Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bunnies Aren't Gifts - They're A Life-Long Commitment

This time of year so many parents give in to the wants and whining of their small children and buy them a bunny for Easter. Or they simply think it’s a terrific idea to do.

I’m begging you – DON’T!

More often than not, the poor defenseless bunny ends up dead or taken to a shelter that is overrun with bunnies from parents who’ve done the same thing as you have. It breaks my heart.

Children need something they can hold and cuddle. Buy them a stuffed bunny instead. Bunnies scratch and bite when feel insecure and threatened. Most do not want to be held, especially by a young child who holds them too tight, or wrong. Most adults don’t know how to hold a bunny, much less pick one up, why would you think a child would know. Never, ever pick them up by the ears or the scruff of the neck. It angers me to think about people doing this. Bunnies have fragile backs and doing this can cause them to break as they twist and turn to get free.

Children become easily bored and parents don’t want to take the time to care properly for them, so they’re often left in some hutch in the backyard or a metal cage with little attention. This is just wrong.

Bunnies have a long life span – 12-15 years, sometimes more when properly cared for.

Bunnies are expensive. They require a vet who has specialized training with bunnies. Vet bills are high and I’m talking for a simple visit for a checkup a minimum of $50. Quadruple this if you are going to have them spayed/neutered. And if the bunny gets sick or injured, plan on paying the same.

And often, the wrong foods are fed to the rabbits. Despite popular belief, iceberg lettuce is not good for them. Never give iceberg lettuce. Their primary food source is free-reign hay, which means they should never be without hay. The Kayee Western Timothy hay is good, but Oxbow brand is better. After the first six or seven months of life, they don’t need alpha pellets – it has too much calcium and can cause the bladder to fill up with sludge and make them sick. Broccoli has way too much calcium as well. Carrots have a lot of water, so give sparingly.

Bunnies, like puppies, love to chew and like you do for your little ones, their play area needs to be bunny-proofed, which is much like childproofing. Bunnies love to chew electrical cords. Hide them, get them off the floor.

Like kids, dogs and yourself, they do get bored. Give them toys to play with. Oatmeal barrels are especially fun for small bunnies. Toilet and paper towel rolls, cardboard boxes with all tape and labels removed. Baby toys – the hard plastic kind like key rings. Yes, bunnies love to play. They will pick them up and toss them. Pet stores have a few safe toys for them, wood chews, carrot shaped toys, they even have bunny keys, hanging toys where you can mix and match different items. Some of the bird toys are safe for bunnies as well.

Bunnies can be litter trained. It’s easier than training a kitten to use the litter box or a puppy to go outside.

You need to be educated before you purchase a bunny.
The best place to learn about House Rabbits is Bookmark it, study it, print out the list of good foods and when in doubt, check the list of poison foods. Never, ever give them chocolate in any form, it can kill them. There is also one other place to gain help and information. -- in this forum, you’ll find forms for any pet you may have or may be thinking about getting. There is one for Rabbits. While I don’t agree with all they say, they do have experience and can lead you to other help.

As for their cages. NO cedar or other treated woods. Untreated pine, untreated pine cat litter is safe. Feline Pine is a kiln dried southern pine completely untreated. NEVER use clay litters, the dust is dangerous to them.

My next post will be of my bunnies and I'll talk about what I’ve learned from raising them.

First Photo: Adam and Natalie are in a Tiger striped play tube for cats. Adam is a Californian and Natalie is an American Sable with the coloring of a Neatherland Dwarf, she's a groomer. And she's cleaning Adams face. Adam is a year old here and Natalie is two. They are now three and four respectably.
Second Photo: Faith is about four months old in this photo. She's now five years old and ten pounds, and she'd probably end up wearing the container instead of running through it.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Fantastic, topical blog, Bekki! Thank you! I never knew that bunnies could live so long. Your bunnies are all lovely!

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks Lindsay. I think so, too.

I was surprised as well at their longevity. I worry they'll out live me, then who will care for them. You know, no one can do it quite like me. *wink*

They are very spoiled. Very fun and they make us laugh like mad at times.

If you've seen the outdoor bunnies chasing each other around - imagine that in my living room with them jumping in the air doing bunny binkies. There's nothing like it.

And then there are quiet moments where Faith comes up here and lays with me for our time together. She loves her body and ears massaged and her jawls rubbed. Natalie coming up and nudging her, trying to get her to chase her doesn't tear her away until she's had her fill.

We've had no regrets.

Lindsay Townsend said...

I'm looking forward to the next buuny post, Bekki.
I guess the whole aspect of animals or pets in romance makes an interesting topic.

Bekki Lynn said...

I think it shows a side of the character some readers will find more attractive than others.

Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, I loved the Bunny education. I've only petted them in the past. They're incredibly soft.
Once, long ago, when I was out walking for exercise on Easter day, there was a patch of overgrown grass next to a nature preserve... in front of me, and I'm so glad I didn't accidently step on it, was a baby adorable wild rabbit. Of course, I stopped and just watched until he/she hopped away, thank goodness toward the wild area, not the road.
Course, we have wild bunnies here. Big Ones!!!

Savanna Kougar said...

Oops, I got so carried away remembering one of bunny encounters, I forgot to say how adorable your bunnies are.

Lindsay Townsend said...

I've had wild bunny encounters, too, Savanna. They are so tiny when they are young! And heart-breakingly trusting.
We have hares, too, and often see one sitting in the middle of a field.
Best Lindsay

Sara Taney Humphreys said...

Very interesting post. I never realized that bunnies could actually be household pets the way a dog or cat would be. I always envisioned them in cages or hutches outside. Cool stuff. Thanks!

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks, Savanna --

Baby bunnies are so adorable. When I do the next post about my bunbuns, I'll post the most adorable photo I've ever seen of bunny.

All three of mine were two months when we brought them home.

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks, Savanna.

There have been times when I've come home from work late at night and there'd be a wild bunny in my front yard. He'll start to run when I open the door - usually, I'll say hi or ask where he's going. He'll stop and watch me even though I'm making all sorts of noise and hauling groceries to the house in two or three trips.

I don't try to figure out why some animals don't mind us and some are afraid. It's just what we're used to. The squirrels are the same way.

Bekki Lynn said...

Hi Sara --

Many still do keep them outside in hutches and wire cages. I can't live with that. What's the use of having them if you aren't going to get to know them and enjoy them.

We're that way with dogs and kennels, too. We have them, but use them rarely.

When we first brought Faith home, being my son's bunbun, she was in his bedroom. I hated knowing she was so limited with social interaction when he was in school and I was home. I moved her to the living room where she could run around.

My husband gave me my first laptop then so I didn't have to constantly check on her while I was working in the den.

She has always been miss socialable. The cutest thing I ever saw was when started recognizing people.

My husband would come home from work and step into the living room and no matter where she was, she went running up to him and would try to climb up his legs. So, then he'd sit down and she'd jump in his lap, sniff him over and lay down. That was there time.

They're our babies, our four-footed children along with the cats and dogs.

Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, they are our babies, often, our pets. I love it because my doggies can be the sweetest kissy lovie babies, but they're also really tough.

Bekki, I know what you mean. Some wild animals are rightly ready to run away from any human. However, I've talked to them -- and sometimes they'll hang around for awhile -- one time it was a large rabbit...

Lindsay, I think the baby bunnies like you.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Hope so, Savanna! I once had a squirrel sit on my foot. It came straight for me, I kept still and it shot across the field, sat on my foot, then whisked off.

MarthaE said...

What a fun and cute blog!! THANKS for sharing good info!!