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Hi everybun, Olaf and I are facing an unexpected move in the next few months. It wasn’t planned (or wanted, really) but life has a funny way of making decisions for you. Just gotta’ roll with it, right?
For reference, Olaf has only every lived in my apartment. I don’t have a car so he doesn’t get out much unless it’s for the vet but that is only minutes away. Long rides are not something he’s ever experienced.
I’m a plan-ahead kind of of person so I’m already worrying about too many silly things. At this point it looks like the move will require a one-hour ferry ride and 1-2 hours of car travel. It’s not a brutal commute compared to some of the cross-country travel many of you have done but I’d like to make it as smooth a transition as possible. I have a carrier and an x-pen. I plan to use the x-pen to keep him safe while I’m packing everything else up, including his cage, and will transport him in the carrier.
Any tips for making the move easier? Things you wish you knew ahead of time? Best practices for settling into a new place? All ideas are appreciated. Thank you!
I’ve never done a move with bunnies before so have no advice but I know lots of people here have. My only suggestion is to talk to neighbours in your new area first, before bringing Olaf in. They will need to be prepared for how cute he is so no ones gets hurt/dies.
Sorry…. I’m no help.
You’re the best, thank you! Haha, I will definitely send out a cuteness warning.
We’ve moved quite a few times since having the boys, and we’re doing it again in 2 weeks. I think the best thing for them is just letting them know you’re there and pampering them a bit in travel. I know the boys tend to just rest and nap after 20 minutes of travel time. They get worn out from digging their way to China when they first get in xD but if it’s a long drive (our new place is 2 hours away) I give them a half a treat or a few sprigs of herbs every 30-45 minutes just to keep them calm and it lets me know they’re okay. If you’re going alone you won’t obviously be able to do this, but John drives, so I’ll usually keep my hand on their heads or paw, just somewhere on their body and talk gently to them throughout the ride so they know they’re safe and I’m with them. My biggest thing to watch out for is just poops. Both boys do small poops for about a week before and after moving while they’re getting settled and figuring everything out. I give baby gas drops every day for that time, just to make sure it doesn’t turn serious.
Good luck to you and Olaf
Thank you! That is super helpful and lots of great tips. I agree, the digging thing does look exhausting! He always likes to pull the blankets up when I first put him inside. I was hoping he would tire himself out eventually so it’s good to know that happens to other bunnies.
I will probably have help with the move so I should be able to be with him at all times and will definitely bring along snacks and parsley for some nibbles and comfort. It is a great help to know that they had some changes in littler habits during the move, too. I will definitely keep an eye out for that in case the stress is too much.
Nawww… I’m sorry you’ve been thrown into this.
My biggest pointers would be to have Olaf and Chewie’s carrier (lol) out and open and cozy and tempting as far in advance as you can, then like A&B said, to touch and talk to him as much as possible during the trip. Be prepared to stress as he refuses to eat or drink during the actual travel time. Most buns won’t. He’ll likely toilet though, but it’s not guaranteed.
Then at your new home, rub a blankie of his around a bit to scent his new space and shower him with favourite foods to get him nomming.
I wish we were closer so we could lend a hand on the day.
Thank you so much Q8, it would be much easier with another rabbit-savvy friend around for sure. <3
I will definitely have his carrier out far in advance – great idea. He’ll appreciate it more with his scent in there and some familiarity in there. I figure I’ll put some hay inside for potential snacking, too. Right now I have it lined with an absorbent dish drying mat and a soft towel over that so I hope that will keep any accidents at bay until we arrive.
I made a cover for the carrier, too, since I originally loved how open/exposed it is but don’t think he appreciates being overwhelmed by lots of sights and sounds. It’s also a light deterrent against people inquiring about him. I understand the curiosity (and cuteness) but would prefer to travel with as few distractions as possible for both of us.
I’m still looking for a new place and only have two months to figure out what we’re going to do. It’s been so stressful but I really appreciate having you all here to talk through the rabbit stuff. In the end, as long as he is okay, I’m okay.
Full disclose – did not read everyone else’s suggestions, but here are some that come to mind.
• Bring partially-used litter boxes to help habituate the new place.
• Have a game plan to create a temporary or the permanent rabbit space first when you get to the new place, so your rabbit has a place to be while you’re unpacking
• If planning to free-roam, expose the rabbit in chunks to see where rabbit proofing may need to occur, and also to lessen the stress of a completely new environment
Wick, thank you! Great tips.
I’ll definitely bring a used litter box and expose him to the new place in small bites. I did that when I first got him used to free-roam and it worked much better than the first time I let him out without any restriction.
His cage is the first thing I plan to unpack and setup (much to my family’s chagrin, surely). But I will have the xpen as a backup in case we have any issues.
Just chiming in to wish you the best of luck finding the perfect place for you and Olaf to live.
Would Olaf do okay with some brief excursions in the carrier in the lead up to the move? Even if it’s just a short walk up the block a few times a week. It could help him become accustomed to the noises outdoors.
I think Q8 did this for Chewie (although he was used to outings) but she also played audio or video of airplane noise prior to his flight.
Thank you jersey! That’s a great idea. I’ll try building him up to getting into the carrier and being carrier around inside, and maybe a few weeks out try a few walks outside. That will definitely help because we may have to spend a few minutes walking and 15-20 minutes waiting outside for the ferry. It would help if he was used to the movement of my carrying him and the outside white noise. I’ll give it a shot!
