Constant "digging" in cage-- I NEED SLEEP! HELP!

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by windryder201, Apr 9, 2012.

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  1. Apr 9, 2012 #1

    windryder201

    windryder201

    windryder201

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    My female rabbit has in the past week developed an incredibly irritating habit of digging in her cage all through the night. It's making a huge mess in her cage (she's totally ripping the hell out of all her newspaper and flinging it everywhere) and, more importantly, keeps my fiance and I awake throughout the night. WE NEED TO SLEEP. We thought it might be that she suddenly didn't like the dark, but leaving a "nightlight" on didn't help. We thought it might be that the air purifier wasn't on, and turning it on SEEMED to help...but then she started up again half way through the night.

    I'm afraid that this is as "simple" as nesting/maternal behavior. I really cannot afford to have her spayed right now, so I'm hoping someone has another idea. No, I don't believe she could be pregnant either. I've had her for almost a year now, and the only other rabbit she's been around is a neutered male.

    I really need a proper night's rest -_- I can put her out in the kitchen for the night, but it's a huge hassle and I'd rather figure out the problem than keep having to clean up the kitchen floor.
     
  2. Apr 9, 2012 #2

    1234bunnies777

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    You could try to put him/her in something more quiet you load up the cage with soft bedding or fill a litter box with dirt that he/she can dig in. good luck:)
     
  3. Apr 9, 2012 #3

    windryder201

    windryder201

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    The newspaper isn't that noisy. The problem is that she goes straight through it, and then scrambles against the plastic bottom of the cage. Can't do much about that :( I'm thinking about putting some aspen bedding in there so she feels super comfortable and doesn't feel the need to make a mess...but that's the only idea I have so far :(
     
  4. Apr 9, 2012 #4

    MiserySmith

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    Maybe instead of paper, use a blanket in her cage so that when she digs it isn't super loud?
     
  5. Apr 9, 2012 #5

    windryder201

    windryder201

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    Maybe. I was hoping to avoid the chore of cleaning a blanket(s) on a regular basis. She's not incredibly well litter trained 9_9 Her old owners didn't have an actual litter tray for her, so she just sees her whole cage as her litter tray.

    Thank you both for your ideas :) I look forward to hearing more from people
     
  6. Apr 9, 2012 #6

    1234bunnies777

    1234bunnies777

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    could you possibly move her onto the carpet:?
     
  7. Apr 9, 2012 #7

    windryder201

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    I suppose it's possible. Like I said, she isn't incredibly well litter trained. Her cage would still have to be available to her, and she'll dig in it even if she's allowed to run around the room all night. But maybe I could get some carpet samples and use it on the bottom of her cage. It'd be super messy, but maybe better than nothing.
     
  8. Apr 9, 2012 #8

    1234bunnies777

    1234bunnies777

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    That's a tough one my bunnies are old and out of that stage(yes they do stop at some point) but I remember those days. Try giving her another place to dig to get it all out of her system.
     
  9. Apr 9, 2012 #9

    LakeCondo

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    Does she do this during the day as well? Could you try wearing her out in the evening so she won't do it as much overnight? But the long-term solution might be getting her spayed, if she shows other hormonal signs. It's not really fair to her to let her stay this agitated. Yes, pets are a hassle, but that should be known going in.
     
  10. Apr 9, 2012 #10

    windryder201

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    She hasn't been doing it during the day until just recently (although she isn't right now). I think "Wearing her out" might be a good idea.

    I spoke with one of my classmates who also has rabbits, and we're thinking she's pseudopregnant so hopefully this will blow over and I'll be more prepared for if it happens again.

    I realize that the best option is likely to just have her spayed...but I can't afford to do that and it's a somewhat risky elective procedure. I already know she doesn't recover great from anaesthesia (took her a long while to come of anaesthesia at her last dental), so I'd rather not put her into that situation as long as I can manage/tolerate such behavior. Particularly since there is a good chance it wouldn't resolve the behavior anyways.

    On a side note, I have been managing her behavior the best I can for the past many days. I have not been "letting her stay agitated". I could be throwing her out into the living room dog kennel just so I can sleep. Instead I am trying to figure out a solution to this problem with the resources I have. I don't appreciate your implication that I am more concerned with convenience than the welfare of my animal. It is not an incorrect decision to choose to efficiently manage a behavior instead of opt for an elective surgical procedure. I came here for more ideas, not your chiding.

    If you did not mean to come off in this manner, I apologize for jumping on you. I just don't appreciate being called an inconsiderate pet owner when I'm doing everything within my means to make my animal happy.
     
  11. Apr 10, 2012 #11

    LaylaLop

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    If possible I'd do as others suggest: giving her a digging outlet during the day. Mine have been going to town on their litterbox and I solved that problem by putting their litterbox in a plastic sterlite bin with an entrance hole.

    If you have a yard/garage, maybe you could put her in an xpen/secure fenced area with lots of pots of dirt and cardboard boxes of things to shred like newspaper/cardboard tubes. That way she'd get to dig her energy away and hopefully the night time digging would stop. It probably wouldn't even have to be an everyday thing, but maybe once every weekend or so?

    If the night time digging doesn't stop, maybe you could try removing her noisy things during the night and throwing a towel down where she likes to dig? I've found mine like pulling carpet strings more on rugs than towels, so might be less messy that way.

