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hopping-around
21-05-2013, 12:48 PM
Hello,
I am new to owning bunnies :) we are getting two baby French lop bunnies in 3 weeks time when they're ready to go. I have never had a rabbit before so any help, tips and advice would be muchly appreciated :)

My husband is building a big double hutch for them in the garage and a run for outside. What do I put in the hutch for comfort? Hay? Also I've heard about the new pellet rabbit food, how much will they eat at 5 weeks old? I was thinking to put a tray for them to toilet in too when in their hutch at nights.

I was thinking to get a girl and a boy but I'm unsure as I know I have to keep them apart from 3 months old until the boy can be fixed at 5 months and then another 6 weeks after that. If I get two males then would I have to get them both fixed? How do two males get on upto 5 months old?

I have two kids, 2 1/2 year old boy and a nearly one year old girl and I'd like them to be involved as much as possible. Has anyone else gotten baby rabbits and had young children? How were your rabbits with the kids? Abit worried about them being bitten but hoping the people that they're coming from will have handled them plenty before they come to us so they're used to being around people and friendly.

Overall we're very excited about them and my son is telling everyone he's getting a blue rabbit lol!! Grey was as good as I could do for him :)

xx

EBM
21-05-2013, 12:53 PM
Neutered boy and girl pair are normally the best match, Rabbit's can normally be neutered from 4 months old. But this depends on when the boy's testicles have dropped.

Hesperus
21-05-2013, 01:16 PM
Hi, welcome to the forum, you're in just the right place to get tonnes of advice and cute photos of bunnies :wave::wave:

I'm not very good at housing advice so I'll leave others for that.

As for the bunnies themselves, I'd advise going to a rescue rather than buying a pair from a breeder for two reasons:

1) The pair will already be neutered and bonded. You won't have to worry about separating them then paying for neutering then re-bonding them later, they'll already be done, living together happily and will come as a pair. You won't have the risk of the pair you choose falling out and then having to buy separate housing or the vets bills for neutering. You'll just pay the one off rescue fee and it'll all be paid for and sorted and yuo'll get the expert advice from the rescue too.

2) You say you have children. Rabbits aren't the greatest pets for children. If you're expecting your children to be able to pick the bunnies up and cuddle them, then to be completely frank, don't get rabbits. If, however, you'd just like the children to be able to gently stoke or pet the rabbits under supervised conditions then you'd be better getting rescue rabbits. Some rabbits hate being petted, some tolerate it, some love it. You won't know if you buy two rabbits what their adult temperament will be like until their adults, even if you handle them lots, it's up to a point luck of the draw, some of it is down to handling, some is breeding etc.

If you get rescue rabbits the rescue will be honest and help match you up to a pair that will match your family situation. And, if say a few weeks later the rabbits don't suit you, then you can go back to the rescue and say, and they'll help you out and find you another pair, whereas a breeder will most likely say sorry, you bought them, you have them, then you'll be stuck with a pair of unwanted rabbits.

Anyway, please consider this!

EBM
21-05-2013, 01:18 PM
Hi, welcome to the forum, you're in just the right place to get tonnes of advice and cute photos of bunnies :wave::wave:

I'm not very good at housing advice so I'll leave others for that.

As for the bunnies themselves, I'd advise going to a rescue rather than buying a pair from a breeder for two reasons:

1) The pair will already be neutered and bonded. You won't have to worry about separating them then paying for neutering then re-bonding them later, they'll already be done, living together happily and will come as a pair. You won't have the risk of the pair you choose falling out and then having to buy separate housing or the vets bills for neutering. You'll just pay the one off rescue fee and it'll all be paid for and sorted and yuo'll get the expert advice from the rescue too.

2) You say you have children. Rabbits aren't the greatest pets for children. If you're expecting your children to be able to pick the bunnies up and cuddle them, then to be completely frank, don't get rabbits. If, however, you'd just like the children to be able to gently stoke or pet the rabbits under supervised conditions then you'd be better getting rescue rabbits. Some rabbits hate being petted, some tolerate it, some love it. You won't know if you buy two rabbits what their adult temperament will be like until their adults, even if you handle them lots, it's up to a point luck of the draw, some of it is down to handling, some is breeding etc.

If you get rescue rabbits the rescue will be honest and help match you up to a pair that will match your family situation. And, if say a few weeks later the rabbits don't suit you, then you can go back to the rescue and say, and they'll help you out and find you another pair, whereas a breeder will most likely say sorry, you bought them, you have them, then you'll be stuck with a pair of unwanted rabbits.

Anyway, please consider this!

Fantastic advice :thumb:

natandfluffs
21-05-2013, 01:36 PM
It's great that you're on here trying to find out as much as you can before they arrive rather than learning the hard way later :wave:

However I would agree with the above to an extent...

