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If you’re getting your first pet rabbit, your first hurdle is just finding a place to buy a bunny. My family has kept rabbits for decades, and I’ll walk you through all the places you can buy a rabbit.
Let’s start with the most common and work our way to some you’ve probably never thought of. For each place I’ll tell you how to find such a place, then I’ll cover the Pros and Cons of getting a pet rabbit from that place.
1. Pet Store
The most common place to find a pet rabbit is at a pet store, but it’s probably not the best place to get a rabbit.
How To Find A Pet Store
Finding a pet store is pretty easy; just ask Google to “find a Pet Store Near Me”.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny At A Pet Store
The greatest advantage of getting a bunny at a pet store is that it easy. Easy to find the store and easy to get a bunny. Most pet stores usually have a few bunnies to choose from and often have a number of breeds so you get a choice of pets.
The disadvantage of getting a bunny from a pet store is that those rabbits are often not as healthy as rabbits in other settings. They’ve been around lots of other rabbits and animals, as well as handled by lots of people. Those rabbits are either going to be very well socialized or very stressed out.
In addition, buying rabbits at a pet store is often one of the more expensive options. Usually, the exact same rabbit will cost you about 50% more at a pet store than from the original breeder. On average, people in the United States spend $50 for a pet rabbit.
2. Animal Rescue
Don’t overlook finding a rabbit at a local animal rescue. People give up pets for lots of different reasons that often have nothing to do with the health or behavior of the pet. Don’t overlook pet rabbits that have been given up and looking for a new home.
This option might even save you some money.
How To Find A Local Animal Rescue
Nearly every area has at least one animal rescue, but not all animal rescues take domestic rabbits.
In the modern world, I’d once again start with Google by looking for “Rabbit Rescues Near Me”. If that search comes up empty, then try “Animal Rescues Near Me”. Then you’ll have to contact each one to find out if they have any domestic rabbits in need of a new home.
P.S. If you don’t find a local animal rescue that accepts pet rabbits, you might want to consider calling each of them back and leaving your contact information with them. That way if someone does call them with a rabbit that they can’t keep, the rescue can connect the two of you so that you can rescue the bunny and probably save a lot of money.
This website gets listings from various animal rescues and brings all the rabbit listings in one place. It’s not a complete list of all bunnies available, but it’s a good starting point.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny At An Animal Rescue
The biggest advantage of getting a bunny from an animal rescue is that you’re literally saving a bunny’s life. Sure the animal rescue might have a no-kill policy, but you know that a bunny’s life is going to be better in your home than in a large rescue.
But that isn’t the only advantage of getting a bunny at a pet rescue.
Animal rescues nearly always have a veterinarian who is responsible for the health of the animals in their care. This means that a bunny that you get from an animal rescue is probably going to be without health issues and if it does have any health issues they should know about them.
The biggest disadvantage of getting a bunny at an animal rescue is that they are often older rabbits so you’re not going to get those cute baby-bunny days.
Also, remember that on average pet rabbits live eight to fourteen years. That means that if you start with a four-year-old rabbit, your time with that bunny is going to be shorter than if you started with a younger bunny.
The price of a rabbit from an animal rescue varies wildly. Some animal rescues will literally give a free bunny to a good home. However, most charge an adoption fee to cover their expenses and make sure that the bunny is going to someone who really wants it.
Those adoption fees can range from $10 to $150, which means that getting a bunny from an animal rescue could be the cheapest or most expensive way to get a pet rabbit.
3. Animal Swap
Every area has animal swaps where people come to buy and sell animals. They are often held at local farm supply stores or at animal auction houses.
Before you go to your first animal swap, make sure you know what to expect. A lot of the people here are going to be farm folks. These are great people who work hard with their hands. They are going to be rougher around the edges than people who work in an office every day. Don’t judge them and learn from them. They know stuff you do not know.
Also remember that while some people might be there specifically to sell pet rabbits, most are going to be there to sell rabbits and they don’t care if you are going to keep them as a pet or eat them. Brace yourself for having people ask you if you are going to eat the rabbit.
How To Find A Local Animal Swap
To find a local animal swap that might have pet rabbits for sale, start on Facebook and search events for “animal swap” or “animal auction”. You can also call your local farm supply stores and ask if they know of any animal swaps in the area.
Most animal swaps are regular events during the non-winter months. We have three in our city of 160,000 people. Each one happens once a month and is located in the parking lot of one of the local farm supply stores.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny At An Animal Swap
The rabbits at an animal swap will often be less expensive than those offered for sale in nearly any of the other options on this list. This is because these breeders who bring their animals here have a time pressure to complete the sale before the swap is over.
The biggest con is that you’re going to be around people who consider rabbits livestock and not pets. Now to be clear, I’ve never seen someone who considers rabbits to be livestock give a rabbit pet owner a hard time. I have, however, seen pet owners go after people who raise rabbits for meat.
If you think you might be one of those people who feel the need to confront a person who eats rabbits, you should avoid animal swaps.
