Many people think of rabbits as cheap and easy-to-keep pets. Of course, you probably believe they cost less to feed than your neighbor’s great dane dog. But Are rabbits expensive pets to own?
Do you have a pet? Are you thinking of getting a rabbit as a pet? Before making that decision, you will want to know the costs of owning a rabbit as a pet. Are rabbits expensive pets to own? What are the costs of getting a rabbit? What should you budget for monthly costs? Before you bring your furry friend home, let’s look at the costs of getting and keeping a rabbit as a pet.
Are Rabbits Expensive Pets?
Let’s start with the cost of food
Yes, rabbits are quite small. In fact, most pet bunnies are under 8 pounds. Can it really cost that much to feed such a tiny pet?
The truth is, rabbits need an abundance of the right type of food to stay healthy. In this post, we’ll go over the costs to feed using typical pet store costs. Finding a pet store you can trust to supply you with good quality rabbit feed makes life much easier. Poor quality hay or moldy feed leads to health issues and possibly even the loss of your fur friend. To fully answer, “are rabbits expensive pets?” we need to consider all of these factors.
However, in future posts, I’ll give you some tips on how to trim those costs without sacrificing your rabbit’s health.
Rabbit Food Costs
After the initial investment for the rabbit, cage, and needed supplies, rabbit food will usually be the biggest expense month to month. The only exception we have found is when the bunny needs medical care. But even that is rarely ongoing.
So let’s take a look at what those monthly expenses might add up to.
The basic food expenses will be for the following:
- leafy greens
- vegetables and fruit
Of these, your rabbit’s diet is mainly hay. It may seem like small amounts, but they do add up over time.
We estimate that:
- very small rabbits (2-3 pounds) need about 3.5 to 4 pounds of hay per month
- small rabbits (4-6 pounds) usually need 6 to 7 pounds of hay per month
- medium rabbits (7-9 pounds) require about 10 pounds of hay per month
- large rabbits (10 pounds and over) need 20 pounds or more of hay per month
When you purchase your hay at a feed store or a farm store in small amounts intended for rabbits, you can expect to pay $3 to $7 per pound of hay. The exact amount depends on your location, the type of hay, and the individual store. Always look for the freshest and highest quality. Poor-quality hay can cause serious health issues.
To calculate your monthly hay costs, multiply the cost per pound by the amount you need each month.
Let’s assume an average cost of $5 per pound. For a small rabbit like a Mini Rex, you would need about 7 pounds of hay so about $35 per month in hay costs. If your rabbit is larger, the costs go up considerably. An 8 pound Mini Lop would cost about $50 per month in hay costs.
There are ways to reduce the cost per pound. We’ll be going over those in our next post.
Most vets recommend that you feed pellets according to the weight of your rabbit.
Again, we can break the monthly amount by the size of a rabbit.
- For a small rabbit, plan on 1/8 to 1/4 of a cup of pellets per day.
- Larger rabbits- feed 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of pellets per day.
Pellets are sold by the pound, so we need to estimate how many pounds that would be per month. Measuring and weighing the 1/4 cup per day for 30 days weighs 2.5 pounds for a one-month quantity.
Like most things in life, small quantities cost more per pound than bulk purchases. However, your small rabbit will take 10 months to go through a 25-pound bag. Will it still be fresh? If you buy 25 pounds, then you need to throw out 5 or 10 pounds, and you won’t find the savings as great. But if you have 3 small rabbits, that larger purchase might make sense.
Calculate the cost of pellets for your rabbit
For now, let’s assume you have that small Mini Rex bunny. You can buy a 5-pound bag of pellets for about $15 ($3 per pound) and expect it to last about 2 months. That works out to $7.50 per month.
And again, we will show you ways to adjust this expense in a future article.
Rabbits need these leafy greens to stay fit and healthy for years to come. Costs on these will vary from zero to quite high.
For some people, it’s a matter of gathering extras from their own garden or even their refrigerator. In this way, you keep the costs low to nothing. Others might choose to purchase leafy greens, especially for their pet rabbit. You might spend $5 or more a week in this case.
Let’s add in $10 per month for leafy greens.
Vegetables and Fruit
Like with leafy greens, these types of food for your rabbit can be free or nearly free, or they might cost a bit extra. Keep in mind that your rabbit needs very little in the way of vegetables, about 1 tablespoon for each pound of his body weight per day at most. With just one rabbit, you can easily spare a bit of your family produce for his vegetable happiness.
Fruit should be considered a treat and fed quite sparingly. Too much and you might end up with a large vet bill for your sick bunny. We usually coach new pet owners to share a bit of fruit once or twice a week with their pet rabbit. In that way, your rabbit stays healthy and you don’t need special fruit for him.
For a sneak peek into ways to save a little money, consider sprouted greens. They are easy to grow and your rabbit will truly benefit. The initial cost can be kept to a minimum and then the ongoing can also be quite low.
The trade-off in sprouted greens is that with a small amount of time spent growing these, you can have a happy bunny. And his health will probably benefit greatly. To learn more about sprouting greens indoors, check out these articles.
While most of us don’t calculate the cost of water for our pets, this is an important part of their health. Rabbits need a constant supply of fresh, clean water available all the time. Water is essential to their health.
If you are on a well or city water that is drinkable, your bunny probably can enjoy the same water as you do. If in doubt, invest in a filter, such as the pitcher type that filters all the water. We like the ZeroWater Filters for our own use and for our pets.
What will your cost be?
For one rabbit, you can safely say that the water will not affect your budget. Either he will be drinking the water you are, or the mount will be small enough that it doesn’t factor in. However, if you find that you are spending extra to purchase water for your rabbit, you will need to add that cost in.
Are rabbits expensive pets?
Let’s add up those costs, planning for a 5-pound bunny. If little Bunny is bigger, you will need to adjust these figures upward.
- Hay 7 pounds a month at $5/pound totals $35
- Pellets 2.5 pounds a month at $3/pound totals $7.50
- Greens, vegetables, fruit might cost about $10/month, if you need to purchase
- We’ll assume you use your home water, so nothing added for that.
That brings our total to $52.50 per month. It might cost more in some areas or if you have a larger bunny.
As I mentioned,
we will show you how to save a little money with your rabbit’s monthly budget
without sacrificing the best care.
Watch for our future posts!
But wait…what about the other ongoing costs?
Yes, it’s true. Food is not the only cost you need to plan for. We’ll be covering those other costs in upcoming articles. We’ll look at the costs of
- litter (if you choose to keep a litter box)
- toys, treats
- routine vet costs
- and savings for unexpected vet costs, or pet insurance.
To accurately answer, “are rabbits expensive pets?” we need to consider all of these costs in detail.
It’s true that a pet rabbit is not always cheap to keep
But most bunny owners find they are truly worth the effort and time to make their pet’s life extra special.
Our goal is not to deter you from getting a fur friend. Rather, we hope to help you prepare to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
In the upcoming posts, we’ll provide more details on the other costs, as well as things to consider, and how to ensure you and your bunny have many years of happiness together.