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Super Aggressive Doe

Understand why your rabbits behave the way they do - and what you can do about it.
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Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#1  Unread postby DaytonHillRabbits » Mon May 11, 2015 7:12 pm


So... I am new to rabbit breeding/keeping and I have apparently acquired an extremely.. unpleasant.. doe. She was NOT this aggressive or threatening before being bred. I am not sure if this is something rabbits do while raising litters or not but she will growl, grunt, posture, and charge at me, though she has NOT made contact as of yet. I know she WOULD if I wasn't quick to move my hand. She is ok until I try to reach INTO the cage for any reason. I can refil food as long as I do it quickly. Most of her defensiveness involves her nest box, she has taken to planting herself at the entrance to the nest whenever I am in the barn or working around the rabbits. When I check the litter, I remove the box entirely because I'm sure she would get me if I tried to reach in with her there.

So.. normal? Acceptable? Any way to improve this behavior? This is her first litter, and she was only with me for 5 days before I bred her so this may be my fault. She didn't have a really good chance to settle before being bred, and she has been an AMAZING mother other than this moodiness. Her kits were born in their nest, fully covered and were fat and happy from the first time I saw them. She hasn't made any mistakes where the kits are concerned. So what to do? Keeping in mind that I am just getting started, and have very limited space. I am hoping she relaxes if I decide to keep her and rebreed... but... will she teach her kits this aggressive crap? Help! :shock:

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Ncrabbit » Mon May 11, 2015 7:48 pm


I had a similar experience with one of my doe. Especially before kindling. She calmed down quite a bit afterwards for about 5 weeks when I removed the kits. She is due again in about a week and has turned real nasty again. I put some BOSS in the palm of my hand a few days ago like I always have since she gave birth and she nailed the snot out of me. Not sure if it was because she wanted the seeds or if it was aggression.

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Galadriel » Mon May 11, 2015 7:52 pm


Oh, dear...... :shock:

Let's see........

DaytonHillRabbits wrote:So.. normal? Acceptable?


NO. Not acceptable, not normal, not good behavior.

DaytonHillRabbits wrote:Any way to improve this behavior?


Maybe. It will involve possible scratching and biting, but if you are patient and pet her in spite of this behavior, she may quit. Does hormones are funny after a litter. They have good feelings toward their popples, and will protect them. If you pet her and be nice to her, she may attribute these feelings to you, too. And then she'll settle down. :D

Unfortunately it may not work, and if it doesn't, then pick the best doe from the litter as a baby, and cuddle her and play with her till you are basically like her daddy, and she comes to you for pets and treats. I'd make a mark with a Sharpie in her ear so you can always tell which one she is. When she grows up, get rid of the aggressive mom (sell or eat), and her sweet daughter will replace her. :)

She may mellow out after more litters, but I don't know if you want to tolerate her that long, especially since you may tolerate her aggressiveness, sustaining multiple bites and scratches in the years it would take, only to find that she's not improving.

We are currently trying to replace a doe of ours who was exactly like this, so I know what you're going through... :roll: :lol:
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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Mon May 11, 2015 8:27 pm


:yeahthat:

Except that being abnormally high strung can run in bloodlines.

Aggressive animals may very well simply beget more aggressive animals. Not because she teaches them, but because there can be a very strong genetic component.

So.. normal? Acceptable?


Absolutely not!! Not in my herd anyway.

I terminally cull anyone who draws blood, even does with kits.

Simply because I already have nice rabbits who do not attack me, and who are also excellent mothers.
I do not want, or need, to waste my very limited cage space on rabbits that fail at domestic behavior. :soap:

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Galadriel » Mon May 11, 2015 8:48 pm


Zass wrote:I terminally cull anyone who draws blood, even does with kits.


Terminally, huh? I... wasn't aware until now that there was any other method of culling.... :lol:

Zass wrote:I do not want, or need, to waste my very limited cage space on rabbits that fail at domestic behavior.


:yes:
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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Zass » Mon May 11, 2015 8:54 pm


Some people "cull" their herd by selling off the problem animals.


And umm... "even does with kits" happens after the kits are weaned...of course. ;)

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#7  Unread postby ladysown » Mon May 11, 2015 9:27 pm


Give her three days to chill.

If she doesn't... add her to your "i'm going to have you for dinner" list.
DO NOT rebreed and wean the kits early.

This behaviour generally does not improve.
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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Miss M » Mon May 11, 2015 9:44 pm


There are too many nice bunnies who are good moms out there to put up with that kind of behavior.

