The things I wish I had been told when I brought home my first rabbit

We asked rabbit owners…

How old were you when you got your first rabbit? What do you wish you had known then about caring for rabbits compared with now?

Best4bunny-first-rabbit-care

Sadly, many people now have regrets about the way they looked after their first pet rabbit. Many realise that the limited advice they were given when they bought their first rabbit was uneducated and very wrong. This unintentional pet misery was caused by a lack of rabbit knowledge from the owners, as well as vets and pet shops. We like to think rabbit welfare & care has improved in the last 40 years but, sadly, there are still far too many ill-informed people repeating the same mistakes. Please break the cycle and don’t repeat those old mistakes. They deserve to be history…

Here’s what they said…

I was 8 or 9 when I got my first rabbit. She was kept outside on her own… I wish I knew rabbits are social and I gave her more attention.

Had bunnies most of my life, but now I’m an adult and make my own choices, my bunny lives inside with us, with access to a safe outside area. I wish my parents had not put our bunnies in a small hutch. It’s just awful and wrong on so many levels.

I was a child when I had my first bunny. He was outside in a big cage. Sadly my parents didn’t know anything about the care of a rabbit.

I wish I knew when I was younger that a rabbit’s diet is extremely important & they should never be kept outside alone in a hutch. Both of my rabbits are now indoors and are treated like queens, with plenty of company and all the love they need.

I was about 11 or 12 when I got my first bunny. I wish I knew that a hutch is not enough!!!

I wish I knew that they cost quite a bit of money to care for, even just one bunny!

I was 41 when I got my first rabbit & knew nothing at all about them. I wish I knew that giving rabbits a whole carrot isn’t good & that they are way smarter than people realise.

I do wish I had known how much cleaning is required and that they need an exotic vet to see them if they’re sick, as they are classed as exotic pets. Not any vet can care for rabbits.

I wish I had known that it was wrong for the pet shop to be selling rabbits at 4 weeks old. That’s way too young for them to be separated from their mums!

I wish I had known more about GI stasis and a rabbit’s digestion system in general. I just thought my rabbit was a finicky eater, and she always bounced back, until one day she didn’t. We didn’t realise that she was in crisis, until it was much too late.

I wish I knew a lot more about their food back then and how high maintenance they are. But we love our bunnies so much and cannot imagine our lives without bunnies.

Wish I knew that you need to go to a rabbit specialist veterinarian. Regular vet finally admitted he didn’t know what to do after a week of treatment. Went to specialist, and my bunny had a seizure in the waiting room. They tried to save him, but it was too late. Wish the vet had been honest earlier & said that he just didn’t know what to do.

I was 6 when I had my first bunny. My dad made her a hutch and I looked after her with help from my parents. I’ve learned so much over the years ( I’m now 56!) and each bunny I’ve had has had their own character and needs. I’ve learnt to give them space and companionship with another bunny. In return they give you lots of love and are amazing pets!

I got my first bunny when I was 6yrs old. I have kept rabbits pretty much ever since then. I always just had one rabbit on their own but this year have got two together now. I definitely know now how much happier they are in pairs, its the loveliest thing seeing them snuggled together

I was 8 when I got my first rabbit. I wish I knew that they weren’t a boring pet, to have a cuddle once in a while and that they had their own personality and needed more attention.

I was 4 when I got my first bunny. I wish I’d known they could be spayed/neutered, potty trained and live inside easily, and didn’t really like to be held. Thankful I know better now, over 30 years later.

I was 5 when I got my first bunny. I wish I knew how important space is to them!

I’ve had rabbits steadily since I was 30 and now I’m 52, I’ve learned so much about them. I think I’ve done a good job with them but have made mistakes that I feel bad about. Now I get my rabbits spayed and neutered, but when I first got them I didn’t and one of my girls died from cancer, probably because I didn’t spay her.

I have always been animal mad and really wanted a dog but my parents compromised and said I could have a rabbit at 10 years old. I loved him to bits. My rabbit used to hump my arm, but at 10 I didn’t realise about castration and how that was best for him. He lived on his own and again at that age I didn’t realise he would want company of his own kind. I used to let him run around the garden before and after school but he spent long periods of time in a hutch when I was at school and didn’t have free access to a run. I have learnt a lot since then. I have four rabbits at the moment. They live in pairs. Have lots of toys and outdoor space. Lots of stimulation and fuss. All neutered and inoculated. They even have sandpits and come in the house as well.

I wish i had known that they are high maintenance animals. I love them though.

I wish I’d known about their diet and how much space they needed.

I wish that I had known what kind of homes were actually better for them and how important it is to keep up with their diet.

I was about 5 when I got my first bunny and I wish with all my heart I never kept my bunnies in cages!

I wish I had known that rabbits are so much happier in pairs and that they don’t like being picked up. 11 years later with two gorgeous buns, I also wish I had appreciated how much space and time they need. Cleaning out two bunnies daily is no joke.

My family had their first rabbit when I was probably 13. Although looking back they seemed really happy and healthy, they did not get one piece of hay. I had guinea pigs at the time too and same went for them. I am a rabbit and guinea pig owner now and am glad to say hay is the main food source for both.

Had a bunny when I was fairly young. Would say under the age of 12. He lived alone in a cage outside and was not fed enough hay or greens. Mostly mixed grain! My god how my knowledge has grown!

My first bunny was bought as a gift and for a short while lived in a small hutch. We now have him indoors, so he can have all of the space he needs, with his bunny wife Rory. I wish I’d known how much space they needed and what a huge commitment they would be. I wouldn’t change them for the world, but I would have been better prepared.

I wish I knew how very subtle the health signs are that there’s something not quite right with your rabbit.

I wish I hadn’t bothered buying a too-small starter cage… but fortunately we sought out info on rabbit care and found what was probably the first edition of the house rabbit society’s book on raising an indoor companion rabbit. We had lots of fun with her, gave her a happy life I think. We got her a bunny friend to bond with, who we obtained from a family too overwhelmed with kids and other pets, to care for him. They lived to be ten and eleven. Fast forward ten years and our kids wanted a pet so we recently adopted a pair of sister bunnies and are continuing with bunny life!

I wish I had known that if you want two or three rabbits to live together, they need to be spayed or neutered, no matter what sex they are. Otherwise you are left with either unwanted litters or rabbits that fight!

I wish I knew more on general bunny health. Still learning!

I wish I had known that rabbits need to be spayed/neutered and that they make great house pets!

I wish i had known to get my rabbit from a rescue and not a pet shop. Adopt don’t shop!

I wish I had known I could litter box train rabbits and keep them in the house.

I wish I had known how much fun bunnies are.

Since Buns came into my life, I have learned so much about rabbit care and health and plan to keep learning!

Do you need advice on how to look after bunnies the right way today? Then visit our rabbit care pages here