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Aggressive Rabbit

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Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Brian » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:02 pm


So I just got into raising rabbits and it all started with me trading two banty hens for a pregnant doe and a young doe. Well, I don't miss the two hens but I got a terrible rabbit deal lol. The young doe turned out to be a buck, but a local breeder traded me a Cali doe for him. The pregnant doe ends up having only four kits. All were fat and healthy and doing great- until she started eating them a little before they were a week old. She spared one and it is doing great at 10 days old. But now since eating the other babies, she is super aggressive. I'm talking viciously attacking the feed cup during feeding time aggressive. I've already decided that she is headed for the freezer, but I don't even know how to get to her to do the deed lol. I guess there is no point to my rambling, but has anybody else dealt with vicious rabbits lol.

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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#2  Unread postby coffeenutdesigns » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:16 pm


Eating babies and being overly anxious, causing aggressive Behavior, sounds like she might be feeling threatened by a predator. Have you had her long? Is there anything that could be scaring her? Is this her first litter?

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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#3  Unread postby LauraNJ » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:21 pm


Is she perhaps really hungry? Is the bowl empty when you get to it? It could just be her hormones acting up or maybe she is deficient in something nutritionally.

I put a mineral block (the red colored ones) in with expecting does and it stays in their cages until after weaning. I have some does that never seem to use them but I have other does that do chew and lick them.

Eating the kits, being aggressive- in dogs (that is what I am most experienced in) that can occur because of a calcium deficiency. I would feed a tums, see if she eats it. I use the fruit flavored ones-generic is fine just make sure it is the one with calcium.

I am sure someone will have perhaps some better ideas. If she was nice prior to her litter though I wouldn't cull her yet. If you had to get to her you can use a towel to throw over her, then grab her scruff through the towel so she can't turn and bite you.

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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Brian » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:30 pm


Thanks ya'll. I've had her a little less than a month. According to the person I got her from, she is two years old and has been bred a number of times before. The hutch is in the backyard with my Pit Bull, but he is older and has been around a lot of animals. He doesn't give them a second look and would actually protect them if need be. Maybe his barking? It's a big yard, so he isn't right up on the cage. That would kinda stink if he is the one scaring them. But I know for sure there is no hanging around the cages, jumping on the cages, chasing the rabbits etc.

The bowl is empty, but usually because she attacks it. She kept knocking one of those galvinized trough deals off the cage, so I bent the clips to keep it on. So then, she ripped all the mesh out of it- tore it all up. Now I am feeding her in the bottom half of one of those metal chick feeders. She attacks the food cup as I reach in to pour the food. If any makes it into the feeder, she attacks the feeder and dumps it out. Gosh, she sounds crazy don't she. I already have some tums from when we hand raised a baby starling. I'll try that.

Thank ya'll again.

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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#5  Unread postby coffeenutdesigns » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:47 am


Even if the pit bull is not scary, she might be scared if you've only had her a month and she's kindled in that time. Also, if she keeps spilling her food she may be really hungry. Try throwing a large chip of hay in her pen. It wouldn't all fall through the cage floor as quickly so she might actually eat some. Maybe give her a little box or bucket to hide in so she can feel safe. There's always the chance that she is just a little bonkers, but hopefully it is just something you can fix for her.

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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#6  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:38 am


Need a bit more information.
How is the other doe, the Cali, behaving?
Has the aggressive doe always behaved this way or only since she kindled?
Have you tried giving her a healthy treat through the wire? If not, maybe a small carrot stick, some dandelion leaves, or a slice of apple. See how she responds. You won't get bitten because you will be protected by the wire and it may be a start to establishing trust. It may be your hands entering her territory that frighten her.
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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Brian » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:49 am


I will have to try to feed her through the fence because it seems even worse this morning. My cage doors swing in to open and she is charging as soon as I approach the cage and fighting the door as I try to open it. I'm gonna try all of these suggestions today. As far as the other rabbits, they act fine. But they are a little young ~6 months or so and don't have any babies. This rabbit was okay before she had the babies, she didn't want me to hold her, but didn't attack either. I hope ya'lls suggestions help, but if I have to hand feed a grown rabbit for any significant amount of time she ain't gonna make it. She's already got a number of things going against her.

Thank ya'll all for taking the time!

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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#8  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:42 am


My approach to fearful or aggressive rabbits is a bit different than most people here on RT. Let me preface this by saying that I have never had a truly aggressive rabbit, just grumpy ones.

Wear gloves and preferably a heavy shirt. For moving her you may want to wear a quilted flannel that you can remove when you are working with her so you don't die of heat exhaustion. ;) You want to be well protected so you can exude confidence instead of fear and hesitation.

I would take her out of the cage every day for the next few days. The way I pick up my rabbits is by grasping their shoulders and pushing down gently toward the floor. I then slide my other hand under the belly and lift while pushing the shoulder holding hand toward the hand holding the belly. You may want to have your thumb on the outside of her thigh, with the rest of your hand under her belly so you can "stretch" her if she starts to kick.

As soon as you have her out of the cage, tuck her into your body. If you are wearing an open button-down shirt, tuck her head underneath it so she can't see while you carry her to a grooming table. When you start to set her down, do not do so if she starts to kick. Lift her back up and try again until she stops struggling. Once she is on the table, keep your hand on her shoulders and pet her until she relaxes a bit.

I like to spend 5-10 minutes grooming them after that. I have Rex, so I mist them with water or a combo of vinegar and water. Stroke her firmly from head to tail and tail to head. It is like a "bunny massage" and she should get to enjoy it.

Practice lifting her up and setting her down several times as outlined above.

When returning her to her cage, make sure to put her in rump first so she doesn't try to jump from your hands back into the cage. Again, hold her by her shoulders until she relaxes before letting her go. Be sure to have a tasty treat for her. Fresh greens, a small slice of apple, a bit of carrot, or some dry bread are good choices. If she wont take it from your hand, just set it in the cage for her.

Some rabbits are aggressive when at chest level, so you may also try moving her to a cage that is closer to the ground. If she is stressed by something in her environment, giving her a hiding place is a great idea. You could also cover the top and two or three sides with cardboard. Use zip ties to secure it to the outside of the cage.

She may also be very hormonal right now. Since she only has one kit left to raise, I would rebreed her as soon as possible.

As for the feed tipping- if you can rig something up to attach the feeder to the wire elevated to about six inches, that may help. You can repair your J-feeder with expanded metal mesh- I guarantee she wont be able to tear it apart. I cut the width to fit, and wedge it into place. You may want to secure it with hot glue, but I didn't find that to be necessary.

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Best of luck! I hope you can get her settled. :clover:
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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Beekeeper10 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:13 pm


Just a thought, are you sure the doe is the one that tore up the feeder and dumped the feed bowels. There is a possibility that it could be rats or maybe a coon that is doing the damage. If it is a predator, it could be the predator that ate the kits and that could be what is causing the doe to be so defensive.
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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Kyle@theWintertime » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:32 pm


I'd be a little suspicious of predator harassment, too. Do you have a lot of coons where you are?
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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Cottie » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:45 pm


coffeenutdesigns wrote:Eating babies and being overly anxious, causing aggressive Behavior, sounds like she might be feeling threatened by a predator. Have you had her long? Is there anything that could be scaring her? Is this her first litter?

This!

I got several NZWs from someone a little over a month ago. All had been harassed by the previous owner's dog(s). It can take quite a while for them to be broken of it. One of the does had to go into the freezer because she would NEVER calm down. I ended up with serious wounds on my stomach from her antics, which was her ticket to the freezer.

The other doe has finally calmed enough to be pet, and handled in small doses. She's getting better day by day. When I first got her, she charged everything. I gave them scraps of carpet as a resting mat (not recommended, but they had carpet scraps in their previous cages, so I thought the familiar feel would be good fro them). When I lifted up the carpet to shake it off, she barked, growled and charged. When I put food in her feeder, she charged. When I took her waterer down to refill it, she charged. All I had to do was grab the latch for her cage and she was bouncing off the walls.

What did it for mine was being put in a quiet, indoor space where there were no animals other than rabbits. After a week of that, she really mellowed. I also followed some of MSD's suggestions, and forced contact on her. You have to be fairly dominant and let her know who's boss by not giving an inch.

Personally, I would give her some pampering and another chance, assuming she didn't inflict major damage on you.
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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Brian » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:20 am


I really appreciate all of ya'lls input. I think you've given me what I need to at least give her a chance. Zero predator problem here though- that is what the dog is for. She could already be afraid of them and that is the problem. But my dog doesn't fool with them at all. Also, as far as predators. I witnessed her eat two fat happy babies that had been thriving for nearly a week. She was just sitting their eating them alive while they were trying to get away. Removed both of them but it was too late. I'm gonna keep working with her, but she has a ways to go.

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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#13  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:27 am


Brian wrote:She was just sitting their eating them alive while they were trying to get away. Removed both of them but it was too late.


That would result in a one way ticket to the freezer here, but I have plenty of replacement does.
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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Beekeeper10 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:30 am


I am with you MSD. If that was the last of her kits, she would be going in the freezer here.
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Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#15  Unread postby OneAcreFarm » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:59 am


Brian wrote:I really appreciate all of ya'lls input. I think you've given me what I need to at least give her a chance. Zero predator problem here though- that is what the dog is for. She could already be afraid of them and that is the problem. But my dog doesn't fool with them at all. Also, as far as predators. I witnessed her eat two fat happy babies that had been thriving for nearly a week. She was just sitting their eating them alive while they were trying to get away. Removed both of them but it was too late. I'm gonna keep working with her, but she has a ways to go.


I had one like this as well, just a psycho doe. I would be sending her to freezer camp myself.
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