At the end of my tether...

Discussion in 'Housing and Environment' started by Charlotteandbetty, Jan 12, 2019.

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  1. Jan 12, 2019 #1

    Charlotteandbetty

    Charlotteandbetty

    Charlotteandbetty

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    Hi all,

    So last night my 3 month old mini lop, Betty, absolutely destroyed the corner of the carpet in the living room of my flat. She is housed in an open cage with a large X-Pen. I have put a large waterproof picnic blanket underneath to protect the carpet, yet last night she managed to squeeze behind the cage and hay rack and find a patch of carpet to expose and tear to shreds. I am so frustrated as the carpet is the WORST thing for her to ruin. We are renting and have about £2500 in the deposit, which will likely be significantly reduced or lost now when we move out in a few months.

    The WHOLE flat is carpeted, except the tiny kitchen and bathroom. She was free-roaming during the day, but i can no longer let her because she'll undoubtedly destroy more carpet. I have tried the bitter apple sprays but she likes them!

    She is not yet neutered (as only 12.5 weeks)... and has plenty of chewing toys and boxes in her pen that she isn't really interested in. If I'd known to expect such stress and destruction then I would never have got her. She is very affectionate and so confident and sweet and we've really bonded, so i feel awful for saying that.

    So, questions I need help with......

    1) Is her being hell-bend on destruction a hormonal thing, or is 12 weeks too young to use that as an excuse?
    2) Will it likely get better after neutering?
    3) I would like to move her outside to our v large roof terrace, but it's winter here in London. Would there be a way to do this so she's cosy and happy or is that totally cruel? I would like to get her a friend when she's neutered.
    3) Do i just give up and find a better home for her with someone who knows what they're doing and has the space for a bunny?
    4) Anyone know how to cover a TOTALLY chewed up carpet corner?!

    Thanks so much,
    C x
     
  2. Jan 12, 2019 #2

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    I get the struggle. My Holland Lop was a carpet chewer. Like to the point where I had to move to a completely different room in my house because of it. Neutering will unfortunately not help. My bun, being a month post neuter, still will do everything he can to chew carpet and blankets. Like right now as I write this, he is on my bed chewing on my pillows and my curtain. Getting a friend will help as she will be destracted. You can try to cover it with bricks.

    Did she eat all of the carpet? If so, she could potentially get a blockage and need to go to the vet. Keep an eye on her and make sure she's eating and pooing.
     
  3. Jan 12, 2019 #3

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Neutering may absolutely help. Hormones are known to cause excessive destructive chewing.

    (In Alyssa's case, males can take up to 8 weeks for hormones to fully dissipate, so some of his chewing may still be hormonal. It may take a bit longer to get settled.) That being said, most rabbits will settle down significantly once fixed. There are the exceptions, and some rabbits will be lifelong chewers of carpet -- but it isn't the norm.)

    I've had over a dozen rabbits and only one (my first) would chew carpet if I left him unwatched (he was intact). All of my other rabbits were fixed and none of them chewed carpet.
    Oh, my current rabbit did decide to chew some carpet when he was staying with our petsitter. It was only at her place so I assume he wasn't happy that he was brought to a new place. It was the corner of the room and the pet sitter caught it pretty quickly. She blocked off that corner and hasn't had trouble since. (She's watched him a few times since.) She lets him have a whole carpeted room that is blocked with an x-pen from the adjoining living room.

    So don't give up hope. Block off the area in the meantime and only allow supervised exercise. You could put a square of porcelain tile in the corner for now to stop her from chewing that area.

    In the meantime, how large of an area did she chew? That will determine what options you may have to possibly fix it.

    Putting her outside isn't an option in mid-winter. To move a rabbit outdoors, that should be done in the Spring so they have time to acclimate and so their body will grow a proper winter coat.
     
    JBun likes this.
  4. Jan 12, 2019 #4

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    She's a rabbit. Rabbits natural behavior is to chew and dig. Because of that it's important to set up their area in a way as to prevent unwanted destruction and provide alternate activities to allow them to express their normal rabbit behavior(eg. dig box, rabbit safe wood/branches to chew, etc). The chewing could subside some as she gets older and/or after spaying, but not always, so best to learn how to manage these normal rabbit behaviors so that you can have your bun in a space you don't have to worry about her causing unwanted destruction, and you can enjoy her being a rabbit and doing rabbity things, and she can be happy being a rabbit and doing what rabbits do.

    Rabbit proofing is essential, particularly for rabbits with those strong destructive instincts. Rabbit proof with flooring that can't be chewed or destroyed by your rabbit. That could be a cut of textured vinyl flooring over the carpet, provided she can't access the edges to chew or doesn't try and chew through the flooring(which would be hard but not completely impossible). Ceramic/marble/stone tiles(with waterproof liner underneath) over the carpet if the vinyl flooring won't work. Secure everything so it can't be moved or pushed(or jumped over) to gain access to areas where you wouldn't want her to cause damage. Some rabbits can be extremely determined and clever, so you really have to almost out think them in what might be possible trouble they can get into.
    http://bunnyproof.com/
    https://rabbit.org/faq-rabbit-proofing/
    http://myhouserabbit.com/rabbit-care/bunny-proofing-your-house/

    If you also need a more secure enclosure(aside from your flooring issue) and have the funds for something like this, this site seems to have some nice custom built enclosures.
    https://www.manorpethousing.co.uk/indoor-enclosures-rabbit-housing
     
    Blue eyes likes this.
  5. Jan 16, 2019 #5

    samoth

    samoth

    samoth

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    You're not alone. My doe is a carpet chewer. It can be extremely frustrating, but it's just in their nature; some just act on it more than others. It took over a year before I could let her out of the dedicated rabbit room, and even then I had to watch her constantly and correct her behavior when she started to get chewy.

    I have lots of rugs all over. On top of my carpet. It may not look the best, but it works pretty well in reducing the available area of carpet to chew. They also tend to prefer chewing the rug itself over the carpet below.

    I also use ceramic tiles: large squares for corners and vulnerable spots, and long thinner ones for behind doors. I get colors that match the carpeting and don't look to egregious.

    Strategic placement of everything in the house is a must with rabbits. Open corners are begging to be destroyed, so I arrange things to minimize this: bookshelves, litter boxes, or whatever else works for the room. Those corner bookcases also work.

    In my limited experience, persistance (and lots of time) paid off. She's still not perfect, and she never will be... but that's a compromise I'm willing to make for the joy of having house rabbits :)

    Hormones affect behavior, but behaviors such as chewing & digging are innate to rabbits.

    It's possible, but I wouldn't count on it. But you might be in a better situation than me: my doe was a rescue that was neutered at 3.5 years, so she retained many old habbits and behaviors. Guiding your rabbit's behaviors in addition to neutering at an appropriate age may yield positive results.

    I don't have experience with outdoors rabbits, so I'll leave that to others to advise on.

    As a fellow caretaker of a carpet chewer, all I can say here is that your situation has nothing to do with whether or not one knows what they are doing :)

    Not to my knowledge. I plan to replace all the carpet in the house before I sell it (or when I get too sick of looking at the spots that were chewed up), but if there's a way to repair it, I'd love to know how.
     

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