First time bunny owner. Any help appreciated.

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Space Monkey

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I'm a first time bunny owner. I've dealt with dogs and cats all my life, and shockingly to some, rats. I've probably had a dozen rats since I was a teenager, but none currently. In researching and buying supplies for our bunny, and learning at least a little bit about them, they're surprisingly similar pets, but different enough that I'm requiring more information from knowledgeable owners.

So we were at the State Fair a couple of days ago and walked into the bunny barn. My kids were interacting with the all the bunnies, and then the oldest noticed that some were for sale. That led to 4 smiling, wide eyed, begging kids. Of course I said yes because I'm the cool dad and I like animals too.

What I noticed:

The bunnies that were for sale were not as domesticated and people friendly as the not for sale bunnies. They were all a bit timid and backed away into a corner of their (heartbreakingly) tiny, dirty cages. They also didn't have fans blowing on them like the favored show bunnies did. I realized that these bunnies were probably not of show quality, were worked with very little, not treated well, and were living dollars.

The bunny we settled on is a female Mini Satin 4 months of age. She did have a pedigree, which was given to me. We weren't able to take her home the night we bought her because all bunnies had to stay until the following day when Best in Show was over with. That was yesterday. She was brought home yesterday evening. My fiance went to pick her up while I stayed to build her home and prepare her area.

I did a ton of research the night we bought her after we got home.

We bought her this home:


For bedding I wanted to use a cotton blanket or towel or something of that nature and litter box train, but our home is all carpet except for the kitchen. We don't know where to begin with the litter box training and we don't want poop everywhere in the meantime until we figure out how to get it started, so for now we're using Aspen bedding.

We bought her Timothy Hay and Orchard Hay and mixed it all up to put in her hay rack. We also bought Alfalfa pellets since she's still young to feed her 1/8 of a cup per day. Here's the thing though. She's not really eating much hay at all, opting for the pellets, which is all she had in her original small cage at the fair. I don't know what kind of feed they were giving her exactly, but it looked more like you would expect bird seed to look. She won't eat her leafy greens at all. We tried to entice her with a grape and a strawberry to see if she would eat that, but she stuck her nose up at those too, again opting for the pellets. Now she IS eating. She's a pellet eating machine, but we need her to eat her 70-80% hay diet with leafy greens as her primary food source, which she isn't doing. I'm afraid to completely take her pellets away.

We also bought her a few willow balls and willow sticks. I cut an opening in each end of a cardboard box to put in her pen as a hideout.

For water we are using a dish. I was never a fan of the bottles with the rats, and in my research I found that they're even worse for rabbits. However, we put the water bottle in there too as another option for her, which I've caught her licking a couple of times. The water dish will always be the primary water source though, which she's drinking more than enough of.

So, how do we get her to actually eat her hay and not rely on the pellets? As well as leafy greens? And some fruit every now and then?

Now to her temperament. She's a kind bunny, and she likes to be pet when she settles down and realizes we're not a threat to her. What this looks like is, we'll go into her, she'll flip out and run in circles and hop all over until we sit down and stay seated with gentle voices for a few minutes. Then the pets are appreciated in moderation. Holding is virtually a no-go at this point in time. A scary problem we're having is that if she's in her actual cage unit with the doors shut and no access to her pen, she'll flip out when someone comes in and run and jump all over the place, creating a mess, and bashing her face and body off the cage walls. Again this calms down and stops when we sit on her level with gentle voices for a few minutes and she realizes we're not there to hurt her. She did not display any of this behavior in her small cage at the fair, possibly because she knew she didn't have the room. I know every bunny is different, but when should we except her to warm up to us and become a pet we aren't afraid to make so scared that she'll have a heart attack or bash her body off the walls so hard that she dies? We can tolerate it taking time to be able to pet and hold her, but the insane fear that leads to accidental self harm is disturbing.

