How Much Play Time Does Your Rabbit Need?

Many people keep their bunnies inside cages or x-pens while they are away at work or school during the day. Others will keep their bunnies locked up at night when they are asleep to keep them from getting into unsupervised mischief. I agree that for most rabbits, these are not bad ideas or practices, but it leads to an often asked question, “How much time each day does my rabbit really need out of his enclosure to run and play?”

The number of hours of “run time”, as we call it, varies dramatically from expert to expert, if they are asked. Some rabbit lovers say that they need three or four hours a day out of their containment, others say one or two.

I know from experience working in shelters and with other rabbits that in practice, this time usually isn’t even a full hour. Due to the lack of volunteers and the number of rabbits in the shelters, most shelter bunnies are lucky to get out of their cages once a day, much less for hours at a time. When I go in to volunteer at the shelter I work at, I make sure that every single rabbit gets out for a while. How long? Never for more than an hour, in order to get them all out that day.

So what happens when a rabbit does not get enough time out to play? That is a really good question and while I cannot give you the medical information about it, I can give you anecdotal info about what I have seen happen to rabbits who are kept cooped up for too long.

The first thing most people will notice is that when a rabbit is not getting enough “run time”, he will not want to go back to his enclosure when you deem that his playtime is over. He is trying to tell you that he is not done with his exercise and does not want to go back to his “jail cell”. When a rabbit has had plenty of time to run and hop, they will be much more willing to go back to their house because they will be all pooped out from their running around. They may not enjoy going back to their abode, but at least most will not fight with you over it.

This said, some rabbit NEVER want to go back to their condos. This often occurs when earlier in their lives, they were locked in a cage and never got out. They fear getting put back into their abodes because they worry that they will be locked inside again and forgotten. This is quite traumatic for bunnies and they sometimes never get over it. All they remember is that they were put into a house and left there for a long time. Wouldn’t you never want to go back, if you thought it might be for weeks at a time?

As you can see, getting out for regular play sessions is as important for a rabbit’s mental health, as it is to love and never abuse him. When a rabbit does not have the fear that his playtime may be the last for a very long time, he does not worry about getting put back inside his abode.

I have found that rabbits who fear being kept in cages do much better inside an x-pen environment. For some reason, x-pens do not feel the same as a cage to a bunny who does not like them. Rabbits who were cage protective or fearful of being put into a cage, seem to get over it when they get to spend most of their time in an x-pen instead of being caged. If you have a rabbit who hates his cage, you should seriously consider switching to an x-pen living style, instead.

Besides not wanting to go back to his cage, what are some other signals that your rabbit is not getting out enough? The one that I notice the most is cage protectiveness. When a rabbit’s whole world becomes a small cage, they become very protective of it. If you rabbit is attacking you when you reach into their cage, maybe they are not getting out of it enough. Not only female rabbits become cage protective, which is actually a persistent rabbit myth. Usually they are, but when male buns are kept locked up too long, they can also acquire that trait.

I find that younger rabbits, just like younger dogs and cats, need more play time. During a bunny “puppy stage”, they will race around and do big hops a lot more than when they are older. Some of the smaller “dwarf” breeds never seem to grow out of this stage, but I find that virtually all baby and adolescent rabbits are more active than older buns. This means that if you have a young rabbit, that he is going to need more “run time” than say a five or six year old bunny.

One of the biggest drawbacks for a rabbit not getting enough playtime is the same as for a human who does not get enough exercise. This is becoming overweight and developing cardiovascular disease. Rabbits were born to run and when they do not run enough, they will usually have an early death, just as their human counterparts do. This does not happen quickly and takes years to develop, but it happens just the same.

Your rabbit is not going to die an early death from not getting out enough once or twice this week. It will take years of this type of neglect to affect the long term health of a bunny. The problem arises when a bunny is only getting out to play rarely, if at all.

Honestly, once or twice a week is not enough. Instead, if you love your bunny, you should consider it part of your daily routine to make sure that your bunny has his run time. I know that we all have lives to live and that things come up which will cause your bunny to miss one of his appointed run times. I suggest that you should feel bad about it, though. Even more important, if you are in tune with your bunny, you will hear him tell you that he was not happy about it, either.

Many people are not in touch with their rabbit’s feelings and will totally miss that they are expressing dissatisfaction about not getting to play. That is sad. One of the best parts about having pet rabbits, is how communicative and expressive they really are. If you are missing communicating with your bunny, you are missing the best part of having them as pets.

A really important part of your rabbit’s playtime is supervision. You cannot turn the equivalent of a two year old loose in your house unsupervised to play alone. Part of what bunnies love about playing is interacting with their humans. They not only need this, but most bunnies crave it. Their playtime should not be without part of it involving interaction with you. This makes a huge difference in the bunny-human bond and will enhance both of your lives dramatically.

Even more important, you MUST NOT just set your bunny free to run in your yard, no matter how protected you think it is. There has never been a fence that can keep a rabbit inside. They are masters at burrowing.

Also, there is not a fence that can keep out the many predators that will harm your bunny. Coyotes, hawks and raccoons cannot be kept out by a fence. Domestic rabbits have virtually no defenses against these predators. If you are not right there, it will be too late for you to save them from an attack or worse. You would not believe how many times a month that people tell me that their rabbit plays unsupervised in their yard.

Your rabbit may escape harm for years running in your back yard, but it is only a matter of time before he either gets away or has a problem. These stories that I hear, almost always end with “one day he was just gone”. Well, DUH?!?

Again, if you really love your pet, you will not allow even the chance of this occurring. All rabbit run time should be only in a rabbit safe environment. This means a bunny-proofed part of the house under direct supervision. At least part of the time should be spent with your bunny up close and personally so that you can interact with him.

IF your bunny is allowed playtime outside the safety of your home, then it needs to be with you RIGHT THERE watching and insuring his safety. Not with you inside the house in the kitchen or watching TV. You would not let a two year old play outside, while you took a nap. There is not difference for a pet bunny.

As to how long is long enough, I say that one or two hours daily should be the minimum with three or four hours the best. Younger rabbits will need the longer time period, while seniors might be happy with just an hour or two.

Rabbits are the most active in the early morning and early evening. This is their preferred playtime, but a caged rabbit will take playtime any time he can get it. If your rabbit just lays around during his playtime, it could be because you are letting him out during his nap time. Most rabbits like to sleep most of the day. Mine are napping most days from about 10am to 4pm. They are racing around and playing very early in the morning (6-9am) and in the evening (4-8pm).

I know that we all have our human schedules to keep and your rabbit will adjust eventually to yours. They like their lives to be regular and timely, meaning that if you let them out or feed them at a certain time each day, that they will come to expect it then. Bet you didn’t know that rabbits can tell time?

My rabbits are always waiting for me at their regular feeding or run times. They seem to always know the time and prefer these things on a schedule, but it is better that they get out at all than to not have their playtime. So do not hesitate to let your bunny run at whatever time you can work it into your schedule. I have awaken my buns at midnight to let them out and trust me, they were glad about it. It may have taken them a few minutes to get the sleep out of their eyes, but within minutes they were gleefully hopping around, just glad to be out to play.

The Bunny Guy

61 thoughts on “How Much Play Time Does Your Rabbit Need?

  1. I just got a very young little bunny and I feel bad because I go to school full time and work 2 full time jobs. I do let her out but most of the time it’s in my room and I am not down there with her due to I have homework or something going on in my life. I also have a dog who needs constant love as well and I feel I am not giving either one the attention they need. What is your suggestion? I can give the bunny to my brother who has several bunnies already and a huge outside play area that is well maintained.

    • make sure you get it vaccinated for mixeie reminber that there are 2 types 1carried in straw 1 by mice other visiters to your gardenapart from that keep them in a decent wooden cage 2ft deep 4ft long 3ft tall they whant a spaced off area to sleep in plenty of room light to see whats going on around then make sure that they have fresh water food each day ; dont leave then untouched they our your pet so pet, handle make a fuss off then as much as you can if you want then in the house due so or make then some sort of run in the garden so they don’t get bored keep there cage water proffed top sides give then plenty of bedding straw hay grass or even ancient newspappersif your going to place gunie pigs in with then reminber some times the news papper ink can be poisions also reminber that if your breeding then disturb then or upset the young they will eat there youngkeep an eye on there eyes teath inside ther ears fur give then a excellent brush down at least 1s aweek as weill as clean then out at lest 1s a week if you make a habbit of giveing then a fuss then you will get to know there charter and be able to spot if any thing is incorrect with then somer if you reckon thngs are not right get then to a vet dont just ignore then as they didn’t ASK YOU TO HAVE THEN YOU DESIDED THAT WAS WHAT YOU WHERE GOING TO DO have fun with then they can be very loveing in return ::: there is no best breed some people like loopearerd rabbits some like grey or brown or black some like huge gaints others like dwarf they are are all as derrfirent as we are

    • You have to worry about the rabbit more than your own feelings. You have to decide where your bunny will be happiest. If you feel he is happier with y

  2. Hi Shanelle

    You cannot give your rabbit too much exercise. Most people do not give their rabbits enough time to run and play, but you can never give them too much. I suggest a minimum of 2-3 hours a day, but many rabbits are “free run” and never live in a cage or pen. It is very hard to do that because you must have perfect “bunny-proofing” of all areas they can reach.

    I am glad that you wrote, because a very common mistake new rabbit owners make is feeding them too much. You can kill them from feeding them too much and rabbits who eat too much will live less than half as long as rabbits whom are fed a proper diet.

    I cannot describe a complete rabbit diet for you, but I highly recommend that you seek out this information on the internet or by buying my new book about house rabbits at my site.

    Fruit is like ice cream or candy for a rabbit, as are rabbit pellets. They do not need these things at all and many people never give them. Pellets are notorious for causing many digestive issues and it is very easy to give them too many. Depending on the size of your rabbit, he probably should not have more than a couple teaspoons of pellets a day. He does not need them to be healthy.

    Instead of pellets, most people give a small salad of leafy greens each day. Never corn, beans, nuts, peas, dairy of any kind. There are many lists of good green veggies and how to select them. NO MORE than twice the size of your rabbit’s head per day.

    90 percent of your rabbit’s diet should be grass hays such as timothy hay, oat hay or orchard grass. Not alfalfa.