I also think 5 weeks is far too young for baby buns to be away from mum and I personally would think twice about the breeder and their reputability with this. Taking them too early could set them up for all sorts of health problems.

I took on babies that were more or less dumped on me following an unwanted litter from a colleage nearly 5 years ago. Yes they were cute but they don't stay small long. Male/female is definitely the best pairing but you're right it is difficult in terms of neutering. Personally I found the whole thing a complete headache and I will always take mature neutered buns in future. The bonus of this is that by then a rabbits personality is more stable so you know what you're getting. A real bonus if you have kids that you want to be involved in my opinion because you can get the rabbit(s) that best match your situation

Hesparus is right- rabbits and kids don't always mix well, if said child is expecting to be able to pick them up and cuddle them on a whim- many rabbits don't enjoy this and they're also quite fragile and require careful but firm handling.

However- I have a two and a half year old and it does work... the rabbits are completely mine but if and when he feels like it he will feed the rabbits. My outside two aren't ever so keen on being handled or stroked but my indoor bunny adores my son and if Toby feels like it he will stroke him for ages. Its also really cute to see Toby telling Charlie about all sorts of things :love: but we do have to have firm boundaries and a bunny only zone. Fortunately for us Toby is very sensitive and not at all pushy and Charlie is incredibly confident so it works well. A bigger bunny is also good with small kids in my opinion because they have more of a presence and so kids are less likely to try to pick them up (works for me anyway!)

Whether you get buns from a breeder or a rescue give them as much space as you can... Yes I put hay in my hutch for comfort (and the buns eat tonnes of it so you will always need to provide fresh). Pellet wise, you will need to take the lead from the rescue/breeder as to what and how much they are eating because a sudden change in diet can lead to digestive upset which can be very serious in buns. So best to get in whatever they are feeding and then tranisition them to their new food very slowly.

Hope that helps a little and welcome :)

yaretzi
21-05-2013, 01:36 PM
Many rescue rabbits are very docile and won't bite if handled correctly - i.e. if your kids sit in with them, don't scream/shout and don't attempt to pick them up. A rabbit really cannot be blamed for biting anyone if there's screaming/shouting going on, and they're being picked up. The most important thing to do when trying to avoid any bites to your children is to teach them how to behave with them. They're a prey species and very easily scared. Kids should sit in with the bunnies (in their run is ideal!) and wait for the bunnies to approach them. Really, rabbits are a rather hands-off pet. Your kids must be content to allow the bunnies to get used to them on their own terms, and have to be aware that they can't just go pick the rabbit up for a cuddle - it's not fair. Many rabbits enjoy cuddles when they can approach the kids and sit on their lap, but most won't tolerate being manhandled and chucked around like many kids tend to do with animals. The kids can take in food to encourage the bunnies to be friendly, but teach them to keep their fingers out the way...especially if it's something tasty like parsnip when they're too excited to think where their mouths are! My girls have accidentally nibbled me a couple of times when there's been parsnip on offer and it's a little shocking, but it's never drawn blood. There is really no need to pick rabbits up apart from health checks, and almost all rabbits intensely dislike being picked up so I wouldn't recommend that at all - it's a surefire way to breed animosity between you and them. Baby rabbits will really not be any more well behaved than rescue rabbits, when handled correctly. Also, before you neuter and spey them they may become territorial over their hutch and suddenly bite when they haven't before. A neutered pair won't have mood swings or territoriality that comes on overnight, so your kids would actually probably be safer with them.

If you're put off by any of this, perhaps rethink your animal? Guinea pigs generally make a 'better' childrens pet as they tend to be less scary and skittish, and many really enjoy being picked up for a cuddle.

If you buy a male and a female baby, you must keep them separate for their entire lives until after their neuter (and the cooling off period after). It's not okay to keep them together up until 3 months or x amount of months, then seperate them. #1, it's cruel; #2, it may mean that bonding them afterwards is more difficult if they have had any arguments or fights while together and most importantly #3 she could easily get pregnant before 3 months - you cannot trust an estimated age when it comes to pregnancy and they can get pregnant before 3 months too. This means you need 2 appropriate sized setups (6 x 2 x 2 hutch and 6 x 4/8 x 4 run minimum, each), which is expensive. Rescue rabbits will save you money overall - they come neutered and speyed (usually 60-80 for a female, 60ish for a male), vaccinated (25 each) and bonded together so you don't need to buy two setups.

