October 24, 2017 Adventures Family Frugality Household Personal Finance 18

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Last Monday at 7:02 am, I posted an article titled Furry Additions to the Adventure Rich Household.  In this article, introduced the Adventure Rabbits as two does (female rabbits).

 

At 7:52 am as I was driving AR Jr. to daycare, Mr. Adventure Rich sent me the following text message from the veterinarian’s office:

“So… Ginger is a boy…”

Gulp.

 

Suddenly everything made sense…  Ginger was the bigger of the two rabbits.  He was built a bit “stockier” and grew much more quickly than Pepper.   I thought Pepper must have been the runt of the litter but alas, she was just the more delicately built doe in comparison to the buck she was cozying up to every night!

 

The Adventure Rabbits were at the veterinarian’s office to get fixed but I instantly panicked and wondered if we were too late.  It wouldn’t be the end of the world to have a litter of rabbits to sell, but I was seriously banking on two, friendly fixed rabbits.

 

Luckily, the Adventure Rabbits were a bit too young to get busy and there is not a litter of rabbits on the way in the Adventure Rich household.  We now have two fixed rabbits, a buck and a doe!

 

Cost of Pet Rabbits

 

As promised, I would like to share the numbers rundown of household pet rabbits.  I will share both the recurring annual costs and the one-time costs associated with rabbit ownership.  Some of these numbers will reflect our own payments, but I also add cost ranges in areas I am familiar with.

 

One Time Cost

The Adventure Rabbits getting some exercise in the larger room

Rabbits

Like many animals, the cost of a rabbit depends on breed, location, and pedigree.  There are high end, rare show rabbits that cost hundreds of dollars and there are rabbits free on Craigslist.

 

The typical cost for a pet store or breeder rabbits is $5-$40.

 

We acquired the Adventure Rabbits from a local show breeder who advertises $25/holland lop rabbit.  When we arrived to pick up our rabbits, she charged us $20/rabbit, a total of $40.

 

AR Rabbit Cost = $40 (2 rabbits)

 

Spay/Neuter

The cost to spay and neuter rabbits can vary wildly.  Rabbits are apparently a bit tricky to fix so not all veterinarians will offer this service.  I called about 15 veterinarians in our area and gathered quotes from about 12 of those vets.

Spaying, due to additional difficulty, costs more than neutering.  I was quoted spaying anywhere from $120-$350 (!?!) and neutering in the $90-$150 range.

We ended up choosing a vet specializing in small animals located an hour away to avoid the increased cost of local vets.

Spay = $120

Neuter = $95

Pain Meds = $32.70 ($16.35/rabbit)

 

AR Fixin’ Cost = $247.70

 

Housing

Rabbit Pen

I have seen people go CRAZY with their rabbit area setups.  From playpens that cost hundreds of dollars (like this nearly $400 White Picket Fence Rabbit Hutch!) to elaborate castle-like rabbit pens, the possibilities abound!

Mr. Adventure Rich and I took a more DIY approach to our rabbit area.  Mr. Adventure Rich converted a small, storage closet into the back area of the pen and built a fenced in area outside of the closet by crafting basic frames with wire fencing fastened to the frames.  There is a door with a latch for easy access and to allow the pen to open for supervised “play/exercise time” in the larger area of the room.  We then used scrap wood to make a “bunny-shelf” in the back of the closet sleep and play.

Many of the necessary supplies were in our garage already, but we did buy the mesh wire and some of the framing wood.  My guess is that you could create a basic housing area for a rabbit from scratch for $40-80.

 

AR Housing Cost = $40 (with leftover supplies for other projects!)

 

Supplies

 

When creating a lodging place for our rabbits, we chose to stick to a pretty basic set-up.  Once the pen was built, we furnished it with only a few items including a water jug, food bowls, a litter box, carpet squares and cardboard boxes/toilet paper rolls as play toys.

 

Water Jug-  I really like the PetMate Replenish Gravity Waterer (we have the 1 Gallon version).  There are several brands of a similar setup, but I have found the PetMate waterer to be the most sturdy and spill-free.  I also like the ability to load up and replenish every few days… it gives me peace of mind to know that the Adventure Rabbits won’t go thirsty if we are off adventuring for a weekend!  Cost = $10.95

 

Food Bowls-  A word to the wise… pony up and pay for a heavy, ceramic bowl or find one at a thrift store.  In my rabbit experience, I have yet to meet a rabbit who does not derive immense pleasure from grabbing their bowl with their teeth and flipping it up, throwing the pellets everywhere, often in the water bowl (creating a lovely pellet oozing mush).  The Kaytee Stoneware bowls (4” or 5”)  are heavy enough to avoid the pellet-throwing play.  Cost = $5 – $10

 

Litter Box-  Read: Low-ish plastic bin.  With our litter trained rabbits, we use a low, plastic bin.  We were given ours by my parents (their rabbit recently passed away and they have extra supplies) and we are about to add a second box for additional, er, coverage.  Cost = $3 – $8  (our cost = free!)

