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 Post subject: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:30 pm 
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Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
I would love to hear from any of you who have rabbit companions!

I really want to adopt two rabbits (I understand they are usually much happier with a bunny companion). I went to the SPCA with two in mind but I guess they really, really like being outdoors, and there are way too many raccoons in our neighbourhood (and we are renting, so I can't build a huge fence or anything) to make me comfortable with that. I got a lead on some baby bunnies currently being cared for by a vet in Victoria (flying under the radar of the mass bunny-killing happening at UVic), and a rabbit expert here on our island intuits that these babies would be perfect for indoor companions. I work from home, so provided the housebreaking works out (and I have heaps of information thanks to the crazy bunny lady on how to do it), they can roam free indoors for at the very least 4 hours in a day. I will of course, bunny-proof all electronic cords, etc.

But honestly, I'm not sure...is that enough? Am I preventing them from having a better life outdoors? I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible, but I would love to hear from those of you who have experience with rabbits. I've only ever had dogs/cats. My boyfriend had tons of mice/guinea pigs/rabbits growing up, and he is fairly anti-cage as a result of his experience.

Any rabbit-related advice is appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:46 pm 
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Vijita, it is so lovely that you wanna rescue some rabbits. I found out recently that they are third only to cats and dogs for companion animals with the highest surrender and euthanasia. So sad. They are such peaceful, kind creatures. When I was growing up, my sister had a rabbit and we mostly kept her indoors, but we also had some sort of fenced thing that we put outside and she could run around for a bit in the fence with our supervision. I regret I can't detail the fenced thing more, but it was about 15 years ago for me. I recently had a friend with two rabbits and she kept them inside entirely after bunny-proofing her apartment, and they seemed to do just fine. I think the most important thing is just that the rabbit has a companion, and you're already all over that. ; )
Oh oh, my favorite thing about bunnies is that they eat a lot of the same things we do! So you can share veggies. : ) I like to picture having a rabbit eat at the table with us when we get our own place, haha.
Do let us know how it goes! Preferably with lots of bunny pictures. ; )
<3

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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Growing up, we had an temporary outdoor thingy for our rabbit, too. It's was like a floorless cage, so you could move it around on the grass. There are also rabbit harnesses, but I don't know how easy rabbits take to that. So there are options for letting they get some fresh hair every now and then.

I think with a buddy, there are plenty of enriching indoor activities that could keep a rabbit happy!


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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:21 pm 
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Rabbits can make great indoor pets! I had my rabbit live inside with me and when the weather was nice I would take him outside on a harness and leash (just make sure that no one has sprayed pesticides in the grass where you are taking your bunnies). As for indoor living, it sounds like you have a great set up for a bunny pair. I think they can have a great life as indoor pets and if you do get them post pictures!

Here is a link to some articles by a group that adopts bunnies out to homes where they will live inside:

http://www.adoptarabbit.org/articles.html


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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:45 pm 
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I have 2 bunnies, both spayed females. One is 8 and the other is 6. They live inside and have never been outside. They have their own room, which they have pretty much destroyed, but I don't really care. They're litterbox trained for the most part and they are inside a dog ex-pen when they aren't being supervised. Bunnies are pretty smart! And they are a lot more work than most people realise, which is why so many end up in shelters or being abandoned.

When I was a kid I had rabbits living outdoors in a hutch and I really don't think it was great for them. They got much less attention than they would have if they were indoors. I used to take them out on a harness and leash sometimes, but mostly they would just try to hide under bushes and I would have to climb under branches to get them! But if you want your bunnies to see the outdoors, you can acclimate them to a leash and take the out to hop around. They do like to eat the grass an leaves, so you have to make sure no pesticides are used in the area.


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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:57 pm 
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Thanks so much, guys! Yeah, there are (as a bylaw) no pesticides in our neighbourhood so I can make a point of taking them out periodically. And I will make a point of supplying them with plenty of hay. I really appreciate your insights!


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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:12 pm 
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I learned a lot about how to have a house bunny from the House Rabbit Society (http://www.rabbit.org) and the House Rabbit Handbook. Indoor rabbits tend to live longer and mine always seem super happy to be where they're safe. Definitely (as you said) keep hay at all times. When they're babies, it's OK to give some alfalfa hay, but mostly they do better on timothy and orchard grass hays. Also once they're grown, go to a timothy grass based bunny pellet because most "regular" bunny food is meant for breeding rabbits or young rabbits (in other words, high calorie for an altered house rabbit). When they're babies, you can give them as much pellets as you want, but older bunnies usually just need a small amount of pellets (less than the food bags usually say). But they always need unlimited hay, water, and fresh veggies (mine usually gets mixed lettuces--NOT iceberg, cilantro, parsley, small bits of apple or carrot, and sometimes other greens like collards). Find a good bunny vet that knows what he/she is doing (again, the HRS gives suggestions for questions to ask) and get the bunnies spayed/neutered. That cuts down on unwanted pregnancies, aggression, bad bathroom habits, and cancers (esp. female bunnies, who have a high rate of cancer if unaltered). I have to admit that my bunny is in a cage when I'm not home, but it's a sizable cage and she's a little bunny...she uses the cage as a "safe haven" when she's loose too (much as some dogs apparently do when kennel trained). I used to have two bunnies, but this one's sister died of pasteurella and she has it too--making bringing a new bunny in problematic. Anyway, if you have any more questions/concerns, I'd love to chat bunnies:)

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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:33 pm 
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My boss runs a bunny rescue and currently has 14 bunnies. One of the buns who is actually his is a house bunny. She has the run of the house, along with a dog and 3 cats. She's litter box trained and does just fine. The other buns have a variety of living arrangements but they are all inside.
Domesticated animals like cats and buns do not need to be outside. Horses, yes. Buns, no.

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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:01 pm 
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I had my bunnies for a long time (they eventually passed away). I loved my bunnies. They were indoor rabbits. Having said that, I would never get bunnies again. They are a lot of work!!! Also, the vet care is more expensive because they are exotics. They end up costing a lot of money. They need fresh vegetables, hay, and pellets. Also their litter is expensive - you can't use regular cat litter. If you are going to get indoor rabbits, though, here is my recommendation for their litter boxes:

- litter box liner
- bottom layer: yesterday's news (this really keeps the smell in)
- middle layer: shredded paper (cheap)
- top layer: carefresh (they like to sit on this)


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 Post subject: Re: Indoor Bunnies?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:24 pm 
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My roommate when I lived in Lansdale had bunnies.. Pig was technically mine. The leopard gecko, Frank, we all sorta took care of. All rescues, of course.

Oh, and it was so nice living with 2 other (human) vegans.. I miss that.

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