Breeder vs. Rescue

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Barbie_Buddha

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So I’m having some trouble making a decision. Originally I wanted to rescue because I grew up in a family where this was a huge value about animals. However, my first rabbit who passed a few years ago I got as a baby from a 4H breeder back when I lived in a 4H state, and I loved raising her, it was so rewarding. To clarify, I was an adult, the breeder was just typically breeding for 4H.

I decided I did want babies because I was really looking forward to the bonding process and their early health needs, as well as watching them grow which was so rewarding to me the first time. I really wanted to find someone I felt good about, cage free or very minimized cage use at home, not breeding bizarre traits outside the breed standard like blue eyes, not caring more about the color than the form, policy of letting people return rabbits to them no questions asked, etc. (I’m very sorry if I offend anyone, this is just my personal view.) Found someone 5 hours away who met my criteria and has been wonderful to talk to, I really respect her passion, this is all she does! We even had a great conversation about rescuing, she rescues all her dogs but feels rabbits can be bred and cared for in their first two months for gentility and to be less fearful so they can be happier and make good emotional support animals. I’m set to pick up the babes in November and am very excited.

Today I took a peek at Petfinder and saw a two year old pair that I would be interested in. So now I’m very conflicted. This would be much less expensive (though I’m not taking a major hit or anything with the babies for me,) and of course I’d be taking rabbits from someone who needs to be rid of them due to allergies. But it’s also a tad devastating not to get to watch them grow or go through the bonding process. I really like that kind of thing, I used to be in aquarium mammal husbandry. I’m caught at wanting to wait for the babies and get to do the stuff I won’t have the opportunity to do for another (hopefully) 12 years, but feeling like I SHOULD morally rescue these rabbits. I know most people will encourage doing the rescue, and I get that, but I’m struggling with getting myself to not really want to do all the raising and extra care that comes with babies. How can I let it go? Or should I just stick with the thing I want most given that they’ll be with me for a decade+?
 

LassieBunBun

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Well the ones that are 2 could be with you for a decade or a bit more to, but that's besides the point. If I had a crystal ball I could look to the future and see which would beg good for you but I can't and the only advice I have is to go with your gut. Thumper and Blossom (my bunnies) were kinda like rescues? One of my mom's brothers got them at the auction for me (now the reason I say kinda rescues is because people around here go to the auctions to get rabbits so their dogs can chase and kill them) when they were 6-8 weeks old (we were told that they were just weaned when we got them) and they've been apart of my family for 4 years and that has been amazing! I won't lie, we did a lot of mistakes at first and if I could go back in time to fix it I would but there is a kind of special bond since I got them when they were so young. There have been many challenges but we did get past most of them...and this isn't helpful is it? Sorry. But yeah just go with what you feel in your heart is best, you could always try to foster the 2 year olds and see how it goes.
 

Blue eyes

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I think it is a myth that a baby rabbit will bond better or their personality will be influenced by their owner if they are acquired at a young age. They don't really come into their own personality until they are older. They train more readily when they are older. I just don't see the advantage of getting a baby rabbit over an adult rabbit (though I do see some disadvantages). That said, I do understand how adorable a baby rabbit is.

Founder of Bunny Bunch rescue, Caroline Charland, states, "People often think a rabbit must be held a lot as a baby in order to like being held as an adult. I don't find this true at all. Over the years, the Bunny Bunch rescue I founded has saved many mother and baby rabbits from shelters. All the babies were treated the same. When they became adults their personalities varied-- some liked to be held, some hated to be held and some tolerated being held."

If these two rescue rabbits are already fixed and already bonded, that is a big plus. The nice thing about them being older is that you could go and meet them and see what they are like -- see how you feel about them in "person" and also how they react to you. You can gauge whether you think they would be a good fit for you. My suggestion would be to start there. Check them out and see what you think/feel about them.

(Can't really do that with babies since their adult personality can become vastly different than their baby personality.)
 

Barbie_Buddha

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Thank you both, I really appreciate your responses! Looks like it may not be much of a decision, I see on another Petfinder profile for a bunny from the same rescue that they will only adopt out to people in New Jersey. It might not matter because it's a courtesy post, but we'll see, I did submit an inquiry!
 

dogwoodblossoms

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Sorry to disagree. I raise rabbits and I really believe that getting a rabbit young and bonding and raising him/her young is a gift beyond all. Yes, rescue is a gift to those animals, but honestly, rabbits are a lot different from other animals. I have a few adult rabbits that I got around 2 years old and I haven't been able to bond with them. Not saying that you can't. I just think that is fine for you to want a young pair of rabbits, and people can't guilt you to think otherwise.
 