    It is extremely important to have your rabbit spayed or neutered by the time he is about 3 or 4 months old. Only a rabbit specialist vet should be used. Do not have a dog or cat vet do this surgery, even though they might offer. It takes a rabbit expert to work on rabbits. You will want to find one and make sure that you use him whenever your bunny needs it.

    There is tons of stuff to learn about a rabbit and that is why I wrote my book. I spent more than 20 years doing it all wrong and you cannot learn it by the “seat of your pants” or trial and error.

    Good luck
    Stephan
    The Bunny Guy
    http://www.thebunnyguy.com

    • So long as the rabbit has sowemhere to get out of the rain it should be fine.Rabbits kept as pets (in Aus) should be vacinated for that disease that let go a few years ago to try to wipe out all of the rabbits but appart from that you shouldnt have too many problems. I would make sure that if you have a garden or fruit trees that you hose the grass immediatley after any spratying and dont let the rabbit graze in the vicinity. Make sure you give them tough things to gnaw on as their teeth dont stop growing and need to be subjected to wear and tear to keep thin in excellent order ( I used to give mine the prunings off the fruit tree as they will gnaw the bark off and eat it, as well as rose prunings (minus the thorns) and and tough woody stems off cabages etc. I suggest that you get your tame so that it can be handled simple and let you pick up without running away because then yu can let it hop around in your yard if you are gardinging, sunbaking etc and of course implementation is excellent for them just as it is for us. I used to have an angora (they are rare and hard to get) it was the most wonderful people loving animal and of course the hair had to combed regularly to avoid- dreadlocks! But my rabbit used to like the attention.Some peeople say dont give rabbits lettuce but I used to always give mine the vegie scraps/peelings including the outside lettuce foliage and any other vegie That would otherwise go to waste (oh and mine was a bit partial to odd hard crust of bread and couldnt resist dandelion foliage).Excellent luck with the bunny.

  3. Stephan, I appreciate your bunny wisdom! I just rescued a bunny from horrible, life-threatening neglect that gives me nightmares. I’ve always had cats and so I am in new territory. Lola is doing really well and adjusting nicely. I have 3 cats and 2 of them are accepting her as a friend. My 16 year old female however, is a die hard hunter and I can see she is just waiting for her moment to try and cause Lola harm. My cat is smaller than Lola …if they ever do encounter each other, which i am trying to prevent at all costs of course, can and will Lola be able to defend herself?

    • Usually after a few meetings, cats and rabbits sort out their issues. In the past, my bunnies have ruled over my kitties. Your main concern should be cat scratches to the eyes of your bunny, since that is where they are most vulnerable. Cat and rabbit bonds can become quite strong and are very rewarding. I hope yours work out.

    • Rabbits are tough. They look after themselves but they need you to make sure you look after them daily. The most vaulable things are fresh air, clean bedding, plenty of fresh water, excellent food and lots of fresh greens.If you go to a excellent breeder, they will be able to tell you about the breed and its quirks.There are lots of excellent books out there have a look in your library. I am not going to recommend as you will find information differs from place to place. Like any animal, you have to learn the bunny you are caring for and take each day as it comes.An honest vet will check over the animal for you and make recommendations on the care you need and any vaccinations. I have a digit of bunnies who generally look after themselves.Provided you are not plotting to breed from them the breed of bunny you buy will be less vaulable but bear in mind that cashmere and long coated rabbits need regular grooming or they can get mucky fur which encourages disease.Excellent luck !

  4. Hello,
    I’m a 19 year old college student that works a part time job. I really want a bunny, and was wondering if it’s okay to leave your bunny be in a large bathroom with food and water, for roughly 5 hours un-attended while I’m at work. Will the bunny be depressed and die? If the bathroom is bunny proofed, and it can hop into the cage when It needs to. Cause I would really like to have a pet to come home too, and a bunny sounds wonderful.

    • Hi Kristan
      As long as your bunny gets 2-3 hours a day to run around outside the bathroom, he should be happy. Don’t forget that you will want to spay/neuter your bun, ASAP. Rabbits do not make good pets until they are fixed. Also, take some time to learn how to properly feed a rabbit and pellets ARE NOT what they should eat, if you want him to be healthy, long-term.
      I HIGHLY recommend getting your bunny from a shelter or rescue. He will already be fixed (saving you a big expense) and usually you can get one that is already litter box trained. Please, do not buy a rabbit and support rabbit breeding. There are literally thousands of rabbits that will be euthanized this year because of over-breeding. Most rescues will support you with how to find a vet, get rabbit supplies cheaply and have a support system for learning about rabbits.
      If you want to find a rescue in your area, go to http://www.rabbit.org and they have a link for finding vets, rescues and shelters. The local House Rabbit Society (if there is a chapter in your area) is your best resource.
      Good luck and don’t hesitate to let me know if you need more advice.
      The Bunny Guy

  5. Hi
    My boyfriend bought me a rabbit and i have had rabbits before when i was a kid but there were kept oustside . I was wondering is it okay that we made a bedroom the rabbits room . Its were he sleeps e arts and uses the litter box i. It is carpeted and we are in the process of fixing it to were he stops chewing the carpet we are going to try a few things iv found on the internet . But any ways is this enough space for him he is able to run and jump. I also go in there and pet and rub his head and ears. Which he loves. Every morning at 530am to 600am then i go back in around 12pm to 1230pm and i visit again really around 4 or 5 and spend another half hour to an hour with him . My main question here is.. do u think that the room is sufficiant ? And do u think my hours i go in are sufficient? And suggestions would be appreciated thank you

    Sincerely,
    Shyanne

    • Hi Shyanne
      Thanks for posting. It is wonderful that you are thinking about these things and asking for advice.
      It is definitely better being in the bedroom than outdoors, for sure. He will be safe from predators and other problems.
      Your rabbit will want to spend at least two or three hours playing each day, so being able to get exercise is great. He needs enough space to get us a good run and do his dances. 12-16 feet of running space is good. The more the better, because once you see your bunny running and doing hops, you will see what I mean.
      He will want to spend at least an hour a day with you. This is why I do not recommend locking him into a room where no one else goes. They like to be in the middle of things and where the action is. He will hear you and the family in the other part of the house and want to be involved.
      The more you interact with him, the more socialized and friendly he will become. Rabbits get frustrated when they cannot be near and communicate with others. The more time you spend with him, the happier he will be.
      During the day from mid to late morning until mid to late afternoon, rabbits are napping. Rabbits sleep a lot and are the most active early in the morning and early in the evening. If you can time his play time and personal time with you to those times, he will be the most responsive.
      Even so, bunnies will take any play time and personal time that they can get. The bunnies at the shelter only get to play during the middle of the day when we are there and they eventually get used to their hours and will play any chance that they can get.
      It was so nice of you to write to ask these things. It shows that you will be a loving and conscientious bunny parent. That is what he will need. Still, there is no replacing experience, so the more you read and study about rabbits, the better parent you will be.
      You have many years of joy and love to look forward to with your new rabbit. Good luck and please stay in touch. I love hearing how things turn out.
      The Bunny Guy

  6. Thank you so much for your response . I really appreciate it. My rabbit spook has plenty of room to run and jump. Every morning he comes to the door because he knows its time ti play and i give him fresh food and water. He also likes to hop on my lap and be petted . I love walking in and he gets up and lawns its the cutest thing. In going to try and fit an hour in every morning afternoon and evening . My boyfriend didn’t believe he played by jumping and hopping around till one morning he came in and seen it him self it was great .ill keep you posted and if i have anymore need to know questions ill ask. In going to ask you this do you know a way to make him stop chewing? My boyfriend calls him a nervous nibbler lol

    • Hi Shyanne
      There are only three things that you can do about a rabbit chewing. You must either remove the object, create a barrier to the object or cover the object to prevent chewing. It does help to put other things for him to chew that are safe and healthy for him. Old phone books, organic apple sticks, timothy hay cubes (not alfalfa), toys, toilet paper tubes stuffed with fresh hay, uncoated willow baskets (not bamboo), willow chew toys and other safe chewing toys.
      Beware of him chewing on dangerous things, such as power cords or cords of any kind, house plants (most are toxic), plastic objects, etc. During the Christmas holidays there are lots of decorations that have dangerous things for bunnies, so you must be extra careful during them. Tinsel on Xmas trees is especially dangerous for bunnies, as is chewing guy. These things can kill a pet.
      All rabbits chew. Their teeth grow 8-10 inches a year. Without chewing they would grow right out of their mouths. I have seen it many times, so your rabbit MUST chew to be healthy. Give him lots of fresh hay and other safe things to chew on. Paper and cardboard is OK for him, as is organic wood. Avoid fresh pine or cedar wood because it contains a substance similar to turpentine.
      I think you would be well served in purchasing a copy of my new book. I cover all of these topics extensively in it and it would be good for you to have all of this info on hand for reference. When it comes to rabbits, WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW WILL HURT THEM.
      Good luck
      The Bunny Guy

  7. also one more thing have you ever herd of the Timothy hay at walmart ? i wanted to no because i think ever since i bought it my rabbit goes into sneezing fits he has no nose discharge or eye discharge except an occasional sleep boogie that he get once in a while . he mostly sneezes in the morning when i give him the hay . could it be that or something else

    • Hi Shyanne
      The problem with bagged hays from big stores is that the hay is not fresh. Who knows how long it has been in that bag. A year… or more???
      Those hays tend to be VERY dried out and not only do many bunnies find it unappetizing, but they can result in the exact problems you are describing. A bunny likes to dig and forage in their hay for the parts they want to eat. I am sure you have seen him doing that. They end up with the hay dust in their eyes and up their noses which can create problems.
      The best solution is to find a source for fresher hay. In our area, the House Rabbit Society breaks bales of hay into small boxes to sell to the public. You can often go to a feed store and buy just a flake (bales come apart into smaller flakes) of fresh hay. You want to find hay without all the dust and powder in it.
      You can also try taking the handfuls of hay that you have and shaking it until most of the dust and powder fall out of it before you put it into your bunny’s box or hay manger.
      There are many sources of hay online. The only drawback to buying hay online is the shipping cost, but at least it will be fresh and good for your bunny. I recommend getting your fresh hay online at http://www.bingaling.com. They are on the east coast and ship everywhere. I am also getting in a stock of their fresh hay, soon so that it can ship from here on the west coast.
      It is not hard to find fresher hay than you can find at Petco, Walmart or similar large box stores. You just have to look for it.
      Thanks again for asking because we run into this problem all the time.
      The Bunny Guy

  8. Thank you for the advise when i clean the rabbit room today in going to remove the hay completely to see if that helps . I was feeding him a little piece of apple and he started a sneezing fit then he wiped his nose and sneezed really bad and a white globe of Lucas came out but he hasn’t sneezed since it has happened . I don’t know what it is any help would be great

  9. Hi! So I have been wanting a rabbit so badly. But the only thing is, I have a super busy schedule. It goes sommething like this:
    WEEKDAYS:
    AM 7- wake-up and get ready for school.
    8- go to school
    4:30- get home and do homework
    5:30- swim practice
    8- get home from swim practice
    8:20- eat dinner
    9- do Chinese homework
    10:30- sleep
    WEEKENDS:
    Saturday
    AM 7- wakeup get ready for school
    8- go to Chinese school
    1:30- go home
    2- eat lunch
    3-11: unplanned events
    Sunday
    AM 9- wake-up and eat breakfast
    10:30-12: free time/walk dog
    1- lunch
    1:30- Chinese homework
    3-5: clean room
    5-7: free time

    Could you please help me with my schedule? I really want a little bun.

