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To Neuter or To Not Neuter??

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Jennyrobson

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You can put pillowcases and/or cardboard in the cage because those are safe. Since you do not have a larger litter box or proper litter yet I think it is okay to leave soft things outside of the litter box for now. Once you begin litter training then all soft things will need to be removed from the hutch.

I'm so sorry this thread has been so confusing. Please know that he will be completely fine and do not beat yourself up because of this mistake! I had pine shavings in Theo's hutch for the first 4 months that I owned him and the vet said he is in perfect health, even though I made that mistake.
I have this rug, is it ok? It’s not a problem. I just want him to be ok. I feel terrible. Does a rabbit need to be litter trained? I don’t mind washing this rug every day as I do that with my dog’s blankets as he has accidents often. If this isn’t ok I will put cardboard on the bottom of the hutch with pillow cases over it. What happens if he chews this rug now and again? He nibbles my towels for a bit and digs at them but then stops. If I put the rug or cardboard and pillow cases in, should I vacuum the pine shavings out? Is hay ok to be put in his litter tray long term also or will I need to get some other stuff? He does go to the bathroom in there quite well considering I’ve only had him 24 hours.
 

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Mariam+Theo

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So step by step, vacuum the pine shavings out of the hutch. Then I would flip the rug upside down, so he won't chew the tall fluffy pieces of the rug (I don't know what they are called 😂) and put it in the hutch. It is okay if he nibbles and digs at the rug a little bit, just don't allow him to eat it! If he does eat a little bit, give him LOTS of hay. I would also give him a cardboard box with 2 entrances so he can play around in it. Rabbits love cardboard hideyhouses.

You can put hay in his litter box, that is actually the best place for the hay to be. He won't eat any soiled hay. Rabbits should be litter trained. It is easiest for the owner and best for the rabbit so they are not playing around in their mess. Litter training is very easy actually if the rabbit is spayed/neutered. If you follow the link I sent earlier it should tell you everything you need to know, but if you have any other questions on litter training feel free to dm me!
 

Jennyrobson

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So step by step, vacuum the pine shavings out of the hutch. Then I would flip the rug upside down, so he won't chew the tall fluffy pieces of the rug (I don't know what they are called 😂) and put it in the hutch. It is okay if he nibbles and digs at the rug a little bit, just don't allow him to eat it! If he does eat a little bit, give him LOTS of hay. I would also give him a cardboard box with 2 entrances so he can play around in it. Rabbits love cardboard hideyhouses.

You can put hay in his litter box, that is actually the best place for the hay to be. He won't eat any soiled hay. Rabbits should be litter trained. It is easiest for the owner and best for the rabbit so they are not playing around in their mess. Litter training is very easy actually if the rabbit is spayed/neutered. If you follow the link I sent earlier it should tell you everything you need to know, but if you have any other questions on litter training feel free to dm me!
I will be leaving him to settle a bit tonight as I have disrupted him quite a lot. I’m sure he won’t eat any as he does stop chewing the towel after a while... lots of hay is always available to him so hopefully he will eat more of that tonight. I’ve ordered him a pet bed earlier that will come tomorrow for him. He has a bridge and things that he attempts to climb over but most of the time he just runs into it. I will try and cut out a bit of a cardboard box for him. He will definitely be being neutered (or spayed, might have a girl on my hands if a mistake has been made!) when he is of the right age. I’ll go and Hoover the shavings now and it will definitely be going in the bin! Good riddance to it I say! Can’t believe I was directed to buy it... Makes you think twice about advice of “pet experts” I suppose. Thanks so much for your advice, will definitely come back if I need anything!
 

Jennyrobson

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Hi guys, so I’ve just put him into the hutch with the rug in... I put another rug folded up in his bedding area until his bed arrives tomorrow... he’s had a few nibbles at me today, nothing major, but a few nibbles nonetheless, is that normal? It’s usually when I’ve picked him up to put him in the pet carrier so I can clean the hutch or when I’ve had to lift him up to put a towel down on my bed. He also gave me a bit of a nip earlier upstairs when I didn’t lift him, and just now when I took him from the pet carrier. He loves being stroked still and everything. Is he ok? I’ve heard it’s a sign of affection... I’m not sure though. He will come over to me sometimes and have a sniff etc. He’s eating a pellet from my fingers one time and often eats hay from my fingers. I also need to move the hutch tomorrow and put it further upstairs as my downstairs is colder than my upstairs. Will this be detrimental to him? It’s a bit of a necessity especially as it’s snowing a lot here and is very cold, especially in the mornings... any feedback would be great, thanks!
 
