Register

Aggressive Rabbit

A place to post bits of news, ideas, musings and other things that don't really fit into the other forums.
Posts: 3
Joined: December 8, 2017
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 0 in 0 post
BunnyBucks: 105.00

Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Oliverrabbit » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:33 am


Hi everyone,
I’m not sure if you have seen yet in the chat or not, but I have 4 rabbits. I love them all, however in the last 2 months one of my females has become very aggressive to me and the other bunnies. I can’t even feed her, clean the cage, etc. without being bitten, and “growled at”. I was wondering if there is anyone who is very skilled with rabbits who would be willing to take her. She is adorable and definetly has potential if you have a lot of tine to devout to her. Her name is Sylvia. I live in the northern New Jersey area. Please, if you are willing to help, inbox me. Thank you.

Site Admin
8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 16692
Joined: December 16, 2009
Location: South Eastern Ontario
Canada Female
Thanks: 793
Thanked: 2476 in 1916 posts
BunnyBucks: 60,263.00

Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:45 am


May I suggest that you read other threads about rabbit aggression on this forum and learn ways to deal with this.

Some more detail about your rabbit may also help. How old is she? Has she ever been bred? What methods have you already tried to deal with her aggressive behaviour?

Posts: 3
Joined: December 8, 2017
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 0 in 0 post
BunnyBucks: 105.00

Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Oliverrabbit » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:48 am


Hi, she is about 6 months old, female, and has never been bred. I have tried sepersting her and the aggresion has only gotten worse. I took her to the vet and he suggested I put her down.

Site Admin
8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 16692
Joined: December 16, 2009
Location: South Eastern Ontario
Canada Female
Thanks: 793
Thanked: 2476 in 1916 posts
BunnyBucks: 60,263.00

Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:06 pm


Do you normally keep all your rabbits in one cage/pen or does each have its own cage? Sometimes female rabbits around the age of yours get "hormonal" because their instincts are telling them they want to be bred. It's a tricky situation, however, because breeding an aggressive rabbit often results in offspring with similar attitudes and that would only compound the problem.

I am going to suggest a site to you about how rabbits communicate. It will give you a better understanding of your rabbit's behaviour and it may help you to deal with it.
http://language.rabbitspeak.com/

Site Supporter
2 years of membership2 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 150
Joined: April 28, 2016
Location: Northeast Kansas
United States of America Female
Thanks: 69
Thanked: 35 in 30 posts
BunnyBucks: 857.00

Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Winterwolf » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:32 am


Hello @Oliverrabbit! :)

I own a doe who used to be a lot like the one you're describing. When I first bought her, she was already several years old and had come from a home where she'd been severely neglected. She was extremely antisocial and aggressive. I would get bitten and scratched every time I reached into her pen for any reason. She refused to let me pick her up, brush her, or trim her nails. I had horrible scars on my arm from handling her.

It took over a year of careful handling and patience to get through to her. Now she hops to the cage door every morning to get snuggled. I used to nickname her "the little terror" and now she's easily one of my favorite bunnies. Here are a few of the things I tried:
1. Never startle her. Make some noise as you approach her area. It can be humming, talking to yourself, whatever you want. Just something that lets her know she's about to have company.
2. If you have a decent-sized yard (and a fence!) take her outside every day for an hour or so and just sit in the yard with her. Don't pet her, don't bother her, just be there so that she gets used to your presence. Also, if she does approach you to sniff you/check you out, don't touch her! Let her approach, do whatever she wants, and then leave on her own. That way she learns that she can be near you without you grabbing her.
3. Provide some safe treats while grooming her. (There's a few separate discussion threads on safe treats.) Make grooming sessions as short and as relaxing as possible. Also, grooming once each week even it's to just brush her coat for two minutes can help her learn that there's nothing scary about the process. If she acts overly stressed or scared, end the session. You can always come back and continue at a later time.
4. Like other animals, every rabbit is different. Some rabbits respond better to gentle handling than rough handling. Some like you to take things slow and careful, while others feel more relaxed when you are just open and direct. But one thing that is important is to never be timid around her. Animals are very good at sensing your anxiety and then they get stressed out because they just sense something wrong. Do something relaxing before, during, and after interacting with her so you won't be as nervous or anxious about being around her. Play some music while grooming her, read a book while hanging out with her in the yard, etc.
5. Make sure she feels safe in her home. Maybe she's anxious and aggressive because she doesn't feel completely safe. What type of cage/hutch/pen does she live in? If she shares a cage, does she have a place to be where she can be by herself? If her cage is small, does she have a place to exercise? If her cage is large, does she have any sort of box or den to go into when she's scared? Any of things might contribute to stress her out.
6. BE PATIENT. Can't emphasize this one enough. As I said, it took over a year to rehabilitate my aggressive doe. I'm glad I never gave up, because it turned out that she was actually a very wonderful bunny underneath all that stress and territoriality.

These are only suggestions of course. But they certainly helped turn my aggressive doe into a little sweetheart. I wish you the best of luck with your rabbit.

