Dd (9) has been saving her money for months and months for a rabbit. She has read tons of books and information on the Internet about rabbits. She has taken complete responsibility for her two hamsters for the past year, and I have no doubt she'll do the same with the rabbit she wants. Actually getting a rabbit is still at least 2 months away.
I thought we had the rabbit thing pretty well figured out. Dd was given a large hutch for her birthday, and we thought the bunny could live in the hutch in the garage. We would surround the hutch with some of those metal, moveable dog pens so the bunny could come and go and not have to be confined to the hutch when dd wasn't around or playing with it. We thought the bunny could run around outside with our 3 chickens in our large, fenced chicken yard during the day. WELL. We went to the animal shelter yesterday to check out their rabbits, and my whole image of rabbit ownership was blown away. First of all, they don't adopt out their bunnies to children. More importantly, they absolutely do not adopt out bunnies who will live outside or in a garage. The lady working in the small animal room was very adamant that rabbits should live in your house and be surrounded by people, but not children under 10 because that would stress them out too much (all of our 3 children are under 9 and very active and often loud). She also said rabbits should only spend time outside in a covered rabbit run, in good weather, and NOT with chickens because they would eat the chicken food which was very bad for them. In fact they might eat lots of stuff while outside that was bad for them. She then gave us handouts about all the different foods that were bad for rabbits but that they would eat if given the chance. The overall impression that I got was that rabbits are very fragile creatures that require a lot of protecting and careful treatment.
I was amazed - is all of this true??? Can a rabbit not be happy living in a garage while provided with lots of outside time and playtime with children? If so, I'm going to have to reconsider letting dd have a rabbit. I want our animals to be happy, but I'm not ready for another indoor pet that requires lots of training and supervision. Our dog died 6 months ago, and while I miss her, and I not looking for another indoor, shedding animal at this time. I also thought rabbit were a lot tougher than the animal shelter lady let on. My image is of wild rabbits, eating whatever they find outside, not being bothered by temperatures, and procreating like mad.
Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated, as I really want to do right by any rabbit we may (or may not) get.