When possible, I always like to make a special trip with my animals, if it’s not a very big move. When I recently moved with my bunny, I set up an x-pen for her in the bathroom, with all her smaller things and treats, so that she wasn’t in any of the rooms where furniture or boxes were being moved. Once the dust settled and her new area was set up, I put her there. I think it worked out well for a skittish bunny who doesn’t like a lot of unfamiliar noise. Good luck!
I’ll be moving with my two in a few months, so I’m taking all the advice here! I moved with Tony about a year and a half ago but it was only an hour trip. I just let him settle by leaving the carrier open and leaving him alone until he had the confidence and time to come out and explore by himself.
Good tips, everyone. There’s a possibility – only a possibility at this point, mind you – that I could be moving (voluntarily) sometime this year, so I’m going to be referring back to this thread. At a minimum, if it happens I want, at the least, to be able to move to a new place where Panda and Fernando have a permanent, round-the-clock space to themselves as opposed to my having to erect and take down their playpen every evening (this would likely require buying a new X-pen for permanent setup and keeping the other one for travel purposes).
Good luck with your move! I really hope all goes really well and you both settle in smoothly and happily!
Thank you OverthinkingBun for the advice and Muj Mom N Bun for the kind words!
Glad to hear I’m not the only one here worrying about how their bun will handle a move. I’m still looking for housing and/or a new job so I will have a better idea of the what, when, and where in a month or so (hopefully!). The only leads I found recently were a three-roommate situation in a two-bedroom apartment and a place that only has a single hotplate for cooking. Wompwomp. Fingers crossed!
BB’s playing nice today.
So many people planning moves or potential moves. Glad we’re not alone in that.
Re: Olaf’s carrier – I experienced the same issue. Choo loves that he’s not boxed in visually, but looks around for a place to hide if the world is annoying. lol Double edged sword with our carrier’s design, eh?
IG message me any time for any reason. I know the prelude is often stressful.
Thank you, Q8! You’re the best.
UPDATE: Olaf and I found a place to live, finally! We’re going to be making the move in the next week or so. It feels so weird after weeks and weeks of searching to finally have something. It went from a snail’s pace to a full-on sprint. I’m sorting out all the logistics and how the heck we’re going to make it happen.
The new place is great but small and there are a lot of components to the room that can’t be moved or adjusted. I’m going to have to figure out a way to get Olaf’s cage to fit without it looking like a zoo exhibit. But as long as we get there safely, I’m happy.
I will update as we move forward and add any details that might be helpful to those of you moving with buns.
Thanks everyone for being amazing!
I’ve never moved with my bun but I have taken him on a bunch of 7 hour car drives when I go visit my parents. I leave the carrier out where he can investigate it a few days before we go (and so he doesn’t know WHEN we are going because he’s clever and will avoid me if he suspects it’s time to be caught lol). On travelling day I leave him till last and pack everything else first. I put his litter tray (clean) inside the carrier, a blanket taking up the remaining floor space, and a handful of hay in a corner of the tray, and some tasty greens near the front (so I can see if he’s eating them).
I keep his carrier either on the front passenger seat buckled in, or on the floor behind it so I can keep an eye on him, and make sure there’s no sun hitting the carrier and that the air conditioning isn’t blowing right on him but that the car is still cool enough for him (it’s hot here!) I talk to him a lot so he knows I’m there (because he’s usually giving me the grumpy bunny-butt rather than watching me lol).
I stop every 2ish hours to give him a break – he tends to not eat while the car is going. I put in a little bowl of water and fresh food during the stops and after about 10 minutes without the car running he usually has something to eat! He always handles the trip like a champ and is fine when we arrive, though usually a bit sulky for a while. I’m sure you’ll be fine with your move!
Best of luck with the move!
We did a 12 hour haul with my pair in December, that involved car-ferry-car. It was looong.
And it really does go from 0-90 in the blink of an eye, its not conjuicive to planning ?
Main thing i found was to give them their safe space, with a box to hide in. Even friendly buns can get spooked after a trip, and other than that, make sure he has some favourite treats (and its good to have some time to be able to just keep an eye on) I also took notes of vets on our route and that were local to the house so we could cope with emergencies if they arose!
I also used a blanket that smelled like them and drapped it over their pen so they couldnt see out into the room, this was because i wanted to give them less to think about-they werent freaking out and the new place had a smell of home!
Awesome news!!! Good luck to you and Big O! I’ll be following any and all insta updates
Thank you Noodlebeer, Dface, and A&B! Your replies really made me feel more confident about this.
I definitely like the ideas of providing plenty of snacks, making the cage feel safe when we arrive, and introducing him to it all slowly.
I’ve taken some measurements and I’ll have to do some major cage renovations to make it fit but we’ll figure it out. We’ll probably be making the big move next weekend so I have a little time to clean and pack. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to see all his favorite stuff moved and tidied up. o.O
Ah thats exciting!
I hated moving the rabbits stuff, because they needed it rigght up til we were literally moving. And then it was a rush to get it all packed. Mine always know when we are gearing up for a move (we moved a lot the year before last) so they pick up on my ‘moving vibes’.
Its easier on Olaf because he wont know what that is :p So he will be spared the pre move nerves.
My favourite trick is to soak their favourite greens in water the night before we travel, and give them to them before we leave as a last super-it means if they dont eat on the trip I know the last time they ate and ‘drank’, and they are at least well hydrated before we go
Great idea for the greens! I’m always worried about him being hydrated so I will definitely do that right before we leave. Thank you!
We’re sending decent weather vibes for your move, to make it a bit easier. ???