How to Rehome a Rabbit? Do’s and Don’ts!

For about a week before and after Easter every year, rabbits are America’s most popular pet. Millions of children in the UK and Canada get rabbits for Easter, too.

But it only takes a week or two for new rabbit owners to discover that their pets aren’t as cute and cuddly as they expected. Most people aren’t ready to feed their rabbits the diets that they really need, and they aren’t ready to deal with their bunny’s unusual toilet habits.

Well-cared-for rabbits can live to be 8 to 10 years old, but most rabbits die abandoned to starvation and predators before the age of one. Rehoming a rabbit is an act of kindness that saves an animal’s life, and gives a child a happier memory of a pet they had to let go.

Useful Tips for Rehoming Rabbits

Here are five do’s and don’ts for rehoming an abandoned rabbit.

1. Do expect to pay something for the rabbit you are giving a new home to.

Usually, rabbit owners who care enough to rehome their pets will be happy to surrender cages, litter boxes, and a little food for your new bunny, too.

It is rare for someone seeking a new home for their rabbit to want to get their money back for the mistake they made.

But they don’t want you to turn Bugs into Hasenpfeffer, either.

A token payment reassures the bunny owners surrendering their pet that it is going to a good home. This makes separation easier for children, too.

2. Don’t rehome a rabbit until you are ready for their unique toilet habits.

Rabbits have a digestive tract that doesn’t work like the digestive tract of any other common pet. They eat their poop.

The first pass of food through a rabbit’s digestive tract extracts protein.

Soft pill-sized balls of fecal matter accumulate in a separate pouch until the rabbit is ready to “go.” It spreads its soft poop in tall grass, where bacteria it adds to the half-digested matter in its gut continues its work.

Then the rabbit comes back and eats its own feces.

The bacteria in the soft fecal pellets transform fiber into essential fatty acids.

The rabbit’s digestive tract removes the fatty acids in a second pass of the “food,” and this time creates tiny hard pellets.

The purpose of this long explanation is to tell you that your rabbit needs a litter box with one side for hard pellets and one side for soft pellets, a toilet end and a kitchen end.

You need to have a cat-sized litter box ready for your rabbit, lined with several inches of hay.

You need to be ready to change the hay in the litter box every day, and to sterilize the box itself before you put fresh in.

This one step makes a huge difference in how well your new rabbit will adjust to being part of your home.

3. Do set up boundaries between your rehomed rabbit and your other pets.

Kindly people who rehome rabbits usually have other pets, too. It is easy to forget that the dogs and cats we love have their own predatory instincts.

To put it bluntly, many animals are genetically programmed to think of bunnies as yummy. You need to make sure that dogs, cats, and reptiles are separated or at least supervised to keep your rabbit safe.

It is not unusual for rabbits and dogs to take naps together. Cats may groom rabbits like they were other cats.

There are no circumstances in which you should allow your rabbit to play with a large reptile. Just be aware that even the sweetest pets can forget that your rabbit is their friend, not their lunch.

4. Don’t go more than two weeks without having your new pet rabbit spayed or neutered.

We all know that rabbits multiply. A male and a female can have 10 bunnies when they are just seven months old.

By the age of about a year, a female could have 20 offspring. And that’s about the time the offspring have their own baby bunnies.

Rabbits will take care of their own overcrowding problems. A mother bunny forced into a cage with a large litter may eat her own young to reduce the excess population.

And even when you rehome just one rabbit at a time, hormones can make them hard to handle unless they are spayed or neutered.

If you get your rabbit for rehoming from an animal shelter, they will probably take care of this for you. But if they don’t, see a vet right away!

How will you pay your vet bills?

5. Do get rabbit health insurance at the same time you rehome your rabbit.

Most veterinary health insurance companies regard rabbits as “exotic” pets and won’t insure them.

One pet health insurance company will. It’s available from Bivvy for about $15 a month.

