New Bunny Family Member

Congratulations! You’ve brought home a new furry, bunny family member. Now what? 
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1. Be Patient and Kind

Be patient and kind with your new bunny family member! They are adjusting to being a part of your life as much as you are. Bunnies are prey animals, which means that they are constantly on alert and need to be hyperaware of their surroundings and any changes in their environment. As a result, any new location, toy, human, etc. will need thorough investigation and time to feel comfortable around.

There is an important rule of thumb in rescue: the Rule of 3. Generally, it takes a rescue animal the following amount of time to reach these emotionally milestones:
3 Days to feel like they are not going to get eaten or die.
3 Weeks to feel like this might, maybe, possibly be a new home.
3 Months to feel at home, safe, and loved.

Bunnies also pick up on energy. If you’re feeling stressed, they will immediately sense that and be on alert. Bunnies are hardwired to be in tune with their surroundings, so they will be highly aware of your emotions as well. Your new bunny family member will also be aware of all the sounds in your home, so they will need time to acclimate to their new environment and learn that they are safe and loved.

2. Bunnies are Curious and Chew

Bunny proofing your house is a real thing! Once comfortable, bunnies are very curious creatures, and they explore the world primarily with their teeth. As a result, your baseboards, houseplants, and cords will need protection! Some bunny parents get lucky, and their bunny has no interest in chewing, but that unfortunately is not the norm. To safeguard your cords, plants, baseboards, couches, etc., you can use exercise pens, cord covers, baby gates, and “cube organizers” to block off access. It’s important that as you let your bunny explore more of your home, that you supervise them so that 1) they don’t accidentally chew your favorite furniture/cord/etc. and 2) they don’t get hurt (i.e., electrocuted). Rabbits’ teeth are constantly growing so they need safe things to chew on like organic apple branches and willow sticks.

Additionally, ensure that you do not have any plants that are toxic to rabbits! A list of poisonous plants can be found at the following link: Poisonous Plants

3. The Glorious Binky

Congratulations! You’ve witnessed pure joy and elation in your bunny! The grand binky! A binky is when your bunny feels so safe and content that they zoom around your home and leap into the air and contort their bodies. As a bunny parent, nothing is more rewarding than seeing your bun do zoomies and binkies.

4. Honorary Poop Monitor

With your new bunny family member, you are now awarded the honorary title of poop monitor for your new rabbit! Monitoring bunny poop is vital to their health and well-being; the “healthiness” of a bunny’s poop is an indication of their gut health. Luckily, most bunny poop is dry balls, which can be easily swept, vacuumed, or simply picked up with bare hands (bunny poop is not like cat or dog poop). When you look in the litterbox and see lots of poops that are large and dry, this indicates that you have a healthy bunny.

If you happen to see a pile of poop that looks like a cluster of very small, moist grapes, you’ve found a cecotrope! Cecotropes are vital to a bunny’s gut health, and bunnies typically eat the cecotropes without you ever seeing it. Cecotropes are very important to maintaining the bunny’s gut health, so if you find a cecotrope, you can leave it alone and hopefully your bunny will find its way back to it. Below is a link to more information about rabbit poop.

If you see an overproduction of uneaten cecotropes, this is a sign the flora in bunny’s tummy is out of balance. Try reducing pellets and increasing timothy hay; you can also add a probiotic like Benebac. If it doesn’t clear up or if there is a strong odor, a trip to your veterinarian is warranted. The Mystery of Rabbit Poop

5. Necessary Indoor Rabbit Diet & Supplies

A bunny’s diet is very important, especially to make sure they do not go into gastrointestinal (GI) stasis. The signs of GI stasis are very important as well as treating the symptoms promptly because GI stasis can be fatal.
Bunny Diet

Timothy Hay – timothy hay is the primary hay that is fed to rabbits. Bunnies always need an unlimited source of hay at all times. A healthy bunny’s diet is comprised primarily of hay, and there are other hays that bunnies can have too: orchard, oat, brome, etc. Avoid the use of alfalfa hay because it is very high in calories and protein than what the average house rabbit needs. Different hay types can be purchased online (e.g., Small Pet Select), at pet stores, and at feed stores.

Pellets – bunnies need limited timothy hay pellets in addition to hay. FUR recommends Sherwood Pet Health’s timothy hay pellets. Bunnies should not be fed pellet blends where there are dried fruits and seeds in them; this is the equivalent of feeding them junk food as there isn’t enough nutritional value in these products.

Fresh Greens – bunnies need daily, fresh leafy greens. A complete list of acceptable vegetables and fruits for bunnies can be found on FUR’s website as well as on House Rabbit Society; links have been provided below for reference. Diet for Rabbits  and  Suggested Vegetables and Fruits

Water – bunnies also need unlimited water at all times. We recommend using a water bowl in addition to a hanging water bottle because some rabbits have different preferences.

There are several supplies that FUR recommends an indoor bunny has for its rabbitat. FUR’s fosters use these supplies and this is the type of setup that FUR’s bunnies are accustomed to.

Bunny Supplies

Exercise Pen – this is the primary housing for the bunny and their “home base.” Exercise pens can be purchased online as well as at pet stores.

Litterbox – bunnies are very smart and can be litterbox trained; they even enjoy eating hay while using the litterbox simultaneously! Who knew bunnies were such good multitaskers? All of FUR’s bunnies are litterbox trained at the foster’s home. Litterboxes can be purchased online and at pet stores.

Litter – there is a wide variety of litter available for bunnies and we recommend the ones that are low-dust products and do not have additives, dyes, and irritants. We recommend pelleted bedding (e.g., Small Pet Select Pine Pellet Small Animal Bedding) or paper bedding (e.g., CareFresh Small Pet Bedding or Small Pet Select Soft Paper Bedding).

Hay Rack – hay racks are optional, but they are handy to put near the bunny’s litterbox to provide them with more hay. Sometimes bunnies accidentally pee on the hay in the litterbox, and a hay rack always provides a fresh, unsoiled supply of hay.

Hidey Homes – since bunnies are prey animals, they like to be able to hide, which we lovingly refer to as “hidey homes.” The basic requirements for a hidey home are that there is an entrance, an exit, and a place where the bunny can be out of sight. A hidey home can be made out of a cardboard box, a plastic tunnel, etc. When creating a hidey home from a cardboard box, be sure to remove any tape, stickers, or staples so the bunny doesn’t accidentally ingest or hurt themselves.

Toys – as with all things, you can spend a ton of money on toys for your new furry family member. Bunnies love to chew, so we like to provide them with cardboard (e.g., toilet paper rolls, cardboard hidey homes, etc.) and other bunny-safe chew toys (e.g., organic willow branches). Bunnies also enjoy hard-plastic baby toys (e.g., baby plastic keys, plastic stacking cups, etc.); they like tossing them around and making noise!

Food Bowl – bunnies need to eat pellets as well as hay and veggies.

Water Bowl & Bottle – some bunnies prefer to drink out of a hanging water bottle while other bunnies prefer drinking out of a bowl. We recommend you provide them with both.

6. Online Resources
There is a wealth of knowledge and videos about bunnies on the House Rabbit Society and FUR’s website. The more comfortable you feel with your bunny friend, the more they’ll feel safe and loved too.


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