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Blue eyes

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@Jennyrobson , could you please clarify? Where did this new rabbit come from? It appears you've only had it for 12 hours. I'm a bit confused because the one your were waiting for wasn't going to be ready for another month. But then you were looking at rescues. Yet this one seems too young to be a rescue.

Also, I understood that you were going to be housing indoors? But the photos appear to be outdoors?

It also sounds like there has been much disruption and changing going on with the housing for this bun in these short 12 hours. It is best, with a new rabbit, to put them in their new home and then leave them totally undisturbed for 48 hours. Do be careful about putting too much stress on the rabbit.
 

Jennyrobson

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@Jennyrobson , could you please clarify? Where did this new rabbit come from? It appears you've only had it for 12 hours. I'm a bit confused because the one your were waiting for wasn't going to be ready for another month. But then you were looking at rescues. Yet this one seems too young to be a rescue.

Also, I understood that you were going to be housing indoors? But the photos appear to be outdoors?

It also sounds like there has been much disruption and changing going on with the housing for this bun in these short 12 hours. It is best, with a new rabbit, to put them in their new home and then leave them totally undisturbed for 48 hours. Do be careful about putting too much stress on the rabbit.
I’ve had him for over 24 hours. He’s from a registered breeder who was recommended to me. The one I was waiting for, I was let down on. The rabbit I was going to apply for wasn’t within my county so I was unable to collect him. I had a routine planned for him and I was then told that pine shavings were bad for him so I changed the bedding, to ensure his safety. That is the only thing I have changed. I plan to move him tomorrow and settle into a routine with him then as the area he is in now has me a bit worried in terms of the temperature of my house. I’ve done everything to ensure his safety, I contacted a vet to enquire about his stools just to ensure that he was ok. I am feeding him on some good food and have limited his pellets per the advice of people on this forum. He is housed indoors. I will show proof of this. He has never been housed outdoors and will never be put outdoors. I can assure you that he is indoors. I don’t see how the images appear to be outdoors... whenever I have taken a picture of him, he has been indoors, whenever I have taken a picture of his food, it has been indoors... the only time he was remotely outside was when I brought him into my home in a pet carrier. If there appears to have been disruption, I can assure you that I have changed things that I have been told would put him at risk. I did not wish to risk my rabbit’s health. That is why I made the change, one time, to change his bedding. That is it. I will be moving him tomorrow to an area more suitable in terms of weather as we are having some winter weather here.
*Edit - if you have any advice, that would be great as I am always wanting to learn what is good what is bad etc. I have only changed things to ensure his safety per what I’ve been informed on this forum, that is it. Hopefully you see that, as well as the fact he is housed indoors.
 

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Blue eyes

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Thank you for clarifying. Allow me to try to put your mind at ease and offer some further suggestions. The reason for needing to know whether the rabbit is indoors or outdoors is because that would change the recommendations for what to put inside the hutch. There isn't anything wrong with housing rabbits outdoors with a proper setup, so it was no judgement against you. The photos you posted show a hutch that is typically considered an outdoor hutch. That is why I thought perhaps the bun was outdoors on a porch or such.

With an indoor hutch, it isn't necessary to have loose bedding on the floor of the cage. It confuses bunny as to where to potty and it simply makes more work for you. Shavings tend to stick to bunny fur and get tracked everywhere. If the shavings are cedar (yours weren't), they are toxic. If the shavings are pine and kiln-dried, they are perfectly safe. If they are not kiln-dried, then they can cause respiratory issues IF the bunny is exposed to them for many months or years. You've already removed them, which is fine, but thought you'd like to know.

As mentioned earlier, it is recommended to not disturb a new rabbit for 48 hours. In the eyes of a rabbit, they are suddenly in a totally new and strange place. It has all new sights, all new sounds, and all new odors. Those alone are frightening, but to add in any interaction from the human just increases that stress. As humans, we may not consider this. Your wrote:
I’ve picked him up to put him in the pet carrier so I can clean the hutch or when I’ve had to lift him up to put a towel down on my bed. He also gave me a bit of a nip earlier upstairs when I didn’t lift him, and just now when I took him from the pet carrier. He loves being stroked still and everything. He’s eating a pellet from my fingers one time and often eats hay from my fingers.
I understand you had to move him to empty the shavings. The other under-lined actions are things best avoided during the first 48 hours (minimum). What is meant for the 48 hour period is to not pick-up, not pet, not touch, not hand-feed, not take out of cage -- totally hands off. The nip he gave is proof of that. So my prior post's caution was a response to the above quote. I appreciate that you state you want what's best for your bunny, so it is with that in mind that I offered that caution.

