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Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Routine care and maintenance of rabbits and their surroundings.
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Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#1  Unread postby haeller » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:22 pm


(Hello. I apologize in advance if I posted this in the wrong section and for any grammar or spelling mistakes.)

Originally, when we first got our two rabbits, we filled the cage with bedding. When they grew older, we decided to buy a litter box to cut the costs. After we bought a cat litter box for our two rabbits (it's big enough to fit both of them in there), we trained them to do their business in the box filled with bedding. Both of them have been very good about pooping and peeing in the box, and they mostly do their business in a corner.

However, recently, they have been digging at the bedding. We don't know whether it's because (1) they enjoy playing with their poop, (2) they are burrowing rabbits (that's what my sister says), (3) they dig due to their claws, or (4) they dislike the bedding we use. As for Number 4, we have tried different types of bedding, but they seem to exhibit the same behavior for each bedding.

When they dig, they push the bedding away, leaving the bare bottom of the litter box. Afterwards, they pee and poop in the corner without the bedding, making it harder to clean the litter box. My dad gets infuriated whenever he sees this behavior, and because of his temper, I want to find a way to stop this. I tried searching for solutions, but I didn't find any results that were useful.

My question is: Why are the rabbits digging at the bedding, and how can we stop the rabbits from showing this behavior? (We could buy new bedding, but as I mentioned earlier, they still dig.) Thank you in advance for any tips and answers.

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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#2  Unread postby HOWsMom » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:26 pm


Rabbits dig - it's a natural instinct.
I'm not sure you can stop it.

Are they spayed / neutered ? I know that can help to stop spraying behaviour, but not sure it would stop the digging.
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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#3  Unread postby haeller » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:36 pm


HOWsMom wrote:Rabbits dig - it's a natural instinct.
I'm not sure you can stop it.

Are they spayed / neutered ? I know that can help to stop spraying behaviour, but not sure it would stop the digging.


Thank you for the reply, and yes, both of them were spayed. I suppose it's just a natural instinct, then?

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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#4  Unread postby HOWsMom » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:38 pm


haeller wrote:Thank you for the reply, and yes, both of them were spayed. I suppose it's just a natural instinct, then?


I would think so, yes.

Do they have other areas that can be dug at ? A box with hay / dirt or anything like that ?
Do they have enough space to be able to get their energy out through exercise ?
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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#5  Unread postby haeller » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:41 pm


HOWsMom wrote:
haeller wrote:Thank you for the reply, and yes, both of them were spayed. I suppose it's just a natural instinct, then?


I would think so, yes.

Do they have other areas that can be dug at ? A box with hay / dirt or anything like that ?
Do they have enough space to be able to get their energy out through exercise ?


No, they don't, so we should probably get something for them. And yes - their cage is large, so they can run around, and at times, we let them out of their cage.

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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#6  Unread postby HOWsMom » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:44 pm


haeller wrote:No, they don't, so we should probably get something for them. And yes - their cage is large, so they can run around, and at times, we let them out of their cage.


Definitely sounds like they are just being rabbits :D

:pancake:
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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#7  Unread postby haeller » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:52 pm


HOWsMom wrote:
haeller wrote:No, they don't, so we should probably get something for them. And yes - their cage is large, so they can run around, and at times, we let them out of their cage.


Definitely sounds like they are just being rabbits :D

:pancake:


If we get them a box and fill it will hay or dirt for them to dig at, would they get confused and poop in it instead?

Anyway, thank you for your help - much appreciated!

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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#8  Unread postby HOWsMom » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:04 pm


haeller wrote:If we get them a box and fill it will hay or dirt for them to dig at, would they get confused and poop in it instead?

Anyway, thank you for your help - much appreciated!


Honestly - yeah, they probably would !

I had little luck with litter training our rabbits. The first one was great, but once we got a second bunny - forget it ! And they aren't even in the same room.

Now, everyone is on wire bottoms - easier clean-up that way for me, and a LOT less expensive than bedding when there are multiple cages to deal with.
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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#9  Unread postby haeller » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:16 pm


HOWsMom wrote:
haeller wrote:If we get them a box and fill it will hay or dirt for them to dig at, would they get confused and poop in it instead?

Anyway, thank you for your help - much appreciated!


Honestly - yeah, they probably would !

I had little luck with litter training our rabbits. The first one was great, but once we got a second bunny - forget it ! And they aren't even in the same room.

Now, everyone is on wire bottoms - easier clean-up that way for me, and a LOT less expensive than bedding when there are multiple cages to deal with.


I can agree, haha! Litter training was difficult.

Wire bottoms do sound easier to clean and less expensive, but also rather uncomfortable for the rabbits, in my opinion. Before we got our two rabbits, we originally bought a wire bottom cage, but I forgot why we returned it. (Something about it looking uncomfortable or broken?)

Well, I think we'll just have to deal with it since it's their instinct, or maybe search around for more solutions. I just hope my dad understands this and doesn't get angry. Either way, thanks for your help!

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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Zass » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:45 pm


All domestic rabbits are "burrowing rabbits."

Wild cottontails do not dig burrows, but the ancestors of our domestic buns are European wild rabbits. They dig large communal warrens.

Not every individual bun is strongly influenced by that instinct though, and pregnant does tend to be the most driven to dig.

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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#11  Unread postby shazza » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:59 pm


wire bottom cages that have an appropriate bar spacing are actually quite comfortable apparently. my rabbits all have resting mats and areas to get off of the wire in their cages and they spend more time on the wire than off of it. it's very clean as well - cleaning solid bottom hutches was the worst. nothing against solid bottom cages, but don't believe the propaganda that wire cages are cruel.

as for digging - yeah, that's just instinct. especially i've found near the winter they dig more, perhaps to build warrens to escape the cold? a good way to channel that instinct and keep your house clean and the carpet not torn up is perhaps to take a hint from the ferret owners and make a dig box for the buns!

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you can cut a hole in the lid so the bun can hop in/out but has less of a chance to kick dirt out of the box. fill with good clean dirt or biodegradable peanuts, paper shreds, whatever you feel like using, and let em go! they can do what they love and also keep your carpet and furniture more intact. may also keep them from thinking it's a litter box, if it looks vastly different from their current box (if you have one, i didn't see.)
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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#12  Unread postby HOWsMom » Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:55 pm


What a cute idea - I have GOT to make me some of those boxes !
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Re: Rabbits keep digging at bedding

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Bug4H » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:50 pm


another thing when we gave our bunnies a spot / box thing is seeds [just a few but they love them!} :pancake: :pancake: :pancake:
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