“ Animal Species: Rodents / Small Pets „
Barney came to live with us just over a year ago from an unwanted litter of eight. This was my first experience of having pets, and from the start I wanted to keep him as a house rabbit.
Prior to getting Barney home we spent some time rabbit proofing the areas we were ultimatey going to allow him access to. Initially this was the dining room, hall, landing and lounge. Rabbits tend to nibble low hanging wires, and will chew on anything made from cardboard, paper or wicker.
The first week was spent litter training and bonding with your rabbit. You have to ensure that they are restricted to a fairly small area, where their food, water and litter tray - where they eat they tend to poo (and wee) so you fill the litter tray with hay. Once they have weed and pooed a few times then the job is done and you can gradually allow them to explore a bit more.
Once this was done and Barney was used to us and his surroundings we let him explore the house at his own pace (he learned how to climb the stairs in the first few days of seeing them).
House rabbits are similar to cats, but don't demand affection as much. They certainly do show it from time to time - watching a happy rabbit binky (where they leap into the air and do mid air acrobatics) is something quite amazing. Also if a rabbit starts grooming you (e.g. licking your ankles while you are watching television) then thats the highest compliment. Of course you have to repay the compliment (a stroke will suffice fortunately!).
We take him out into the garden whenever we can, so he can get the best of both worlds - fresh dandilions outside and a safe warm house to come into.
Dietwise rabbits can eat dried rabbit pellets, but it is advisable to add some fresh veg and the aforementioned dandilion leaves. Brocolli and spring greens tend to be a favourite at the moment. They always need access to fresh water every day (I'd recommend using a bowl rather than a bottle as some bottles may get sticky ends and your bun might not be able to get water out).
If you aren't house proud, and fancy a pet that will bring a smile to your face daily then think of getting a house rabbit - just please don't buy one from a pet shop as there are plenty hopping around animal rescue centres waiting for a good home.
These rabbits are buiteful they are really
really really buetiful i would say i have a rabbit of my own
she is white and black spots all over her and she is stuning.
rabbits are good as pets they never never bite they only nibble a bit but it does not hurt. And they eat rabbit food and carrots. They are buetiful
and you could cuddle them all day. mine loves her food and her carrots and water. she is very nice and very lovely. you can get them when they are babies and you can get them in male and female. they are not that scary
even for children. children can hold them in there hands and be cuddley
all day. they can live up to 4-7 years and thats a lot of years. even they
can live up to a lot of years and if you dont look aftefter them they will get very ill. and if you dont want to keep it healthy is to walk it on a srecial lead where you can get them in some pet shops. and i think you can enter them in a compitshone but its not that very nice fore them.
I went to a pet rescue one day to donate a hamster cage, and came home with Jason, my lop eared house rabbit. I had never owned a rabbit before, in fact i used to go out shooting them with my father (game keeper). I was wary but the lady was so worried about him, saying how depressed he was, i agreed to take him on a fostering basis. 1 week later I was phoning to adopt him.
I never knew that rabbits had such strong characters. Jason had never been handled and had spent all his life at the rescue. In my home with free run of the house, he is a dream rabbit. He never does any business outside his cage and has never chewed any wires. He would sulk when i put him in his cage for the night, and often will do mad binkys (rabbit leaps) around my lounge. I love him to pieces.
The care for a rabbit can be expensive, its definitely important to get pet insurance, as rabbits can get sick quite quickly. They need a yearly myxomatosis jab to protect them from it, the horrible disease introduced by people to cull the rabbit population. Every few months i take Jason to the vet to have his claws and teeth checked. It is also important to get them spayed, rabbits tend to live longer as a result and it can curb sexual activity or aggression.
I don't have experience of outdoor rabbits, but for indoors it is important they have a large cage, for the times they are not out and about, that they can call their own. Too small a cage can see them become frustrated, bored and depressed. It is also important to provide items for them to chew on, and some rabbit toys to play with. My rabbit took to stealing my dogs treat ball and rolling it about to get at the chocolate drops inside, so much so i had to replace the dog chocs with rabbit fruit treats. My rabbit and my dog are best of pals, but i wouldn't recommend having a rabbit with a dog, even if you really trust a dog, never leave them unattended together.
