5 New Year Resolutions for Rabbit Owners

Happy new year – I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays.

If I wrote new years resolutions, they’d basically be ‘get on with the stuff on your to do list’, but that’s boring and mostly not at all rabbit related, so I thought I’d help everyone else with theirs instead. Here are my five resolutions for rabbit owners. Hopefully you’ll be able to tick off a few of them straight away.

1. Make 2012 the year your rabbit eats hay

There is pretty much nothing as important to a rabbit’s health as eating hay, and yet a worrying number of rabbits don’t get it or don’t like it. It can feel like trying to persuade a child to eat sprouts but don’t give up, give it another try an see if you can get your rabbit eating even if it’s just a little each day.

Here’s some help:

2. Find an emergency vet and write the number down

It’s 1am on a bank holiday, your bunny has stopped eating and is looking miserable, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Nope, you need an emergency vet. Do you have a number to hand? If not, go find it now and write it somewhere you won’t forget.

In recent years many vets have swapped from having a vet on call to using a dedicated out of hours service which might not be at your normal practice, so not only do you need a number, you need an address too. It’s also a good idea to think about how you would get there, if you usually get a lift from a friend or use public transport – will that option always be available? If not how about adding an envelope with enough cash to cover a taxi to your pinboard next to the number.

One final thing, once you get there, the vet is going to want paying, if you don’t already, think about putting a little away each week to cover unexpected vet bills, or get some insurance quotes.

3. Keep your rabbit busy

We don’t just want healthy rabbits, we want happy rabbits! Be inspired by the RSPCA Happy Bunnies and make sure your rabbit has plenty of fun things to do. See if you can think up a new toy or activity every week – you can rotate toys so you don’t have to come up with limitless ideas. Here are some to get you started:

4. Learn something new

Rabbit’s are complicated little fluff balls and knowledge about how to best care for them in continually being updated, see if you can find something new to learn this year whether it’s watching a webinar, reading a book, chatting with your vet or checking out the latest articles on websites like House Rabbit Society or Rabbit Welfare Association.

If you’d like to read a book, I have one on rabbit behaviour your might find interesting: Understanding Your Rabbit’s Habits (or Amazon US /UK) 😉

5. Spread your knowledge

If you are reading this I guarantee you know at least one or two things about rabbits that someone else doesn’t. So tell them. It doesn’t even have to be someone with rabbits. Mention you just dropped £250 on your rabbits vet bill to a colleague and perhaps when their friend’s nephew demands a bunny, they’ll remember an mention how much they cost. Or you could be a bit more blatant and pop up some posters or strike up conversation with someone next time your in a pet shop about how pellets are so much healthier than mix. It’s an easy way to help contribute to improve welfare for all rabbits.


So there you go, I hope that helped with your new year planning. Before you go, while we’re talking about planning, I was wondering if there is anything you’d like me to write more about? More pics of Scamp getting into trouble, activities to do with your bunny, growing things, or do you like the science stuff – should I put poop under the microscope? What would you like to read about?

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Learn to understand rabbit behaviour

10 Responses to “5 New Year Resolutions for Rabbit Owners”

  1. I always vote for more pics of scamp! He is so handsome and clever!

    I’ve had two occasions recently to educate other bunny owners: I was waiting for my turn at the supermarket check out, when the lady behind me put a bag of bunny muesli on the belt (the kind that has more sweet treats than fibre and allows the rabbit to selectively feed. I spent a while wanting to pluck up the courage to speak to her, not wanting to sound preach-y but thankfully the wait was long. So I just started with: “oh you have rabbits! Me too!” and it went from there. I mentioned that we feed on veggies, a handful of excel pellets and lots of hay and she was actually interested. I ended up giving her a top tip about the nearby farmer that sells huge bags and bales of hay for just a couple of pounds. I felt great!

