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why some rabbits change

Understand why your rabbits behave the way they do - and what you can do about it.
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why some rabbits change

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ladysown » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:37 pm


As most folks know here I breed and sell rabbits for pets.

For my pet stock I focus on easy care rabbits. I don't mind some "i'm all that" but it has to be a laugh quotient not a "i'm going to tear into" attitude.

My rabbits for the most part turn out really well and I weed out any attitude issues fairly quickly.

after breeding rabbits for almost 10 years I don't have cage protective does or other such nonsense in my rabbits.

After Christmas I sold about eight bunnies. No issues in the follow up except with two.

Bunnies are nipping at clothes and occasionally fingers and I can't for the life of me figure out why.

The people who got them seemed knowledgeable, willing to listen, did their homework etc.

So what would cause two bunnies (out of eight) to have behaviour issues when they are around 2 months old?
Too early for hormones and I didn't see hormonal behaviour in them before they left.
From what they described bunnies were getting adequate down time.

It's hard to know right?
Before breeding rabbits I would blame it on bad breeding, but I know the parents, I know the genetics of them. I don't know all the attitude stuff behind one of the sires as he was bought in, but the other is a doll face and always has been.

So I find it odd...and odd stuff I like to figure out. :)

Perhaps I can't figure this one though.
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Re: why some rabbits change

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Dood » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:10 pm


Do they have a mineral lick?

Pet people tend to go overboard on the treats or follow the "pellets are evil" House Bunny mantra so the rabbits tend to lack minerals that are found in bark, soil and groomed off their fur and feet when living in the wild. Grass hays tend to have poor mineral content as fields are rarely enriched and each crop leaches them out of the ground.

Many of the "angry bunnies" I've taken in have devoured their mineral blocks in the first week then taper off to occasional licks or not at all if its the summer and I can provide lots of cuttings.

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Re: why some rabbits change

Post Number:#3  Unread postby akane » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:39 pm


We have had that with guinea pigs in the past. They will get really nibbly on fingers and overzealous in it sometimes if they are low in salt or minerals. Often they'd try to eat hair too. Not sure about the clothes pulling. It sounds more insistent than aggressive. You might want to check for skin parasites that might be making them uncomfortable. People could track those in from various places or if they have dogs and cats fleas my hop off them to bite the rabbits but not live on the rabbits. Also had that problem with some small/medium size rodents I had to temporarily keep at my mom's house where she doesn't treat the dogs and cats all the time.
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Re: why some rabbits change

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:47 pm


Sometimes, when buns on my lap have to potty, they will start to dig and try to move clothing, seeking a suitable place to go.

I found that out only after being peed on a few times...

Any time a rabbit grabs at something it can seem like "nipping," but really, since they don't have hands, or even paws they can use for most tasks, they generally use their mouths for manipulating objects.

I read somewhere that rabbits are one of the few animals that very rarely use their feet to manipulate food. Which explains the divided lip..

Oh, and to add to what Dood and Akane said,

I've seen "salt and mineral licks are not necessary" and even "salt is bad" repeated over and over on many pet webpages.
But if people are trying to feed hay and veggies according to HRS "rules", I think they would definitely need a mineral lick.

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Re: why some rabbits change

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ladysown » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:28 pm


thank you all so much. I've learned much! thanks! :) never thought about the whole mineral lick aspect of things.
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Re: why some rabbits change

Post Number:#6  Unread postby akane » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:45 pm


I do kind of agree that salt is not necessary to the extent many give it. Personally I will never use those 90+% salt fabricated trace mineral blocks/wheels again but some minerals and electrolyte salts are needed in many diets. Natural mineral licks and blocks that are higher in minerals are good or loose mineral mixes. I add a little bit of apple flavored horse electrolytes in to my supplement mix that I sometimes use. The all or nothing approach to salt blocks needs to go and healthier alternatives need to be used.
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Re: why some rabbits change

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Sagebrush » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:53 am


Akane, what type of loose mineral mix do you use? If I can, I would like to go that rout with my rabbits. I do have the red mineral licks available to the working does, but would like to give them all more of what they need than the salt that is taking over. Plus all that salt is rusting my cages ;)

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