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Liter training is going to make me go insane.

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Anthony707

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I cannot figure this out. I am so stressed. I've been trying forever and I just can't. A few months back I thought it was going to be fixed once they're all fixed but it still isn't. I have 3 bunnies, 1 girl, 2 boys. They're all spayed/castrated and I thought it would fix the issue but it doesn't. A few weeks ago I installed an area rug for them but that seemed to make it all worse, so I took it back out, and it's still happening. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. Does it need to be a certain type of bedding? Should I make like 3 liter boxes instead of 1 big one? They all share a fairly big one, It fits all 3 with plenty of room, but maybe I should give them each their own? I'm fairly certain its the most recent one I got that's having the issues training, but I've had him for half a year now. Any ideas or thoughts are appreciated. I think for now, I plan on upgrading the amounts of liter boxes, see if that helps.
 

Mac189

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I think adding one or two more litter boxes is a great idea. Also, be sure to clean any spots where they've used the bathroom thoroughly so they can no longer smell it. Vinegar works well, I used Meyers Clean day lemongrass scent, which both me and Willa hated so much we could barely tolerate it (It actually smells good, I just hate scented sprays) Not all rabbits thrive as free roam, but those techniques should help.
 

JBun

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Could you post a picture of their area? There may be some alterations that we can suggest that could help. Can you give a brief history of when they were all bonded together, and what their litter habits were before being bonded, then what happened after being bonded? Also the type of litter you use and what their litter box set up is like(include a litter box photo with their area photo)? And are they mostly having accidents in one area or is it not consistent with where they leave a puddle?
 

Anthony707

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I usually line their box with a puppy pad and then a thin layer of paper bedding, but I'm currently out of pads for it.

They been bonded fully since about November, but even now it seems the males are having issues still. Nobody bothers the girl. She lives her life peace free, but randomly, the newest male will charge at the other one and just bite him? And pull a chunk of hair out sometimes, cause I'll find them on my floor. Then they'll flop together and groom each other. I don't get it. Maybe he's still trying to prove dominance and that's why its not working. I'm not sure. I got him fixed hoping it would actually stop this and the black bun could have some peace.

They (which I'm fairly certain the white bun is the prime one) just kinda use it, wherever? I'll come home to find my bed covered in droppings and pee, the floor is covered. Its kind of just, everywhere.

Again, they're all fixed/spayed. All free roamed, w/o a cage at all.IMG-20210118-105152.jpg
 

Happy Hollands

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The first step in free roaming bunnies is making sure they are fully potty trained. I strongly advise going back to step one, and using a puppy pen to make their area smaller. Once they start using the litter box, you can open it up and let them free roam again! Always retract if their bad habits come back. Keep in mind, rabbits tends to pee on soft things - maybe it would help if you made your bed unaccessible?

 

JBun

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Even fixed rabbits have dominance issues, it's just less. Rabbits in a group have a hierarchy. There's always the potential for minor squabbles, nipping, and chasing. As long as the subordinate buns know their place and it doesn't break out into a fight, this is all normal behavior. I have a group of 7 and the boss bun chases and nips at the lesser buns when she wants them to move out of her way. As long as they move it's not a problem(and they do move), and at the end of the day they still groom each other and snuggle together.

So for the litter box issues, I think you need to restrict your groups freedom for a while. No bed, no rugs, nothing soft, some rabbits can't resist peeing on soft things. And you may need to also cut back on the floor space they get too. Use xpen panels to block off your bed and restrict their area. They were probably given too much space too quickly, without those litter box habits being set first.

I would also provide more litter boxes, at least for now(some may be removed as litter box habits improve). As many litter boxes as are needed to make sure they are always using the litter box, including filling up the whole floor space of their area if needed. Then after a few weeks, remove one litter box and see how they do. Start by removing the least used litter box, one every few weeks as they are consistently using the litter boxes. and not peeing outside of them. Til you are left with only the most used litter boxes, maybe only two so they have a choice of which to use. The problem you may be having is the boss bun is hogging the litter box and the subordinate bun needs to pee but isn't allowed in the litter box. So they need more than one to chose from in this case.

I would also suggest a change of bedding/litter unless you really like what you are using now. I've found wood pellet litter to be the cheapest and best at absorbing urine and controlling smell. Plain wood stove pellets(I prefer pine/fir over hardwood ones) work or equine bedding pellets(what I use now) are both the cheapest options. Or there is feline pine at pet stores if you don't have access to the other two. It's just not as cheap.

I like to make it 1-1.5 inches deep so the urine drains away and is covered up well by the top layer of pellets(also helps control smell). Then make sure the pellet litter is topped with a soft layer of hay as some rabbits don't like the feel of the hard pellets on their feet. And change out the wet hay at least every few days so it doesn't start to grow mold. Also making sure the litter doesn't get too soiled or wet. Some rabbits will stop using their litter box if they feel wet bedding on their feet.

