Our recommendation where possible is to wait on our waiting list for a suitable vacancy to become available within the foster-based rescue network. This allows us to conduct a full health assessment of your rabbit(s) prior to rehoming, ensure any vaccinations or neutering are attended to and gain the assurance that your rabbit(s) are suitable for rehoming. In addition, it allows us the opportunity to conduct our full homecheck assessment on potential adopters to ensure that new owners are fully prepared for everything that is entailed within rabbit ownership.
However, we do have lengthy waiting lists and depending on circumstances you may have to wait anything between a matter of days through to a number of months for a suitable space to become available.
We appreciate that for some people this period of wait is not acceptable, and alternatives must be considered.
We do ask, that if you have added your name to our waiting list but find an alternative home for your rabbit(s) in the meantime, that you do let us know so that we can remove you from this list. This allows us to allocate spaces in the fastest possible time.
There are very few rabbit dedicated rescue services available, and to our knowledge we are the only rabbit-dedicated rescue charity in Scotland.
However, there are a few alternative rescue services which deal with a wider range of small animals. It is worth checking with each of these to determine if they have the ability to help.
Such services include Scottish SPCA, Pets At Home’s Adoption Centres, and some small local-based rescue organisations.
We strongly recommend that you do some research into any organisation to determine their approach to rabbit health care management and adoptions policy. Not all rescues are as familiar with rabbit welfare standards and may not apply the same standards in terms of basic rabbit health care or the requirements of any potential adopters. For example, it is worth establishing if the rescue insist on neutering and vaccinations, on the keeping of rabbits in pairs or small groups or on insisting on the current welfare standards for living and exercise space as supported by the Rabbit Welfare Association and RSPCA.
Ask Family & Friends
We estimate that the majority of rabbits rehomed every year are passed on through existing relationships with friends and families, and as such the true number of rabbits rehomed annually is considerably larger than the official statistics as these numbers are not included.
If you are considering rehoming to family & friends, we do encourage you to ensure that they are dedicated to their care and not just taking them on to help you out.
Provide them full details of your rabbits needs for space, health, exercise, diet and stimulation.
Self-Advertise For A New Home
We strongly discourage advertising pets as “Free To Good Home” for various reasons – click here for further details.
If you do decide to list your rabbits on classifieds or social media, it is worth insisting on a nominal fee. This will discourage those who are not genuinely interested in the rabbit(s) as a family pet.
Do not be afraid to request a home visit too. If they are genuine, they will be happy for you to bring the rabbit to them so you can check on the rabbits new home and make sure you are happy with where they will be going.
One of the most common reasons people choose to rehome their rabbit is due to some of the behaviours rabbits display, that for some households become unfavourable and result in them looking to find them a new home.
But did you know that some of the behaviours are indications of other problems?
The Aggressive BunnyRabbits are territorial animals. This means they will ‘fight’ to protect their home and surroundings. This is especially the case if they are not overly used to human interaction, and so the rare occasions where a human “invades” results in them protecting their environment through chasing, boxing, thumping and growling.
There are ways to reduce this behaviour:
- Try to increase the amount of time you spend with your rabbit(s). As they get more used to human interaction they will become less protective of their environment and more interested in playing with you.
- Try to encourage them to come out of their hutch/cage and into a “neutral” space. We often find that these territorial bunnies become friendly, interactive and playful bunnies when they are in neutral space and not in protect mode.
- Single rabbits are more protective / territorial than those kept in pairs. If you have a single rabbit, it is well worth considering pairing them up. When they have the protection of company you will see many natural rabbit behaviours and a much happier bunny.
The Fighting Pairs/Groups (or Failed Bonding)
Another common reason for surrendering rabbits to the rescue is that one rabbit begins fighting with the other.
In the vast majority of cases, the rabbits involved are not neutered (spayed or castrated), and the rush of hormones within their system triggers this protective, hierarchical response. Neutering reduces the hormones and reduces this behaviour, making bonding much more successful. Not only that, but neutering has long-term health benefits, so by neutering all rabbits, you will help them enjoy a longer happier life.
Neutering is not the end of the story though, as the bonding process can be quite aggressive and in some case drawn out. There is a very specific set of behaviours that rabbits demonstrate when bonding that can be quite daunting to owners who have not experienced this before. However, it is perfectly normal and Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care can support you through the process to ensure that your rabbits are bonded happily together. For more information about bonding rabbits, click here.
The Digging or Escaping Rabbit
Digging is a natural behaviour for rabbits, although not all domestic rabbits do this. If yours does, there’s not a lot you can do to stop it.
However, you can make some amendments to their environment to redirect their digging attention to other areas where it doesn’t become a hazard or potential escape route.
Consider providing dedicated digging areas, such as a plastic box/tray filled with soil or sand, to encourage them to dig there instead of your favourite flower bed.
It may also be worth considering moving any exercise areas onto a paved surface to prevent digging. For most rabbits this will be fine, although we do recommend providing some soft surfaces too to protect their feet. For example, rubber matting or the provision of grass boxes.
The Biting Rabbit
Rabbits have two types of bite: a nip and a bite.
The nip is a communication tool, and is used often to get your attention as your bunny tells you to “Get out of my way”, or “Keep feeding me”. As you get to know your rabbit better, you will learn ways to respond to this communication and often through getting to know your rabbit more the nipping reduces and you find better ways to communicate with each other.
A bite, which would be considerably more severe, is usually in protection and the advice above regarding the Aggressive Bunny applies in this scenario too.
We understand that sometimes it may be unavoidable or necessary to rehome your pet rabbit(s), and where possible we will be happy to help you.
Before trying to rehome your rabbit, or listing them as ‘Free To Good Home’ did you know:
Some rabbits rehomed through classifieds and Social Media platforms
- will be used as food for other animals (e.g. snakes)
- are re-sold for profit
- are used for dog fight training, or similar ‘sport’
- are abused and killed for ‘fun’
- may go to a home where it cannot be cared for properly
- Please consider how you will ensure your rabbit is going to an appropriate home.
- Don’t be scared to ask questions
- Consider insisting on taking the rabbit to them – if you don’t like what you see you can bring your rabbit back with you before it is too late.
As with most rescue services, we are often full. However, we can provide support and advice to help you rehome your unwanted pet. We will also add you to a waiting list so that when a vacancy becomes available within our foster care network we will be able to assist further.
We insist on home checks before we allow anyone to adopt a rabbit from us, so we can ensure that rabbits rehomed through our service will be going to a good home where they will be given the love, care and attention they need.
To request our help with rehoming your rabbits, please click here.
This form is for people who wish to rehome their rabbit(s) and would like to be added to our waiting list for their rabbit(s) to enter our foster care network.
The information provided on this form will allow us to gain a better understanding of the circumstances and prioritise appropriately.
Please note, that we can only accept rehoming requests from people in Scotland, and those aged 16 years and over.
Please complete the questions honestly and as accurately as possible.
Once we have received the completed form, and when a suitable vacancy becomes available, we can contact you to make further arrangements for the rehoming of your rabbit(s)
If you have found an abandoned rabbit, or are aware of a case of potential cruelty or neglect, please call us on 0141 280 3272 for assistance.
Where possible we will look to assist with rescuing the rabbit and finding a temporary or permanent home for the rabbit following any emergency care or treatment that may be required.
It is a criminal offence to abandon an animal, and in such cases we will also report the case to relevant authorities and assist with providing enough detail and evidence to pursue a prosecution.