home. Experienced means you are seasoned in caring for a rabbit like me, have patience, and don’t expect me jump on your lap and shower you with kisses. At least not right away. Don’t get me wrong I want to trust you–I just need time. I’ve been with my new foster mom and dad for nearly three weeks now and already taking treats from their fingers—bits of banana and their slow movements have enticed me to do so. Banana also happens to be my favorite thing next to Stella Artois, Guylian’s Chocolate Seashells, and Ridley’s “The Liz,” a road bike. (My foster mom is budding in here saying never give any type of beer or chocolate to a ‘bunny.’ She also says she’s never seen a ‘bunny’ ride a bike no matter how fantastically engineered it is).

Most rabbits, even Belgian ones like me use a litter box and I’m quite tidy—I like to think of myself as low in maintenance and high in entertainment. I am “a petite” at just 3½ pounds, but I’m a spry girl and prefer being kept in a pen so I can run its perimeter as fast as my little feet will carry me and do binkies. What’s a binky, you ask? In the language of a lagomorph, it’s when rabbits become so overwhelmed in glee, we jump into the air and twist our head and body in opposing directions—to a first time observer, it looks like we’re having some kind of convulsion. In reality, it’s actually a conniption, a form of hysterical frenzy.

Talking about binkies, do you know that cats can bink too? My foster mom sometimes straightens out my pen so I have access to most of the first floor. The only bit of mischief I get into is sneaking up on and startling the cat that often shares my pen—she binks straight up into the air!

After a great while of exploring the place, I begin to feel tired and climb up on my cardboard box tunnel. Like the bun diva that I am, I survey the room feeling secure and confident until I grow so sleepy that my eyes close and I fall asleep sitting up. How I love to have room to exercise, feel safe and be cared for. And, I find, I have developed a certain affinity for cats.

Won’t you consider adopting me as one of your companions—developing a bond with me, have me trust you? I’m so much fun to have around, I just need a permanent loving home in which to blossom.

Please contact House Rabbit Network to inquire about adopting me, the little caramel-colored rabbit with a Dutch accent and a lion’s mane.

Consider fostering too!

I’ll admit that one of the vexing things about rabbits is that it seems there is nothing they won’t chew on, and no danger they won’t eventually find. This, of course, is why we rabbit proof. But rabbit proofing isn’t an event, it’s a process. It’s an ongoing process, because sometimes our rabbit proofing measures are no match for our rabbits, and sometimes our rabbits go after things we never imagined they’d be interested in.

I have two rabbits. Harley has lived with me for almost five years, and Bonnie (HRN alum bun formerly known as Olive) joined the family a few months ago. I realize now how I took for granted Harley’s good behavior. He kept mostly to one room of the house, though he could have roamed if he’d wanted to; he didn’t jump onto the furniture; he didn’t risk his neck going after cords that were out of reach.

Bonnie, however, is an entirely different story. Bonnie has made herself the master of the house. Stairs do not deter her. Furniture does not intimidate her. She sees an out-of-reach cord as a test of her mettle. And if there is something she should not get into, you may rest assured that eventually she will get into it. Earlier today I had to fish her out of the fireplace. We had left the fire screen partway open, never imagining that a bunny would be tempted to hop through it. And the indignity she suffered while I cleaned her paws off afterward probably wouldn’t discourage her from trying it again — but unfortunately for her, the fireplace is now securely closed off.

What you see here is a bunny who has climbed up onto the back of our sectional, and who is now trying to decide which would be more fun: to chew on the cord, or use it to pull the lamp down.

What you see here is a bunny who has climbed up onto the back of our sectional and is now trying to decide which would be more fun: to chew on the cord, or use it to pull the lamp down.

Also alarming is the sinister influence she seems to have had on Harley. Of the two of them he is still by far the better behaved, but he has picked up some of her habits. Just a few weeks after Bonnie moved in, Harley began to follow her up onto the furniture. Now he has no scruples about jumping up there on his own.

Harley learned this trick from his girlfriend.

Harley learned this trick from his girlfriend.

So a couple of lessons in rabbit proofing that I’ve learned recently are: (a) A rabbit’s capacity for mischief can surprise you, and (b) even the saintliest of rabbits cannot always resist the allure of the devil.

What are your rabbit proofing horror or success stories? Please leave a comment and share your experiences!

dolcetto_relaxing Here I am still waiting patiently for my forever home. I have grown accustomed to being around people! Still a little nervous around new people but I’m more comfortable around my Foster Mom and even willing to eat out of her hand!

But no offense to my Foster Mom I would like to be eating out of my forever family’s hand. Is that forever family you?

 

UPDATE: 11/14/13

 

I went home to my new potential Forever Home! Thank you House Rabbit Network for rescuing me and finding me my new home. =)

In terms of cute we’ve got 2014 covered. 12 months of cute, cute, cute HRN Buns. Get your calendar today… In fact, get a couple, they make great Christmas gifts.

Calendar Link

HRN Calendar 2014

Date: October 21, 2013

We need help! HRN is in desperate need of volunteers to help at the shelter, especially morning shifts. If you live near Billerica, MA and have a spare morning (once a week or even once a month) please let us know. You will feed and socialize the buns and clean cages. Training is provided. Please contact us if you think you can help. We greatly appreciate it.

Email us at info@rabbitnetwork.org or phone our hotline at 781-431-1211.

A Helping Hand

Next Page »