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Hutches.

Hello everyone.. (Or anyone! LJ is so quiet these days!)

Long story short I moved into my very own place 18 months ago & have been desperate to get some bunnies for at least 10 years (!) - I have 2 months off work coming up & am pretty settled where I am now, so think the time is right to get a couple of bunny housemates.

I have a few questions & have done a lot of googling & reading, but I'm finding some parts still confusing, so I've come to ask people who have been there & done it!

1) I definitely want to get two - I'm normally at work 6-11pm, so have my daytimes free but would rather have two to play together than one on it's own. Any thoughts on what's the easiest combination.. boy/boy, girl/girl, boy/girl, littermates? I'd be getting them both neutered. Also, breeds? Currently leaning towards getting two dwarf buns, any thoughts?

2) HUTCHES! I've been looking online & just getting more & more confused. What are the minimum measurements I should be looking for? A lot of them are listed as being suitable for rabbits & when I look at the measurements they're absolutely tiny. Going through amazon is throwing up a lot of hutches but the reviews aren't amazing. They would be outdoor bunnies during the summer & have the run of a large shed in the winter time. My garden is concrete with gravel and decking.. Will they be OK with grass grown in a tray for them & containers of soil to dig in? It's a sheltered city garden, with a couple of neighbourhood cats/urban foxes.. Is it even suitable for me to have bunnies?

Thankyou in advance!

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
arwen_17
Mar. 24th, 2015 10:44 pm (UTC)
1) You would most likely want a boy/girl pair. Look at shelters for already-bonded pairs; WAY EASIER than trying to bond them yourself. From experience, it doesn't always work- no matter how positive the signs. If you haven't yet, do some research on rabbit bonding.

2) My rabbits also live outdoors. I have them in a hutch raised about 3 feet off the ground to avoid predators. Make sure they have hidey-boxes to go in if scared, and plenty of soft padding to sit on. Mine have a plywood floor and a 3" base of straw.

My rabbits come in the house above 85F, and in the garage below 10F. If you plan on giving them the run of a shed, don't make them sit on ice concrete all winter if winter is cold where you are.

Also, be sure to do your research on where there are rabbit-savvy vets in your area. Bunspace and the House Rabbit Society are good resources. Get to know your chosen vet through regular checkups, so you can determine if he or she really knows rabbits and also so when an emergency arises (it most likely will) you can know how they operate.

In addition to grown grass, the rabbits will need hay. Do your research in your area on where it is available, or if you need to order online.

Most of all, get to know your chosen rabbits. You will know how to meet their needs as you spend time with them. Good luck! :)
arwen_17
Mar. 24th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
Also: I am fully convinced that all rabbits have the same size personality in different sized bodies- dwarfs can often be feisty! I have a 3-lb and 7-lb pair- my bigger one is definitely sweeter. Just get familiar with the rabbits you plan to adopt. Each bun is different!
__girlonthemoon
Mar. 26th, 2015 07:58 pm (UTC)
Ahh, amazing thankyou! I've been so busy thinking about where I'm going to keep them & if I can look after them properly that I hadn't even begun to think about where I'd actually get them from. I'll keep an ear out for local shelters, I think I just assumed living in North London there wouldn't be one around.

Luckily our winters aren't too bad & my garden is pretty sheltered, so hopefully they'd be ok! Thankyou for you help!
beccypoo
Mar. 25th, 2015 12:33 am (UTC)
1) I had two female spayed Netherland dwarves. I got one a few years before the other and they bonded well. But I have heard that male/female works best but be sure you get them spayed/neutered first! As for breeds I would also have to say - Netherlands have got a lot of attitude in a little bunny! I still have the first bunny, and she's going to be 14 years old this summer! Going for the record with this one haha.

2) my bunnies lived in a hutch year round (in canada) for a majority of their lives. We built our own, which I highly recommend since as you said yourself, one you buy are often way too small. You could also look into chicken coops maybe? Our setup was about 3 feet off the ground, with the top being divided in half with two doors. One side was their hideout and warm spot in the winter. I would stuff it with hay and had a heat lamp in the winter. The other side had a screened door and was for food, water and litter box. Then we also had a ramp that gave access to the ground underneath the hutch which was like a play area that was also enclosed. Just be sure the ramp isn't too steep (which we made the mistake of, meant a lot of broken bunny nails :( ). The bottom also had a door that pulled off to allow the bunnies to have free roam of the yarrd and still have access to their hutch for food and safety.
banshea
Mar. 25th, 2015 04:24 am (UTC)
Generally, I would say that bunnies are healthier kept indoors. They can pick up diseases from wild animals that come to investigate your yard. They also get more exposure to people when kept inside, and so they're more personable.

Please do go through a rescue (or at least an animal shelter, you'd be surprised how often rabbits end up there) if you possibly can. They'll usually save you some time and money by having their adoptable rabbits neutered already. Just be aware that a lot of rescues require that their rabbits be kept indoors after adoption.

Commercial hutches are pretty much terrible. You're pretty much going to have to build your own no matter where you keep them if you want something that suits your needs and your bunnies'. My indoor bunny's cage is built out of "Neat Idea Cubes", otherwise known as modular wire bookshelves that I've ziptied together. Outdoors will require something sturdier. You'll need to research the safety of any woods you use -- a lot of commercial hutches are made out of cedar, which sounds like a great idea until you realize that cedar is pretty toxic! (Never believe that just because a store sells something marketed for your pet, that it wouldn't be actively harmful to use!!)

I don't have any particular recommendations on breeds. I've got a dutch girl who is frighteningly smart and also a royal snob. She made it clear that she should be an only bunny and doesn't seem too bothered by lack of four-footed company. I've been told that these are common traits for dutch females, but I've also known dutch bunnies who were very sociable with other rabbits, so your mileage may vary. I don't think that rabbit breeds have quite the same variance in personality traits that, for example, dog breeds do. They've mostly been bred for looks, not behavior, so the distinctions aren't as strong as they could be.
__girlonthemoon
Mar. 26th, 2015 08:27 pm (UTC)
Ideally I'd love to keep them as housebunnies, but unfortunately I live in a tiny one room studio flat & don't know whether I could make it safe for them or give them enough space? I'm still asking myself a lot of questions as I'm paranoid about committing to some rabbits & then just not looking after them properly!

The more reviews & hutches I look at online the more I think I'm going to end up making or modifying something. Also I've been so busy thinking about where I'm going to keep them & if I can look after them properly that I hadn't even begun to think about where I'd actually get them from. I'll keep an ear out for local shelters, I think I just assumed living in North London there wouldn't be one close by! Thankyou for your help. :)
arwen_17
Mar. 26th, 2015 05:09 am (UTC)
I had an unspayed (before rabbit savvy vets existed in my area) female Dutch that was A CUDDLER! She would literally nap cuddled in with me. She lived to be 8. I miss that sweetie.
banshea
Mar. 27th, 2015 04:41 pm (UTC)
My dutch girl loves PEOPLE, and will snuggle for hours as long as you keep petting her, she just hates other rabbits. We tried to adopt a friend for her. She pretended that everything was fine until we weren't looking, then got him under the couch where we couldn't see and started tearing into him.
arwen_17
Mar. 28th, 2015 04:41 am (UTC)
Sad! Yeah, my current males are half-bonded. Exercise time: will cuddle the CRAP out of each other. In a hutch? They try to kill each other...
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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