I think your bedding may be getting too wet(just from looking at the photo), and they also need a lot more hay covering the bedding. They should always have lots of hay to pick through and the leftovers get left as a layer covering their bedding is how it should work. Hay makes a good cover for the bedding to keep it in place, drain urine away, and lock in the urine odor under the hay(consider it part of the bedding/litter). If hay cost is an issue, I would suggest going to a feed store(if you don't already) or reliable hay farmer, and buying a bale of good horse quality grass hay(no mold, no noxious weeds, low dust). This is the most affordable way to provide lots of the needed hay for rabbits. Buying bags from pet stores is so much more expensive.

So I would try these changes and see how it goes.




 
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Anthony707

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Even fixed rabbits have dominance issues, it's just less. Rabbits in a group have a hierarchy. There's always the potential for minor squabbles, nipping, and chasing. As long as the subordinate buns know their place and it doesn't break out into a fight, this is all normal behavior. I have a group of 7 and the boss bun chases and nips at the lesser buns when she wants them to move out of her way. As long as they move it's not a problem(and they do move), and at the end of the day they still groom each other and snuggle together.

So for the litter box issues, I think you need to restrict your groups freedom for a while. No bed, no rugs, nothing soft, some rabbits can't resist peeing on soft things. And you may need to also cut back on the floor space they get too. Use xpen panels to block off your bed and restrict their area. They were probably given too much space too quickly, without those litter box habits being set first.

I would also provide more litter boxes, at least for now(some may be removed as litter box habits improve). As many litter boxes as are needed to make sure they are always using the litter box, including filling up the whole floor space of their area if needed. Then after a few weeks, remove one litter box and see how they do. Start by removing the least used litter box, one every few weeks as they are consistently using the litter boxes. and not peeing outside of them. Til you are left with only the most used litter boxes, maybe only two so they have a choice of which to use. The problem you may be having is the boss bun is hogging the litter box and the subordinate bun needs to pee but isn't allowed in the litter box. So they need more than one to chose from in this case.

I would also suggest a change of bedding/litter unless you really like what you are using now. I've found wood pellet litter to be the cheapest and best at absorbing urine and controlling smell. Plain wood stove pellets(I prefer pine/fir over hardwood ones) work or equine bedding pellets(what I use now) are both the cheapest options. Or there is feline pine at pet stores if you don't have access to the other two. It's just not as cheap.

I like to make it 1-1.5 inches deep so the urine drains away and is covered up well by the top layer of pellets(also helps control smell). Then make sure the pellet litter is topped with a soft layer of hay as some rabbits don't like the feel of the hard pellets on their feet. And change out the wet hay at least every few days so it doesn't start to grow mold. Also making sure the litter doesn't get too soiled or wet. Some rabbits will stop using their litter box if they feel wet bedding on their feet.

I think your bedding may be getting too wet(just from looking at the photo), and they also need a lot more hay covering the bedding. They should always have lots of hay to pick through and the leftovers get left as a layer covering their bedding is how it should work. Hay makes a good cover for the bedding to keep it in place, drain urine away, and lock in the urine odor under the hay(consider it part of the bedding/litter). If hay cost is an issue, I would suggest going to a feed store(if you don't already) or reliable hay farmer, and buying a bale of good horse quality grass hay(no mold, no noxious weeds, low dust). This is the most affordable way to provide lots of the needed hay for rabbits. Buying bags from pet stores is so much more expensive.

So I would try these changes and see how it goes.




Thank you, I'll give all the tips a shot, ill put a few liter boxes in their pin and see what I can do. Maybe you're right about not having enough room for the less dominate ones. I'll also check out the bedding ideas, granted I found a bag double the amount for a quarter the price at tractor supply. Would you recommend removing the hay feeder and just putting hay in all the liter boxes for the time being, or keep it how it is now? I appreciate you take the time to write that all (and anyone else who replied to my thread). And yeah, I'm probably not keeping up-to-date on changing the liter out as often as I need. Thank you. I appreciate it deeply. I'll let you know if it gets any better (if my thread doesn't get locked, still new to the site, not sure how it works all yet).
 

JBun

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I do both, hay in the litter box and hay in the hay rack. Each day I'll pull some of the older clean hay that the rabbits have already picked through, out of the bottom of the feeder/hay rack and layer it on top of the clean bedding/litter(I also have a screen between the litter and the hay) or on top of the already soiled hay that isn't too bad yet to need cleaning out. Then I'll fill the hay rack with fresh hay.

For litter, just use what you find works best for you. I personally prefer the equine wood pellets, but that isn't everyone's preference. Though if you've never tried wood pellet litter, I would say at least give them a try and see if you like them better.

No reason to lock your thread. Threads only get locked because of discussions going out of bounds, forum policy violations, or if other issues arise that necessitate it. Also if a thread gets to be older than a year, we prefer other members not to be posting new questions or unnecessary posts on it(and may sometimes lock it if it becomes an issue), but it's always ok for the member who created the thread to do updates on their own threads regardless of how long it's been.
 