(P.S. Do you know what breed she is?)
Misty Creek Rabbitry
Mini Lops and French Angoras
Northeast Kansas, USA
http://mistycreekrabbitry.weebly.com
https://www.facebook.com/MistyCreekRabbitry/

The following user would like to thank Winterwolf for this post
Nymphadora

4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 197
Joined: April 4, 2014
Location: Southeastern Oklahoma
United States of America Female
Thanks: 41
Thanked: 27 in 26 posts
BunnyBucks: 1,290.00

Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#6  Unread postby ozemba » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:54 pm


I had an aggression problem with a not quite year old buck I bought, the person I bought him from did not mention that he was aggressive in any way, at the time.

He would growl and charge and box at me when I was trying to do anything in his cage. I tried my best to not retreat when he did this, but I wasn't willing to let him bite me either. (He was an English lop mix and around 10 pounds) I gave him time, plenty of both cage space and exercise space, and he warmed up to me. Treats and letting them know you aren't going to hurt them by being present but not otherwise interacting will give the rabbit a chance to associate you with good instead of bad.

Also make sure that they have a destructive outlet, something to chew, dig in, or shred. That seemed to help him out.

8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 7009
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 1031 in 915 posts
BunnyBucks: 36,075.00

Re: Aggressive Rabbit

Post Number:#7  Unread postby akane » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:06 pm


Having rabbits in a group can complicate things and most do not house them together. It throws in an extra set of variables to solving the cause of behavior because while cages can lead to aggression from wanting to claim their cage space not being able to separate from other rabbits can also lead to not feeling safe. Aside from large 6' long cages for a pair of small breeds of proven more peaceful individuals I have not "caged" intact rabbits together. I used an 8x8' shed or 12x12' horse stalls for even a breeding trio and then walled off a section of the basement that was probably about 8x8' for an indoor colony of netherland dwarf when I moved. Sometimes you can get away with less space but when you have intact rabbits and you get a defensive/territorial individual in there the space and the design with hides and objects to break up line of sight suddenly becomes very important for everyone to feel safe. Most who do try to house more than 2 rabbits together and even many just putting a pair of same gender together indoors or as pets in only the space of a hutch long term will spay/neuter to help reduce hormones contributing to territorial behavior.

You definitely need to make sure the rabbit feels safe first. Rabbits are prey animals and it's rare that one acts aggressive without some type of fear behind it. Claiming territory is more an attempt to make a safe space than an attempt at any type of dominance behavior like people attribute to some animals. Spaying can often help a lot with does because the hormones may make them want to defend an area more for raising a litter or finding a mate among the other does even if there isn't a male around. It's sometimes seen periodically in breeding does at various stages of pregnancy or raising litters and then goes away again. A doe just reaching maturity may flare up when hormone changes start and then settle down so sometimes time is all you need. Some never do though and if you aren't breeding spaying can remove the hormone contribution. It's not a guarantee since they can still feel a need to get defensive.

While a short term change to a cage may trigger them to get worse it might help long term to have a defined space that nothing is threatening. It can take months for them to realize they are safe somewhere new and you have to avoid doing anything that makes you part of the threat but if a colony setting has not worked after awhile some rabbits need a better defined space that belongs to only them before they will calm back down. Some only need moved out of colony temporarily because of some trigger and some never quite settle in right with a specific setup. Even in cages people have found minor things occasionally make big differences. Moving a rabbit higher or lower can change their perception of threats or activity level they see and moving them to end cages or middle cages can change how safe they feel with neighbors, a wall, or an open side instead. It depends on the individual what on what's makes them the most outgoing. If you don't have a rabbit building/room with stacks of cages you have to modify open versus covered space and activity levels in other ways. We had one cage while living in a condo we called the Amako cave because she never liked being in the open so we built her a bottom cage with 3 solid walls and another cage with a solid floor on top leaving just an open front. Even if you left the door open she wouldn't leave her cave. Others get more defensive of such an enclosed area and do better with all wire they can see out of without nearby walls. I had to do pretty much the opposite of Amako with a young buck to get him to stop attacking me when I tried to fill the food dish. He even went over the dish once to bite me. We raised him up in a wire cage with lots of open area and he stopped guarding his food dish. In the meantime we just calmly blocked him with a flat board or a large feed scoop depending how long we needed to keep him away and how much space we were working in while we quickly took care of his needs. It caused minimal distress to not see what was happening until we were gone and then he had fresh items to enjoy. In about 3 weeks he stopped all aggression and we started handling him more after that.

Of course "Demon Rabbit" did exist. I loved that little broken blue mini rex doe as a baby but hormones kicked in and she is one of the only ones I've seen that acted aggressive no matter what. She'd attack my leg from the ground of a large colony, she tore through leather gloves when caged, and had one litter that she remained aggressive even with the change in hormones. I ended up culling her before they were 2 weeks old and feeding them pellets soaked in milk replacer when she got mastitis on top of her behavior issues. It was difficult to medicate her and get the kits fed when she wanted to tear your arm (or leg, face, and whatever else you stuck in range) off. I don't think she was redeemable. I ran an experiment to breed her male offspring that weren't showing aggression but my other rabbits said something was wrong with their behavior. Does would not breed with them and one dove under a feeding screaming to breed fine with another male. That's why nothing from that doe was ever included in the rest of my rabbit breeding or sold to other homes just in case.
http://s1321.beta.photobucket.com/user/takakageri/library/
Failing might just mean you are trying to climb instead of swim https://youtu.be/evathYHc1Fg

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests