The top picks here:
Todd's Bunny Video Page
Comic photo essay on cleaning
Rabbit Newbie tutorial--my first bun
Jordan's Photo Journal
And then there were two (enter Nuncio)
Todd's World-Renown Bunny Sounds page
Honey's Home Page-Jordan's cousin
Vote! Cute bunny contest-- Jordan vs. Honey
Links to other bunny pages
Up to Todd's Homepage
House Rabbit Newbie FAQ's:
Jordan's Story--Todd finally gets a pet....Jordan's a very cute 6-7lb female (spayed) Mini-Lop rabbit with broken gray/beige coloring. She was born around October 1998, and was rescued as a stray by animal control officers in Niles, IL. From there, the Chicago House Rabbit Society took her in from the Niles police department on March 30, 1999. I adopted her from her Chicago House Rabbit Society fosterer M. Maggie. Jordan was named for her amusing ability to leap very high into the air--often for no apparent reason. I've since learned that this is a common "dance" that rabbits do when they're happy and playing in the active evening hours.
Why a rabbit?"A, a, a...rabbit? As a pet?!" Allow me to explain. The story is mildly entertaining.
I'd been dying for a pet for years. The yard in Austin wasn't big enough for the black Lab I've wanted since I was a kid. The yard I had at the time was huge, but the legacy of the Landlady's deceased father has thwarted me from getting a dog (don't ask me to explain further...it defies all logic), and a cat wasn't in the cards either.
|My niece received a pet bunny ("Honey", who now has his own web page) as a gift in mid January of this year. When I visited them at the end of March, Honey struck me as a thoroughly pleasant pet. Until I met Honey, I'd never before considered a rabbit as a pet. Later that week, I was discussing the rabbit idea with my sister in law. Little did I know that she used to raise rabbits! She shocked me with the fact that they (rabbits, not sisters-in-law) can be easily litterbox trained. One thing led to another....and I adopted Jordan from the Chicago House Rabbit Society on May 12, 1999.|
| My niece's bunny "Honey" at ~3 months
old! My niece claims Honey's cuter than Jordan, the nerve!|
Here's a web page devoted to Jordan's honorary "cousin."
So how is she as a pet?Hilarious, and surprisingly social and affectionate. I thought these "house rabbit" people on the alt.pets.rabbits newsgroup were daft when I heard of all this personality they claimed from their pet rabbits.
Maybe I've just been without a pet way too long, but I have to admit, they're 100% right--Jordan is hilarious, and has proven to be a great house pet. She will flop onto the floor and stretch out her legs to the side, just like a lazy dog might do. She'll hop up into your lap and let you pet her indefinitely. She'll eat any sort of vegetable out of your hand. If you lie on the floor near her and fall asleep, she'll even bump her head into your face to make sure you haven't died. George Carlin once highlighted dogs' appeal based on the fact "They have eyebrows...things they can manipulate. Cat's don't have eyebrows--they've just got a bunch of sh*t sticking out of their head." Rabbit fall into the former category...and Jordan's eyebrows are quite expressive. If you catch her doing something mischievous, she'll look guilty as sin. If she's relaxed, she'll appear relaxed. If she's curious, she'll look wide-eyed and alert.
Her appeal as a pet is summed up with this:
I'm such a sap. Pathetic, ain't it?
Where does she live?
|Well, in the house, as all self-respecting house rabbits do.|
After doing a good deal of research (check out the HRS housing
FAQ) and shopping around, I bought a 24"x36" Libby cage from KW
Cages (1-800-447-CAGES for their rabbit supply catalog ). It took a
while to be shipped to me, and I had to assemble it, but it was worth
the extra trouble. The "rabbit" cages I found at all the pet stores
were too small, and did not have doors large enough to accommodate a
litterbox. KW's Libby Cage has a large front-opening door, and a huge
top-opening door so I can easily clean the cage and (most importantly)
fit a medium size cat-litter pan into the cage. The only down side is
that is has a wire-mesh floor instead of a solid floor. Since I wasn't sure
if I'd be getting a litter trained bun or a really young one, I saw the drop
as a handy thing in case of litter training
difficulties. After all, you can always throw newspaper and cardboard
down over the wire mesh. Avoiding the wire mesh is important to
prevent "sore hocks," a condition in which rabbit feet get irritated
by wire-bottom cages, and become susceptible to infection.
|Jordan used to get the run of my small kitchen. Her cage is in the back in this picture. Here, she's flopped in the middle next to her favorite litterbox.|
|When I first got her, she spent the nights and
time I wasn't at home in the cage as I gradually gave her more an
more space to test her litter habits. The photo above shows her in my kitchen
at the time. It was great for her socially, but eventually I got sick of
the bunny fur that wanted to stick to the range hood!
And she uses a litterbox?!Yes! A full size cat pan Yesterday's News (YN) brand of paper litter in which she does all of her business.
I used to use a mix of YN and CareFRESH litter, but switched exclusively to YN for cost reasons. See the HRS litter training FAQ for more info. She's been very good about peeing in her litter box, and periodically less tidy about dropping pellets. Early on, she'd drop a good deal of pellets about to mark her territory (or because they'd stick to her butt and she'd carry them out of the litterbox), but 5/20/1999 was her first day of perfect litter habbits, and she's been excellent ever since.
The Carefresh brand litter/bedding can be found at PetsMart and PetCo. I found Yesterdays News brand of litter at Pet Supplies Plus and now also at PetsMart since Purina bought em out. Note: the dust from clay-based cat litters has been linked to respiratory problems in rabbits, and the vapors from wood-based litters from pine or cedar are suspected of causing elevated liver enzymes. See the HRS litter training FAQ for more info on rabbit-safe litters.
What does she eat?Check out the HRS diet FAQ. I got a lot of information from there. I also got great advice from Lois and and Maggie from the Chicago House Rabbit Society.
I feed her a lot of fresh vegetables. She gets whatever's on sale at the grocery store. Her favorite vegi is cilantro. She also loves Romaine lettuce (I avoid iceberg lettuce--I've read that it tends to give rabbits diarrhea) and kale. She likes carrots well enough (and prefers them peeled if you can believe it), and will eat spinach if there's nothing better lying around. Of fruits, she adores pieces of bananas...and it's hilarious to watch her eat these. She also seems to like halved apples. Be wary of this list of plants that are poisonous to rabbits!
I keep her stocked with an unlimited supply of Timothy hay (usually in the litterbox to make the box more attractive to her). I've read that hay and daily exercise are both essential to keep things moving through a rabbit's digestive tract. Since they groom a lot, they ingest a good deal of fur. Couple this behavior with their physiological inability to vomit, and you'll quickly understand why it's important to keep their digestive tract moving!
Finally, I feed her a limited amount (less than half a cup/day) of seed-free rabbit feed each day. Rabbit feed pellets are relatively high in calories, and are only one part of a balanced diet. Feeding too many pellets may leave you with a rather corpulent bunny. The right diet depends on the age of your bun, so be sure to see the other resources for more authoritative information.
What did it cost ya? Where'd you get everything?It will add up. Feel free to learn from my mistakes. Let me know if I can find better prices mail order, especially on litter!!!!
|The House Rabbit Handbook, highly recommended||$7.16|
|Source: KW Cages (1-800-447-CAGES)|
|Libby Cage, 24x36x22 inches, top and side doors, drop floor/tray||$69.50|
|Optional Shelf (skip this...it doesn't work well)||$6.99|
|Wide-mouth Lop Feeder and lid (fill from outside cage)||$5.15|
|Hay rack (skip this too, just put hay in litterbox)||$4.29|
|Pet nail trimmer, scissors type||$5.15|
|Lixit Water bottle (skip it...who knew my rabbit would be a bowl-drinker?)||$7.59|
|Economy Cage Clip Pliers (for cage assembly, recommended! )||$6.95|
|The Rabbit: An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet Decent, nice pictures and a good deal of breed info||$12.95|
|Carefresh Bedding/Litter, large 50L bag||$19.99|
|Kaytee Natural Timothy Mint bale hay, 24oz mini-bale (This stuff is crap--get Oxbow western Timothy hay or find a nearby horse stable for good mixed grass hay!)||$3.99|
|Small corner litter pan, 13"x13" (high back, tapered to low front designed for small animals...skip it and use a cat pan unless your cage or rabbit is really small)||$7.99|
|Carefresh Bedding/Litter, small bag||$7.98|
|Nutriphase Rabbit Formula pellets, 10lb bag||$6.69|
|Source: Pet Supplies Plus|
|R/H Kwik Stop Styptic powder||$7.61|
|Heavy crock/marble water bowl||$5.49|
|Yesterday's News cat litter, large 15lb bag||$5.88|
|Medium-sized cat litter pan 14"x18"||$5.99|
|Source: Chicago House Rabbit Society|
|Donation for adoption of spay/neutered rabbit||$45.00|
|Source: Oxbow Hay Company|
|25lb box Western Timothy hay - noticeably fresher than stuff from pet store. Relatives from Oldenburg, IN farm country enjoy poking fun at how much I spent for half of a $2 bale of hay....||$17.49|
$ 9.12 S/H
|Source: Pets.com (may the rest in peace)|
|15lb bag of Yesterday's News "softer texture" cat litter. Pets.com was practically giving the stuff away! No wonder they went bankrupt. I got a boatload of litter from them while I could.||$2.43/bag
For more information or to adopt one of your own....For more info on the care of house rabbits, including litter training, diet, housing, and a world of excellent information and FAQ's, visit the House Rabbit Society's homepage. I've based most of my care habits on the information provided on-line and in their inexpensive print book The House Rabbit Handbook
Here are some of the other adoptable bunnies from the House Rabbit Society of Chicago. Note that they do not typically adopt to first time bunny owners unless they demonstrate a great deal of research and preparation. If you're in a hurry to adopt or would like to choose from a number of buns all in one place, you can also adopt from Chicago's Animal Welfare League. Though AWL doesn't have many rabbits on their web site, they always have a large number of them in the shelter from which you can choose. Unlike HRS, AWL never refuses to take an animal in to the shelter. As such, I don't believe the AWL has a "no kill" policy. You'll be certain to save a bun from being euthanized by adopting from AWL. Like HRS, AWL provides spay/neutering for all adopted animals. On the other hand, HRS does an excellent job in educating you on proper care techniques. Furthermore, the insight of the HRS fosterers gives you valuable insight into the personality and behavior of the bun you're adopting. Both seem to be excellent organizations.
All photos and text Copyright © 1999
Bunny icon referenced from the House Rabbit Society
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