For indoor rabbits its also important to protect your wires, chewing through one can shock or even kill your rabbit. You can buy insulation tubing which will help.
A lot of people buy rabbits because they think they will make great pets for children. I don't believe this is always the case. Rabbits need treated gently and can be quite difficult if the mood so takes them.
If you are thinking about getting one, see your vet for some advice, read up on what you can, and have a look online for rabbit forums to get some experienced opinions when you need it.
They sound like a lot of work, and sometimes they are, but i would not be without Jason, so much character in one little rabbit.
Latin name Oryctolagus cuniculus
The average life span is between 5-8 years for a pet
Baby rabbits are kittens, and there are generally bet 4-12 in a litter, and their eyes usually open around 10 days. They are weaned bet 4-7 weeks and can breed themselves from 16-24 weeks.
The wild rabbits we now know as pets, were originally from Spain and northern Africa, but were introduced to the UK in the 11th century, for both food and sport, and of course, their fur.
By the early 19th century they were being kept as pets.
So, are you thinking of having a rabbit as a pet, or is your small child asking for one?
Well here's a few useful bits of info.
Rabbits can be kept as indoor pets, but I do not feel able to comment much on this, as mine are outdoor rabbits, and only come in when there is really horrendous weather, i.e. severe gales. But I do know they chewed through by Sky cable on one such foray!.
1. Really should be kept in pairs. Rabbits get lonely, and are not used to a solitary existence, and to be honest 2 is little more work than one.
However, please get them neutered/spayed. Not only does it prevent unwanted babies, but many rabbits die from tumours of reproductive organs, so by getting them "done", they will hopefully liver longer, fitter lives
2. Please don't keep your rabbits penned up in a tiny hutch. RSPCA say rabbits need as much exercise as a small dog, so must always have access to an outside enclosure, as well as their hutch.
After a lot of research, I decided to purchase Wendy houses. I opted for them instead of a shed, as they have nice big windows and let lots of light it. I have insulated mine, and put wire at the windows, so when the weather is nice I can open then. I have 2 levels in mine, so they have extra living /playing space. If you look around the internet, including "The Rabbit Shed" has some great ideas for outdoor space. Most hutches you can buy are too small. .
My 2 Wendy houses have permanent access to runs which include grassy areas.
3. As my mother always says " Lot of work, those rabbits", and that is certainly true. This is why they often become a problem, when children have rabbits. They need to be fed, and watered daily, then cleaned out at least twice a week. I reckon I spend about 45 mins a day ( on average), by the time I've done all that and played with them and groomed them. When they aren't well it takes a lot longer.
Please consider this carefully, as often kids get bored, and you as parents will end up spending this time daily!. Just on the side of fairness, many kids are great and always do the chores themselves.
4. Rabbits love to play....., give them toys and activities. There are many toys available, but mine love a cardboard box, with a couple of hole cut in it, and this amuses them no end. It is also great for their teeth, to keep chewing. Toilet role tubes, and balls are great too.
5. Feeding: in the wild they eat grass, so the mainstay of any diet should be good quality hay, on a daily basis. Green veg are also very important, but carrots should not be given frequently, as they are fattening, and like with people, the bunny will go for the carrot first and then feel full up. Pellets, and kibble should be given in small amounts. Mine love apple tree branches, they eat the leaves, and chew the bark off. Again, great for their teeth. They also love dandelions, which are in very short supply in this house, as the tortoises love them too.
Rabbits should have annual vaccinations for haemorrhagic fever, and myxamatosis. Both devastating diseases, which kill rabbits horribly, or leave them severely disabled.
Fly strike is also a great killer. Flies land of dirty fur, or small wound. They lay their eggs, and maggots hatch, which literally eat away at the rabbit. A friend of mines rabbit had to be put to sleep because of this. Check your rabbit regularly, and bath it if dirty.. Keep any wound clean, and treat with antiseptic.
There are many great books about rabbits available to help with keeping rabbits. I recommend
" Care for your Rabbits- an RSPCA guide" by Collins.
6. Names: Do not call your rabbit thumper. I know 5 rabbits called thumper.
My rabbits are called Mimsi ( called that long before the film came out) and Smudge ( Animal shelter name). Harry ( after my dad) and Lavender ( husband chose that)
7. Please try and get your rabbit from a rescue centre. Buying them from pet shops isn't ideal, especially as there are so many waiting for homes.
