Thursday, May 19, 2011

You Adopted a Rabbit! Now What?



“She was so cute, I couldn’t resist! Now what do I do?”

At Animal Friends, we frequently hear from callers who need guidance after bringing home their first bunny. Sometimes all of the research in the world won’t calm a new parent—especially one who’s new to the bunny world.

First and foremost, make sure your bunny has been spayed or neutered. This simple surgery alleviates many common behavior concerns and ensures a calmer, happier bunny.

Once you get your rabbit home, there are several ways you can house her: in a cage, an exercise pen or running free in a room. We recommend keeping your bunny in a smaller enclosure when you first get her home. A bunny needs to know she’s safe, so giving her the opportunity to root out any possible predators in a small area can help your rabbit feel secure. Plus, it helps promote better litter habits by giving her fewer places to eliminate.

Don’t think of a cage as something to confine your rabbit; think of it as a good way to keep her safe. Rabbits are very curious and can quickly find trouble if you let them. An exercise pen can block off any unsafe areas while giving them the space to run and play.

While your rabbit is getting to know her space, get to know your rabbit. Spend as much time as you can in her area, preferably down on the floor so you’re at her level. When your rabbit is comfortable with you in her space and has shown good litter habits, you can gradually increase the amount of floor space to which she has access. And as always, when rewarding with run-time, be sure to bunny-proof the area.

But wait. Now that you have the perfect bunny, isn’t it time to think of adding another one? A bonded pair of rabbits can help keep each other happy, healthy and socialized. Plus, you’ll be offering a home to somebunny who needs you!

To ask a question about your bunny or learn about classes for bunny adopters, call Animal Friends at 412.847.7000 or visit www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org

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