Requirements and Procedures for Adopting Rabbits from the Colorado HRS
Please read this article if you are interested in adopting. You will be asked to click to get to the application to adopt at the end of this article
The Colorado House Rabbit Society can place rabbits only within a 100 miles of the Denver/Boulder metro area, unless special arrangements are made, including the adopter must make at least two trips to its Broomfield facilities. We place rabbits only in pairs and only as house rabbits; i.e., they may not be left outside in a hutch, pen, or running freely in a fenced yard unless an adult is present with them at all times.
There are several reasons we place only in pairs:
- The European wild rabbit, from which our domestic rabbits descended, bond for life. Our domestic rabbits have an innate need to have a companion.
- Rabbits are “crepuscular” (their most active times are early morning and evening and their deepest sleep occurs in the afternoon.) Companionship requires another crepuscular creature so they can snuggle together when sleeping, play when awake, share food, etc. No human can satisfy a rabbit’s need for constant companionship.
- From experience, we have found paired rabbits are healthier and live longer. In many cases a companion rabbit’s constant support has been the deciding factor in a sick rabbit’s recovery.
- A single rabbit is a bored rabbit. A bored rabbit is a rabbit who gets into a lot of trouble. Many people who started with a single rabbit have said things like, “I wish someone had told me that two rabbits are half the trouble of one!” after they adopted a companion for the first.
If you do not have a rabbit currently, you may only adopt an existing pair from us. Our singles are only available to people who have a rabbit needing a friend. If you have a single rabbit, we can work with your rabbit to find a friend who will accept, and be accepted by yours.
We cannot place rabbits in homes where anyone smokes. Rabbits have very sensitive respiratory systems. If someone smokes, but always does so outside no matter what the weather, we can place with you. But if residual smoke is obvious in the home when we deliver the rabbits, we will not leave them with you.
If you are interested in adopting rabbits from us, please don’t begin these procedures if you are planning a trip in the next two months or if you will be too busy to accept the rabbits within a week of choosing them. Wait until you get back, or until things settle down for you.
If you rent your home, please get written permission from the manager of your property before you proceed any further. We will need this, or a copy of your lease if it clearly states you can have two rabbits inside your home. It must also state this permission will not be revoked as long as you live there. Please don’t skimp on this requirement or try to interpret a phrase in the lease to include rabbits if it doesn’t really do so. It must be totally clear to us that you have permission to have two rabbits inside your home.
We cannot place rabbits as classroom pets. Please see our article on Classroom Rabbits.
Rabbits are not good companion animals for young children. It is all right to have young children in the family as long as you take appropriate measures to protect both child and rabbit, but if you intend the rabbits specifically for the child, he or she should be at least 8 years old. And you, as the adult should plan to care for the rabbits letting the child help, but taking responsibility for their care yourself.
Please do not get rabbits, or any animals, unless:
- Your situation is reasonably stable. People right out of high school should postpone animals until they are well settled and have a stable job;
- You are committed to keeping them for their entire lives, maintaining time for them, taking them with you if you move, and solving any problems which occur, as you would for a child;
- You have the financial ability to provide veterinary care as needed, including annual check-ups. Veterinary bills are no less for rabbits than for dogs or cats; in fact, rabbits are considered exotics from a medical point of view and require veterinarians who have had special training in treating rabbits;
- You understand that children (even teen-agers) haven’t the maturity to be responsible for another life, and that you as an adult in the family, are the one who will be responsible for the care and keeping of the rabbits;
- You understand children may grow tired of any animal, but an animal brought into the home is part of the family, not a toy to be discarded, and should never be removed from the family for any reason that a child would not be removed from it.
- If you are potentially interested in adopting rabbits, you need to submit an application. Submitting an application does not obligate you to adopt; rather, it allows us to learn more about your situation, to be sure you understand what is involved in having house rabbits, to answer your questions, etc. The purpose of the application is to be sure you have considered everything we can think of that will affect the success of your adoption, and to educate you in any area that will help make your adoption successful and joy-filled.
- After we respond to your application, if you want to move forward, we make an appointment to have you visit our shelter rabbits. (Note: we are an all-volunteer organization. We all have families, jobs, and other responsibilities, so we don’t have “hours” where people can drop in. Everything we do is done by appointment.)
- We introduce you to pairs of adoptable rabbits, or to singles that would be appropriate partners for a rabbit you already have.
- We discuss various aspects of rabbits you will need to know to be prepared for your rabbits.
- If you decide to adopt, we ask you to be ready within a week to accept delivery, although it may take a little longer than that for us to coordinate our schedules, because we deliver the rabbits to your home.
