First rabbit!

Cataria

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A few days ago I got my first rabbit. This is Rune, he's 3/4 Flemish Giant, 1/4 Satin, 8 weeks old, and 2.7 lbs.

rune1.JPG


Honestly, it was a crazy decision to bring a rabbit into my house, I won't lie. I have 11 cats -- all indoors, spayed/neutered, see the vet regularly, etc, the youngest ones are about six years old. But after weeks of debating... I just really wanted to try. Outside of volunteering with a wildlife rescue (which is not the same thing as a house rabbit at all), I don't have personal experience with rabbits, but I want to learn, and I feel pretty confident I can provide for a rabbit both financially and space-wise, even if the worst would happen and I have to keep him 100% segregated from the cats. I was able to build a nice big rabbit cage in one of the spare bedrooms, with the hope that I can eventually free-roam him in that bedroom. Here's his cage! It's 4ft by 6ft and 4 ft tall.

rabbitcage.jpg


Again, I am very new to rabbits but I've been doing a lot of research, so I really hope it goes well. He came home a few days ago, and I'm not going to lie, I was fully expecting a terrified ball of fluff that I would have to spent weeks socializing, similar to some of the ex-feral cats I have taken in/rehomed. The farm I got him from said they didn't handle the babies much (understood, I believe they are primarily a meat farm) and everything I read made rabbits sound like timid, fearful creatures. I was afraid to touch him at first because I thought he might have a heart attack and die or something.

But what a shock! Rune is completely fearless. He took to me immediately, and he's been friendly with every person he's met. In just the short time I have had him he already runs up to greet me, licks my hands, jumps into my lap, it's crazy. He flops, does binkies around the room -- none of this is anything I expected within the first week, but maybe this is normal for baby bunnies?

I wanted to introduce him to the cats, and originally I was planning on waiting several weeks to do to not stress him out. But things have been going so well, I started off by letting a cat in to sniff him in his cage. This is Shade:

shaderune.JPG


I was hopeful my cats would take well to him. About half of my cats are afraid of human strangers, but they all were pretty quick to accept new cats into the house, and I've never seen them to be particularly aggressive to prey animals. All my cats get along very well (other than Kismet being drama cat when Peridot gets too close to her, but they don't actually fight). Anyway, upon meeting Shade, Rune couldn't care less, just sniffed noses then continued to hop around. So I tried some more; most of my cats have met him through the cage by this point, and they seem to be taking him in stride. I finally let him out to meet a few cats one-on-one, ready to intervene, and in the short period they have met so far, the cats have either a) completely ignored him, b) watched and sniffed him a little, then backed off, or c) been mildly afraid of him and ran away when he approached. Definitely early days, I am going to be careful and not let them unsupervised, but already surprised at how it's going. I also should mention, Rune should turn into a fairly large rabbit, likely as large (or bigger) than my cats. It's quite possible that he will end up the troublemaker in my cat-rabbit relationship, haha.

I'm really happy with Rune, but I do know rabbits undergo a personality change at 3-6 months. I'm not too worried about him becoming destructive (I have already accepted the worst case scenario of his behavior), but I hope he stays as sweet and fearless as he is now -- however, I understand things can change and it is what it is. I do have plans to get him neutered when it is time.

For anyone else with rabbits, I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences with that, and also how well your cats are with your rabbits and how much you think they can be trusted.

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LTS3

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Kieka Kieka has rabbits. I'm sure she'll provide tips and point you to some good resources online for general care.

You'll need to find a vet who treats rabbits as many dog/cat vets do not. This web site can help you find one: https://aemv.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=5188

I'm not sure how updated this rabbit vet list is: Rabbit Vets Near Me

That's a huge cage! Did you make it yourself or was it a kit that you bought?
 
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Cataria

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I do have a vet lined up! About an hour away, but they do treat exotics and said they had two rabbit veterinarians on staff. They are actually the same vet used by the wildlife rescue I volunteered at.

Built it myself! I used a dog pen, C&C grids, a copious number of zip ties, as well as a table, some wood to support the middle shelf, and some foam tiles + vinyl. I got a lot of tips and ideas on how to improve on the cage from a rabbit forum I joined. Picture is of the final result. Definitely a fun little project.
 