We're thinking about a fully domesticated, human loved and handled companion for her. We found a Mini Lop breeder couple near us. They do not show bunnies or breed for profit. They love their bunnies and handle and nurture them from a young age. Our thinking is that a companion is good for her; a much more docile companion could teach her some things; and yes, so that the kids can actually gently handle a friendly bunny that loves the human interaction and handling. As of right now their little hearts are broken because they don't understand why we're hardly letting them see the bunny until we can get her settled down.
 

odyssey~

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hello!

that cage is on the small side but it's okay until you can get her litter trained. I'd recommend looking into a dog xpen or free ranging once she's trained. for litter training, I recommend starting off with a litter box, a plastic storage tub or a cat litterbox from the dollar store can do. line the bottom with some sort of litter (since you has aspen, go ahead with that) and place the hay near the litterbox to encourage her to poop+pee there. most rabbits prefer to use the bathroom in one corner so put it in the corner she uses most. for the rest of the cage, you can put a towel/fleece down, not aspen so she can know where the potty is.

i would say at 4 months a rabbit should be at their 1/4-1/8 cup a day already. I'd recommend sherwood adult rabbit pellets.
for the hay, you can add herbs to it to make it more enticing and make sure it's fresh everyday. if she came from a fair i'm guessing she probably hasn't had veggies before and only had museli pellets (which aren't good for bunnies) so you'll have to introduce her to veggies slowly. start with a leafy green such as romaine lettuce and gradually increase the amounts and you can introduce new veggies gradually.

you're doing great in the toy section! and it's good you're using a dish for water!

since you got her recently, I'd give her more time to settle in first. talk to her in calm voices, sit near the cage and let her come to you so she can get used to you. most rabbits will NOT enjoy being handled at all as they are prey animals that like to have all four paws on the ground. at most, they'll probably only like being pet and that's about it.

about the second rabbit- you should get her spayed first before you get another rabbit. fixing the rabbit would reduce territorial behaviours, lower the risk of cancers and make her able to bond with a buddy without getting pregnant. spaying can be done at 4 months of age and will cost about $100 depending on the vet. you can start introducing her to a second rabbit ~4 weeks after the surgery. you're going to want to look for a neutured male because generally females get along best with males. also, most animal shelters will offer 'bunny dating' where you can bring in your fixed rabbit and see which bunny in the shelter they get along with best!

for further research, I'd highly recommend checking out the following youtube channels.
https://www.youtube.com/user/101rabbits <-- her channel has info on basically every single rabbit topic out there and I find her videos super informative!

I'm extremely sorry if this was overwhelming or rude at all- I'm just trying to point out everything to help!
take your time to digest this and I'm sure there'll be other members that can add their two cents as well :)
 

Blue eyes

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The rabbit came home yesterday. Far too soon to expect anything of any rabbit, previously handled or not.

The first 48 hours minimum, a new rabbit will do best if left completely undisturbed in its cage in its new home. This is a minimum. A rabbit will be overwhelmed at this sudden change in environment. New sights, sounds, odors... a frightening experience indeed. Add human interaction to that and it is overwhelming. I'd suggest taking an immediate hands off approach to start. Allow her the next 48 hours undisturbed. Normal household activities can and should continue so she can get accustomed to the normal activities.

In the meantime, read and prepare. I understand the kids are disappointed that they can't shower the new pet with attention but consider it all part of the learning process.

I'd suggest starting with the following page of my website:
and then perhaps this (or anywhere else on the site that catches you)

As @odyssey~ mentioned, it is too soon to look at finding a companion for this rabbit. It will exponentially complicate things. Rabbit bonding, believe it or not, can be quite difficult. Not any 2 rabbits will get along. And I should dispel the commonly held myth that early handling of rabbits makes for handle-able pets. This just isn't so. (This is explained in more detail on my site, but I don't want to write too much here.) You might want to take a peek at the bonding section of my site as well (both "bonding with your bunny" and "bonding bunnies").

There is also detailed info on how to litter train, how to safely introduce greens (too much at once can send bunny into GI stasis), etc.

A word of caution, other than the addition of hay, this is not the time to change bunny's diet. The diet should remain the same for the first couple weeks home (other than offering hay). Diet changes can lead to GI issues and so can stress. Any rabbit is under stress already when adjusting to a new home, so diet changes double the chances of GI issues and so aren't recommended until bun is settled in.
 
