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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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First time rabbit owner

I just got my 13 year old son a bunny for Christmas. She is adorable, her name is Bernadette. I am trying to litter box train her but I am nervous that the litter I bought isn't good. I researched online and read that non-clay all natural is the way to go. I ended up with Pro-Pet Fresh Results. We put some in her litter box in the corner of her cage - but she started eating it. I paniced and took it out. I am thinking that can't be good for her. She seems to like eating it and sleeping in more than having any interest is using it!!! Is this normal? And what kind of litter do you guys suggest? I don't want to use the wrong kind.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 04:22 PM
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CLay litter is terrible for any animal IMO. It is full of carcinogens, causes respiatory issues and becomes hard as rock when it gets wet and dries.

A litter like Yesterdays News, might be a good choice but I haven't had a rabbit in years. Brows through the rabbit forum, I believe that there is many threads on litter.

Many people put hay in the litter box since rabbits like to eat while going to the bathroom.





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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 04:25 PM
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I refuse to use cat litter as it is dusty and I don't want my buns getting a respiratory infection over it. I use ONLY Carefresh or Yesterday's News as the litter. I use a very large litterbox, one with a high back & sides to ensure bunny never misses. The one I use is the large gray one by Sunbeam or PETCO. I put about an inch of Carefresh or Yesterday's News at the base of the litterbox.... then pile hay on top of all of it. Rabbits like to poop and graze at the same time, so this is a really great solution to get your bunny to go in it's box.

For more stuff to read...

Go to BunnyBunch dot org.

Click on "Rabbit Care, Health & Behavior"

Grab a cup of tea...

And the very best advice I can give you is make sure to get a referral to a rabbit knowledgable Vet, you can obtain one from a local rabbit rescue group or from other RESPONSIBLE rabbit owners.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 06:19 PM
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Ive always used kiln-dried pine pellets, and they work great. Since it is kiln-dried, there are no dangerous phelons, and it has been approved as a good litter to use by the House Rabbit Society. I buy it in 50lb bags at Fleet Farm for $5.
Is it paper based? Rabbits (well, at least my rabbit LOL!) LOVES to snack on any paper he can get a hold of, and as long as she doesnt eat alot of it, its just fine. Rabbits like to sleep in their litter boxes too, because it smells like themselves. And get her a nice big square cat style litter box, and not the small corner kind. Putting hay in it helps alot too.


Oh, and you will definatly want to think about getting her spayed. Not only does it help with litter box training and behavioral issues, but it also elliminates any chance or her getting reproductive cancer. 85% of female bunnies will get it and die from it before they are 4 years old. Spayed females can live 8-12+ years!



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-29-2009, 09:45 PM
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Good luck with the new bunny! From experience, have her seen by a rabbit savvy vet and spayed b/c once she reaches her adolescence age she'll become a terror and I wouldnt want to see her becoming too destructive over her hormones and then you guys rehoming her O.o ( Not saying you guys would re home her but a biting, territorial, spraying, grunting, thimping, unhappy teenager is not a good pet!) Good luck and keep us updated!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the tips! I am going to the store to buy different litter. The one I purchased is made of corn cob granuals not paper. I simply read "all natural" "no clay" and "99.9% dust free." Which are all good, but Id rather stick with what you guys suggested. Im also going to get some hay for the top of the litter box. I think the one I purchased from the pet store is a good size. Its pretty big has the high back wall and sits in the corner of her cage. She and three other bunnies could all climb in there together with plenty of room.
I am also contacting the vet my parent's used when I was little to see if he threats rabbits as well. I am def getting little Bernadette fixed. She is cute and active (jumps all around and loves to play) and Id like her to stay that way. No nasty bunnies allowed :o)
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 09:32 AM
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Definitely get her off the corn cob stuff. It's notorious to mold and not food for them to ingest.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 12:08 PM
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Yup, corn cob is a definate no-no. Its a good thing your buying new stuff!



