Preparing For A Rabbit And Bringing It Home

It is important to prepare for the arrival of a rabbit, bring it home in a suitable container and give it time to settle into its new surroundings to keep stress to a minimum.

It is best to go and buy the rabbit cage or hutch and equipment a day or two before buying the rabbit(s). This then allows the cage or hutch to be fully prepared before the arrival of the rabbit(s).

If the intention is to keep the rabbit indoors as a house rabbit then it is vital that the rooms which the rabbit will have access are checked for dangers such as electric cables that could be chewed by the rabbit, etc and any such dangers remedied before bringing the rabbit home.

When buying the rabbit(s) the seller of the rabbit will usually provide a container in which to take the rabbit(s) home in. However, this is not always the case and so it is best to take a suitable carrying box in which to transport the rabbit home when going to collect the rabbit(s).

For short journeys a cardboard box with air holes may suffice although this is not ideal, and certainly not suitable for longer journeys as rabbits can chew their way out and urine can soak through and weaken the bottom of the box causing it to break.

A plastic storage container with a wire top, or a carrying box specially for transporting rabbits or cats are best used, particularly for longer journeys.

A layer of woodshavings should be placed inside the container to cover the floor and a couple of large handfuls of hay should also be placed inside. It is not practical to attach a water bottle to any carrying container as the motion of transporting the rabbit will cause any water bottle to leak and so it is best instead to place a handful of fruit or vegetables in the box to provide the rabbit with moisture whilst it is travelling.

On arrival home it is best to place the rabbit immediately in the prepared cage or hutch and leave it to investigate its new home and give it time to settle. It will take the rabbit a couple of days to get used to all the new smells and sounds of its new home and it may find this time a little stressful. Therefore although it can be tempting to get the rabbit out and play with it, this temptation is best avoided for the first couple of days so that the rabbit can first get used to its new surroundings and feel comfortable. This will help to keep its stress to a minimum.

After a couple of days the rabbit will have become used to its new home and will generally seem more settled and this is then the ideal time to start to get to know the rabbit better.