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Space Monkey

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hello!

that cage is on the small side but it's okay until you can get her litter trained. I'd recommend looking into a dog xpen or free ranging once she's trained. for litter training, I recommend starting off with a litter box, a plastic storage tub or a cat litterbox from the dollar store can do. line the bottom with some sort of litter (since you has aspen, go ahead with that) and place the hay near the litterbox to encourage her to poop+pee there. most rabbits prefer to use the bathroom in one corner so put it in the corner she uses most. for the rest of the cage, you can put a towel/fleece down, not aspen so she can know where the potty is.

i would say at 4 months a rabbit should be at their 1/4-1/8 cup a day already. I'd recommend sherwood adult rabbit pellets.
for the hay, you can add herbs to it to make it more enticing and make sure it's fresh everyday. if she came from a fair i'm guessing she probably hasn't had veggies before and only had museli pellets (which aren't good for bunnies) so you'll have to introduce her to veggies slowly. start with a leafy green such as romaine lettuce and gradually increase the amounts and you can introduce new veggies gradually.

you're doing great in the toy section! and it's good you're using a dish for water!

since you got her recently, I'd give her more time to settle in first. talk to her in calm voices, sit near the cage and let her come to you so she can get used to you. most rabbits will NOT enjoy being handled at all as they are prey animals that like to have all four paws on the ground. at most, they'll probably only like being pet and that's about it.

about the second rabbit- you should get her spayed first before you get another rabbit. fixing the rabbit would reduce territorial behaviours, lower the risk of cancers and make her able to bond with a buddy without getting pregnant. spaying can be done at 4 months of age and will cost about $100 depending on the vet. you can start introducing her to a second rabbit ~4 weeks after the surgery. you're going to want to look for a neutured male because generally females get along best with males. also, most animal shelters will offer 'bunny dating' where you can bring in your fixed rabbit and see which bunny in the shelter they get along with best!

for further research, I'd highly recommend checking out the following youtube channels.
https://www.youtube.com/user/101rabbits <-- her channel has info on basically every single rabbit topic out there and I find her videos super informative!

I'm extremely sorry if this was overwhelming or rude at all- I'm just trying to point out everything to help!
take your time to digest this and I'm sure there'll be other members that can add their two cents as well :)
Thank you! I'll certainly take time to digest all of this.

Right away I'll say: She is at the 1/8-1/4 cup of pellets. She's eating a lot of them. I need to try to "spice up" the hay for her though. She's not that big of a fan yet.

And right away I'll ask: is the cage really too small? Keep in mind she's a Mini Satin and won't get much bigger than she is now. Here she is in relation to her cage and the pen:

Eating her pellets like a dork:

IMG-20210801-194853401-HDR.jpg

Coming out to say hi:

IMG-20210801-195129250-HDR.jpg
 

JBun

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Congratulations on your new addition!

Usually with feeding, the previous owner should send you home with 2 weeks worth of transition feed, to gradually switch from the old feed to the new, but obviously they didn't do that for you. Baby rabbits have very sensitive digestive tracts. So it's best to not be making sudden changes to their food(with the exception of grass hay) unless the food they're eating is causing serious health issues. But since you are likely feeding a higher quality pellet, it may not cause your bunny any digestive issues. You just want to make sure the bunny is eating the pellets really well and you aren't seeing any poop abnormalities like mushy cecal poop(not true diarrhea, which is an emergency).

For now it will be alright that the bunny isn't eating hay. These first few weeks you just want her eating and having time to settle into her new home. After that, you can gradually reduce the pellet amount to not being free fed but limited, to see if she will start picking up on eating hay.

With veggies, fruit(very small limited amounts), and other new foods, it would be best to wait until she has had at least two weeks and/or completely settled in, before starting to introduce those foods into her diet, one at a time and starting with leafy greens and in small amounts and gradually increasing if there are no signs of digestive upset(lack of appetite, lethargy, mushy poop, tooth grinding, hunched position and not wanting to move). You just don't want to be introducing new foods to a stressed rabbit with an unsettled digestive system.


With litter training, you can try having a soft surface down in the rest of the buns area, in addition to having the litter box, but if you find she's inclined to pee on it(which a lot of rabbits like to pee on soft surfaces), then you will probably have to keep the floor of her area a smooth hard surface until she's litter box trained. A cut of textured lino can be a good waterproof surface. Then as she is consistently using the litter box for several weeks, you can attempt to add a soft rug on the lino and see how it goes. You don't want too coarse of a rug as it can abrade the fur on their hocks and create issues with their feet.

