Thursday, 13 April 2017

Why You Should #ChooseChocolate This Easter // Cost

An honest look at the cost of a bunny from the wonderful Penny at Regarding the Secret Life of Rabbits

So you're thinking about getting a bunny this Easter? Easter and bunnies go hand in hand, it seems like a no brainer, right? Wrong. The decision to get a bunny is a big one, despite what many pet shops, books and websites will tell you, bunnies are not simple starter pets, they are exotic animals that need a lot of specialised care. This series of posts will take you through the basics of feedinghousing, heath carehappiness and cost to help you decide if buying a bunny is really the right choice for you.

If you are thinking about getting a bunny one of the biggest things to consider is cost, despite popular opinion bunnies, when cared for properly, are not cheap pets. I have dogs, a cat and bunnies and I can safely say that the bunnies are the most expensive. Bunnies might be small but they are exotic animals and require a lot of specialised care. Let’s break it down:


Food is the big ongoing cost when it comes to bunnies, don’t be fooled by their small stature, bunnies eat a lot! Bunnies need to eat constantly to keep them healthy, this adds up to a lot of food! Bunnies should have an unlimited supply of grass hay, this can usually be bought at pet shops, and here, in Australia, it ranges from about $6 - $24/kg. A pair of bunnies will eat about a kilogram of hay per week – more if they hay is lower quality. A small portion of good quality pellets is also a good idea (Oxbow make an excellent range – see here for further information on feeding your bunny) A bag of good quality pellets will set you back $25-$30 for about 2kg. When fed appropriately this should last a couple of months for a pair of rabbits. A daily portion of greens is a must for healthy rabbits and is perhaps the most expensive part of their diet. Don’t be fooled into thinking they can just eat your scraps, bunnies need high quality leafy greens daily. To provide this you need to be buying a variety of vegetables for them this costs as much as $15-$20 per week. This makes for a minimum of $25 a week for a pair of bunnies or nearly $1300 a year!     


Housing may not be a large ongoing cost but it is worth bearing in mind as it’s a fairly large amount of money to set up. If you choose to keep your bunnies in a playpen set up while they are unsupervised then you will need to sink a bit of money into it, my playpens cost me about $70 and I use 1 and a half per pair – one playpen does not give a pair the space they need to be truly happy. Inside the playpen they have two litter trays (the lipped variety) - $15 each, hay feeders - $5 homemade or $20-$30 premade, food and water bowls - $5-$10 each, towels or blankets (second hand) - $5-$10 and their houses - $15-$20 homemade or $50-$100 premade. This all comes in at around the $400 mark – more if you don’t have the time, skills or tools to DIY their homes!

Your bunny is going to need floor time in at least one room of your house – this room will need to be bunny proofed. Bunnies have sharp teeth that are constantly growing, hence bunnies chew everything. It is important that where your bunnies run power cords are either kept up off the floor or they are covered so your bunny can’t chew on them, some options include products such as Critter Cord or covers from the hardware store. Another thing to bear in mind when it comes to bunny proofing is to ensure your bunnies cannot get under or into couches or furniture they could damage or could be hazardous to them. It is hard to estimate costs as houses all vary, this could cost you very little or you may need to get/build barricades around lots of different areas. Please consider costing this for your own house before getting a bunny as it will cost a lot less to bunny proof than it will cost to replace or repair what has been chewed on.  

One ongoing cost that you need to be aware of for housing your bunny is the cost of litter, rabbits need a safe pelletised paper litter or similar, their littler tray will need to be changed daily to avoid your bunnies smelling, this means at least one large bag of litter per week at about $15-$20 a bag. This litter can be found at pet supply stores or in many supermarkets. 

From the wonderful Make Mine Chocolate Campaign 

Toys and treats

This is perhaps the cheapest category but no less important as you don’t want a bored and destructive bunny. Toys can be made cheaply with a variety of treats such as these ones from Oxbow – they will set you back $8 and last you a few months. Small pieces of fruit are also a good option, as your bunny can just have a small portion from your own food. 


Bunny healthcare is important and costly. The current recommendation in Australia is for vaccines and check-ups every six months. The vaccine and appointment will set you back about $80 or $90 per bunny. Some vets will combine the consult fee for both your bunnies but you will still be paying about $120 for a pair of bunnies. That’s, at a minimum, $240 per year for a pair of bunnies. The cost of getting your bunny spayed on neutered also needs to be taken into account - this one off cost is not one to dismiss and it can set you back a couple of hundred dollars per bunny. This is just basic, preventative healthcare, if your bunny gets sick it can cost a lot more.


Bunnies live for 8-12 years, depending on the breed – this carefully if you want to make this kind of financial commitment for the next 12 years of your life.

This staggering amount of needs a bunny has adds up to over $2000 a year in on going costs – over their lifetime the cost of a small car! For me, a bunny’s love is priceless as I see them as part of my family, every cent I spend on keeping them healthy and happy is worth it! But, that staggering cost is something to think twice about before embarking on the journey of bunny ownership.  

Note: this costing is for a pair of dwarf bunnies – if your bunny is larger or you have more than two the cost will increase. All prices are in Australian dollars and based on my experience as an owner of two pairs of dwarf bunnies. 

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