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Welcome to rabbit wrangling! 🐰 Sounds pretty normal for a 8 week old rabbit. Rabbits are very self assured and confident from a young age. They are prey, so they do startle, but they are also very secure in who and what they are.
  • Cats and rabbits, depends on the animals in question. My current ground has an extremely prey aggressive cat so the rabbits stay apart. However, the separation is for both sides safety as rabbits can do some serious damage if they want to. Rabbits can also be extremely territorial so I've also had rabbits who terrorize the cats every chamce they get.That said, I've had rabbits and cats in the past who peacefully coexist without any problems.
  • Food, looking at the food bowl I would recommend reducing pellets or ensuring you measure it looks a little full to me but it could be the angle. My two 9 month olds get about 1/4 cup of pellets a day, I top their bowl off with forage, herb blends and dried products for a blanaced diet. I rotate seasonally right now they are getting dried apple leaves, dried cilantro, burdock roots, dandelion roots, rose hips, a shed popper from a specialty store and goji berries to top their pellets. They see pellets as a treat, not their regular food. Remember to offer plenty of hay because hay should be their main food. At this age, alfafa and Timothy are good choices but you can add in others. This young, variety in hay, a varietyof leafy greens (start with one and slowly add in others) and ensuring you don't give any treats is best. I know it's hard to not give treats but the fewer treats you give between now and 6 months the better. You'll end up with a bun like mine who will take hay over a fresh berry any day which is honestly better for them. I order from this site frequently for great herb mixes, dried goods and treats. Each item on the page includes a description of its benefits The Well Kept Rabbit
  • Learn what is safe in your yard and avoid chemicals. I frequently give my buns cuttings from my yard. Both for medicinal purposes, thyme for tummy problems, and for just some fresh seasonal treats, blackberry branches. I have a herb garden just for the buns of medicinal plants to cover most items that grow in my area based on the advice of this site, MEDICINAL HERBS FOR RABBITS
  • Get an emergency kit. Vets are not always avilable and most rabbit emergencies are food related. Learn the signs of GI Stasis and make sure you know what to do. At the minimum, have critical care and a syringe. For a more complete kit, BunMergency Essentials Kit
  • Call the vet now to set up a first check up, RHVD2 vaccine and neuter appointment (although vet may require first check up first). Just like male cats, male rabbits recover quickly from their surgery and it prevents spme behavior issues. It will also help reduce the chance of territorial issues with the cats. Just know, if your vet tries to give you a cone refuse it. Rabbits have to eat their own poop and a cone would prevent that. You can do a yoke if your bun messes with incision but never cone a rabbit unless it is life or death. If you in the US, RHDV2 vaccine is a must right now. If your vet doesnt carry it, find one who does.
  • Grooming, don't forget grooming including brushing, nail trim and scent glands cleaning regularly. Starting young will help.
 

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I forgot to mention, US pet stores are horrible for rabbit products. Toys with dangerous colors and food with added sugars. Don't fall for it. I buy treats from well kept rabbit (link above), toys from Terrific supplies for rabbits, guinea pigs, small animals, dogs, cats and also have a monthly subscription that comes from the UK Rabbit Subscription Box of Toys, Treats & Gifts | Happy Bunny Club to ensure I have plenty of variety in my buns stuff without having to buy from US pet stores. As for hay, if you have the space to store it buy from feed stores by the bale and store it. The bags of hay at the pet stores are over priced. I actually don't like the hay from the place I buy toys and dont have space to store a bale. So I do 20 pounds at a time, which is about a months worth for two rabbits. I used to order from 1st Cutting Timothy Hay, Premium, 100% American Grown, Hand Selected and their quality I never had a problem with. I switched though to Curbside Pickup | Bunny Bunch Boutique because I can do curbside pickup to save on shipping and it benefits the rescue.
 

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The bags of hay at the pet stores are over priced.

And the quality is pretty bad. In college I used to get fresh first and second cut Timothy hay from the barn I spent a lot of time at (for classes and also worked there) for my gerbil. Pet store hay does not even compare to fresh hay. If you can buy from a feed store, that would be the best place to get hay from.


Built it myself! I used a dog pen, C&C grids, a copious number of zip ties, as well as a table, some wood to support the middle shelf, and some foam tiles + vinyl. I got a lot of tips and ideas on how to improve on the cage from a rabbit forum I joined. Picture is of the final result. Definitely a fun little project.

