Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bunny Blog : House Training - Our First Few Days with Roxanne

So I decided that life is too hard without a rabbit :P.. and seeing all the little cute rabbits my rabbit friends post on facebook doesn't make it easier - how dare you! :) Plus it is Year of the Rabbit and my lucky number 11 year so I think that's a good reason :)

Photo: Coming home in the car in a pink polka dot pet carrier bag :)

After giving up breeding and rehoming my bunnies with another good bunny breeder friend. I moved ( a couple of times ) and into apartments which usually means no pets! grrrrrr :( but I have started house training rabbits before so why not again, this time no doggies to interfere!

These 'Bunny Blogs' will contain information showing how we are house training our new bunny Roxanne the miniature lop :) 

A great house rabbit website to check out is : The House Rabbit Society

Photo: Roxanne as a little tiny kit :)

Reasons why rabbits make good house pets:
  • They can be litter trained with newspaper type litter like cats (if not better)
  • You can contain their mess in a small cage in one area
  • They don't smell as bad as indoors cats or dogs (as long as you clean it regularly of course!)
  • They don't make any noise unless in pain which shouldn't happen if looked after properly
  • Small upkeep (excluding any vet bills, but hopefully that won't happen with proper bunny care)
  • Less likely to catch disease being kept indoors 
  • Get lots of exercise & more regularly than most rabbits who are kept in cages
  • Can be trained to use a rabbit lead (so maybe a couple of walks onto the grass is in order)
  • They can also be trained to do tricks :) that I'm just waiting to see haha

Video: Rabbit Tricks (youtube)

Things to Remember

You just have to make sure to bunny proof your home by not letting it bite on any cords which could be fatal or small objects and pieces that could block its tiny digestive tract. 

I recommend not letting the rabbit roam unattended while you are out and confine to one safe room or a playpen or cage.

Short haired varieties don't need much grooming but they will need their nails clipped more regularly living indoors. Its recommended to get the calici virus vaccine, and a great shame the myomatosis vaccine still isn't available in Australia. I will share more about preventing flea and lice in my upcoming health care sheets. :)

Rabbits like to chew through things so they will need some wooden chew toys or safe branches like apple branches to help keep their teethy pegs down and keep them entertained. I'm going to start making my own safe wooden rabbit toys using food grade dyes (keep posted!). Some wooden big bird toys are also suitable for bunnies. 

Photo: Wooden chew toy with sisal rope and food grade dyes

 Photo: Apple branches

I suggest buying a bunny from a breeder that has been well handled as a young kit. You really want a house bunny that isn't going to dart and run away from you every time you come near it. Ask to hold and play with rabbits before making a purchase.

Photo: We bought so far a safe sisal rope rattle toy carrot and her lead for when she is older.

And just because your bunny is indoors doesn't mean it should miss out on hay! Oaten and wheaten are the best for bunnies. There are many ways to help contain mess whether you keep it in the rack in the cage or buy a grass basket (see pic) or other ideas and nifty ways that I will show throughout my blogs. I will also post a list of safe and toxic foods for bunnies..

Photo: grass basket :)
Photo: cool hay rack I saw this in the pet shops the other day :)

This has all been written off the top of my head but I have much more detailed information to share about house training and bunny care and health! Which I will share when I copy files from my old bunny breeding website. :)

 Photo: Oaten Hay 2.2 kg bag about $14 from pet barn - finally they are selling oaten hay in small quantities! 
I don't recommend lucern for rabbits.

I will be posting some care sheets I wrote when I was breeding in upcoming blogs so keep reading :)

Photo: drinking bottle - keeps water clean

Photo: Breeders choice cat litter (newspaper pellets) and a litter tray lined with newspaper. Best type for stopping smell. Natty Catty litter is OK but they like to eat it as it is made from lucern and the smell is very grassy and strong I found but smelt nice for going to shows for short period of time and is organic so makes good fertiliser but I probably wouldn't want them eating too much of it as too much lucern isn't good for rabbits.
Start with adding some of the oaten hay to the litter, it seems familiar to go there if have come from a breeder who doesn't use kitty litter :) Don't use clumping, clay or crystal varieties. Pine shavings are also not recommended as it can cause liver disease

Photo: Cage preparation: covered the wire door with a face washer to make a ramp out of the cage, wire isn't good to walk on :) Moved the litter tray to the hay rack so it can catch falling hay they seem to also like to poop when they eat hay! lol This cage is way too small to live in permanently but while she is little we need to confine the space whilst teaching her to toilet train before allowed to use rest of the house for exercise and entertainment. The cage keeps the food/hay/water bottle droplets and litter in one area, which is easier to clean. :)

VIDEO: nom nom nom I love oaten hay :)

Photo: Roxanne testing out her cage - feeding and litter area :) Starting off area for training is in the laundry. It's nice and cool on the tiles.

VIDEO - Exploring the laundry for the very first time. You mean I don't have to stay in my cage? lol Not too exciting, but gotta work in baby steps for baby bunnies. You'll prob find that your bunny rubs it's chin on everything to mark its scent after moving into it's new home.

Photo: Well Done Roxanne! After one day and she is using the litter tray pretty well ! OK sooo a few escapees in the 'cage' but big whoop! haha good start! :) You probably wondering why I posted a pic of rabbit crap ! haha

Photo: Roxanne testing out the bed Isaac made for her :) its a bed roxanne not a litter tray.. maybe need to minimise the boxes at start to stop confusion :)

Photo: First little run around the unit she loved bolting down the hallway!

VIDEO: First Run around the place! Slowly going to introduce her to rest of house , but first must get litter training in order!

Photo: Hanging with Isaac for a bit, got to get her used to everyone, she loves licking him which is cute and a sign of affection :)

Photo: Naww :)

VIDEO: I really love this cushion!!! haha you lick it because you like it :P Just no biting! :)

Stay tuned for more training and bunny care information.
Kirky, Isaac and Roxanne xx

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