What do you mean when you say your bunnies are fully socialized? This is a question we have been asked a few times, and we thought we would write a blog post describing exactly what we mean! This post details the why and how of bunny socializing.
The Why We have dabbled in the bunny world for many years, and purchased from both reputable breeders, pet stores, and feed stores. However, we’ve hardly ever had a bunny come to us that was used to being associated with as much as we do. Most of the bunnies we’ve had that aren’t directly from our litters or another breeder with the same lifestyles as us take a long time to warm up. Even still, some bunnies just show signs that tell me what their life before was like. We’ve seen whole barns lined with 2ft wire cages, 30-50 bunnies in a barn. We’ve witnessed first-hand buying a bunny from a feed store, only to have it show signs of bad health. PLEASE do not take this post derogatively if you are part of/have purchased from one of these places. These are purely our experiences. That being said, that is exactly why we raise bunnies. Well, number 1 we just love them (I mean, who couldn’t?!), but it’s one of our highest priorities to provide bunnies that are ready for and used to a social, loving, people-friendly environment.
The How “Socializing” is a pretty vague term. Below we’ll go into detail so you can see exactly what our bunnies go through and what lifestyle they are used to!
Bunny Pictured : Hershey - Dusky x Dylan March 22
Week one starts out strong. From the day they are born, we hold, touch, cuddle, and work with each baby. For a minimum of 1 hr a day, we are with them. This is one of the MOST important stages of the process. This is because when they are this tiny, their eyes are still closed. They require something to protect and comfort them. If your hands are the things that are warming them up, or stroking them, they associate that feeling with something good.
Week 2, they have grown fur and begin to waddle around the nest box. Such squirmy little things! We continue the cycle started in Week 1, holding them each for a min of 1 hr per day. They fall asleep so easily, and will literally melt into puddles in your hands.
The babies will have opened their eyes, and have started hopping out of the nest box. Their ears are sticking up, and they are just the cutest. Now that they’ve got their adventurous spirits, we will lay on the floor with them, and they love using us as a jungle gym. It is honestly the best when one of them gets tired and comes and flops with you🤍 We also start introducing the young children etc. at this stage. While they are a little fragile throughout week 1 and 2, by week 3 they are the perfect manageable size for a little kid. If you know any toddlers, I don’t have to tell you that these bunnies are put through the paces with them, lol. It’s all part of the process, and you’d be surprised how much it helps.
Week 4 is a milestone - they are halfway to their new home! At this point, they are pretty durable. If weeks 1, 2, and 3 have gone well, they go up for reservations. This means tons of visitors, new people, and interactions. We obviously can’t resist spending all the time with them that we can, but meeting new people is great for them! Our wonderful community is so helpful with this.
Week 5 is more of the same. Toddlers and new people are interacted with almost daily. And of course, always snuggles for each bun from ourselves. That’s the best part of the business!
Here, we start adding interaction with other animals, whether that be other bunnies, dogs, or cats! We do not own dogs or cats, but some of our friends do, and when we get the chance, we take them over to different houses. We have begun introducing crowds and loud noises such as vacuuming (though the noises take a little longer to get used to.)
The loud noises and crowds are continually increased (gradually as so not to scare the bunnies.) Hands-on activity and petting from everyone is enacted, since hands are one of the scariest things for bunnies. Imagine something larger than your entire body coming down to pick you up and hold you!
At this point, the babies are ready to leave our care and head to their new homes! They have been socialized to the max and loved deeply by us and our families - ready to pass on that love to their new family.