catherine09
21-05-2013, 01:47 PM
Many rescue rabbits are very docile and won't bite if handled correctly - i.e. if your kids sit in with them, don't scream/shout and don't attempt to pick them up. A rabbit really cannot be blamed for biting anyone if there's screaming/shouting going on, and they're being picked up. The most important thing to do when trying to avoid any bites to your children is to teach them how to behave with them. They're a prey species and very easily scared. Kids should sit in with the bunnies (in their run is ideal!) and wait for the bunnies to approach them. Really, rabbits are a rather hands-off pet. Your kids must be content to allow the bunnies to get used to them on their own terms, and have to be aware that they can't just go pick the rabbit up for a cuddle - it's not fair. Many rabbits enjoy cuddles when they can approach the kids and sit on their lap, but most won't tolerate being manhandled and chucked around like many kids tend to do with animals. The kids can take in food to encourage the bunnies to be friendly, but teach them to keep their fingers out the way...especially if it's something tasty like parsnip when they're too excited to think where their mouths are! My girls have accidentally nibbled me a couple of times when there's been parsnip on offer and it's a little shocking, but it's never drawn blood. There is really no need to pick rabbits up apart from health checks, and almost all rabbits intensely dislike being picked up so I wouldn't recommend that at all - it's a surefire way to breed animosity between you and them. Baby rabbits will really not be any more well behaved than rescue rabbits, when handled correctly. Also, before you neuter and spey them they may become territorial over their hutch and suddenly bite when they haven't before. A neutered pair won't have mood swings or territoriality that comes on overnight, so your kids would actually probably be safer with them.

If you're put off by any of this, perhaps rethink your animal? Guinea pigs generally make a 'better' childrens pet as they tend to be less scary and skittish, and many really enjoy being picked up for a cuddle.

If you buy a male and a female baby, you must keep them separate for their entire lives until after their neuter (and the cooling off period after). It's not okay to keep them together up until 3 months or x amount of months, then seperate them. #1, it's cruel; #2, it may mean that bonding them afterwards is more difficult if they have had any arguments or fights while together and most importantly #3 she could easily get pregnant before 3 months - you cannot trust an estimated age when it comes to pregnancy and they can get pregnant before 3 months too. This means you need 2 appropriate sized setups (6 x 2 x 2 hutch and 6 x 4/8 x 4 run minimum, each), which is expensive. Rescue rabbits will save you money overall - they come neutered and speyed (usually 60-80 for a female, 60ish for a male), vaccinated (25 each) and bonded together so you don't need to buy two setups.

Really disagree with this statement. Guinea pigs are much more nervy and skittish than rabbits. A lot of children give up their guinea pigs into rescue etc because they tend to hide away. Really IMO neither are suitable for solely a 'childrens pet', to be cuddled and picked up

yaretzi
21-05-2013, 05:11 PM
Really disagree with this statement. Guinea pigs are much more nervy and skittish than rabbits. A lot of children give up their guinea pigs into rescue etc because they tend to hide away. Really IMO neither are suitable for solely a 'childrens pet', to be cuddled and picked up

Okay, fair enough. My guinea pig knowledge is obviously lacking, and/or I've just met really brave guinea pigs!

tulsi
21-05-2013, 10:45 PM
Hello and welcome. How great that you are getting rabbits. Have you been in touch with a breeder? I really would advise rescue rabbits (as others have said). They come all neutered and vaccinated and will be bonded. I got my initial two from a pet shop (since got four more rescues). I had to get them neutered (very expensive) and still fell out!!! Its lovely for children to be able to join in rabbit care and as you are clearly taking on the responsability for the rabbits it should be fun for all. My rabbits all dislike being held but are GRADUALLY coming to trust me and let me stroke their heads (esp whilst eating pellets). Hope you have fun choosing. Keep us updated with cute bunny pics :wave:

Hele
21-05-2013, 10:56 PM
Hello :wave:

I have to admit I was very surprised to see you would be getting your buns at 5 weeks, that is far too young to be taken away from mum :( 8 weeks is really the minimum and 10-12 is kinder as some kits are still taking a bit of milk at that age!

Even pets at home don't sell buns until they are 8 weeks old and to be honest this has rung a lot of alarm bells for me, it doesn't sound like a responsible breeder.

BigBunnyBenji
21-05-2013, 11:39 PM
Hello,
I am new to owning bunnies :) we are getting two baby French lop bunnies in 3 weeks time when they're ready to go. I have never had a rabbit before so any help, tips and advice would be muchly appreciated :)

My husband is building a big double hutch for them in the garage and a run for outside. What do I put in the hutch for comfort? Hay? Also I've heard about the new pellet rabbit food, how much will they eat at 5 weeks old? I was thinking to put a tray for them to toilet in too when in their hutch at nights.

I was thinking to get a girl and a boy but I'm unsure as I know I have to keep them apart from 3 months old until the boy can be fixed at 5 months and then another 6 weeks after that. If I get two males then would I have to get them both fixed? How do two males get on upto 5 months old?

