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View Full Version : Is their a demand for good quality Bunny Boarding?



fruitandnutcake
02-06-2011, 09:22 AM
In my area there doesn't seem to be many bunny boarders - one about 12 miles away from me only offer 4 & 5ft hutches with separate runs on grass which look tiny from the web site. They also say on their website that they use shavings. So I was looking into setting up a "prestige" boarding - with wendy houses attached to walk-in runs and maybe large sheds kitted out like an indoor room, for house bunnies. However, is their actually a demand for this kind of service?

Does anyone already provide boarding like this in other parts of the country and if so, how busy are you? Are you continually full up or do you just get occasional boarders? Of course, if I pay out for the initial set up, and I don't have any bunnies staying, I'll be so tempted to take in more rescue bunnies :lol: edt to say - I'd foster bunnies instead!

The Duchess
02-06-2011, 09:32 AM
Yes there is.

I have boarding here and am full already for all of August, have bookings for next Christmas and have been full near enough for the last month or so.

The most important things to consider will be your area and who you are appealing to.

I don't advertise anywhere - all of my people have either adopted from us or are word of mouth/repeat clients.

Lots of people do boarding but if you are serious then you need to work out what you want to offer (in no particular order)

Security
Safety
Space (like not having shared grass where infection can spread)
Knowledge - fundamental - you need to know how to act when things are going wrong with health of clients rabbits/infection control etc.
Price
Your being around
Cleanlines

The Duchess
02-06-2011, 09:36 AM
I should also have added that I have large 'hutches' or 'cabins' which are either 7 x 3 x 2 1/2 or 8 x 3 x 3 with no attached runs. I offer the use of a run on hardstanding (as this can be cleaned properly) if the rabbits are happy enough to be handled when they are away from home. Some rabbits wouldn't like to be moved into a shared area - this can cause referred aggression in some cases.

abbymarysmokey
02-06-2011, 09:43 AM
I'd say it very much depends on your area. There will be more demand in wealthier areas. I only know of one prestige rabbit-only boarding facility near Nottingham...I'm not sure the custom around here would support many more prestige establishments.

TBH a lot of the typical Notts chavs just dump their rabbit on the local rescues when they go on holiday, and buy another one when they get home :roll:

fruitandnutcake
02-06-2011, 09:53 AM
I should be able to meet all of those criteria. All walk in runs would have a solid corregated roof, and double weld meshed sides. I could pave the runs to ensure they are easy to clean and ensure nothing could dig in or out. As far as I'm concerned, if I wasn't happy putting my rabbits in them, then I wouldn't house someone else's rabbits or piggies in them! The only issue I have at the moment would be the lack of grass assess - my buns have their walk in run, but are let out daily onto an area of grass (15ft x20ft) and patio (9ftx 18ft) and access to house when I am at home. I would have to create another grass area and I'm guessing this would need to be quite large if the grass needs to be "rested" between rabbits to stop potential cross-contamination.

It's certainly not something that I'm going to rush into!

fruitandnutcake
02-06-2011, 09:57 AM
I'd say it very much depends on your area. There will be more demand in wealthier areas. I only know of one prestige rabbit-only boarding facility near Nottingham...I'm not sure the custom around here would support many more prestige establishments.

TBH a lot of the typical Notts chavs just dump their rabbit on the local rescues when they go on holiday, and buy another one when they get home :roll:

That is what worries me - the area I live in is very much a "deprived" area, although there are some up-market areas, and supposed area regeneration is expected to improve the area, but this isn't guaranteed.

abbymarysmokey
02-06-2011, 09:58 AM
I personally wouldn't want my rabbits going on grass if I boarded them somewhere....because of the risk of eating contaminated grass, and also because there is no way of disinfecting between rabbits.

I have Laura's (Lspacehopper) rabbits boarding at mine atm, and they have a run on concrete. I wouldn't like to think they might pick anything up by going on the grass at mine (being as it's a multi-rabbit household)

fruitandnutcake
02-06-2011, 10:03 AM
I personally wouldn't want my rabbits going on grass if I boarded them somewhere....because of the risk of eating contaminated grass, and also because there is no way of disinfecting between rabbits.