    Bunny love,
    JH

    • It is cool that you want to get a rabbit, but not only do they require time each day from you (a bunny needs at least an hour a day of personal interaction), but it is a long term commitment that lasts for 10-12 years. If you are still in school, then you must realize that 10 years from now, your life could be quite different.
      You seem to have very little time your schedule and as you become more involved socially and start working a job, your time may become even more limited.
      I highly recommend that you consider volunteering to work with rabbits, instead of rushing to adopt one. I am sure there is a shelter or rescue nearby that needs help. It is a good place to learn more about bunnies and how to handle and care for them. This does not require a ten year commitment and you can do it for a year or so, instead of making a choice that has implications for the next ten years of your life.
      If you become involved with a shelter or rescue, they may want you to foster a rabbit until he finds a forever home. This also is a good short term commitment that has a near term ending. You would get to learn about bunny-proofing, daily feeding and cleaning, interactions and playtime and so much more.
      The problem that is very common, is that teens take on rabbits and then get busy in their life and suddenly do not have the time for their bunny. You cannot foresee what you will be doing four or five years from now. Hopefully, there is college and a job waiting for you down the road.
      My suggestion of volunteering for a shorter term commitment, may be a better option for you than actually doing a rabbit adoption.
      Let me know how it goes and thank you for writing to ask my opinion.
      The Bunny Guy

  10. Hello. I totally love your post. Learn so much from it!

    Anyway, please give me your opinions on my daily routine for my rabbit. Points out the bad points, how i should fix it; point out the good points so i can keep at it! Thank you!

    I start interacting with my 4 month old Holland Lop doe, named JolieBelle, when i wake up. I would stroke and pat her as a way to say Good Morning. Then, feed her Lunch at around 12pm~1pm. A handful of pellets. ( i have a rather small hand).

    Then i would let her out for AT LEAST 2 hours, at around 1.30pm. Slightly more if i can afford it. When she is out, I would clean her cage/litterbox if it is dirty, or use diced carrots (0.5cmx0.5cm size) as treats to play with her, and train her to do tricks.
    At exactly 7pm, i would feed her a bowl of veggies including Basil leaves, Siow Peck Chye, Romaine Lettuce, and a few of the diced carrots.

    After that, I would often visit her at her cage to pat and stroke her. To accompany her, in case she got bored or feels unloved. She watches the TV suprisingly. Very adorable. She would hop over to the front of her cage excitedly everytime i visit her though. Is that a good sign or bad sign? Is she so bored that she craves my attention?

    At around 2am, I would say Good Night to her with a short period (about 3~5minutes) of strokes and head to bed. The cycle repeats.

    Please tell me what i should go on doing, and what i should stop, and how i can improve! Thank you! (:

    • Hi Sandra
      Thanks for writing and your detailed version of your day with your rabbit was very good.
      I think everything sounds really good, but be careful with the pieces of carrot. They are high in sugar and very small amounts are ok, but beware of giving them every day. Better to use her favorite green, if you are doing a lot of training and giving a lot of carrot pieces. They are like a candy bar or ice cream for a rabbit. Too much can build up over time and become harmful.
      She sounds very happy with getting to spend time with you. I can tell that from the way that she is waiting for you to come visit her. She loves you and craves being with you. She is trying to tell you this in her silent language by hopping over to the front of her cage. Many times, rabbits will go the other way to say that they do not want you coming closer. You bunny obviously likes being near you.
      You might try finding a pet stroller and taking her for a walk or with you to the park or even shopping. I take my bunnies with me everywhere. I take them when I go to visit friends and sometimes we even put them in their stroller to eat at outdoor restaurants. This is allowed here in our area.
      Last week, we took our bunnies on a ride on the train to a big park and then had lunch with them on a big patio. They love getting out and spending time with me. Maybe yours would like that, too.
      I think you are doing very well with your rabbit and she sounds like she has a very happy life. That is GREAT!

      The Bunny Guy

      • Thank you for you swift response. Sorry if i come off as a little cold!

        Yeah, i guess she is having a great life
        Everyone loves and dotes on her.

        However, i do still have some questions. She seems to like jumping onto the couch or the coffee table. No matter how many times i immediately get her off it, she doesnt seem to learn she shouldnt go up there. Is there anyway to teach her not to do so?

        Also, little JolieBelle HATES being picked up. It makes it hard for me to handle her. I cant transport her to places she cant reach by herself, cant groom her, clip her nails, or help her out with any matted fur at her bottom. Forget about putting her into a trance. I can’t even handle her. So I was wondering, do you have any tips on how to handle my bunny? Thank you so so much! (:

      • OH! By the way, she loved everyone. She gets excited by anyone who approaches her cage. Haha. But I guess I do spot a little difference as she seems more excited when it is me. Is it ok for her to poke her nose through the cage bars continuously? I’m afraid it would hurt her. She only does it when she gets over exicted or smells food though.

        • Hi Sandra
          All rabbits are born not liking to be picked up. In the wild, when they leave the ground, they are about to die. It is an instinct that you must work with them on. You can socialize a rabbit to not mind being picked up by doing it a lot. At least a couple times a day, but you must insure that you never drop her when holding her and that you pick her up using a method that does not hurt her. Never pick a rabbit up by their ears or the scruff of their neck, because this hurts. My book shows the proper method to pick up and hold a rabbit in order to maintain control and not hurt them.
          Do not trance your rabbit, because most of them do not like it and it is a fear response. Even though she does not like it, you will want to groom and do nails regularly. The more you do it, the more used to it she will become. Of course, it is scary the first time you pick them up and put them onto the counter top or into a pet carrier. This is why you need to do this regularly, to show her that nothing bad will happen when you do these things. Rabbits are smart and learn quickly.
          She may never LOVE being groomed or going for a ride in a pet carrier, but you can get her to tolerate it and not freak out. It is important to socialize your rabbit to be able to do these things. Otherwise, going to the vet is a horrifying experience, when it doesn’t have to be. I recommend not making your bunny’s first car ride ever, a trip to the vet while he is sick.
          I socialize my rabbits to be able to do all of this, so that they do not freak out when I need to trim their nails or groom them. None of them, LIKE it. They just tolerate it and know that it will end with a small treat.
          Jumping onto the couch or coffee table, if they are in their area cannot really be helped. You can try a stern, “NO” and I have tried using a squirt from a water bottle, but if they insist on hopping there, you may not be able to train them to stop. Rabbits can be stubborn, sometimes. As long as she is not chewing the couch, there should not be a problem with her hopping up there. IF she is, then you might try covering the couch.I can see where going up on the coffee table could be a problem.
          The basic rule of thumb is there are only three things you can do when your rabbit insists on messing with your stuff. You can remove it, make a barrier so they cannot get to it, OR cover it with something that protects it. Those are your options. While rabbits are trainable, they also have a mind of their own on the level of a two year old. No matter how many times you tell a two year old to not do something, you can never trust that they will never do it. They are smart enough to learn that they should never do a no-no while you are looking. They wait until your back is turned. This is how a bunny operates, as well.
          Sticking her nose through her cage is not a problem. They will not do it hard enough to hurt themselves. I think it is cute. I do not know how big her cage is, so I will mention that there are other options for her besides a cage. X-pen environments are larger and more comfortable than most cages, unless you have a very large cage. My rabbits’ cages are about 16 sq. ft. They are the right height and size for a bunny. Your rabbit needs to be able to sit up inside her cage (so it should not be too short) and stretch out completely her full length in all directions. My buns have a two story 2′X4′ abode and it seems to be the right size.
          Here is a link to my page on housing rabbits FYI.
          http://www.thebunnyguy.com/livingarrangements.html
          I do go over all of these things in my house rabbit guide book. I suggest getting your hands on a copy for reference and I believe it will answer all of these questions for you and more.
          Thanks for sharing with us and give your bunny lots of love!
          The Bunny Guy

  11. Hi I’m a 21 year old student and I have two bunnies one female being 1 year old and a recent male of 12 weeks. My female netherland dwarf HATES being in her cage. I let them both out at 10am (my boyfriend wont allow any earlier no matter how much noise she makes on her cage) If I’m in all day then I’ll only really put them away around late lunch and dinner time. My problem is my female constantly pulls on her bars so hard that it shakes the cage (they’re indoor rabbits) she’ll start pulling around 5am but the other half says if I let her out whilst she’s doing it she wont learn not to do so. I hate to see her trying so hard to get out as on the weekends I work stupid hours so I dread her sitting the chewing all day. I’d love to leave her running about but although she is litterbox trained she still leaves her markings everywhere. She also constantly tries to mount the male. I’m running out of ideas

