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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum HABITATS AND TOYS Are We Bad Bunny Owners?

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    • Alex98
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      9 posts Send Private Message

        We have two bonded rabbits and a custom cage I built that’s just big enough for the rabbits to play chase. It’s 6 rabbit lengths long and 5 rabbit lengths wide, so pretty decent. It’s also plenty high too. We give them good food and occasionally bananas and veggies.

        My girlfriend goes on tiktok to see that other rabbit owners have some bigger areas, feed them nicer food, but we’re not as rich to afford that, and she’s considering giving up the rabbits as a result of tiktok.

         

        The rabbits seem happy, but one of them will have a bald spot on their back seemingly from stress. They play, eat food enthusiastically, and don’t show any other signs of depression as they’re at a healthy weight. The other rabbit seems completely fine.

        Soon we’ll also have to keep them outside for 3 months because our temporary apartment. It’s California and it’s gonna be hot so they’ll have shade, be elevated, and given a tile to lay on that’s colder with plenty of water. Is this good enough?

         

        Is this good enough to keep them or should we leave them up to adoption?

         

        Bunny Cage


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        8954 posts Send Private Message

          So, even large cages are too small for a bun to spend all of its time in. Do you give your rabbits exercise time in a larger area? I think that exercise time in a bunny proofed room for several hours per day is even more important than the size of the cage. Rabbits need a large area to really get up to full speed a run, but they don’t need 24/7 access to it. Usually giving about 4-6 hours a day (split between morning and evening) is enough for happy bunnies, but of course more is better. I know there are a ton of social media accounts that make it seem like all rabbits should have a bunny room or 100% free roam, which is just not true, but they do need to have exercise each day in a larger area.

          The most important part of a rabbit diet is grass hay. I don’t think it’s necessary to give rabbits expensive toys or treats for them to be perfectly happy, but you do need to make sure they are getting enough hay and enough exercise. Pellets should be a small part of the diet, and of course they range in price, but since you feed such a small amount of them it really shouldn’t be a source of financial strain.

          The bald spot could be from over grooming, or excessive mounting by one of the bun. Are they both neutered/spayed? Sometimes in spring there can be some excessive mounting even in neutered/spayed rabbits.

          The move outside could be very stressful and dangerous depending on where you are. Have your rabbits been vaccinated against RHDV2? It’s been spreading and in present in most parts of CA now. That would be my first course of action if they are not vaccinated (it also needs to be boosted yearly). If it gets very hot (over 90F), being in the shade with a tile will not be enough. You’d need to constantly provide frozen water bottles for them to lay next to. Any temp over 85F puts a rabbit at risk of heat stroke.

          If this would just be a temporary thing, it could be better to reach out to rabbit rescues in your area to see if they can help you. They may be able to have a foster home take your bunnies while you sort out your housing situation. I recently had to do this where I live because my landlord freaked out (even though our rabbits were in our lease), so the rescue near us totally saved us and took care of our rabbits for over a month.

          While outside, you will need to worry about predators, insects (mosquitos can spread Myxomatosis, flies can cause fly strike and spread RHDV2), weather (hot, cold), and housing. They still will need daily exercise, which could be harder to do.

           

          . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


        • Alex98
          Participant
          9 posts Send Private Message

            We can get the vaccine, have a smaller hut in the cage with a frozen water bottle and a cloth for the heat. It’ll be for 4 months where we’d be feeding and cleaning their cage regularly, but very rarely exercising (once every 3-4 days). Also the cage is elevated so harder to notice and see for predators.

             

            After we move into a rented studio apartment we can try bunny proofing it and letting them run around when I’m working at home.

             

            Does this sound good or should be give them up?

             

            Also thank you for your input, you’re a very kind person to message and help random people.


          • DanaNM
            Moderator
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              There is no shame in rehoming as long as you are sure to find a good home, but personally I think I would reach out to a rescue about having them potentially help out before you go that far. What part of CA are you in? I may be able to help connect you with a rescue org.

              . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


              • Alex98
                Participant
                9 posts Send Private Message

                  I’m in Santa Rosa. Is rehoming permanent or cost money? Do rabbit homes offer better housing than what they have here? One of the bunnies is my girlfriends emotional support animal and it would be a lot to lose them.


              • DanaNM
                Moderator
                8954 posts Send Private Message

                  Rehoming means giving them up permanently, either by finding someone to take them on your own, or surrendering them to a shelter or rescue. Usually when you surrender an animal at the humane society there is a small fee, with rescues it varies. When rehoming on your own, it’s recommended to actually charge a fee to make sure the rabbits don’t end up as snake food, and you would be deciding who took the rabbits.

                  I think you answered your own question though, if the rabbits mean a lot to you then I think it would be better to work to improve their situation rather than give them up. Nothing you have described would be considered cruelty or abusive, but there is some room for improvement. Many of us (myself included) have had to temporarily have our bunnies in less than ideal conditions, but we work to improve things gradually.

                  I mentioned working with a rescue because they may be able help you temporarily, during the time when they would have to be outside. I also don’t think the time they will be outside is horrible, you would just need to be extra careful with their health and temperature during that time, and definitely get them vaccinated for RHDV2 before that.

                  The Rabbit Haven is based in Northern CA: https://therabbithaven.org/

                  I suggest reaching out to them and explain your situation, they may be able to help in some way. They aren’t in Sonoma county, but they might be able to point you in the right direction.

                   

                  . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


                • Ellie from The Netherlands
                  Participant
                  2512 posts Send Private Message

                    Just asking yourself that question already says: no, you’re not bad owners.

                    Having to keep them outside in such hot weather is less than ideal indeed. I’d try to find a place where they can be boarded for the time that you need to move to your new home.

                    If there aren’t friends or family who can house them indoors, professional boarders may help out. I have no idea about those services in the USA, but here in NL there are places where your pet can take a vacation. Maybe you can arrange something for them so they can stay in comfort for that time.

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                Forum HABITATS AND TOYS Are We Bad Bunny Owners?