Rabbits are fun-
When you see them chasing around (mainly dust/dawn) playing, or snuggled up together, you really see what lovely pets they are.
I highly recommend them
I have four rabbits and they all have completely different personality's, I haven't treated any of them any different, I have one that growls if you try to move it for example trying to get it back in its hutch and run after a long run in the garden, another that will only come and say hello when she wants to. I also have one that won't stop licking me and one that loves cuddles the rest don't like to be picked up.
Rabbits need a large hutch and run my rabbits have a large hutch and a six foot square run each, which is connected to the hutch so they can go in and out when they please. (the larger the better)
A lot of people say you should get the rabbits neutered so they can live in a pair that is what I thought I would do. There runs are next to each other so they could get to know each outer for months before I put them together, I even tried putting them in each others hutches so they could get used to the smell of the other rabbit before I put them together. I then let them have a run around together in a neutral place, this part all went fine the problems started when I went to visit them they would then fight to stop the other from coming anywhere near me, so now they all live in there own hutches and runs, they are all next to each other so they can see each other and they are much more happy this way.
Rabbits get bored and lonely they need things to play with, toys for a rabbit don't have to cost money a bit of wood to chew (this is also good for there teeth, a rabbits teeth never stop growing so this helps to keep there teeth down, but do check there teeth because they might need clipping.) a empty toilet roll tube filled with hay is another good toy they love to throw these around.
They also love to be around us they love our company.
A rabbits nails need to be checked if they get long they need to be clipped.
When you take your rabbit for its inoculations you can ask the vet to check its teeth and nails.
I feed my rabbits pets at home nuggets the reason I do this is because they always leave something in the muesli type of food, and the pellets they just don't like. They also love grass, cabbage, dandelion leaves and carrot tops, they also have carrot and apple sometimes but they don't like this as much.
Rabbits also need hay this is good for there digestion, they should have loads of hay, you can even use this as bedding. Never give a rabbit lettuce it is very bad for them.
Make sure they have fresh water everyday.
Rabbits need to have yearly inoculations these can add up to quite a bit of money. If boy a rabbit isn't neutered he can spray, this can be messy and a girl rabbit can get moody, so if you need to get them neutered as well this is about sixty pounds depending where you live, and they do get ill, vet bills can add up.
Rabbits can be really great pets but I would not ever get one just for a child the reason being they can hurt bad if they scratch or bite, they are a lot of hard work they need cleaning out regular as well. Children think they will be getting a cuddly bunny but most rabbits don't like to be picked up, they love to be stroked.
There are loads of rabbits out there that need re-homing I would advice someone to buy one of these because they are already grown up and you can see there personality, a baby bunny might not mind cuddles but when it's a adult thing might be so different. Also these rabbits should be given another chance, they probley was only given up because a child no longer wanted it.
I've had pet rabbits since I can remember, I've had about 15 now sometimes 3 at a time, I think they make great pets because they are so calm and loving, plus the fact that they're covered in fur which makes them very attractive to children.
At the moment I only have one rabbit, she is white and pale brown with a grey nose. She's a lop-eared dwarf so her ears hang down either side of her face. I love all rabbits but I do really like lop-eared ones as they are a bit different to others.
When we bought her about two years ago she was pure white and so small that I could hold her within my cupped hands. Now she's really grown, she's almost as big as the cat and I have to hold her in both arms to be able to pick her up, she weighs quite a lot too so I can't hold her for more than minutes without feeling like my arms are going to drop off.
She developed the dark grey colour over her eyes during the first winter we had her, it came with her winter coat of fur. Apart from that she was our little drop of Christmas snow. Then when her summer coat developed the pale brown came through, she may not look like a little angel anymore but she still behaves like one.
Occasionally she'll take a bit out of the wall paper off or escape from her room, yes she has her own room, and go wandering around the house tearing things up with her teeth but this doesn't happen very often, mostly when she wanders into our bedroom she will just nudge into our feet to say she wants some fuss. Then she'll lay down and let us stroke her for hours or until she needs to go to the toilet when she'll hope back to her hutch in her room and go to the toilet there.
