Rabbits cost as little as $20 from rescue shelters to over $200 for a rabbit of a specialty breed from championship show lines.
The lifetime cost of a rabbit also includes a hutch, food and bedding, veterinary care, holiday and miscellaneous costs including toys and brushes.
How Much Do Rabbits Cost?
Shopping for a new pet rabbit? You may have wondered how much a rabbit costs. This can be a difficult question to answer if you are not familiar with the rabbit-raising hobby!
In fact, the ultimate cost of raising a rabbit can vary depending on certain factors, such as the breeder expenses, the cost of feed, and the cost of a cage.
These are the most important things you need to consider before you start shopping.
The Cost of Owning A Rabbit
Many aspiring rabbit owners believe that the greatest expense in raising rabbits will be in the purchase of the rabbit itself. This is sadly not the case.
Although the purchase of a rabbit can easily set you back several hundred dollars. That’s not the only cost.
There are other expenses you need to keep in mind, too, such as veterinary care, feeding, and housing.
The cost of buying a rabbit itself is often the smallest expense you need to factor in.
You will also need to consider costs related to feeding rabbits, housing rabbits, and keeping them clean and well-cared for.
The Cost of Buying a Rabbit
Once you decide what breed of rabbit you want to raise, you can begin to determine the approximate ultimate cost.
A “common” breed or a mixed breed is the easiest to find at a pet store, but you can also purchase specialty breeds from breeders.
In some cases, you may be able to find a rabbit at a rescue facility.
Generally, rabbits found at pet stores and rescue facilities tend to be less expensive than those found at breeders.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $40 for a rabbit from a pet store.
Visit small independent stores who can tell you about the breeder and breeding conditions their rabbits came from.
Staff at large chain stores are unlikely to be able to answer these questions, and the likelihood is their rabbits came from commercial farms which neglect animal welfare.
It’s more difficult to estimate the cost of a rabbit when you purchase it from a breeder.
Breeders vary in their charges for specific breeds of rabbits, with some breeders of rare rabbit breeds charging over $100 for rabbits.
If you want to raise a rabbit for show or breeding with specific bloodlines, you will need to pay more, too – just as you would with any other show species.
In fact, the costliest show rabbits, like the Mini Rex and Holland Lop, can sell for over $250 apiece.
How Much Does a Rabbits Cage Cost?
Don’t put away your wallet just yet – now that you’ve purchased a rabbit, you need a place for it to live.
Pet rabbits are usually kept in cages, although some owners choose to let them hop freely around the house.
Rabbits take well to litter training, but you will still need some sort of housing to keep your rabbit in as it sleeps.
Most people keep rabbits in indoor cages. These tend to be easier to maintain, and you also won’t have to worry about protecting your rabbits from predators or the elements.
However, an outdoor cage is a good choice if you plan on keeping multiple rabbits or breeding them, as they will be given more space in this setting.
You shouldn’t settle for a cut-rate cage. Just because you find a free or cheap cage for sale at the pet store, doesn’t mean it will be sufficient to house your new rabbit.
How to Choose the Right Rabbit Cage
A good cage will provide your rabbit with plenty of space – they need at least 24” by 36” for small rabbits (those less than 8 lbs) and 30” by 36” for large rabbits (over 8 lbs).
If a rabbit does not have enough space, it will become agitated and is more likely to suffer from certain health problems, like sore hocks, arthritis, or infection.
While you may be able to make a cage last throughout the rabbit’s entire lifetime, if you buy a cheaply made cage this may not be the case.
And the costs don’t stop there – once you have your rabbit cage, you will need to put some form of bedding in it. Some inexpensive rabbit cages are made with wire floors.
These can be uncomfortable for your rabbit and cause sores on his hocks.
Therefore, you should purchase a cage with a solid floor and simply cover it with bedding like grass, fleece blankets, towels, or hardwood shavings.
While these bedding materials are relatively inexpensive, generally costing less than $20 per package, you will need to restock and clean your rabbit cage regularly.
So the costs can add up over time.
How Much Do Rabbits Toys Cost?
Rabbits are pretty easy to entertain, but you may want to invest in some toys to keep your rabbits occupied.
You can make your own to save some money. Many people use items like old phone books, paper towel rolls, and cardboard boxes to keep their rabbits amused.
However, you may want to purchase fancier toys such as tunnels, hiding spots, and more.
While homemade toys can cost next to nothing, more expensive interactive toys can cost upwards of $10 or more.
How Much Does Rabbit Food Cost?
Rabbits are not the most expensive kind of animal to feed, but the costs can add up here, too.
They are herbivores.
And while you can feed them foods like grass clippings that you harvest from your own lawn, you need to be careful about trying to pinch pennies too much.
Grass that you cut from your lawn can contain pesticides, which will be harmful to your rabbit.
Plus, it’s best to supplement your rabbit’s diet with other foods.
The best way to keep your rabbit healthy is to include a variety of foods to give him access to plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Along with plenty of fiber and other vital nutrients, this will help prevent health problems such as diarrhea.
Therefore, you will need to purchase food from a farmer or at the store.
These foods could include hay (about $20 per month per rabbit) and pellets (around $5 per month per rabbit).
That being said, you could feed your rabbit fruit and vegetable scraps to cut down on the feeding expenses, too.
Other Rabbit Expenses!
Finally, when you have a rabbit, you’ll need to factor in a few other costs.
You might have to make one-time purchases, such as nail clippers to groom your rabbit or food dishes.
These one-time expenses can be as cheap as a couple of dollars or as expensive as several hundred.
What will happen to your rabbit if you decide to go away on a vacation? You probably won’t be able to take your pet with you.
Therefore, you will need to pay someone to come feed and check on your rabbit. Again, these costs can vary but are variables you need to include in your budget.
You also need to plan for accidents and medical care. Your rabbit will require regular visits to a veterinarian who specializes in small animals.
You may need to spay or neuter your pet, and as your rabbit ages, medical care will likely be more expensive.
Vet bills can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. And you need to be prepared to pay those if the need arises.
These furry, adorable, and affectionate creatures are truly rewarding to raise.
However, just because they are small, that doesn’t mean that raising them will be cheap.
Rabbits can live ten or more years, meaning you need to plan accordingly!
Do you have a rabbit or are you considering bringing one home? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
References and Further Reading
Fisher P. 2010. Standards of Care in the 21st Century: The Rabbit. Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine.
Jenkins JR. 1999. Feeding recommendations for the house rabbit. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice.