Owner of 2 mini rabbits in need of Help!

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Guy A

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Hello,

I hope I can find some answers here.
I own 2 mini rabbits for 3 months now and seems like I haven't advanced much in making them comfortable. They still poo and pee everywhere and most of the time are afraid of us when approaching.

We have changed 5 different spots in the house during this time. In the beginning having them live in their cage with 2 free walks a day until recently when we arranged their current setup as seen in the picture.

What became obvious right away was that they are much more comfortable walking and showing their 'happy bunny' behaviour on softer floors, although by now they are also ok in their current setting which is mostly marble. The issue and reason we moved from both locations that had soft floors is that they were peeing and poo all over the place even though we would put 2-3 toilette trays in different corners of the rooms. They are doing the same on the marble floor but at least there it's possible to clean after them.

Would appreciate any advice on anything I should do differently for them to live happily.

p.s. they are both 5 months old now.
 

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Fuz

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Hello. Good on you for trying so hard! Please look up tips on this forum for litter training a rabbit, but very briefly, are your rabbits spayed/neutered? This will help with litter training. Rabbits love to eat while they use their litterbox, and you don't have any hay nearby to encourage good habits. All the poop needs to be picked up and placed in their litterbox, try to do this as soon as you see it happening so your rabbits learn from your actions.
Those litterboxes seem okay now but eventually, they'll be too small.
 

Fuz

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Hello. Good on you for trying so hard! Please look up tips on this forum for litter training a rabbit, but very briefly, are your rabbits spayed/neutered? This will help with litter training. Rabbits love to eat while they use their litterbox, and you don't have any hay nearby to encourage good habits. All the poop needs to be picked up and placed in their litterbox, try to do this as soon as you see it happening so your rabbits learn from your actions.
Those litterboxes seem okay now but eventually, they'll be too small.
Additionally, they need better traction on the floor. This will help them get to their litterboxes easily.
Its also recommended to use a bowl rather than a bottle for water.
 

Preitler

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Hi,
which sex and age are they? Between 3 and 6 months they go through puberty, litter training might not worlk well in that time.
If they are of different sex and not spayed/neutered you might need to seperate them until they are.

Anyway, some thoughts on your setup: Yes, most rabbits are more comfortable on something where their feet habve good grip. I use rugs where it's feasable, two sets, one is out in the rain or pressure washed while the other is used (well, I had a disabled rabbit which didn't care much about litter training anymore)

The toilets look rather small, and I would try to put hay in there too, rabbits like to eat and poop. I have the hay rack at the litter box, which is a rather big underbed storage bin, relativ to the rabbits min. about half the size of that cage bottom. Another reason for a layer of hay is that I think they don't like sitting on those wood pellets (this are wood pellets, right?), and with the hay it's easy to get most of the poop out by simply rolling the layer up and putting new in.

I also would offer them more hay, in a feeder rather than on the floor, they don't eat it if it gets soiled.
 

Catlyn

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Welcome to the forum, person from a neighbouring country!
This setup could really use some changes.

With that being said, the lack of litter habits is a mix of their hormones and improper litter setup.

Their litterboxes should be much bigger, at the very least, the size of the white raised part of the cage. For such a small area, one proper litterbox is good. Usually a plastic container is best for the job.
Some people like to line the toilets with newspaper, others do not. The main absorbent bit should be rabbit-safe litter, most people use compressed wood or straw pellets from farm supply stores-cheap, efficient and last longer. There should be few centimeters or so of litter, and in one corner of the toilet, plenty of hay. Rabbits should have a lot of hay avaliable and should eat sbout their body size of hay per day. The amount that your rabbits have is just not enough.

I also agree with @Fuz on swapping to a bowl- a heavier ceramic one from a dish discount should do. I happen to disagree with @Mariam+Theo on the additional restriction. Unless they're already neutered, restricting space won't do much and i've found that this amount of space is actually perfect to start litter training.
 
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Mariam+Theo

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Are they spayed/neutered? Litter training is a pain without bunnies being spayed/neutered.
I think the main issue is the litter box set up. The litter boxes are way too small, and there is no hay in them. I see you are using wood pellet litter which is great, but with several changes your bunnies will want to use them more.
Here a link that is so helpful about litter training: Litter Training

Another thing you should do is reduce the space. They have too much space, and that is making it harder for them to get to the litter boxes. I would leave the flooring how it is and remove anything that is soft or that they have peed on before (like that wooden toy in the middle of the room needs to be removed).
How are you cleaning up pee spots? The best way to clean them up to remove the smell so rabbits won’t pee in that spot again is using vinegar. First soak up the pee with a paper towel and place it in the litter box. Then spray a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar on the spot and wipe it up with a paper towel.