We never litter trained her, but since day one she has always known to go the toilet in her hutch. Of course she leaves the odd dropping around the house but apart from that she's perfect, I don't know maybe she was litter trained at pets at home before we got her, or maybe she's just super intelligent.
Her favourite treats are broccoli and lettuce but even more than them she loves apples!! Whenever my husband or I are eating an apple she'll smell it and come running wanting the core and however much of it we want to give her. I make sure she always has plenty of treats and a few times a week I give her chocolate drops, special ones for rabbit, she has a very sweet tooth so she loves these.
When she's outside in her run she isn't as active as she is in the house which is weird because most rabbits are the other way around. She likes to lay down flat stretched out enjoying the sun and nibbling on any clover she can find within the grass.
She's a great bunny, with loads of character and a fantastic personality which really shows when you spend time with her. I wouldn't replace her for any other bunny as much as I love all the other bunnies I've had, they unfortunately are gone so I put all my efforts into looking after her. She's a little angel of a bunny.
I have several reasons for writing this review, one to demonstrate to people thinking of owning a rabbit what they need to do in order to offer that rabbit a secure home, whether in fact a rabbit is the best pet for them, and the second to help rabbit owners with illnesses that affect the domestic rabbit. For this reason, my review is split into easy to find sections, so that information can be found easily and quickly, being as follows :
1.Deciding if a rabbit is right for you, and how to chose a suitable one.
2.Housing a rabbit.
5.Toys for rabbits.
6.Grooming and care.
If you as a reader only want information from a certain category, just scroll down and I am hoping that by categorizing this review, it can quickly help you in your search for answers.
1.Deciding if a rabbit is right for you, and how to chose a suitable one.
Rabbits are delicate creatures, though creatures with particular habits and the kind of home that would be suitable for a rabbit is one where it is not teased. Unlike cats and dogs, a rabbit cannot make a noise or show its insecurity in any other way but to bite, and placing an animal like this in an environment where it is likely to be teased is not a good idea. Rabbits can be house trained. They are basically very clean animals, and the effect they have on your home environment is really down to you, and your preparation for a pet of this nature. They are easily pleased, though in the wrong environment, easily frightened, and if you think you can offer a rabbit the security that it needs, then deciding what kind of rabbit is the next step.
There are dwarf varieties which are much more suited to be indoor animals, and larger varieties which are more suited to cages, or a garden environment. Lop eared rabbits are extremely attractive, and care of the rabbit should be taken into consideration when getting one. Who is going to groom it ? Who is going to be responsible for that rabbit ? All of these are important considerations, as a rabbit cannot stand up for itself and complain when it has a need, and the needs must be catered for by a responsible owner.
Chosing a Rabbit.
Many pet shops sell rabbits. When I bought mine, I looked through several pet shops, and in one I was completely horrified to find that a guinea pig lay dead in its cage, and that the owner of the shop was totally unaware of it. Rabbits were bundled out of cages for cleaning and put in buckets, and I really was disgusted at the lack of hygiene and care that this shop showed towards tiny animals that could not stand up for themselves. When I found the shop that had my rabbit, I noticed immediately the difference in attitude that the staff had towards animals. Mine was a long haired rabbit, and the shop actually cared enough to feed them fresh food, and to groom them regularly.
2.Housing a rabbit.
When thinking about rabbit ownership, you have to decide what kind of cage you are going to get for it and most pet shops have a variety. My rabbit does not live in a cage, although initially, I bought a little house with a run, so that he could exercise, and also so that it could be moved to different areas for fresh food. The cage should be large enough that the rabbit can move around, and although rabbits sleep for many hours and seem still and not needing exercise, do not be fooled. Even if you keep your rabbit in a cage, it will need a safe exercise area where it can run around. The cage bottom should be covered in a coat of bedding which is for sale in most pet shops, and this should be cleaned regularly. My rabbit lives under my dining room table, and has a litter tray for its needs. This is changed regularly and if the rabbit has mishaps, it is usually the owners fault for not providing for the rabbits needs. I use a large flat dish that was made for under a huge plantpot, and in it I put a sawdust type product, though because my rabbit has long hair, I use a special variety that does not stick to his fur.
