Brayden, our foster rabbit, has been in our house for just over two weeks now. I've loved every minute. He is such a good boy and he's come so far in such a short amount of time.
When Brayden first arrived, he wasn't fully hopping. Instead, he was doing a half-hop / half-scoot to turn around. That might have been because of pain from his neuter surgery, but my guess is that he was kept in a very small cage for his early life and hadn't had space to fully hop. Either way, once he felt confident to move beyond the walls of the x-pen, his hopping went from cautious to confident in the course of hours. It was amazing to watch.
In those first few days, he wouldn't put more than a single paw on the hardwood floor.
I put out a carpet runway for him so that he could run farther distances, and boy did he! In minutes, he was zooming back and forth, binkying the whole way. Proud Foster Mom moment, for sure!
He loves his runway.
Once he was fully comfortable with the new territory, I added another rug, leading to a box. Brayden was curious but nervous. He slinked down the carpet to check things out.
After careful inspection with lots of sniffing, he added the box to the list of places where he felt safe and comfortable.
The next day, I scooted the box back and added a tunnel. Brayden sniffed it, cautiously entered, and now runs through it multiple times a day. He even naps inside occasionally.
One week after he arrived, Brayden learned how to balance on the hardwood floor.
Soon after, he discovered the stairs. He made it up to the landing on his first try, but was scared to go back down the stairs.
He took it slowly, one at a time, hugging the wall. He went back up and repeated his slow and careful descent. Up again, then he was able to bound down the stairs in the middle. It is so fun seeing him learning new skills so quickly. Now he's a master on the stairs, running up and down them like a rocket many times a day.
He likes to stop on the landing and survey his territory.
As you can see, the baby gate at the top of the stairs now stays closed. Trouble earned upstairs privileges eventually, and Brayden might as well, but it will be awhile. He has plenty of space downstairs, as well as plenty of company.
Interestingly, Brayden still hasn't gone into the family room, nor down the hall toward Steve's office, the laundry room, and the bathroom. He's only gone a step or two into the kitchen, usually stopping to climb on top of the bag of newspapers.
Brayden spends plenty of time in the x-pen as well. He feels safe and comfortable there. He loves to climb up on his igloo or on the carrier to say hi when we're sitting on the couch. He often curls up in his carrier for a nap.
For the past three days, we have only been locking him in the x-pen at night. The rest of the time, he is allowed to roam freely (with the gate at the top of the stairs closed). He frequently chooses to relax in the x-pen, even though the door is open.
Brayden often lounges with his feet straight out behind him (the superman pose), which lets us know that he feels safe and happy.
You're probably wondering about Brayden's litterbox habits, since we are allowing him to free roam. The first two days, when he wasn't leaving his x-pen, it was clear he didn't know what a litterbox was. I moved all his poop to the box and he caught on quickly. Sort of. He understood what the litterbox was for, but didn't seem to get that his hind end had to be in the litterbox when he went. About half the time, he'd hop in with only his front half, leaving a puddle just outside the litterbox. I added washable puppy pads and they've been great.
Once Brayden started spending time out of the x-pen, I added a second litterbox behind his cage and put poop there. He understood quickly. He uses both boxes regularly now. All of the urine is in the litterboxes, 100% of the time. 75% of the poop is in the litterbox; 25% is right next to it on a puppy pad. He has not left a single poop anywhere else in the past week.
Brayden is such a good boy, so smart and sweet. I've loved seeing his personality emerge.
If you have room in your house and your heart, there are hundreds of rabbits just like Brayden in desperate need of a loving home. You can make a commitment to foster a rabbit for as short as 3 months. Or, you can make a 10+ year commitment and adopt a bunny. We're fostering with Contra Costa Rabbit Rescue, but if you're not local, there are many rescues that you can find on the House Rabbit Society website or by googling.
Have any questions about house rabbits in general or Brayden in particular? Let me know in the comments and I'll answer them there or in a future post.