A rabbit is considered litter trained when they consistently pee in the litter box. The poop is a whole other thing. Rabbits in a new environment, will leave their round fecal poop around to mark their territory. Being in a new home, being young, and just starting to become hormonal, your bun may not be great at litter training or she may take right to it. All rabbits are different. But as she matures and hormones are more of an issue, that can change with an increased need to territorial mark. And for this getting her spayed can help improve litter box habits, get rid of other hormonal issues, and also remove the possibility of uterine cancer, which female rabbits are at an increased risk of as they get older.


With her freaking out, hurting herself is a real possibility right now. Like Blue eyes said, hands off for the first couple days is best(except for necessary feeding, etc). Something I would also suggest for her right now is putting up sheets or cardboard covering the pen walls to block out sudden movements and things on the outside of the pen suddenly startling her. She was probably kept outdoors in a cage. So the sudden introduction to a home environment can be scary for some rabbits.

 

Space Monkey

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Congratulations on your new addition!

Usually with feeding, the previous owner should send you home with 2 weeks worth of transition feed, to gradually switch from the old feed to the new, but obviously they didn't do that for you. Baby rabbits have very sensitive digestive tracts. So it's best to not be making sudden changes to their food(with the exception of grass hay) unless the food they're eating is causing serious health issues. But since you are likely feeding a higher quality pellet, it may not cause your bunny any digestive issues. You just want to make sure the bunny is eating the pellets really well and you aren't seeing any poop abnormalities like mushy cecal poop(not true diarrhea, which is an emergency).

For now it will be alright that the bunny isn't eating hay. These first few weeks you just want her eating and having time to settle into her new home. After that, you can gradually reduce the pellet amount to not being free fed but limited, to see if she will start picking up on eating hay.

With veggies, fruit(very small limited amounts), and other new foods, it would be best to wait until she has had at least two weeks and/or completely settled in, before starting to introduce those foods into her diet, one at a time and starting with leafy greens and in small amounts and gradually increasing if there are no signs of digestive upset(lack of appetite, lethargy, mushy poop, tooth grinding, hunched position and not wanting to move). You just don't want to be introducing new foods to a stressed rabbit with an unsettled digestive system.


With litter training, you can try having a soft surface down in the rest of the buns area, in addition to having the litter box, but if you find she's inclined to pee on it(which a lot of rabbits like to pee on soft surfaces), then you will probably have to keep the floor of her area a smooth hard surface until she's litter box trained. A cut of textured lino can be a good waterproof surface. Then as she is consistently using the litter box for several weeks, you can attempt to add a soft rug on the lino and see how it goes. You don't want too coarse of a rug as it can abrade the fur on their hocks and create issues with their feet.

A rabbit is considered litter trained when they consistently pee in the litter box. The poop is a whole other thing. Rabbits in a new environment, will leave their round fecal poop around to mark their territory. Being in a new home, being young, and just starting to become hormonal, your bun may not be great at litter training or she may take right to it. All rabbits are different. But as she matures and hormones are more of an issue, that can change with an increased need to territorial mark. And for this getting her spayed can help improve litter box habits, get rid of other hormonal issues, and also remove the possibility of uterine cancer, which female rabbits are at an increased risk of as they get older.


With her freaking out, hurting herself is a real possibility right now. Like Blue eyes said, hands off for the first couple days is best(except for necessary feeding, etc). Something I would also suggest for her right now is putting up sheets or cardboard covering the pen walls to block out sudden movements and things on the outside of the pen suddenly startling her. She was probably kept outdoors in a cage. So the sudden introduction to a home environment can be scary for some rabbits.

Hi! Quick comment on the food and poop while I digest your whole post. She's eating the pellets really well. She quite the pig for them. Her poop has maintained it's small ball form and isn't mushy as of now, and she's had lots and lots of it. That's a relief!

This is her food:

 

odyssey~

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Thank you! I'll certainly take time to digest all of this.

Right away I'll say: She is at the 1/8-1/4 cup of pellets. She's eating a lot of them. I need to try to "spice up" the hay for her though. She's not that big of a fan yet.