Barbie_Buddha

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Sorry to disagree. I raise rabbits and I really believe that getting a rabbit young and bonding and raising him/her young is a gift beyond all. Yes, rescue is a gift to those animals, but honestly, rabbits are a lot different from other animals. I have a few adult rabbits that I got around 2 years old and I haven't been able to bond with them. Not saying that you can't. I just think that is fine for you to want a young pair of rabbits, and people can't guilt you to think otherwise.
Yeah I have to say, even though I don't know from direct experience about rabbits, the idea that their personality and behavior have little to do with their upbringing doesn't make sense to me. That wouldn't be how it works in terms of animals I've been educated to work with, from dogs to sea lions!
 

HalaBuns

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I have had several rescues come to me as tiny babies and how they turn out depends on their personalities in my opinion. I have had a couple who were instantly very cuddly and sociable, but then others who wanted very little to do with me, and completely feral in terms of litter training and general untidiness etc. They were all treated / raised in the same way.

Baby bunnies are super cute, but can also be so demanding. My first adopted rescue buns came to me at around a year old and I got immense enjoyment from watching them learn to trust, recover from their trauma, and live a safe and happy life. The bonding process can also be long and stressful for all concerned, so adopting 2 that are already bonded means you can just enjoy having them around.
 

Hermelin

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I have both rehome bunnies and from breeders. From my experience rasing a bunny from baby often make them a bit more reasured but their personality will vary depending on the individual. Taking over a rehome home bunny they can have traumas which makes them act more fearful but it just means it can take longer time to bond them. It’s the same with a skittish kit from a breeder but at least here you can make most interaction positive from the start.

In fact I prefer getting a bunny from the breeder because they all becomes used to be handled and I can focus on socializing them. For example my youngest bunny. She was a nipper that would break my skin as a kit, so I focused on teaching her to not nip that hard on humans but if another person not experienced with rabbits got her they might of thought she was an aggressive girl. In fact it was just normal nips that just drew a little bit of blood.

While adopting a rabbit from a rescue you will get them already spayed/neutered which will save you a lot of money. At least in my country bunnies from a rescue will be neutered/spayed, chipped, health controlled and vaccinated. All those things will make you save tons of money from the start. I’m not going through a rescue when I get bunnies because I don’t like when random people I don’t know do home visits, so I rather take bunnies who are being rehomed. You will also know their personality and skip the teenage years. You will also get an already bonded pair which will make you skip the stressful bonding time. It can be quite scary and take long time with some individuals. Bunnies can truly fight horrible between each other.

One thing that are good from a breeder who truly care about their bunnies are that they will only use healthy individual. They will check up on the kits and if they find any genetics defects in them they will take out the parents/ that line from breeding. I know a breeder who bred BEW the last pair where healthy with no problems but when she paired them together a genetic defect turned up which made her announce about what happened and that the bunnies of her line shouldn’t be bred on and should only be family pets. She also apologized for what had happened. Because it meant the other bunnies either from the mom or from the dad might be carrier of the recessive genes. The pair where bunnies who did good in show. So good breeders as the breeder I mentioned will do their best to get healthy individuals and strive to get healthy individuals as good as they can.
 
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Yeah I have to say, even though I don't know from direct experience about rabbits, the idea that their personality and behavior have little to do with their upbringing doesn't make sense to me. That wouldn't be how it works in terms of animals I've been educated to work with, from dogs to sea lions!
Their upbringing can affect personality & behavior to some degree, but genetics play a big part also. We had a litter of 3 kits whose mother was aggressive & mean (though not to the kits) and the father was a real sweetie. From day one we tried our best to handle the kits and give them attention so they wouldn’t be like their mother, but one by one, they started acting like her. My point is that if you go with the kits make sure you find out the personalities of the parents, and meet them if you can.
 

Rcottle161

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Yeah I have to say, even though I don't know from direct experience about rabbits, the idea that their personality and behavior have little to do with their upbringing doesn't make sense to me. That wouldn't be how it works in terms of animals I've been educated to work with, from dogs to sea lions!
I agree! I work in the vetinary field and theyir personality is just ridiculous. Any other animal would be used to routines, things done a certain way, trauma that has affected them etc but I think they just wake up and choose on the day? Primarily I'm a horse person and their background plays a HUGE part in behaviour!
My latest rabbit is from a breeder though and the worst I've had yet, I've put hours into her and although she's been hormonal due to maturity, she's never ever bonded with anyone or displayed affection etc, had some lovely rescues though but whether breeding lines aren't being managed so well now, I'm not sure, all I know is mines borderline neurotic and has been since we got her, she doesn't like to interact or anything. I still don't understand how rescues seem to wipe their plate like that, but I don't have a strong opinion. Personally I'd say rescue as there are so many out there or RESPONSIBLY bred
 
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