    • I can mention a couple of things that come to mind.
      First, you did not mention whether or not the two bunnies were spayed and neutered. That is really important. Marking behavior diminishes once they are fixed. The longer you wait to do it, the harder it will be to break them of the “bad habit”. Something very important to consider is that female rabbits have an 87% chance of getting tumors or cancer by the time they are 4 years old if they are not spayed.
      Also, the marking is probably occurring because you got a new boy in the house. She is marking her territory to tell him that it belongs to her. She sounds like a very dominant rabbit (most dwarfs are). I bet she did not do it as much before he came along. If they are not completely bonded, this marking will probably not go away. Once they are bonded, there should be no need to tell each other about their territory. Even if the rabbits are not in the same room, they hear and smell each other, so they will mark to warn the other bun where their space is.
      If they are just dropping poop around, that is really not a big deal. It is when they pee, that you have a problem. Even litter box trained rabbits will drop a few poops when they hop around. It does not leave a smell and you can pick them up with your fingers. The pee is a different story because it will stain and it smells bad. You can clean pee safely with a 50-50 vinegar and water mixture. Never use store bought cleaners in an area where your rabbit goes. They are all toxic for bunnies.
      Secondly, you have a Netherland Dwarf. They are one of the most high energy active breeds there are. So many people get them because they are small and cute, without realizing that they actually need the most space and run time of all rabbits. There is a misconception that their small size means that they can live in a small cage. This is not true. If anything, they need larger cages and more time out to run and play than regular rabbits.
      Normally, a rabbit needs two to three hours a day of run time out to play. A dwarf may not be satisfied with that amount of playtime.
      One solution is to ditch the cage for a larger environment, such as an x-pen or a much larger cage. A double x-pen would even be better for a dwarf bunny. My rabbit’s condo measures 16 sq. ft. That is four times the size I see in the pet stores, that most people buy. Those cages are not big enough and your rabbit is telling you about his frustration.
      Rabbits are the most active in the early morning (hence his 5am wake-up call) and the early evening. They are usually resting during the main part of the day. The time you are letting him out to play is the time that normally a rabbit would be napping.
      I would recommend finding a way to get him more playtime and it would be helpful if it was early in the morning when he is asking you to be allowed to run. My rabbits are the most active starting at about 5am when they wake up. Then by about 10am they are napping until the middle or late part of the afternoon. This is pretty universal, but rabbits are adaptive and if the only time they can play is noontime, then they will take it. They might be a bit lethargic during the noon hour, but Dwarfs rarely have that problem. haha
      Hope this helps a bit. If you need more help, I will do my best to try and help with some advice.
      The Bunny Guy

  12. Hi!
    I’m a high school student and have 2 female outdoor bunnies. I wake up at 6:00am every morning to get to school so I’m too afraid to let them out for the whole day even though my backyard is bunny proofed and fenced with safe wire. My dad has bunny proofed every corner but for some reason they can sometimes manage to find a way to get out, but oddly enough they always come back home. I get home at around 4:45 and let them out until about 7:00-7:30 but I feel so bad having them cooped up in the cage for the whole day. The cage is a pretty decent size and has plenty of space for my bunnies laze around but my bunnies are so energetic i feel if I’m depriving them of sufficient space. Because its always raining now I take them inside home after school but they just sit there under the coffee table or corner even when I try so hard to get them to play around. I love bunnies and am always affectionate to them but for some reason they always prefer anyone but me. I feel like such a bad owner. Please give some advice!

    • Hi Stacey
      I am so glad that you posted your story. It is clear that you have a lot to learn about having pet bunnies. Once you do, you will find that they are very special and rewarding pets. I HIGHLY recommend getting a couple of books about them and reading them several times. When it comes to rabbits, what you do not know WILL hurt them.

      More important than depriving your bunnies of sufficient space is the fact that they live indoors. It is impossible to provide a safe habitat for rabbits outdoors. They are prey animals and all kinds of predators would just love to eat them. As you have discovered, rabbits cannot be kept in a yard, no matter how bunny-proof you think it is. They dig and hop out of almost any yard, given enough time.

      Of more concern is that the predators can also get in. No fence can keep raccoons out of your yard. They can even open cages with their paws. Often, rabbits have heart attacks from being pestered by predators that do not even get into their cages, due to a rabbit’s weak cardiovascular system.

      As a rabbit educator, I have heard the story hundreds of times. It goes like this: “Well, he hopped around in my yard for years and then one day he was just gone.” It is going to happen one day and it is just a matter of when. If you love your bunnies, you do not ever want this to happen. This is why we keep our pet rabbits indoors, where they are always safe. We only let our bunnies out to play under close supervision.

      A rabbit needs two or three hours a day of run time, sometimes more depending on the breed and energy level. We use large cages or x-pens to house rabbits inside the house. Some rabbits can be allowed to free roam a house, like a dog or cat would, if you bunny-proof extensively. All areas that rabbits run must be bunny-proofed.

      All of these subjects will be covered in my book and most other house rabbit books that are available. Make sure that you read books about house rabbits, not rabbit breeding. These are two different things. Breeders house rabbits like livestock and house rabbits are how you are supposed to keep a PET BUNNY. There is a big difference.

      Housing rabbits outdoors is left over from the days when we raised them as livestock and ate them. Their cages also need to be substantial in size in order for your rabbit to not learn to hate being inside there. IF you give them the right size cage or pen and plenty of run time, they are happy.

      Your bunnies are trying to tell you something by their shunning you. Rabbit communication is different than with dogs and cats. You will want to learn their language and it will help a lot in your relationship. Rabbits are very expressive, but they use signals and body language to communicate. They are certainly trying to tell you what they want, but maybe you are not understanding them.

      Rabbit relationships are all about trust. You can never discipline a rabbit or they will mistrust you. By socializing and communicating with your bunnies, you develop trust and a happy bond.

      You did not mention if your girls were spayed. This is probably THE most important part of having a pet female rabbit. It is basically a death sentence to not have them spayed, since more than 80 percent of them will get tumors or cancer before they are four years old if they are not. Also, they have very aggressive behaviors until they are spayed. These go away after the surgery.

      A rabbit specialist vet must be used for the spay. Seek out a list of good rabbit vets from your local rabbit rescue or House Rabbit Society chapter. Do not use a dog or cat vet because it takes experience to do this right.

      As you can see, there is a lot to discuss about your bunnies and you cannot learn it all in one blog post. It is good that you are asking these questions, but now it is up to you to seek out more knowledge so that your experience with these pet bunnies is a success and does not end in failure.

      Hope you decide to get a copy of my book, because I devote whole chapters to each of these issues.

      The Bunny Guy

  13. I’ve had my not-so-mini rex for almost two years now, and we are very close, he is very affectionate towards me, as I am to him. My rabbit has always seemed to need to be “invited” out of his cage. This consists of me opening the door, petting him and then if I look away or cover my eyes he will come out and run and play (yes strange, but it’s just how our routine ended up, haha). He usually plays for about 2-4 hours a day, 3-5 on weekends. However, lately he has been randomly getting back into his cage about fifteen minutes in, and refusing to come back out even if I “invite” him out. I know he needs to run, but I don’t just want to pick him up and force him to come out because maybe he’s trying to urinate or something and he knows to do it in his cage. He’s always been an attitude-y guy, could that be it? It’s been going on for almost three weeks now and I just worry because it want him to exercise and he really isn’t much :( Any ideas as to what is wrong? He doesn’t seem to be sick in any other way, either.

    • I would not worry if this happened just one or two days, but being that this has been going on for several weeks I think you are right to be concerned.

      Has anything in his “territory” been changed recently? A new piece of furniture or the removal of something normally in his area can sometimes trigger behaviors like this. They usually get over it after a few days, but given his “attitude” he may be super upset about something like that. Some rabbits do not deal with change very well and so something new, such as another pet in the house or even person can cause this kind of reaction. He could be trying to tell you the only way that he knows how that he feels something is not quite right.

      Lack of physical activity is a real and valid concern, especially if the change occurs suddenly. Is he still eating and pooping the way he normally does?

      Sometimes a physical discomfort will cause a change in their activity level. A tooth ache or upset tummy can definitely cause this behavior. That said, I have seen bunnies do this because they did not get their favorite treat. Rabbits are truly complex creatures.

      The first thing I would do is closely examine his surroundings for any changes that could be causing him stress. New people, pets or objects can be suspect. Also, the removal of any of these things can also be the culprit.

      Then I would examine if there was any change at all in his diet. New hay, treats or food of any kind may be causing him to feel less than chipper. Is there something new that is scary to him out of his cage? I have had bunnies freak out over a new vacuum cleaner or fan in the room.

      If this lack of activity continues, I would not ignore it. Rabbits signal their problems very subtly and it is good of you to have noticed this. The cause could be something as minor as something is out of place in his world, or he could just be mad about something. I cannot completely rule out a physical illness or him not feeling well, either. Usually, when rabbits are sick they will drastically change their eating habits, too. If he is eating normally, then he is probably OK.

      You mentioned that he spends most of his time in a cage. Is it possible that his cage is too small? Most of the rabbit cages I have seen are simply not big enough for the bunnies who live in them. Even though he was getting plenty of exercise before, rabbits can get quite grumpy about living in a cramped cage. I recommend a cage no smaller than 2X4 feet and actually 2×6 is much better. If he cannot hop two or three times in one direction, then he is cramped. IF he cannot stand up without hitting his head on top of the cage, then he is cramped.

      It seems ironic, that if he was unhappy with his cage, that he would be seeking refuge there, instead of playing and interacting with you. Bunnies sometimes have funny ways of telling us stuff. It sounds like this could be a big challenge for you. It may suddenly go away and you will never know exactly what it was. Still, I think you are doing the right thing to try and discover what is causing this sudden change.

      Not sure how much help I have been and I hope that you find the cause for this. Let me know what you think and if you do figure out what is the reason for this.

  14. I have just bought two lion head rabbits for my daughters. They are 9 weeks old. They are currently friendly and happy to be cuddled, once we have managed to pick them up. I have been told not to allow them free use of their run (it is secure with the hutch inside so they can move inside when they want to) as they will run wild and won’t want to be picked up. Others say allow as much run time as possible. I would welcome some advise. I don’t want to end up with unfriendly rabbits that my children don’t want to go near!