 

Carpet Squares-  Their furry paws may be adorable, but when the Adventure Rabbits try to scramble away while on the concrete floor, it closely resembles the stereotypical “clumsy person on an ice skating rink on a first date”… spreadeagle, utterly out of control and hilarious.

While I could watch them slip and slide all day, I’m not that mean.  We give them a few carpet pieces throughout their pen for comfort, traction, and warmth.  We have extra carpet sections the previous homeowner left in the garage, but many carpet stores will also either sell or give away their flooring samples.  Dollar stores also have basic mats which could do the trick.  Cost = Free!

 

 

Cardboard Boxes/Toilet Rolls-  Rabbits are curious, playful creatures.  We will make used toilet/paper towel rolls into play toys by either just giving them the roles to chew/throw around or by packing them with hay for a play-treat.  Cost = Free!

 

Brush- Most rabbits have shorter fur and the fur is not a daily problem… until shedding time.  The rabbits I have worked with go through “shed phases” where they lose handfuls for fur at a time!  It can be helpful to have a basic bunny brush on hand.  Cost = $9.99

 

Nail Clippers-  Rabbits need their nails clipped every month or so (again, timing is dependant on rabbit and their nail growth) to avoid long, curled nails that break off or bother the rabbit.  We could take a rabbit to a vet every time we need to have their nails trimmed, but this is a time and money suck!

After years of rabbit ownership, I am comfortable with DIY nail clipping.  There are great online resources and videos that walk you through the process and it ends up being a relatively simple task (though, it typically takes two… one bunny holder and one bunny clipper).  We use clippers that have sharp, curved blades.  Cost = $7.96

 

Carrier-  For any car or other transport trips, a basic pet carrier is a good, safe option for rabbits.  Again, we lucked out with a hand-me-down from my parents here too!  Cost = $17.49  (our cost = free!)

 

AR Supplies Cost = $38.90

 

Recurring Cost

 

Food

 

Pellets-  We are currently feeding the Adventure Rabbits the Oxbow Young Rabbit feed due to their age (~3 months old) and will continue for Year 1.  After that, we will transition to a more basic adult rabbit feed that has a different fiber/protein blend.

I estimate that the Adventure Rabbits go through one 10 lb bag of the young rabbit feed every 2 months (-ish… still figuring this out).  With that calculation, we are spending $11/month, or $5.50/rabbit/month.

This cost should inch down closer to $3/rabbit/month when we switch to adult feed and add more vegetables into their diet.

 

Hay-  With young rabbits, we are in a phase of feeding both timothy hay or orchard grass and alfalfa to the Adventure Rabbits.  As they get older, we will wean them off alfalfa.

Store bought timothy hay/orchard grass currently costs $11/96oz bag on Amazon.  This will last our rabbits about 3 months.  The annual cost rounds out at $44/yr, $3.66/month or $1.83/rabbit/month.

 

Veggies- I’m going to put a placeholder number of $3/month in here, but I doubt we will spend even that.  I like to use crap veggies for rabbit treats (think- carrot ends, celery tops, peels) or just portions of our snacks/salads (a slice of apple or banana, a few shreds of kale or spinach).

 

AR Year 1 Food Cost = $212

AR Year 2+ Food Cost = $158

 

Other Recurring Expenses

 

Litter-  For several health reasons, rabbits need non-clumping, dust free litter.  I use Yesterday’s News and highly recommend for rabbits!  $15 for a 30 lb bag (lasts for ~3 months).  $5/month or $2.50/rabbit/month

 

AR Annual “Other” Cost = $60

 

Rabbit Ownership Cost Round-Up

 

Total cost of two rabbits acquired when they are babies (drumroll please….):

 

Adventure Rich One-time Cost = $118.90

Adventure Rich One-time Vet (Fixing) = $274.70

TOTAL ONE TIME = $366.60

 

Adventure Rich Food Cost Year 1 = $212

Adventure Rich Supplies Cost = $60

TOTAL ANNUAL COST (Year 1)* = $272

 

Adventure Rich Food Cost Year 2+ = $158

Adventure Rich Supplies Cost = $60

TOTAL ANNUAL COST (Year 2+)* = $218

 

*I am not including vet bills here because a) in the past, we have rarely required regular vet visits and b) the bills can vary wildly based on the issue, so I am keeping it simple and omitting them here.

 

Rabbit Ownership Resources

If you are interested in learning a bit more about litter trained and/or house rabbit ownership, here are a few resources I find helpful when I have questions or need help training the Adventure Rabbits.

The House Rabbit Society

San Diego House Rabbit Society

 

There you have it!  Our rabbit cost breakdown and resources out in the open for your viewing pleasure.  Any surprises in the cost round-up?  Are you tempted to acquire a furry friend of your own?

 

Always an Adventure,

Mrs. Adventure Rich