So you need two bunnies, at least, so that means double costs! They could live as house rabbits, indoors with humans as their companions, even then they are better in pairs.
Cost of care starts with a decent-sized cage – it needs to be pretty large, but depends on the size of the bunnies and you will need a run in the garden.
Next,inoculations against Myxomatosis and Haemorrhagic Viral Disease. These are annual jabs, costing £33.60 each at current rates. A full health assessment is done at this annual visit.
At about four months of age you need to get them neutered to prevent breeding. As long as you do this, the sexes can be kept together very happily. Neutering females also eliminates the risk of womb cancer, which is the commonest cancer we see in bunnies. As we learn and understand more about keeping bunnies healthy, they live longer and age-related diseases such as cancer become more prevalent.
That's about it as far as planned health costs are concerned. Of course, accidents and illness can occur, and it is best rabbits are insured as owners don't have to worry about the costs of treatment. For example, many rabbits develop dental problems by middle age, requiring tooth filing under anaesthesia. This might need doing several times a year and can cost £100 a time. There are companies which insure rabbits but beware cheaper insurances as they often have unseen catches!
Feeding is critically important for bunnies' health in many respects. The majority of non-infectious conditions that vets see are related to poor diet.
Rabbit food is NOT the best stuff. Diet should be 75% grass & hay, 20% other leafy greens and only 5% rabbit pellets. Avoid muesli-type foods - they encourage selective feeding.
When you go to check out your potential new pet, don't take your children with you on the first visit. It will be very hard to walk away if they're pleading with you!
Bring new bunnies to see us as soon as possible - no matter how young - so we can give them a free health check before you get too attached to them.
We look forward to meeting your new pets!
Copies of the Welsh Government's code of conduct are available from any one of our four surgeries at Rhiwbina, Cyncoed, Whitchurch Road and Danescourt. It can also be found at wales.gov.uk, search for rabbits.