Category Archives: Bunny Bites
You’ve had your rabbit for a while and perhaps the novelty is starting to wear off. Does it seem like bunny is resting comfortably when you leave in the morning and is still right where you left him when you return home? If you’re beginning to think your bunny is a boring pet, you couldn’t be more wrong – bunny just needs something to do while you’re away!
I call these things boredom busters. Rabbits need mental stimulation during those long daytime hours, in addition to getting several hours daily exercise outside their enclosures. Being crepuscular creatures, bunnies are most active at dawn and dusk, and by nature tend to rest during the long day- and nighttime hours. These are the times bunny might enjoy some additional mental stimulation – especially if yours is a solo bun.
Toys – things to shred, chew, gnaw on or eat – are great boredom busters. The trick is to remember to rotate toys so they seem new again to bunny and not to deluge bunny with too many toys at once. Many specialty websites, like BusyBunny.com and BinkyBunny.com, have a wonderful selection of rabbit toys from which to choose. But luckily, boredom busters don’t have to break the bank. Many of my bunnies’ favourites I make out of things I find lying around the house or around town, or that I buy cheaply at my local grocery, hardware, craft or dollar stores.
Some basic boredom busters for bunny to chew on or toss around are: dried pine cones (watch for sharp points & sap); a small straw hand broom; untreated wooden curtain rings (remove any metal hooks first); willow branches (fresh or hand-twisted into small wreaths); untreated, unstained bamboo, jute, wicker & seagrass baskets, plate holders, placemats, table runners or doormats; small clean yogurt cups or lids and hard plastic bottle caps. Some bunnies like super balls, ping pong balls, wicker balls or cat jingles to fling about or chase. Or try buying some undyed, untreated sisal twine at your local craft/hardware store to make your own small loops as chew toys. Twist the twine about itself in a small circle or figure 8 shape and bunny’s fun can begin (make certain that any loops are smaller than bunny’s head size.)
Depending on where you reside, don’t forget about natural growing tree branches and grasses, assuming these are rabbit safe and unsprayed/untreated. Apple tree twigs are favourites with bunnies as are green and dried willow and aspen tree branches. Pine firewood can also be given to gnaw on.
Plastic baby toys can also entertain a bored bunny – try plastic keys or small rattles for bunny to fling about. A plastic slinky may also serve this purpose. Hard plastic caps from drink or juice bottles are also fun to fling around or, stack them on top of each other so bunny can knock them down.
Munchable flooring options for bunny’s abode can include untreated, unstained bamboo window shades found at discount retailers (remove all metal parts & any long, string cords first) and plain seagrass placemats, runners or doormats. Large, flat, thin, clean pieces of cardboard are given away free at warehouse stores and can be used to line wire cage bottoms, while also doubling as bunny’s shredding material. Sections of phonebooks (most are printed with soy ink now) become excellent shredding toys and will keep bunny busy ripping pages for a long while!
Let’s not forget about cardboard boxes of various sizes out of which you can cut windows – or you can allow bunny to custom design his/her own! These are found free at large warehouse stores or sometimes at your local grocery store. Make certain the boxes are clean and avoid detergent/cleaning product cartons in case a toxic residue is present which might make bunny ill if inhaled or ingested. I collect boxes of different sizes & shapes to use as hay boxes for my own bunnies. One can be very creative carving/cutting out small windows to allow bunny access to their hay with minimal mess. Cutting a hole big enough for bunny’s head to get at the hay is key, but too large a hole means bunny will hop inside the haybox!
Lastly, I leave you with two easy “boredom buster” games to construct at home which have brought hours of delight to my bunnies! Take a clean, empty, paper egg carton and cut three double rows off the end so they will still close securely. Place a small treat which your bunny loves – maybe a small piece of dried/fresh fruit or an almond sliver or a banana slice or a fresh herb/green – inside the egg indentations & secure the lid again tightly. Bunny can smell the treat inside and must devise a way to open the carton to eat it! This may take a while to achieve, but a determined bunny will succeed in the end.
Similar is the idea of a round, plastic grape tomato holder with a three inch diameter round opening at the top. The opening is too small for bun’s head to fit inside to get directly at the treat, but big enough for the treat to fall out if bunny flings it about long enough. Drop a favorite healthy treat inside and watch bunny attempt to extricate it. My bunnies never tire of playing this game and are always rewarded with a treat for their efforts. A small, clean yogurt cup & lid with a hole cut into it can serve the same purpose.
Last, but not least: the easiest & cheapest boredom buster of all! A friend of mine likes to leave the radio playing softly in the background while she is away during the daytime and swears listening to music helps her bunny pass the day happily. My suggestion is not to play anything too loud and to stick with easy listening or classical music that won’t frighten bunny.
So, no more excuses! Start making your bunny some boredom busters today and remember to rotate them regularly! Wishing you and your rabbits loads of fun with these edible, chewable, shreddable, tossable and listenable boredom-busting ideas.
Written By: The Bunderful Iris – Guest Blogger
- Cardboard box
- Scissors or Utility Knife
Begin by cutting random shapes on all four sides of your cardboard box. You want to make them at least 3 inches wide so your rabbit will be able to access the hay but not too wide that the hay is always falling out of the holes. Keeping the shapes smaller also provides more of a challenge for your rabbit. When you are finished cutting out your shapes (I cut circles, squares and the occasional star) stuff your box full of hay, close the upper flaps and leave out for your rabbit to find! This is great for floor time as it’s fairly mess free but provides an enriching toy for your rabbit to play with!
If you’re thinking about a rabbit, you don’t know the first thing about your new pet or you’re always interested in furthering your knowledge on the subject then watch the video below in which I talk about my favourite rabbit resources. These books and magazines have helped me to become a bunny expert, given me some great ideas to enrich my rabbits lives and helped me remain calm during an emergency situation.
It’s that time of year again when the last of the leaves are falling off our trees and we’re left with these huge piles of them in our yard! Before you rake them up, let your bunnies play in them! If you have a secured backyard or can set up a pen for them outside enjoy watching them bounce and snack.
Crunchy leaves are a safe snack for your rabbits (as long as you don’t spray pesticides) and make an awful lot of fun for your Bun! My rabbits love munching away on dried leaves or hopping around in them. They love the crunchy noise they make and can dig to their hearts content.
If your rabbit is strictly indoors only, bring some inside! Let them dry out on your deck then fill up a cardboard box with leaves to make a fun box for Bun to dig in! Stuff brown paper bags with leaves and let your bunny go to work trying to get the fun treat inside! Or if you don’t mind a mess just dump a bagful on the floor and let them go to town!
I’ve recently discovered that some of my Twitter friends have had difficulties finding brown paper bags to make loot bags out of so this may be a good alternative. The loot bags are great when your rabbit is hopping around free roam but can be a little large and extra messy when given in their cage. These mini treat bags on the other hand are the perfect bite sized snack that your rabbit will still enjoy ripping in to and tossing around!
- brown shipping paper or newspaper
- sisal rope
- hay/treats/assorted goodies
These only take minutes to make so if you have multiple rabbits you can make a whole bunch of them in no time! Start by cutting a 6-8″ square out of the paper. This doesn’t have to be exact, your rabbit isn’t going to mind if your dimensions are off. Next put a small amount of the hay and goody mixture in the centre of your paper. Avoid putting anything fresh so it doesn’t go bad or turn your other treats mushy but dried apple or willow leaves would be yummy too! Then you’re going to wrap this up and tie with the sisal rope. Tie right above the bubble holding the treats so there’s about an inch or so of extra paper for your rabbit to nibble. I also double knotted the rope and tied in a bow so my bunnies would have something easy to grab with their teeth and toss. That’s it! They’re really that simple and hopefully provide a great alternative if you can’t get your hands on some paper bags or just want to create a smaller version of the bunny loot bag.
- Apple sticks
- Fruits and veggies
Cost: Free (I’m assuming you’d already have fruits and veggies in the house that you’re feeding your rabbit)
Remember those apple sticks I told you about a few months ago? Well they’re going to come in handy for this tasty treat! Start by cutting narrow apple branches in 3.5 inch sections. Next, choose the veggies and fruits you want to use on the kabobs. Some great options are apples, carrots, cucumber and the ends of broccoli but I also used scissors to cut circles in a collard green leaf and used that. Then all you have to do is spear the pieces of vegetable or fruit on to the sticks and voila! A yummy kabob for your bunny to enjoy!
This delicious snack should be considered a treat, especially if you’re using fruit so only give to your rabbits a few times a week.
On a side note here if you don’t have or can’t get some apple sticks you can pick up those wooden skewers I used for the bunny dumbbells at the dollar store, cut them up and you’re all set!
A guaranteed favourite, your rabbit will binky with joy for this goodie bag made just for him or her! Best of all they take just minutes to make and cost next to nothing!
- Brown Paper Bag
- Treats (Unsweetened cranberries, bunny approved snacks from the pet store – we like Martin’s Hearty Banana Muffin cookies)
- Hole Punch
- Large Jingle Bells (Optional)
$2 – $10 (this is fully dependent on what you already have in your house and what you need to buy).
Budget Bunny Savings Tip: Always check your local dollar store first. We found a pack of 40 brown paper bags for $1 as well as a large package of natural raffia. You may spend a little more, but you’ll have lots left over for making multiple bags or for other projects!
Use your hole punch to punch random holes in the brown paper bag. This makes it more enticing for your rabbit. Not only will they be able to smell the yummy goodies hiding inside, but they’ll also get a little glimpse at what awaits! It also gives them a few extra spots for their teeth to grip and rip!
