Everything you need before adoption
Julie Lambert, Paris, France
September 11, 2020
You’ve decided to adopt a rabbit and you’ve found the rabbit you wanted? Congratulations! But before you welcome it into your home some adjustments have to be made. Indeed, you need to make a few more efforts before opening the doors of your home to him. The newcomer in the family will most likely be stressed after this change of environment and having taken him away from his family or friends. It is therefore best to prepare everything for them in advance. And the earlier you do this, the better it will be for both you and the newcomer.
In this article you will find all the things I advise you to plan before welcoming your new pet.
01 – A first-class location
First of all you have to find a location for it. A pet rabbit will, as you can imagine, live in your company. So you need to find an ideal location for it to communicate with the whole family. The location must be large enough to accommodate a cage or pen, whether you decide to have your rabbit live in semi-freedom or total freedom (a cage is mandatory at the beginning). The location should be bright but not in direct sunlight, fairly quiet (not in the living room next to the home cinema is not ideal) and especially with a location with contact with you so that the rabbit does not feel alone.
02 – A spacious cage
Have you found the location? Perfect! Now it’s time to install a cage. The size of the cage depends on the size of your rabbit, whether you want it to live in semi-liberty or total freedom and finally on the number of your rabbits. For young rabbits I recommend a cage at least 1m20 for one rabbit and 1m60 for two rabbits. It should also be high enough to accommodate a hiding place for your rabbit and that it can jump without risk. If you don’t want to ruin yourself in a cage to start with and in order to be able to invest later, I advise you to take a second hand cage at Leboncoin or another site. There are cages in excellent condition at very good prices.
The shaft of Pinpin and Pipine is always open with a small staircase to get in and out.
Photographed by Vincent Ribet.
03 – Bowls for water, food and hay
To start the layout, it is essential to provide water and food bowls as a priority. From my point of view, it is absolutely essential not to take a bottle for water. First of all, all veterinarians advise against it because the bottle forces the rabbit to adopt a posture that is not natural for drinking and also because a bottle that is not sufficiently cleaned is a source of germs and disease. For the bowls, I recommend rather heavy ceramic bowls. This will prevent, if you have joking rabbits like me, that water and granules are constantly spilled. For the rack, it will be used to store hay for your rabbit who must have some constantly at his disposal. A wooden or plastic rack will do the trick. However, avoid racks in the shape of metal balls, which are dangerous for rabbits.
04 – Water, food and hay, vital necessities of life
Once the bowls and racks are ready, they need to be filled. For the water bowl, tap water that is not too fresh will certainly do the trick unless your water is extremely hard. In this case it might be interesting to use mineral water. For hay, a fresh, green hay will be perfect for your rabbit. Personally, I recommend Crau A.O.P. hay, which has never disappointed me, unlike other more well-known brands.
05 – Just like a cat, a rabbit needs a litter box.
A rabbit is an animal known for its cleanliness, so it is essential to install a litter box. I prefer to use a small cat litter box rather than the tiny corner rodent litters you see in pet stores. There are different types of litter to fill this tray, which will be discussed in a future article. For my part, I use a dust-free plant litter made from granular hemp.
06 – Because you can never be too careful
Since we are never safe from an unpleasant surprise, I advise all adoptive parents to always have a disinfectant and healing spray for animals at home to alleviate any little boo-boos. I also advise to have identified beforehand the specialized veterinarian NAC and I insist on the NAC nearest to your home as well as an emergency veterinarian 24/24 in case of an urgent problem.
You are now ready to receive your new companion! Remember, however, that any change is very stressful for your rabbit, so even if you’re dying to play with, cuddle or pet your rabbit, you’ll need to wait a few days at least until your new friend gets used to it and learns the habits of his new home.