    Earlier today i spoke to a woman who told me she was going to get another rabbit so she could breed baby rabbits for her children. I told her about the rescue we got Bella and Buttons from, and about how many 100s of poor abandoned bunnies there were, and asked her if she wouldn’t consider adopting a homeless bunny, rather than breeding more. I wanted to slip in some facts about nutering, but didn’t have time and didn’t want to come over as a complete do goodie poking my nose in!

  2. Kathryn says:

    reposting to my site…great job again 🙂

  3. […] reposting another great blogpost from one of my favorite rabbit writers at The Rabbit House! See below for his full […]

  4. DIana Moll says:

    I’m adding: 1-bonding Amelia and Harriet because Harriet seems a bit unhappy always being chased by Sydney.
    2- figuring a better way to have their pens set up that is easier and quicker to clean.
    3- more bunny massage

  5. Lisa says:

    Another great post! The things on your blog I always like to see are all the fun ideas for activities you can do with your rabbits, and easy toys to make for them, I find all the enrichment stuff really helpful. I also LOVE the science stuff! Keep it comin’!

  6. Gus & Maddie says:

    Ah, how useful this will be! I will remember to write down my local animal hospital (or clinic’s) phone number. As far as bunny-boredom goes, Gus could enjoy some new toys. (once he has played with the ones he just got.) 🙂

  7. Great site, love all the photos & great ideas.

  8. wendy says:

    I’m forever preaching to people in pet shops about their rabbits and why they shouldn’t be buying museli! I’d love to see more ways to stimulate bunnies as I worry about mine getting bored.

  9. Vanessa says:

    Hello! I’m enjoying your blog very much!! I hope you don’t mind if I tell you our story & ask for some advice:

    We are new bunny owners. Noche is about a year and half, and has been a box-trained house rabbit, good with people & great with dogs & cats (at least great with the cat & dog from his last home & great with our dog & cat, who are also very good to him. His previous family gave him to us because they didn’t have time for him & he was in his hutch in their garage most of the time.

    Four days ago, Noche came to live with us. The first three nights he slept with my daughter, in her bed. Because it is now getting warm where we live, each morning, we took him out to the garden for the day where he hung out with dog, cat, kids, me…… just exploring and nibbling the grass/dandelions/hay/ pellets, etc.

    Each night, except for last night, it took me about 30 minutes to catch him to bring him in. Last night, I was very tired & gave up. I left mounds of hay and cedar in a little cave-like area he likes to snuggle in under a rock. He can’t get out of the yard because it is stone all around with a wall too high for him to jump & a grassy area with stones & little trees in the middle. My pets keep other cats away. Noche seems quite safe.

    We’d love to have him in with us at night, but he doesn’t really want to come in (maybe because he doesn’t know us well enough yet?) Just having him live free in the yard (with warm, protected areas he can go to, like his little cave for example) seems so easy …. Too easy!

    Are we being negligent? Is there anything wrong with having Noche live freely outside in the garden until the winter & bring him in then?

    Thanks much!

    • Tamsin says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      I’m not sure where in the world you are, but you’d need to think about local predators. For example here we have foxes (which can easily clear a 6′ wall), stoats, birds of prey etc. I wouldn’t 100% guarantee your pets would keep animals like this away, they have to sleep sometimes and I imagine spend time inside with you too.

      The other potential issue is Noche escaping, the wall would need to be around 4-5′ to stop a rabbit jumping and they will use other things to make it easier eg something against the wall. They can also dig so it depends how deep the foundations are.

      I think you’ll also find living freerange all summer he’ll settle less well in winter as that’s a big change and may not be as people friendly as he’ll have less contact.

      My suggestion would be to try and get into a routine so that he comes in for dinner (rabbits really like their food) that way you don’t have to chase him – he’ll be waiting at the door. So although he always has hay available, only give him the tastiest things eg pellets when he comes in. Rattling the pellets then feeding him one when he comes to investigate will help him learn to come. You might need to limit his access eg use a pen until he’s got into the routine but once you’ve got it set rabbits are very good at following them and telling the time.

      Good luck!

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