Sunday, 24 March 2013 21:41

Easter Bunny—New Member of Our Family!

We made a trip to our local Agway store and, as we suspected, they had several baby bunnies for sale, along with fresh-hatched chicks and ducks. Thank heaven that Darlene, the lady working during our visit, knew a good bit about bunnies. She was able to quickly gather the essentials we needed to take our new family member home, before our 2 year-old harmed any of the little chicks that she insisted on picking up by their necks! I was glad to get out of there!

So with supplies in hand, and our furry little friend in a box, we headed for home. We made a quick stop at the local Giant Eagle for cat litter, since our new friend will be a house pet.

Since this was my first experience with a bunny, I decided to consult my wise friend, the internet, for some advice. I learned a lot from the sites I visited and it made the whole process much easier for us. We especially wanted to learn about litter training, since that would be the key to keeping our new friend indoors! I'll share these helpful links with you later in the article.

If you're thinking of purchasing a bunny of your own, here is a list of essential items you will need to get started. Are you wondering about cost? The bunny was cheap, just $6.50. However, all the "stuff" we needed to go along with it added up to about $75.00. These amounts can vary depending on the type of bunny you want (pure bred, or mix) and the "accessories" you choose.

Essential Items:

Cage—There are lots of styles and sizes to choose from. We chose a 2' x 2' wire cage. Make sure there is ample room for all the items that must be in there plus room for bunny to play!
Water bowl—I recommend a heavy ceramic dish that will be heavy enough not to tip over when bunny decides to stand on the side!
Food bowl—Same recommendation as above.
Food—Special pellets just for bunnies. Ask your bunny salesman for recommendations. TIP: I always thought we could feed her scraps of cabbage, carrots, know, all the things that "Peter Rabbit" liked! I was quickly cautioned against this. It seems that too much of these good things will cause diarrhea! I've not personally witnessed this as yet, but I'm taking her word for it. These items should only be given in small amounts as "treats" every now and then.
Litter pan—Any plastic pan will do. I purchased a corner pan from Petco, which fits nicely in the corner of her cage and doesn't take up much space. The back sides are higher than the front so bunny can get in and out without much effort.
Salt/Mineral wheel—This little wheel hangs on the side of the cage for bunny to lick. You can get them in different flavors too!
Chew toys—Hard wood or plastic items for bunny to chew on so that her teeth don't get too long. This will save your furniture!
Plastic Tray—If your cage doesn't come with a removable tray, you'll want to purchase one to put underneath the cage for catching droppings that fall outside the litter pan. We purchased a large plastic tray from Lowes that was actually made for under a washing machine. It works! It's probably worth spending a little extra to purchase a cage that comes with a tray already. Purchasing the items separately doesn't save much and the tray won't be the exact size.
Litter—Here's another bit of advice: Don't buy regular cat litter from the grocery store. If you must, make sure that it is NON-clumping! I didn't learn about this until AFTER we'd already purchased a BIG container of "fast-clumping" cat litter! The reason? Bunnies tend to "nibble" at the litter, and it may "clump" in their digestive system! Not good. CareFresh Pet Bedding is highly recommended. It's made from short fiber pulp that cannot be used in paper-making. It is 100% safe and can be used for both bedding and litter. Very absorbent with superb odor control. I use it now and it works great!

That about does it for the essentials. There are plenty of "extras" that you can get too!

You'll want to make sure bunny has plenty of challenging activities and toys for mental stimulation so that he/she doesn't get bored! Boredom can lead to depression and/or excessive destruction.

It's important to realize that your bunny's behavior is usually motivated by one of three things:

1. A natural need and inclination to chew and dig.
2. A need to communicate in non-verbal ways.
3. The social structure as seen by rabbits, which all members of the family relate to them by way of "pecking order."

These three basics of rabbit behavior are the motivation behind their actions. I highly recommend visiting the following web sites and reading the articles to learn more detailed information about your new friend. I found them all extremely helpful!


So, if you've thought about adding a furry new member to your familyScience Articles, go for it! Your kids will love it and this will definitely be one Easter they won't forget!