Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adopting a Bun

Adopting a house rabbit is an important decision for both the bun and the human. I've seen a lot of questions on several house rabbit groups and they seem to cluster around three care areas: diet, 'pooping' aka litter box training and play. There are also questions about bonding but I'll save for another post.

Diet: hay, hay, hay! The best all around hay is western Timothy, in our family it's Oxbow. Treat hay can be oat, botanical and other grasses. Since our bun is full grown alfalfa is rare to none. Next comes the veggies. Green leafy lettuce (not iceberg because there's not enough bun nutrients). Our bun prefers Romaine even when droughts and storms raise the price to $2.49 :( Parsley and Cilantro are the treats added to the lettuce and in the morning it is lettuce and carrot tops with about 1/3 actual carrot. Contrary to popular belief carrots are not the main meal. Suppertime her greens get about a quarter to half dollar size slice apple.
And Polka weighs about 3.5 pounds so her pellets (Bunny Basics T- again Oxbow)are about 1/4 cup in the morning and again at night. Water like hay is to be available at all times.

Litter box training: Actually I refer you to the pages of the House Rabbit Society- they are experts. Our bun experience since each bun has been a shelter rescue and neutered/spayed is that they are already good with the litter box. Our current bun though does make a point of keeping her boundaries well marked with a 'poopy trail' around the pan and her sleeping area. Everytime I sweep up she puts up another fence. But they are dry, don't smell and apparently a stray poop is important to her. She rarely if every soils when out playing around the downstairs and when the urge ensues she heads back to her pan.

For the litter in the pan- we use old newspaper, line the pan and then shred into strips, pile in the timothy hay- humans like to read and poop; buns like to eat hay and poop- go figure! We get the newspapers donated by neighbors and a local store who would otherwise have to pay to have their unsold papers returned- a great saving over those pet store products.

Play: Buns are very social, even the grumpy ones. It is important for your bun to learn house manners (well humans learn how to keep a bun save in the house) and have time out supervised with family. The most important is to protect wires, and there's a variety of tubes one can get in the housegoods store- and unplug what you don't need while bun is out.Toys are individual preferances. Our lady scoffs at any toy, she'll toss a papertowel tube every now and then and scoot my clogs across the room, but her best toy is the hound--- another story, another post. I swear given the opportunity she'd be a worthy chess oponent. Keep in mind bunny's do get bored so some colorful play items, which can even be as simple as tied rags, are important; and the savvy human changes the toybox every now and then for variety.

These are the basics and for 2010 I will be more attentive to posting and we can explore living with buns in more detail.

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