The Bunny Guy with his three buns - Ricky, Lucy, and Star
12 Jan. 2012
Lagomorphs are an often misunderstood pet and I know because I have made all the common mistakes that often happens to these lovable fragile critters. When we get our first rabbit, whether it is planned or unplanned; the way he is housed and cared for depends on how we have seen other people do it in our past.
If all you have ever known is people who keep a bunny in a hutch in the back yard, then it seems most logical to go about setting up an abode like this for your own new rabbit. The real problem is that most in the public are ignorant about how to house and feed a pet rabbit. So our chances of being exposed to the proper ways to do these things are pretty slim.
I have found from my own efforts at educating the public that fully four out of five people who currently have a rabbit, do not know the correct way to feed or house their bunny. Of course, this leads to many conflicts and issues, making the bunny an unwelcome house pet. This is one of the main reasons that so many rabbits end up being dropped off at the local shelter or worse.
It is also common for people to have pet rabbits for dozens of years and never learn any more than they knew when they first got one. People have told me that they have owned rabbits for decades and they still keep them in the back yard inside a cage. Often, they will tell me that they have never heard of a rabbit living indoors. I find this amazing.
For me, having rabbits has been a journey and each one has taught me a little more about themselves, until I became compelled to start seeking out the knowledge that at the time was not readily available. Now with the internet, you can learn all kinds of things about bunnies that used to require purchasing a whole pile of books, most of which were geared towards farmers or breeders.
We are currently in the “pioneer days”, when it comes to pet house rabbits. So much is being learned all the time about them by the rabbit vet specialists and their owners. A few years ago the thought of a pet rabbit getting to be fourteen or fifteen years old was unheard of. The current new knowledge about a proper diet and health care has improved the lifespan of bunnies everywhere by many years.
If you love your pet bunny, you will want to go out of your way to learn the latest health tips so that you can extend the life of your rabbit manyfold. A good diet if very important in longterm rabbit health. Many rabbit lovers have a tendency to overfeed or to give too many unhealthy treats to their bunnies. They do not do it out of malevolence, but rather it is done lovingly, which makes this lack of knowledge even more insidious. We end up “loving our bunnies to death” from giving them too many sweet treats, such as fruit or raisins.
One of the hardest things for a bunny lover to resist is when their cute little fur-faced friend comes up and starts begging for that treat they know you have. Most of cannot resist a persistent bun, especially when they pull at our heart-strings by giving us that look that they know works most of the time. haha
I have gone completely away from any sweet fruit treats for my rabbits. The concept that a treat is sweet is a human one and your rabbits would just as much enjoy a sprig of parsley or cilantro. Of course, it does not help that rabbits have a terrible “sweet tooth”, but you will find that they will forget about the sweet treats quickly, if you remove them from his diet.
I have started giving my bunnies “healthy” snacks when it is time for them to get a treat and they love them just as much as the pieces of banana or other fruit that they used to get. In a future feature, I will explain in detail how I learned this the hard way and discovered that the sugar in those treats actually upset my rabbit’s digestive system. I think you will find the story very interesting.
My plan is to get as many bunny lovers reading my stories and anecdotes in hopes that they will learn the lessons I have learned the easy way, instead of the hard way like I had to do. I want to help make a difference for rabbits everywhere. I guess I am just crazy about rabbits, but then how can you not love a bunny?
The Bunny Guy