That's so cool! You must be very handy with tools to make something like that :)
 
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Cataria

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Thank so much for your advice!

Very good to hear about others' cat/rabbit experiences. I'll just have to keep an eye on things and my fingers crossed.

You are right about the food. Some sources I read said "unlimited pellets" for babies, but I'm going to start measuring. Should I start leafy greens or wait a few more weeks? One source I read said 12 weeks, so I was going to wait another month before I introduced anything other than pellets and hay in the diet.

Oooh, that's a nice first aid kit! I'll compare what's in it to what I already have and fill in what I'm missing. Outside of that, so far I have infant gas drops, critical care, and some syringes already.

First vet appointment is already scheduled for next Friday. :) Thanks for the tips there! What is a yoke for a rabbit, exactly? Can't picture what that would be.

LOL, I bought a grooming brush and nail clippers, but I might need to get a new brush... it's the same size as the bunny! I'm going to ask the vet for guidance on nail clipping before I do it myself, but after next week I will get on that.

Thanks for the list of sites, I will definitely look into those. So far I've bought my rabbit items from Chewy and Amazon. There is a feed store nearby, so I will find out what sorts of hay they have.

I'm actually not handy with tools at all, that was actually my first time making anything like that! Zip ties are really easy, but I learned a lot through making that cage, like how to get wood cut at Lowe's, how to do vinyl... It's given me more confident to try to do some things to my house, haha.
 

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Leafy greens you can start now. If you know the breeder was feeding them start with what the breeder fed. Otherwise, I'd start with just Romaine lettuce and add other green lettuces (not iceberg). Start very small, check poop and add more if it looks good. The darker the color the better the nutrition. Dandelion leaves are another good starter one. Branch out herbs once you've covered the leafy greens just be careful of medicinal uses so you aren't overdoing something that should be sparingly or only when older. Cilantro, flat parsely and curly parsley are fairly well loved and won't cause weird side effects. Things like kale, broccoli and collard greens should be a little older because they can cause gas. Just keep a list of good and bad around so you don't grab something bad. I tend to visit my farmers market and the twins have an entire drawer in the refrigerator just for their greens.

What is a yoke for a rabbit, exactly
This was my angel bunny Peter in a yoke (technically its called a Mae West collar which I remembered after posting). His vet did a cone and I quickly figured out it was bad. A yoke is a tube wrapped around then secured with a tear proof bandage. The front piece move enough to allow them to get food (and poop) but gets in the way of any grooming attempt.

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I didn't do one for Frodo, but Frodo was 12 weeks old when neutered and Peter was several years old (we found him at somewhere between 5 and 8 years old, we think). I did keep an eye on Frodo and was ready to put a yoke on him but he's such a chill little boy he just passed out after meds for most of the day.
 
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Kieka

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Forgot, pellets. My two got the 1/4 cup pellets and unlimited hay from the day they came home. I gave them lots of alfafa in the beginning for the added nutrition and weaned them off it starting a few months ago. Now they just get alfafa as a treat after deep cleaning their spaces. I've seen the advice of unlimited pellets but since pellets can be favored I'd worry about them going for it over the hay and not getting in the habit of eating hay. I did the measured pellets in the bowls but also did some in a cat treat ball as a form of treat at that age so they probably go closer to a 1/3 cup (now whatever I put in the ball I take out of their nightly food bowl). And yes, they got about the same as babies as they do now so they technically go more per pound as babies then they do now so it was more of their diet at that point.

I am pretty big on hay because my last rabbit, Peter, we don't think was fed hay when he was younger. When we found him, I had a really hard time getting him to eat any hay and had to mix it in with treats to trick him into eating any. I had to work hard just to get him off junk pellets and onto good pellets. The entire time he was with me, his poop was never really the best looking poop and he was prone to small or chained poops. He ended up having multiple GI Stasis instances along with dying from tooth related issues. Both things that could be directly related to him not being a good hay eater. He also had arthritis and his bones were mal formed which could also be related to poor nutrition. When I got the twins I swore I'd ensure they had the best habits possible by ensuring they didn't become pellet addicts and ate hay regularly. Regulated pellets from day 1 ensured they ate their hay. Feeding alfafa hay ensured they got the nutrition to grow up healthy when they needed the added nutrition. Both items together means that they have healthy hay habits and I frequently find them chowing down on their hay. Their poop is also amazing (mostly, Gladys ate something she shouldn't have recently so it was slightly off for a few days).
 

