Interested in raising rabbits? Glad you’re here.
- Getting Started Raising Rabbits with Kids (Part 1)
That’s the name of our rabbit. It comes from the fabric organza. I actually thought organza was a flower then we named the bunny Ganza and turns out it’s a fabric people use to make fake flowers.
We’ve named Ganza and we’re sticking to it.
If you’ve followed from my first post on raising rabbits, you’ll know a lot prep goes a long way. We got a cage from Amazon (this is the bestselling one and the one we purchased) as well as a water feeder and some feed from our local Tractor Supply.
We Facebooked (a verb now I reckon) around and found out who raises rabbits locally and arranged to pick one up. Then, one morning, we went and picked up the rabbit to bring
him her home. We’ve more or less settled into a groove with Ganza and so here are my basic tips for those who want to get their kids a rabbit.
Bringing a Rabbit Home
I think there is often a big disconnect between the anticipation of bringing home rabbits and having a rabbit in practice. I believe people end up discontent with rabbits simply because of unrealistic or impractical expectations. Here are some thoughts.
Give the Rabbit Time
The first week or two after we brought the bunny home she would run and hide in the shelter of her cage when the kids came around. She was not used to our home, the noise, or the environment and needed time to “cocoon” as they say.
Even though I have wild loud kids, I knew she’d eventually get used to us and she has. She no longer runs away when the kids come and she lets them pet her within the cage. We used to bring her out of the cage but it made her very nervous and we got cut enough times by her nails that we’ve stopped doing that. That and she kept trying to run away.
“But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate!” Beatrix Potter
Offer adequate food and water and let the rabbit acclimate to their new surroundings.
Find a Good Location
Location is important for rabbits because of both weather and predators. We live in a rural area where snakes abound so it was important for us to keep her in a place less likely to receive reptilian visitors. Like the one below.
Rabbits are able to handle cold better than intense heat so we put her under our carport where she’d be sheltered from rain (which happens a lot in our area) and be near enough to the house she wasn’t forgotten about. If you are going to keep multiple rabbits then perhaps somewhere farther in the yard might be appropriate.
Being under the carport, however, has meant that spider webs often accumulate on her cage. We must clean the cage often and I wonder if this wouldn’t happen as much in an unsheltered cage or hutch.
Get into a Good Groove
It took a while to get into the groove. I’d initially imagined my children waking up every day, running outside, and lovingly caring for Ganza in every way.
Well… that’s not how it pans out.
The kids will feed her without prompting if they see her food down and they’ll give her hay as well. They’ll even refill her water bottle if I remind them, but it’s taken a while to get into a good system. It was difficult at first to find a way to keep the cage clean enough without having to clean it out after every few hours. You don’t want the bunny’s cage to get too saturated with waste because the fumes alone can harm them, but neither do you want to shovel rabbit pellets 12 times a day.
We’ve got a system going now that means the rabbit has what she needs and the cage is cleaned out regularly without it being a lot of daily upkeep. The rabbit drinks and eats quite a bit so you do have to be mindful of how much and how often you want to feed her. We generally feed and water once a day.
If you are dreaming of getting your kids an easy pet that’ll teach them responsibility (this was me) then a rabbit may be just the thing. That said, you’ll still have to be on top of the rabbit’s care every single day even if only to remind the kids. Make it part of your chore routine or daily habits.
Rabbits are not terribly cuddly so if you want a rabbit imagining all the cute photo sessions with kids then that’s really not how it’ll play out. Their nails get long quick and they are hard to clip because you don’t want to get too close to the quick.
We are going to have to take Ganza in to a local vet where – no joke – they put all bunnies under to get them cut down enough. This is not free, as you can imagine, so bunnies do require more upkeep than some other more cuddly animals.
Know your Limits
If you want a “get it and forget it” type of pet, then do not get a bunny. You must regularly feed them, groom them, and care for their cages. Unlike an outdoor animal which just runs and plays outside, you actually have to do nearly everything for the bunny. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do this, wait a few years until the kids can take more of a lead.
So far our opinions on the bunny is as follows:
The rest of my family (extended members included) think we should pass her on to another family.
The kids like her, but don’t love her.
I’m happy with her so far. She doesn’t snuggle at my feet while I read, but nor does she shed hair in the house.
Each of us have our own personality, temperament, and giftings. And, the truth is, we parent best when we work with these instead of against them. Take this assessment so you can work to your strengths, and be the mom you want to be for yourself and your children.
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