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Old 12-20-2010, 12:05 AM   #1
yuuko
 
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So, long story..

My neighbors got a couple pet rabbits about 3 months ago that eventually found a way into my backyard. They would often make visits and I would feed them with whatever I could, bananas, carrots, etc. Was thinking about keeping them since the neighbors didn't take good care of them. About a month n half ago, my neighbors gave up taking care of them and they eventually found their way on the streets and ran away. Then about a few days ago, they've decided to come back to my backyard and stay here exclusively. Now, I'm seriously considering keeping them as my pets.

Problem:
When I first met them, they weren't too shy. I could approach them and feed them and they'd let me pet them while they laid under some shade. No worries. Picking them up was an issue though, of course.

Now that they've come back, one of them has become a bit more aggressive and I think sort of desperate for food. They recognized me from when I used to feed them so they knew to come up to me when I went out to the yard. However, I always used to feed them by hand and the more aggressive rabbit insists on yanking the food away. It seems they've become extremely frightened. They only let me pet them when they're busy eating food from my hand. The aggressive one just tries to avoid my hand altogether and would just attempt to get as many bites of it as fast as possible and yank it away. The other one is calm and will let me feed it but it only stays for a few bites and I have to follow him around in order to get him to try some more and will run away after a few seconds of petting.

So this had led me to believe that they only approach me for food and not for companionship. But I'd like to keep them as pets and of course, have them comfortable enough around me to let me pick them up and pet them and whatnot (like any other owner would).

Any advice? Can I still try to keep them when they've been outside on their own for so long? Am I better off looking for a trained house bunny?

Here's a pic from when I first met them.


The white one is the aggressor and has significantly grown larger since then. Seems to love treats and will yank food off my hands if it can.



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Old 12-20-2010, 12:30 AM   #2
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Are you wanting to keep them inside or outside?

I would think that the fact that they've come back to you is a very good sign.

If you are going to keep the outside...I suggest going outside several times per week with a carrot or something - and a book. Have the carrots (or whatever food) beside you for them to eat- but just lay on the grass (very still) and read the book.

Rabbits are curious creatures...they will want to come and sniff at you and as they become more comfortable with you - they may touch you and even climb on you like a jungle gym.

This is how I built my relationship with my rabbit Tiny - he wasn't socialized at all when I got him. By the time he passed away two and a half years later (sudden illness sorta) - he would sleep by / on my feet and give me kisses.

But we had to start slow - but letting him explore me without me touching him at all.



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Old 12-20-2010, 12:58 AM   #3
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I'd like to keep them inside but it doesn't seem like they'll do too well inside. They're very active rabbits.

That seems like a good idea though! Should I take the yanking of the food out of my hand a sign of fear? Like perhaps the white rabbit does not like me at all but is just extremely hungry.

Anyways, I suppose I could slow it down. Trying to pet them obviously has not been working out too well and they both seem to be too frightened at the moment to eat off my hand.

Should I go ahead and buy them pellets or hay? I see no other way of them getting their dried food. All I see them do is scavenge for some dry grass and leaves in my backyard.

Also, the white one seems to be really anxious to get some food, however, it's grown quite fat since the picture. Might be due to the bananas I used to feed it. I'm wondering if I should keep feeding it treats.

Last question.. Is there any way to call out to them? I only catch them outside a few times a day. Most of the time, they stay hidden underneath our deck especially now that it's been raining.

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Old 12-20-2010, 01:16 AM   #4
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Rabbits normally are only out in the early morning and early evening--this, to lessen a predator's opportunities. Since they are prey animals, they are going to be skittish and it will take time to gain their trust. It doesn't sound like the one rabbit is aggressive, but more like a trust issue and they have forgotten their social manners that they would have if they had more responsible owners that handled them on a regular basis. They should be alright inside as they are not really wild animals, they've just reverted to feral habits. The problem is catching them, re-introducing them to human contact, and getting them socialized. Time and patience are they keys to this. Good luck.

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Old 12-20-2010, 04:01 AM   #5
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So do you suggest catching them as in putting them in a cage? They're not exactly groomed either so I can't take them inside yet. I know bunnies are supposed to have really good hygiene but I couldn't help but notice the thick slick of mud under their feet.

So now I know that I'll have to sit with them for sometime per day to gain their trust and revert them back to old domestic habits. I'm a little confused how to do it though. How do I know when the right time is to capture them or to bring them inside? How will I know they won't go berserk once they step inside?

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Old 12-20-2010, 05:18 AM   #6
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How about a humane trap? The kind where they go inside and get trapped.

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Old 12-20-2010, 07:08 AM   #7
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ok first off 'THE MOST IMPORTANT PART RIGHT NOW" is getting them off the streets ..all this bonding and socializing can come later when they are safe in ur home...trying to get them to get used to u outside is not an option when theres too many dangers for them out there..
ive caught numerous bunnies that have been dumped in neighborhoods and parks by my home...some of them have been living on the streets for quite some time..none of them would let me even touch them ,,but ive kept 3 of the so called unsocialized bunnies and they are the buns that have the most personality and they are the sweetest of all 9 of my bunnies...its taken me some time to learn the art of catching a bun so this is what works for me..
first dont feed them for a day...not until toward the end of the day when the sun is setting then what u need is a net ..a nice size net ..and vanilla wafer cookies...now this is not a good diet for them but this is what will catch them to get them safe..then u can give them the proper diet.....ull need two people ..one to distract them with the wafers and the other to do the net action from behind...ur gonna want to catch the aggressive bunny first cuz if u catch the mild one the other one is gonna be even more apt to stay the heck away from you...but once u catch the aggressive one the mild one wont survive on his own for long..u gotta get him quick...the other way to catch a bun is with strawberry netting .but i havent tried that method....ive caught a couple with my hands before but u gotta be ready for a bun to scream and go ballistic...once u got a hold of em ..dont let them go no matter how much they squirm ..just tuck them into ur body under ur arm like a football to cover their eyes and they will instantly stop struggling..u cant leave them dangling out from ur body kicking ..hug and tuck....another excellent food lure is oats ...and the nice thing about oats is they have to forage for them cuz they are so small..so they keep themselves very busy eating them...busy enough to get a hold of em.....keep in mind once they are full ur attempts of catching them are non existant..so the key is to do it at the very beginning of feeding them when they are the hungriest..thats when they get distracted by the food...good luck and please dont leave them to try and survive on their own ...cuz they wont for long...let me know if u need any more help.keep us updated

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Old 12-20-2010, 07:23 AM   #8
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catching them i'd suggest maybe luring them inside a cardboard box with treats?

or another way we get our ferals (they are socialised inside bunnies but sometimes go feral when its cage time ) is chucking a towel over them and quickly scooping them up - that way they cant bite or scratch and they will struggle less.

what you're doing is a very noble thing

just GET THEM INSIDE before something awful happens.

also they will probably need a vet check up - ive heard a lot of vets do free checkups for stray rabbs, and you just need to pay for meds.

maybe get in contact with a few to see if they will do free/discounted checkups?

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Old 12-20-2010, 02:03 PM   #9
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my first rabbit i caught in my backyard in the woods area...someone easter bunny i presume that they let go. after catchin him wit my dads help he turned out to be the best rabbit. he would play tag wit me and when let out of the cage to roam would stay close by me. a very very good bunny.

so for now like others say get them caged safely. hopefulyl their same sex so there are no babies

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Old 12-20-2010, 02:40 PM   #10
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Yeah, I would put pellets and hay out for them (If you can't catch them) and maybe contact a rabbit rescue to help catch them.
I feel bad for these poor guys.



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