I think the most questions I have received on my Instagram or Facebook are not about our house or the boys, but have been concerning our pet rabbit, Louie. So I finally decided to sit down and write a post about Louie and what life with her has been like. I hope this helps clear up any concerns and gives you all an insight into owning a bunny. I want to make clear that rabbits are not for everyone. Bunnies require just as much work, love, and attention as a dog or cat, and I think that is a common misconception about them. I am going to be brutally honest when I say, they are NOT cage creatures. They need lots of love and affection, as well as plenty of room to run and stretch especially if you want a happy, healthy, and SWEET bunny. If you can not provide all of that for them, then they are not the pet for you and I would suggest something more along the lines of a fish or hamster. Bunnies are the 3rd most abandoned pet, right after dogs and cats, simply because people don't understand the time it takes to care for one. I hate to sound like such a Debbie Downer, I just want everyone to be aware before they jump into getting a bunny just because they are cute.
Sorry for that short rant. I hope I didn't run anyone off. Back to the good stuff.
Most of y'all know we got our bunny, Louie, back in May. I definitely don't want to sound like an expert, because I am not. This is just simply our experience so far. Louie is a Holland Lop rabbit. We first got Louie when she was around 8 weeks old and we were originally told she was a male. Hence the reason her name is Louie. After a quick visit to the vet for a well check, we found out he was actually a she. Try teaching a 5 and 3 year old that their bunny of 3 months is in fact a Louise and not a Louie. Total confusion. It was just way too hard to change her name, so she has remained a Louie, though I don't think she minds much.
I think we were all a little surprised by how much of a personality she would have. It took her a couple days to warm up to us after we first brought her home, but she's such a big part of our family now. She follows the boys around just like a puppy would. She's always being nosey and getting right up in your business. She loves being sprawled out on the cold concrete floor, playing outside in the grass, and getting into just about everything she shouldn't be in. She and our Pomeranian get along really well too.
Below are the most common questions I have received regarding Louie.
Do you let your bunny just run around the house?
This is the most asked question and the answer is Yes. As long as we are at home Louie is out of her cage and able to roam wherever she pleases. I will admit when we first brought her home, she was able to free range even when we weren't home. However, the little lady got herself into some trouble, and is now only allowed out when we are home. If you aren't aware, bunnies do like to chew, and just like a puppy they will chew on everything! In the beginning, I did my very best to bunny proof our home. I keep the doors on our bedroom and the kids bedroom closed because we have many power cords, wicker baskets, shoes, and linens that she would love to chew on in those spaces. In the other rooms I made sure to pick up any wires and cords that were within her reach and anything else I thought she might chew on. Everything was just fine and dandy until one day we came home from an entire day away and realized she had chewed up a baseboard in the bathroom. Another day trip away and we came back to the corner of the carpet upstairs in the playroom pulled up and devoured. When left alone, I assume she gets bored and creative. NOT GOOD! Especially when you have a brand new house. So now she does have to be caged up when we have to leave or at night when we go to bed. But when we are home, she does really well, and we don't have much of a chewing problem.
Does she poop and pee all over your floor?
No. Louie is litter box trained. It was actually really easy to litter train her and within a week of having her she was fully trained and accident free. The first week we brought her home I kept her strictly locked up in her cage with her food, water, and litter pan. I filled her litter pan with paper bedding on one side and on the other filled it with her hay. Bunnies typically poop while they are eating, so the hay encouraged her to jump in the pan and eat, and while eating, do her business. I checked her cage multiple times a day during that first week and if she had peed or pooped outside of her litter pan I would clean it up immediately with a paper towel and place the soiled paper towel back in her litter pan. The first four days she had multiple accidents in her cage and I was starting to get concerned that she may not figure it out, but on day five, something just clicked, and she hasn't had a single accident outside of her litter pan since. Her litter pan stays upstairs in her cage and she will return to her cage when she needs to use it. If you are having issues litter training your bunny I would also recommend having your bunny spayed or neutered. This will significantly cut down on their instinct to spray and mark their territory.
Does she scratch you when you pick her up?
For the most part, no. Bunnies do have sharp claws and it is important to keep them trimmed. I try to clip Louie's nails at least once a month with nail clippers specifically made for bunnies. It's easiest to do when Andy helps hold her, but she doesn't give me much trouble having this done either way. Louie loves to be held, especially when she is cradled like a baby and you scratch her tummy. But bunnies are also very flighty creatures, so Louie will get a bit nervous and spastic sometimes when holding her. This usually occurs when we are putting her down on the ground after holding her. I've found the best way to put her down is by holding her close to my body and then slowly bending down until the other side of her body is resting on the ground before releasing her. This way she feels secure on all sides and is less nervous when you let go. Now for the boys, they aren't much interested in holding her. They would much rather lay down on the ground and let Louie jump all over them. She likes to climb all over them and give them sweet Eskimo kisses, nose to nose. If they do decide they want to hold her, I will swaddle her up in an old baby blanket. That way she feels secure and her nails are safely tucked away, so we don't run any risk of them accidentally getting scratched.
What does her cage look like?
Andy and I built Louie's cage. I searched the Internet for hours and hours looking for the perfect cage. I wanted something that resembled furniture and would blend in with the room, so that it didn't look just like a rabbit cage sitting in the middle of the room. I found a DIY cage on Pinterest that was made out of a media console from IKEA that I loved. You can find the link for it HERE. However, we don't live near an IKEA and by the time I had paid for shipping it was going to be nearly $250 and I still would have had to get more supplies to finish it out as a bunny hutch. So taking the same idea, Andy and I built one for about $75 instead. I didn't document the process because we were totally winging it, but the idea of it should be fairly easy to figure out and build.
It has two levels. The bottom level is where her dry food, water bottle, litter pan, and hay loft are. Her little wooden house and blanket are on the upper level which she can access using the ramp.
If we will be gone most of the day I will also put up this X-Pen, I bought off Amazon (HERE), for her so that she can have a little more room to run and play. I keep her area full of toys to keep her occupied. She loves cardboard tubes and boxes. They give her something to chew on and she loves using the bigger ones as tunnels or hideaway holes.
Does she stink?
No, as long as I keep her cage cleaned out regularly you would never notice she was here. I clean out Louie's cage twice a week, usually on Wednesday and Sunday. I dump her litter pan outside in our compost pile and then spray it with vinegar and wipe it out with a paper towel. The vinegar helps get rid of any lingering odor. I then put new litter back in the pan and place back in her cage.
Using the vacuum I clean out the inside of cage sucking up any food or hair off the floor and then if I need to I will also spray it down with vinegar and wipe dry. Louie, herself, doesn't smell either. Bunnies are like cats, in which they clean themselves, and do not need baths.
A cage, dry food, hay, water, litter pan, and fresh veggies.
We love our sweet Louie girl.
I hope this post helped answer the main questions y'all may have about bunnies. If you have any other questions leave them in the comments below and I will update this post with the new questions and the answers. .