Monday, October 5, 2009

Rabbit care for pet sitters

http://www.rabbithutchesadvice.com
I found this interesting link about rabbit keeping and care. It is a website from the UK. I hope you will find it a helpful resource! 


I owned rabbits before I ever had my first dog. Thumper and Snowball were outdoor bunnies, and lived in cages in our back yard. They had three litters over the years we had them. I was in elementary school, and my dad did most of the actual care and cleaning. The cages were set up on bricks, and he would use cut down cardboard soda cases to catch the waste. They slid neatly under the cages, and came out soggy and not-so-neatly when it was time to change them. 



Thumper was a Dutch, and Snowball was a Californian. We bought them from a breeder in Bellflower, CA who raised them to sell for food. He mentored me and patiently answered all my rabbit-raising questions over the years. I even got a Rabbit-Raisers Girl Scout Badge. 


Back then bunnies weren't considered good housepets. It wasn't until I was in college and my boyfriend's parents had a rabbit that came indoors that it even occurred to me to bring one inside. By that time, I was pet-less, as college kids often are, due to my mobile lifestyle. (I confess, I victimized my roommates with an occasional kitten- but they didn't last long, usually going to live with my own mom and dad). 


Pet sitting a rabbit
When it comes to pet sitting for rabbits, my duties have always been for outdoor bunnies. Alfalfa pellets, carrots and plenty of water are the basic requirements. Some clients buy timothy hay for their bunnies to munch on. 


Rabbits are not safe running loose in the yard. One client lost her bunnies when a neighbor dog came over the fence and killed them. Cats will also kill rabbits, and of course coyotes and other wildlife can get them. So a cage or hutch is the safest place.


Be sure you have a bunny vet's phone number. Hopefully your client will provide one. Dog and cat vets don't always treat rabbits too. 


I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "breeding like rabbits." Like most rodents, which they are, they are prolific breeders. Shelters and rescue groups now routinely spay and neuter their homeless pet rabbits. Speaking of rescue, all those cute baby Easter bunnies grow up and there are never enough homes for them. Turning unwanted rabbits loose to fend for themselves may seem natural, but it is a death sentence. They haven't got a clue to surviving in the wild.


Rabbits that aren't handled regularly can really hurt you when they kick, so socialization is important. You are better off leaving the bunny in his cage while the owner is traveling. Catching one can be a real adventure. 


© 2009 Terry Albert. Photo from rabbithutchesadvice.com, courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/gallery/oOlemon

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