What is fostering?

What is fostering & how do I get started?

A volunteer foster parent temporarily helps care for one or more rabbits at home until the rabbits can be adopted.

Bergamot was adopted shortly after showing his star quality at a Rabbit Advocates Outreach.
Bergamot was adopted shortly after showing his star quality at a Rabbit Advocates Outreach. Photo by foster mom, Tiah Keever.

Our foster parents provide a clean, safe, loving environment for homeless rabbits on a temporary basis, with the ultimate goal of adopting them into loving, permanent indoor homes as soon as a suitable match is found.

Many of the rabbits cared for by foster homes face challenges that our foster volunteers can help them overcome. Our foster homes also work with local shelters so we can help even more rabbits that need immediate care.

Opening your home temporarily to a rabbit is a special way to show your love for these wonderful, intelligent, fuzzy, and fun creatures.

What does a foster volunteer do? As a foster volunteer, you might care for:

  • Rabbits with special medical or behavioral needs;
  • Rabbits that need special feeding and socialization;
  • Mother rabbits with nursing litters (though we attempt to spay rabbits before this becomes necessary);
  • Rabbits that have been dumped or abandoned in the wild;
  • Rabbits whose owners no longer can or wish to care for them.

By fostering a rabbit, you are providing a nurturing home environment and socializing them so they will be ready for permanent adoption into a loving home.

What is the time commitment?
Foster stays may be anywhere from a few days, weeks, months or more, depending on the situation. We try to match our foster rabbits with foster parents based on the individual needs of the rabbit and the experience, preference and availability of our foster parents. Once you become a foster parent, we ask that you try to foster for at least six months.

What if I have other pets?
It is best to keep your foster rabbits physically separated from your own pets (preferably in a different room), at least initially. Foster rabbits must be kept indoors at all times.

How many rabbits may I foster?
For you to fully enjoy your fostering experience and help your fosters enjoy it as well, we recommend that you foster no more than four rabbits (or one rabbit family) at a time, and that you have rabbit care-taking experience. Of course, some people can and do foster more rabbits, but we encourage everyone to start with a modest commitment, especially if their time, space, or financial resources are limited.

What if I’ve never cared for an indoor pet rabbit before?
If you are new to rabbit care, you still can foster. Our Foster Coordinator will be happy to help you! We ask that you train first with experienced rabbit foster homes or other Rabbit Advocates volunteers. Or start by helping another foster home until you learn the ropes.

What do I need? The basics are relatively simple:

  • A quiet, protected space indoors where the foster rabbit will be safe
  • Secure housing (ideally, an exercise pen rather than a cage)
  • Unlimited hay (Rabbit Advocates packs a delicious BBB hay blend)
  • Pellets (given sparingly, as supplements; Oxbow brand recommended)
  • Bowl for fresh water (or a water bottle)
  • Food dishes or bowls for pellets
  • Litter box
  • Litter (e.g., Dry Den, Carefresh or other rabbit-safe litter; include hay on top)
  • Simple toys (e.g., toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, canning jar lids, untreated willow or apple branches)
  • Lots of love
  • Willingness to adopt your foster rabbit to a loving, indoor, forever home that is best-suited to the rabbit’s personality and needs as well as the lifestyle and rabbit-care experience of the adoptive family

How do I get started as a foster home?
The first step is to fill out the Rabbit Advocate Foster application. Once you have filled out the application, you will be contacted by a Rabbit Advocates foster home mentor.

Return to main Fostering page