Tips for Keeping Your Rehomed Rabbit Healthy and Happy

Now, here are some tips on how to have a happier experience with your rehomed rabbit:

  • Be prepared to give rabbits timothy hay, orchard grass, or brome. Add a few pellets of commercial rabbit food. Then give them a little spinach, bok choy, parsley, cilantro, collards, or Swiss chard (silverbeet). But never give rabbits large amounts of any new food. Rabbits depend on help from friendly bacteria that live in their digestive tracts to digest their food. Sudden changes in their diet overwhelm their probiotic bacteria, and make the rabbit sick.
  • Bunnies can eat alfalfa hay, but it is too rich in calcium for adult rabbits. It can cause kidney stones.
  • Rabbits enjoy human company, but they don’t like being picked up. They like to keep their feet on the floor. The reason for this is that they have an instinct to avoid predators that usually strike them on the neck.
  • Rabbits are happier if they have constant company. Two rabbits will be happier than one, but they need to be spayed or neutered (even if they are the same sex).
  • Rabbits like “toys.” They play with untreated straw, sea-grass baskets and mats, wicker pots, plastic flower pots, and nose-sized balls to roll around.
  • People who rehome pet rabbits usually spend about two hours a day with their bunnies to socialize them. They pet their rabbits, play with them, and give them a variety of safe experiences indoors and outside that prepare them for their forever-home.
  • Plan to have room for your rabbits. Every rabbit needs an enclosure of at least 8 square feet (a little less than a square meter). They also need a run of at least 24 square feet (a little less than three square meters) for at least six hours of exercise and play per day.
  • Avoid keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together. Rabbits don’t need vitamin C in their diets (their bodies make their own) but guinea pigs do, so they need different diets. Rabbits carry a microorganism called Bordetella bronchiseptica that doesn’t cause them any problems, but can be fatal to guinea pigs. Male rabbits that have not been neutered may try to mate with guinea pigs, which can cause distress for both animals.
  • Avoid keeping rabbits and chickens together in the backyard, too. Chickens will peck and scratch at fast-moving animals. Rabbits will fight chickens to defend their territory.

Where Can You Find a Rabbit to Rehome?

Most cities, counties, and towns have animal shelters. You can find the animal shelter nearest you from 11,500 shelters and animal rescue centers listed on Petfinder.

Or visit the resource pages of the House Rabbit Society for more information about adoption programs.

Some Useful Tips When Putting Up a Rabbit for Adoption

When people no longer want to keep their pets, they often release them in the nearby woods or leave them outside shelters. This is a highly irresponsible way to bid farewell to an innocent living being.

Pet animals, especially rabbits, do not have a strong survival instinct and cannot survive outdoors on their own.

Hence, it is essential to put them up for adoption or contact a responsible pet adoption center to ensure the small animal’s life is not in danger.

Here are some more details about putting up your pet for adoption.

Give Your Rabbit to Someone Who Already Owns a Rabbit

Pet parents usually join different virtual and local pet communities for networking. These platforms can prove to be an excellent source for finding potential adoptive parents for your rabbit.

They are more likely to take good care of a rabbit because they are experienced and know how to provide the best environment for them.

Besides these platforms, you may also know a friend or relative who already has a rabbit. People are often looking to pair up their bunny; similarly, they might be interested in taking in your pet rabbit friend.

Looking for people around you should be the first option to consider. This way, you can rest assured that your little bunny is in the right hands.


In case you do not know anyone who would be interested in adopting your pet, you can put your rabbit up for adoption by yourself.

Now, you must make an effort to put up ads to let people know you are putting your rabbit up for adoption.

However, it does not stop here. You must also do home inspections and interview the potential pet parents for your rabbit.

Handling every adoption detail yourself will give you the assurance that you are sending them off with the right family who loves your rabbit just as much as you did.

Of course, you will have to invest much of your time and effort into this process. It will be tedious to go through numerous people and make all these inquiries.

It is your call to prioritize self-satisfaction or hand over the adoption measures to a pet adoption center or an animal rescue service.

Tips to Put Your Rabbit Up for Adoption through Self Rehoming

Choosing to go for self-rehoming can be tedious, but it sure has its benefits. Since this is a long process, here are a few tips and guidelines for you to make things easy.

Don’t Separate a Pair: The first thing to remember is to always keep a pair of rabbits together. People might try to coerce you into separating them because they can only support a single bunny.

