"Free Range" Bunnies

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by philososaurus, Jan 17, 2010.

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  1. Jan 17, 2010 #1

    philososaurus

    philososaurus

    philososaurus

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    I let me bunnies roam my (small) apartment cage-free. It presents an interesting new set of issues that no bunny book covers.

    High points: My first bunny potty trained herself. Yoshi didn't see the cage as "punishment" so, after she realized she was free to come and go, she decided where she wanted to.. go.

    Low points: I have a new bunny, Amelie. Both unneutered females (one 6 months, the other a year and 9), fairly dominant, same size-ish (or will be), neither aggressive (though Yoshi is territorial over me still). Consequently they are both running around marking, which completely undid Yoshi's potty training. Though I will say, they get CLOSE to the cage 99% of the time (the exception being when one has decided that they want a corner to themselves, which doesn't sit well with the other).

    Does anyone else let their bunnies roam?
     
  2. Jan 17, 2010 #2

    fuzz16

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    i do

    i had an unspayed female, just got her done but she was free roaming before the spay
    i didnt have the marking problem, but females in general tend to pee everywhere wherever whenever they want. id recommend seperate out times
    add a couple more litter boxes too
     
  3. Jan 17, 2010 #3

    Rabbit Hero

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    I do as well however, I caged my bun at first and gradually gave him more freedom. I still have a carrier hanging around for "time outs" if he needs them. I found that if I popped him back in his caged every time he did something wrong it was very affective towards his bad behavior. I have never had to deal with a female though so I don't know how much they will differ.

    If he was running around outside his cage and I saw that familiar bunny stance they take when they are about to use the bathroom, I would say "ah ah!" (sort of the way you might say to a dog, my bun responds to this sound pretty well) and if I wasn't to late my bun would stop. I would pick him up, pop him in his litter. And 99% of the time he would use it. Aside from a few stray poops now and then I have very little problems.
     
  4. Jan 17, 2010 #4

    philososaurus

    philososaurus

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    Ya, the problem with the caging was that my older bunny, Yoshi, was not having it. They got along a lot better out. The potty training really doesn't bother me too much, as I see progress so I feel like, slowly, they're teaching themselves. Though when I notice a certain place away from their "cage" (which has their litter in it) I do set a box down. Though they generally move it so that they can poo there. Oi.

    Did this process allow for a lot of bonding? I mean, hand training at least. Amelie was a little freaked out by being approached by a big person in a big space.

    She was handled a lot as a baby. I think part of the reason she isn't fond of being held is because she never sees Yoshi held. As mentioned, Yoshi is NOT happy to be picked up and really fights me. I'd love for her to get more comfortable in my arms, but honestly, she sleeps next to me every night, so you won't find me complaining in the least.

    However, things are greatly improving here. I had a friend (and fellow bunny owner, he actually gave me Amelie) come over yesterday and we picked her up and held her quite a bit. He's slightly more dominating than I am with them. I think I'm too tentative and my nerves and fear of hurting them rubs off on them.

    Did your bunny have a harder time warming up to you being free range?
     
  5. Jan 17, 2010 #5

    philososaurus

    philososaurus

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    How did the whole spaying process go?

    So far both bunnies are pretty chill so I don't think I'll need to spay either of them...
     
  6. Jan 17, 2010 #6

    Myia09

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    I really feel I need to make my English Lop a free roam..but at 9 weeks his poops are SO BIG I am afraid of what they will be when he is full grown..lol...
     
  7. Jan 17, 2010 #7

    GorbyJobRabbits

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    I do not. But I do not see them as house pets.

    I would work on the litter training and the neutering will probably help. Rabbit pee and stains are not cool to get rid of.
     
  8. Jan 18, 2010 #8

    funnybunnymummy

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    Getting them spayed should improve their litter box habits. As you've noted, they're peeing to mark their territory. Once they're spayed, the need to be so territorial will subside (though rabbits will always be fairly territorial) and you can then focus on their litter box training.

    Of course, you do need to make some effort to train them. Catching them when they're about to pee and putting them into the boxworked for me (though I've got a male). Also, put a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water into a spray bottle and use that to clean up the pee stains and the odour.

    If you want to litter train them, you have to act decisively and swiftly. Once rabbits form habits it can be very difficult to train them out of it!

    Hope that helps!

    Rue
     
  9. Jan 18, 2010 #9

    elrohwen

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    I still think you should strongly consider spaying. It's just far healthier and will extend their lives by as many as 7 years!

    Plus, it should drastically help their litter training. Unspayed females, especially when kept together, will probably always mark to some extent.
     
  10. Jan 18, 2010 #10

    philososaurus

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    I was afraid it was risky for them! Is it really necessary?
     
  11. Jan 18, 2010 #11

    Mrs. PBJ

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    philososaurus wrote:
    Buns get spayed everyday.

    There is alway a risk with surgery bur if you have a rabbit savy vet you should be ok.
     
  12. Jan 18, 2010 #12

    bunnylove817

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    I believe it is necessary (unless breeding). Female rabbits have a high, high percentage of getting uterine cancer (upwards of 80% I believe) and it helps control all of there bunny hormones! It is especially important for females!

    It shouldn't be to risky as long as you have a rabbit savvy vet, and that is usually the hard part.
     
