Owner of 2 mini rabbits in need of Help!

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Fuz

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If you want to interact with them, get down to their level on the floor. Right now, to them, you're a giant walking about.

Pet them. Show them they're safe with you by giving a few treats here and there, rub their forehead area. No sudden movements, no carrying etc.
 

Guy A

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I must admit my first response to your comments were more negative than positive but just before going to bed I did as you said and Both came to and let me rub their foreheads and play with them. There is beauty in appreciating the needs of these lovely small creatures!
 

Guy A

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This page will further help understand how to go about bonding with your rabbits:

Sadly I cannot acces this website where I’m from :(
 

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Blue eyes

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Well, shoot. That "powered by weebly" image is in the way. Let me get the parts that are hidden by that...

GETTING A BUNNY OUT OF HIS CAGE:
I have found a common mistake made by new bunny owners regarding the handling of their new rabbit. Often this occurs when one gets a young (baby) bunny. Young rabbits are generally quite docile and compliant, so they tolerate being picked up and handled. But once they become older, this behavior is no longer tolerated. New owners can't understand why they have trouble picking up their rabbit out of its cage - especially after they seemed to have no problem doing so when bunny was younger. The reason is quite simple...

A rabbit needs to have a space of his own. He needs a place that is his sanctuary, his safe zone. That area ought to be his cage. It is the one place in which he ought to know and be confident that he will never be disturbed. By reaching into a cage and pulling bunny out, that safe zone is violated. For this reason, it is highly recommended that one never reach into the cage and grab the rabbit out of its cage (except in emergency, of course). Far better it is to just open the cage door and allow bunny to hop out on his own.

Handling exercise time this way is far less stressful for your bunny. It allows him to decide whether or not he feels like coming out and exploring. It also allows him to hop back into his cage at will. This is important if he needs to potty, or gets hungry/thirsty, or just feels like returning to the security of his cage for any reason. For bunny, just having the option of hopping back into the safety of his sanctuary is comforting and allows for a less stressful playtime.


[and at bottom of page...]
Allowing a bunny's cage to be his place of refuge, his safe place, provides bunny with a sense of security and comfort. For this reason, I strongly recommend against using a bunny's cage for "time out" or punishment. Doing so defeats the idea of maintaining the cage as his pleasant place. The cage should not be used as a place of punishment.
 
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Guy A

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I wish I had this information a while ago so I wouldn't have to break my head about what’s happening with my bunnies.

When complaining to my breeder a couple of months ago about them being wild and wanting to return them to her, her answer was that bunnies you don’t hold in your hands on a regular basis turn wild and that we should hold them much more often. She said nothing about the room being too large for them, even though I would ask her in advance before relocating them. In the personal card I got when buying them there were only instruction about feeding, holding, not washing and that’s it. I wonder why the article you shared or something similar to it is not given to each and every new bunny owner or potential owner so they know what they are heading to.

I was trying to write my posts here as honest as I can without filtering anything even though I understand it hurts most of you to read it. I very much hope that most bunny owners are more like you guys in terms of knowledge about their pets than me.

We are a family of 5 with our children being 6,4 and 2 y.o. My eldest asked for a bunny about 6 months ago, my wife speak about this to a friend and a couple of weeks later I am presented with a rabbit (photo attached). I go to the pet shop to buy a cage and some basic necessities. This rabbit wouldn’t mind at all us holding and playing with it but I had a strange feeling about this rabbit so next time at the pet shop I showed a picture of it to the personnel at the pet shop and they told me it’s a meat rabbit you grow in a farm and not a pet rabbit.

So we thought it’s probably not a good idea to keep it and started looking for rabbits online and see what we can do with the unwanted guest in our house. I found a breeder that seemed to have cute bunnies so I started talking to her and she agreed to collect my rabbit from me and in return I bought 2 baby rabbits from her. They were 2 months old when I got them. So this is pretty much my far from perfect/close to nightmare bunny history for you guys to have some background.
 