When deciding where to put your rabbit, there are several things to bear in mind. A rabbit does like to have privacy when they need it. They like to hide away when afraid. I bought a cat dome made out of fabric in a kind of triangle, and the thing that hit me straight away was that the rabbit would not go into it, and upon discovering why, was able to rectify it. Rabbits are very intelligent creatures, and do not like going into places with only one entrance. I cut another entrance at the other side of the cat house and immediately found that rabbit felt safe in it, and choses to go into it at will.
The most dangerous of environments for a rabbit is one where a lot of electrical wires are available to chew. They love loud speaker wires and nibbling telephone cable, and so where you house your rabbit should be made safe, not just for rabbit's sake but for your own.
Training a rabbit is relatively simple, and here a treat system isn't really necessary, because they are creatures of habit. They like to go to the toilet in the same place, but will dictate to you where that place will be. I let the rabbit decide and now have the litter tray where he wants it and will use it. He always uses it. If you look at rabbits in the wild, they seem to chose a toilet area and stick to it, and its the same with house rabbits. A word of warning here is that its up to you, the owner, to keep that toilet area clean. They do not enjoy stepping into a litter tray that has been left to fester !
For a rabbit to be content in your home, there are essentials to think about. A rabbit has needs that have to be met, i.e. Needing something to chew on, and here, a stick of hardwood is ideal, and even moreso if there is bark on it. This is a chewing toy, although essential to his good health. They also need people to a certain degree and thrive on company. A food regime that they understand as well helps rabbit to feel at home, i.e. Feeding at regular times, and my rabbit knows what time food is available and sits on the corner of the carpet looking expectantly at anyone that enters the room. They like routine. They enjoy the security it gives them.
5.Toys for rabbits.
I thought a lot of about this because basically you are taking an animal, putting it into an environment which is not normal for a rabbit, and it does need entertainment. Mine is a male, and it likes to think it is not alone. I have a soft toy that it plays with, and believe it or not, its greatest toy is a piece of material that it makes burrowing gestures with. I also made it a cardboard box house with a door hole at either side and it loves this. They do like tearing up magazines and newspapers and we have a corner just for rabbit where he has his bits and bobs and here we have a small basket for him to chew. Another novelty for the rabbit is a square white block of calcium which he chews at and it helps his teeth to stay healthy.
6.Grooming and care.
Why do you need to brush a rabbit ? Well, in the wild, the excess hair would be rubbed off the rabbit when it burrows. In a domesticated rabbit, they don't have that luxury. Unlike cats and dogs, a fur ball for a rabbit can kill it, and therefore, by grooming it regularly, you are taking away the excess hair that threatens its digestive system. Grooming is important, and here I have a hair brush that takes off the loose hairs, but have also a brush for the carpets like one of those clothes brushes that picks up hair.
Clipping nails is essential as well as they grow rather fast and can be very uncomfortable for your little fur friend. For cutting nails, it is essential to get proper animal nail clippers, and never to cut below the quick of their nail, which actually shows through the transluscent texture of the nail and is easy to detect.
I am horrified when I read about people feeding their rabbits just on pellets. Pellets were designed for farming rabbits, to fatten them up for selling, and do very little for the health of a rabbit. Whilst hard foods are as essential as fresh ones, a diet of pellets alone will not help the teeth of your rabbit, since they are small, and swallowed without much chewing. There are mixtures available that are suitable for rabbits, lollipops with grains are popular, and certain biscuits made for rabbits, though the thing you need to bear in mind with diet is that a rabbits tooth keeps growing, and chewing is essential to good dental health.
As far as fresh fruit and vegetables are concerned, each rabbit has its likes and dislikes, though universally rabbits seem to enjoy Dandelion leaves (not in excess), grass, clover, cabbage, swede, carrots, cauliflour leaves, brocolli. One thing that I noticed when I started looking after rabbits was that all good books told me not to feed my rabbit wet food. They really can get ill if you do, so all foods should be dried. Rye grass and hay is good for a rabbit too, and thistle leaves seem particularly beneficial to rabbits, because they seem to clear digestive problems very well.
Since rabbits are sold in shops after the weaning period, a pet rabbit's food will be the same from quite young to very old, although his needs will vary and a good variety of different foods introduced as and when he needs something different. He will let you know.
A mythe that exists is that rabbits should eat lettuce, as lettuce is one of the worst foods to feed a rabbit and can damage their digestive system. Fruit should usually be hard such as apple, or pear, and they do not seem to like soggy fruits of any kind.