  13. Jan 18, 2010 #13

    katt

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    I also have a free range bunny.

    we have 3 buns, right now toulouse and chaucer are kept caged except for run around time everyday. simply because toulouse chews beds (the ONLY thing he will chew, but will go at them like crazy if not watched) and chaucer is only like 5 months old, so he doesn't have the trust to be let free roam

    winnie has had free range for about 2 years now. she has great litter habbits, and the only thing she will chew is my books when mad at me lol. she leaves all carpet, cords, and wood alone. although she does like to get into things in the kitchen (powdered sugar, cornmeal, flour,ect. . . she will do anything to make a mess). she has figured out how to jump on the counter and open cupboards.

    winnie is spayed, and i agree that even just for the health benifits to do so.

    winnie is out all the time, but during the night and when i am not home i normally shut her in my bedroom. she sleeps in bed with me at night, and loves to sit in the bathroom when i take a shower. she does have a cage, and when she acts bad she gets to be in time out. but other then that her cage is for the litterbox, and food and water.

    i plan on having chaucer free range once he is fixed, a little older, and bonded with winnie
     
  14. Jan 18, 2010 #14

    Rabbit Hero

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    Hmm He still hates being picked up, but when he was in "pee stance" it was pretty easy to scoop him up quickly. But I found that I actually started bonding better with my rabbit once he became free range. I putter around doing my thing, he follows me and I can reach down and give him head rubs all day long. He loves being with me now, it's such a wonderful feeling. He loves to explore anything that I'm working with and he provides me with constant love and entertainment. When I've been gone all day he will scamper up to me (he stays in the bedroom when I'm not home or at night) and beg for pets and treats.

    I see that we're all agreeing that you get your bunny spayed. Everyone is mentioning the health benefits, which are an awesome reason to get her fixed. However, Shino had almost a drastic temperament change after he was neutered. It is only since his neuter that he has began to bond with me so well. Fixing your rabbit generally makes them calmer and less aggressive. Your bun may become much cuddlier after she is spayed.

    Your bun's might not like the idea of so much space so fast. Introduce them to being free range slowly. You don't want to stress them out to much. Some rabbits really like the comfort of their cages, so keep one open and available to them in case they feel the need to run and hide. I only recently took his cage away when it was apparent he wasn't using it any more.

    So yes, my bun is bonding with me very well as a free range, neutered rabbit. I would say that just about any type of interaction you do with your rabbit is going to allow for a bonding experience. Remember that it can take some rabbits months to bond with their humans. I have had Shino for about 8 months and I feel we really only just started to bond.
     
  15. Jan 18, 2010 #15

    tonyshuman

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    My bunnies still poop everywhere. They're a neutered male and spayed female pair, and the other bunnies in the apartment are also a neutered male and spayed female pair. They both mark their territory out so the others know what's theirs by pooping.
     
  16. Jan 19, 2010 #16

    Flash

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    When I got Bentley he was litterbox trained but when I let him roam he would pee & poop everywhere. I have another bunny and so he's marking things until I caught him peeing and back into the pen, then again it happened he hasn't peed in months. His poops have dwindled and my other bunny would pee and poop when Bentley did so it was one bunny out at a time so now it's alot better and with Bentley neutered it won't be a competition thing.

    Myia I have an EL and he's 6 mos and I couldn't believe the size of his poops they will stay the same size, hehe.
     
  17. Jan 19, 2010 #17

    digitalsushi

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    flash i love your bunny's ears, soooo cute and droopy:)

    i let my bunny Mimiroam from day dot. I live in an apartment with an enlosed balcony. We built a bunny house on the balcony next to her litter box so she has some shelter so I can shut her out there if need be when I sleep, but otherwise i tend to leave the door open andMimi will come in and out as she pleases. My boyfriend and I were really heavy handed with litter training, but it paid off as she everytime she needs to go, she'll make her way outside to go before coming back - so i've not had any pee or poop accidents.

    I have considered in getting a cage for her as she is slowly destroying my furniture and cables and we're moving in a few weeks to a bigger place - so i'm considering making thecage change forboth of themat the new house-but currently she's happy with the balcony situation at the moment. I haven't decided what to do with my new bunny as yet, but he's currently roaming free too.
     
  18. Jan 21, 2010 #18

    Violet23

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    I wish i could let my Jezzabelle be free range, but with all the cats and dogs in the house Im afraid she would get hurt or attacked, so during the day while Im at school she stays in her house.
     
  19. Jan 21, 2010 #19

    Nancy McClelland

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    It varies from bun to bun. Commander Bun-Bun always went in the hutch that was on the floor to do everything--never left a stray pellet around--very neat rabbit. The others would use the hutch or one of the many boxes laying around--never had them use the floor for peeing more than a few times--reminded them there were litter boxes and a hutch. However, some of them would leave pellets all over, especially when they would lay in one spot for awhile. That's what shop vacs are for.
     
  20. Jan 21, 2010 #20

    nicolevins

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    I am not allowed to have my bunnies stay in the house :shock:

    So, I cant let them go around by themselves. We have a back garden, but we rarely have 'predators' such as birds, poisinous spiders, racoons, foxes or cats. We live in the city therefore we dont have that kind of stuff :D We get the odd pigeon around, but never a cat. Sometimes we might get a cat at midnight roaming around the front, on the street, but.. I wouldnt let them out without supervison/in the day time.

    When I get home from school I let them out in the garden, then when it gets dark I take them in until I go to bed.


    :)
     

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