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Rabbit experts need your help with an outdoor rabbit

(22 Posts)
PostBellumBugsy Tue 22-Jan-13 11:59:45

We have a rescue rabbit. It is a bit ferral, despite all our attempts at socialising it - we've had it for over 2 years. It has the run of a big area of garden & has access to a lovely cosy hay lined nest, as well as hidey hole in the garden shed.

However, it persists in sitting on our garden table in a small ball all night long. It looks so cold & will allow me to pet it for a while in the mornings when I go out to feed it, so I can only conclude it is delirious with cold as it would never usually allow me to pet it.

Is there any way I can encourage it to snuggle into it's hay nest? Or am I just being a bit sappy, and should leave it to be where it feels most comfortable?

Floralnomad Tue 22-Jan-13 12:04:50

Do you not put it in its hutch/ shed at night to keep it safe from foxes? I wouldn't be concerned about it being cold but would worry about it being something's dinner .

squiz81 Tue 22-Jan-13 12:12:21

I tend to make mine go in their hutch at night, I use bribery...a couple of branflakes or a rasin does the trick. They pick up on it quickly and now run in as soon as I go out! I don't think they sit in a snuggly bit of the hutch though. of my rabbits will sit outside through all sorts of weather completely unfazed!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 22-Jan-13 12:16:09

We've never had foxes in our back garden - they'd have to be very determined foxes as I'm in a row of terraces & they'd have to scale half a dozen 6ft fences to get to our garden. The rabbit has been out for the last two years & has yet to be anythings lunch. I'm probably worrying unnecessarily - it does have a thick coat.

FernieB Tue 22-Jan-13 13:47:18

Rabbits are contrary creatures. It probably likes being up high so it can see what's going on. Could you put some kind of snuggly box or something on top of the garden table for it or would that freak the bunny out?

My last couple of buns have been indoor ones - one who sought out the hottest place it could and basked and current bun who likes it cold and draughty. If yours has been out there 2 years and is happy, then leave it. Just out of interest, how does it cope with cats?

PostBellumBugsy Tue 22-Jan-13 14:49:21

It is pretty fierce with cats, squirrels and birds - even though it is a dwarf rabbit. Our garden is pretty much a no creature zone!
In the summer our g-pigs go out, safely enclosed in their grazing pen, and it seems to really enjoy their company. Stays close to the pen & sniffs them through the bars. I wouldn't trust it with them all together though.
Quite like the idea of a little house on the table. Thing is I can see myself spending £30 odd on a house, which it will never use (like the lovely cosy hay lined hutch it refuses to use now!!!!).

FernieB Tue 22-Jan-13 15:00:42

Is it fed in its hutch? You could fill the box/hutch with yummy treats and see if that tempts it in.

Your bun sounds the opposite of mine - he a complete wimp. Our GP's go for a run with him daily (they love him) and he ignores them or hides from them - clearly can't stand them, but I can trust him with them. Is yours female?

PostBellumBugsy Tue 22-Jan-13 15:37:43

Yes, a female. I'm not sure what her background is though, as she was from a rescue centre.
The hutch has a bowl full of yummy treats, which she will only eat, if the bowl from her favoured eating spot is empty! She really is very contrary. I'm wondering if I moved the hutch to the favoured spot, if she might use it.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 22-Jan-13 15:42:21

Has she got a rabbit companion? Rabbits can get very lonely maybe a rescue friend would help.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 22-Jan-13 16:07:46

No, she doesn't have a companion. Not sure I could handle two of them - the garden isn't huge. What we'd really like is a nice, gentle cuddly rabbit that would like to come indoors - rather than the slightly scary feral rabbit we ended up with! I shall ponder the companion thing.

Think I will move the hutch to one of her preferred stationary spots & see if she might use it there.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 22-Jan-13 16:12:32

Not all rabbits are that friendly. They do like company of their own kind. In the wild when animals live in groups there's a hieriachy. It may be she's the dominant female and she's trying to dominate u. If she had a submissive companion it could take the heat off. If that makes any sense.

