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"is it friendly"

A place to discuss the particular challenges and ethical issues facing the breeder of pet rabbits today.
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"is it friendly"

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ladysown » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:22 pm


I get asked this question frequently by rabbit buyers. And i simply don't know how to answer it.

I can easily describe a rabbits behaviour and it's general attitude, but not whether or not it is friendly.

to me friendly as a term directed at animals is one that doesn't make sense.

People oriented, approachable, interested in folks... those are terms that I would use... but friendly...it's so.. I dunno.. not a term I use with rabbits. :)

So how do those of us who sell pet rabbits deal with that question?
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:50 pm


usually when people ask if an animal is friendly they really mean 'does it act like it likes me, and can i pet it.' five dollar words like 'people-oriented' and 'approachable' are going to confuse people and it's really just an easy catch-all to ask 'is the animal friendly,' and almost everyone knows what you mean.

the ones i've raised will actively run across the pen to see what you're up to, and like scratches and being fed treats, so i consider them pretty friendly. maybe not housebunny friendly (they don't seem to actively seek attention most of the time,) but they are curious and seem to enjoy having their ears pet. try to pick them up and you'll face the ire of a wild animal, but i don't really care much about handling for the ones i'm gonna eat. so generally if people ask 'are they friendly' i say sure, just don't try to pick them up. which is a good rule of thumb for any prey animal, and why i don't think rabbits make good kid pets at all, lol.
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#3  Unread postby akane » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:33 pm


Pretty much how likely it will sit there to be pet, how difficult it is to catch, and how wiggly it is to hold. Overall how easily can a clueless person who's never touched a rabbit and possibly never an animal pet and move around the rabbit. I tell them how likely the rabbit is to approach you or sit still in a cage/pen, if it has any tendency to nibble since some will take this as biting or aggressive when it's curiosity or grooming behavior, and how wiggly it is as it applies to how likely they'll get scratched or drop it. If young how much it probably will calm down and be less wiggly with exposure to people.
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#4  Unread postby SableSteel » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:00 pm


With large breed rabbits, you get some that aren't unfriendly, but will just sit there, and a much wider scale. Will the smaller breeds, it seems they either follow me around and walk on leashes, or growl at me with ears pinned back, and there's no in between. Then again, I also have Himalayans and Britannia petites, which are two ends of the friendly-mean spectrum
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Prisma » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:51 am


I tell them there is no such thing, they are not cats and dogs. They may like scratches and some may like to be petted plus held or even come when called but they take time to get to that point with new people IF they do at all. Do not expect a dog or cat personality even if your friend has a whole house of them, ever one is unique. They think everything is out to get them at first, no matter how well they are socialized after all they are prey animals.
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#6  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:41 pm


I would take that to mean....

Will it bite me for reaching in to pet it?
Is it aggressive when you feed or pet it?
At feeding time, does it come to the cage door to socialize, or sit in the back waiting for you to back off? (I've got one of these now.... :oops: )

Friendly is really relative...
I have a foster that has been trying to take a walk every time the cage door opens.... will snuff around my hands (always wonder if this is the day he tries for a bite), gets in my way when I reach for stuff in there.... I call him a pain... the owner calls him friendly....
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#7  Unread postby ladysown » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:26 am


I think that's my sticking point... i find it all relative and when most of the time I sell youngsters when their personalities are still developing it makes it difficult to say "this one is friendly".

I can tell them "this one falls out of the cage to greet me, that one sits back and let's others investigate the world first, that one loves a gentle touch, this one will lean into you for an ear rub"... but to quantify that as friendly... that i struggle with.
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Preitler » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:40 pm


Last year I had a buyer who wanted a pet rabbit pair for her 5yo daughter, and I did not sell her any of mine, not friendly enough and too big. I took her to the next breeder three houses down the road who just tossed the rabbits into our arms while she sorted through her stock, would I do this with mine there would be a lot of minced meat. So, no, my rabbits are not very espacially friendly.

