At Easter time it can be quite tempting to buy a cute little bunny rabbit or a fluffy chick, especially since they seem to be around everywhere in springtime. However even small animals can be trickier to look after than you would expect, and they can live for ten years or more.Often in the weeks and months after Easter animal rescue centres get an influx of unwanted or abandoned animals. We’re here to give you some advice to make sure your new pet doesn’t become one of them.
Everyone has heard the slogans about dogs and cats being for life – well, small animals are no different. Parents in particular need to think about whether they are prepared to take on the responsibility of a rabbit or bird when the novelty wears off for their children. It may seem like a small extra task but on top of teenage children or other pets it can quickly become a chore for anyone.
Pets like rabbits or chickens need a lot of space and some company. Ideally both need a garden with a hutch, or coop, and a decent size run. If kept inside they can quickly become frustrated. You can buy nice hutches and coops from pet stores, or alternatively you can make them if you’ve got someone around who’s a bit handy with DIY. Just make sure that the pet can be locked away securely at night time and that foxes or cats can’t get to them. If using chicken wire don’t forget the bottom of the run. You don’t want your pets burrowing out or other animals getting in.
As for company, rabbits especially should be kept in pairs or groups. Same-sex pairs are your best bet as rabbits will soon breed if kept in mixed pairs. It’s often difficult to sex young rabbits so it’s definitely worth taking them to the vet to be spayed or neutered just to be on the safe side.
Birds and rabbits have different personalities and some are shy or timid. It’s probably worth bearing this in mind if you have very young children that won’t understand this, or other pets already, such as cats and dogs.
Most pet shops can offer you help and advice on small animals, but when it comes to buying one perhaps checking out your local animal rescue centre is a good bet. Most have rabbits that need to be re-housed and they can be spayed or neutered before you take them home.
Small pets don’t just need time and attention; they need money spent on them too. It’s important to ensure that you can afford to take care of your pet if it becomes ill or injured: vet bills can be costly for any animal. Some animal insurers now offer policies for small animals which might be worth considering.
Most of all, animals need love and care, not just when they are small and cute but when they grow up too, so make sure you’re ready for the commitment. Your new pet will depend on you to look after it and keep it happy for its whole life, not just Easter.
Ready to commit? Why not take a look at the pets for sale on Trade-It to give you some idea of what’s available.