Regarding the coldness, rabbits do very well in temperatures cooler than we humans like. It is doubtful that any indoor temperature that you are able to live in would be too cold for a rabbit. It may be best to temporarily keep him where he is for now (so as not to stress him further) while you take a bit more time to fully prepare the upstairs space you hoped to switch him to.

As for what to put on the cage floor, that will change as he grows. During litter training, any loose bedding or blankets or rugs can confuse bunny. They like to potty on soft things. So by making the litter box the softest spot (litter with hay on top), it encourages bunny to potty in the box. Any beds or blankets may get peed on during training. For this reason, it's best to keep the floor bare until he's trained.

Beds, towels, fleece, rugs, mats, etc -- any of these are potential options to put on the cage floor once he's trained. It will be a matter of experimenting because what is fine for one rabbit may not work with another. If bunny chews and ingests anything, then that should be removed. As hormones approach, he may start chewing everything, but that can settle back down after neutering. So the rule of thumb is, if he chews and ingests it, don't use it.

I'm not sure what your plans are for the hutch (upstairs, downstairs) but you'll want to consider where his exercise area will be. Ideally, you should be able to just open his hutch door to allow him out to play in a bunny-proofed area. Knowing that may help you decide where to keep the hutch. You don't want to have to pull him out of the hutch and take him to another area. They like to be able to have access back to their hutch at all times.

I'll stop there so as not to overwhelm you with topics!
 

Jennyrobson

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Thank you for clarifying. Allow me to try to put your mind at ease and offer some further suggestions. The reason for needing to know whether the rabbit is indoors or outdoors is because that would change the recommendations for what to put inside the hutch. There isn't anything wrong with housing rabbits outdoors with a proper setup, so it was no judgement against you. The photos you posted show a hutch that is typically considered an outdoor hutch. That is why I thought perhaps the bun was outdoors on a porch or such.

With an indoor hutch, it isn't necessary to have loose bedding on the floor of the cage. It confuses bunny as to where to potty and it simply makes more work for you. Shavings tend to stick to bunny fur and get tracked everywhere. If the shavings are cedar (yours weren't), they are toxic. If the shavings are pine and kiln-dried, they are perfectly safe. If they are not kiln-dried, then they can cause respiratory issues IF the bunny is exposed to them for many months or years. You've already removed them, which is fine, but thought you'd like to know.

As mentioned earlier, it is recommended to not disturb a new rabbit for 48 hours. In the eyes of a rabbit, they are suddenly in a totally new and strange place. It has all new sights, all new sounds, and all new odors. Those alone are frightening, but to add in any interaction from the human just increases that stress. As humans, we may not consider this. Your wrote:

I understand you had to move him to empty the shavings. The other under-lined actions are things best avoided during the first 48 hours (minimum). What is meant for the 48 hour period is to not pick-up, not pet, not touch, not hand-feed, not take out of cage -- totally hands off. The nip he gave is proof of that. So my prior post's caution was a response to the above quote. I appreciate that you state you want what's best for your bunny, so it is with that in mind that I offered that caution.

Regarding the coldness, rabbits do very well in temperatures cooler than we humans like. It is doubtful that any indoor temperature that you are able to live in would be too cold for a rabbit. It may be best to temporarily keep him where he is for now (so as not to stress him further) while you take a bit more time to fully prepare the upstairs space you hoped to switch him to.

As for what to put on the cage floor, that will change as he grows. During litter training, any loose bedding or blankets or rugs can confuse bunny. They like to potty on soft things. So by making the litter box the softest spot (litter with hay on top), it encourages bunny to potty in the box. Any beds or blankets may get peed on during training. For this reason, it's best to keep the floor bare until he's trained.

Beds, towels, fleece, rugs, mats, etc -- any of these are potential options to put on the cage floor once he's trained. It will be a matter of experimenting because what is fine for one rabbit may not work with another. If bunny chews and ingests anything, then that should be removed. As hormones approach, he may start chewing everything, but that can settle back down after neutering. So the rule of thumb is, if he chews and ingests it, don't use it.

I'm not sure what your plans are for the hutch (upstairs, downstairs) but you'll want to consider where his exercise area will be. Ideally, you should be able to just open his hutch door to allow him out to play in a bunny-proofed area. Knowing that may help you decide where to keep the hutch. You don't want to have to pull him out of the hutch and take him to another area. They like to be able to have access back to their hutch at all times.

