Cage Aggression

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cirrustwi

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After 10+ years of keeping rabbits, I thought I'd dealt with every issue, but this is a new one for me. I've dealt with cage aggression in young rabbits, new mothers and in fosters that haven't necessarily learned that humans are good things, but Raisin has stumped me and nothing I try with him is working.

Tim and Foo were a great bonded pair, but Tim never took to Raisin, so I didn't worry about it and split play times and kept putting off Raisin's neuter off. After Tim's passing, I couldn't put it off any longer. Foo was with him when he died and she was just devastated. I knew if I got him neutered at that point, she might be ready to bond with him once the testosterone was out of his system. I tried to bond them just before we moved, but he was still all over her. They finally found their niche when we moved. This meant that Raisin moved to Foo's cage. It went well at first and he still shares nicely with her, but he has become extremely cage aggressive to any person or animal other then Foo who even comes near the cage. They are both litter trained, so I tried just removing the cage and putting out an area rug with their litter box, food and water...he claimed the rug. They are never locked in the cage, he just lays in it and pounces on us. I just got my hand torn up trying to give him a treat while he was sitting in front of the cage. Yesterday, he took on my 100lb black lab (who would never hurt a fly and adores all rabbits) and the dog ran crying the other way. God help my cats. I had to move their food because he wouldn't let them past the rug.

I'm hoping for a different perspective and any suggestions. I'd really like to be able to go out my back door without a confrontation from a 3lb rabbit. :embarrassed:
 

Azerane

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I wish I had some experienced advice to give, my only suggestion is to read up on different techniques on dealing with aggressive/defensive bunnies (which you've probably already done). What's he like when he's away from his cage, or is he pretty much in it all the time?
 

whiskylollipop

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This is just a hunch on my part, but I'd hazard at a guess that he may be using area aggression to compensate for environmental insecurity. You said their cage (when they had it) is never locked and you tried keeping their stuff on just a rug - I'm interpreting that to mean they are 100% free range, with no clearly defined boundaries for "their" territory?

Rabbits are naturally burrow-dwelling animals and I'm sure you're familiar with their "prey mentality" which means they constantly require a certain level of security from potential predators. With cats, a dog, and you (and more people, I'm sure) walking in and around the bunnies' completely open area, I can see how a bun might feel insecure in that situation and turn violent to ensure the safety of himself and Foo.

I don't really know how you could give him safe spaces and a sense of security while keeping them fully free range... maybe tunnels or small pet sleeping "huts" to hide in? I don't know if that would help, just throwing out my opinion here. Hope you figure out what's giving Raisin the sads.
 

cirrustwi

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Thanks guys! I'm sorry I didn't clarify, they have their cage back. He lays in it sometimes, but I rarely close the door, they are basically free range. Unless he is laying in or near the cage, he is wonderful and loving. He recently destroyed the box he liked to hide in, so I'm going to have to find him something else...maybe that will help. I'd love to find him something a little more sturdy then cardboard, but Foo is a Flemish mix and they cuddle all the time, so I need something she can fit in too.

Thanks again!
 

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