However, you must be adamant and refuse to break the pair. It can be mentally exhausting for the rabbits to settle in a new environment, and losing their partner on this journey may induce stress.

This sudden change can ultimately result in refusing to eat or drink and eventually death.

Be Careful of Liars: We are all well aware of the evils in the world. People can easily lie for their gain and put your little rabbit through a lot of suffering.

In order to avoid this, you must be aware that some people are not looking for pets. Instead, they may be looking to consume rabbit meat themselves or to use it to train their hounds.

Mostly, these people appear when the ads suggest the pet is up for free adoption. Hence, it is better to avoid adding this detail even if you are not asking for an adoption fee.

Do Not Assume: It is best not to assume that the prospective adoptive parents are knowledgeable. You must inform them about taking care of a pet rabbit and how they can keep them safe.

It is also essential to provide them guidelines for creating the right environment, the rabbit’s eating habits, and any other specific needs.

Most people are unaware that pet rabbits require special care. Hence passing the information on to them will ensure your pet is under good care.

Ask Many Questions: Anybody willing to take the rabbit home and give them all their love would be happy to go through the interrogation.

If a person feels uneasy and is unwilling to provide relevant information, they may have the wrong intentions for your rabbit.

Here are some questions you can ask your rabbit’s potential adoptive pet parents:

  1. Do you have kids under 10? (Rabbits are afraid of children. They tend to move and make noises impulsively, which frightens the sensitive creatures.)
  2. Have you kept a rabbit before? Do you currently own a rabbit?
  3. Do you have other pets? Are they predatory?
  4. Do you understand the intensive care that a pet rabbit requires?
  5. Can you recognize any symptoms of illness in a rabbit?
  6. Who do you plan to go to when the rabbit becomes sick?
  7. What do you know about a rabbit’s diet?

It is not easy to give up a pet. You can ask more questions if you wish. Of course, people easily lie. Hence, when in doubt, always trust your gut instincts or go for an inspection.

Ensure the Future Home of Your Rabbit is Safe: It might be uncomfortable to inform the individual that you wish to inspect the space where they intend to keep the rabbit.

However, this is necessary if you still have doubts after asking them enough questions. This will help ensure that the individual is a good choice to adopt your pet.

No Takesies Backsies: Once you have handed over your pet rabbit, they are not yours anymore. You cannot ask anyone to return the rabbit because you have changed your mind.

This is why it is essential to think about your decision and make a final call because your beloved pet cannot return to you.

That said, you can always inquire and keep a check on how things are going with your pet.

During the initial few weeks, you can ask the new pet parent if the rabbit is adjusting well to the new environment.

If not, you can discuss how they can improve things to provide a comfortable and favorable living environment for the rabbit.

Give Your Rabbit to an Animal Shelter or Rescue

Another option available for putting your rabbit up for adoption is to donate it to an animal shelter.

They take the responsibility of taking care of animals very seriously and tend to them like their own.

At times, you may come across animal shelters that do not have the necessary setup to keep rabbits. Hence, it is important to inquire about the living conditions that your rabbit will be in.

That said, there are plenty of rescue shelters working specifically for rabbits and finding them a good home.

The shelter is responsible for advertising your pet rabbit to increase its adoption chances. Furthermore, they will inquire about the prospective adoptive parents independently.

Tips for Putting Your Rabbit up for Adoption at an Animal Shelter

Here are some tips to help you put your rabbit up for adoption at an animal shelter.

  1. As mentioned, not all animal shelters have the environment best suitable for a rabbit. Hence, inquire beforehand to ensure your rabbit’s safety.
  2. Regular animal shelters put down animals after a certain time period if they do not get adopted. However, some shelters/rescues have a no-kill policy.
  3. Shelters that follow the no-kill policy do not put down any of the animals, even if finding them a home is proving to be a challenge.
  4. Keep multiple shelters/rescues on your list. At times, they refuse to keep an animal because they are at full capacity.
  5. In such cases, the animal shelter usually helps and points you towards one that may be able to help.
  6. You can also contact local groups that cater specifically to rabbits and provide rescue services for them.

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