I'll stop there so as not to overwhelm you with topics!
I’m debating getting him a new hutch as I’ve realised it’s an outdoor one now... if I leave him alone today and tomorrow, will he be ok? If I just feed him and everything? I feel so bad now about the disruption but I’ve done it to attempt to ensure his safety... I know you said it’s best for the floor of the hutch to be bare but the current hutch has wood, will he be ok on that? I won’t take out the rug and everything now until the 48hr period has passed. I’ve ordered him a bed but I’m unsure of whether or not to put that in there now because he’s still a baby and pees/poops everywhere. I appreciate that there’s been disruption but he will be left alone today, I will clean his hutch tomorrow instead of today if suitable. I do believe that a change of hutch is best for him as this one does have a run area attached and is higher up which will enable me to clean him easily. It will also give him better access once he is moved upstairs as he will be able to just run back in and go up the ramp into his bed. When do you suggest I get it? I’ll let him settle now and I was hoping to purchase it on Monday... would that be adequate? I’ve fed him this morning and everything and have left him now.
 

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Blue eyes

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Leaving him alone today and tomorrow is a good idea. Just keep his hay, water & food pellets supplied as needed. Leaving the rug in there for now is fine provided he doesn't try eating it. He can stay in there undisturbed for the whole weekend and be just fine. That gives you the weekend to figure out what you want to do for housing.

The pink hutch in the photo is quite small. Do you have an exercise pen? If you were planning on having an exercise pen set up around the pink hutch and have the hutch doors open 24/7, then that would be ok. Without an attached exercise area, the hutch is too small.

An exercise pen is a simple way to provide more permanent space. Or you could go fancier...

If you or someone you know is handy, then something similar to this could be added to whatever hutch you use:
1613154030867.png

Here are a couple more ideas just to get you thinking about possibilities....

1613154288422.png
1613154306814.png

Your other option is to free-roam him once he's neutered and litter trained. That's when the area needs to be bunny-proofed. The exercise pen should be used even if you intend to eventually free-roam.

The next photo shows how a hutch is surrounded by an ex- pen to create an exercise area. Once the buns got used to the exercise area, the pen was removed and they were able to roam the rest of that room.

As you can see, the hutch below is actually larger than the pink one, but would still be too small by itself. Once the pen was removed, the door to this cage was left open all day, every day, and only closed at night.
1613154838265.png
 

Jennyrobson

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Leaving him alone today and tomorrow is a good idea. Just keep his hay, water & food pellets supplied as needed. Leaving the rug in there for now is fine provided he doesn't try eating it. He can stay in there undisturbed for the whole weekend and be just fine. That gives you the weekend to figure out what you want to do for housing.

The pink hutch in the photo is quite small. Do you have an exercise pen? If you were planning on having an exercise pen set up around the pink hutch and have the hutch doors open 24/7, then that would be ok. Without an attached exercise area, the hutch is too small.

An exercise pen is a simple way to provide more permanent space. Or you could go fancier...

If you or someone you know is handy, then something similar to this could be added to whatever hutch you use:
View attachment 53207

Here are a couple more ideas just to get you thinking about possibilities....

View attachment 53208
View attachment 53209

Your other option is to free-roam him once he's neutered and litter trained. That's when the area needs to be bunny-proofed. The exercise pen should be used even if you intend to eventually free-roam.

The next photo shows how a hutch is surrounded by an ex- pen to create an exercise area. Once the buns got used to the exercise area, the pen was removed and they were able to roam the rest of that room.

As you can see, the hutch below is actually larger than the pink one, but would still be too small by itself. Once the pen was removed, the door to this cage was left open all day, every day, and only closed at night.
View attachment 53210
I will be looking into getting a pen for him soon. He will be having a run built for him too for exercise, outdoors. I remember the vet telling me he shouldn’t be out right now due to the weather etc and the fact he’s not yet vaccinated so the run will come at a later date. He will be having a pen put in for him however, in our living room where the most space is I’m thinking. I won’t be doing this until the 48hr period has passed. I did purchase the hut for him but I’ll also get a pen so he can run around once he’s settled more. He will be getting neutered ASAP (or spayed in the case of him being a girl) so that will make everything easier. Thanks for all the advice. I’m currently on bed rest as I dislocated my knee earlier today so I may not be as active on the thread. Thanks again!
 

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Sorry to hear about your knee! If you are taking it easy (staying off your feet), that gives you more time to peruse through links and care sites! :)

It is perfectly fine for indoor rabbits to remain indoors. Occasionally taking them out may be ok (has its own risks) but won't be the primary exercise for an indoor rabbit. Bear in mind that you really don't want to have the hutch in one place and the exercise space in another. Bun should be able to have constant access back to his hutch even during exercise times. That's why it's important to think carefully about the ideal place to put the hutch. It should be in the same space where he'll be allowed to run around indoors.