I have two kids, 2 1/2 year old boy and a nearly one year old girl and I'd like them to be involved as much as possible. Has anyone else gotten baby rabbits and had young children? How were your rabbits with the kids? Abit worried about them being bitten but hoping the people that they're coming from will have handled them plenty before they come to us so they're used to being around people and friendly.

Overall we're very excited about them and my son is telling everyone he's getting a blue rabbit lol!! Grey was as good as I could do for him :)

xx

The only bit of advice I could give is to read up on the minimum requirements for rabbit hutches/runs. When I got my rabbit, I had no idea how much space they needed and I bought things that were too small because I thought they seemed fine. I think the minimum they will need is a 6 x 4 run, plus a big hutch. Don't rely on pet shops to give you great advice, because it turns out, they often sell things that are too small and don't tell you. :(

Also, it's just a suggestion, but I keep my playhouse lined with old carpet, I know yours is a hutch, but to me it's so much easier to clean out because you can just pick up any poo off the carpet and you don't have to always be sweeping it out. This might also help with litter training, as if you put straw/hay in the litter tray and also all over the hutch, the buns might get confused about where they are meant to pee. Mine did this with newspaper. Newspaper anywhere means toilet apparently. :roll:

elainema
22-05-2013, 12:12 AM
Hi there and welcome to the wonderful world of the bunny!!

I have two males (from rescue) who are brothers and 15 months old and they are a really close bonded pair.

I am relatively new to buns but have done lots of research and from what I understand you would be better getting both the male and female neutered. Unneutered females run a higher risk of developing certain forms of cancer.

Again I would go along with others and recommend going to a rescue as they will match the buns to your family situation and really get to know the personalities and quirks of all the rabbits in their care, also you free up a space for some more bunnies in need!

The choice is entirely yours though and whichever way you go you won't regret it! I can't believe how much I love my Otis and Wilbur and how entertaining they are!!

Enjoy :thumb:

RogerRabbit999
22-05-2013, 01:35 AM
With French lops and having one myself, I really would not expect babies to be taken away until 8 weeks. French lops are fabulous bunnies and very laid back, but you do realise how big they will grow to don't you, (Buster weighs over 15lbs!!) and so bearing this in mind I would forget all about building your hutch, and buy a shed instead, because they need LOADS of space and are very big bunnies. My Frenchie is a house bunny and has his own room which he shares with his companion Paddington, because I just can't imagine ANY hutch being big enough for giant breeds.

If you go ahead and buy the ones you have obviously already set your heart on, how are you going to feel if when they reach sexual maturity, their personalities then completely change, which is very, very common. You may well have lovely cuddle bunnies initially, but when they reach adulthood, they may well actively dislike being picked up and cuddled, and don't forget, the bigger the bunny, the bigger the bite :shock:

A massive advantage to getting your rabbits from rescues, and older, is that basically what you see is what you get, and so if you are lucky enough to find a bunny that loves being handled a lot and cuddled, then that bunny is likely to be the affectionate type, whereas in some ways you are taking a really big risk with how you are getting yours, and will you definitely still be willing to keep them for the rest of their lives, if they develop into unruly, pretty unsociable bunnies?? Obviously, that may not be the case at all, but the point I think I am trying to raise, is that there is a very good chance of that happening.

Don't forget as well that Frenchies eat LOADS, and so with 2, I would expect to be paying out a fair bit on food, hay and veg a week, because Buster probably has what 3 of my dwarf lops have to himself. Vaccinations will still be the same price, but neutering will be more because they are bigger. My dwarf lops were 65 each, and Buster was 85 simply because of his size. Have you thought about insurance at all for your buns by the way? You will also
need a much bigger pet carrier, well you'll need to buy 2, because you won't get 2 buns that size into just one.

Once fully grown, if you still decide to go ahead with the ones you have set your heart on, I wouldn't see there being a problem with your children because they will be far too big for them to be able to pick up anyway, and I struggle myself to pick Buster up, being a fully-grown adult. I would definitely supervise them with the bunnies, because if they hurt or scare them by accident, and they then get bitten, they really will be bitten, and on a small child that could well be quite a bad bite. Buster is a fantastic bunny, really laid back, and he is very affectionate, but he is by no means a timid bunny, and if he gets cross, he really does get cross :shock: and I'm sure you wouldn't want your children to be hurt by such big bunnies.

It's great to have you on board though, and you can always be assured of help and support by very experienced bunny owners on this forum, and you are about to enter such a very special, exciting time taking on bunny ownership, but there will also be no doubt, the not so great times, the challenging times, and the sleepless nights, worrying, stressful times, that I really don't think people ever expect or realise until they have acquired these amazing fur people, who will in time train you all into their very own 'bunny slaves' :lol::lol: