Category Archives: Money Saving Tips
It was such a beautiful Autumn day on Sunday and we were getting quite low on hay so Hubby and I arranged to meet up with the bunderful Robyn of Bales4Bunnies! Robyn is always so welcoming! We had a great visit with her and she let us hang out with the rabbits for a bit before continuing on our way.
This time around we picked up four bales of hay which should last us around five months with our six hay nomming pets. The bales were a lovely green colour and smelled so sweet and delicious it made me even want to nibble on some! Robyn’s hay never disappoints and our pets can’t seem to get enough!
If you’re in the Peterborough area, you should check out their website:
My bunnies love their hay and you can’t beat the price!
This is a great and inexpensive way to add some fun to your rabbit’s floor time. It also mimics a rabbit’s natural habitat by providing a series of tunnel systems for them to run and explore!
- Cardboard boxes (These can be any size although you may want to avoid any that are too small for your rabbit to fit through!)
- Cat tunnel (I get mine from the dollar store however if you don’t have these already, can’t find them in your area or they are too pricey you could also use different rectangular boxes or large mailing tubes to create the same effect.
- Box cutter
- Pencil, pen or marker to mark cut outs
- Any other toys or treats you have around the house that you may want to hide inside for your rabbit to find!
- $0-$3 This could be free if you only use boxes and tunnels you’ve already purchased. Since these tunnels are from the dollar store they cost me $2 plus tax.
Begin by deciding which side of the box you want your tunnel to go through. Hold the tunnel against the box and draw around it to get the right size for your circle.
Now use your box cutter to cut along the outline you drew. You have the perfect hole to fit your tunnel! Now repeat this on the other box so you can pop the other side of the tunnel through it and connect the boxes together!
You could get really creative with this and have an entire system of boxes and tunnels that connect together! Make sure that you also cut a few doorways so your rabbits can get in and out of the maze!
I also like to add a few toys and fun things for my rabbits to find within their tunnels. In the larger box there is an old yellow pages book which the rabbits love to dig and shred! I’ve also added a few willow toys and a couple treats for them to find!
Today we joined the hay train and Bales4Bunnies delivered 3 bales of hay to keep the buns and pigs busy for a while! It took Hubby and I some time to break it up, section it and then figure out how we were going to store it all but we were finally able to make it work!
If you’re in the Peterborough area, you should check out their website: http://bales4bunnies.webs.com/bales4bunnies-products
My bunnies love their hay and you can’t beat the price!
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
Part 2 to come shortly!
One reason often given when people surrender their rabbits to a shelter is that their bunny has poor litterbox habits. Who hasn’t wondered why their bunny eliminated right next to its litterbox instead of inside it? It can be a vexing problem for many bunny parents – but it’s not unsolvable. There’s hope even for the messiest bunny!
Here are some common reasons why bunny might not use the litterbox properly and how to remedy the situation:
1. New surroundings – Often when bringing a new bunny home, bunny will mark its new territory with droppings and/or urine, even when a litterbox is available. This instinctive territorial marking will usually cease after the first week or two, especially if you do not clean up immediately. If a new bunny is being brought home to an existing house bunny, expect each bunny’s litterbox habits to regress for a while. Any room(s) shared by unbonded bunnies in turn will also likely be subjected to territorial marking. This should not be confused with poor litterbox habits.
2. Young bunnies – Baby buns under 6 months or so often have poor litterbox habits. It is well-known that spaying and neutering rabbits helps tremendously with establishing good litterbox habits. Be patient with your young bunny, and fix your bunny as soon as it’s old enough (around 4-6 months).
3. Wrong litter – A litterbox filled with the wrong type of litter may bother some bunnies. Most bunnies like wood stove pellets (without chemical propellants) and this is your cheapest litter option besides simple, shredded newspaper. Yesterdays News and Feline Pine can also be tried if bunny dislikes the regular wood stove pellets found at the hardware store in economical 40lb bags. Some rabbits even prefer NO litter at all in their litterbox! Experiment with different kinds, but avoid cedar & pine wood shavings and crystalline cat litters, which may endanger bunny’s health.