Clean water at all times is an essential to rabbit wellbeing. Always make sure that his water is changed daily, as they cannot complain about it, and as an owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the cleanliness of his water.
There is nothing worse than a poorly rabbit. They hide, they do not eat. They look pathetic and they cannot complain in the same way as humans or other animals do, because they are silent creatures. I have dealt with a lot of illness with my rabbit, and the illnesses you should look out for are these :
GINGIVITIS - This terrible illness gives a rabbit inflammation of the gums. He cannot eat. When he tries, leaves fall out of his mouth. It is a painful illness and takes time to cure, and wiping the mouth with a cotton bud helps, as does changing their water frequently. There are anti biotics available to treat gingivitis, although my vet found it hard to find the right one. He did in the end, and perserverance is essential because not being able to eat properly, the rabbit needs to be watched and looked after, and with this illness, trusting your vet is essential.
SNUFFLES. This is a common illness with rabbits and is shown when a rabbit seems to be chewing all the time. It's a form of rabbit flu, and a sad sight to see and deal with. Again, a vet should be called and the rabbit will be treated with anti biotics.
FLUFF BALLS. If you groom your rabbit on a regular basis, this will not affect your tiny creature. If neglected, a rabbit can swallow too much hair and its digestive system is unable to cope with this and the rabbit can die. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of regular grooming.
TEETH PROBLEMS As a rabbits tooth is for ever growing, sometimes, by eating hard things, the rabbit developes a lop sided tooth. This can be corrected by the vet and you should never attempt to cut the tooth of a rabbit yourself. It can make the rabbit develop jaw problems, and must be dealt with. You will notice problems with eating if this occurs.
Another tooth problem that can happen when a rabbits diet is too soft is that a tooth can overgrow and the space between the molar and the base teeth become too small for the rabbit to eat. This really must be dealt with and the best way of prevention is to make sure that the rabbit always has something hard that he enjoys chewing. If this happens, it can manifest itself in many ways, the most serious of which is bulging eyes. No pet owner should ever let their rabbit become this ill. If you notice changes in eating habits, or eyes that look different, consult a vet as a matter of urgency and deal with the root problem of having his teeth cut.
For all of my rabbits habits and quirks, I love him as a member of the family. Male rabbits do spray, but it's nothing as bad as cats or dogs. Just a matter of the rabbit marking out his territory. I personally would not have the rabbit castrated because of a little inconvenience, and have wipes at the ready when on rare occasions this happens.
Rabbits are wonderful creatures. They don't destroy things like cats do, and they don't make a lot of noise like dogs do. What they do is depend upon their owner for their security and happiness, and if you think you can give this kind of care to a little creature, then they really do make good pets. I would never place more than one in my house, since males fight for territory and I certainly do not want litters of baby rabbits. He is not lonely, because I ensure that he is not. He loves and thrives on company that respect him as an animal and let him have his space for rest and relaxation, and also that little bit of fun and play.
I hope this review has been useful to rabbit owners and potential rabbit owners alike.
After my lovely lop eared rabbit died, my partner went out and bought me two lion head rabbits which according to the pet shop 'we inseperable, quite unusual for brothers'. After a week, it was obvious Perry, the tamer of the 2 wasn't well and he eventually succumbed to a brain virus. This left me with Kevin who looked a bit lonely. I decided to get her injections done and then buy her a companion. Unfortunately, on the day of her injection, the vet kindly pointed out to me the reason that Kevin and Perry were so friendly was due to the fact that Kevin was a girl and she was pregnant. So, instead of buying her a new companion, I thought it best to let her see out this pregnancy and go from there. Unfortunately, her kit was still born. I took her for her injections and got her spayed to increase the chances of finding her a suitable companion. The pet shop were great and agreed to take Kevin in and mix and match her with some different rabbits. They found a beautiful lion head rabbit from the same parents and Kevin seemed to get on OK with her. The real problems started when we got home. Luckily I had a hutch in the shed where they live and locked the little one up every night. I put Kevin on a harness and let the little one run around. Everytime, Kevin tried to go for her, I was able to control her. This took some time but once Kevin was allowed off the harness, she was fine except for a few isolated incidences but it's more pushing and shoving now!!! Also try bringing them in the house. We did this for a week and that helped as well. They now share a food bowl (although I do put 2 in there) and cuddle up together at night. Hard work but worth it!!!
