Welcome to BunnyAdvice.com. The site for bunny lovers just like you! having learn’t a lot and gained many years of experience of looking after rabbits I created this site to show exactly how much pleasure a bunny is to share your life with and to try to ensure these beautiful animals have the best life possible!
The advice shared on this site is a combination of experience, the study of rabbits over several years and extensive research gathered from other authority rabbit sources and sites all around the globe. We hope to create a growing community of rabbit owners, experts and lovers so if you are as passionate about rabbits as we are join our friendly Facebook Community and feel free to share your thoughts and advice with our other members.
For around 8 years now I have had a passion for rabbits. I currently look own 6 lovely bunnies who you’ll see all over this site! They are Columbo, Baby, Tiny, Princess, Snowball and Nerys. I don’t know everything about bunnies (yet) but I’m learning more every day.
As a long time owner I’ve been through the passion and pain of keeping rabbits (anyone who’s ever had a good scratch or a bite from a territorial male rabbit will agree) and a lot of trial and error has led me to want to share some of my experience and help anyone thinking about owning a bunny from making a mistake which might lead to another neglected bunny.
My interest started purely by accident. I bought my first bunny as a present for my long term girlfriend who decided she wanted one as a pet at Easter. This was a bad decision and is a common mistake made by a lot of people who buy rabbits around easter believing them to be easy pets!
This impulse buying of a pet was a stupid thing to do, unfortunately many bunnies are bought on a whim around easter and abandoned soon after with some irresponsible people seeing the nearest park as a good way to ‘set them free’. This unfortunately does not end well for the bunny. Bunnies bred as pets are not suited for a life in the wild and are likely to become somethings lunch very quickly (perhaps a fox in the UK!).
I remember the day well, we were out at a local pet shop when we spotted a tiny ball of fluff, I’d never had an interest in a rabbit as a pet before but as an animal lover I had previously owned a bearded dragon, a garter snake, frogs, tropical fish and a few other strange creatures. My wife even paid for me to be a zoo keeper for a day as I enjoy the company of animals so much!
As much as I love all animals, the closest I had actually come to looking after a bunny was when I rescued an orphaned baby squirrel! Another story for another time or squirrel based website maybe?!)
Anyway, back to the bunny! He was a tiny light brown rabbit and we were told he was a Lionhead (whatever that meant!) my girlfriend and I instantly fell in love and we decided to buy him. We excitedly sat in the car reeling off names until we (ok, my girlfriend) decided on the name Popcorn. Having got Popcorn home and having purchased the cheapest hutch we could find, we set up home for Popcorn in our kitchen.
A Big Commitment (“Popcorn”)
Gradually Popcorn started to grew up and as the initial novelty of owning a bunny wore off for my girlfriend, for me my interest grew. It became my responsibility to take care of him, although I initially didn’t realise the commitment I was letting myself in for.
Popcorn lived in his tiny hutch for a month or so. As time went by I quickly realised that what I thought would be a very ‘easy’ pet to look after was actually quite a commitment, as well as the regular cleaning , Popcorn was getting through what seemed his weight in Kale and hay every day.
As he got older his personality really started to show through, and I have to say Popcorn was very cool with what looked to me like a deliberate ‘quiff’ at the front of his hair. Popcorn would sometimes pick up paper from the kitchen floor run circles around my leg, initially I thought he was trying to impress me! I then put it down to frustration and I decided that it was time to get Popcorn a girlfriend!
We bought another bunny, this time a grey mini lop around 3 months after getting Popcorn. As we could not think of a name straight away and so we continued to refer to her as ‘baby’ for a while until the name stuck!
After a period of keeping Popcorn and Baby away from each other (for reasons even a new bunny owner should be able to work out) Popcorn was introduced to Baby and after some initial sniffing and nipping at each other they became best friends.
Both bunnies lived in the kitchen for a while but as I gained more and more experience and did more research I into their requirements and behaviors I realised that they needed an outdoor space to run about. I decided to ‘bunny proof’ the garden to stop the rabbits escaping (not that they would want to as they were so spoilt!).