4. Wrong size – Some persnickety smaller rabbits don’t like jumping up too high into their litterboxes; try a shallower one. Another trick is to adjust the level of litter inside the litterbox to see if bunny prefers a more or less full one. Some large rabbits may feel cramped in a too small litterbox and require a bigger one. A too tall or too shallow litterbox may also be the reason why bunny is not using his litterbox, so experiment with different plastic box sizes and heights until your bunny is happy. I recommend buying Rubbermaid or Sterilite clear, plastic, shallow under-the-bed bins at Target or Walmart when on sale!
5. Too clean/too dirty – Strange as it may seem, some bunnies don’t like their litterboxes spotless! After cleaning, these buns may eliminate next to the litterbox instead of inside it. For such bunnies, try tossing a few old droppings into the fresh litterbox or place a small scoop of soiled litter on top of the clean litter. Still other bunnies won’t use a litterbox that is too soiled – smelly and dirty! More frequent litterbox changes, with a white vinegar rinse in between to remove stains before adding fresh litter, is the answer for these bunnies.
6. Not enough boxes – A common complaint is that cage-free house bunnies eliminate or mark in every room, especially when there are multiple bunnies or other animals visiting/living in the home. Placing several litterboxes around the home – perhaps even in one corner of each room bunny has access to – may help encourage bunny to eliminate in a litterbox instead of on your floor, carpet, or furniture.
7. Too much space to roam – When litterbox training your rabbit, start with a small, confined space or room containing a litterbox. Let bunny demonstrate s/he can reliably use the litterbox in this smaller space, before gradually expanding his/her roaming space, one room or hallway at a time. If bunny relapses, start the process over again, restricting the roaming space until good litterbox habits are reestablished, before slowly enlarging the roaming area again.
8. Digging – Some rabbits just enjoy digging litter out of their litterbox. This is often seen in female rabbits, who have a strong burrowing/nesting instinct. First, try changing the kind of litter. If this doesn’t work, try placing a second plastic “digging box” filled with either shredded paper, dirt, sand or small pebbles into the rabbit’s habitat. An unused bathtub can also make a good “digging area” for bunny when filled with a small box of sand, dirt or paper – or even snow in the wintertime! Or perhaps consider allowing your bunny some supervised outdoor “digging time” in a safe, secure, walled- or fenced-in area, away from predators.
9. Prefers another spot – Placed litterboxes all around and bunny still prefers to eliminate somewhere else? Move the litterbox to bunny’s preferred spot. It’s much easier to accommodate a determined bunny than to retrain one to use the litterbox in another location you prefer. This is when giving in to bunny makes sense!
10. Unknown reason – If all else fails, I recommend trying this which worked well for one of my own litterbox-averse bunnies: Build a feeding station just beyond the litterbox requiring bunny to stand inside the litterbox while eating, drinking and chewing hay. This can be easily and inexpensively done by using a small, empty shoebox in a corner of the room or cage, onto which the ceramic food & water bowls are placed. Push the litterbox right up against the shoebox and push the other litterbox edge against the wall. Place hay either inside the litterbox or just beyond it in a small box next to the food & water. Bunny will get used to standing in his litterbox while eating and drinking, which is often when elimination occurs. This will rapidly improve bunny’s litterbox habits!
Most rabbits will learn fairly quickly and easily to use a litterbox since they are by nature very clean animals. If yours doesn’t for some reason, these ten tips should soon help bunny to reliably use the litterbox. Remember, always be patient with your bunny while working on litterbox habits, and consider giving positive reinforcements in the form of fruit or veggie treats when bunny is successful. NEVER strike nor shout at bunny when accidents occur outside the litterbox – this is counterproductive and harmful to your rabbit. If your bunny’s litterbox habits should suddenly deteriorate without good reason (such as the presence of a new bunny or animal in the house, etc), please consider a rabbit-savvy vet visit to rule out a possible illness. Now, go clean out bunny’s litterbox!
Written By: The Bunderful Iris – Guest Blogger