And right away I'll ask: is the cage really too small? Keep in mind she's a Mini Satin and won't get much bigger than she is now. Here she is in relation to her cage and the pen:

Eating her pellets like a dork:

View attachment 56627

Coming out to say hi:

View attachment 56628
despite the size of the rabbit, they all need plenty of space! the pen attachement to the cage you have is very short- soon enough she'll probably be adventourous enough to jump over. you can attach a sheet over the top with binder clips if she does that!
for now, until you can get her litter trained and accustomed to the new surroundings, this is okay, but not ideal. minimums are often debated but in my opinion, I say 20 sq ft minimum per one rabbit and more is ALWAYS better!

most rabbits do best with plently of space! if you have a spare bedroom/large closet that you can bunny proof, that would be a great place for her to live in. there's a thread in the housing and environment section with RO member's housings for their rabbits, perhaps you can get inspiration from there :)

I don't see any poop or pee outside of the main cage part which is good so far! she might already know to use the main cage part as the bathroom!

I notice you do have the hay in a hay feeder, this makes it hard to get to. do you think you could maybe try putting a small pile in the cage and seeing what she does?
 

Space Monkey

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Some updates before bed:

She is a new rabbit already. She's already becoming more adventurous since I posted this thread. She's not having the insane freak outs anymore. At most she occasionally goes stiff and becomes watchful. She might run off a couple of paces and then turn around to watch. That lasts just a few moments before she realizes she's perfectly safe. She's insisting on pets with head nudges. She's laying out for the pets and sitting next to us as we take turns sitting with her in the pen.

She's eating hay now. I put some out of the rack on the bedding of her cage and she's gobbling it up. She's quickly learning to come to when she hears the tick noise followed by her name (Freya) [Yes, after the Norse Goddess, which is fitting because we're Norwegian and her breed is half created by the Norwegian Dwarf rabbit]. I'm not sure if the *tick tick tick* noise humans make to call animals to them even matters for rabbits or really any pet/animal (why do we even make this noise?) but she responds to *tick tick tick* "Freya". She's loving eating out of hands.
 

JBun

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Sounds like she's settling in and adjusting fine then. Just that she's getting startled by things that she is probably not used to. That should decrease over time, and by your description at how quickly she's adjusting, it probably won't take long.

I don't know about the 'tick tick', but rabbits can be trained to respond to words or sounds, just like other animals. They can also be clicker trained.

One recommendation I'll make, is if the hidey box only has one entrance hole cut into it, I would add a hole on each side so that if she does startle, instead of bashing into the pen bars, she'll be able to more easily dart into the box for safety instead.

That's great she's starting to eat hay! If she'll eat at least a handful the size of her body per day, that's the ideal minimum amount to maintain good digestive function.

With you being a new rabbit owner, I'll include a basic crash course on GI stasis, the most common health issue in rabbits. And I would suspect it's the most common cause of death within the first year of a rabbit being in a new home. The reason being is new rabbit owners usually haven't yet learned the subtle clues that rabbits show when they're feeling unwell. And a rabbit that's in pain or discomfort, will usually stop eating and eventually can starve to death if the owner doesn't recognize early on what's happening and get the appropriate treatment.

GI stasis can occur with any health issue that causes pain or discomfort, but most often it's caused by something upsetting the stomach and/or a gut slowdown because not enough fiber is being consumed. Some of the earliest indicators of digestive issues or other health problems in rabbits, is small or gradually reducing fecal poop size, developing mushy cecals, and/or they won't eat the foods they normally would. So here are a few links of the basics every rabbit owner should know.



 

C. LeClaire

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I️ have the exact same cage and with the pen attached I️ think it’s fine. You can let her out to stretch her legs more but that extension gives her room to Binky. As far as hay honestly feed the 1/4 cup of pellets in the am only and freshen the hay daily. My bunnies hated hay and refused to eat it until I️ started this. Now they eat hay all day and especially overnight when they are most active. Put a kitty litter box with tractor supply wood pellets 1/4” in the bottom and then a hay layer at the front and feeder in front of that. They will eat the hay and pellets at the front & water bowl and pee & poop simultaneously in the litter box. Then add hay to cover and refresh every other day to control odor and mess. If her poops become mushy stop pellets and only hay for 3 days. Fresh greens and veggies are not necessary and in my bunnies cause loose stools so I️ only give a leaf or a few as a treat a few times a month. Best of luck to you! Oh also trim nails monthly and brush her often. 😊. I️ use a small ferret nail and coat kit.
 