I have Laura's (Lspacehopper) rabbits boarding at mine atm, and they have a run on concrete. I wouldn't like to think they might pick anything up by going on the grass at mine (being as it's a multi-rabbit household)

So I could stick to paved runs that can be scrubbed and disinfected - sounds a lot easier!

molly35
02-06-2011, 10:52 AM
I hope there is demand as I'm about to start my very small business hopefully from July

Nicola1
02-06-2011, 10:58 AM
I hope there is demand as I'm about to start my very small business hopefully from July

There definitely is in our area :wave: I hunted high and low for one last year and there weren't any decent ones, the closest good one is Maysie's boarding in Richmond

dizzyg
02-06-2011, 11:13 AM
My parents didn't really trust the buns with neighbours as they got older, just because they had no one near who they trusted to use their judgement if a bun was in pain.

They ended up paying good money to a reliable pet-sitter who was bunny-savvy enough not to be put off by grunty, pouncey Eddie and who wasn't phased by looking after a very dental Schumi. They also cleaned the hutches and let them out for free-range time. Mine wouldn't have coped with being moved I don't think, so if there was any way you could offer a 'twice a day drop in service' within a certain radius, I think that would also be great.

A lovely touch that mum's pet-sitters used to do was take a polaroid of the buns in their nice, freshly clean hutches.

:wave:

fruitandnutcake
02-06-2011, 04:10 PM
It's certainly something I'm going to seriously think about. It's something I though of because I wanted somewhere for my dental bun and his wifey to go when I go away for a weekend camping - and there doesn't seem to be many around. One I contacted by email a week ago hasn't replied.

So, I guess the only other issue is what happens if I want to go away!

I've always wanted to have a rescue - but can't afford to run a rescue, so I think this could be the next best thing.

Gem
02-06-2011, 09:06 PM
I'd like there to be some more close to me :roll:

I love Sue @ Southampton Rabbit Rescue centre but it's 40 mins by car from me and some of my guys don't travel well at all :(

There is one in Horndean which is closer to me but I've not heard good reports :?

The Duchess
03-06-2011, 09:47 AM
It's certainly something I'm going to seriously think about. It's something I though of because I wanted somewhere for my dental bun and his wifey to go when I go away for a weekend camping - and there doesn't seem to be many around. One I contacted by email a week ago hasn't replied.

So, I guess the only other issue is what happens if I want to go away!

I've always wanted to have a rescue - but can't afford to run a rescue, so I think this could be the next best thing.


You have to book out that time space.

I haven't gone away (except for two single nights to conferences) since we had rabbits so for us it's not a problem. Not having holidays isn't the end of the world. My friend that runs The Little Warrens puts her rabbits in boarding when she goes away (with us) and blocks out periods in her diary when she is not taking in. It does mean that you can't have last minute breaks unless you have no bookings.

RE the infection, EC can sit in grass for up to 6 weeks hence the need to not put boarding rabbits on grass. I wouldn't put bunnies in to boarding that offered it as I think it shows a lack of understanding of infection control. You could argue about rabbits not shedding spores but of course noone can know when they do it and it's more likely that they would shed when under stress - tiimes like when they are out of their own environment.

RE boarding over rescue, this is a good point and it does actually give you a very good chance to help and advise others - I meet a lot of people with very little knowledge and when they come to my " bunny boot camp" they go home with an 'observations sheet with my recommendations re diet, behaviour. This has never meant that someone hasn't come back to me and in fact I think that they make a point of coming back because they know I am watching their rabbits closely.

There is a lady locally that sends me lots of her boarding clients too. She has a boarding only business and she talks to her clients a lot about their single bunnies. She sends them my way to find a friend - not many have gone on to get one as they don,t want to go through 'the process' but one lady has and she is adoptiong Lymington Precious. It is a good opportunity to share your knowledge and learn from other's rabbit's behaviour when they are with you.

fruitandnutcake
03-06-2011, 09:48 AM
So it definitely sounds as though there is a need for good quality boarding.

Another couple of question for those already running a boarding service - please could you give me an idea of the maximum number of "clients" you have staying at any one time? Did you start off with just a couple of accomodations, and then expand, or did you bite the bullet and make loads to start with?

SarahP
03-06-2011, 09:52 AM
There is definitely a need for it - there seem to be so few about that offer a really good service. If I were to have bunnies again, my top concerns (after adequate space) would be security and hygiene.

The Duchess
03-06-2011, 09:57 AM
So it definitely sounds as though there is a need for good quality boarding.

Another couple of question for those already running a boarding service - please could you give me an idea of the maximum number of "clients" you have staying at any one time? Did you start off with just a couple of accomodations, and then expand, or did you bite the bullet and make loads to start with?