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Kieka Kieka is there a brand of pellets you recommend? I've only heard about Oxbow but there's probably other brands out there. Just curious :) I'm allergic to rabbits (very watery itchy eyes and skin, even with a properly fitted N95 on) so I can't have one :frown:
 

Kieka

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Kieka Kieka is there a brand of pellets you recommend? I've only heard about Oxbow but there's probably other brands out there. Just curious :) I'm allergic to rabbits (very watery itchy eyes and skin, even with a properly fitted N95 on) so I can't have one :frown:
Oxbow is what I feed. I alternate between the adult formulas since they all have slightly different nutrition. Sherwood is another good one but harder to find. Although, there are better brands in the UK but getting them in the US is not easy.

I'm terribly allergic to the rabbits too. That's why they go to a groomer; I can't brush them out well enough on my own. I do brush them a little here and there. But you should have seen me after taking them to the groomer and cleaning their areas yesterday. Two benadryl, a shower, changing clothes and it still took a few hours to feel normal and that's with my daily allergy routine in place already. Ugh, but I'm also allergic to cats and share my bed with two every night, you could say I am a glutton for punishment. I say life is too short and I can make it work by taking precautions with a few "This is going to suck" days.
 
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Cataria

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Sounds good! I will start leafy greens next time I get to the store. What you are saying about pellets and hay is making a lot of sense, I will make sure to start measuring.

I'm in the process of switching Rune from Producer's Pride to Oxbow Young Rabbit, and he seems to be doing well so far.


Rune was super licky yesterday!
 

Kieka

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Awwww he loves you. :heartshape:

Just to mention it, the twins are around 5 pounds and Rune will likely be bigger. You probably will have to increase pellets as he gets bigger.
 
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Got ya, that makes sense! :)
 

Maria Bayote

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A few days ago I got my first rabbit. This is Rune, he's 3/4 Flemish Giant, 1/4 Satin, 8 weeks old, and 2.7 lbs.

View attachment 421016

Honestly, it was a crazy decision to bring a rabbit into my house, I won't lie. I have 11 cats -- all indoors, spayed/neutered, see the vet regularly, etc, the youngest ones are about six years old. But after weeks of debating... I just really wanted to try. Outside of volunteering with a wildlife rescue (which is not the same thing as a house rabbit at all), I don't have personal experience with rabbits, but I want to learn, and I feel pretty confident I can provide for a rabbit both financially and space-wise, even if the worst would happen and I have to keep him 100% segregated from the cats. I was able to build a nice big rabbit cage in one of the spare bedrooms, with the hope that I can eventually free-roam him in that bedroom. Here's his cage! It's 4ft by 6ft and 4 ft tall.

View attachment 421017

Again, I am very new to rabbits but I've been doing a lot of research, so I really hope it goes well. He came home a few days ago, and I'm not going to lie, I was fully expecting a terrified ball of fluff that I would have to spent weeks socializing, similar to some of the ex-feral cats I have taken in/rehomed. The farm I got him from said they didn't handle the babies much (understood, I believe they are primarily a meat farm) and everything I read made rabbits sound like timid, fearful creatures. I was afraid to touch him at first because I thought he might have a heart attack and die or something.

But what a shock! Rune is completely fearless. He took to me immediately, and he's been friendly with every person he's met. In just the short time I have had him he already runs up to greet me, licks my hands, jumps into my lap, it's crazy. He flops, does binkies around the room -- none of this is anything I expected within the first week, but maybe this is normal for baby bunnies?

I wanted to introduce him to the cats, and originally I was planning on waiting several weeks to do to not stress him out. But things have been going so well, I started off by letting a cat in to sniff him in his cage. This is Shade:

View attachment 421018

I was hopeful my cats would take well to him. About half of my cats are afraid of human strangers, but they all were pretty quick to accept new cats into the house, and I've never seen them to be particularly aggressive to prey animals. All my cats get along very well (other than Kismet being drama cat when Peridot gets too close to her, but they don't actually fight). Anyway, upon meeting Shade, Rune couldn't care less, just sniffed noses then continued to hop around. So I tried some more; most of my cats have met him through the cage by this point, and they seem to be taking him in stride. I finally let him out to meet a few cats one-on-one, ready to intervene, and in the short period they have met so far, the cats have either a) completely ignored him, b) watched and sniffed him a little, then backed off, or c) been mildly afraid of him and ran away when he approached. Definitely early days, I am going to be careful and not let them unsupervised, but already surprised at how it's going. I also should mention, Rune should turn into a fairly large rabbit, likely as large (or bigger) than my cats. It's quite possible that he will end up the troublemaker in my cat-rabbit relationship, haha.

