What Do You Need to Have Ready Before Bunny Comes Home?
The Big Day is just about here; your bunny is almost ready to come home! But before you hop out the door with your bunny carrier, list of questions, and cash for payment, please check to make sure you have the following supplies ready for your new pet:
1. Cage or pen. Bunny needs a safe, secure place to live. Do you have a cage that will provide ample space for him to stretch out and be comfy? For a pet bunny, we love the Living World Deluxe Pet Habitat in the X-Large size. It has a solid bottom, so is sure to be gentle on bunny feet and hocks. We line ours with a soft bath towel, which is absorbent, easy to wash, and readily available.
If you prefer a wire bottomed cage, the Luxury rabbit cages from Martin's Cages (we like the largest size) are a good choice. We line the litter tray with a washable piece of fleece. When it's time to clean the cage, simply remove the fleece (carefully, so all those poo balls don't roll off!), take it outside to shake it off, and pop the fleece into the washer. Easy Peasy.
2. Food. Your bunny will come with a small transitional bag of Sherwood Pet Health Baby Rabbit food in case you decide to switch brands, but you will definitely need a supply of your food of choice available. If you stick with Sherwood, you will need a small bag of the Baby Rabbit food to last until your bunny reaches the 12 week old mark. At that point it is safe to transition bunny over to the Adult Rabbit Food. Please be aware that the only treat safe for baby bunnies' delicate digestive system is rolled oats. No other treats should be given to a baby bunny until it is six months old.
3. Water. Your bunny will need a water bottle or heavy, chew proof bowl for drinking water. Be prepared to give fresh water daily, and to check it frequently.
4. Food Bowl. A heavy crock to hold the aforementioned food is very useful.
5. Fresh Timothy Hay, 2nd cutting. The key word is "fresh". The majority of the packaged hay available at stores and pet supply shops is very poor quality and is contaminated with pesticides. We cannot recommend Farmer Dave's organic hay highly enough. Bunnies need to eat hay for their digestion as well as for keeping their teeth healthy. Good hay will help prevent wool block in bunnies. Since bunnies cannot vomit hairballs like cats, the fur they ingest during grooming can make a thick fur ball in their tummies. The fiber in the hay helps keep the fur moving along so the digestive tract doesn't become sluggish and form a blockage. The link is for hay advertised as being suitable for guinea pigs and chinchillas, but it is also great for bunnies.
7. Litter box and absorbent litter material. If you intend to litter box train your bunny, you will need a place for him to accomplish his bunny business. We like the Ware Manufacturing Plastic Scatterless Lock-N-Litter Pet Pan in the Jumbo size. Two dish pans stacked one inside of the other with some sort of heavy material in the bottom of the lower pan to keep them from tipping over, is another good solution. We like to use wood pellets in the bottom of the litter box to absorb urine. These can be purchased in 40 lb. bags at feed stores and home improvement stores. Designed for pelleted wood stoves, they usually cost approximately $5/bag and are available in the fall/winter months, so stock up for the spring/summer months. Our favorite brand is called "Easy Heat."
8. Brush or Comb. Your bunny will need to be brushed or combed periodically to keep loose fur from being ingested. There are many options available. This brush is a good possibility, as is this comb. For bunnies going through a heavy molt, the Sleek EZ deshedding tool is wonderful. The 2.5" size works really well for rabbits.
9. Nail clippers. We prefer the pet nail clippers with a safety guard to prevent cutting the nail too far down and cutting the quick. A pair like these are ideal.
10. Hay Rack. Some bunnies really like hay racks, other bunnies could care less as long as there is fresh hay available. We usually stuff empty toilet paper tubes with hay, which combines hay delivery with a fun toy. Hay is also placed on their litter box tray because bunnies like to combine hay munching with their potty time.
11. Towels or bedding. you will need some sort of absorbent layer for the bunny cage. We prefer washable options. Please be aware that pine and cedar beddings are toxic to rabbits.
12. Bunny toys. Nothing expensive is necessary. Bunnies love to play with boxes, shredded paper, paper balls, small whiffle balls, socks, toilet paper tubes, plastic baby keys, and many more items that can be found around the house.
13. Bunny- knowledgeable veterinarian. Please have the phone number of a veterinarian who is experienced in rabbit care by your phone. A vet who knows how to handle bunnies will not jump to prescribe oral antibiotics because they ruin the delicate balance of a bunny's digestive tract and a bunny can rarely survive that type of treatment. Please be prepared.
14. Emergency supplies to combat GI Stasis. We strongly urge our families to keep a bottle or two of infant gas-relief drops on hand. Most stores make their own version, but Mylicon drops are the biggest name brand. Bunnies can get painful gas that causes them to stop eating. If you catch the warning signs of stasis quickly (not eating, not producing poo balls normally), a dose or two of gas drops combined with some tummy massage can solve the problem quickly. Sherwood Pet Health also makes two great products that you should keep in your emergency supplies - SARx Rescue and SARx Rabbit, along with the dosing syringe that they sell are invaluable if you need to treat your rabbit quickly for GI Stasis. SARx Rescue would be the next step (after gas drops and massage) to help keep your bunny's digestive tract functioning. Once the poo balls begin to appear again, SARx Rabbit and a diet of hay only for 2-3 days should keep bunny's tummy on the right track to healing.
When you are totally prepared, we will be ready and waiting to see you at Hot Cross Buns Holland Lops!
"Before Bunny Comes Home" will be updated periodically, so be sure to check back from time to time in case we find some fabulous new bunny products to share with you.
Before Bunny Comes Home
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Hot Cross Buns Holland Lops is a small-scale, family-run breeder located in Oberlin, Ohio. ARBA (#D6175) & HLRSC members.