12. DonThis is the DON’T BE A DUMB BUNNY PAGE….
So this page is intended to help you not make the same mistakes I’ve made. Oh yeah I’ve made a few and as I remember them, I’ll post them here. I’m not too proud to admit I was wrong and I want to help other bunny parents be good parents so here it goes
1. Don’t even start to give your rabbit any fruit – yeah I know its healthy for humans but not for rabbits. Its too sweet and they will become junkies for apples, grapes, raisins, banana, all of it – NO! Don’t even start it and you and your bunny will be much better off.
2. Don’t over feed flat leaf Italian parsley! Although my rabbits all loved/love it, it can cause a sludgy bladder and Baby had this because at one point we over feed it to her. I mean when she had an x-ray the vet showed us and it was obvious that the bladder had something wrong. Even tho we just about stopped feeding it to her, the damage was done.
3. Do your best to make sure that your rabbit is eating hay. This can be tricky and some rabbits are persnickety when it comes to hay but seriously it will so help your bunny stay healthy. Most of their diet should be hay. It makes their digestion work and keeps their teeth grinded down so HEY PAY ATTENTION HERE and start to monitor the amount of hay your rabbit is eating and try to get them to eat more. At certain times of the day, we allow Lucy and Dino to run out of greens so that they have to eat hay. I give them fresh hay twice a day – make sure your bunny has more hay then it can possibly eat.
4. Feed your rabbit the correct diet – this something that was hard for me as my first vet said unlimited greens, but my current vet says to limit greens so encourage them to eat more hay. Check out my Food & Treats page for more information on what is appropriate to feed your bunny. We still struggle with this as Lucy and Dino would eat nothing but greens if we’d let them. They sit at their empty food plate looking toward the door, waiting to get our attention to give them more food. Sometimes I give in and give them more greens and other times I just give them more hay. But this is one of my biggest issues for sure.
5. Don’t ever totally trust that you don’t have to rabbit proof your house – people tell me all the time, oh my bunny does not nip at electrical or phone wires — they don’t nip them because they haven’t found them yet but they will and you MUST have the wires covered in plastic cord protectors or slit open plastic tubing that can be slipped over electrical cords. Bunnies will just find trouble in time so you MUST rabbit proof your house to protect your bunny and your belongings. Please read this page to learn more. This is an ongoing mission in our house to always be thinking what can they get into next and prevent them from getting into danger. Its not that I’ve made a mistake with this, just that you must be diligent in looking and preventing lurking dangers to your bunny.
6. Don’t get rid of carpeting for a beautiful new wood floor. Yeah I know you are thinking what? Well we did this and to be honest rabbits hate wood, vinyl, tile, laminate floors or any smooth surface as flooring. They have nothing to dig their paws into when running and so they normally will avoid areas without carpet. So we got rid of carpet, replaced it with wood to show off our floors and then since Baby didn’t like the wood floor we covered it up with an area rug and rug runners everywhere for her to run on. In addition if you have more than one bunny in your house and if both will go into the area with the wood floors at different times you will have a poop and pee war. Its the pee part that ruined my new wood floors in spots. It would have been easier with tile I guess but I never thought it would be an issue but its an issue so think this one through before installing wood floors if you have a bunny or bunnies.
7. Pellets — all rabbit pellets are NOT created equal some are junk food and not nutritious for your bun. Please try your best to find Oxbow brand pellets. Alfalfa for young bunnies and timothy hay bases for adults bunnies (over 6 months). Ask your vet at what age you should switch your bunny over from alfalfa to timothy hay based pellets and hay (for that matter). Make sure you are feeding them the right amount. My first vet said unlimited and Baby got used to eating mostly pellets so when the second vet said to limit pellets Baby actually was losing weight because she would not eat hay or that many greens so we put her back on unlimited pellets and she seemed to do fine with them, but this should not be the case. You should limit and measure how much you give your rabbits. Ask your vet for how much your rabbit should get daily as this will be determined by age and weight of your rabbit.