The following page addresses those risks associated with bringing your rabbit outdoors. Bear in mind that the site is US based, so the warning about the recent outbreak of RHVD2 refers to here in the US. Your rabbit in the UK will be vaccinated (as you said) but that doesn't make them immune from the disease. It can increase their survival, however, if they do get it from going outdoors.
 

Jennyrobson

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Sorry to hear about your knee! If you are taking it easy (staying off your feet), that gives you more time to peruse through links and care sites! :)

It is perfectly fine for indoor rabbits to remain indoors. Occasionally taking them out may be ok (has its own risks) but won't be the primary exercise for an indoor rabbit. Bear in mind that you really don't want to have the hutch in one place and the exercise space in another. Bun should be able to have constant access back to his hutch even during exercise times. That's why it's important to think carefully about the ideal place to put the hutch. It should be in the same space where he'll be allowed to run around indoors.

The following page addresses those risks associated with bringing your rabbit outdoors. Bear in mind that the site is US based, so the warning about the recent outbreak of RHVD2 refers to here in the US. Your rabbit in the UK will be vaccinated (as you said) but that doesn't make them immune from the disease. It can increase their survival, however, if they do get it from going outdoors.
I’ve just been trying to nap off the pain mostly, but I will be looking at some sites when the pain has eased a bit.
I’m going to measure the new hutch when it arrives, and see if it will fit in my living room. If so, which I think it will, he can have a pen put around that. Thanks again for all the advice!
 

Jennyrobson

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Hi guys! UPDATE ON MOONY.
Fed him this morning, let him be, then opened the hutch door to see if he wanted to explore, sat away and completely ignored him, he came out eventually. I then ignored him again until he came over and nudged my hand, he also licked my hand a bit, I stroked him and then he hopped back in his hutch. I’ve shut the cage now to give him some time to sort of reflect on that interaction because I don’t want to push it. He was then jumping around his cage sort of, should I be concerned? Did I push it? He’s stopped doing it now but it was sort of like a hop/big jump, he was jumping into the litter tray, out of the litter tray, to his bedding area, everywhere around the hutch basically. Any help is welcome, thanks.
 

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Sounds like he was binkying! It's what they do when they are happy. Next time, let him out so he can have more space to run around.
 

Jennyrobson

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Sounds like he was binkying! It's what they do when they are happy. Next time, let him out so he can have more space to run around.
He did come out, he sniffed around and explored and then came over to me which is when I interacted with him. He hopped back in his hutch for a while and I shut the door because I didn’t want to push it... I might clean him tomorrow if he’s happy now as the hutch does really need a clean. I’ve only been going in there to top up his food and water. Will cleaning him tomorrow be ok? Also if I do, how long does he need to be out of the hutch? I’ve bought a hutch cleaner and will take everything out and clean the floor etc then put his rug in there again. He can explore whilst I’m cleaning, but I don’t want to push anything with him again, it’s just that it does need to be cleaned soon.
 
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He did come out, he sniffed around and explored and then came over to me which is when I interacted with him. He hopped back in his hutch for a while and I shut the door because I didn’t want to push it... I might clean him tomorrow if he’s happy now as the hutch does really need a clean. I’ve only been going in there to top up his food and water. Will cleaning him tomorrow be ok? Also if I do, how long does he need to be out of the hutch? I’ve bought a hutch cleaner and will take everything out and clean the floor etc then put his rug in there again. He can explore whilst I’m cleaning, but I don’t want to push anything with him again, it’s just that it does need to be cleaned soon.
The more time out the hutch (prison cell) the better. No such thing as pushing it with Rabbits. Well, at least not with free time out the hutch.
Leave the door open with feed and water available.
I hope this doesn't sound rude, but I think you're stressing too much. Keeping rabbits is simple, you may be over complicating it.
Hutch needs a clean once a week, if you want to to it more often then that's fine.
 

Jennyrobson

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The more time out the hutch (prison cell) the better. No such thing as pushing it with Rabbits. Well, at least not with free time out the hutch.
Leave the door open with feed and water available.
I hope this doesn't sound rude, but I think you're stressing too much. Keeping rabbits is simple, you may be over complicating it.
Hutch needs a clean once a week, if you want to to it more often then that's fine.
This clean will be the first clean of the week. The removal of the shavings was just that, it wasn’t a clean. I’m trying to find out when he can go back in the hutch after I clean it.
 

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This clean will be the first clean of the week. The removal of the shavings was just that, it wasn’t a clean. I’m trying to find out when he can go back in the hutch after I clean it.
If you're using a pet safe antibacterial spray then just allow any moisture to dry before he goes back. You don't have to but that's just my opinion
 
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