I gathered wood and supplies from my local timber merchant before working my way around the garden blocking the sides of the shed and anywhere else Baby and Popcorn were likely to try to explore.
Having ensured they were protected from predators and had no holes to escape I was able to let them both out in the garden to do what bunnies do best, I consequently saw my first binky (I didn’t know that it was called at the time though).
The rabbits would spend the majority of their time in each others company during the daytime, exploring the kitchen until I got home from my full time job, I would then let them out into the garden for an hour or so to explore and chase each other around in the long grass.
With the rabbits still living and as every bunny owner knows (pooping!) around the kitchen, it was not long before pressure from my wife to regain control of our kitchen led my decision some grand designs!
I started by clearing out our shed, (and then to the despair of my wife I cut a big hole in it!) and created a lockable tunnel section into a small outside run. This meant that even when we were out at work the bunnies would be able to eat the grass and get some fresh air. The shed became Popcorn and baby’s new home, (I even had a plaque created for their front door!).
The bunnies gave me so much enjoyment which I never imagined I’d get, I loved getting back from work and watching them enjoy themselves as they chased one and other around the garden, while my girlfriend spent her day job as a teacher often working long hours it was me that had built up a strong bond with the bunnies.
A Very Sad Day
A couple of years passed with the bunnies seemingly very happy, but then one day disaster struck. I returned home from work one day I went out to the shed as usual to see Popcorn and Baby and open the shed door as I usually did and found that Popcorn was not his usual self.
He was sitting in the corner of the shed and as I had become used to him running up to greet me upon opening the shed door, I immediately knew something was wrong.
I picked Popcorn up in my arms, wrapped him in a blanket and took him into the house, on reflection I should have taken Baby too, however I was very worried about Popcorn and did not think twice.
I quickly rang my wife who told me that I was worrying over nothing however as any bunny owner knows, you can tell when your pets are not right, I assured my wife of this and she came home so we could take popcorn to the vet.
Upon arriving at the vet popcorn was checked over. After what seemed like a long wait the vet told us that he was very ill and was blocked up (I now know this is a common issue with rabbits) the vet suggested surgery to try and massage Popcorns stomach to free the blockage and we agreed, anything to get popcorn back to his normal self.
After an hour or so had passed the vet came out and delivered devastating news, he had not been able to release the blockage from popcorns stomach and the attempts to release it had aggravated popcorns stomach lining so much that it really would not be a good idea to wake him from the anaesthetic.
I had to agree to let the vet put popcorn to sleep before I immediately burst into tears.
As it was after closing time at the vets at this point my attempts to rush outside for some air were thwarted by the locked door of the surgery .
The vet asked me if I would like to take Popcorn home and of course I said yes (after all he was family) they bought him out in a box having delivered a lethal dose to ensure that he would never wake from his sleep, I remember stroking him and he was still warm and his eyes were still open, I was completely heartbroken I blamed myself of course and I was distraught for his companion baby, I had seemingly whipped him away from her without explanation and he wasn’t going to be returning home.
The next day I was completely distraught, in fact I was unable to work, it may sound stupid to anyone who has never had a pet and as a 30 year old at the time, the last thing I had expected to happen was to become attached but it was amazing how much this bunny had got into my head.
Popcorn was cold now, his box had sat in the kitchen all night, baby had slept her first night alone in the shed. I did some investigation into the bunny grieving process and read some advice that said I had to put Popcorns body in with baby for 10 minutes so she could smell him and know he was gone, apparently if I didn’t do this she would never get over the loss.
This made sense to me and so this is what I did. I don’t know if this helped baby at all but I thought it was the least I could do seeing as I had taken Popcorn away from her the night before.
I then wrapped Popcorn in his favourite blanket and buried him in the garden where he and baby had enjoyed exploring.
A couple of weeks passed and I with winter fast approaching, I moved baby back into the house so that she had a bit of company and warmth.
I started thinking about replacing popcorn but it was a couple of months before we eventually got around to getting another bunny. I agreed with my wife to visit the local pet shop ‘Doolitles’.