I started off when I was a fosterer for a rescue by taking the odd one or two because the rescue boarding was full. When I parted company from that rescue I carried on with a couple of hutches. Over the last three years I have added beter accomodation and now have 7 spaces (which isn't enough to keep up with demand) but I can't do any more because of the numbers of my own and rescue buns on site. On any one day when it's peak time I have about 40 - 50 bunnies here.

I would always advocate starting gently as you may not like it, you may not cope when they all get ill at the same time (which they could do) and you may not enjoy dealing with the sorts of problems that the public bring with them. (like not arriving when they are supposed to, them wanting to feed their rabbits chocolate eggs:shock:, and failing to ever come back or not pay)

abbymarysmokey
03-06-2011, 09:59 AM
Do you ask for payment when they bring the rabbit, or when they pick up?

AnnieElms
03-06-2011, 10:01 AM
I started off when I was a fosterer for a rescue by taking the odd one or two because the rescue boarding was full. When I parted company from that rescue I carried on with a couple of hutches. Over the last three years I have added beter accomodation and now have 7 spaces (which isn't enough to keep up with demand) but I can't do any more because of the numbers of my own and rescue buns on site. On any one day when it's peak time I have about 40 - 50 bunnies here.

I would always advocate starting gently as you many not like it, you may not cope when they all get ill at the same time (which they could do) and you may not enjoy dealing with the sorts of problems that the public bring with them. (like not arriving when they are supposed to, them wanting to feed their rabbits chocolate eggs:shock:, and failing to ever come back or not pay)

Does this happen? How awful. I suppose it is better than simply letting them go into the wild, but still I can't believe people can do this kind of thing.

Amy104
03-06-2011, 10:02 AM
Do you ask for payment when they bring the rabbit, or when they pick up?


My boarding are happy for you to pay on collection, but I always give it to them upfront.

The Duchess
03-06-2011, 10:03 AM
Does this happen? How awful. I suppose it is better than simply letting them go into the wild, but still I can't believe people can do this kind of thing.

It hasn't happened to me yet but I know someone who it has happened to.

The Duchess
03-06-2011, 10:06 AM
Do you ask for payment when they bring the rabbit, or when they pick up?

If this is a question for me :D it depends on the person to be honest. Most of mine are very regular returners and so I don't need payment upfront - things can go wrong so it's better for me to take in upon departure.

For new folks who've somehow found themselves here I ask for a deposit and payment depending on circumstances.

Payment in advance would be advisable. I haven't had anyone never pay but have had some that forgot their cheque books and then it takes an age to secure payment aferwards (only because they forget - not because they are trying to get away without paying:D)

Thing is because I don't run this as a profit making business but as a nonprofit to fund the rescue I think it's slightly different. I don't rely on teh boarding for my own life, it's simply funding what I can do for rescue.

Liz47
03-06-2011, 10:31 AM
I wish there was more near me, I have think I've found a good place actually but there's only one other close to me and the rabbits are kept in cages (the really small ones) and they don't need to be vaccinated etc so obviously I wouldn't go there! Beano and Gordon are used to their big shed and time out in their big run and if they were put in a cage I'd fear fighting, Beano gets very annoyed at being shut in anywhere so I'd fear her getting annoyed causing problems between the pair. Bigger housing is important

fruitandnutcake
03-06-2011, 11:01 AM
I wish there was more near me, I have think I've found a good place actually but there's only one other close to me and the rabbits are kept in cages (the really small ones) and they don't need to be vaccinated etc so obviously I wouldn't go there! Beano and Gordon are used to their big shed and time out in their big run and if they were put in a cage I'd fear fighting, Beano gets very annoyed at being shut in anywhere so I'd fear her getting annoyed causing problems between the pair. Bigger housing is important

I would stipulate that there was proof of vaccination, as I wouldn't want to put my own buns at risk, even though mine are vaccinated.

I think I would try to provide a minimum of a secure 6ft hutch with permanent attached run (to meet minimum welfare standards) , and also a larger shed/ attached run so that I could provide a "home from home" service. I think if I asked owners what their rabbits have at home, then I might be able to match their accommodation as much as possible. I know I certainly wouldn't have my bunnies put in a tiny cage even for a day. They are used to having 24/7 access to a large space and that is what I would expect if I was to put them in boarding.

Amy104
03-06-2011, 11:25 AM
Where do pople stand on boarding bunnies that cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, Bluebell is still on meds and I'm wondering whether I should check my boarding place will still take him if he's not well enough for his jab before I go.