    I also gave my bunnies a digging/shredding cardboard box that I stuffed with hay and paper. They don't seem to thunk around at night as much if they get that during the day. So might be an option to give her while you're gone.

    When I was a student I didn't have time to let my bunnies out daily, and sometimes now I don't have the time to. I know they often act out more when feeling pent up.

    As for the pseudopregnancy, they can be quite stressful on female rabbits, as well as on you. My Layla has had one false pregnancy (included her nesting) and has started mounting things. I am having her spayed next week since I would like these hormonal behaviors to end. I had rabbits in the past that lived unspayed until 8 years and didn't have these behavioral issues.

    In the end, it's up to you, but personally I am choosing spaying over her hormonal destruction. I have found a qualified exotics vet and trust that it's not as risky in her hands. (When I volunteered there, I saw her spay guinea pigs, rats, and mice before)
     
  12. Apr 10, 2012 #12

    funnybunnymummy

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    I don't recommend keeping rabbits in bedrooms for this very reason. They can be quite active at night and can be quite persistent, especially if they know their behaviour is getting your attention.

    I recommend moving her to another room. If that's not possible, then you may have to invest in earplugs.

    As for spaying, true, it's not cheap, but I beg to differ about calling it a risky procedure. In all my years here on RO, I've only heard of one rabbit dying during a spay. There are RO rabbits being spayed every day here on RO. Heck, Fraggles has been spayed twice! In the hands of an experienced vet, using proper procedures, spaying is no more risky for rabbits than for cats or dogs.

    Hope that helps!

    Rue
     
  13. Apr 10, 2012 #13

    windryder201

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    If this behavior continues despite everything I do, or reoccurs, I'll probably go ahead and spay her. As has been stated, this isn't very fun for anyone!! I'm just right before my next loan dispersal and quite literally have every penny dedicated to one bill or another until May. I'm less concerned about the spay itself. Our teaching clinic's exotic veterinarian is a very good exotics vet (he, literally, wrote the book on exotic pharmaceuticals). But, as I mentioned previously, she didn't recover well from anaesthesia so I'm hesitant to put her under again unnecessarily.

    My present plan is two fold. In hopes of decreasing noise, I'm going to put a cardboard bottom on her cage, cover that with newspaper (my usual bedding), a light layer of aspen on that and a grass mat in her digging corner of preference. In hopes of giving her plenty of nesting material and somewhere to nest, I'm going to rip up a bunch MORE newspaper for her to use as nesting material (instead of ripping it up herself!)and some other assorted materials to use as nesting material (such as the aspen bedding), and then her expandable play tube to use as the framework of her "nest". If she doesn't like that, I'll find a box (I just don't have one readily available atm). I'm also going to have a towel readily available to put in that corner if it turns out to be necessary...

    funnybunny: she does have to live in my room, unfortunately. My roommate has two dogs who are VERY interested in my buns. They're both well trained and polite about their interest...but my female is always very unhappy with their presence.

    In the end, I probably will spay her to just decrease some of her more unsavory behaviors...but it's just not possible right now. If I wait another month, I can spay her when I'm right there in the teaching hospital every day to keep tabs on her, my classmates will be the ones on her case, and I'll have a fresh set of loans to pay for it!

    Thank you for your ideas and help, everyone. I appreciate it!
     
  14. Apr 10, 2012 #14

    LakeCondo

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    Sounds like a good plan.
     
  15. Apr 10, 2012 #15

    Nancy McClelland

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    If you can, try another room or the bathroom overnight.
     
  16. Apr 10, 2012 #16

    windryder201

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    That's still an option, although i'd prefer not to do that unless this doesn't work...She's rather attached to my male rabbit, and used to me and my noise and I don't think she'd be very pleased being in a room by herself all night.

    (yes, I've tried putting the male with her, or letting them out to romp around together all night. It help some, but not much)
     
  17. Apr 10, 2012 #17

    qtipthebun

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    Tippy and I had a two step process when she was keeping me up at night (that is, once the spray bottle stopped bothering her). Step one: towel over cage. Step two: if behavior continued, lug cage to bathroom and feel lonely all night without her cute little noises (but glad to not have to hear the loud ones).

    Now we're at the point where she has run of my room because it just got too difficult to keep moving her. What type of cage is she in? I find that when Tip is in her little cage here, on the rare occasion that I have to lock her, she makes a ton of noise. But...at home in her big NIC cage, she sleeps through the night.
     
  18. Apr 10, 2012 #18

    windryder201

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    she's in one of the 30" cages that's really best for rabbits smaller than her. She gets to spend a good amount of time out of it, though. I just didn't have the space in here for her big cage, and this is the only size cage that fits on my animal shelf. It's still much bigger than the one her old owners had her in...Honestly I wouldn't even have wanted my rat in it!!
     
  19. Apr 10, 2012 #19

    windryder201

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    Well, at one point I had to get up to shove the towel in a corner she decided to dig in that wasn't the corner I had "Defended". After that, nice and quiet...

    Then she started up again this morning, but we just let her out and she went to town on one of the boxes under my dresser. So lets hope she'll be a nice happy bun!
     
  20. Apr 10, 2012 #20

    NewBunnyMomma

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    Have you tried finding a low cost spay/ neuter clinic in your area?

    I am going to take mine to one in the next couple of weeks. They charge $55 per rabbit for spay or neuter and that is all they do is alter cats, dogs and rabbits so they are very knowledgeable.
     

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