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Mini Rex Rabbiters MN

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Hey everyone,

Yesterday I got 2, 2 month old Holland Lops, one doe (Olive), and one buck (Murphy). I have them in a large exercise pen with a big dog kennel in it with the door off (which they like to hide in and behind). I've been sitting in the pen, letting them come up to me on their own, and smelling me to try and bond with them. I can tell that they hadn't been handled very much or very gently at the breeder's. They both seem extremely scared of when I try to reach my hand out. I don't know what to do because what I'm doing doesn't seem to be helping. I've offered them a little treat, but neither are interested. When I sit with them, they come up and nudge me. Should I hold them and read a book, watch TV etc....? Any suggestions?
Thanks
 

Blue eyes

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Coming up to you and nudging you is fantastic progress -- especially if you just got them. They are doing wonderfully!!! It can take some rabbits months (seriously!) to do that. Just keep up what you are doing. Ignore them when they come up to you. They are learning that you are 'safe.' (Skip treats. Eventually you can just hold a piece of their pellet food in your hand. Coming from your hand it is a treat.)

Bear in mind too that they are only 8 weeks of age. That is very young. Contrary to popular myth, early handling does not make a rabbit like to be handled. I like to quote this from a Rabbits USA magazine:

Founder of Bunny Bunch rescue, Caroline Charland, states, "People often think a rabbit must be held a lot as a baby in order to like being held as an adult.I don't find this true at all. Over the years, the Bunny Bunch rescue I founded has saved many mother and baby rabbits from shelters. All the babies were treated the same. When they became adults their personalities varied-- some liked to be held, some hated to be held and some tolerated being held."

You may also want to consider that the general rule of thumb (imo) with new rabbits is to give them a minimum of 48 hours undisturbed in their cage when first brought home. This gives them the opportunity to "own" their new cage and to see it as "their" territory. It also helps them when it comes time to potty training as well. I would give them the next couple days that chance to 'own' their cage area without any human intrusion. Then you can go back in to sit with them and let them approach you as they desire.
 

Bunny gurl

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Blue eyes well said just to add to your comment rabbits are prey animals so being puck up.and held or carried is like a.predator grabbing them most rabbits would prefer if you left them on the floor or ground level and do what you have been doing sit with them and the nudges are a great compliment to you they like you and you are safe to them. This is great
 

Bunny gurl

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Also one other thing that works well rabbits dont recognize your face they do with the shape your smell and voice so when you are sitting there quietly with them gently blow your breath at their face well nose so they get the smell of you this means they know you and it makes it happen a little quicker I do this.even 8n dog training it is amazing how quickly an animal will remember you after you have done this
 

Mini Rex Rabbiters MN

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Coming up to you and nudging you is fantastic progress -- especially if you just got them. They are doing wonderfully!!! It can take some rabbits months (seriously!) to do that. Just keep up what you are doing. Ignore them when they come up to you. They are learning that you are 'safe.' (Skip treats. Eventually you can just hold a piece of their pellet food in your hand. Coming from your hand it is a treat.)

Bear in mind too that they are only 8 weeks of age. That is very young. Contrary to popular myth, early handling does not make a rabbit like to be handled. I like to quote this from a Rabbits USA magazine:

Founder of Bunny Bunch rescue, Caroline Charland, states, "People often think a rabbit must be held a lot as a baby in order to like being held as an adult.I don't find this true at all. Over the years, the Bunny Bunch rescue I founded has saved many mother and baby rabbits from shelters. All the babies were treated the same. When they became adults their personalities varied-- some liked to be held, some hated to be held and some tolerated being held."

You may also want to consider that the general rule of thumb (imo) with new rabbits is to give them a minimum of 48 hours undisturbed in their cage when first brought home. This gives them the opportunity to "own" their new cage and to see it as "their" territory. It also helps them when it comes time to potty training as well. I would give them the next couple days that chance to 'own' their cage area without any human intrusion. Then you can go back in to sit with them and let them approach you as they desire.
Thank you this was very informative!
 

Mini Rex Rabbiters MN

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UPDATE: They seem less scared now. The nudging has continued and they don't run away when I get near them to clean. I put hay in front of me so they know that I am okay to be around :) They've started laying closer to me as well!
 

iHop

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"Contrary to popular myth, early handling does not make a rabbit like to be handled." I'll second that.
 

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