RABBITS WITH FAMILIES

Tips to parents for integrating a companion rabbit into a busy family

Attitude

  • Consider your pet a companion for the entire family.
  • Accept the fact that rabbit care will fall to on your shoulders. Realise it and be at peace with it… then make plans to make the job easier.
  • Don’t even try to make “rabbit care” a chore for the children to do. It becomes a battle and creates negative feelings.
  • Encourage helping.  (i.e. “Yes, you can help mummy make the bunny-buffet tonight, or “Peter can play in your room, after you give him fresh water.

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Activities

  • Supervise small children with the bunny, for the safety of both child and rabbit.
  • Schedule playtimes with bunny, such as after homework is finished or after a good lunch.
  • Have playtimes with bunny instead of TV/Internet or invite bunny to watch TV with the family.
  • During playtime everyone sits on the floor with bunny.  Offer treats if he comes near your lap. Stroke his head and ears if he lays down.
  • Find toys bunny likes, such as tubes, boxes & chew toys.
  • Have the children choose the greens for bunny at the market.
  • Have your children show guests how to pet the bunny properly and how to give treats.  This gives them a sense of responsibility for him.

Always have “house rules”, like:

  • No picking up the rabbit.
  • Leave bunny alone when he retreats to his room or pen.

Make sure guest are aware of the house rules.  House rules are nice because children don’t feel singled out or incapable.  Instead of saying, “You cannot pick up the rabbit”, it feels better to say, “There is a rule in the house.. no one picks up the rabbit.”

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Making the maintenance task easier

  • Line litterboxes with plastic liners (if your rabbit isn’t interested in chewing them) or newspaper, or both.
  • Use an absorbent paper litter. Sprinkle fresh litter on top every day.
  • Change litterboxes frequently, every other day or so (easier to clean when they are not overfilled).
  • Cover litterbox with a hood, to stop digging messes.
  • Keep hay in a hopper or other container to eliminate strewn hay. Or put hay in the litterbox if it is large enough.
  • Keep  dustpan & brush or mini vacuum cleaner near pen.
  • Daily maintenance should be 10 minutes (per rabbit) maximum, make a routine of it.
  • Neuter your rabbit.

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