My youngest daughter is a true animal lover. She is constantly trying to talk us into getting her a horse. But when faced with the fact that we live in a beachside community with very little land to spare she backs down, a little. The pleas for a horse become pleas for a dog. When faced with the reality of a fenceless yard and a very busy street close by, she backs down. All the way down to the bunny that became her Christmas present. It had to be a bunny because we already have fish, hamsters and two cats.
The bunny Christmas present came with the tearful promise that if we “just got her a bunny she would never ask for another pet again.” Yeah, right! While considering this offer I did some research. I talked to some other parents with bunny pets, surfed the net, talked to the pet store workers and checked out some library books. As any parent knows when buying a pet for your child you are really buying a pet for yourself. It didn’t take me long to realize that a bunny is a long term commitment since most rabbits live for about ten years!
I found out that rabbits are happiest if they can live inside your house with you, as part of your family. Rabbits are not happy in an outdoor hutch, and most cages are too small for them. Rabbits must have plenty of room to run around. Fortunately, we have an upstairs deck filled with fresh growing herbs where the little guy likes to exercise and wreak havoc on my garden. I’ve learned to lift any herbs I don’t want him to munch on way up high. I heard; more than once that some rabbits even live free in the house. I didn’t consider this as an option for us. Cleaning up after the kids is enough work. But we found a nice alternative. We used some natural wood shelves that were already in my daughter’s room and added some doors, two stairs and some wire mesh like chicken wire. We added food bowls, a water bottle, hay, a litter box and some toys. We left one corner of the shelves enclosed because bunnies need something to hide and rest in. You could also use a bunny tent or cardboard box. We had enough chicken wire left over to make a circular playpen so the kids can take the bunny with them when they play outside.
If you do decide to let your bunny run free in the house, you will need to take a few precautions; all cords must be covered or out of reach, you should remove all poisonous plants, there should be no animals or children that can harm them and no way to get out. Some bunnies live in a single rabbit proofed room, and some live in an exercise pen and are let out for exercise. One of the families I talked to used a puppy type exercise pen as their bunny’s bedroom or home base instead of a cage. The pen gives the bunny plenty of room to stretch out and leaves enough room for all his bunny necessities.
Now that we have bunny all comfortable in his new home we just have to figure out what to do with him!