Documenting the Cost of Pet Rabbits

06_10_2015_01I have been wondering a bit about how much it costs to keep pet rabbits as I haven’t been keeping track and now there are 7 of the little critters and money is tight. I had been previously buying Care Fresh bedding (made from recycled newspaper pulp) but found it really, really expensive – $30 for a package that was only lasting about a week and a bit. I was also having to change the litter every other day because it always stunk like pee downstairs… so I don’t feel like it was doing a good job of reducing odours anyways. While at the rescue Olga told me that she uses woodstove pellets (also sold as horse stall bedding) and was surprised when I said I still used care fresh. So expensive! she said. So I took at look at what the animal feed store on the island stocks and they do carry equine bedding for $11/35lbs. Already this is much cheaper, so I’m intrigued.

I bought a bag of wood pellets (they are hard wood which is safe for rabbits, soft woods like pine and cedar are not!) a bag of 12% protein pellets (I was feeding them 18% because they were young when I got them, but it’s time to bring it back down to 12% or 14% which is slightly cheaper at $16/bag) and a big bag of timothy and alfalfa hay cubes to supplement their supply of timothy hay. Alfalfa should be fed only occasionally as it is high calorie and can make your bun buns overweight. Timothy is ideal. The bags of timothy hay at the store are also super expensive ($8 for a bag that last for just a few feedings) The hay cubes are about $16 for the huge bag.

Total for the 3 bags of bunny stuffs was $47. I’m going to see how long it lasts for now! Right away I noticed that the wood pellets are WAY more effective in reducing the pee smell, and might need to be changed out less. Thumbs up!

Anyone else keep pet rabbits (not meat) and have any advice for keeping costs low? Their health and happiness is obviously top priority, but if there are any tips or tricks I wanna hear them!

06_10_2015_02

6 comments

  1. We spoil our buns, so I don’t know of too many cost-saving tricks, but I’ll share what I do know: the biggest hurdle for us was hay. If you buy it in bulk (we get ours from Drs. Foster and Smith), you can get it pretty cheap and with free shipping. We buy 50 lbs of Oxbow timothy hay every two months or so (we just upgraded from 25 lbs, so I’m not positive how long it lasts us yet, but should be ~6 weeks) for 5 rabbits for $60, I think. It might be cheaper if you can get it from a farmer, but it’s hard to find timothy hay bales in that situation. 50lbs comes in a big box that fits in a closet where we keep all the rabbit stuff. I can measure if you need me to. We live in a smallish condo, so space was a concern for us.

    We use a pretty expensive recycled paper cat litter, but the rabbit we bunny-sit uses wood stove pellets and they work just as well, maybe even better. Her litter box only needs to be changed every 4 days or so. We do it every other day or so for our 2-rabbit cages.

    Honestly, the more bunnies you can get bonded and into the same space, the more money you’ll save. Think of how little litter you would need if you only have 2 or 3 litter boxes to change instead of 5, 6, or 7!

    We just weened our buns off the cheap Walmart pellets and are switching them to the expensive Oxbow organic pellets, so no advice there, I’m afraid. :/ They are all chubbos. If you find a cheap, healthy solution there, let me know! Even though I know they don’t necessarily need pellets…they like them an awful lot.

    • We buy the huge bag of pellets and it lasts for months! We just bought about 4 bales of meadow hay from a local farmer for $22 so that’s amazing… But we will still need to blend it with Timothy for balance. I’ll check out the place you order from!

    • Also, I would definitely recommend the woodstove pellets for litter, it is phenomenally cheap (we paid $11/35lbs at the pet store, but the hardware store has them in 55lb bags for under $8) and the odour control is sooo much better than the care fresh bedding! When the pellets get wet they burst into sawdust and absorb all the liquid. I let them sit for a week to see if the litter trays could handle it and they didn’t smell at all, and when I dumped them out it was dry dry dry. Very excited about this development hahaha

      • Sweet! The stuff we use does the same thing, it’s just a lot more expensive, lol. It’s also hard to find, so I’d imagine we’ll switch to wood pellets eventually.

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