8. Nail Trims – well this wasn’t really a mistake more than being afraid to try to trim our Baby’s nails on our own. Baby was a squiggling, flaying, squirming mess whenever we had to do anything with her. First you had to catch her, then you had to hold her firm and it was always a challenge. But I remember the vet charging us like $8 for nail trim which was reasonable but I kept thinking what an ordeal it was for Baby to be chased, put in a carrier, taken 30 minutes to the vet, sitting in the waiting room for who knows how long. Get a quick nail trim, back in the carrier for another 30 minutes and then home. It seemed stressful for her so we asked the vet how to do it, we researched and then we tried it ourselves. It went pretty good consider how crazy she was to hold. Read our page about nail trims and see Red Door’s Bunny Basics pdf for what they say too. This will save you time and money and earn you some goodwill to not stress out your bunny.
9. If you see wetness, wet fur around an eye, take note and pay very close attention. You might want to review my pages on eye problems now, so that you’ll be prepared. I am always pro active and start to administer plain old saline eye drops at the first sign of weepy eye or red eyes, or watery eyes. Just a good drop in each eye 2 times a day for a few days might just take care of their business. If the redness persists or worsens or the watery eye gets worse then seek a vet for medical attention. I also will sometimes just use a clean cotton ball dampened with warm water and wipe Dino’s eyes. He suffers from weepy eye but Lucy normally grooms his eyes which keeps his condition under control. When he was a single bunny I used to wipe his eyes with dampened cotton ball twice a day and that took care of the weepy eye just fine. I’ve had a few bunny parents tell me how much their rabbits started to enjoy the nightly ritual of wiping their closed eye and surrounding fur with the dampened cotton ball. Might just be something your little one will enjoy too.
10. I never took a selfie pic with Baby – biggest mistake EVER! I have pics of Baby but not with me in them. The day before we had to take Gracie to the vet to put her down, I took a pic holding her – she was sick and miserable and I was red faced from crying but at least I have that pic. I don’t treasure it but I am still glad I have it. So on this day, I took pic with Dino and Lucy -here are a few, on a bad hair day to boot but just having these I feel better already.
11. So here is a new one. DAH like this never even occurred to us. So recently a friend crocheted Christmas sweaters for Dino and Lucy. They looked pretty small but we promised her that we would take pics of the buns in their sweaters. So we caught Lucy first and honestly I just don’t know what we were thinking or we clearly were not thinking, but we were standing up and my husband was holding Lucy and I was going to try to put the sweater over her head. Now keep in mind that Lucy has only 1 eye and is very skiddish (again doofs here) and when I tried to put the sweater rolled up over her head she totally freaked out and within a split second leapt out my husbands arms and fell about 4 feet to the top of the coffee table. She landed on her legs and then bounded off the table onto the floor and skidded about 3 feet before coming to a stop. WHAT? I know really this happened. We were so freaked out and she was freaked out. We watched her hop very carefully for several days to make sure she was not limping or favoring one foot or leg. She could have easily gotten seriously hurt breaking a leg or foot or anything really. So note to self and others, hold your bunny while kneeling on the ground so if they get away, they won’t fall like Lucy did. For about 2 weeks afterwards Lucy would not let us near her as she is always frightened easily and that just made it worse. She seems to be coming around again now but YIKES she had to be sore after that and we felt just terrible. Here is a pic of the sweater just laying on Lucy’s back as this was the best pic we could get of her in that sweater.
12. Don’t ever move their poop dishes once the bun is trained to poop in it where it is. Yes I know you are thinking what? Yes don’t move them. I have moved them thinking it was no big deal, they will see it, they will find it – NO they don’t. Bunnies just don’t get the fact that you’ve moved it and they will poop and pee in that same spot whether it has a poop dish or not. They won’t seek out the poop dish they just go to the place where they have always pooped and pee-d whether it has a poop dish or not and you will have a big pile of a mess on your hand so don’t move them. Okay you’ve been warned.
More to come as I think of them….
If you have a specific question about your rabbit, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.