I also agree with @Fuz, please swap to a water bowl instead of a bottle. Many people say it is best for the rabbit because it is more natural for them.
 

Guy A

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Hello. Good on you for trying so hard! Please look up tips on this forum for litter training a rabbit, but very briefly, are your rabbits spayed/neutered? This will help with litter training. Rabbits love to eat while they use their litterbox, and you don't have any hay nearby to encourage good habits. All the poop needs to be picked up and placed in their litterbox, try to do this as soon as you see it happening so your rabbits learn from your actions.
Those litterboxes seem okay now but eventually, they'll be too small.
Thx Fuz! It's not easy but I'm not losing hope. They are not sprayed yet but I am starting to think about it considering the litter situation. When is the right time to spray them?

Thank you for your tips. About the Hay, I put all in the cage and I have recently noticed that they are not as much of it as they used to before. Maybe that's because they spend most of their time outside of their cage. The issues with collecting their poop is that during the week I see them only in the mornings and the evenings... so what I basically do is once in 3-4 days vacuum all the poop that is in their area.

The issue with these litterboxes is that they dig on them and then the filler and their poop from the litter box fall on the floor. Also recently I caught them a couple of time just laying down on the litter box full of poop - is that normal?

What would you recommend to use for the flooring? I though about buying more of those hay mattes but they dig on them and pee on them so that won't work. Honestly, I am not sure what those mattes are for but they seem to like them and take their naps on them sometimes.

Here are a couple more pictures, the first one is from when I just got them :)
 

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Fuz

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You say they're about 5 months old, so I think you should consider getting them spayed within the next 2-3 months. Bear in mind that they will need some care afterwards, which means that you will have to make arrangements to keep an eye on them for a few days.

If you want to establish good litter habits, I highly recommend getting one or two low-rise plastic storage bins (these are a cost effective option), placing proper litter in them along with hay. Using these litterboxes will keep the contents inside as well, even if the rabbits dig and mess about a little. As others mentioned, you have too little hay for both rabbits and it needs to be available outside the cage as well.

Most rabbits will become fully trained only after spaying/neutering, but you can try spending a day or two over the weekend just making sure you pick up after them and place poop in the litter box. This is what I did with my rabbits and they were trained even before fixing. They're actually pretty smart and will pick up what you're doing (though some are just rascals!).

Flooring: Lots of ideas online including lino, carpet, fleece, amongst others. Please have a look through and decide whats best (i.e. are they going to chew it or not, affordability, ease of cleaning etc). Hay mats are supplemental as they serve as a snack/boredom busters, not to be used as flooring. I personally use a thin fleece blanket. Its easy on the rabbits feet, and I also provide a cooling mat.
 
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Guy A

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Hi,
which sex and age are they? Between 3 and 6 months they go through puberty, litter training might not worlk well in that time.
If they are of different sex and not spayed/neutered you might need to seperate them until they are.

Anyway, some thoughts on your setup: Yes, most rabbits are more comfortable on something where their feet habve good grip. I use rugs where it's feasable, two sets, one is out in the rain or pressure washed while the other is used (well, I had a disabled rabbit which didn't care much about litter training anymore)

The toilets look rather small, and I would try to put hay in there too, rabbits like to eat and poop. I have the hay rack at the litter box, which is a rather big underbed storage bin, relativ to the rabbits min. about half the size of that cage bottom. Another reason for a layer of hay is that I think they don't like sitting on those wood pellets (this are wood pellets, right?), and with the hay it's easy to get most of the poop out by simply rolling the layer up and putting new in.

I also would offer them more hay, in a feeder rather than on the floor, they don't eat it if it gets soiled.
Hi Preitler,
They are both boys and are about 5 months old.

I bought them a rug for one of their previous spots in the house so I can try and add it to this setup somehow. The only thing I am doing differently with this setup is having their cage open at all times and I guess that's the main reason their poop is all over the place. Do you think I should go back to closing them in their cage and let them out for a walk twice a day?

I will look for better toilets. Is one in the cage and one on the outside ok? Could you perhaps post a picture of your litter box? I'm posting a picture of what I use top fill their litterboxes. Where should I put the additional hay? on the floor?
 

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Guy A

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Welcome to the forum, person from a neighbouring country!
This setup could really use some changes.

With that being said, the lack of litter habits is a mix of their hormones and improper litter setup.

Their litterboxes should be much bigger, at the very least, the size of the white raised part of the cage. For such a small area, one proper litterbox is good. Usually a plastic container is best for the job.
Some people like to line the toilets with newspaper, others do not. The main absorbent bit should be rabbit-safe litter, most people use compressed wood or straw pellets from farm supply stores-cheap, efficient and last longer. There should be few centimeters or so of litter, and in one corner of the toilet, plenty of hay. Rabbits should have a lot of hay avaliable and should eat sbout their body size of hay per day. The amount that your rabbits have is just not enough.

I also agree with @Fuz on swapping to a bowl- a heavier ceramic one from a dish discount should do. I happen to disagree with @Mariam+Theo on the additional restriction. Unless they're already neutered, restricting space won't do much and i've found that this amount of space is actually perfect to start litter training.
Thank you very much Catlyn for your advice!

Regarding the hay, I give them 3-4 handfuls of Hay twice a day and put it under what I think you called the white raised part of the cage (if that is where their water bottle is). I ordered some ceramic bowls for their food/water and should receive them this week. Will try to find a plastic container the size you mentioned as the online store I am using to buy them stuff only has small litterboxes.
 

Guy A

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Are they spayed/neutered? Litter training is a pain without bunnies being spayed/neutered.
I think the main issue is the litter box set up. The litter boxes are way too small, and there is no hay in them. I see you are using wood pellet litter which is great, but with several changes your bunnies will want to use them more.
Here a link that is so helpful about litter training: Litter Training

Another thing you should do is reduce the space. They have too much space, and that is making it harder for them to get to the litter boxes. I would leave the flooring how it is and remove anything that is soft or that they have peed on before (like that wooden toy in the middle of the room needs to be removed).
How are you cleaning up pee spots? The best way to clean them up to remove the smell so rabbits won’t pee in that spot again is using vinegar. First soak up the pee with a paper towel and place it in the litter box. Then spray a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar on the spot and wipe it up with a paper towel.

I also agree with @Fuz, please swap to a water bowl instead of a bottle. Many people say it is best for the rabbit because it is more natural for them.
Thank you!

I found out space can be a problem with the previous spot they used to live in. It was the biggest room in the house that a full floor carpet. They were living in their cage with 2 walks a day and even though they seemed to be happy of just wandering around that huge space they were impossible to approach - especially the Mini Rex! Many a times I found myself running after them in circles... it was terrible. One time I took the Mini Rex in my hands and right away it freaked out and started moving it's legs aggressively and I kind of threw it away from me while sitting. After this incident I called the person who sold them to me and complained to her and asked her to take them back. It seemed so strange to me that they are not developing any closure with me even though I am spending so much time with them. I then surfed the web and decided to try a smaller space as is in their current setup and they really have been doing much better ever since. The Mini Rex is still more on the aggressive side but I learned to accept him the way he is rather then forcing him into something else. Thank you for your advice about removing the pee spots - will definitely try that out!
 

Preitler

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Well, about litterbox setup: I do it pretty much like Blue Eyes posted here:

Wood stove pellets are really great - and cheap. Only difference I do is that I put a layer of wasted hay on top of the pellets from the start to keep them from digging. Yes, it's normal that they sometimes lounge in there.

Never chase a rabbit if it can be avoided. I always call them and shake the pellet pail before I give them their daily ration (which is just a small handfull for 2 big rabbits), so whenever I need them to come I just call, or shake the pellets.
Handling them is something that can be trained too, it takes patience, treats and small steps, and it really is individual how much a rabbit accepts it at the end.
 

Mariam+Theo

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They are both boys and are about 5 months old.
Since they are not neutered I highly suggest splitting them up. When rabbits hit 6 month old their hormones change and they will become aggressive towards other rabbits and sometimes towards humans. Rabbits will fight, sometimes to the death, so the best thing for your boys will be to separate them, neuter both of them, wait 2 months for their hormones to calm down, and then slowly start the bonding process from there.
Here is a link on bonding: Bonding Bunnies

Once they are neutered their litter habits will come naturally. To keep them from digging in the litter box, you can add hay to the top as @Preitler suggested or you can use a screen.

Please never chase your bunnies. Rabbits prefer to come to you if they want attention. I suggest you take time to bond with your bunnies and build a close relationship with them based on trust.
 

Guy A

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Well, about litterbox setup: I do it pretty much like Blue Eyes posted here:

Wood stove pellets are really great - and cheap. Only difference I do is that I put a layer of wasted hay on top of the pellets from the start to keep them from digging. Yes, it's normal that they sometimes lounge in there.

Never chase a rabbit if it can be avoided. I always call them and shake the pellet pail before I give them their daily ration (which is just a small handfull for 2 big rabbits), so whenever I need them to come I just call, or shake the pellets.
Handling them is something that can be trained too, it takes patience, treats and small steps, and it really is individual how much a rabbit accepts it at the end.
Of course I understand but add stress from work, coming home and dedicating time to being with your bunnies instead of doing something else only to find them or at least one of them seeing you as a complete threat - I'm not too surprised I lost it. Plus I didn't have much information about bunny behaviour.

But thankfully I managed to figure out the problem was them having way too much space. Now we are doing much better in terms of our bond with them and how we interact.

And still I really want to improve their setup and find out more about their needs.

I am feeding them 2 spoons (not the tea ones) of pellets twice a day and recently I've started to add vegetables and fruits. The Hay I am refreshing also twice a day.
 
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Guy A

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Since they are not neutered I highly suggest splitting them up. When rabbits hit 6 month old their hormones change and they will become aggressive towards other rabbits and sometimes towards humans. Rabbits will fight, sometimes to the death, so the best thing for your boys will be to separate them, neuter both of them, wait 2 months for their hormones to calm down, and then slowly start the bonding process from there.
Here is a link on bonding: Bonding Bunnies

Once they are neutered their litter habits will come naturally. To keep them from digging in the litter box, you can add hay to the top as @Preitler suggested or you can use a screen.

Please never chase your bunnies. Rabbits prefer to come to you if they want attention. I suggest you take time to bond with your bunnies and build a close relationship with them based on trust.
I could close one in the cage and have the other in the area where the red litterbox and woodier stuff is and maybe switch between who is where every now and then. They will be able to spend time together during feeding time twice a day. Will that be ok?

I will contact to the person who sold them to me this week and have them neutered as soon as possible.
 

Fuz

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We understand it can be a bit difficult and frustrating when all you want to do is love on them.. But please dont chase or throw your rabbits. If you are stressed from work, take ten minutes out for yourself to relax, and then approach them.
After neutering, bonding males together will also take some time. I also forgot to suggest that you stop moving their home base around, rabbits are territorial and this must be very confusing for them.
 

Preitler

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The sooner you can get them neutered the better - splitting them up is better than having a fight since they would remember that.
If you do split them up I would not give them time together. Things can escalate to a bloody mess in seconds, and for a youngster with raging hormones meeting his "opponent" in what he considers his territory can be a trigger, if one hotspur thinks he needs to show who's boss you quickly have a fight. "Playtimes" isn't really something that works too well with the social behaviour of rabbits.
Depending on how well they still get along imho seperating could be avoided if you get them fixed real soon. I keep bucklings together for up to 5 months, but those are bigger groups which, I think, makes things a little more stable. Also, all rabbits are different.
 

Guy A

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Are they spayed/neutered? Litter training is a pain without bunnies being spayed/neutered.
I think the main issue is the litter box set up. The litter boxes are way too small, and there is no hay in them. I see you are using wood pellet litter which is great, but with several changes your bunnies will want to use them more.
Here a link that is so helpful about litter training: Litter Training

Another thing you should do is reduce the space. They have too much space, and that is making it harder for them to get to the litter boxes. I would leave the flooring how it is and remove anything that is soft or that they have peed on before (like that wooden toy in the middle of the room needs to be removed).
How are you cleaning up pee spots? The best way to clean them up to remove the smell so rabbits won’t pee in that spot again is using vinegar. First soak up the pee with a paper towel and place it in the litter box. Then spray a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar on the spot and wipe it up with a paper towel.

I also agree with @Fuz, please swap to a water bowl instead of a bottle. Many people say it is best for the rabbit because it is more natural for them.
So I should also remove the hay mattes where they peed on right?
 

Preitler

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Since they like peeing on those I would cut them up and put them in the litter boxes, with some wood pellets underneath to absorb the urine. If they aren't too thick, or use them in new, bigger litter boxes. Might help getting them used to those.
 

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