Although Popcorn would of course never be forgotten, as he was my first I was excited about getting a new baby. As a sidenote I would strongly suggest to anyone thinking of getting a bunny to consider this carefully as they are not toys and use rescue centre rather than buying new bunnies, there are a lot of bunnies out there that have been neglected or dumped especially around easter that need loving homes and while It is nice to have a cute and fluffy baby bunny, if people keep buying them, sadly people will keep breeding them!
As soon as I walked into Doolittles, I saw the rabbit that we would end up buying, I knew straight away he was the one. He was a very fluffy golden brown Lionhead, I excitedly bought him and took him home. My girlfriend and I were both avid fans of a classic detective series at the time and of course we had to name the bunny according to this! Columbo!
Initially Columbo was a lot smaller than Baby who despite being a mini lop had put on weight (I put this down to the fact that as she was living in the shed without a companion and I had given her a few more pellets to ensure that her body temperature was raised during the cold weather that was approaching, I could I guess have bought her into the house but as we had intended to get another bunny soon after Popcorns death, we had known that the limited kitchen space we had would have been needed to keep the baby bunny in.
After neutering Columbo, it was time to introduce him to baby and it wasn’t long before the 2 were bonded and running around together, sometimes causing carnage in the house! I noticed that Columbo and Baby really enjoyed being outside, in fact it was almost impossible to get them back in.
Baby was used to living outside but I didn’t want to put Columbo and baby together in the home she had shared with Popcorn. Having a few years of experience of owning a rabbit at this point I realised that a happy rabbit is a rabbit that can live as close as possible to a life outside captivity and with that in mind I set about planning another grand design.
I wanted to create a home for them that would allow them to live as close to a natural life as possible, this meant not being cooped up in a small hutch with no room to stand up and ‘telescope’ (looking around for potential predators) with absolutely no carpentry experience and no idea where to start I looked around the web for inspiration!
I found a company called Rabbitopia and although their hutches seemed a little expensive some of the features they had included in there hutches seemed to make sense to me.
I created a plan and set to work not just replicating but hopefully improving on their design. After a couple of weeks of work the main structure of Columbo and Baby’s new home was built! The hutch was 6 feet wide, 8 feet in length and 6 feet tall and was literally a ‘walk in’ rabbit hutch!
Columbo and baby appeared to love their new home, and as I made sure it was summer when I decided to build the hutch, the transition from inside rabbits to outside rabbits was not a shock to them.
With all the added space in the hutch and plenty of height available for the bunnies to stand upright and look around I ralised that I wasn’t using the hutch to its maximum potential, after putting forward an airtight plan to my wife one afternoon she agreed that if I could utilise some of the excess hutch space in the current set up she would let me have bunny number 3!
We excitedly bought another bunny from Doolittles and decided to call him ‘Tiny’. Tiny was a beautiful chinchilla coloured netherland dwarf with a shy nature and after an initial settling in period inside the house I set about building Tiny his very own Penthouse Suite totally seperate from Columbo and Baby!
With a busy teacher for a wife sometimes when she is working hard, trying to keep myself fully entertained can be difficult! It was on one such day that I decided to take a trip out to my favourite petshop! My wife had suggested this as she likes to get rid of me while she’s working and so I took a drive out to doolittles.
“Princess” (& Our Big Surprise)
When I got there I saw that they had some otter coloured (black with a white chinned) female netherland dwarf babies. With Tiny living on his own , I thought it would be a good opportunity to get Tiny a girlfriend. I took one of the little babies home and with my wife not expecting the new addition I walked in the house to break the news to her gently.
‘they had some nice rabbits at Doolittles’ I said, ‘oh’ she said as she looked up from her work. ‘I’ve got one in the car’ I said. Needless to say she wasn’t happy!
Upon meeting the new bunny she eventually agreed that getting a companion for Tiny was a good idea and eventually we agreed on the name Princess for the new addition!
Again we went through the process of letting Princess live inside the house. She was very entertaining and would jump up and sit on my shoulder, I built up a great bond with Princess and she was very affectionate.