    • In order to have your bunnies behave like pets, they must live in constant contact with their owners. Everyone that I know that has pet rabbits, has them living in their home and not outside in a hutch. We handle them several times a day from the day we adopt them. They are social critters who crave constant interaction with others. It is their nature to have a large extended family. When you bond with them, they consider you family and will want to be near you.
      I recommend obtaining several books about pet rabbits and doing a lot of reading on the internet. There is a lot to learn about pet rabbits and what you do not know WILL hurt them. It takes an effort to learn proper care and contrary to popular belief, they are not “easy keepers” or children’s pets. In order for a rabbit to live his full lifespan of at least 10-12 years, proper diet, exercise and grooming must be done. I have found that predators for outdoor rabbits is a big issue. I have a bunny with one eye because a raccoon attacked her while she was a stray. Hawks, owls, fox, and even dogs will hurt a bunny. Bunnies are awesome diggers and can dig out of any enclosure in a few hours. I tell people that it is usually just a matter of time before a rabbit escapes a backyard or something gets into to hurt them.
      Even more important, rabbits do not easily let you know when they are ill or need medical attention. Unless you are interacting closely with your rabbit on a daily basis, you will miss the important signs of illness. Most outdoor rabbits die before their owners know that they need medical attention. This is probably one of the reasons that indoor pet rabbits live more than twice as long as the average hutch bunny outdoors.
      I urge you to read my book about pet rabbits or to continue asking questions about rabbits. There is so much more to pet rabbit care than just feeding pellets and water. Actually, that is one of the worst things you can do. Rabbits were not born to eat pellets. They eat grass hay. Simple things like this will extend a rabbits lifespan dramatically, but the bunny cannot teach you these things. You will not learn them without actively seeking out the knowledge, like you are doing now.]
      Good luck with your bunnies. Give them lots of love and they will love you back.
      The Bunny Guy

  15. Hi I am still in school and it is summer I have a yt channel and always do care vids of them I always play with them for 3-4 hours but my question is a bit different its not about play time here it goes – welli always make sure that my buns cage are fully closed now with bricks at the top so the cant open it cuz 1 night ago my 4 month old female bunny some how opened the cage and got out when I woke up I was just about to clean the cage at 6:30 am when I saw her waking on my lawn!!!!! In the back yard! I was scared to death not cuz she could of ran away that to but mostly cuz their are soooooo many plant she could of ate! :,( she seems fine now but I was scared to death plz tell me tips on if she is ok or what to do but now I put bricks cuz I used to not and I think she pushed it opened lol so plz give me tips on if she is ok don’t worry now I put thing to lock it :) thx!!!

    • Hi Celeste

      I think you need to take some time to read the pages and blog on my site. I don’t think that it is ever OK for rabbits to live in a cage in the back yard. It is not how pet rabbits are supposed to live. Rabbits that live in cages outside are livestock, not pets.

      If you love your rabbit, you need to find a way for her to live indoors. Rabbits who live indoors are happier, safer and live more than twice as long.

      Rabbits are prey animals, unlike dogs or cats who are predators. There are many other wild predators in most locations that would love to eat a rabbit for dinner. I have heard so many stories of rabbits who died in their cages, because a predator was outside trying to get in and the poor bunny was scared to death.

      If you can get a copy of my rabbit guide book, you will learn many things about your bunny. Things like if you are just feeding her pellets, that will eventually kill her. Pellets were not designed for pet rabbits to live ten or fifteen years. Grass hay should be 90 percent of her diet and maybe a teaspoon or so of pellets each day as a treat. A little green leafy salad is where she should be getting her vitamins. Too many pellets end up making a bunny fat and not living very long.

      Rabbits are great pets but are very complex. Unfortunately, most folks don’t take the time to learn much about them and keep them in cages. My bunnies are all litter box trained like a cat. They hop around the house and use a litter box to go to the bathroom and also to eat their hay from in there.

      Back yard caged rabbits usually live about five years. Indoor pet bunnies will live 10-15 years. It becomes very easy to see what the right thing to do is, if you love your bunny and want to have her live many more years with you.

      Hope you can find a way to change her life by letting her live indoors with you. You will learn so much more about her and her personality, when you are indoor buddies, like you would be with a dog or cat. The only reason people keep rabbits outdoors in cages is because it is a hold over from the days when bunnies were simply farm animals. If you are not planning on eating your little girl, I believe that you should consider finding a way for her to live like a real pet does, which is in the house.

      Thank you for writing!
      Stephan
      The Bunny Guy

  16. Hi there,

    I have had my Netherland Dwarf Luna for 1 week now. She is only 12 weeks old. So far she has been settling in and responding well to me, although i wouldn’t say she is affectionate yet. She will take my strokes most of the time, but sometimes is quite wary of me. Recently she has been darting around the cage really quickly and bunny hopping. Is this a sign that she needs more exercise outside her cage? I am eager to let her out, but im worried that she doesn’t quite trust me yet, as i haven’t had her for too long, and that if i let her out of the cage, it will be a mission trying to get her back in. How long do you think i should wait before letting her out? Obviously i want what is best for her, and don’t want to move to quickly if its going to be detrimental to our friendship.

    Thankyou.

    • Hi Kaite

      Bunnies need two to three hours a day to be out to run and play every day. Dwarf rabbits are notoriously high energy rabbits who require even more exercise and stimulation than most types of buns.

      She should only be let out to play in “bunny-proofed” areas. This is important so that she does not chew or ingest anything harmful. Cords, house plants and anything wooden, paper or cardboard are favorite chewing items. Most house plants are poisonous and even a fallen leaf can result in problems.

      Many people use several metal exercise pens to contain bunnies to a certain run area. The run and play area needs to be large enough that they can run and hop freely. A 3X6ft. exercise pen is not large enough. Contrary to popular believe, it is the smaller rabbits like your dwarf that need the most room because of their high activity level.

      Also, most store bought cages are not large enough for a rabbit. I do not know what kind of cage you are keeping him in but the bunny needs to be able to hop several times across and be able to lay out completely the short length. It also must be tall enough for her to stand up.

      Here is an awesome video you can watch about cage size.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vvlb-prX4I

      I recommend at least an hour each day of up close interaction with your new bunny. It is best to get down on the floor, since rabbits are not born liking to be picked up. In the wild, they are about to die when they leave the ground. Therefore, to build trust you should start out petting and doing all interactions down low on the floor.

      Rabbit and human relationships are all about trust. Rabbits are prey animals and while they are smart, they do not respond well to any kind of discipline. They will learn to mistrust you if you ever hit or hurt them in any way. This must always be remembered when your bunny chews on something (AND SHE WILL).

      Bunnies must chew and so it is up to you to make sure that she does not get to chew anything that she shouldn’t.

      There is a lot to learn about having a rabbit and unfortunately, what you don’t know WILL hurt them. Please take the time to read about rabbits on the internet and I wrote my book to be useful to help learn about the many things you need to know.

      Thanks for posting!
      The Bunny Guy

  17. Hi,
    I just got a bunny last Thursday. Unfortunately, I was misinformed by many people who told me she would make a great classroom pet. I have some teacher friends who had bunnies but my suspicion is that they kept them as caged animals. Once I got my bunny I started doing tons of research in order to care for her properly. ( I realize I should have done some before hand but I was trusting the opinions of my coworkers) I was horrified after doing all this research of the prospect of keeping her in a cage all the time. Poor thing. Though the classroom might not be an ideal environment, and I realize that, I am committed to making it the best possible version of this situation. I have a cage for her and a playpen attached to her cage. She is only in her cage when I leave the classroom in the evening (around 5 pm) and in the morning before I come in. (I get there around 7am) From 7-5 then her cage is open to her playpen so she can choose to come out and play whenever she wants. Though her play area might not be as big as I want it to be, she is a lion lop mix and quite small so she is able to hop and jump and do her binkies. Because she is in the classroom with us ( I teach 10 yr olds by the way who have very limited and supervised interaction…no on holds her! ever! and I’m not planning on it. They give her greens and pet her head. She likes that. :) ) I bring her home on the weekends. This weekend was the first time home with me and she has the same set-up at home. I wish I could let her run free but we have a very aggressive hunting dog so my bunny is in our finished basement. I am home a lot on the weekends working on grading so I am planning on spending my time in the basement with her. Ok, very long story not so short. Ha! My question is, is all this traveling back and forth going to totally stress her out? I was hoping that if it was the same two locations all the time combined with the fact that she is still with me she would be OK, but I am worried with everything I read online about how stress can kill a rabbit and how they can die of fright. She seems to finally be settling in now but come Monday morning is she going to need to readjust to the classroom? By the way, I climb in her playpen regularly throughout the day in order to interact with her. Thanks! Any advice would be appreciated. I just want to make sure she lives a long, healthy, happy life! I am so in love already :)

    • Hi Katie

      It is ironic that you wrote me about your new bunny because classroom bunnies have always been a pet peeve of mine. I am so elated that you have discovered that there is so much more to a rabbit than just feeding them and keeping them in a small cage. They are such amazing creatures with so much to share, but most people never take the time to learn how interesting and loving a pet bunny can be.

      I am very pleased that you are trying to give your bunny a better environment and living conditions by learning about her. I am certain you will be rewarded a lot for the effort. Bunnies are very addictive because of how they bond with their people if given half a chance. Just watch how loving two bonded rabbits are when they are together and you will see what I mean.

      I cannot answer your question about whether it will stress out your bun to travel, since it depends on her personality. It is always stressful for rabbits to ride in a car at first, but some can quickly get used to it and not mind it at all. I have a couple who don’t like it and a couple who do. You will only know by trying it.

      There is a bit of concern about your hunting dog being in the house with the bunny. In my opinion, it is a disaster waiting to happen. I used to think that it was OK, as long as you did everything you could to keep them separated. The problem is that sometime during the next ten years, someone is going to make a fatal mistake. A door will be left open accidentally or something like that. It is bound to happen.

      I recently had a friend who was fostering a couple of bunnies that he rescued from a petting zoo. He had a couple of Labradors that he kept separate, but a maid forgot and left a door open one day. It took seconds for the disaster to happen. He felt really bad and it changed my opinion that you can prevent this from happening in the long term. I now think that it is probably a bad idea to have an aggressive dog in the house with a pet rabbit, because inevitably accidents happen. Sorry to say this, because I envision that you will make a great bunny mom. Maybe you can come up with a foolproof way to protect your little bunny girl from a tragic meeting with the doggie or at least rethink your methods because perfection is a necessity.