- You will return after a few weeks for a four-hour “Bunny Tune-Up” class, where you will learn much more about keeping your rabbits healthy and giving them as long a life as possible.
Please note that email is required, since it not only makes it easier for us to communicate with potential adopters, but also because adopters must continue to be able to receive important email notices we send from time to time concerning the health and care of the adopted rabbits.
- If you find a pair you want, we ask that you pay the $100** non-refundable adoption fee so we may hold them for you until delivery.
- We then ask you to get ready for delivery of the rabbits within a week. It is very important that you be ready within a week, because rabbits on death-row in kill-shelters are dependant for their lives on space to open up here in time!
- We deliver the rabbits when you are ready. At that time the contract is signed and the adoption is finalized.
Singles (a partner for your rabbit)
Rabbits can be very picky about their partners, rejecting some suitors and accepting others. Their bonding rituals can be complex and people can interfere with the courtship by stopping some behaviors which look dangerous but aren’t. They can also fail to recognize other behaviors that can lead to serious fights and injuries.
Therefore, we do the pairings at our facilities. We show you the rabbits we believe would be appropriate partners and you choose three, indicating your first, second, and third preference. We begin with your first choice, going to your second and third choices only if the earlier choices don’t work.
We keep the rabbits for several days to solidify the bonding, in order to minimize the territorial issues when the rabbits go home, and then we deliver them to you. This period can be as short as four days or as long as several weeks, but the average is about six days.
Typically, the time needed if your rabbit is a female is less than if your rabbit is a male. Males are likely to have more territorial issues when they get home than females. This is because, in nature, the female European Wild Rabbit (from which all of our domestic rabbits are descended) build a burrow, and goes out to find a male rabbit she likes, and then brings him home. His job is then to guard their territory. So a resident male has to work through the confusion of his instincts when a female he loves comes onto turf that he had already established (“I love her, but she shouldn’t be on my turf”). This confusion usually passes within an hour or two of coming home, but only if the bonding is sufficient for his attraction to the female to overcome his sense that she shouldn’t be on his turf.
Adoption fees are $100** for a pair of rabbits, $100** for a single, which includes the pairing. For this you get:
- rabbits already spayed and neutered
- rabbits delivered to assure their transition to their new home
- the “Rabbit Packet” (detailed information about caring for and training rabbits)
- three sessions of education:when you select your rabbits
- when the rabbits are delivered to you
- when you come back for the “Bunny Tune-Up” class
- a year’s membership to the chapter, including the newsletter
- phone line and e-mail to help solve any problems which come up throughout the lives of your rabbits
- a 24-hour emergency line if you need help with a sick or injured rabbit
This is over a $300 value! We also ask you to become a member of the National HRS ($18), which does work benefiting rabbits everywhere, and sends you their semi-annual “House Rabbit Journal.”
If you are planning to give your child or children a pair of rabbits on a holiday (e.g., Easter or Christmas), it is best to give them some of the supplies the rabbit will need on the holiday with a note saying that they will be going to help choose the rabbits. It is best for you to be able to judge how the rabbits and your children will interact before committing to a particular pair.
Homes and Supplies for Your Rabbits
We can provide nearly everything you need for your rabbits, including condos (cages), food and water crocks, hay, pellets, litter boxes, litter, toys, carriers, etc. However, you are welcome to shop elsewhere for these things. We do, however, encourage you not to shop at stores selling any kind of small animals. Such sales are the primary reason for those same animals ending up in shelters. When you support such stores, you are supporting the cruel practice of selling animals without any investigation of, or concern for, how they will fare in the future.
In an attempt to help you boycott such stores, we have established “pick-up points” throughout the metro area. People at these points will take orders from you and others in your area once or twice a month, fill the orders, and bring the supplies back to your area, so you don’t have to make the trip all the way to Broomfield. These sales help support the Colorado House Rabbit Society.
We have large, cream-colored epoxy-painted, folding dog crates for sale as rabbit homes. They’re expensive – $197 (including tax) as of January, 2008. But they are very nice for bunns and look nice in a family room.
You can also put “Neat Ideas” (sometimes called “Creative Cubes”) cube panels together with nylon wire wraps and make an incredible condo in a matter of an hour or so for a fraction of the cost of a ready-made cage. See the following web page for photos and instructions: http://www.binkybunny.com/BUNNYINFO/CoolHabitats/tabid/71/Default.aspx
If you have not already done so, please take a moment to read through the Adoption Contract which must be signed to adopt rabbits from CO-HRS.