I warned him, I really did. I gave Mr. Adventure Rich full advance notice that if he let me go into the “Bunny Barn” at our local Northwestern Michigan Fair, we would welcome a fuzzy friend home with us within the next few months.
The County Fair
The following is an adaptation of a real conversation which took place in early August 2017 at the Northwestern Michigan Fair.
Mrs. Adventure Rich: You better watch out, let me in the Bunny Barn and we’ll be heading home with a rabbit.
Mr. Adventure Rich: (chuckles nervously)
Mrs. Adventure Rich: Haha, just kidding, we’d need to get everything ready at home and make sure we have the supplies. So it’d be in the next few months before…
But seriously, I don’t think we’ll get a rabbit yet. AR Jr. is so young and we have projects at home so…
Mr. Adventure Rich: You don’t sound convinced… and neither am I.
Mrs. Adventure Rich: Ok, we’ll see. Let’s just go look at the bunnies. AR Jr. will love it!
Mr. Adventure Rich: Haha- alright.
He didn’t bar my entrance to the barn. Poor guy didn’t stand a chance…
Two Weeks Later
We brought home not one, but two rabbits a mere 14 days after that fateful trip to the fair. That’s right, we walked into the barn, I melted over half of the rabbits, we met one of the breeders, found out she had a litter of Holland Lops ready for purchase in 2 weeks and I took her card “just in case”.
“Just in case”?!?
Ha! Who was I kidding? I was sold!
Rabbits can seem a bit random from a pet standpoint. Why not a dog or a cat?
I grew up with litter-trained house rabbits. Throughout my childhood, we owned 4 or 5 different rabbits, caring for them for anywhere from 5-10 years (depending on their lifespan and what age we adopted or acquired them).
Mr. Adventure Rich and I considered other animals, but not too seriously. Neither of us owned a pet dog or cat in the past and are unfamiliar with the responsibilities and effort associated with cat/dog ownership. We like the idea of a relatively “contained” pet (read: no fur/hair everywhere and chewed up household items), have owned rabbits in the past (my childhood + a house rabbit in California) and rabbits fit with our lifestyle.
So with our familiarity with a rabbit, the choice seemed logical. But I won’t pretend that this wasn’t an impulsive decision… it absolutely was!
General Rabbit Qualities I Like
— Able to be litter trained (!!!) and the training is often quick and painless when they are young
— Relatively small area needed (given they have enough space to exercise or are allowed to go to a larger area for exercise daily)
— Social animals and like to hang out/see us
— Not too needy, they want their space at times
— Can be left for a few days/long weekend (given plenty of water and food) without a pet-sitter or a kennel situation.
— If a longer trip is planned, the pet-sitter duties can be kept to a minimum (for our 5 day Mackinac trip, my parents only needed to check in on the bunnies once to feed, water and slick up)
— Curious and energetic animals… fun to watch and play with!
— Small animal = smaller poops, pees, food need, overall cost
As a bonus for me, I now have two living, breathing beings in the house with me during my days as a full-time remote employee. As odd as it may sound, just having another animal (or two in this case!) in the house is helpful during the days that drag on or are more lonely. I can actually go say “hi” or take a quick break to hold or play with our furry friends!
Wait, did you say “Litter trained rabbits”?
Yes, yes I did say “litter trained rabbits”. What? Is that weird?
Don’t worry, I know that litter training a rabbit seems like an odd idea. But it just so happens to be a popular technique in the rabbit ownership world. Rabbits are clean animals who prefer to keep their area tidy. So, by offering a litter box filled with a non-clumping, non-dusty and non-deodorized litter, rabbits often choose to go there and begin to make a habit of using their litter box.
Preparation for Our Rabbits
In the two weeks between the fair and acquiring our new pets, Mr. Adventure Rich and I got to work making necessary preparations. This included building a living pen and play area for them in our basement, preparing a litter box, water container, food and food bowls and stocking up on both Timothy hay and alfalfa.
Being prone to DIY projects, we decided to make the rabbit area rather than buy an expensive rabbit lodge online. Mr. Adventure Rich used scrap wood in our garage, wire fencing, and a few latches to create a pen for our rabbits. It is located on our first level close to my office door.
Selecting our Rabbits
While the decision to acquire the pets was an impulsive decision, we approached our selection of the rabbits with research and intention.
Breed– Our rabbits are Holland Lops. Holland Lops are a smaller breed of rabbit, averaging 2-4 lbs full grown. They enjoy being indoor, family pets and are quite social, perfect for a bonded pair.
Gender– Quite honestly, we were flexible on the boy/girl question, but we had one “table stakes” requirement. They must be the same gender. The litter we were purchasing from consisted of 4 females and 1 male. Two females it is!
Number– I suggested getting a rabbit and to my surprise, Mr. Adventure Rich suggested two. Rabbits are often happier and healthier if they are around others (people, rabbits, animals), so a bonded pair from the same litter seemed like a good move since we both work full time and will not always be able to devote quality time to the rabbits throughout the day.
Age– We bought the rabbits at an early age (almost 2 months old). They were weaned and ready, but still young and trainable.
A Toddler’s Reaction to the Bunnies
Oh, this kid. AR Jr. is hilarious around our new rabbits. He gets so excited that he will run up to their pen, point and yell “bunnies!” at the top of his lungs… subsequently scaring the bunnies into the furthest corner of their area to avoid the terror, er, toddler.
AR Jr. is a great helper with the rabbits so far. He is gentle and cautious around the bunnies and is eager to help clean their area and feed them. I love the fact that he is learning to take care of the animals and gathering more responsibility around the house with the pet chores.
Cost of Rabbits
Are rabbits cost-effective, frugal pets?!?
I’m going to be sneaky here and tell you that you’ll just have to wait and see! I’ll be publishing a rabbit cost report in an upcoming post 😉
Thank you for humoring my divergence from the typical personal finance, FIRE and frugality topics. But hey, lifestyle and household updates are interesting too, right?
Any FIRE/frugality folks out there with furry friends? Anyone else with rabbits or other non-traditional (cat/dog) pets?
Always an Adventure,
Mrs. Adventure Rich