Costs of rabbit ownership

From WabbitWiki

Anyone considering pet rabbit should be prepared with the initial and ongoing costs as part of responsible pet ownership.

Initial costs

Initial costs of owning a rabbit should include the following:

  • Adoption or purchasing costs
  • Housing costs
  • Food costs (hay, pellets, and vegetables)
  • Accessories costs (i.e. food bowls, water bowl/bottle, hidey-holes, toys, etc.)
  • Spaying and neutering cost (if the bun is not already spayed or neutered)

According to initial set-up costs typically range from 75-125 USD; they also provide a shopping list for getting started. See Getting Started for a full listing of the things you will need to set up for your new companion.

Compare the Annual Cost of Pets - Image source

Adoption or purchasing cost

If you purchased your new rabbit, costs can range from 5-20+ USD depending on the store and breeder. The cost of adopting your new companion will vary from rescue group to rescue group. Typically, a rabbit from a shelter or humane society will be around 25 USD. Adopting from a private rescue center can typically cost 50+ USD. Adopting provides benefits ranging from an included spay or neuter, free microchipping, and a free veterinarian checkup within a certain amount of days within adoption. Some places may even give you some starter supplies, so all in all, adopting is quite a bargain. Additionally, you will be saving a life!

If you would like to adopt a rabbit, check out Adoption Listings.

Housing cost

Main article: Housing

The cost of housing will vary depending on whether you decide to use a store bought cage, build a NIC cube cage, use an exercise pen, or have a free range pet. Free range is the least expensive option with most store bought cages and hutches being the most expensive option. Around average...

  • Exercise pen - 30+ USD
  • NIC cube cage - 40+ USD
  • Commercial cage - 100+ USD
  • Hutch - 200+ USD

Costs go up depending on complexity and size of enclosure.

You may find cheaper deals if you try to obtain used housing on Craigslist and similar locations.

Food costs

See the food section below for more details.

Accessories costs

Rabbits will need a couple of essential accessories in their housing enclosure. See our Housing#Enclosure setup for more details and examples.

  • Litter box - 4 USD for a basic medium-sized cat pan. Expect to spend for more nicer options such as a screen or a cover. See Litter training#Litter boxes for more ideas.
  • Water bowl or bottle - 6 USD
  • Heavy duty ceramic bowls for food - 6 USD
  • Soft surface to lie on (e.g. towel, carpet scrap, blanket)- 4 USD each
  • Hidey house - 0+ USD. A cardboard box with a hole cut out is sufficient.

Some optional accessories include the following:

Next, you will need to buy some bunny-proofing materials. Expect to spend at least 15 USD/100 feet of cord protection.

Lastly, you will need to buy grooming tools if you do not wish to take your rabbit to a groomer or veterinarian regularly. Some essentials:

  • Nail clippers - 6 USD
  • Hair brush - 4 USD
  • Hair comb - 4 USD

Spaying and neutering cost

Main article: Spaying and Neutering

If you obtained your rabbit unaltered, expect to spend anywhere from 50-200+ USD to get your rabbit fixed. See Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics to find some of your cheaper options to fix your rabbit.

Ongoing costs estimates that ongoing costs to be 20+ USD a month.

'The Lifetime cost$ of Pets' chart - Image source

Food costs

Main article: Diet

Your ongoing food costs will include hay, pellets, and vegetables. How often you buy hay and pellets will depend on the quantity you buy. Both will usually be cheaper by weight if you buy in bulk. Keep in mind that hay is good for a few years when stored properly and that bags of pellets should be consumed within 6 months of opening due to vitamin degradation.

Buying hay from a pet store is more expensive and will need to be done more often due to the small quantities of hay that can be purchased. It is cheapest to buy hay by the flake or bale from a local feed store or horse stable, but this also requires that you have the space to store up to 50+ pounds of hay at a given time. Depending on the region, a bale of timothy hay can cost 7-30 USD. A small bag of hay from a pet store will be around 8 USD for 64oz. If you buy in bulk online from select merchants, you can get a better deal on commercial brands of hay for around 1 USD/pound. See Hay for more information.

Pellets are commonly fed as a supplement and insure that a rabbit will obtain all the vitamins and minerals that a hay and water diet may not provide. Cost will vary based on the quantity, store, and brand. For example, a 5-pound bag of Oxbow pellets that will last a single adult rabbit around 3-4 months at about 1/4-1/2 cup a day will cost around 10 USD. While bigger bags of pellets in bulk may be cheaper, please note that purchased pellets should be consumed within 6 months as vitamins will start degrading quickly, especially during hot summer months.

Vegetables should be bought weekly, and cost will vary based on seasonal sales and the types of vegetables you buy. An ethnic market such as Asian or Mexican, if available nearby, will typically have the cheapest vegetables. You can often find vegetables for less than 1 USD/pound, and one shopping trip will last a single rabbit around two weeks. Remember to leave room in the refrigerator for them! A produce keeper will also help your vegetables stay fresh longer.

Litter costs

Main article: Litter Training

Depending on your choice in litter and how many rabbits you have, monthly costs can range. In order of a general lowest cost to highest:

  • Wood pellets - 8 USD for 30 liters
  • Wood shavings - 6 USD for 20 liters
  • Carefresh - 8 USD for 12.5 liters

Note that you can get much better prices if you buy in bulk. Feed stores will generally have the cheapest option of wood pellets where they sell horse bedding. Home improvement stores may also sell wood pellets for stoves. Be sure that no accelerants have been added. Wood pellets can also double in size to make more litter and increase the efficiency if you pre-expand them with water before using.

Generally, one rabbit will go through about 13 liters of litter in a month.

Toys costs

Main article: Toys

Although many pet stores (both retail and online) carry toys marketed for bunnies, toys can be made cheaply and often at no cost from items around your house. Bunny toys may include any of the following items:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Cardboard boxes

The above are typically free when found around your house. Other toys can range in cost depending on source.

Find more options at our main Toys article.

Veterinarian costs

Many times, your typical veterinarian costs will be for a yearly check up. The cost of this depends on the vet clinic you choose to go. A typical regular vet checkup usually start from 40 USD and can be more than 100 USD in high-cost urban areas like NYC with extra costs if your rabbit needs medication or other services.

If you live in the outside of the US, you will typically need to also get yearly vaccinations for your rabbit for VHD and/or myxomatosis. Since 2020, many states in the western and southwest US will also need annual RHDV2 vaccine which can range from 40-100+ USD including the office visit cost.

In some cases, your rabbit may become sick and unexpectedly need to see an emergency veterinarian. This will be more expensive than a regular vet. Costs for the exam alone will usually start from 80 USD. Any services and medication given will increase the visit cost. Typically, expect to spend at least 200 USD for an emergency vet visit for issues such as stasis.

You can find a database of global rabbit veterinary bills for a variety of conditions here.

To help with worst-case medical scenarios, you may want to purchase pet insurance which usually starts at around 20 USD/mo per rabbit. See Rabbit insurance and veterinary discount plans for more resources.

Further reading

A few anecdotes:

See also