      Learning about rabbits is a journey that lasts for many years. Each bunny teaches you something more about their gentle nature and ways. There is something so refreshing about retreating for a few minutes into your bunny’s world by getting on his level to interact and communicate with him. I suggest learning some “bunny language” and it will become even more interesting. When you learn what your bunny is saying, you discover how intelligent and interactive they really are.

      Try “mirroring” your rabbits signals and body postures for some fun reactions from her. When your rabbit trusts you, they will begin to “tell” you things and a true bond and communication opens up. You will be surprised how much they have to “say” and remember, in rabbit language you cannot just walk by without acknowledging your rabbit. It is an “insult” to not stop and say, “hi” with a little pet to the forehead.

      Give her a big hug and good luck on your journey of learning and loving pet bunnies.

      The Bunny Guy

  18. Hi I just started working overnights and because of the longer hours I only have to work 3 days a week and I have no pets so last week I got my first bunny he’s a netherland dwarf and he get 12 or more hours a day out of his cage he’s only 9wks old and is full of energy he never wants to coudle unless its 9pm but I undersand and I let him run around as much as he wants but he only runs away from me its a crazy chore to catch him and put him in his cage at night in general he only runs away from me ill sit on the floor with treats and hell run away as soon as I move my hand to give him the treat ….what am I doing wrong I want to have a loving relationship with my bun :(

    • Hi Jenny

      How fun it is to get your first bunny, but it is just the start of your journey. Learning about rabbits takes many years and you will only learn if you do what you are doing, which is actively seek out the information to become smarter about them.

      I suggest reading lots of books and doing homework online to learn about your bunny, because with rabbits, it is what you DON’T KNOW will hurt them.

      Your main problem of your bunny not wanting to interact very much with you could be due to the breed of bunny that you have selected for your first rabbit. Dwarf rabbits are notoriously hyperactive and known for now wanting to do a lot of cuddling or liking to be held.

      This is unfortunate, because it appears to me that inexperienced bunny folks seem to most often select these type of bunnies along with Lionheads to be their first rabbit. I tell people that for newbies, these are the hardest type of rabbits to bond and interact with. Of course, I am speaking in generalities and there are always exceptions to this line of thinking.

      It will require a lot of effort on your part to socialize and train this high energy bunny in to being a good companion. The first thing I would recommend is finding a healthy treat that your rabbit likes to give to him when it is time for him to do something like go back into his cage. Rabbits learn quickly and you will find him sitting waiting at his cage when the time comes. Yes, bunnies do tell time well and like being on schedules.

      Also, are you sure that his cage is large enough for him to be happy and comfortable. Just because he is a small bunny does not mean that he can handle a small cage. Small bunnies who are active, like yours need larger than average cages. I think it should be no smaller than 2′X4′ and even bigger is better. A two level 2×4 cage should be enough for this little guy. You could also do like I do, which is attach an x-pen to the front of the cage so that he has a run area that is part of his abode area. Dwarf rabbits need a lot of run time and get bored very easily. This means they need mental and physical stimulation to be happy, otherwise they get frustrated.

      Relationships with rabbits are all about trust. You bunny could be running from you because he knows that when you catch him, it will be time to get locked up again in his cage. My rabbits actually LIKE their cages and do not think of it as a punishment and because of the small treat they always get when put inside, they look forward to going there.

      If every time you chase and catch him it means going back into a cage, you may find him always trying to avoid you. Bunnies are smart and so treat or no treat, he does not want to get “caught”.

      Try mirroring your bunny’s body posture to make him more comfortable with you. Rabbits communicate with signals and body postures. When your bunny is turned sideways to you, it means “I am not sure I want to interact with you”. If you turn sideways too, it says “OK, I understand”. If you remain forward facing, it is an aggressive posture that says I am going to approach you anyway. If you get the butt, that means “Definitely, stay away”. If you turn and give your bunny the butt, too you might find that he will then rearrange himself to at least turn sideways or face you. Maybe not.

      I have a complete chapter in my book about communication and language. It really helps to understand what your rabbit is trying to tell you. There is also a chapter on socialization and training. Learning how to play with and interact with your bunny is important to developing the relationship that you desire.

      You are doing the right thing by getting on the floor with your bunny. Laying on the floor to read a book or watch TV is perfect, because then your bunny can approach you on his own terms. It is kind of aggressive in a rabbit’s mind when you suddenly get on the floor and start approaching him forwardly. It can be threatening. Try and get your bunny to approach you.

      Good luck and please let us know how it goes. I think you are doing the right thing by seeking out the knowledge that will make you a better bunny parent. Once you get hooked on pet bunnies, you will never want to be without one.

      The Bunny Guy

  19. ihave a rabbit called bella and she will be 1 in october she doesnt really like to interact with you or play she just hide in her bed when u go to stroke her amd when u put her in her pen she just diggs in the mudd amd doesnt have any interest in you , is there any toys or treats and things tht i can do to get her to be abit more interactive x ?.???!

    • Hi Megan
      Your rabbit is afraid of you and is not socialized to interact with humans. This is very normal and there are many things that you can do to increase her desire to interact.

      Rabbit-human relationships are about trust. You cannot discipline a rabbit, ever or they will always be afraid of you. Bunnies have super memories and can remember things years after they occur.

      No telling what kind of “baggage” that rabbits come to us with. Their previous encounters with humans can evoke fear or terror if they have had bad experiences. You job will be to teach your bunny that you are only there to pet her and will never hurt her. With some very shy rabbits this can take years, sometimes. I have a bunny who is just warming up to me after four years.

      If offering treats, I recommend using healthy ones such as timothy hay cubes or a sprig of parsley or cilantro. If you make your bunny expect a sweet treat each time you come to interact, she may quickly become overweight. Better to use a healthier alternative.

      I tell people that you should spend about one hour per day interacting with your rabbit, in order to socialize them. This means that you cannot come to visit your bunny for five minutes each day and expect her to be excited about you wanting to pet her. Regularly spending an hour each day, preferably at the same time will develop a relationship.

      Rabbits are born wanting to socialize and have buddies, because they normally live in large groups of over 100 in the wild. They can easily be ruined or be put off human contact. It can sometimes be difficult for them to overcome their past. Who knows what horrors our buns go through before we take them in.

      When you interact with your bunny, it is best to be on their level. Get into her pen each day and play with or pet her for an hour. This is how we get our bunnies to look forward to our time together.

      There is a complete chapter in my book about Socialization and Training Bunnies. This is where the true enjoyment of having a pet rabbits is realized. The reason we have pets is to bond with them.

      Learning your bunny’s language will also help you to understand her. Once you learn what your bunny is trying to tell you, then communication can begin.

      What people don’t realize is that you must spend time with your bunny in order for this bond to form. Read a book on the floor or watch TV on the floor in your rabbit’s area. When you are not intently paying attention to her, you are less of a threat. When you come into her area and try and touch her, even after she tells you that she does not want you to touch her is very threatening and aggressive in bunny language.

      Just be in her area and let her come up and approach you. This may take five minutes or a half hour. It may take a couple weeks, depending on how nervous she is about being near her. Teach her that every time you are near, that you are not snatching her up or putting her into a cage. Bunnies associate their humans with regular things, like being snatched up from their pen to go back into a cage. This teaches them to hide from you when you approach them in their pen because they don’t want to go back into a cage.

      Stephan
      The Bunny Guy

  20. Bunny Guy,

    I just got my first rabbit, a mini lop, this past weekend! We’ve named her Bessie and I absolutely love her. She is between 5-6 months old and currently unspayed, but that will be changing within the next few weeks. Is it a mistake to wait for a bit of time to spay her? My thought process was spaying is a very stressful event, and I didnt want her to associate all these new stresses with me.

    We are currently litterbox training and it seems to be moving in a positive direction. She primarily urinating in her litter box (she has accidents every now and then outside her cage, but she usually hops back in to use the litter box), but we are having trouble getting her to primarily poop in her box. Any tips?

    I work/have class during the day, so I let her out (her cage is in my bunny-proofed bedroom) in the morning after I wake up (she is usually out for some period of time between 7:30 and 10:00), and then Iet her out when I get back in the late afternoon/early evening (varying between 3-5). She is out for a good portion of the evening. She will binky around in the morning, but in the afternoon she is more aloof and is investigating the room. She will come out of her cage, run/hop around, lay on the floor, investigate, go lay in her cage (which I leave open), come out and investigate, and lay down underneath the bed.
    I am worried she isn’t exercising enough, but I wonder if I have a different standard of what “exercise is”. In a few months I will be moving, so I am looking forward to getting her a play pen.

    I just wanted to make sure there weren’t any glaring issues in my rabbit care! I feed her timothy pellets primarily since she is young, but also provide lots of timothy hay and chewing toys in her cage. We were doing good with fresh veggies (cilantro and a few carrots), but I tried kale and she snubbed it, and now she is snubbing all veggies…

    I am looking forward to purchasing your book! Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Bessie’s Mom

      I would not wait to spay her. They get over being spayed very quickly. In a week or so after the surgery, she will already be getting over it. It takes about four to six weeks for the surgery to take effect.

      Are you putting her hay into her litter box? This is an important and easy part of litter box training. Rabbits like to graze while they are peeing and pooping and so by putting their main food into their box, they will spend a lot of time in there. Also, rabbits are very clean animals. You can see this by how often they bath themselves each day. They don’t like a dirty box, so if you are not cleaning it every day, then that may be a factor.

      It usually is helpful to just put a box where they go. They would prefer to use the box, anyway. Make sure the sides of the box are not too low or too high. We use a regular size cat box, but some folks find that they need to use a high sided box if their buns tend to over shoot the sides a lot. Smaller buns like yours may not have that problems as much.

      I have a whole chapter in my book about litter box training and step by step pictures on how to set up the box with hay inside. I also sell the convenient little plastic grates that you can use in the box to save on your Carefresh usage. Do not ever use pine or cedar shavings in your bunny’s box. It can cause sudden liver failure in rabbits.