Some while ago we said goodbye to Radar, our family dog and were for the first time in many years left petless (I’m not counting tropical fish here!) so of course with children in the house it wasn’t long before they were asking can we get a …… Can we have another dog? No! It is too soon and we are hoping to move so we will wait and see about that later. Can we have a cat? NO! They scare away the birds that I spend hard earned cash trying to attract, or worse still they catch them (I know it is only natural!) Can we have a Terrapin, a chipmunk, a snake, a parrot, a goat, a pony, a puma? NOOOOO! Help was at hand as my son and daughter-in-law’s rabbit had just had babies so the answer seemed to be obvious, have two gorgeous little girl bunnies. If only it had been that simple but no, when they reached the age to see what sex they are (I won’t go into details) there was only one girl and they wanted to keep that one with the Mum. The decision was made then we would have just one of the boys and he would be called Bailey. Nothing to do with ‘A party of Five’ before you ask, I thought his slightly creamy colour reminded me of the drink! It wasn’t long before I began to worry that he might get lonely so we looked into the possibility of getting a Guinea Pig (hereafter referred to as a peeg!) to keep him company. I read up on the subject and asked people with experience what they thought. At first I was a little discouraged as I was told that often they fight and are infact not friendly to each other at all. I had known people that had tried and found it did not work but I remembered when we had kept them together before without problem. We had already bought and prepared a large hutch and I was expecting to be getting Bailey shortly, although it was touch and go as to if my daughter-in-law could part with him! We knew where we could get one so when the da
y came we went and chose a lovely little girl peeg, as we had been advised that was the best chance of success. Something else I made sure of was that it was not alone, I wanted one that had been used to company, to sharing a home. On our drive home we collected Bailey, so they arrived at their new home together. It was in November so they had a long dark night to settle in together. We had bought two different foods and two food dishes for them, to make sure if one was dominate the timid one still had a chance to eat! So the hutch was clean and warm, with fresh food and water and although we were desperate to hold them and make a fuss we took advice and put them in and left them quietly to settle. The following morning I looked in on them quite nervously, would there be sign of fighting or not? Well no there was not, they were apart but no sign of hostilities. Peeg still had no name so we set to trying to choose one and eventually decided on Poppy as we got them on Remembrance Day. Over the days that followed Bailey settled quickly and was usually in the open part of the hutch where as Poppy spent a great deal of her time in the sleeping compartment. After a couple of weeks they were together more and more and could be found snuggled up together and even eating together from the same dish! Now nearly two months later I can say with confidence that the introductory period is over and they are firm friends. We let them out every day (unless it is very wet) and they actively seek each other out in the garden. They really are funny if they can’t find each other I watch them hunting for one another then relaxing when they are together again. Okay why do I think it has worked? What helped the introduction of Rabbit and Peeg? Well I will tell you what I feel can help the most: 1. Make sure you provide a hutch that is really large enough for both animals. They need their space and to
be able to get away from each other if they want to. 2. Get animals that have been used to company. Do not buy a bunny or peeg that has been used to living alone as I am sure it is more of a shock to suddenly find themselves thrust together. 3. If possible get both animals when they are young and introduce them to the hutch at the same time. This will eliminate either of them thinking someone is invading their territory. 4. Provide them with two sources of food at least until you are sure they will share and both get sufficient for their needs, make sure they can both get to the water too 5. Don’t be tempted to interfere, leave them together quietly. Although I am not saying do not keep an eye out, it would be awful to leave them and find there had been a massacre! 6. A male bunny and a female peeg was the most recommended option and it has worked for us. 7. Give them plenty of exercise, don’t just expect them to be happy stuck in a hutch all the time. I suspect animals are a bit like children and we all know more squabbles break out when they get bored! 8. I add this as I read it was a very good idea but did not try it. Have a small box or similar that the Peeg can get into if it needs to escape but that the bunny cannot enter. It sounded a good idea but the bunny was small and we felt it would have managed to squeeze into the same size place as the peeg could. So Bunny and Peeg will live happily ever after…..I hope!