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Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Understand why your rabbits behave the way they do - and what you can do about it.
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Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Tiny Buns » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:30 am


I have my second holland lop litter due to a first time doe that I've raised from 5 weeks. Was feeling hopeful about this one because the first litter resulted in 4 dead kits. This doe has always been a character but very sweet. During her pregnancy though, she turned into a hormonal time bomb. She bit me hard enough to break the skin about a week into her pregnancy. I wrote it off as hormones....not impressed but understandable. She bit me again, not enough to break the skin but enough to bruise deeply, about 2 weeks in. Again, not impressed and at this point I'm thinking a trip to freezer camp is in her future. Still, I apparently have a short memory because I decided to keep her. Fool. We are on day 33 today and she's round like she swallowed a grapefruit. I checked on her this morning and she was eager to be stroked and patted. And then I decided to feel her round belly. Well did I ever get a surprise. She whipped around and bit me just above the wrist but deep enough to need stitches. :evil: My own damn fault really, I should have known better. I can appreciate that she's uncomfortable and doesn't want to be manhandled, I've had two kids, I know how it feels at the bitter end, but it seems biting is becoming her go to move to get you to p*ss off and not touch her.

Well my DH is ready to dispatch her the minute he gets home from work. I am trying to be a bit more practical or maybe I'm out of mind, and think if she has a belly full of babies I'm throwing good money away. Maybe he's right, if biting is clearly something she is comfortable with, then maybe she's not a great role model for babies.

Thoughts? Immediate dispatch or let her keep her kits to weaning?

**all of my rabbits are handled multiple times a day and everyone is sweet, docile and cuddly....except for this one.

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Ramjet » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:30 am


It could be learned behavior .... realizing that her biting gets you to stop whatever it is she doesn't like.

It could be genetic aggression.

You wont know until the kits do or don't display the behavior.

I'd let her have and wean the kits then send her to the freezer camp .... Kits to be decided.
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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Tiny Buns » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:16 am


Yes, she's got that right: a deep painful bloody gash certainly makes me stop immediately. :x

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#4  Unread postby macksmom98 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:29 am


I had one grow out of this type of situation. She got older and after having and nursing a litter of kits.....

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Tiny Buns » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:54 am


DH is a first aide attendant and apparently the location of the bite could have severed a tendon. The more I think about it, the more I am not too keen on waiting to see if she grows out of it and hoping I don't lose the ability to move part of my hand the next time she strikes out like a rattlesnake.

I think at this point I'm just trying to decide whether she lives to have and wean kits or if I'm throwing in the towel, kits and all.

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Prisma » Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:15 pm


There are enough biters in the world, but given its increased as you handled and immediately after she's not had to deal with you any more, I'm inclined to think it is learned behavior and not genetic. She knows if she bites, you go away. So the harder she bites (and she's proven this already) the longer you go away....

I have a zero tolerance for true aggression. I don't give second chances with it, but this doesn't to me seem to be that way, its learned avoidance/fear behavior. The way they are approached and handled teach them a lot. An not so confident person can make a leery uneasy rabbit bite really quickly. I'd do what Ramjet suggested, let her have the kids, don't handle her or them, and remove her as soon as they are old enough to wean and then handle them confidently correctly and get them used to it early. If you have an issue with them trying to bluff (be boss), take care of it early and don't let them do it or send those that show those characteristics early to FC.
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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#7  Unread postby macksmom98 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:48 pm


I like this advice. And that is pretty severe. Mine would lunge, nip, and lightly bite, but not to the point of break on skin. I noticed a huge difference just after the one pregnancy, and she immediatly quit all of that. So it was an easy decision to blame that on hormones.......

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Zass » Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:04 pm


Ramjet wrote:
You wont know until the kits do or don't display the behavior.


I'll just add to this:
"You wont know until the kits do or don't display the behavior at puberty"

When kits are typically sold at 8-12 weeks they rarely display any kind of aggression.

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Tiny Buns » Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:28 pm


Zass wrote:
Ramjet wrote:
You wont know until the kits do or don't display the behavior.


I'll just add to this:
"You wont know until the kits do or don't display the behavior at puberty"

When kits are typically sold at 8-12 weeks they rarely display any kind of aggression.


So do you suggest err on the side of caution and assume it's a nature rather than nurture issue and just cull the lot?

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Zass » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:09 pm


Tiny Buns wrote:
So do you suggest err on the side of caution and assume it's a nature rather than nurture issue and just cull the lot?


That decision is entirely up to you.

I've culled whole litters because a doe went spastic after the kits were born, but... I raise mainly meat rabbits, so it's practical for me to simply decide an entire batch of fryers (and their dam) are all destined for freezer camp when they get big enough.

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#11  Unread postby TF3 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:52 pm


Nasty witch!
Any chance you have another doe you could foster the kits in and get her gone right away?
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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Tiny Buns » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:01 pm


Yes I'm toying with this idea. Mine are 98% pets so I don't want a tarnished reputation because I sell b*tchy lops.

-- Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:01 pm --

My other lop doe who lost her litter of 4 upon delivery, kindled on the 20th. Ellie is day 33 and still no kits. I think it's too late to foster kits to her IF Ellie hurries up and actually has them.

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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#13  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:38 pm


I would hesitate culling knowing how hormonal she is right now. I have one that was spastic when I got her, instantly raised to be bred when she was finally out of quarantine (she actually fell out of the hutch trying to get to the buck 2 holes down), really mellowed out during pregnancy, went crazy again right when they were born, and has mellowed out again with 3 week old kits. Totally a toss up. I vote you let her be, feed and water her, let her raise up the kits, then decide... she shouldn't need to be handled much at all for those few weeks, right? Then work with the kits as much as you can to keep them tame and see how they do. Now, if it's a bust of a delivery? Easier answer...
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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#14  Unread postby ladysown » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:40 pm


Give her to day 35 and if no babies cull her. open her up and find out why she is so big inside.

I"m wondering if something is WRONG with her...

Either way you'll be rid of a problem rabbit.

IF she does have kits...Get those kits started on food as soon as possible. let her raise them til week four then REMOVE her and cull. Leave the kits in their cage. feed them with hay/oats and pellets and they will be fine. After four weeks of age kits start picking up mom's behaviour patterns. Then the ones you plan to keep... pet and love the heck out of them. Get them so calm and comfortable with people that quick movements and hormones won't trigger a reaction.
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Re: Stupid rabbit or maybe it's stupid me

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Tiny Buns » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:11 pm


heritage wrote:I would hesitate culling knowing how hormonal she is right now. I have one that was spastic when I got her, instantly raised to be bred when she was finally out of quarantine (she actually fell out of the hutch trying to get to the buck 2 holes down), really mellowed out during pregnancy, went crazy again right when they were born, and has mellowed out again with 3 week old kits. Totally a toss up. I vote you let her be, feed and water her, let her raise up the kits, then decide... she shouldn't need to be handled much at all for those few weeks, right? Then work with the kits as much as you can to keep them tame and see how they do. Now, if it's a bust of a delivery? Easier answer...


Hormonal or not, this pregnancy has seen me bitten with increasing severity 3 times. I'm not feeling patient. :|

-- Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:11 pm --

ladysown wrote:Give her to day 35 and if no babies cull her. open her up and find out why she is so big inside.

I"m wondering if something is WRONG with her...

Either way you'll be rid of a problem rabbit.

IF she does have kits...Get those kits started on food as soon as possible. let her raise them til week four then REMOVE her and cull. Leave the kits in their cage. feed them with hay/oats and pellets and they will be fine. After four weeks of age kits start picking up mom's behaviour patterns. Then the ones you plan to keep... pet and love the heck out of them. Get them so calm and comfortable with people that quick movements and hormones won't trigger a reaction.


She's pretty massive but showing no signs of kindling. I was thinking Saturday is as long as I'm willing to wait.

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