Have you gotten a new place and are worried about moving your pet rabbits? Or are you adopting a pair of bunnies into your family?
Rabbits are sensitive to stress, especially during big changes like rehoming or moving to a new house. It causes gut problems and even makes them more vulnerable to infection.
To minimize stress, you’ll need to make moving your pet rabbits as smooth as possible. Keep reading to learn how to help your pet rabbits adjust to their new home.
How Long Do Rabbits Take to Settle Into a New Home?
Generally, it can take anywhere from 2 days to a couple of weeks to adjust to their new home. Of course, every rabbit is different, and there are a few variables that factor into how long it will take your pet rabbits to settle in.
Let’s talk about some other reasons why it takes a bit longer to adjust whether you’re adopting new pet rabbits or moving house with your pet rabbit.
Why Rabbits Can Take a Long Time to Adjust
Instinctually, most animals don’t really like change. In the wild, rabbits tend to stay in the same place their whole lives. They only ever make a new burrow if they absolutely have to.
If you’re adopting pet rabbits, this can also lengthen the time it takes for them to adjust. Rehoming is a big change for them. They’re not just getting used to a new environment, but they’re getting used to you too.
Also, it may take longer for an older rabbit to adjust. They’re a little more susceptible to stress, so you’ll want to take extra care of your senior buns. Give them a quiet and comfortable transition throughout the moving or rehoming process.
How to Help Your Rabbits Adjust When Moving to a New House
As I mentioned at the beginning, stress can occur during the hustle and bustle of moving to a new home or adopting them into your family. Here are some tips to help make that process as smooth as possible.
Keep Things Steady
The most important part of this process is to remain calm around them. If you’re adopting new rabbits, it can be tempting to want to cuddle them as soon as you get them home, but they need more time to adjust to their new surroundings and you.
Stay calm and make sure their new environment is safe and quiet. Moving house with pet rabbits can be hectic, so you’ll want to keep your rabbit’s new room quiet after they arrive, while you move and sort out your things. If you’re adopting pet rabbits, they will need extra time with peace and quiet to settle in.
If you are moving your pet rabbits to a new room or house, have their enclosure set up like they were before, so it seems like familiar surroundings. Set up their enclosure beforehand, so that it’s ready to go when you get there.
Also, if you have more than one bunny, it’s good to keep your rabbits together during the moving process. Rabbits are always better together, especially during stressful events. The comfort they have in being together will lower their stress levels.
Use Their Scent
Other than hearing, rabbits heavily rely on scent to gauge whether something or somewhere is safe or not. To help your pet rabbits adjust to a new environment, use their own scent to get them to feel at ease when they get to their new home.
When adopting new pet rabbits, it’s really helpful to give them something with their scent on it. Give them a toy or blanket, or even the same kind of hay they had before if it’s possible.
Like I said earlier, it can take up to 2 weeks for rabbits to settle into their new home. My younger rabbit took much longer to settle in than my older one did, but that is because he wasn’t used to another rabbit or my cat.
When you’re adopting pet rabbits, remember to remain calm, and give them time to get used to you and their new home. Remember that this is a new situation and rabbits are very fearful animals, so they need time to open up. Your patience will be rewarded, I can promise you that!
Don’t Overwhelm Them
The next important rule of moving pet rabbits to a new home is not to overwhelm them, as they adjust. Adopting pet rabbits can be exciting. You probably want them to come out and explore everything.
But generally, most rabbits would get overwhelmed with that, especially if they’re not used to that amount of space. If your pet rabbits will have free range of the entire home, give them gradual exposure. Let them explore a new room at a time, so they don’t get too overwhelmed.
Feed Them Lots of Leafy Greens
Rabbits need extra help with digestion when they’re stressed. If you don’t help them out with that, they can develop G.I. Stasis, which is an infection in their gut.
Aside from their pellets, remember to give them never-ending amounts of hay and leafy greens like parsley or lettuce while they’re adjusting to their new home. This helps them keep everything moving and prevents indigestion during stressful situations.
How to Tell if Your Rabbits Have Adjusted to Their New Home
When rehoming or moving pet rabbits, they will be pretty scared at first. The scariest part will be actually transporting them and placing them in their new home. After that, it gets much easier.
Over time, your pet rabbits will relax and become comfortable in their new surroundings. Happy rabbits will play and explore every inch of their new home. When they’ve adjusted, they’ll hop around, explore, and play with you and each other all over the place.
If you’ve noticed a slight decrease in appetite after moving your pet rabbits, it’s okay. It will come back once they’ve adjusted. Just keep offering them things they like. If it doesn’t, and your rabbit is showing signs of stress after two weeks, then you should take them to a vet to see if there’s a deeper problem.
Moving and adopting pet rabbits can be a painstaking process because it has to be done so slowly, quietly, and delicately. But it’s absolutely important to help your new pet rabbits adjust when moving to a new home.
Be patient with them at all times and remember that whether you’re adopting pet rabbits or moving pet rabbits to a new house, this is a scary experience.
And, if you’re in a new home with pet rabbits you’ve had for a while, it’s also important to spend some time with them. In this situation, you’re the constant in their life. Stick to their regular routine of exercise and feeding times.