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 12:17 PM
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Im glad you are taking all precautions and researching the bunny!! So many people ge tthem and dump them on overcrowded shelters b/c they werent prepared to handle crazy bunny! Kudo's to you!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Once I made the decision to get her I wanted to do everything right. It's only fair. I'm so glad I came on here about the litter. I would feel so bad if she got sick because of my ignorance. Thank you so much for all of your help!
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 11:23 PM
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The corner litterboxes are too small. I know it seems like there is enough room... but it isn't sufficient, even if you have perhaps a Netherland Dwarf.

You mentioned you have a cage. Does it have a plastic bottom? And is it the largest cage available? I realize that most people here either have House Rabbits or bunnies they let out for more than a few of hours a day to roam in a designated area in the house. Please understand that a rabbit, regardless of size, will never be able to get the exercise it needs in a cage and it needs more than a few hours to get it's exercise. I would highly recommend that when you've got the cash, to get rid of the cage and actually get a metal puppy play pen. They are often made my Midwest or Prestige. If you are worried about accidents, a cheap roll of vinyl flooring used as a base for the play pen rocks. This is how many rescues house the rabbits they bring in. You will like, any way, cleaning when bunny is in a play pen... it is easier and quicker than trying to empty a cage. And bunny will be able to get more exercise this way. I would recommend the dimensions no smaller than 4 x 4. Depending on breed (or jumping ability) 30" up to 42" in height.

If it is a young bunny, especially if still a baby... exercise is very very important. The lungs are developing and a baby needs to move move, otherwise it is at a bigger risk to illness.

And rabbits usually drink more water when it is in a large heavy stoneware dog bowl. Bottles are not the easiest to keep clean, they can store bacteria (rabbits get bacterial infections)... and the ball can get stuck or clogs... the metal ones without the ball are a magnet for calcium build up and do clog, I've also heard of some rabbits getting absesses on their tongue from the rubbing on the metal stick to release the water lick by lick.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 11:58 PM
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I figured out that my bunnies were not using the litter box because the cage was too small. When I moved them they started using the box. They still sometimes poop outside the litterbox, but always pee in it.

I've figured out the kiln-dried pine absorbs odor better than recycled newspaper litter, and its not light and fluffy like Carefresh so they dont kick it all over. I usually get Feline Pine or Petsmart's version if I can't make to it a feed store to buy it in bulk.

If you do decide on litter, look in the small pet section rather than cat section. And DON'T use pine shavings. Not the samething as pine pellets.

I have an enclosure made out of a dog enclosure with a rug and plastic mats for the floor.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 04:38 PM
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If anyone is interested, here is an awesome link the House Rabbit Society has on litters. I thought this was very interesting and herlpful: Litterboxes and Liver Disease


My rabbit is nuetered and litter box trained, and he has free roam of my bedroom during the day. Before he was fixed, I would just lay out a huge tarp or the floor and put his litter box on it, and I let him run around the main level for a couple hours. He wasnt good at going in his litterbox, but I think he got the idea, because 90% of the time he went on the tarp around his litter box.


You could try something like that, and in addition to DiscoBabys post, I plastic kiddie pool with some kind of fence/gate around it also make a great cage and you dont have to worry about wood shavings and litter getting kicked all over your floor.



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Ok... We have made some great strides in a week. I have the right litter box litter and Bernadette seems to be getting used to it. We are still changing the bedding every other day and cleaning the cage daily. She spends little time in the cage and has adjusted to the house fairly well. She is content running around and jumps on the couch and hides behind the tv less and less. Baby steps.
I do have another question though. She has gotten big FAST. Is this normal? She gets a handful of food twice a day and there is alfalfa hay in here cage all the time. She seems to go through the hay very quickly. Should I continue to make sure there is always some in there or is there a limit? I want a happy healthy bunny and trying to do the right thing... A fat rabbit isn't necessarily a happy rabbit. But I don't know the difference. I need more help. Thanks again everyone
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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I am only questioning the hay because she has food still in her food bowl, water in her water bowl (no bottles here!!) chew toys and a chew snack treat but still always seems to be out of hay. Is the alfalfa hay a treat or an all the time necessity?
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