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Are You Ready for an Easter Bunny?

March 11, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe don’t raise – or sell – rabbits as pets including Easter bunnies, but many do. You’ll find them in pet stores and feed stores, featured in rescues and shelters competing for that Easter bunny dollar.

I hope before people get that bunny for their child or themselves that they take a few minutes to really think about the time and care required. It’s true that rabbits can be a low maintenance pet, but low maintenance isn’t no maintenance.

The truth is Easter bunnies grow up. They can bite. And scratch. They can damage other rabbits living with them, as well as little hands and arms. They can be messy, and while the poop is great in the garden, it still piles up after a while if you don’t have a compost pile it adds up. Then there’s feeding, and cleaning and hair (even with short haired breeds!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome years ago we tried renting bunnies – some were strongly against it, but the idea was to have an ‘out’ for parents without overwhelming shelters or leaving rabbits loose to fend for themselves. We also, as most who have read here know, raise meat rabbits. We stopped selling pets several years ago, because of low demand and many aren’t prepared for the care rabbits need.

Easter is a time for cute colored chicks (which also don’t get the care they need) but also Easter bunnies. There is the too-common idea that if it doesn’t work out just turn them loose.

DON’T! There may be exceptions but rabbits don’t do well turned loose. In areas they have food, water, protection they overpopulate and destroy property. In other areas, they don’t have the survival skills needed. They are torn apart, alive, by dogs or owls or hawks or the many other predators that like eating rabbit. If you’re interested in making a rabbit meal, it’s normally a much more humane choice. But it’s not all that easy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many who swear they have two males or two females, only to end up with an unexpected litter, and a panicked owner wondering what to do. Or they fight. This creates injuries that may not be seen for what it is. Rabbits are often territorial, and don’t do well in large, confined groups. Large can be company. If you look closely at the white rabbit each arrow is pointing to a bite. This was in a group of 4 does, all young, but hitting a point of claiming territory. This little girl was the bottom ranking one, and took quite a stressful bullying. These weren’t the only bites. They’re superficial, and she’ll be fine but is separated for extra TLC and medical treatment. She’ll be monitored closely as she heals. And she’ll have a wall between her and her neighbors.

It’s true that there are cases opposite this, but in my experience it’s not nearly as common as this, or maybe as a breeder I just see it more. And pay for those abandoned bunnies.

You see, as a rabbit breeder, we’re all condemned as a source of “Easter bunnies”. Many are sold too young and get health problems. Many vets aren’t qualified to treat rabbits.

We don’t sell “Easter bunnies” for these reasons. We love our rabbits, and just don’t want to let another Easter go by without raising awareness that abandoned rabbits don’t live happily ever after.

Too often they’re cold, wet, scared…without the care ours get. Think carefully, research, ask questions and be prepared when getting a rabbit or setting out to raise rabbits.

It’s a life. Our meat rabbits get the best life possible up until the last moment. Easter bunnies deserve the same responsibility.

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