      Some rabbits are more active in the morning and some like to be more active in the evening. During the middle of the day is usually nap time for most bunnies. It sounds like your bunny is getting enough time out of her cage. I would recommend spending about an hour a day up close with her to socialize her into being more interactive with you. I get on the floor and read or watch TV and my buns will come up and want to be near me. I will pet them or offer to play a bit with them. This is how you interact with bunnies, best. After a while, you can teach them to accept being held or sitting on your lap, too. You have to build up their trust.

      You can start weaning your bunny off pellets at six months old. She will be 80 percent of her full adult size by then. An adult bunny does not need pellets and so you can start reducing them, then. Pellets replace a lot of hay and vegetables. 80+ percent of their diet should be grass hay. Mine only get a tablespoon per day at the most. I think many vets tell people to feed too many pellets. They are dense and highly caloric. They do not have the fiber that rabbits need to be healthy.

      Many people do not give adult rabbits pellets at all after one year old. Rabbits’ taste in veggies change all the time. They notice small changes and can be very particular about their hay and veggies, both.

      I hope you get a copy of my book very soon. What you don’t know about your bunny WILL hurt her, so you want to get yourself educated about rabbits ASAP. It is the most common mistake that people make. It takes an effort to learn what you need to know and often people don’t learn enough until it is too late. If you do not proactively seek to learn about bunnies, you will not learn it by trial and error.

      Good luck with your little girl. She sounds like a sweet one.

      The Bunny Guy

  21. I have two male rabbits, but I look after 4, 1 male and the other female. They live outside in the playhouse, that is bunnyproofed, but come inside every other day for about 5 hours. I’d have them in every day, but unfortunately I’m not allowed. However, I do worry I’m not sending enough time with them and that they do miss me.

    One of my rabbits is very dominant and absolutely adores me.he’s so loveable and he does it to everyone, however sometimes he does things I get confused about. For instance he’s always wiping his scent over this, things he’s already done ; including me. He is always ‘binkying’ and I just wonder if something is wrong.. he also, when we cuddle sometimes licks my chest then digs a bit and nibbles but then licks it again.I’m a girl, so you can understand why this would be slightly uncomfortable. I do tell Thor off a bit, make a noise to tell him it’s not okay and put him on the floor, but is there any reason he’s doing this? I didn’t stop petting him in the way he likes, he just does it…

    Also, I’m mummy to Loki, but he really doesnt like people. He’ll allow himself to be held but only by and one other and he hates being stroked, unless I wrap him in a blanket and then he seems content to be held and stroked.I was wondering if Thor wiping his scent on me could have anything to do with Loki not wanting to come near our cuddling? Occasionally he does come and lie down next to me but I’m not allowed to touch him or he’ll move away and look back at me, as if to say ” do NOT try and touch me.” Is unlikely he was abused as I got them both at the same time from babies and loved them and tested then the same…

    But, and I know this is crazy, but there were two black bunnies… and I originally wanted the other one! And I can’t help thinking maybe he picked up on this?? I’m crazy right? Anyway, can you help with my Thor behaviour issues and Loki autism?

    Also, when I move out (in a few years) I want them to be inside all the time..have a large cage they can sleep in and be in when I’m not supervising them… is that healthy and will they suffer from not being outside? And also from being separated from Rogue and Storm? (The other two)

    Thankyou in advance for all your help

    • Hi Bethany

      The behaviors that you describe Thor doing sounds like he has not been neutered. When male rabbits are not fixed, they do a lot of marking and can be extremely dominant to females. I had a boy who used to hump my wife’s leg like a dog until we got him neutered.

      I do not know what area that you live, but be certain to use a rabbit specialist vet when getting the boys neutered. Dog and cat vets are not good to use on rabbit surgeries. They are so different and the vet needs special experience that dog and cat vets do not have.

      Not all rabbits like being picked up and held. Actually, most rabbits do not like it until you socialize them to it. Often, they never learn to love it, but can be taught to tolerate it. It depends on the personality of the rabbit. It sounds to me like you got very lucky with Thor being a cuddly loving bunny, because Loki has the personality that is more common with rabbits. Thor sounds like the rare kissey bunny.

      It is very bad for rabbits to live outside. They are prey animals, not predators like dogs and cats. They have no defenses against attack by the many predators that would like to kill and eat them. Hawks and owls can fly over and snatch a bunny up to 8 lbs. Coyotes and wolves love to eat rabbits and the worst are raccoons who actually can open cages and go inside to get a bunny. I have a rabbit who has one eye because the other was damaged in a raccoon attack. Even dogs and cats will often kill bunnies.

      The reason that we advocate rabbits living indoors, like dogs and cats is that they need our protection. Indoor rabbits on average live more than twice as long as outdoor bunnies. The average rabbit who is housed outside lives about five or so years. Indoor rabbits can live between ten and fifteen years. That is two or three times as long. When we love our bunnies, we try and keep them inside to protect them from predators and the elements.

      In the summer, the heat can certainly kill bunnies. Temperatures over 80 degrees can be fatal for a rabbit. It gets that hot almost anywhere during the summertime and many thousands of rabbits die each summer from the heat outdoors.

      There is a lot of information available on the internet about how to house your rabbit indoors. It is easiest to do with a dog exercise pen called an “x-pen”. these metal pens come in many different heights and are usually about 3′x6′. Rabbits live in these enclosures indoors and then get about two or three hours a day of run or play time out of the pen.

      Those hops and dances that they do are called “binkies”. It is a sign of extreme happiness. It is a good thing to see them do that because it means that they are happy. You want to see your rabbit do lots of binkies, like all happy rabbits do. As they get older, some rabbits will not do them as often but I have seen twelve year old rabbits doing them. They are universal and all rabbits do them.

      Hope this info helps. I hope that you keep trying to learn about rabbits because when it comes to bunnies, what you don’t know WILL hurt them.

      The Bunny Guy

      • They have been neutered, a while ago, and the girl was spayed.. knowing this information, can you explain his behaviour to me better?

        • Hi Bethany

          Rabbits are very territorial. Your boy Thor is displaying territorial and dominant behavior.

          I do not remember if the two are bonded. If they are not bonded, then it would explain it. When other rabbits are around that are not bonded, then buns will try and mark everything they can to claim it as theirs. This is done by rubbing their chins, chewing on and even peeing and pooping on stuff.

          Loki is just not fond of being picked up. I would just continue to work with him to let him know that nothing bad will ever happen to him when you do. Hold him tightly and close so that he does not feel like he is going to fall. That is why he is calmer when he is wrapped, because it provides a sense of security.

          A lot of the territorial behaviors go away after a group of rabbits become bonded, but putting any new buns onto any part of their territory, including you, will result in them having to “reclaim” their stuff and territory.

          The Bunny Guy

  22. Hello, We just purchased a bunny from the pets store. My daughter is 6 and so far her “responsibilty” has been great however I am so lost when it comes to bunny care. I have read all of your help and it has been all very helpful! I am still interested on how to litter box train her though. She has been out twice a day for almost 2 hours since we brought her home. She has been doing “binkies” and exspressing alot of all the behaviors that you describe. I am finding that getting her back to her cage if a chore, She always makes it a “run around”. I know this is all going ot take time and patience but if you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it! We have been getting down on the floor with her and letting her know we are there using slow calm voices and movements but getting her back in her cage is dedinitly a challenge I do not look forward to.

    Thanks so much,
    Crystal

    • Hi Crystal
      I am glad you wrote here because it is very important that you start your journey of learning about pet rabbits right away.

      With rabbits, what you don’t know will hurt them. I am sure that you are probably making lots of serious mistakes right now when it comes to feeding, bunny-proofing and knowing when to take your rabbit to the vet (and the right KIND of vet). These are all critical issues that you must know and understand in order to care for this lovely bunny.

      The first thing you are going to need to do is learn what to feed this bunny and it is not pellets. Pellets were designed to fatten up bunnies so you can quickly eat them. They are fine for a baby bunny because they need the extra calories, protein and carbs to grow, but as soon as he (or she) matures the pellets can quickly become a problem.

      I also recommend that you locate and visit a rabbit vet specialist ASAP. You will want to select the right vet for your bunny so that you can plan his or her spay/neuter surgery. Rabbits do not even make good pets until they are fixed. Female rabbits have more than a four out of five chance of getting breast or uterine cancers if not spayed by the time they are four and boy bunnies are notorious for marking EVERYTHING around them if not neutered.

      This is how you litter box train a rabbit. You get him spayed/neutered and then put a box where they go because after that they will only go in one place.

      The reason your rabbit is fighting going back into his cage is because it is too small. Most rabbit cages sold at pet stores are way too small for a pet rabbit. They are really made for Guinea Pigs and hamsters not bunnies. A suitable rabbit cage needs to be no less than two feet by four feet. That is the minimum. Mine are twice that size. My rabbits do not fight being put into their cage and when I open the door, they don’t even rush to get out because they love their cages.

      Large cages are expensive and most look like they belong in the back yard. The only company making appropriate indoor cages is leithpetwerks.com

      X-pen environments are the more cost effective way to provide a safe home for a rabbit, but they still need to be let out of the x-pen two or three hours a day for exercise and playtime.

      I give my bunnies a very small bunny treat (sprig of cilantro or parsley) when I want them to go into their cages and they never argue. As a matter of fact, when it is time for bed, they are waiting there fifteen minutes early waiting for their treat. This is how you train you bunny. Just do not use sugary treats such as yogurt drops, fruit or human food. A romaine lettuce leaf or sprig of parsley is a huge treat for a rabbit.

      Hope you decide to start your educational journey right away and begin learning what you need to know to successfully have a pet rabbit. They are rewarding pets who will live ten to fifteen years if properly cared for… OR will live only about four or five years if you don’t.

      Good luck and nose bonks
      The Bunny Guy

  23. Dear The Bunny Guy,

    I have a similar problem with my bunny, who fights going back to his cage. He allows me to handle him and to cuddle him but when I let him out to run free in my apartment and want to put him back, he runs away and struggles when i actually do get to him. I really hate it when he struggles, because I feel like his enemy. But the truth is, I am not able to let him out on a daily basis for 4 hours like you recommended.

    He is only 7-8 weeks old. I live in an apartment and work full-time. Still, I try to let him out at least 30 mins-1 hour, about twice a day, whenever I am home.