JBun

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Here's my set up. There's also another litter box with hay in their enclosure so the subordinate rabbits always have an option(not that my old rabbits are all that good about using the litter box anymore :p )

 

Anthony707

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Here's my set up. There's also another litter box with hay in their enclosure so the subordinate rabbits always have an option(not that my old rabbits are all that good about using the litter box anymore :p )

I'll give it all a shot. I love your buns! Their eyes are so cool ! Maybe eventually when I can put this year long issue to rest I'll end up adopting another and restarting the whole thing :)
 

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My bunny, Pumpkin, is a prince. He demands his litterbox be cleaned every day. If he has to step on poop to go poop, then he'll just poop on the floor. I have to have two litterboxes for him now. One is 1.5 by 1 feet and my second one is 2.5 by 1.5 feet. So for 3 rabbits, you'll definitely need a couple of litterboxes if that's what they want. And definitely add some hay in the litterboxes as well. My bunny loves to eat while pooping so the more the merrier!
 

Toffee and Valentina

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They're so funny and peculiar with their habits. I'm still having trouble with Prince Charmings litter habits so this thread has been really helpful for me. I'm still having to put camping tarps on the floor and I can currently see three pee puddles from where I am sitting. I'd love to give him a good run into my bedroom as well as living room and hallway but he'd need diapers!
 

Anthony707

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this is so stressful.jpg

I hope this is about what you mean, this uses so much of the wood pellets I bought today. The bags are pretty cheap though, so I guess it isn't too bad. The brown bun has no issue jumping out of it though. Kind of annoying, but hopefully the hay will keep her persuaded. (Water is beside the rack, brown bun is covering it up)
 

JBun

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Yep, perfect! This first gives them no choice but to use a litter box so they can get it fixed in that little brain of theirs that - box, litter, hay = where to pee. It also gives you an idea of their favorite spots to pee. Then after a week or two you pull out the litter box that seems to be used the least for peeing in. Then see if they continue to want to go in the remaining boxes and leave the floor space pee free. Where that litter box is removed from, you want the floor to be a smooth hard surface with nothing soft to pee on. And you may have to give it a few days cleaning up accidents, as they adjust to the box being removed.

How long before you remove that first box just depends on how you feel things are going and if they need a longer or shorter time. You can try removing the least used box after one week and if they regress you can always just put it back in but for longer before trying again.

You do use a lot of litter initially, to fill up the boxes, but it also lasts awhile because the rabbits will still only soil the same amount of litter that they did before. You just won't have to clean out litter boxes as often since you have more of them for your rabbits to pee in, except for maybe spot cleaning the favorite pee spots. I usually do litter box spot cleans every 1 or 2 days as there are certain spots that get peed on the most leaving the rest of the litter box pretty dry. Until it gets to the point where the rest of the litter needs to be dumped, and the box refilled.
 

Anthony707

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That's refreshing to hear. Hopefully it'll be as easier as it sounds, I don't like putting them in the pin after they are already accustomed to having my entire room to run around. And my bed sheets to dig and chew up. I'll let you know how it all goes, thank you. A lot.
 

Anthony707

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So a few days since I've started and; I noticed they still have a lot more droppings in the old liter box than the new ones (which actually caught me off guard cause I expected the big light blue one to be used more, but I guess they were already somewhat trained in using the grey one). I think I'm going to take the small blue one out the end of the week, because it doesn't seem to be used at all. Which confuses me, cause of the tiny bit of droppings that are on the ground aren't going in there. So, I'm not sure. Any ideas? I could always put it back in yeah, and I don't want to rush the process, but I'm wondering if I take it out, what to expect? Earlier you said that I might have to clean up pee if they make accidents adjusting to the change, but what if it's droppings instead? Same deal? Or if there is an excess amount should I go back a step?
 

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Yep same deal with the poop. If the pee on the floor, clean it up with a paper towel and then put that paper towel in the litterbox. And pick up any poop on the floor and put it in the litterbox too. Bunnies naturally like pooping and peeing in the same place, so once their little brains process that all the poop and pee goes in the litterbox, they'll start only doing it there.
 

Anthony707

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I do both, hay in the litter box and hay in the hay rack. Each day I'll pull some of the older clean hay that the rabbits have already picked through, out of the bottom of the feeder/hay rack and layer it on top of the clean bedding/litter(I also have a screen between the litter and the hay) or on top of the already soiled hay that isn't too bad yet to need cleaning out. Then I'll fill the hay rack with fresh hay.

For litter, just use what you find works best for you. I personally prefer the equine wood pellets, but that isn't everyone's preference. Though if you've never tried wood pellet litter, I would say at least give them a try and see if you like them better.

No reason to lock your thread. Threads only get locked because of discussions going out of bounds, forum policy violations, or if other issues arise that necessitate it. Also if a thread gets to be older than a year, we prefer other members not to be posting new questions or unnecessary posts on it(and may sometimes lock it if it becomes an issue), but it's always ok for the member who created the thread to do updates on their own threads regardless of how long it's been.
So its been a bit, and it's been working. I'm very grateful for the help everyone gave me. BUT I have got to say thank you so much for telling me about the wood pellets. I cannot believe how much better it is than what I've been using. They're so absorbent, it pours straight out the bin, I cannot believe I used anything else. Thank you. I probably would of never knew about them if you didn't say something.
 
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