When your bunny first arrives home, it's going to be nervous and stressed from the trip and being in a new environment. The best thing you can do for your bunny at this time is put him or her in a quiet place away from other pets, kids and loud sounds like a TV. For the first couple of days the bunny needs to acclimate in the least stressful way possible. You will likely notice that it will sit quietly in a corner and may not have a huge appetite. This is normal and not something to worry about. If possible, avoid handling the rabbit for two days, we know this can be tricky with kids! But it will go a long way for your rabbit.
We know a lot of families are very excited and camp outside the rabbit cage and observe every move the rabbit makes or doesn't make. The rabbit knows you are watching and may wait until everyone is in bed and its dark and quiet before he feels comfortable eating and drinking.
Baby rabbits need to learn that their new family is as nice as their old one! Do not be alarmed or offended if the rabbit does not seem interested in you, is skittish and resists being held. This is normal for a rabbit that is nervous and getting used to new people. It’s also part of being a baby! They have short attention spans and are wiggly! Be sure to look at the Rabbit Behavior and First Aid page so you know what to expect! Bunnies are not dogs or cats and have their own way of communicating their feelings.
We would not recommend putting a hidey house or some kind of box that the rabbit can hide in inside the cage. This will become a crutch and make it nearly impossible for the rabbit to learn that you are a friend. They will always resort to hiding in the box to avoid being taken out. They shouldn't have this option so they can learn that being taken out of their cage is fun!
Visit The House Rabbit Society website. Here you can learn how to litter train your rabbit as well as learn the benefits of spay and neutering.
Most vets are willing to fix a doe at 5 or 6 months of age and bucks can be neutered whenever their testicles appear. Usually, bucks are ready between 4 and 6 months old. It's VERY important to have your doe fixed as soon as your vet is willing. Do not put it off! When a doe begins puberty, they can become irritable and nippy. Putting off spaying can potentially make it take longer for them to stop this bad behavior if it begins in the first place. Doe's are wonderful pets and are not better or worse than a buck, but they do have the added responsibility of getting them spayed as soon as possible.
To give you some cost comparisons on spay/neutering -
Clarck County Animal Clinic in Winchester, KY - Doe's can be fixed for $200
Boonsboro Animal Clinic in Winchester, KY - only neuters rabbits - $100
Doe's are typically more expensive because it's a more invasive surgery. Shop around, it's amazing how the price of these procedures can vary so much! Make sure the vet you choose has experience fixing bunnies and that they ask you to continue to feed your rabbit up until surgery. They should not fast like a dog or cat!! It's very important!
Rabbit urine varies in color from a pale yellow to rusty orange. Many people think that there is blood in their rabbits urine when they are new to caring for rabbits. Blood in the urine is very rare and is typically only caused by a serious infection or cancer. A dark rusty orange is actually perfectly ok.
Questions and Emergencies
In case of an emergency in the future, we highly recommend finding a vet that treats rabbits within a reasonable distance from you and making an appointment to see your new bunny within 10 days of picking up from Ellie's Rabbitry. This also means if you see a vet within 10 days of pick up and they find any serious or life threatening or life shortening problem with your new bunny you will be 100% refunded.
We are not veterinarians! Many people contact us with questions that are really more suitable for a vet to answer. If you are worried and think you may have an emergency, please call your vet or emergency vet if it is on the weekends or after hours. If you have any non-emergency questions, you will likely find your answer on our website on the Rabbit behavior and First Aid page.
Otherwise, please feel free to send us an e-mail. Please consider e-mailing first, it's much easier for us to keep track of e-mails and we have a couple other businesses that also come through to our cell! We don't want to overlook any questions or update messages from you!
Take Home Care Packet
We suggest printing this page, so you have a hard copy to refer to when you bring your bunny home.
Your new bunny needs to have a gradual transition to the feed you choose to get. We feed our rabbits the Southern States Brand "Quality Feed Rabbit Food" 16% protein. Because not everyone has a Southern States close by and this feed is not available online, we suggest purchasing Oxbow Adult Rabbit food. Please refer to the Rabbit Care page on Ellie’s Rabbitry’s website for additional info on feed.
For the first 3 days of your bunny being home, only use the pellets you receive from Ellie’s Rabbity at pick up. On day 4, start gradually mixing in the food of your choice until the food we provided runs out and you are feeding only the food of your choice. We feed our baby and adult rabbits ½ cup of pellets per day in the morning and a generous handful of hay in the evening.
With baby rabbits, it’s important not to feed pellets on an empty stomach, meaning, you will want to give a big handful of hay in the morning first, before giving them their 1/2 cup of pellets. Do this extra step for one month. Let the rabbit gobble the hay up for 10-15 minutes and then you can fill its bowl or feeder with ½ cup of rabbit pellets. Rabbit food is rich in protein and too much at once can cause diarrhea which can be dangerous for young rabbits. Feeding babies hay first dilutes the protein and makes their meals less rich and easier to digest. After the first month you can eliminate that extra step and just feed pellets in the morning and hay in the evening. The serving of hay in the evening is large enough that they still have some to eat throughout the night and following day until they receive their next serving. See the section on hay on the Rabbit Care page on Ellie’s Rabbitry’s website for hay recommendations.
If your rabbit gets very watery diarrhea that has a strong odor, take immediately to the vet. It can be coccidia or a reaction to too much protein. Both can be treatable if taken to the vet immediately before they become too lethargic and dehydrated. Both of these have a possibility of occurring due to a change in diet and stress from a new home environment. You can see more info on coccidia, stress and diarrhea on the Rabbit Behavior and First Aid page.
DO NOT feed any kind of treat or snack for the first month! This includes fresh produce. Your rabbits’ diet should strictly consist of only pellets and hay. After a month you can introduce items from the “Treats” list on the bottom of the “Rabbit Care” page on Ellie’s Rabbitry’s website.
Always have clean water available for your rabbit. A water bottle with a ball works best and is the cleanest.