4. Local 4-H Club
If you weren’t raised a 4-H kid, you probably have no idea the breadth and depth of 4-H projects available for these kids. One of those projects that I believe is available in every 4-H Club is rabbits.
In these 4-H Rabbit Clubs, you’ll have kids and their families raising rabbits to show, sell as pets, and as production rabbits.
How To Find A Local 4-H Club
You can search for local clubs on the 4-H.org website. Can’t get much easier than that.
However, if you don’t find the local 4-H Club’s rabbit leader there, then you can start looking locally.
Nearly every county in America has an Extension Office which connects the community with that state’s Agricultural Department and Colleges. Those Extension Offices usually oversee the 4-H Clubs, and if they don’t they will know who does.
To find your local 4-H Club, Google for Your County Extension Office and email them or call them asking for contact information for local 4-H Clubs.
You can also find out when your local County Fair is going to happen and just go on the first day to find the rabbit show area. There you’ll see lots of breeds of rabbits and you might even find some bunnies for sale at the end of the fair.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny From A 4-H Club
I’m a huge fan of buying pet bunnies from local 4-H Club Members.
These are good kids who love their rabbits as much as you are going to love your new pet. You’re going to get a healthy bunny that is well cared for and well socialized.
You’re also going to be supporting a family who has a passion for rabbits and community service.
What’s not to love?
The cost for 4-H bunnies is going to vary greatly. If you make it clear that you’re looking for a pet bunny and now a show-quality bunny, you will pay significantly less.
5. Local Rabbit Groups On Facebook
There are groups for everything on Facebook, including rabbits. There are some huge national bunny groups, but you’re looking for more local groups. P.S. We have a small international rabbit group on Facebook that we’d love for you to join here.
The weirdest part of rabbit groups on Facebook is that Facebook doesn’t allow animals to be sold on their platform, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen all of the time. It just means that you can’t post about it publicly, even in groups.
In such groups, you’ll see people sharing pictures of their bunnies and inviting people to Friend them or Private Message them to learn more about their bunnies.
To be clear, because of Facebooks ban on offering animals for sale on their platform, you will not find any pet bunnies listed for sale in their marketplace. This is one of the reason that the local bunny groups are so popular.
How To Find A Local Rabbit Group On Facebook
You are going to find a rabbit group on Facebook for every state. Just search for My State Rabbits and filter down to just groups.
In most states, you’re going to find more than one rabbit groups, often split up by quadrants within the state.
Some larger metropolitan areas have their own rabbit groups.
Search for and join them all, not just to find a bunny for sale, but to find local rabbit friends.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny On Facebook
You are going to find every possible kind of pet rabbit in these groups on Facebook, and you need to be careful to know what you’re committing to.
How old is the rabbit? Any health issues? Behavior issues? Is it a baby or a rehome?
Just ask lots of questions and if it’s your first bunny, you might want to look to a more one-on-one source like a local 4-H family or a local breeder.
Craigslist remains the largest online dedicated classified market and they do allow the selling of animals. You can find almost anything for sale on Craigslist, including bunnies.
How To Find Local Bunnies On Craigslist
Craigslist basically has a different website for every city and large town in America. On each site they have categories of listings and pet rabbits fall within the “Pet” category.
To find the correct website and category for you, just Google “Craigslist CITY Pets” where you replace CITY with the name of your town/city.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny On Craigslist
In most areas, you’re going to see new rabbits listed on Craigslist every week, so it’s a huge advantage that you get a wide range of choices.
Craigslist is segmented into geographic areas, so you don’t waste your time looking at rabbits that are hundreds of miles away…another huge advantage.
Now for the cons.
Every kind of rabbit is going to be offered on Craigslist. You’re going to find young bunnies as well as older rabbits looking to be rehomed.
Whenever you’re bringing a new pet into your life, you have to exercise due diligence, but in situations where you’re not getting your bunny directly from the breeder, then you have to up the level of due diligence.
For example, as I was writing this article I was looking at my local Craigslist pets listings and found a beautiful 5-month-old Flemish Giant Rabbit that needed to be rehomed. The bunny came with all the essential bunny gear and with no price listed there is a chance he would be nearly free to a good home.
However, the classified listing also said, “a pet bunny is a handful” which hints that there might be some behavioral issues that a new potential owner would definitely know about before proceeding.
The other issue with Craigslist is that we know that there are some bad actors on there who are setting people up to rob them during the physical transaction. Craigslist isn’t the only place this can happen, but it’s well known for it happening on their platform.
However, making a deal for a $50 bunny has way less risk than a deal for a $500 phone. Still, my practice is to only meet people I’ve made an online deal with in a very public location. I never visit their home nor invite them to my hope. My preferred place to meet is the police station parking lot. Be safe.
7. Local Pet Rabbit Breeder
There are people who breed rabbits as pets in every area. These are usually healthy happy bunnies from a rabbit enthusiast who loves their bunnies very much.
Most breeders have one to three breeds of bunnies that they specialize in, so finding the local breeder that has your favorite pet bunny breed might prove to be a challenge.