C. LeClaire

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One word of advice, take out the shaved bedding or she will think the entire cage is a litter box. There are several sites on etsy, and Amazon that sell hidey houses, hay feeders and wood tunnels for rabbits. I️ also recommend binky bunny website for the litter box w/screen overlay. Super easy to clean and set up, buy 2 so you clean one and use one easily. The round ferret beds at pet smart inside the hidey house are a favorite sleep spot for my bunnies.
 

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Morning and afternoon update:

This morning I got up to find her sitting on the platform near the water dish, motionless. I take it she was sleeping. I added a big handful of hay to the other side and she perked up, came over, and started eating it. I let her be.

A few minutes ago, this afternoon, I let her out of her cage and into the pen. She came out exploring and following me around the room. While she was out in the pen checking everything out, I gave her pellets in her food dish and fresh water in her food bowl. She went it, ate a few pellets, took a drink, and then came out again where I was sitting by her pen. She then started running circles, made some squeaky squeal noises, stopped running, went in again and ate more pellets, then got hyper again running in circles making some noises, and stopping every once in awhile to lick my fingers and say hi, then off to the races again.

I'm assuming she's a very happy bunny and is getting used to her life of relative freedom and an abundance of love.
 

Space Monkey

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About the noise: I didn't know how to describe it, so the words I chose were squeak and squeal. This is not what she was doing! I researched and it was honking.
 

JBun

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Zoomies or bunny 500's, where they zip around really fast and then stop(not scared panicked running), and binkies where they do little jumps and shake their head or body, are expressions of play, happiness, joy, and feeling safe for rabbits.

Your bunny coming up, licking you and coming back to check in with you, basically means she's bonded with you. Circling with the honking/buzzing sound, can be hormonal courting behavior in unfixed rabbits, or in fixed or unfixed rabbits it can just be a rabbit excited to see you, to be fed, etc. Sounds like she was excited to see you and that she is very happy in her new home 💕


 

Space Monkey

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Right now she's bonding with my oldest. She's doing a good job of keeping poop mostly isolated to one area of the cage. I removed the bottle because, even though it was only a secondary water source, I read that it can collect bacteria and make her sick. I also removed the hay rack and put the hay down where she likes to eat it and poop.

 

JBun

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That's one content bunny! Your oldest is doing really well with her.

If you find you get sick of the shavings being tracked everywhere. A lot of us here use the wood pellet litter. I've found it's the best litter to control odor and best at absorption, and generally doesn't get tracked out of the litter box. Though some rabbits don't like the feel of the hard pellets on their feet, so a layer of hay over that eliminates that problem, and/or a diy soft screen to cover the litter(also prevents digging).

If you buy expensive pet store hay and you have a farm store nearby with good quality grass horse hay, that's the cheapest option for hay, then it's not such an issue wasting hay as a litter cover that gets peed on. Though you do sometimes need to be careful with the bales you get as some aren't as good as others.

You don't want hay that's ever been wet, has signs of mold(white or black spots, white dust, dampness, sour or musty smell) which can be fatal to rabbits, has noxious weeds or a lot of weeds in it, or is really dusty. Cheap wood pellets can be bought there as well, as equine pellet bedding. Or as winter gets closer, plain wood stove pellets(no additives) are another cheap option.
 

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A little something i noticed from the vid, and had been mentioned before.
Wood shavings all over the cage floor like that is a waste, you should get her a big plastic storage bin or a cat litterbox, you can line it with fleece, newspaper, or puppy pee pads, different people use different things. Then on top of that, almost any wood pellets will do, most often i see "equine pine" or "feline pine". I've also heard of people using paper based litter, like "yesterday's news". Some types of shavings are okay but in my experience, they tend to be more messy, gets dragged all over the place and isn't so good at odour control, also it is known to be more dusty. Then on top of the lining and pellets, add a handful of hay twice a day and all should be good!
 

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I'm a first time bunny owner. I've dealt with dogs and cats all my life, and shockingly to some, rats. I've probably had a dozen rats since I was a teenager, but none currently. In researching and buying supplies for our bunny, and learning at least a little bit about them, they're surprisingly similar pets, but different enough that I'm requiring more information from knowledgeable owners.

So we were at the State Fair a couple of days ago and walked into the bunny barn. My kids were interacting with the all the bunnies, and then the oldest noticed that some were for sale. That led to 4 smiling, wide eyed, begging kids. Of course I said yes because I'm the cool dad and I like animals too.