But, NOTHING beats the satisfaction when they come around and chin me, or order a intense nose rub and petting, when they decide that they like me. I like those characters, that are much more independent and more "rabbit".
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#9  Unread postby macksmom98 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:37 am


Most people don't really understand rabbits, and want a cuddly pet for their kids. I always tell folks that I cannot guarantee that. That rabbits usually dont mind being held while sitting but they dont like to be carried, etc.....I try to give them a little educaion, or I feel that they will likely want to return their purchase once they realize its not what they thought....

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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#10  Unread postby shazza » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:26 am


^ exactly why i won't sell my rabbits as pets. maybe to a good friend, but not to someone on craigslist, and never to anyone with kids. any prey animal just is not a good pet for kids unless they're older. especially not one big and strong enough to tear MY arms apart, and i'm respectful of the animals. a kid wouldn't be.

my sister thought she wanted to get (another, i could write a novel on why she should never own any animal,) rabbit for her very young kids this easter. a few days after she told me this (and i educated her on why prey animals are horrible ideas for kids under like, twelve,) she brought her kids over to play with some of the growouts in my play yard. i told them not to pick the rabbits up, and of course they did, because they're kids and they never listen, and they got their butt kicked almost immediately. hopefully she got it this time.
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#11  Unread postby macksmom98 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:52 pm


I agree that whomever is buying them should be informed, and that most kids and parents won't have the experience they need. I am not sure I would say they don't make a good pet, because I feel they are super sweet! Of course you must respect them. It sounds like you have a meat operation and your growouts may not be handled much. Ours arent either, but our Hollands are, and they dont mind being picked up and held. Not saying they dont get scared, but how they are handled at an early age is a factor IMHO. We do sell them, but not to just anyone and I make sure to let people know. I dont sell just for an Easter pet either. Although, I am not sure if thats really a thing or not. We got a puppy one year for Christmas and it was the best present ever! He lived with us for many years, and we fully understood (as did our parents) what a commitment it was. We grew up on a farm tho, so there is a little different mentality.

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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Homer » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:09 pm


I have one of these signs from Grandview Rabbitry in my shop/bunny barn. When someone asks me I just point at it and say, "you decide".

This ain't a petting zoo, you got in free didn't you?

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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#13  Unread postby shazza » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:43 pm


macksmom98 wrote: It sounds like you have a meat operation and your growouts may not be handled much.

i do breed primarily for meat, but i handle my growouts daily and they are very personable and love to be with people and be petted and will follow you around and sit in your lap......just don't pick them up. i try to get them used to being held since the day they were born, but i have yet to have one that won't kick me unless i football hold them. rabbits just don't like being picked up. i've had a hard time explaining this to the neighbourhood kids that want to come see the bunnies, so i usually don't let them interact with them unless i'm out there and usually it's just feeding them snacks or petting them while i'm holding them. i figured i'd give letting them in the play yard a try that one day...but my nephew is bullheaded and his mother lets him do whatever he wants, so as soon as i wasn't looking he picked one up after i said not to and it kicked him. hopefully he learns from that if he won't listen to me.

a lot of it too is probably that we live kind of at the edge of town, and i'm the only person in the neighbourhood with livestock, so these kids are essentially 'city kids' that have only ever interacted with dogs and cats :roll: my rabbits are still probably way nicer than the ones they'd buy at the feed stores or tractor supply though lol
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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#14  Unread postby macksmom98 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:09 pm


You are right about them not enjoying being picked up:) I understand you now. Sounds like a discipline problem, which lots of families seem to have these days. I don't allow customers or strangers in my backyard because I have found it always leads to their kids wanting to mess with them, which doesnt work if they dont listen. It does make a difference how and where you come from:)

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Re: "is it friendly"

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Stephanie » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:29 pm


Homer wrote:I have one of these signs from Grandview Rabbitry in my shop/bunny barn. When someone asks me I just point at it and say, "you decide".

This ain't a petting zoo, you got in free didn't you?

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I love that sign!

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