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Demtro

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Not sure if I am posting this in the right spot, but have a question regarding rabbits. My wife and I are considering getting a Rabbit for my son and daughter. My son has been asking for one for quite some time now and my daughter is getting interested as well. I know nothing about Rabbit's other then they are furry, eat, drink and produce jelly beans...LOL

My questions are

Do you have to take a rabbit to the vet annually or just when it is sick?

Can I build an enclosure on my porch or in my backyard for it and can I keep it out there all year long? (I live in Tampa, FL)

Do I have to worry about any possible disease interaction between Cats, Dogs and Rabbits? I have both cats and dogs.

If I have to take it to the vet Annually, what time of shots, or care do I need to get and what is the average cost for this care?

Any input anybody can provide would be greatly appreciated. As for the enclosure, I would build both an open and closed enclosure that is fairly large and multi tiered It would allow for an enclosed section out of direct sun light as well as heat, and an open one which would be in the sun....

Thanks...
Demtro
 

agnesthelion

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Welcome to RO, I'd love to try and help with your questions :)

How old are your children? Rabbits, generally speaking, do not make good pets for young children. They are not cuddly and don't like being handled. I have a young son but my rabbits are "mine". He is not allowed to handle them or be alone with them. I don't know what the magic age is, lol, just wanted to make you aware since alot of parents will get a rabbit for their child and when it doesn't cuddle or want to be held kids can be disappointed.

Vet trips are not *needed* annually unless you want to. Some owners do some don't. However i will encourage at least a well visit upon getting a new bun. Rabbits are not vaccinated in the US. It is encouraged to get your rabbit spayed and/or neutered. You will want to find a rabbit savvy vet in your area to take your bunny to if need be.

I'm a proponet of rabbits being inside with their family. But many do keep their rabbits outside safely. In your area the concern would be heat. Rabbits do not tolerate heat well and high temps can be fatal. Hopefully other RO members with outdoor rabbits can weigh in on your outdoor enclosure.

Cats do carry a bacteria that can be dangerous to rabbits so close supervision would be needed there. I'm not aware of any diseases that rabbits carry that is a threat to cats and dogs other than fleas that can be transmitted between all of them. Rabbits are prey animals so naturally are scared of cats and dogs but through proper introduction some do become friends.

Rabbits make excellent pets but are high maintenance and require alot of care specific to them. They aren't just "cage animals" and they benefit greatly from free run outside of their cage and human interaction everyday. Most can be litter trained. A very common diet is pellets, fresh herbs/veggies daily and unlimited access to hay to keep digestive systems function well. They are chewers and diggers and messy. They poop alot :) They all have unique personalities, some will tolerate being held all the way to some who don't even care for even being petted much. But they are funny, intelligent and entertaining!

Hope this helped and do let us know if you have any other questions!
 

Demtro

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Thank you for the reply...My son is 7 almost 8 and he knows that they are not the cuddle, play with type of animal, so I do not believe that will be an issue...My daughter is 2, however her interaction with the rabbit will be limited till she is older.

Keeping the rabbit inside is not really an option simply because of the cats and dogs, however I do have a covered porch, and could build 2 enclosures, one for the porch and 1 for the yard, and move the bunny between enclosures pending the weather. As for places for it to run around, our back porch would be perfect, when we get home we could let him our to bounce around....

our cats are indoor and our dogs reside in the house and just go outside for exercise and to do their business...so there is not much interaction the critters would have together...I

I would appreciate some feedback from other members as to how to handle the heat issues...we do get very hot and humid, and I can address that a little by insulating the enclosure but that of course would not work for every situation,
 

Troller

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People have been known to keep rabbits outside and they can be perfectly fine as long as they get plenty interaction. Of course since a rabbit is outside, it's harder to have meaningful and consistent interactions so its best for them to have company such as a friend. However, two rabbits don't just get along, they must be fixed and bonded so now you have another issue.

As for heat, I don't have much first hand experience of outdoor living but I do read people provide shade, fans with mister's and frozen bottles of water to counteract extreme temps and it works for the most part. I'll let others chime in on specifics and dirt hand knowledge though.
 

BugLady

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Hi! It sounds like you already have a full house, so you'll need to be sure that you are willing to give the rabbit plenty of attention for its entire life, without relying on the interest of your children (which will probably wane after a few months).

As for vet visits - mine get a yearly check-up. I would at least bring it for a preliminary visit so the vet can get all your info, and the bunny's basic health stats (weight, how do the teeth look, etc) so if you ever need to take it for an emergency visit, you're already in the system as a patient.