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Fuz

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Hope someone adopted that adorable white rabbit. I've had two of those as pets, they are extremely playful, sweet and calm. I believe those are New Zealands.
 

JBun

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'Meat' rabbits actually can make perfectly good pet rabbits. The 'meat' rabbit, just means that type of breed was originally bred and raised for that purpose, but now that's not necessarily always the case. There are plenty of people that have them as pets, and they can make really good pets. It's too bad the pet shop person told you this, as it sounds like that rabbit may have had a really good temperament and could have made a good pet. Hopefully it finds it's way to a good pet home.

It's not unusual for new owners to be given all sorts of incorrect information, even here in the US, as rabbits have just started to become a more common house pet in the last few decades. So there can still be a lot of misinformation passed around out there. Hopefully that is getting better and owners can become better informed.

Some of that misinformation is about rabbits having to be held or they become wild. It's not actually the holding that helps them become used to people and less wild, but actually just being around people and learning they can be trusted and that the rabbit is safe around people. Some rabbits can get used to being held, but some detest it so much that if you try holding them at all, it can affect their abitlity to learn to trust you, and so they will learn to run away from you if you are always trying to pick them up and hold them. Especially adult rabbits. Baby rabbits will often be more tolerant of being held, but then can outgrow that tolerance once they become an adult rabbit. The way to earn a rabbits trust is to sit with them and give them a chance to learn to feel safe in your presence.
 
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Guy A

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Well, shoot. That "powered by weebly" image is in the way. Let me get the parts that are hidden by that...

GETTING A BUNNY OUT OF HIS CAGE:
I have found a common mistake made by new bunny owners regarding the handling of their new rabbit. Often this occurs when one gets a young (baby) bunny. Young rabbits are generally quite docile and compliant, so they tolerate being picked up and handled. But once they become older, this behavior is no longer tolerated. New owners can't understand why they have trouble picking up their rabbit out of its cage - especially after they seemed to have no problem doing so when bunny was younger. The reason is quite simple...

A rabbit needs to have a space of his own. He needs a place that is his sanctuary, his safe zone. That area ought to be his cage. It is the one place in which he ought to know and be confident that he will never be disturbed. By reaching into a cage and pulling bunny out, that safe zone is violated. For this reason, it is highly recommended that one never reach into the cage and grab the rabbit out of its cage (except in emergency, of course). Far better it is to just open the cage door and allow bunny to hop out on his own.

Handling exercise time this way is far less stressful for your bunny. It allows him to decide whether or not he feels like coming out and exploring. It also allows him to hop back into his cage at will. This is important if he needs to potty, or gets hungry/thirsty, or just feels like returning to the security of his cage for any reason. For bunny, just having the option of hopping back into the safety of his sanctuary is comforting and allows for a less stressful playtime.


[and at bottom of page...]
Allowing a bunny's cage to be his place of refuge, his safe place, provides bunny with a sense of security and comfort. For this reason, I strongly recommend against using a bunny's cage for "time out" or punishment. Doing so defeats the idea of maintaining the cage as his pleasant place. The cage should not be used as a place of punishment.

so I tried to implement some of the tips given here and it obvious that Minori (girl bunny) is much more comfortable in my presence that Rex is.

I came into Rex’s pen area with a book and just sat there ignoring him for a good 10-15 minutes. All this time his pen was open for him to go out and explore but instead he was making circles around and kind of tried to push me away with his nose.

Minori on the other hand was hopping on top of me and being very playful.

Also, when it’s play time there a room with a carpet I keep open for them to run and explore and when I am inside that room Rex doesn’t come in while Minori does with pleasure.

I watched a couple of videos on body language yesterday but I still can’t make much out of it for now. As in I am not sure when rubbing them if they are afraid or enjoying it. I also notice that they are both having their nap in their pens in a loaf position which is also a sign they still don’t feel very safe. Which is no surprise considering how we all mishandled them all this time :(
 

JBun

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Are you sure he wasn't trying to nose bonk you for pets or to get your attention for something else like food? Nose bonking is how rabbits let us know they want something from us without resulting in nipping to get our attention, which of course nose bonking is a much preferred method for them to communicate with us.

If he was making circles around exploring, him nose bonking you could have also been him trying to say you were in the way of him trying to explore or run around. Which would mean he feels perfectly comfortable with you or he wouldn't approach you for a nose bonk at all. So it's not necessarily that he may not be comfortable with you. If he wasn't nose bonking you as a request for pets, then it could be that he was busy wantinng to do other things right then and was requesting that you move so he could get past you.

Some rabbits are just very active and busy, and with these rabbits the best time to interact with them is when they've worn themselves out exploring and lay down for a rest, then that's when they will usually be more accepting of head rubs, but only if he's to the point where he feels comfortable with you approaching him.

When he's laying down, slowly approach with your hand in his field of vision(not directly in front of his face or behind his head). I'll hold my hand near their nose so they can smell my hand first, then if they don't move away I'll give a gentle forehead scritch. If they stay there, I'll keep giving them gentle forehead rubs. If they move away from you, then they aren't quite ready yet.

If they hold still and don't move away when you try to give a gentle forehead rub, then it means they likely are accepting of it and want you to do it, especially if they then lay their head to the floor or push their head under your hand and hold it there. That's basically them saying 'yes, please' to head rubs.

Head rubs usually means start on the forehead between the eyes. That's usually their prefered place to be petted. Some rabbits won't like you touching their ears, cheeks, or petting along their backs, especially around their rumps. So start with the forehead when your rabbits are ready and don't move away from a gentle scritch. If they do move away from your hand, it can mean they aren't ready yet, or can just mean they're busy looking around and you need to wait until they're tired out and are ready to settle down for a rest.

If your rabbit moves away from forehead rubs, then it doesn't mean he isn't starting to become comfortable with you. If he wasn't comfortabe with you there at all, he would more likely have stayed at the opposite end of the enclosure away from you, trying to keep away from you. But just the fact that he is hopping around exploring with you there and nose bonking you, means he is starting to feel comfortable in your presence and is comfortable enough to approach you and touch you with his nose. The more time you spend observing your rabbits and their behavior, the easier it will get to start understanding and interpreting their subtle body language.

With Rex being reluctant to enter that room, some rabbits are just more cautious about new areas. Rabbits have established mapped out areas in their head, that they consider 'their' territory. Rex may consider this other room your territory and he is just waiting to feel more secure and safe before he gets up the courage to venture in. As he gets to be more comfortable with you and knows he can trust you, he will most likely start to feel safe enough to come into this other room. But then some rabbits are just more reluctant to explore new territory, even when they feel perfectly comfortable and safe.

A rabbit in loaf position doesn't necessarily mean they don't feel comfortable and safe. And them going to their pens to rest doesn't mean this either. Rabbits will go to their pens because they know this is their established territory, so it's their comfort zone.

The resting loaf position can be due to a rabbits body temperature, and doesn't always have to do with how comfortable they feel. When a rabbit is feeling too warm and wanting to cool down, as long as they feel safe they will be more inclined to lay flopped out. A rabbit that is feeling cooler in body temperature, will be more inclined to bunny loaf to help conserve their heat, even if they feel safe in their environment. Then there are some rabbits that just prefer to bunny loaf no matter what, even if they are a bit warm, and even when they feel perfectly safe. I've had rabbits like that, that rarely ever liked to completely flop down, though they felt completely safe in their environment. So you'll get to know and understand your rabbits individual personalities and what is normal for them and what their preferences are.
 

Guy A

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Good morning good people!

A short update to let you all know how much we have improved ever since I joined this forum.
Both bunnies seem much more relaxed now and feel very comfortable with my presence letting me rub their foreheads almost at all times and don’t act hectic when I’m coming inside their pen area.

Between each other they are good as well and the other day I witnessed Rex grooming Minori for the first time through the pen - it was really lovely ☺️

habits are much better now with almost all poop going inside the box and what’s more satisfying was Minori going back to her litterbox during free walk time to do her business! I am also slowly letting them walk into new areas (rooms) in the house by keeping the doors open and seems like they are not doing their business elsewhere other than in their pen area. I hope I am not rushing here?

Other than that I am trying to figure out what the best diet for them is besides the hay which is the easiest part. I used to give them 2 table spoons of pellets per day (1 in the morning and 1 in the evening). They do love their pellets very much but I wonder if it’s not too much? Besides the weekend I am feeding them daily in the morning and evening so I will have to give them greens and fruits will pellets either in the morning or evening. Would it be ok if I exchange the pellets feeding in the morning or evening to only greens on a daily basis? Fruits will only be added every other day of course.

Thank you all for your support and guidance!!!
 

Diane R

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Good morning good people!

A short update to let you all know how much we have improved ever since I joined this forum.
Both bunnies seem much more relaxed now and feel very comfortable with my presence letting me rub their foreheads almost at all times and don’t act hectic when I’m coming inside their pen area.

Between each other they are good as well and the other day I witnessed Rex grooming Minori for the first time through the pen - it was really lovely ☺

habits are much better now with almost all poop going inside the box and what’s more satisfying was Minori going back to her litterbox during free walk time to do her business! I am also slowly letting them walk into new areas (rooms) in the house by keeping the doors open and seems like they are not doing their business elsewhere other than in their pen area. I hope I am not rushing here?

Other than that I am trying to figure out what the best diet for them is besides the hay which is the easiest part. I used to give them 2 table spoons of pellets per day (1 in the morning and 1 in the evening). They do love their pellets very much but I wonder if it’s not too much? Besides the weekend I am feeding them daily in the morning and evening so I will have to give them greens and fruits will pellets either in the morning or evening. Would it be ok if I exchange the pellets feeding in the morning or evening to only greens on a daily basis? Fruits will only be added every other day of course.

Thank you all for your support and guidance!!!
This all sounds very positive. Don't rush with any diet changes. Fruit is best avoided. Herbs are the best greens and they can have all of them apart from chives. Introduce slowly and only one green at a time, wait at least a week between introductions of new foods and start with very small amounts e.g. a few sprigs of basil. Don't give more than the size of their head per day. You can continue with the pellets for now, perhaps reduce to 1 tbsp a day when they are a bit older. Main thing is to make sure they eat at least their body size in hay.
 

Blue eyes

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Go very slow with allowing them more roaming space. Offering too much too quickly can lead to potty accidents. Potty accidents are difficult to undo because they may return to the same area of the accident to repeat. I'd keep them confined to no more than one room for a month or so before expanding to another room or area. Go slowly.

Hold off on fruits completely for now. Wait until they are accustomed to a daily diet that includes greens.

Introducing greens should take several months. You'll only be introducing one type of green at a time. So one type will be offered for about a week before moving on to another type. This why it can take months to introduce a variety of greens.

I'll copy/past some other sections of my website for you here...
 

Blue eyes

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This is from my site minus some of the photos...
 

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Blue eyes

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And this on introducing greens...
 

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Guy A

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Hello,

I am looking to reunite my bunnies this weekend and have them live together in a larger playpen. Should this be done gradually? I haven't seen any aggression between the two through play pen's during the time they were separated.

Thank you.
 

odyssey~

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Hello,

I am looking to reunite my bunnies this weekend and have them live together in a larger playpen. Should this be done gradually? I haven't seen any aggression between the two through play pen's during the time they were separated.

Thank you.

Bonding can be a long process for rabbits depending on the pair and should always be done after a lot of research :)
I'm unsure on their genders but spaying/neuturing generally helps bring down hormone levels and makes the bond go smoothly.

Since you mentioned weebly was blocked, I'll leave a link to some YouTube videos on bonding bunnies that should help :)
 

Guy A

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Thank you. I have started the bonding process after watching her 3 videos and am now in step 1 where they are both in a box. The question I have is if this all should be done in one day? I mean all the steps or can it be done gradually? There is some violent behavior between them now while in the box and I am separating them all the time. Seems like they still haven’t figured out who’s the dominant one.
 
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