We are so glad that you decided to choose a bunny to be a part of your life. Bunnies need love and attention on a daily basis. They are very social creatures and will be miserable locked in a cage with no attention or freedom. If you cannot devote time and attention to your new bunny then it is not the right animal to purchase at this time.
I just purchased a new bunny! Now what do I do?
Juvenile/Baby Rabbit Food (7-12 wks) Adult Rabbit Food (12+ wks) Rabbit feeder Pet Water bottle Hay Rack Timothy Hay Wood chew sticks Rabbit Hutch Corner rabbit Litterbox Bedding/Shavings
Where do I buy feed?
We strongly suggest that you purchase the same food that we have your bunny on. Not all feed stores carry the same foods. Taking a rabbit off one feed and directly on another will cause diarrhea and/or death. All bunnies we sell are sent with several days worth of food, which will allow time for you to obtain more of the same food.
We order our feed directly from Sherwood Forest. It is a little pricier per pound then pet store food but it is milled fresh and we can feed our rabbits much less of it which actually works out to be less expensive long term.
They will ship directly to you and shipping is very reasonable.
How much do I feed? We feed our bunnies freely - always food in the feeder however once they reach about 12 weeks we feed them 1/4c each per day. Use your judgment. If they are gobbling it all up and begging for more feed them a little bit more. If there is food left over the next day, feed a little less.
Use treats sparingly and never feed a bunny under 6 months any type of greens or lettuce as they could get sick and die.
Our bunnies love a tiny bit of oatmeal, carrots, strawberry tops, and celery. They also like bits of apple.
We free feed timothy hay at all times and in the winter we supplement with alfalfa for warmth.
If you decide to change feed (we do not recommend) mix equal parts of original feed with old fashioned quaker oats and new feed. Gradually increase new feed and decrease original feed. Withdraw the new feed completely if there is any sign of diarrhea and replace with only oatmeal and timothy hay until stools return to normal. If your bunny gets diarrhea this is VERY SERIOUS and could kill your bunny quickly. Please watch your bunny closely and make sure they have unlimited timothy hay and old fashioned oatmeal. Put pedialyte in their water bottle to help keep them hydrated. Then reintroduce mixed feed very gradually.
Water Make sure that your bunny always has a good supply of water! Make their water fresh every day. Your bunny has been raised using a water bottle and may have a hard time transitioning to a crock. Water bottles will keep their water more clean and fill easily.
Cages/Supplies You will need a cage or hutch for your bunny. As a general rule, make sure your cage is about 4 times larger than the rabbit. We recommend 24” x 24” for a single rabbit but there are cages that are 24” x 36” that can be split for 2 rabbits. Make sure you have some kind of plastic or sisal mat for in the cage for the bunny to rest on if it is all wire. If you don’t, your rabbit could get sores on its feet from standing on the wire too long.
We recommend a cage with a wire/grid floor and a pull out pan below. I am also a large fan of the two story hutches as they have more opportunity to exercise when not played with. They are easy to keep clean. We place sawdust in the pull out pan to help absorb urine. DO NOT USE CEDAR CHIPS. THEY ARE HARMFUL TO YOUR BUNNY! We purchase sawdust at the same feed store that we get our feed and hay. It is cheaper than the pet store.
YOU MUST CLEAN YOUR BUNNY CAGE ONCE A WEEK.
Urine gives off ammonia and is toxic to your bunny to breathe. Sanitize the pan with white vinegar, vanodine or other pet safe cage cleaners such as Nature's Miracle. I personally recommend cleaning it daily so that nothing has an opportunity to build up.
We currently have done away
with the use of hutches and have built extra large runs inside our barn. We
place hay on the floor and places to hide in. All of our does live together and
bucks have their own separate spaces. This allows for larger space and
consistent exercise which allows rabbits to be as nature intended. From our
experience we have found that by raising our rabbits this way they are
friendlier, healthier, and much a happier then when they were in hutches. I
highly recommend doing some research on the topic to see if it is right for
Ideal Weight A Holland Lop bunny’s weight should ideally be between 2 and 4 lbs. If your rabbit is less than this after the age of 6 months, you may need to seek a veterinarian to assess the health of your bunny. If your rabbit is over 4.5 lbs. you need to cut back on pellet food per day, and slow down on the treats.
Grooming Tips Buy a slicker brush or comb for your bunny and groom often. Rabbits moult and this causes mats of fur that need to be removed. These mats are very uncomfortable for your bunny and can lead to sores. Also trim their nails about once a month or more if necessary. They can get long and caught in the wire. I use baby nail clippers or small dog clippers to do it.
Toys Bunnies love to play! We give our bunnies wood toys and bells that hang from the top of the cage (bird toys). Make sure they are wood/rope and not treats. Bunnies love plastic play balls and baby plastic key chains. They also love a block of wood to chew on. Another favorite is a willow ball with a nut in it. For less expensive options, take an empty toilet paper roll and fill it with hay. Make sure that items you put in the cage are not toxic to your bunny.
Exercise Bunnies love to run too! We let our bunnies exercise every day by running in a pen in the back yard. Great care must be taken to make sure they are not in the direct sun and have plenty of water! Your bunny can very easily overheat and get heat stroke. ½ hr to 1 hour of play in the yard is great! Make sure you supervise your bunny at all times as other animals can enter the yard and potentially harm your bunny.
Litter Box Training You can train your bunny to live indoors and be litter box trained. Research on the internet will be your best advice on how to train. We recommend starting with a younger rabbit for the training. All of our rabbits are litterbox trained and we start training the bunnies at 3 weeks. It makes cage cleanup much easier.
Indoor/Outdoor Living It is always best if you can house your bunny inside. Outside hutches are good too but protection must be given for your bunny. If you house the bunny outside, make sure your hutch has a box attached that your bunny can seek shelter in. Normal temperature ranges for rabbits are no less than 40 degrees and no more than 80 degrees. Make sure they are protected from other animals such as dogs, cats, foxes and coyotes.
Our bunnies are housed outside but in a barn where they are protected from weather and can also be heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.
Rabbits don't do well with heat. In the hot days of summer we give ours 2 liter soda bottles refilled and frozen to lay against. Even our chickens love cooling on them!
Care for your new bunny/adjusting to a new home
For the first few days with your new bunny, keep it low key and not stressful so your bunny has time to adjust. We recommend not holding the bunny more than a couple of times a day for the first few days. Do not hold and play with your new bunny more than 30 minutes at one time. Never leave your bunny unattended with children or other animals as they are fragile and disaster can happen quickly. We also recommend that little children hold the bunny on the ground and not carry them around because one accidental drop could really injure your bunny.
Always keep in mind that the advice and recommendations that we give you are from our own personal experience and not the same advice a veterinarian or others may give you. As we are not veterinarians, any medical advice given is not intended to be a substitution for proper veterinary care.