I recommend adopting a rabbit that is already spayed or neutered. This way you can get a feel for its temperament before bringing it home, as many rabbits do NOT like to be held or picked up or even touched. A fixed rabbit tends to live many years longer, is better litter trained, and does not spray or have other hormonal behaviors. However they also live a lot longer - up to 15 years!

People often bring home a cute baby bunny from the pet store and give it up a few months to a year later when it reaches sexual maturity and starts spraying, nipping, humping, pooping everywhere, etc. And to get a rabbit fixed often costs several hundred dollars. So I would always recommend adoption for a pet bunny.

However, most shelters require their adopted rabbits to be kept indoors, not sure if your porch would qualify. Maybe.

In my experience, rabbits will quickly become less friendly when they do not have much daily human interaction. When I was a kid we often kept our pet rabbit in a pen outside, and she nearly became wild! Once we confined her to the house, and let her stay in the living room with us, she calmed down and became a loving cuddly family member who was no longer skittish and afraid of us.

I currently have two adopted rabbits, bonded, in the house. They are litter trained, and never stay in a cage. They're amazing pets. I "play" with them in the sense that I'm always building new elaborate cardboard castles for them to jump around in, and I've taught them a few tricks (spin, kiss, paw, and up). They love to throw their toys, and eat veggies and treats out of my hands. I'm going to start training one of my rabbits to do agility courses! So there could be a lot more interaction with a pet bunny than you might realize, even if they don't like to be picked up. But it requires a lot of daily attention.

Getting two rabbits means they have each other for company, but that is not always an easy process. Not all rabbits like each other! Though a shelter might have already bonded pairs, or let you try to bond two of their rabbits.

There is a lot of great information in this forum, including how to build nice enclosures, how to litter train, etc. Good luck :)
 

1357bunnylover

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I do have a covered porch, and could build 2 enclosures, one for the porch and 1 for the yard, and move the bunny between enclosures pending the weather.

It is better to have a run attached to the hutch at all times so the rabbit can decide if they want to go out or not, rather than you putting them out even if they don't want to. Outdoor rabbits can get fly strike if not cleaned out enough or if they get a dirty bottom from being fed the wrong diet. Flystrike is when flys hatch eggs onto rabbits bottoms and the eggs turn to maggots and will start to eat at your rabbit.

I suggest bringing your rabbit to the vet at leafy once a year just for a check up on teeth and weight etc.

Like everyone has said it might be a bit dangerous for a rabbit to live outside in extreme weathers, rabbits can easily die from heat stroke, thankfully I live in the uk and it never gets hot hot here or extremely cold.

Rabbits need neutering and spaying when 6-12 month old as this is when they become hormonal and will be grumpy with you and may bite, males will also hump and spray you. If rabbits don't get enough exercise they also become very cage/hutch aggressive so they need to be able to run and jump and Binky :)

Rabbits are friendly social animals and if from an early age you get them used to human contact they will come up to you for strokes but rarely like being picked up and handled.
A rabbits diet is mainly hay, and they must have it available to eat at all times, they also need daily veggies and herbs like parsley, coriander, basil, dill, mint, thyme etc, they also need a good quality pellet. Rabbits cost me more than my cats by a lot because of their specialist diet.

Good luck with your bun :)
 

edwinf8936

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Heat can be a problem. A rabbit will tend to dig like a dog in dirt to lay on cool ground. Being on a porch they would not be able to do that. I have seen wild rabbits at my house lay on the ground in the shade under bushes on hot days.

Over all I would say that if the rabbit is outside it may become ignored. They realy like interaction even if it is just a person nearby talking.
 

1357bunnylover

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Over all I would say that if the rabbit is outside it may become ignored. They realy like interaction even if it is just a person nearby talking.

You can't say that a rabbit being outdoors would be ignored. My 5 rabbits are outdoors and are not ignored at all. Not everyone that has outdoor bunnies is going to just stick them in a small hutch at the back of the garden and forget about them.
 

LakeCondo

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May be ignored isn't the same as will be. Plus the weather in the UK & Florida are much different. In Florida outdoor rabbits need to be given ice cubes often each hot day.

I understand that the tan breed tolerates heat better than other breeds. However, I wold think guinea pigs would make better pets in this situation, since they could be kept inside in a habitat the other animals couldn't get at. Being concerned about annual vet checks suggests that when a rabbit is really sick, funds may not be available. Their teeth may not wear down right & need frequent filing down, etc.

However, don't rule out having a rabbit inside instead. You can put together a NIC cage, made from square 12" panels meant for storage. Enter 'nic' here under 'search' & you'll see pictures. Of course it would be much larger than a g pig's. But if one would fit in your son's room, this would work.
 
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