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How to litter train an unspayed female

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Lilsakli

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If she is also digging out the litter box?

she is a 2 year old Holland lop that I got a few days ago off of Craigslist. She weighs 4 lb. From what I was told, I believed she was left in a cage majority of her life prior to being given to me. I believe she is a bit overweight. Currently she is housed in an xpen, and the cage that she came in from is being used as a litter box. I am slowly expanding her space but the many poop droppings in the xpen is very discouraging.

she pees in the litter box but poops outside it. I’ve placed hay in the litter box, but all she wants to do is dig in there and make a mess of everything, pellets will fly in her water tray (I keep the water tray in the cage/litter box because she has a habit of flipping bowl). I secured the bowl with Velcro to the ground of cage, this is temporary as I’m in the process of buying a bowl that can be screwed onto the cage.

I plan to get her spayed, but currently trying to find cheaper clinic, which none are responding to due to the covid pandemic. I am based in the US/northeast region in case you guys are wondering. So far Ive been quoted for 500-600 dollars for female spay by available clinics. And I just had my male neutered for 500 a month ago.

I am worried that if my male is to be bonded to her, he will also develop poor litter habits and will also dig at the box, which he has not done any of the above.

there is also the possibility of a failed bond. I am worried to pay 500-600 for her spay but ultimately the bond does not work.

I also attached a pic of her setup, there’s no poo because I picked them all up and transferred them into both litter box, but trust me she poos a lot.
 

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Blue eyes

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Hello and welcome to the forum!

It's quite normal for a rabbit to leave plenty of extra territorial poos about in the early days (or weeks) of moving to a new home. The fact that her urine is all in the box means she is trained... just doing territorial markings. It should settle down in time.

Based on the photo you provided, there are a couple suggestions that could help out. First would be to make the flooring more consistent throughout the pen to make a clear distinction between the potty area and the non-potty area. [Puppy pads can also be a chewing hazard.] You could try something like a cheap piece of fleece or a bedsheet or a plastic tarp. If you are looking to protect your floor, the plastic tarp topped with a sheet or piece of fleece works well. I'll attach a couple of examples.

The second suggestion would be to layer the litter box with wood pellets (not shavings) and top with hay. You can see those in the photos (kind of). The wood pellets not only absorb urine odor better, but they also make a clear distinction in footing from the rest of the cage floor -- helps bun recognize the difference.

This first photo (apologies for low quality) shows a flannel sheet set down first toward the back of the cage. It wasn't quite large enough to cover to the front, so the blue fleece was placed overlapping the sheet to cover the rest of the pen area.

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This second photo was in a hotel (so temporary). It has a blue plastic tarp down on the floor. Then that blue fleece material was placed on top of the tarp. The only reason the cushy mat was placed in also was because it had come from their cage at home -- a familiar smell for them while being away from home.
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In both photos, you'll see (if you look closely enough) a water bowl that twists onto a clamp that is attached to the pen wall. I'm guessing that is what you are getting. They work great!

The wood pellets are quite popular among our members here. They are very inexpensive compared to other litters. They can be found at hardware stores or feed stores. They run around $5-$7 for a 40lb bag! Here's more on pellets for litter:
 

Lilsakli

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I laid out the puppy pad outside the cage because the first two days she left soft uneaten cecotropes that was hard to clean up. Today she has not done that.

interesting about wood pellet, will try that

I initially had fleece blanket on the ground but she peed on that, so I am not too certain if she is truly litter trained. Should I still try fleece blanket even though she will pee on that?
 

Blue eyes

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If she peed on the soft fleece than it might be best to get a plastic tarp for now and just use that for flooring until she gets her habits established.
1613418480494.png
 

Lilsakli

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I forgot to mention that the red plastic table cloth is when I expand the xpen to let her play, but during the night or unsupervised, this is the space that she gets, as seen in pic below. It looks messy because I have to cover the area so that my male rabbit won’t constantly approach the xpen and stress her out (he is free roam).
 

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JBun

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A screen to cover the litter and prevent digging is the best way to stop that behavior, if covering the litter in hay doesn't work. There are screens that you can buy, mostly metal mesh. I don't like the metal or hard plastic ones as I want something softer on my bunnies feet. I made mine, out of pet mesh screen and frp cap moulding. I've also used plastic cross stitch fabric. It's easier to cut to size, but not as chew resistant. This is the screen I made and use now for my buns.



Sometimes providing a cardboard dig box filled with crumpled newspaper, can help alleviate the digging in the litter box, but not always. And the dig box may also get peed in. Which I will just change out the soiled newspaper and even the box, as needed.

The territorial poop marking will also be happening because you have another rabbit around, so she's letting him know that is her area.
 

Blue eyes

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I wondered about tarps. They don't slip on those? They don't chew them?
The tarps aren't slippery. Some rabbits may chew them. Depends, of course, on the rabbit. I prefer to have something over the tarp like a flannel bed sheet. A regular cotton sheet could work but tends to slip about on the tarp. The flannel sheets are heavier and thicker so they stay put better. Fleece also seems to work better than a standard bed sheet. But a bun may chew any sheet or fleece or tarp.

[I've seen some try to use a plastic shower curtain liner but that is definitely too thin and apt to be chewed. The liners may work with guinea pigs but a bunny's nails can easily poke holes in them. ]
 
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