I'm really happy with Rune, but I do know rabbits undergo a personality change at 3-6 months. I'm not too worried about him becoming destructive (I have already accepted the worst case scenario of his behavior), but I hope he stays as sweet and fearless as he is now -- however, I understand things can change and it is what it is. I do have plans to get him neutered when it is time.

For anyone else with rabbits, I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences with that, and also how well your cats are with your rabbits and how much you think they can be trusted.

View attachment 421020
Oh such a cutie. I had pet rabbits too, but unfortunately somebody stole them from our rented apartment many years ago. Our Land Turtle which we rescued was also taken from us several years after (at a different house).

I do hope your cats continue to get along with that cutie pie. :)
 
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Cataria

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Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that! :/

So far, still so good with the cats. He's been out and about with the cats when I'm home and there's been no aggression at all. I hope it stays that way, but the real test will be when Rune enters adolescence. I'm hoping he doesn't get territorial and try to pick fights with them.

Poor Ashwin though! Ashwin is one of my kitties that enjoys sleeping in a cat bed on the bed near my computer desk. Rune apparently likes to sleep in that bed too and has made it a habit to hop into the bed with Ashwin still in it. Ashwin's not enthused by sharing and always ends up leaving the bed for Rune. There are other cat beds Rune could sit in, but he only goes for the one Ashwin is in -- maybe because it is pre-warmed?
 
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Cataria

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Rune finally settled in the cat bed next to Ashwin instead of taking Ashwin's, haha.

ashwinrune.JPG
 
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So Rune went to the vet today... Appointment went well, but the vet says she's 75% sure that Rune is actually a girl, haha. So I guess unless I hear otherwise at the spay/neuter surgery (which the vet said is not an impossibility), Rune is a she!

The vet said she was healthy but gave her a treatment for ear mites. Said we could schedule the spay/neuter at 4-6 months -- I'm leaning toward sooner rather than later, personally. I asked about getting a microchip and the RHDV2 vaccine. We're going to wait until she's out for surgery to do the microchip, and the vet said the RHDV2 vaccine is not currently available in my area since they are prioritizing areas with outbreaks, but since several people have asked about it, she's going to check again to see if we can get it soon.

Later I took Rune to visit my family and she got some sun!

runeoutside.jpg
 

Kieka

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There is a Facebook group called "North American RHDV2 Group" that tracks the spread of RHDV2 and keeps a listing of vets with the vaccine. It does have to be detected in your state for your vet to be able to get it since it's an imported vaccine but I want to say it's only the northeast that it isn't in. My state was one of the first so we are on year 2 here. I want to say there is also a US version recently available and if so that might not have the restrictions. Fatality rate is really high with the virus so if it is in your area you might want to limit outside time until vaccinated.

My girl I got spayed at 5/6 months. Most vets want to wait due to size to make sure they can find it. Both my boy and girl recovered pretty quickly from their surgeries just follow directions and give all medications.
 
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Cataria

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Thanks! I actually live in the Northeast, so maybe that's why my vet is having trouble getting it. Hopefully soon though.

And glad to hear about your experiences with the surgeries. I'll try to wait until 5 months at least.

Things are still going well with Rune and the cats. They are pretty much coexisting right now -- the cats are pretty much ignoring the rabbit and Rune doesn't go out of her way to interact with the cats. But dear lord, the cats are *obsessed* with the rabbit cage, and they are driving me crazy. They spent a lot of time waiting outside the cage, only to rush into it when I open it to let Rune out.

...Not because they want to do anything with the rabbit, they just want to play with Rune's toys. Drink Rune's water. Shred the seagrass mat. Sleep on the third level. The cage is big enough that it is a pain to get them out of there because I can't reach them, but small enough that it's difficult to climb in the cage after them. I almost wish Rune would get a little territorial and chase them out, but so far, she couldn't care less if they are in the cage or not.
 
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