More than just a how to guide to getting ready for a new bunny, but a comprehensive guide on how to share your home with a rabbit.
Your baby bunny must be protected and that is best done by proving them a safe habit for them to grow up in until we can trust they will not get into trouble. NEVER allow your baby bunny to free roam the house unsupervised.
Every rabbit should have a place to call their own! Not only does this fulfill their instinctual desire for their own territory but it will prevent territorial disputes in the future. (Trust me you don’t want your bunny to claim your couch or bed as their home.) The modern day Holland Lop comes from the European Rabbit. Unlike cats and dogs whom are migratory animals, rabbits create their own homes underground. Generations upon generations will develop these massive underground burrows with winding tunnels that can stretch for miles. These homes keep them safe from predators, it is deep in their nature to desire a space that they may call their own. So next time the bunny starts to feverously dig into your carpet to build their own burrow, ask yourself, “Did I provide my bunny with a place they feel safe and can call their own?”
Free roaming your bunny is amazing and we truly hope all our bunnies get to do that eventually in their lives. However, we believe, “Free roam should be earned and not given.” It takes time and training to ensure your bunny does not get into trouble around the house.
X-Pen (Preferred Style)
What is an X pen? A large outdoor dog exercise pen there are numerous types and styles in which you can purchase from online and in pet stores. We recommend you get an x-pen that is at least 32 inches tall anything less than that you risk the bunny being able to easily jump out of it as an adult. This is our ideal bunny enclosure however almost all x-pen’s are too big for baby bunnies. The babies can squeeze through the bars for many months to come, potentially injuring themselves and escaping. If you use an xpen use metal chicken wire or carboard boxes and wrap them around the outside of the pen until your baby bunny is too big to pass through the bars!
It takes movement for all bones, muscles, and ligaments to develop properly this is why we recommend your bunny be given at least 20 square feet of space to grow and develop in a healthy way. Movement will also prevent a common rabbit medical disease known as sludge bladder. Our motto is this: It’s better to give them the space they need to be healthy than to deal with the pain of a sick bunny or expensive medical bills.
A litter box often serves as a bunnies feeding station and potty station. Bunnies like to poop as they graze and many people find it best to place the hay feeder inside or right by above the litter box. Rabbits are grazers and will spend a great deal of time here so make it big! The litter box should always be placed in the corner of their x-pen! Unfortunately there is a real lack of good litter boxes available.
This is a litter box I designed a while back it really helps keep the hay under control.
Pretty hay feeders/litter box units like this can be bought online on amazon or Etsy. We no longer recommend open litter boxes for babies due to fact we have one confirmed case and a few suspected cases of baby bunnies passing away due to the paper bedding used in this litter box style.
Hay Feeder (optional)
While hay feeders are not necessary, they do help you in the long run by saving money and making sure there is always clean hay for your bunny when you step out of the house for longer periods of time. Hay feeders come in numerous styles and materials.
Any hay feeder you find at your pet store will likely be too small for a bunny and you will find yourself refilling it numerous times a day. It’s better to go online and find one that’s larger. An adult rabbit should eat 1 to 2 times their body size in hay daily, so the hay feeder should be no smaller than an adult rabbit.
Some savvy owners create their own hay feeders out of boxes and with a little box cutter magic, you have yourself a perfect hay feeder.
You can go hay feeder less and just place handfuls of hay in their litter box, but the down side of this method is you’ll waste more hay this way. Hay placed directly in the litter box tends to get soiled rapidly and much of it becomes wasted.
It’s also ok to just use a big bowl or tray to hold the hay, some bunnies prefer to eat their hay off the ground and not in an elevated position.
A no-spill or flip water bowl is the best design otherwise you’ll probably find a flipped bowl at some point. Do not use hanging water bottle feeders our bunnies do not know how to use them. We do not support the use of hanging bottle feeders because they clog and lead to dehydration.
Rabbits have a natural tendency to try and eat just about everything. It’s all part of growing up, putting things in your mouth to see if it’s edible. The other reason rabbits chew is to wear down their front teeth. One of the best ways you can prevent your bunny from chewing on furniture, baseboards and carpet is by having a few chew toys on hand. I have found if your bunny is going to chew on something they rather it be edible. So here are my favorite chew toys that have served me well.
All bunnies should be supervised while free roaming, to prevent any bad habits from forming. As soon as you catch your bunny chewing on something they shouldn’t be, offer them a chew toy instead. They will find these sweet and edible treats far more desirable than your furniture.
Protecting your bunny and home. All exposed electrical wires should be tucked away or covered with a protective sheath. I’ve found most of my bunnies chew cords between the ages of 3 months and 6 months old, once they learn they are not pieces of hay they generally stop nibbling on cords.
If you have a plant in your home move it out of their reach or create a small barrier.
We like to say with Holland lops grooming is not an option it is a nessicity.