    With my limitations, would you be able to advise on what would help him stop fighting me and being put back in the cage? I do not give him treats as he is still a baby. He is being fed on pellets and an unlimited amount of hay.

    • You did not mention how big that his cage was. Most store bought rabbit cages are way too small for a bunny. I am sure you have seen how your bunny runs and plays when you let him out. Rabbits have a lot of energy and get bored very easily. They need mental stimulation for all those hours that they are locked up and they need to be able to stretch their legs and move about during the day.

      A cage needs to be long enough that he can hop twice without reaching the end and wide enough that he can lay out fully stretched. I have found that the minimum size needs to be two feet by four feet. That is actually the minimum and smaller and younger rabbits usually need more. Yes, I said smaller rabbits because smaller bunnies are more active and higher energy critters. Most people do not realize that dwarf and mini breeds of bunnies are the most active of all of them.

      My bunnies live in a two story cage that is two feet by four feet. It holds their litter box and still has plenty of room for lounging around.

      Dog exercise pens called x-pens are better than cages since most come in a three foot by six foot size. This is the perfect amount of space for a long day being locked up. Maybe an x-pen attached to the front of a cage with some clips might be the answer. I have been using one of these for two of my rabbits for years and they love this arrangement. As I mentioned, all of my cages came from leithpetwerks.com and they are the best house rabbit cages made in the USA.

      To be honest, two hours a day is the minimum that your bunny needs to be out to run. Three or four would be better, but he needs the exercise especially if they are young and growing.

      I am not sure why you are not allowing your rabbit any treats. First off, treats can be a sprig of parsley or cilantro. Treats should not be fruit or sweets for a rabbit. There are a few bunny crackers or cookies that are not too unhealthy. Find ones with very little sugar and do not contain a lot of carbs with no seeds or nuts in them. American Pet Diner does a nice bunny cracker that I break in half for the small bunnies.

      Rabbits are all about treats. If you want your bunny to be enticed to go into his house, a treat is how I would do it. I have a treat container and if I shake it, all my rabbits come running.

      Just be sure that you have lots of chewing toys in the cage and things to do for your bunny. They get bored and it becomes maddening for them to spend too much time with nothing to do, nothing to chew on, and not being able to run and hop. Phone books are fun toys. Toilet paper tubes provide a lot of fun. Stuff some hay into one and it becomes my rabbits’ favorite toy.

      Glad you wrote and hope this helps a bit. Do your best and try and find ways to make your rabbit’s life more enriched and he will thank you for it. Don’t forget to use a rabbit specialist vet when you get him fixed (a must) and spend an hour a day interacting on the floor with him and you guys will become friends for life.

      The Bunny Guy

  24. Thanks for responding. Your advice is lovely, and I would like to follow it to a T. Unfortunately I face limitations, which I am still working on, including convincing my parents to allow a big rabbit cage or xpen in the hall of our apartment. I don’t live in landed property. My apartment has three rooms, a kitchen, and a hall. The bunny has scratched some furniture when I let him play freely. As you might imagine my parents are not thrilled.
    Yesterday I created a temporary play pen with cardboard boxes and let him run around. I also bonded with him. I offered him a dried apple treat but he ignored that. He prefers his pellets, which are from the brand Genesis.

    Appreciate your help.

    • Are you feeding him hay? More than 85 percent of a rabbit’s diet should be grass hay. Your bunny is young and feeding him pellets is fine for now, but in a few weeks, he is going to be growing up and not need them so much. If you get him where he ONLY eats pellets, then when it is time for him to eat hay and not so many pellets, he will not want to eat.

      The reason this is important is that pellet fed rabbits only live four to six years, but rabbits who eat grass hay will live ten to fifteen years. The reason for this is that rabbits swallow a lot of their fur when they take their baths. Unlike a cat, they cannot throw up fur balls so the fur must go through their system. In order for the fur to move through and not become a blockage, they MUST be eating lots and lots of fresh hay every day. I simplified this story, but in essence this is what happens, so you are going to need to consider how to purchase, store and feed your bunny his hay.

      Once he is neutered by a rabbit vet, he will go in one spot and so he can be litter box trained. The easiest way to give your rabbit lots of hay each day is to put it into his litter box. You will need to clean it every day for him so that he has fresh food and box. This is a very important part of having a pet rabbit.

      I recommend not giving your bunny any kind of dried fruit. It is not good for them because rabbits were not meant to eat anything with sugar or fats in it like nuts, seeds, dairy or sweets of any kind.

      I think you will be showing your rabbit a lot of love if you go online and study about rabbits so that you do not accidentally hurt him. http://www.rabbit.org and http://www.sandiegorabbits.org are two good places to learn.

      Good luck
      Stephan
      The Bunny Guy

  25. I have a 2 1/2 yr old doe who is scared of her own shadow ! When I take her her out of her cage it`s a fight and I usually end up scratched . Then When I do get her out she wants right back in ! When I try to feed her she will eat out of mu hand but is scared and runs away all the time ! I`m at my nerves end I love her but don`t understand what I can do to ease this ! Anyone have any advice to give me ?

    • Hi Shauna
      This rabbit has been hurt by humans. They have excellent memories and do not forget easily. Someone must have mishandled or hurt her in her past and she is fearful of people.
      A relationship between a human and a rabbit is all about trust. It is not natural for a rabbit (a prey animal) to be friends with a predator (a human), so you must teach her that you will never hurt her in any way. Once she learns to trust you, then she will be more willing to be with you without being so afraid.
      It can take a long time and it is a commitment. I recommend that you spend at least one hour each and every day interacting with your rabbit. This is on top of the two or three hours each day that they must be allowed outside of their cage to run and play. If your bunny is not being allowed to run and play at least two hours per day, NO WONDER she does not like you and is telling you so.
      So many people lock their rabbits into a too small cage and forget that bunnies were born to run. The minimum size cage for most rabbits is at least eight square feet and larger is even better. So is her cage is too small? Almost all of the cages I have seen sold in pet stores are WAY too small for a pet rabbit.
      One hour a day should be spent in close contact with your rabbit, otherwise how is she going to learn to be your friend? At first, you need to spend most of that time down on the floor with your bunny. That is your rabbit’s domain and where she feels the most comfortable. Rabbits were not born liking to be picked up or held. In the wild when they leave the ground, they are about to die. It takes a lot of socializing to teach them to accept being picked up and held, but it can be done.
      I have a girl whom it took five years of doing this every day before she got past her extreme fear of me picking her up or approaching her, but I never gave up. She will still occasionally run from me and sometimes panics when I pick her up, but this is a huge improvement from where she was before. It takes time for some rabbits, so just work with her gently and she will come around.

      The Bunny Guy

  26. I got my bunny about 3 years ago, when I first got him I was in highschool and my mom allowed him to live inside. About a year later she made me move him outside (his cage is a pretty decent size and its up in the air so he’s safe) but since then it’s been very difficult to spend time with him.

    I’m in college now and I never have time at all. I feel horrible about it. I feed him regularly and try to bring him in when I can but it’s rare and I feel like he’s lonely. He doesn’t act sad at all, hes always running around and when I bring him back to his cage he happily jumps into it, but he is always very excited to come in the house.

    Would he get sad if I gave him away? Would he miss me? Do you think he’s okay with the small amount of time?

    I love him to pieces and I am filled with guilt every time I bring him in.

    • Thank you for writing and thinking about this little bunny. The first thing that you need to accept is that there is a huge difference in the way we care for and raise farm rabbits and pet rabbits. They are not the same.

      Unfortunately, the one who needs this lesson is not you, but your mom. If this is a pet rabbit. If you care at all about his health and well-being, then he needs to live indoors protected from the elements and predators. Predators do not actually have to come in contact with a rabbit to kill him. They die of heart attacks all the time from just being threatened in their cage by predators.

      I see you already have experienced the fact that once put outdoors, you no longer have the daily intimate contact that makes a rabbit a good pet. I am not sure why your mom has decided that a bunny who was once indoors, needs to be outdoors. If it was because he was chewing stuff or peeing on the floor, then you need to bunny-proof his living area and get him spayed or neutered so that he can be litter box trained like all pet rabbits should be. It is a lot easier than most people think.

      You have to decide whether you are truly going to make him the pet that he deserves to be or otherwise try and find someone else who will. If he is three years old and not spayed or neutered, you need to hurry up because it is almost too late. Females have a four out of five chance of getting uterine or breast tumors or cancers by the time they are four. Males get cancers too, but their issue is more of behavior and peeing everywhere. This MUST be done by an experienced rabbit specialist vet, not a dog or cat vet. This is important.

      I you really love this bunny, you want to do the things that good bunny owners do, which is spend at least an hour or so each day with them. Give them daily exercise time out of a cage and feed them more than just pellets (which will shorten his life by more than half). Then of course he needs to be brought indoors where he is safe and warm at night.

      The bottom line is if these things are not done, how are you going to know when he wakes up one morning and does not feel well. He will be dead in his cage before you even know that he is sick. Part of owning a pet is providing quality medical care when they need it. It is not unlike having children. You do not debate whether or not you can afford to give the care or whether you should wait until next month when you will have the money. You find a way to do the right thing.

      It is the same with your pets and this is how you show them that you truly love them. I am sorry that I cannot give you the answer that you want to hear. You are just beginning to experience how wonderful it is to love and have a pet rabbit and it will be even better once you bring him to live inside your bunny-proofed room. I hope you can find a way to make this happen for your bunny.

      The Bunny Guy

  27. Regarding the exercise, free time let out to run, will a bunny really be happy with 4 hours of free exploring time, and just 1 hour of one on one time? He will be in a 4 ft x 4 ft xpen. I am just used to dogs who are velcroed to my legs and one hour of one on one time sounds like its not enough.

    • HI Joann

      Three or four hours of playtime a day are the minimum amount that I recommend. Most bunnies will relish more, especially of the one on one time. They are very social creatures and if you ever have seen a pair or group of bunnies interacting, you would see how much they like being touched and groomed by each other. A couple of my rabbits will spend all day with me, if they get a chance. A couple of the others want interaction in measured doses. Each personality is different, but you can never go wrong spending more time with your bunny than that minimum.

      The Bunny Guy

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