How To Find A Local Pet Rabbit Breeder
If you’ve tried the local animal swap and 4-H club, you’ve probably already found some local pet rabbit breeders. But did you get their contact information or leave yours with them? If not, it’s probably time to revisit those sources for pet bunnies.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny From A Local Rabbit Breeder
The biggest advantage of getting a rabbit from a local breeder is that you can know everything possible about your new bunny. This bunny is going to be part of your life for 8 to 15 years on average, and knowing more about them before you make that commitment is a huge advantage.
Ask to meet the bunny’s parents. Are they healthy? Are they friendly? What do they eat? Will you feed your bunny the same rabbit diet?
The downside to finding a pet rabbit to buy from a local breeder is that they don’t always have litters of bunnies ready to go. You’re probably going to have to wait, but that’s okay because it gives you time to learn about having a pet rabbit.
8. Rabbit Classified Websites
There are countless rabbit classified ad websites on the internet, but a lot of them are so small that they are hard to find and probably not worth finding.
I’ll give you a list of the bigger rabbit specific classified websites below
How To Find Rabbit Classified Websites
Well, you’re going to use Google or your just going to click on the links I’m leaving you below.
Pros and Cons Of Rabbit Classified Websites
The advantage of rabbits for sell classified websites is that you can find any breed of rabbit and they are probably raised by serious breeders.
The major downside is that these pet bunnies might be anywhere in America or the world. That downside is followed by the likelihood that you’ll never be able to meet the breeders of these bunnies let alone the parents of your potential new pet bunny.
9. Farm Supply Stores Posting Boards
As you’ve read through this list of places to buy a pet rabbit, you’ve seen me mention farm supply stores a number of times. When I mention these, I’m thinking about Orschlens, Tractor Supply, and local stores like Primer Farm And Home down the road from my home.
These farm supply stores all have posting boards that support local ag-based individuals and businesses. Want a field of grass cut and bailed? Check the posting board. Need a pasture cleared of pine trees? Check the posting board.
Want to buy a new pet bunny? Check the posting board at the local farm supply store.
How To Find A Local Animal Swap
Look online for “Farm Supplies Near Me”.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Bunny At An Animal Swap
On these boards, you are going to find slightly more professional people than you’d find at the animal swap hosted in the store’s parking lot on the first Saturday of each month (or some other day). These folks do this for a living, not as a side-hustle.
These folks are going to be offering high quality bunnies, but they are going to charge more.
10. Local Meat Rabbit Breeder
This is probably the most uncomfortable way to find a new bunny. Rabbits are one of the few animals that straddle the line between pets and livestock. However, most people see them as one or the other.
There are people in your community who raise beautiful New Zealand Whites or California Rabbits strictly to harvest the meat and fur. They will also sell these rabbits for other people to butcher, or for them to take them home as a pet.
How To Find A Local Meat Rabbit Breeder
You might have come across some meat rabbit breeders at the local 4-H club. Most fairs even have categories for a pen of meat or production rabbits. You probably also meet some at the local animal swap. I hope you have their contact information.
If you don’t have their contact information then you can try to find them online. Start on Facebook and look for “homesteading” groups in your area. If you can find a group of people who are homesteading, someone in that group is raising meat rabbits because rabbits breed quickly and grow very efficiently.
Pros and Cons Of Getting A Meat Rabbit Breeder
The biggest advantage of getting a pet bunny from a mean rabbit breeder is that you’re going to save a lot of money. On average meat rabbits sell for half the price of pet rabbits. You’re also going to be saving a bunny from someone’s dinner plate.
Another advantage is that meat breeders usually have multiple does and time their rabbit’s pregnancies to assure that they have a near-constant supply of growing rabbits. This means that you won’t have to wait for long for a young bunny ready for a new home.
The disadvantage is that you’re going to be limited on the breeds available. Meat rabbits are usually either New Zealands, Californians, or mixed breed rabbits because of their combined size, meatiness, and beautiful fur.
However, just because they are good meat rabbits doesn’t mean that they aren’t also wonderful pet rabbits. I’ve had a New Zealand White buck as a pet in the past and he was a wonderful bunny.
And don’t overlook the mixed breed rabbits. We did a survey of rabbit owners and found that mixed breed rabbits are the most popular breed of pet bunnies.
The other disadvantage of getting a rabbit from a meat breeder is that these bunnies are not going to be socialized with people, so you’ll be starting from scratch.
The Best Place To Get A Pet Rabbit
The best place to get a pet rabbit really depends on your personal needs. Rescue rabbits from animal shelters or individuals are a great place to get a bunny because you’re saving a rabbit. However, your local 4-H Club, local breeders, and animal swaps are all good places to find a pet rabbit.
The Worst Place To Get A Pet Rabbit
Pet stores are not only the most common place to get a pet rabbit, but it’s also the worst place to get a rabbit. Bunnies at pet stores are often stressed and exposed to health issues that you wouldn’t find commonly in other rabbits. You will also pay a premium price for a pet bunny at a pet store.
I hope you found this article helpful. Below are some more articles for first time pet rabbit owners.
Your Rabbit Friend,