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Old 11-12-2017, 05:08 AM   #1
Blue eyes
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Default Weird behavior? Holding hay in mouth.

Anyone have an explanation for why my rabbit would be doing this? He is just sitting in his cage (door open) with a mouthful of hay? He isn't eating it, just holding on to it.

I've only seen this once before many years ago with my niece's rabbit. She asked me about it at the time and I had no explanation. Hers was a female.

Mocha is a neutered male. No other rabbit around.


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Old 11-12-2017, 10:42 AM   #2
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Hi,

that's nesting behaviour, although, normally does carry the hay somewhere and build a nest. I've sporadically read about neutered males doing that too, from time to time.



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Old 11-12-2017, 04:16 PM   #3
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My spayed doe still will do it at certain times of the year(spring, fall). She'll start frantically building a nest, gathering up any hay and other material she can get in her mouth and not think about anything else, sometimes she'll sit there like that with hay gathered in her mouth looking confused about what it is she's supposed to be doing, then usually after a few hours it all stops and she's back to normal. Like Preitler, I've also heard of some bucks showing nesting behavior.

If he's not already back to normal and eating again, and it's been 12 hours or more since he last ate, then I would say vet or start syringe feeding. Then if he's not back to normal tomorrow morning and you haven't taken him to the vet yet, might be time to take him to get checked out to make sure there isn't an underlying health issue going on and causing this behavior.
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:03 PM   #4
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I did wonder if it had to do with nesting but had dismissed that thought since he's male and neutered (and single). Rabbits never cease to surprise.

I should have clarified, Jenny. By stating he wasn't eating it, I was referring to just the mouthful of hay he was holding. He had eaten a big pile of basil right before this. He's eating fine.

Within the hour (& after I posted), he was lounging in his litter box without the hay in his mouth. In the 5 years of having him, I've not seen him do that nesting thing. Silly bunny.

Perhaps one of you would have some further insight as well. Now I'm wondering if this behavior is somehow linked to another recent change in his behavior. He had lost his bondmate 2 years ago. After that, he came out of his shell and became bolder and more interactive with us (and the dogs). He had his nightly routine of coming out to the couch and begging for treats (something he barely did when he had Sapphire). He even binkied more and seemed more adventurous. (this was a big reason why we didn't seek out a new bondmate for him)

Then, these last few months, he won't come out of his cage. The door is left open from morning til midnight -- just as it always had been even before his bondmate passed. Even shaking the jar of banana chips, while it gets his attention, won't coax him out. This behavior has bewildered me. However, when he is in his cage (door open) he seems very much relaxed. And in the morning, he tosses his ball around if I don't get the cage door open quick enough. He wants it open, just won't come out.

For all the time we've had him, the cage door has always been open all day, every day. He's always gone out every day. There is nothing that has changed (that I can think of -- and believe me, I have tried to think of anything to explain this). Just these past months, he refuses to come out. Could this have anything to do with the 'nesting' behavior?
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:18 PM   #5
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I've seen a few mentions of phantom pregnancies with male rabbits. After a quick search on French forums, it doesn't seem to be that uncommon either. Still, the change in behavior with him not wanting to go out of his cage could indicate something. Does he jump OK? (it's sometimes a higher jump to get out of the cage) Or can his eyesight have gone bad? In general there is a reason behind behavioral changes, but it's sometimes really hard to spot which one. It took me months to get that Aki was going blind but when I got it, her behavior made so much sense... she was acting weird, but nothing pointed toward this specific problem and she's moving so well and acting so confident it's still impossible to tell if you don't know she can't see... even the vet missed it. Once, Tybalt was acting weird and it turned out he had a beginning of pododermatitis under one paw (he's got so much hair it was hard to spot, but he would avoid some types of flooring). Maybe it's nothing, but maybe it would be a good idea to have a check up one of these days to rule out any problem (most vets recommend a 'geriatric' check up a year for rabbits who are 5 years and up anyway, mine get them with their vaccines...)
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Old 11-14-2017, 02:37 AM   #6
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Thanks, Aki. Gives me more to think about.

His hopping is fine. It's less than 6" to hop out of his cage, yet he hops up twice that to get to a ledge inside his cage. Will have to consider what else - if anything- might be happening.


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