Finding a Home for an Unwanted Rabbit

Dec 19, 2021 by HRS

Finding a Home for an Unwanted Rabbit
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As part of foster programs, House Rabbit Society volunteers bring abandoned rabbits into their own homes until permanent homes can be found. The overwhelming number of unwanted rabbits means that we are only able to take in rabbits scheduled to be destroyed at animal shelters and even then we can only save so many.

If you’re looking to part with a pet rabbit, your best hope is to house the rabbit yourself (or board her with an appropriate service) and advertise until you find the right home. Advertising is as simple as placing ads in local newspapers, on local bulletin boards and online in groups like Facebook or in rabbit websites like Bunspace. It is possible to find a good home for your unwanted rabbit, but it takes time, commitment and strategy.

There are two steps to finding homes for rabbits. The first is to prepare the rabbit for adoption. This includes spaying or neutering, litter training, socializing, and learning bunny’s health status and personality. The second step is to aggressively seek an ideal home by advertising and screening interested parties to ensure they’re suitable.

Spaying or neutering usually makes a rabbit less distractible and easier to litter train, and thus improves the chance of being adopted and retained as an indoor companion. Getting a rabbit fixed also ensures that no more unwanted rabbits will be produced after the rabbit leaves your home.

Litter training is achieved by fastening a litter box to the side of the cage in whichever corner the rabbit typically uses as a bathroom. Once bunny is using the box, try keeping them in a safe, bunny-proofed room with one or more litter boxes. (“Bunny-proofed” means protecting items that rabbits find tempting to chew, such as house plants and telephone and electrical cords, have been placed out of reach. Check this link for more information. ) In a matter of days a neutered rabbit can be advertised as “house-trained.”

The more attention you give your bunny, the more they will show off for prospective adopters. Petting the rabbit (most prefer the top of the head) will teach them to look for affection from humans. Follow up on any health problems with a trip to the vet so you can tell the new owner what to expect.

When placing ads, state your rabbit’s strong points: “neutered,” “house-trained,” “affectionate,” friendly.” Asking a $10-$20 fee in the ad excludes callers wanting a free meal for their pet reptiles. people willing to commit to owning a rabbit will gladly pay an adoption fee. Honesty is important because it will improve the chances that the new home will truly be a forever home.

To screen people who answer your ad, imagine what kind of home you want for your rabbit, make some notes for when you speak with your bunny’s prospective caregiver and then stick to your ideal. Important lines of questioning would include asking about their past pets to find out what they’re looking for in a pet. Explain that you are asking questions because you want the new owner and the rabbit to be happy. Present a realistic picture of what rabbits are like.) If you feel the home is not suitable, explain why. Politely tell the caller that your rabbit doesn’t do well with children, isn’t used to hutch-living, is scared of dogs, or whatever. Some people will be pushy – don’t let that distract you from your goal of finding a home that fits your ideals.

At House Rabbit Society, we look for indoor homes for our rabbits. Being indoors means the rabbit will be close to their caregivers meaning that they’ll be safer from potential threats and will be more supervised. This increases the chances that they will enjoy lives that are both safe and social. If the rabbit has a cage, we make sure they are allowed some supervised freedom daily. Well mannered rabbits becomes uncaged roommate depending on how bunny-proofed the home is and on the maturity and personality of the rabbit. The more involved the owner is, the more freedom the rabbit will enjoy. We spend a lot of time helping new bunny parents understand what a proper diet looks like for a rabbit and dedicate even more time to helping them find a good veterinarian. Another House Rabbit Society criteria is that an adult, not a child, be the rabbit’s primary care-giver. These are just a few of the important elements for a rabbit’s long healthy happy life. Good luck placing your rabbit!

This article was originally posted April 29,2011 and was updated on December 19, 2021 by Christie Taylor, PhD.

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