This is the first post in my series on raising rabbits with kids. We will go from having no rabbits yet (today’s post) to how/where to get them, caregiving basics, and how to involve the kids then eventually turn over their care to them. Post contains affiliate links.
Last week we decided to get rabbits for the kids.
Actually, I decided to get goats for the kids, but a kind friend involved with livestock in our area said… “Yes… umm… maybe you should start with rabbits.”
Furry, quiet, and slow.
A match made in heaven for our already crazy town family.
So this month we’re asking the right questions, preparing, and gathering our equipment so next month we can get the bunnies. I wanted to do a series on bunnies with kids for anyone else looking for a pet their children can help take care of.
I repeat, this is a real time journey as we go and we don’t have bunnies yet. But here’s what we are doing now so we can get those furry lovies by next month.
Getting Started Raising Rabbits with Kids
In no particular order, here are the steps we’re taking now.
1. Get kid books on rabbits from the library
The whole reason I wanted to get rabbits is to help the children build responsibility and care for others. This is Phase One of my multi-step strategy to keep my kids from idleness that leads to arrest in their teenage years… Anyway, I wanted them to be interested and excited about the rabbits. The best way to do this is to build anticipation.
The books will teach them, at a level they can understand, the basics of care for rabbits including where to keep them and how to feed them. All the older kids (4, 3, and 2) were very interested in reading these books.
2. Get an adult book
I looked on Amazon and though we aren’t planning on raising rabbits for meat (which this book addresses) it is a very comprehensive and #1 bestselling guide to keeping rabbits. There’s a photo gallery with the different breeds, advice on care, and everything you would not have thought to think of.
3. Determine where you’ll keep and what you’ll use for housing
Space is not an issue for us so we decided we’ll get a relatively large rabbit hutch. We want to start with 2 rabbits, but wanted a hutch that had different levels and room for a few different elements. Depending on your backyard situation, find a location for the cage or hutch then find one that fits.
Storey’s guide suggests metal cages, but since we are going to consider our rabbits pet rabbits initially, and only think about showing the later, we wanted more than a small cage. Amazon has a million (slight exaggeration) options, but here are a smattering.
What books, blogs, and articles have focused on in this regard is where you will keep the rabbit and the type of pests that are likely to bother the rabbits. This may be snakes, coyotes, or any number of animals if you are rural. If you’re in a suburb or urban area, there will be fewer predators, but you still may have to make security upgrades to certain cages so the doors or roofs can’t be opened by anyone but you.
4. Find a local provider for hay and food
I live in a rural area so we have a Tractor Supply near us that sells food for rabbits. Rabbit food includes a lot of hay, vegetables, some fruit, pellets, and salt blocks to give them something to chew on and help retain water. Again, you’ll have to decide for yourself exactly what type of diet or hay you’ll provide for your rabbits based on their breed, size, and age.
5. Gather supplies
We are currently moving into this phase. Next payday we’re purchasing our hutch, the other basic essentials such as feeders, beds, or chew toys. Since you can buy hay baled and wrapped, we’ll pick up a few of those as well so that we are completely ready the day we bring rabbits home.
6. Determine the type of rabbits available and choose
I don’t know jack about rabbits. In 4+ years I would like the kids to show them at local events, again building responsibility and confidence in trying new things, but right now I just want some furry animals to enjoy. We will speak with those in our area who keep rabbits and determine which are the most “friendly” and easy to care for with the least propensity towards illness. In my next post, we’ll talk about which we chose and why.