At around 12 weeks when Princess was settled it was time to think about introducing her to Tiny and I arranged an appointment to have Princess spayed.
As Princess had been living inside the house for so long I was a bit upset about having to let her move outside with Tiny but I suppose that’s what happens with all your kids, they grow up and move out!! Little did I know I was in for a big surprise!
I took Princess for her operation at the vets and upon looking her over the vet identified something unexpected…….testicles! Princess was a little boy!
Obviously this came as a shock. Bonding Tiny and Princess together would now be more of a challenge, I also had to decide on whether or not to give Princess a new name!
After Princess was neutered I made the decision to keep his name as he seemed to be used to it! After some research I learned that 2 male rabbits could be bonded together however I decided that I would increase the space available to Princess and Tiny by building a further extension to their shared home.
This allowed them to both have enough space to get away from each other if they needed to. I also added a run area so they had 24 hour per day access to the garden while remaining safe from predators.
The house was quiet again…. But not for too long! By this time I I had adapted to the amount of care that bunnies take, I knew that I could probably look after another bunny and so when my wife and I were out for breakfast one day we decide to take a trip to, (you may have guessed it!), doolittles!
When we got there we saw they had had a whole batch of new baby bunnies, most of them were white mini lops and one of them caught or eye. He had one lop ear and one that was sticking up, it was this distinguishing characteristic that made us decide to buy!
We got the new bunny home and decided to call him snowball. As we enjoyed having bunnies in the house we wanted to keep snowball as a house bunny. Snowball quickly settled in and amongst other skills, we litter trained snowball and taught him to use stairs. Snowball was a little male who would grunt a lot (or honk as I’ve heard it called!) snowball had a lot of pent up aggression!
Although snowball would go out into the garden and interact with the other bunnies through the wire on their pens, it wasn’t long before I realised that snowball was becoming depressed without another rabbit for company around the house. It was time to convince my wife that we really needed our sixth (and definitely our final!) bunny!
Our First Adoption
Although we knew how much snowball needed company of his own species, getting a new bunny is expensive especially when it comes to vets fees. I suggested that we should adopt a bunny!
I looked around for local shelters and having not really understood the scale of neglected rabbits I was upset to find that there were so many bunnies available that needed to find homes. I knew I couldn’t take all of them but as I read through some of the histories of these rabbits on the website there was one that jumped (or hopped) out on me!
Nerys was a neglected young female rabbit, her profile said she was vicious, and had been at the shelter for some time. The staff at the shelter had attempted to pet Nerys and had been attacked and so had started trying to pet Nerys with a feather which she had promptly torn to shreds!
I immediately knew that Nery’s must have had a very hard start in life and she was exactly the kind of neglected bunny that I wanted to give a nice life to. I contacted the shelter and asked if I could arrange to go and see her.
So surprised were the people at the shelter they tried to put me off visiting Nerys at all before taking her on as they advised that ‘she didn’t give a good account of herself when meeting strangers’. It didn’t matter to me, Nerys was the bunny I wanted.
After a visit from the RSPCA, they agreed that my home was suitable for Nerys and I was able to go and collect her. I arrived at the pickup point and Nerys was quickly put into a box for me. She was quite quiet on the car ride home and I was a bit concerned how she would react to snowball!
It turns out that I had absolutely nothing to worry about, after a couple of days in her own cage placed strategically next to snowballs so he could see her through the bars, I put them together to see how they would react to one another, amazingly they cuddled up almost straight away and have been best friends ever since!
Nerys has also shown no aggression to me, in fact she is a pleasure to look after, perhaps she is just grateful to finally have a loving home?!
So that’s my story up till now! I know it’s quite long!
No doubt I’ll be adding to it and sharing some of what I’ve learnt along the way. I appreciate that this is an extremely long post so if you have made it to the end, well done and I hope that this has been of some interest!
Finally if you don’t find exactly what your looking for on my site feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer. Or if you just want to get in touch and say hello drop me a comment!