What I noticed:

The bunnies that were for sale were not as domesticated and people friendly as the not for sale bunnies. They were all a bit timid and backed away into a corner of their (heartbreakingly) tiny, dirty cages. They also didn't have fans blowing on them like the favored show bunnies did. I realized that these bunnies were probably not of show quality, were worked with very little, not treated well, and were living dollars.

The bunny we settled on is a female Mini Satin 4 months of age. She did have a pedigree, which was given to me. We weren't able to take her home the night we bought her because all bunnies had to stay until the following day when Best in Show was over with. That was yesterday. She was brought home yesterday evening. My fiance went to pick her up while I stayed to build her home and prepare her area.

I did a ton of research the night we bought her after we got home.

We bought her this home:


For bedding I wanted to use a cotton blanket or towel or something of that nature and litter box train, but our home is all carpet except for the kitchen. We don't know where to begin with the litter box training and we don't want poop everywhere in the meantime until we figure out how to get it started, so for now we're using Aspen bedding.

We bought her Timothy Hay and Orchard Hay and mixed it all up to put in her hay rack. We also bought Alfalfa pellets since she's still young to feed her 1/8 of a cup per day. Here's the thing though. She's not really eating much hay at all, opting for the pellets, which is all she had in her original small cage at the fair. I don't know what kind of feed they were giving her exactly, but it looked more like you would expect bird seed to look. She won't eat her leafy greens at all. We tried to entice her with a grape and a strawberry to see if she would eat that, but she stuck her nose up at those too, again opting for the pellets. Now she IS eating. She's a pellet eating machine, but we need her to eat her 70-80% hay diet with leafy greens as her primary food source, which she isn't doing. I'm afraid to completely take her pellets away.

We also bought her a few willow balls and willow sticks. I cut an opening in each end of a cardboard box to put in her pen as a hideout.

For water we are using a dish. I was never a fan of the bottles with the rats, and in my research I found that they're even worse for rabbits. However, we put the water bottle in there too as another option for her, which I've caught her licking a couple of times. The water dish will always be the primary water source though, which she's drinking more than enough of.

So, how do we get her to actually eat her hay and not rely on the pellets? As well as leafy greens? And some fruit every now and then?

Now to her temperament. She's a kind bunny, and she likes to be pet when she settles down and realizes we're not a threat to her. What this looks like is, we'll go into her, she'll flip out and run in circles and hop all over until we sit down and stay seated with gentle voices for a few minutes. Then the pets are appreciated in moderation. Holding is virtually a no-go at this point in time. A scary problem we're having is that if she's in her actual cage unit with the doors shut and no access to her pen, she'll flip out when someone comes in and run and jump all over the place, creating a mess, and bashing her face and body off the cage walls. Again this calms down and stops when we sit on her level with gentle voices for a few minutes and she realizes we're not there to hurt her. She did not display any of this behavior in her small cage at the fair, possibly because she knew she didn't have the room. I know every bunny is different, but when should we except her to warm up to us and become a pet we aren't afraid to make so scared that she'll have a heart attack or bash her body off the walls so hard that she dies? We can tolerate it taking time to be able to pet and hold her, but the insane fear that leads to accidental self harm is disturbing.

We're thinking about a fully domesticated, human loved and handled companion for her. We found a Mini Lop breeder couple near us. They do not show bunnies or breed for profit. They love their bunnies and handle and nurture them from a young age. Our thinking is that a companion is good for her; a much more docile companion could teach her some things; and yes, so that the kids can actually gently handle a friendly bunny that loves the human interaction and handling. As of right now their little hearts are broken because they don't understand why we're hardly letting them see the bunny until we can get her settled down.
I am a first time (well, technically a second-time owner but I had to rehome my first bunny a long long time ago) bunny owner so I don't know much. I just wanted to suggest something. I bought a splat mat that is used to catch spills from babies in a highchair from Amazon. Then I bought a washable pee pad (mine is 51" x 51") to put over it. I will probably get another one so I can switch it when cleaning. I figure both mats will help protect the floor as bunnies seem to pee and poop so much!

Here are some photos of the pen I just built for him today.

It sounds like you are going to be a great bunny owner!
 

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