Sunday, 10 July 2016

One-Month-Old Rabbit

"I just bought a rabbit. He's a baby, only a month old. What should I do?"

The dilemma of handling an animal looking so small, helpless and fragile.

On the blog, I have voiced that I am against the purchase of animals from pet shops - here is the article listing the reasons why a pet shop isn't the "furry wonderland" it is often seen as.

But all of my rabbits were bought from pet shops, and I love and care for them dearly. This may make me sound like a hypocrite, but the truth is, during that time, I wasn't aware of the big picture at all. I simply saw pet shops as a place where people could get animals.

There have been occasions where I see rabbit owners being shamed for knowing the truth, yet still buying another rabbit from the commercial pet store. Is that wrong? Think of it this way: the commercial pet industry isn't going to crumple within a day, and in cases where the animal in that cage really need helps ...

Yes, there are many others out there, but it's impossible for a single human being to save everyone. At different moments, in different circumstances, we make different decisions. At the very core of it all, the life of the animal changes for the better - isn't that the most important thing? Education the public and spreading awareness solves the problem, not pointing accusatory fingers at individuals.

One of my rabbits, Jippie, is the one-month-old rabbit I brought home from the pet shop. I hope my story serves as a guide to people who may currently have such a young rabbit at home, but are at a complete lost as to what they should do. And to others out there, who have perhaps went through a similar incident, I believe you can relate to what I would be telling!

Baby Jippie and a food bowl

The last rabbit in the pet shop. A small black ball of fur in a cage, with only a bowl of mouldy-looking pellets and a water bottle at a corner. He was so tiny. He couldn't even move around the cage properly because of the wire flooring. When he bended his body to consume his cecotropes, that was when I noticed his right hind leg had a problem, it was angled out in a weird way.

The pet shop owner advised us not to buy him. His tone wasn't sarcastic, it was matter-of-fact. A "problem" meant damaged goods. But we brought him home anyway. We could not be sure whether or not he would live, but no matter the outcome, at least he would be in proper care with us.

Jippie, as we had named him, settled into our home. Somehow - and I cannot remember what prompted us to do this rather silly thing - we housed him in a pet carrier.

First day home - baby Jippie in the pet carrier

Jippie's food was the same as Dutchie - Timothy hay. He was given a very small amount of pellets in the morning and evening. No fruits were fed, but after a week or so, we began feeding him several tiny vegetable leaves, plucked from Dutchie's portion of vegetables. At times of the day when we were free, we would let Jippie out from the carrier. I thought I was mentally prepared for baby Jippie's lack of litter habits, but oh boy, I really didn't expect new pools of urine every three to five hops ... This is absolutely no exaggeration.

Dutchie and Jippie

One issue we had completely not foreseen, however, was his bum. Because of that hind leg, Jippie's bum tended to land right back on a puddle of urine. Even with a two-layer litter box, his tail and all the fur around his bum was a wet and smelly mess within three days. It was impossible for him to clean up himself.

Bathing rabbits was 99.9% associated with the rabbit being shocked to death. The ultimate dilemma.

  1. Bum continues to be soaked with urine --> Unpleasant odour. Unhygienic. Very likely to lead to skin irritation, urine scald, attract flies, etc.
  2. Try bathing using all our common sense --> Rabbit will become clean, despite the myth.

No fight. Option 2.

*But I do have to highlight that the bathing process was very gentle. We poured small bowls of lukewarm water onto his bum slowly, and the "shampoo" we used was a very mild face cleanser.

Jippie was so comfortable after the bath that he flopped over and groom himself - something he had not done for a week. Perhaps even he couldn't stand how he smelled himself!

There were so many more challenges to come, but we overcame week one, week two ...

And here we are at four years.

Look at that handsome faceee! (Forever our little baby though.)


  1. in away you rescued Jippie from the pet shop which was the best thing for him,xx Rachel

  2. Hi, I love everything you wrote, but I'd love more details on Jippie's leg. What happened and how he got around with it and how is Jippie's leg now? One more thing. I see the adult bunny looking over tiny Jippie. There wasn't any issues with territory? That must be one kind adult bunny.:)
    Thank you for the article. Now if we could only take your article and spread it all over the world and inform the uninformed rabbit owners and all future rabbit owners.

    1. Hello Maryann, thank you very much for your compliment. Jippie's a really big rabbit now! His leg remains splayed, but it is mobile and it grew like normal with the rest of him - it was just splayed. And oh, the adult bunny is Dutchie. He wasn't particularly affectionate or motherly towards baby J, but he's cool with him around. It was actually JIPPIE who started a fight when HE grew up. (Tsk tsk... little bully.)