Easter is full of new life, but it shouldn’t be a time to make any impulse buys. Bunnies are adorable and children along with many adults find it hard to walk away from their charm. But bunnies grow into full grown rabbits in a very short space of time and before you know it the children have lost their interest and it is down to mum and dad to put the hours in to care for the neglected pet.
Each year an average of 35,000 rabbits get sent to rescue centres around the UK. The main reason is lack of time and owners not realising the effort that is involved in taking care of a pet rabbit. Rabbits are always thought of as being easy, but this means that the owners are generally leaving their fluffy bunny alone in a hutch with little interaction and no exercise. This kind of life is unbelievably cruel to rabbits that are social and who need exercise in order to live happy and healthy lives. They also live for 12 years on average, a long time to spend neglected in small hutches.
Rabbits require your attention and time just like many other pets. Yes, they are so sweet, but it is important that children and parents both realise the daily and weekly work that is involved in owning a pet rabbit. If you are thinking of buying a new rabbit around Easter time or at any time of the year it is important to know the following:
- Rabbits are social and should only be kept in pairs or larger friendly groups
- Rabbits need to be neutered and spayed and have yearly vaccinations
- Your rabbit will need to be registered with a vet and have check-ups to avoid problems with overgrown teeth and claws
- The size of the rabbit hutch and run has a huge impact on the happiness and well-being of rabbits. It needs to be large enough for the rabbit to stretch out fully, stand on their back legs, take three hops in a row and have space for sleep, food and toileting. A run should also be provided for exercise purposes.
- Rabbits need checking at least twice a day for fresh feeding and watering and spot cleaning.
- The hutch will need a full clean at least once a week, regardless of the weather.
- Rabbits can take a long time bonding with their owners. Patience and plenty of time is required to slowly build trust.
- Rabbits don’t like approaching from above or at speed and they don’t like loud noises.
Please make sure that your friends and family understand the time, commitment and money that are required to provide rabbits with healthy and happy lives. Remember, rabbits are for life, not just for Easter.