When you’ve punched all of the holes you want (don’t make it too easy to get in the bag – remember this is supposed to be a game that stimulates your rabbit’s mind and gets them excited!) fill it with hay and treats. I used some of their regular hay but also threw in a type of hay they rarely get so it would be extra fun once it’s opened! Caution: We still want to keep this a healthy goody bag so go easy on the treats. A few treats in the bag are okay but too many could upset their tummy. It’ll be extra fun if you can use treats they seldom gets so it makes the game extra special!
Once you have your bag about 3/4 of the way full, tie it securely with the all natural raffia and give to your rabbit to enjoy! I had large jingle bells laying around and tied one to each bag just so it makes some noise when it’s being ripped to shreds! A word to the wise, this is a messy one, so be prepared for some cleanup! Unless of course your rabbit loves it so much he/she doesn’t leave anything behind!
When the Buns are out and about they still need access to fresh water, pellets and hay. Rather than making a hay pile on the floor – which will quickly make a massive mess – consider looking for an all natural basket to put your hay in. Your local Pet Store may have nice baskets for your rabbits but I can guarantee the price will be steep! I love my rabbits but have a really hard time spending tons of money on things they’re going to eat and destroy! Especially when I know there’s cheaper alternatives out there.
Check out the craft section at retail stores, craft stores and dollar stores. Many of these places have baskets meant for flower arrangements but they also make perfect hay baskets! Even if you might not need it now, always keep your eyes open for a great sale! I found this basket on clearance for only $1 so I bought 3! And the great thing is with baskets this inexpensive, I can enjoy watching my rabbits try to pull apart the woven wood instead of worrying about how much it’s costing me!
When choosing pinecones make sure they come from trees that aren’t sprayed or treated with pesticides, herbicides or any type of toxins that could hurt your rabbit. Pick pinecones that have little or no sap on them to make cleaning them easier. Go for the regular, small round pinecones as opposed to the long and narrow ones. The longer ones are harder to clean, dry out and aren’t as thick as a standard cone so they don’t give your rabbits teeth as much of a workout.
Rinse the pinecones with water to get any leaves, twigs or dirt out from them. You can also use a toothbrush to gently scrape off any gunk. I let them dry overnight, then bake them in the oven for 45 min. at 375F. I do this to dry any damp parts of the pinecones, dry up any extra dirt I might have missed and kill any bugs or bacteria I may have missed. If any of them get a little sooty, get out the toothbrush again to do a little last minute cleanup. Leave them to cool for a few hours and then they’re ready for nomming!
Give to your bunnies as is! Depending on the rabbit he may prefer to toss his around like a toy while others may love nibbling the edges. Either way they’re guaranteed to keep Buns busy! Best of all? Once you’ve found your pinecone location you can always go back for more!
- Apple Twigs from an all natural Apple Tree
- Pruning Scissors (Optional)
- Box Cutter (Which you should already have if you purchased one to make our cardboard hidey houses)
- $8 – Only if you or the person you’re getting your twigs from doesn’t already have a pair or can’t snap off the twigs easily.
Rabbits are always grazing! In the wild they would forage for berries, herbs, veggies and grasses and nibble on yummy twigs!
Anyone with a rabbit knows they love to chew! Twigs from apple trees are an excellent natural treat for your rabbit to gnaw on! It keeps them busy and helps to keep their teeth moving. Rabbit’s teeth never stop growing so hard twigs are a great essential to help them stay healthy and short. Do not take twigs from trees that have been sprayed with pesticides. If your rabbit ingests these, it could be fatal to them.
Where do you find an apple tree? It may be easier than you think! First think, do you know anyone with an apple tree? Many older homes with larger backyards have fruit trees growing in them. We got our twigs from my Aunt’s backyard but there’s also a place at our local Conservation Area with lots of yummy apple trees that are definitely not treated with any chemicals. If you start mentioning it to family and friends, they might even know someone who wouldn’t mind you cutting off a few small branches here and there. Since you’ll be cutting them up in to small three inch sections or so a few good branches will go a long way! Choose twigs that look nice and healthy for your rabbit!
One of the great things about apple twigs is that you don’t have to let them dry for a few months before they are safe for your rabbit to eat. If you have let them dry out like me, that’s okay too, you may just need to remove that messy outer layer of bark before giving them to your rabbits! The other great thing about this project? A little goes a long way! If you choose a longer, narrower branch, by the time you cut it all up, you’ll have an abundance of apple sticks!
Start by using your fingers to brush off that extra layer. You may also use a box cutter to help with this part. I used my thumb to rub off any really loose areas and the box cutter just to smooth out any rough patches that were left behind. You don’t need to worry about getting rid of all of the bark, your bunnies will love it, but it makes it cleaner if there’s not loose pieces hanging off here and there!
Once you’ve brushed off that icky layer, cut your twigs into smaller three or four inch sticks, perfect for your rabbit to toss around and easy for them to nibble on. Make it more exciting for your rabbit by wrapping up a small bundle of sticks with raffia or twine so it becomes a game to break up the twigs! Your rabbit will love it!