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We are thinking about getting a couple of rabbits. The local pet store is likely to sponsor the set up costs (build a hutch and run) vets bills etc and we will make provision to look after them over the weekend and holidays. Just wondered if anyone else has rabbits in their setting and if there are other things to consider (I've looked into the health and safety aspect and will do a full risk assessment).

 

Thanks in advance

 

Vicki :oxD

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I have three guinea pigs which technically belong to my daughters but the childminded children love to care for them. They compete to be allowed to feed and stroke them and one little boy sits for ages outside their run watching them and waiting for them to get close enough to the wire that her can stroke them.

 

We have a little stool which we put inside the run for them to sit on and then the guinea pigs can sit on an old towel on their laps for a cuddle. If they jump off it doesn't matter.

 

They learn lots about providing for the needs of living creatures and how to be gentle and caring.

 

They all understand about handwashing and we take some hand gel into the garden to use immediately then wash our hands with soap and water when we come inside (which may not be for a couple of hours).

 

I would highly recommend have this sort of pet for the children to take joint responsibility for.

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Guinea pigs are very much friendlier for children. Rabbits have powerful back legs and sharp claws and can really scratch if they don't want to be handled. Guinea pigs are welcoming things, they whistle and love to be cuddled. Speaking as someone who bred these when the children were young, (we had 250+ over the years) I can guarantee that they are lovely creatures.

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Yes, I agree with Cait about rabbits. Our rabbit absolutely hated being held and would do serious damage to anyone who tried. She kept escaping too (as we moved her pen around the garden to access fresh grass), and we were always chasing her. The nursery children were highly amused so at least we had some fun! The guinea pigs were easier to handle but they were so nervous.....running to the very back of their cage so it was difficult to pick them up! I guess we're not very good with small animals :o

I have known other people to have gorgeous rabbits that just love to be cuddled....so find out which ones they are!

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I have 2 pet rabbits at home and althought I often think about taking them into school for a visit I wouldnt be able to let the children hold them because they would scratch them and like Cait said they kick and it hurts! And my rabbits are very loving but they are big and strong. Rabbits need a lot of care. I would definitely recommend guinea pigs for children. x

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Stroking a rabbit caused one of the worst exzema reations my son had ever had, his face puffed up so much we could barely see his eyes. He reacted to my moms cat slightly after being in the house for ages, but the rabbit was outside and stroked for minutes. Never reacted to any other animal then or since. My brother had a guinea pig, he was lovely, followed him round the garden and sat on my moms lap for an hour at a time while she watched TV.

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Guinea pigs are very intelligent creatures and can be very friendly IF they are handled lots from being tiny. Ours will jump into my daughter's hands when she goes to get them out of the run. This is only because she has done it consistently. I'm allergic to them so don't handle them much which means they don't come to me so easily.

 

I've never had a rabbit but I'll bear the comments on this thread in mind if I ever consider it.

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We had an RSPCA officer come to give the children a talk once when we were doing pets. I said I was going to bring my rabbit in for the children to see and she was horrified. She explained they had 190 degree peripheral vision so they can see preditors creeping up on them and their eyes are 8 times more sensitive then ours. She said introducing a rabbit to 20 children would be a frightening experience for a rabbit and she would consider it cruelty Obviously small numbers in a home enviroment is ok but it does explain why our rabbit to was easily spooked and scratched occasionally if she could see all around her at the same time

 

I think guinea pigs are wonderful and what she recommended as an alternative.

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I'm sure you would keep a close eye out, but I mentioned bringing my guinea pig into our preschool to one of our parents who was also our vet, and she was really cautious about it. Although she is very empowering to her own children and lets then try lots of things, she told me about once having to do a post mortem on a guinea pig which had died suddenly. It turned out it had been squeezed to death by an over friendly toddler! They can be so friendly that children don't realise they are hurting them until it's too late. But they are good with children and a very good size for handling too.

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We had an RSPCA officer come to give the children a talk once when we were doing pets. I said I was going to bring my rabbit in for the children to see and she was horrified. She explained they had 190 degree peripheral vision so they can see preditors creeping up on them and their eyes are 8 times more sensitive then ours. She said introducing a rabbit to 20 children would be a frightening experience for a rabbit and she would consider it cruelty Obviously small numbers in a home enviroment is ok but it does explain why our rabbit to was easily spooked and scratched occasionally if she could see all around her at the same time

 

I think guinea pigs are wonderful and what she recommended as an alternative.

 

 

We had a rabbit at playgroup, brought in by Zoolab. I would have presumed they were working within RSPCA guidelines for that kind of thing. And what about rabbits in petting zoos? Was she being over cautious perhapes?

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Was she being over cautious perhapes?

 

Possibly but it did make me think about bringing animals into nursery from the animal point of view not getting carried away with my enthusiasm for giving the children exciting experiences. Even goldfish suffer if the bowl is tapped.

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Thanks for all your replies. Seems like there is lots to consider and I guess a lot of it is down to the friendliness of any pet in the first place which is harder to work out!

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