Adopting a Rescue Rabbit
Before you start the adoption process you should research rabbit's needs and be sure that you can provide the care, time and money they require.
The following links may also help:
Finding a Rabbit to Adopt
On Rabbit Rehome you can search for individual rabbits to adopt or locate your local rescue centres. We only publish a small portion of the thousands of rabbits available, so you should always contact your local rescue if you cannot find any suitable rabbits listed.
Here are some of the newest rabbits available:
Contacting a Rescue
To find a rescue view our list of rabbit rescues. The Rabbit Welfare Association also hold a list, accessible via their helpline on 0844 324 6090.
Be patient when contacting a rescue and follow any guidelines they provide on the best way to get in touch. Smaller rescues maybe run by volunteers who work full time in addition to their volunteer work and they may only be available via telephone in the evenings/weekends. Provide a landline line number, where possible, as mobiles are more expensive for the rescue to respond to. If you only have a mobile then when the rescue calls you could offer to call them back to reduce their phone bill.
When you contact a rescue provide them the information they need to respond. If you are enquiring about adoption the rescue will need to know:
- Where you live
- How to contact you
- what rabbit or type of rabbits you want
- What rabbit accommodation you have
- Any other information that might be relevant to the adoption - such as other pets you have
Providing this information upfront will help the rescue respond to you faster and more effeciently.
Rescues are often very busy and you may not receive an instant response. Please allow several days before following up your message.
You should ask the rescue you plan to adopt from what requirements they have for adopters. Check this before you purchase equipment, particularly cages and hutches. Many rescues have specific requirements for accommodation sizes; they may also be able to recommend the best places to purchase them. Rescues may also have other requirements such as the distance you live from the rescue (to accommodate home checks).
Visiting a Rescue
Visiting a rescue gives you the opportunity to meet the rabbits available and discuss the adoption process. You may like to take a list of questions with you to ask the volunteers.
Before you go, heck whether the rescue has set opening hours or you need to make an appointment. If you arrange to visit the rescue and are no longer able to go then let the rescue know. They may have disrupted their routine to accommodate your visit. Ask the rescue where you should park, if the rescue is in a residential area please be courteous to neighbours and not block their access. Complaints from neighbours can lead to councils shutting down rescues.
Choosing a Rabbit
The rescue will guide you towards suitable rabbits is you explain your requirements. Depending on the rescue you may be left to read the rabbits information or be shown a selection of rabbits that meet your requirements.
For more information on selection a rabbit see: Choosing a Rabbit
Getting Your Rabbit a Friend
If you have a single rabbit and are planning to adopt a friend for it then the rescue may help you with bonding (introducing them). To get the most promising potential match you may be allowed to bring your rabbit to the rescue to meet the available rabbits and see which they get on with - a dating service. If you do this then your rabbit must have current vaccinations for its own safety and that of the other rabbits at the rescue.
Rabbit introductions must be done on neutral territory to prevent fighting so some rescues offer a bonding service where your rabbit and the new rabbit spend several hours/days at the rescue in neutral territory being introduced.
Before you take your new rabbit home, the rescue will want to reassure themselves that you will be providing a suitable home. The checks they make are not because they think you are a bad person, but to ensure that people don't take rabbits they are not adequately prepared to look after.
Pre-adoption checks may include some or all of the following: a verbal or written interview, a visit to your home to check where the rabbit will be living and references (e.g. from your vet).
If the rescue identifies a problem during the checks they will explain what the problem is, why it's a problem and how you could change things to comply with their requirements. For example if your accommodation is too small they may suggest attaching an extra run to add more room.
Most rescues will ask you to sign a contract when you adopt a rabbit. This involves agreeing to terms such as vaccinating your rabbit regularly, providing vet care if needed and returning the rabbit to the rescue if you can no longer care for it. Each rescue's adoption agreement differs slightly so you should read it carefully before you sign.
If you have a problem or any questions after you have adopted a rabbit ask the rescue for advice - they will be happy to offer you support.
When your rabbit has settled in to your home you may like to update the rescue on its progress. Rescues enjoy receiving updates on the animals they have spent time working with.