How many rabbits are too many?
From four or five rabbits it tilts, then is usually no more housetraining possible, in indoor husbandry is therefore completely discouraged from larger groups.
Even in rabbit rooms a larger group is not recommended, because the rabbits run through the urine (danger of pododermatitis!), it smells unpleasant and may also cause problems with the neighbor and landlord!
Can I afford the costs for so many rabbits?
Young rabbits are often healthy, but every rabbit gets older. In larger groups, several rabbits may get sick at once! So consider not only the current veterinary costs but also the future ones. One rabbit can cause vet costs in the four-digit range, if it is chronically ill, permanent costs may occur.
As a rule of thumb you can see if you could afford a full insurance. If this is already too expensive for the number of animals, the veterinary costs are usually underestimated. Of course, with a health insurance you may pay for a while without needing it, but extreme cost peaks are prevented, which could not be contained. On average, however, the costs are realistic to the actual veterinary costs over a rabbit’s life calculated.
Fresh feed costs in winter
Especially the winter feeding is a financial factor in rabbit keeping, because very large amounts of fresh feed are needed. One can calculate over the year with 1-2€ per day and animal, if rabbits are fed completely free of charge with meadow in the summer, green manure is fed in the fall and in the winter feeding relies on inexpensive, seasonal vegetables (cabbage vegetables, bitter lettuce, few tubers). However, it should be noted that you put the money aside in the summer and then use it for winter feeding (about January to April), because in winter you often do not get by with 2-4€ per pair and day.
Tips for saving money
Many keepers get cheap sorted vegetables from supermarkets, but it should be remembered that this source can dry up and then still the cost of purchased fresh food must be met.
The time factor
Time for time-consuming care of sick animals
If a rabbit is sick, time-consuming visits to the vet are usually necessary, sometimes several times a week and possibly with additional waiting times. However, this part is in most cases the less time consuming one. Sick animals often need intensive care and attention, often at night. The animals need a lot of love, attention and due to their metabolism frequent medication. The more rabbits you keep, the more often one is sick. From a certain number on, you may have sick animals continuously and also in parallel, and especially in old age animals can be chronically ill, so that they need permanent care.
While pairs are very compatible, groups can break up, necessitating the keeping of separate groups or the surrender of individual rabbits. Group disputes can also result in bite injuries and chronic stress that promotes disease. Many owners perceive group disputes as very stressful, and for some it is not possible to build an additional enclosure.
Time to observe and care for all rabbits – diseases are easily overlooked
Especially large group owners are often overwhelmed with the care of the animals and overlook diseases. Even if you keep a large group, you have to watch the individual animals just as intensively, check them regularly (e.g. teeth, ears, underside of feet!) and check for diseases.
Future plans for the next decade
Rabbits get quite old, so you should ask yourself what future you plan for the next decade! On average, rabbits reach a life expectancy of eight to twelve years; if one remains, it will need company again. There are ways to end the keeping of these social animals, but time is usually needed to do so.
Rabbit owners who are still in education or living with their parents often underestimate planning for future education, such as studying in a costly city – it is often difficult to keep rabbits in a student apartment or shared apartment, especially if it is a large group!
Job loss? How secure is my job in the long run?
The Corona pandemic has made us realize how quickly what we thought was safe can change. How crisis-proof is the job you are doing? Are there any career changes ahead? Will the financial situation improve or remain the same?
Human offspring – family planning
Children need space, time and cause high costs. Maybe there is currently a lot of time left and the financial situation is secure, so you could add rabbits. But family planning can change everything. Since rabbits grow quite old, family planning for the next decade should also be considered.
Own house or rented apartment?
If you have your own house, it is certainly a different situation than if you live in a rented apartment. An apartment can be terminated, how likely is it to find a landlord if you keep a large group?
Social network in case of emergency
Something can always happen unpredictably, e.g. a serious illness, accidents or obligations. A good social network (friends, relatives, neighbors), who love animals and ideally also know something about rabbits, can absorb such unpredictable events very well. However, if you have a rather sparse social network, it will be difficult to provide care for the animals, especially with a large group!
Vacation care – travel planning
Is there someone to take care of the rabbits when a vacation is coming up? How often do they travel and is there an alternative if they don’t have time? Two rabbits can be accommodated if necessary also times somewhere emergency, with a group it is often much more difficult to find someone, who has the time, the place and the authority!
Keeping rabbits can also be very stressful at times, e.g. the loss of animals, serious illnesses or incompatibilities and socializations. If you are quickly overwhelmed in such situations, it may be better to stick with a pair or a harmonious group of three. The more animals you keep, the more common stressful situations are.
Would you also buy 20 dogs or 20 horses? Strangely enough, with these types of animals, many owners are much more often aware that such a number is difficult to manage. With rabbits, guinea pigs & Co. the costs, the time frame, the burden and care are often underestimated!
Vaccinations and preventive care
Especially owners of large groups often try to reduce the costs of preventive care, e.g. by going to a group vaccination or to an inexpensive veterinarian who hardly examines the animal. In itself, group vaccinations are a good thing, but health care should not be neglected.
- Ear check with otoscope, many rabbits have ear infections. Also, closer ear care in rams and veterinary check of ears is very important.
- Palpation of uterus or spaying of females to rule out pain from uterine disease, which is quite common in females.
- Dental control: rabbits with the worst toothache still eat “normally”, so the dental status should be examined regularly.
- Neutering of the males, only in this way they can live socially
- Vaccinations according to Stiko vet recommendation
- Fecal samples
If in doubt, better one rabbit less than one too many!
It certainly does not make sense to keep as many rabbits as possible, rather one less and know all animals optimally cared for, than to go to the personal limit and then possibly be overwhelmed! This has advantages for the people as well as for the animals. It may be that you can currently keep 15 rabbits and they are optimally cared for, but with such a high number of animals, it is likely that minor changes that occur unplanned, lead to problems and the maintenance of the group can no longer be guaranteed.
Network with other owners
Network with other keepers in the area to care for each other’s rabbits on vacation, mentally assist with socializations, share concerns and hardships, and get tips and help from experienced keepers. This can be very relieving!
Train your environment before the emergency
Show your environment early on how they can care for the rabbits, what needs to be taken care of and how to deal with them. This saves a lot of stress in an emergency! Write down exactly which veterinarian should be contacted in case of need, who they can call if they have a technical question about rabbits and you are not available. Such an emergency note can be left with the rabbits or given to the people involved.
There are emergency cards for the wallet, which indicate, for example, that your rabbits are alone and unprovided for at home if you fail. They are very important for single owners living alone! Emergency cards
It is certainly not the solution to plan in such a way that you come out at the end of the month with zero, there should always be a financial cushion planned and money set aside! For this purpose, for example, a separate rabbit account is suitable, on which a standing order is received monthly after receipt of salary, or a piggy bank. Thus a reserve for cost peaks is formed.
Solutions if there are too many rabbits
Despite the best preparation, social environment, health insurance and own house, it can come to situations in which we get into distress and can no longer sufficiently care for our rabbits or provide them financially. Who expects to become permanently unable to work or to have their home washed away in a flood?
Moreover, it is absolutely human that we make a mistake, underestimate something or were misinformed.
If it comes to the fact that the rabbits can no longer be adequately cared for, it is important to admit that we are overtaxed and to actively seek outside help!
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
The website will draw have authors who are vets, pet owners, and local pet breeders. All who will contribute their fantastic knowledge which in turn will be able to help you i hope.
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