We have one I actually had to fend off with her hay rack. I had to pull out her nestbox, and I really thought I might get a digit severed. We'll be replacing her when her litter is of weaning age.
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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Easy Ears » Mon May 11, 2015 11:22 pm


Is it just me, or does it seem like the really good mothers are not people friendly? :lol:
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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Zass » Mon May 11, 2015 11:32 pm


Easy Ears wrote:Is it just me, or does it seem like the really good mothers are not people friendly? :lol:



No...I've had many good mothers here who were absolute sweethearts to people. So far, those ones have been my best. :?

It's only ever been the high strung, aggressive, animals that would trample kits....or even attack them.

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#11  Unread postby akane » Mon May 11, 2015 11:58 pm


In an american dictionary culling just means removing an animal from your herd or group. In an english dictionary from europe it means to kill. I had this argument on another forum and we both pulled up dictionary entries to find they did not match.

I have seen worse from a doe. Demon rabbit tore through leather gloves and attacked my leg while on the floor. They can actually get even more insane. Some grunting is not abnormal and most will ignore that. If you actually fear you will be injured nearly all cull the doe. Some do care more about just getting the best meat production possible irregardless of temperament and having avoid injury. Of course if breeding for any other purpose the rabbit needs handled so it will not work to keep an aggressive doe anyway. As for keeping a kit from her as a replacement it is very risky. I tested how much demon rabbit's temperament was genetic and by keeping the best behaved buck, culling the rest, and breeding him to my calmest doe it took something like 5 generations to get a sane doe offspring. I find the netherlands are a little different. There are the ones that are more sensitive and the ones that are more stable so there is some genetic aspect but in their case handling makes a big difference. You can tame down the more sensitive ones with effort. However, you still have to question if you want to have to work that hard to have calm rabbits. Especially if you plan to end up with a lot of them.
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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Zass » Tue May 12, 2015 1:00 am


I have had some excellent mothers who really wanted nothing to do with people. Not aggressive or protective, and certainly not nervous or high strung.

You could check on the kits right in front of them and they would ignore you...but they didn't come for petting and they made it clear they did NOT want to be picked up.

Still, when lifted they never scratched or struggled, and would patently tolerate nail trims and other grooming.

More like business partners than pets. They knew their job, did it well, and didn't interfere with mine!

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#13  Unread postby DaytonHillRabbits » Tue May 12, 2015 5:39 am


Thank you for all the input! I just can't believe how bad she's gotten over the last 4 weeks... she started growling immediately (well.. within a day or two) after being bred, but that's all she did.. but once she kindled it was all bets off... and last night when I was trying to refill her hay she would NOT move so I could put it in, and was boxing and tried to bite the hay while I tried to push her away. My heart tells me she could calm down but my mind and y'alls experiences tell me she won't. And no, I don't want that kind of behavior in my rabbits. I breed mostly to sell as pets, so that's not a good trait to have in there, not to mention my 2 year old son LOVES the bunnies and will stick his fingers in cages (regardless of how many times I tell him not to.. ahhhh) so I do NOT want anything in those cages that might attack him.. though she hasn't gone for him yet, but I am on top of him when he's around her cage. I guess I have a choice to make regarding this doe. I need to find out if the local processor does rabbits. I wouldn't have a clue how to do it on my own, and would like to eat anything I can't use in my breeding shed. I knew I would have to deal with this side of rabbits at some point, but I didn't think it would be my first doe. Sigh.

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Dood » Tue May 12, 2015 6:39 am


It's a tough decision but the right one in the end

Before I started raising meat rabbits I was taking in unwanted pet bunnies, most of which had severe behaviour issues, and IMHO too many pet breeders are putting up with poor tempered rabbits or erroneously think having a litter will always calm a doe down then they are stuck finding homes for demon bunnies who are cute and sweet until their hormones start kicking in :(

They may get re-homed over and over and passed on to the next unsuspecting owner or are euthanized or released outside or neglected and never let out of their cage for grooming or nail trimming and the owners are just waiting for the rabbit to die :cry:

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Re: Super Aggressive Doe

Post Number:#15  Unread postby ottersatin » Tue May 12, 2015 9:11 am


I agree with ALL the above posts.
There is and should be no place in any Rabbitry
for any truly aggressive Rabbit be it a Doe or a Buck!
Once any Rabbit bites me [without any probable cause]
it is HISTORY! Any rabbit will make a very nice and nutritional
MEAL for any Human or Pet! This way not all of your time spent is wasted.
Sometimes we all must do what we must even though we would prefer
not to! Make the right choice for YOU and your Herd and all will benefit!
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