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Taming the Shrew

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

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Anntann » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:45 am


Recently I brought a doe home (about 7 months old) who absolutely HATES being picked up. She was scratching and biting whenever someone tried to go into her cage to get her out for grooming. NOT a good thing. Now, she was on a ground level, in a home that had cats..it's possible that she was having some trouble there...being prey animals, rabbits DO get worried....

I left her alone for a couple of days, in a cage that opens from the top. She settled down pretty well, but was nervous anytime I tried to pet her nose.

After a few days she let me pick her up, hands underneath her, not picking her up from the hair (she has a lot of it). For the next few days, we carried her around, did some grooming, fed greens and treats. She's friendly. Comes up to the cage door to see you, ears up. Nice and friendly. I did some light plucking of fiber on her. happy happy.

Then I made the fatal mistake...I pushed it. She was being so good on the grooming table that I plucked past the time when she started to squiggle around. Suddenly she went wild on me. All day, she was a holy terror. Biting and scratching...attacking whenever I came near her. so....back to the beginning we go.

This morning, I had my SO (he who can make any animal calm) go give her some greens, see if he could reach in to get her food dish, maybe pet her nose...and suddenly he's got her in his arms, all calm and gentle bunny. so..there's still hope.

I suppose the reason I'm posting this is to reiterate the "go slow, go calm" thing. It was my own overconfidence (and not paying attention to the bunny warnings) that set us back a week. :( Were she just MEAN, I wouldn't take the time..but she's quite a nice sweet thing. Just seems to be VERY scared and easily sent into panic mode now. Maybe time will help.

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Re: Taming the Shrew

Post Number:#2  Unread postby trinityoaks » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:55 am


That's good to hear! When I first started out with bunnies, I went slow with them just due to my own uncertainty. It worked so well that I've continued the policy. Thankfully I haven't had any unholy terrors, but I have had rabbits try to hide in the back of the cage, inlcuding rabbits who were quite friendly, even with us, in their previous settings.

I figure on at least a couple of months for them to get used to us and to their new surroundings. It puzzles me that new rabbit owners automatically think they have a ninja bunny just because the rabbit isn't all cute and cuddly with them from the very beginning, or after a week.
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Re: Taming the Shrew

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:50 pm


I think it's very important to go slowly with timid rabbits and to watch their body language. Your bun will come around nicely, Ann, I'm sure... but it's too bad about the set-back. Although the lesson itself may be worth the lost time. :)
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