Getting my previously perfectly-litterbox-trained rabbits to go back to some of their old habits...

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by Ivory, Dec 31, 2011.

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  1. Dec 31, 2011 #1

    Ivory

    Ivory

    Ivory

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    So. Since Adopting Candyfloss (who is much whiter and less pink lately) my rabbits have slowly progressed downwards in terms of their pooping and peeing outside of the litterbox. Before, they were all perfect. Now....not so much.

    It's marking. The three don't get along remotely. Erik sorta tolerates Candyfloss, but Sofie hates her with an utter passion. So this is what they do: When Candyfloss is out, she goes poop and pee all around their cage. When Erik/Sofie are out, they go poop and pee all around her cage.

    They can't be put in separated rooms as we have one huge HEPA filter that allows both my and my bf's allergies to tolerate having the rabbits inside. I know someone will suggest getting another filter, but you can shell out the $300 for a decent one.;)

    My question is- how can I stop some of this? I can tolerate turds but the peeing on the carpet is beginning to become a huge problem. I started using Nature's Miracle, which has eliminated the pee smell for them and so Erik and Candy have been peeing considerably less, but they're still doing it. If I can't get them to stop, how can I direct this behavior to something that is more beneficial (re: sanitary) for human but still allows bunnehs to get out their territory marking?? Suggestions??? Help...?
     
  2. Dec 31, 2011 #2

    Ivory

    Ivory

    Ivory

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    Cute Christmas pic of Candyfloss:
     
  3. Jan 2, 2012 #3

    Luvr of Wabbits and Polar Bears

    Luvr of Wabbits and Polar Bears

    Luvr of Wabbits and Polar Bears

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    Ivory I have no help for you but CandyFloss is ADORABLE
     
  4. Jan 2, 2012 #4

    Buttercup n Charlie

    Buttercup n Charlie

    Buttercup n Charlie

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    Are they spayed? Females tend to get along less with each other, and tend to be more territorial. Spaying helps ...
     
  5. Jan 2, 2012 #5

    Korr_and_Sophie

    Korr_and_Sophie

    Korr_and_Sophie

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    Can you put some kind of barrier around the cage? It could just be some NIC grids that you can move around to the cage that has the rabbits who are not out. This would keep the out rabbit from getting too close to the cage and maybe stop them from marking there.
    Putting something easy to clean around the cage should at least help with clean up. The foam mats could work, but anything easy to clean will also be fine. I won't stop the behaviour, just make it easier to clean up. Even puppy pads could work in a pinch.

    I had a similar issue before Korr and Amelia were bonded. They lived in the same room. She was intact at the time. When she was out and he was not, she would pee around the door to his cage. If both were out, I don't think she did it. It stopped once she moved into his cage (she was still intact at this point).

     
  6. Jan 3, 2012 #6

    OneTwoThree

    OneTwoThree

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    From what I've researched, the only way to stop territorial marking is to get rid of the hormones inducing it, and get them altered. My Lady bun is a crazy pooper right now, I'm so excited to get her spayed on Wed so I don't have to clean up poop every day anymore.

    Are you planning on bonding them?
     
  7. Jan 3, 2012 #7

    Ivory

    Ivory

    Ivory

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    All three are spayed or neutered and have been for years, with the exception of Candyfloss- she was spayed in August. Still it has been enough months for most of the hormonal behavior to die. However, because the other two were neutered after being single adults for a long time, and had therefore developed much of the territorial behavior associated with being such, the marking behavior never fully went away.

    I would really like to bond them, but I'm not sure it will really work. Sofie and Erik and tight bondmates and have been for the last two years. Candy was a recent addition in September. I was hoping that she and the others would get along but none of the normal ways of bonding have worked. Candy is only about 7-8 months old, whereas Erik and Sofie are 6 (Sofie may be slightly older. She was also a rescue and was fully developed at the time of her spay in 2008. They said she was 2-3 years old at the time so I assume that she is 6-7.)

    Candyfloss also seems extremely content being the Queen Bun of Her Domain. It's better to have bonded pairs but she has bonded pretty intensely to my boyfriend and I- similar to Erik before I got Sofie. I tried speed-dates with over 25 rabbits before he clicked okay with Sofie. Fostered 6 in hopes of bonding. Never worked. But I'm digressing lol.

    The mats sound like a good idea- for a while, I had a "smell barrier" up between each cage and it seemed to be working, but now it seems that they just ignore it and remark. Really, I could tolerate the turds, it's the urine into the carpet that I really would like to alleviate as much as possible. Turds are unsightly but easy enough to vacuum up in about 30 seconds. Pee requires soaking the carpet. NIC grids may also been of use, so they can't get right up onto one another.

    Thanks for the help though, ya'll. I really appreciate it and would love to hear more suggestions. Thanks so much.
     
  8. Jan 4, 2012 #8

    jujub793

    jujub793

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    Yes I would love to hear more suggestions since I have the same exact problem!!
     
  9. Jan 4, 2012 #9

    OneTwoThree

    OneTwoThree

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    What about trying to mix their scents? It'll be worse at first, but after a couple weeks (?) it might stop? Switch their pens nightly, switch beds or litter boxes or something?
     
  10. Jan 6, 2012 #10

    Ivory

    Ivory

    Ivory

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    When I first had them, I tried the mixing scents thing. It didn't work very well for mine at all. Instead of differentiating their litter pans, they used the whole room as a litter pan, lol. I tried this for two months and it didn't work.

    But I have found something that seems to work relatively well. Firstly, Sofie decided that she wanted to start chewing carpet. It was next to the drawer I keep their pellets and treats in. I think she was trying to see if she could dig in. Well, she left a little hole in the carpet where she went to town (thankfully not that noticeable.)But I decided to go ahead and spray the spot, along with surrounding baseboards and the drawer corners itself, with some no chew spray.

    The second thing I did: I purchased some Spot Shot cleaner, and some Nature's Miracle heavy duty urine remover. I have also used Equalizer to great effect. Anyway, I used this to completely get up the urine stains. I will also point out that the person who owned the house before us had an cat of some sort that had left some pretty ickity permanent urine stains on the carpet. So maybe that's why the rabbits started thinking it was okay to pee there. They tried to clean it but didn't do the best job. Anyways, I soaked the bejeezus out of these areas pretty consistently. I have stayed on top of any potential urine stains as well.

    Well I will be danged if it completely has repelled the rabbits from peeing around each others' cages! I don't understand!!!! And the poop production has been decreased significantly. I'm thinking that this "smell barrier" thing is working actually relatively well. Yesterday, I literally picked up ten poops. This is a MAJOR improvement, yay!!!! This has been going on since the 2nd but has pretty much stopped since the 5th. Even when I changed their cages- even less of it.

    I would also like to say that I personally don't care about occasional tears in the carpet, but my boyfriend does, so I try to keep the areas as nice as possible. Thankfully, they all seem to leave the woodworks alone as long as they have hay, food, water, blankets, toys, cardboard and a bunch of willow sticks to chew on, so that isn't too much of a problem.
     

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