Your New Green Companion
You’re vegetarian, you shop with your own recycled bags and work hard to keep your waste out of the landfill, so it make sense that you are leaning toward an animal companion that matches your green lifestyle. Look no further – rabbits are one of the most planet-friendly pets around!
Rabbits Create a Very Small Carbon Paw Print
Like you, rabbits are herbivores. They eat only plants and grasses. They are “local” consumers, enjoying fresh hay and greens available locally. Shop at your local farmer’s market for their daily salad and enjoy an extra bonus; ask for the “trimmings” from carrots, beets, turnips, etc. and get them for free! Hay can come from your local feed store or from the House Rabbit Society’s community hay sales program, decreasing the “food miles” required to sustain your rabbit companion.
A rabbit’s waste is composed of broken down hay fibers, which is clean and free from bacteria that are harmful to our environment or us. This makes them cleaner, fresher smelling, and easier to care for than most other animal companion species.
Your rabbit’s litter box waste can go straight onto your compost pile, your outdoors plants (the droppings can go into your indoor plants), or into the green waste bins collected by your trash company. If you use a rabbit-friendly paper or wood-based litter box filler that, along with bunny’s droppings and hay, makes wonderful compost material.
Love to garden? Plant a vegetable and edible flower garden to feed you – and your rabbit – and use bunny’s litter box contents to fertilize the plants and act as mulch to protect roots and hold in moisture. You don’t even have to compost it first; rabbit waste is nutrient rich and safe to use right from the litter box. If you belong to a garden co-op or a gardening club, your rabbit’s litter box waste will be like “gold;” everyone will want some!
Rabbits Love Recycled
Rabbits love “green” toys. Cardboard boxes make great hideouts and are fun to chew. Empty tissue boxes or toilet paper tubes stuffed with hay make yummy treats. Old magazines and phone books translate into hours of shredding fun. Empty paper bags create fun hiding places. No need to spend money on expensive new toys; just share your junk mail and paper-based waste with bunny!
Rabbits also love babies’ toys. Heavy plastic chew toys and rattles are fun to fling, rattle, and chew. Toddler playhouses from Little Tykes make great bunny play areas. Pick these up at resale shops for children.
Use non-toxic cleaning products for your rabbit. Vinegar & water make the best cleaning solution for bunny’s washable bedding, toys, and litter box. Not only is it completely safe, vinegar has been proven to kill bacteria. Also keep your yard and home free from pesticides and fertilizers that can harm bunny – and you. Instead, use Diatomaceous Earth (available at nurseries, online, and at the SDHRS Bunny Supply Store) to kill fleas, mites and other pests.
Adopt a Recycled Rabbit
Adopt – don’t shop for your new rabbit companion. Visit your local shelter, humane society or rabbit rescue when looking for a bunny friend. Thousands of rabbits end up with local animal welfare agencies, in need of a good home, especially after Easter. Don’t shop at a pet store or breeder when so many pure bred rabbits are available through rescues. When you purchase from a breeder or pet store, you are contributing to the problem of animal overpopulation and not enough homes for every bunny born.
To learn more about adopting a “recycled” rabbit, visit www.sandiegorabbits.org.
~ Judith Pierce, San Diego House Rabbit Society