Do you know how old she is? You say u have had her two years and she is a rescue rabbit. It could be she's had a horrible horrible life and is sadly psychologically damaged sad she may never trust u sad

FernieB Tue 22-Jan-13 16:15:31

Has she been spayed? Female rabbits are notoriously aggressive if left unspayed. They also have a high chance of developing uterine cancer.

Rabbits have very specific ideas about how they like to do things. I've learnt this through toilet training them. You don't decide where the toilet goes, they do. It may well be that your bunny doesn't like where you put her hutch and is voicing her disapproval by staging nocturnal sit-ins on your garden table.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 22-Jan-13 16:23:25

Yes, she has been spayed. The vet at the rescue centre thought she may be about 2 years old (2 years ago) - but he did say it was very difficult to be exact about it.

You could be right about the hutch, FernieB - I'm definitely going to try moving it.

She hates being held - really loathes it. She will tolerate it for less than a minute but then starts grunting & is clearly desperate to get away. She will occasionally be stroked, like she let me this morning - but only on her terms. I suspect her life before us may not have been very happy. I console myself with the fact that she has plenty of space to run about in, but maybe she is a bit lonely.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 22-Jan-13 16:29:41

Just love her smile if she came from a miserable home it could be years before she starts to reAlise she's safe and looked after.
Just keep loving her and providing everything she needs and give it time.

It could be she had a friend and they were separated who knows.

Poor bunny sad lucky she found a home with you ! smile

Floralnomad Tue 22-Jan-13 16:46:45

Sounds like your bun is quite happy then so I'd leave well alone . I'd be wary of introducing a companion we tried with ours and he was less than enthused.

squiz81 Tue 22-Jan-13 18:14:42

she sounds a lot like my poppy. I absolutely dread having to catch her for vets appointments. Because I had to take her a few times she now doesnt trust me and runs and hides when I go outside

we also suspect she didn't have a nice life before us though. she is funny with food, very greedy, but also stashes it awsy....wonder if she wasn't fed properly in past....anyway, I digress!

poppy is like a different rabbit with her husbun Hamish, really loving and sweet, definitely recommend a friend. the best thing would be to take your rabbit with you to a rescue and check they get on before you get another (some rescues will bond them for you). we took hamish to the rescue and the first rabbit we tried took an instant dislike to him, but him and poppy - love at 1st sight! love how rabbits are picky about these things!

Bottleoffish Tue 22-Jan-13 22:07:13

I would also recommend a friend for her. WE took on a neutere dmale last year who was three and had never been with another rabbit and although he was already friendly he is so much friendlier after we got him a neutered female rescue for company. It's fantastic to see them together and I am so glad we have got them.

Our rescue (and I think all the good ones) do a 'speed dating' for bunnies. We took our boy there and they tried him in a pen partitioned off with a female he could see, smell and touch through the bars in the other side. The crazy rabbit lady lady from the rescue could tell by their behaviour and body language whether they might get on and the first two rabbits didn't go well but the third was a bit better, although we had a bit of bonding to do still when we got home, but within a week they were bonded and love each other. Had it been mor eticky the rescue could have kept our rabbit for a bit and bonded them there for us to bring home together.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 23-Jan-13 09:21:58

Aw, thank you all - lovely to hear happy tales of bonded bunnies. smile

Well last night, I got home from work & it was a flipping blizzard outside & the rabbit was still sitting in a ball on the table. So I went out into the dark & dragged the additional hutch out of the shed (in the blizzard, in the dark, with all the scary spiders in the shed - just so you get the picture!) and moved the hutch to her usual sitting spot. I put dust free shavings & hay in it & put her food bowls in there too, with a lovely fresh carrot - thinly sliced in her preferred eating style! She hopped in & I was thinking hurrah - I've cracked it.

Went in feeling triumphant & glowing with the warmth of having done a good thing. Looked outside an hour later & there she was in a huddled ball on the bloody table again. Checked before I went to bed & in the middle of the night when I woke up for a wee & she was still on the table!!!!!! Very, very contrary rabbit.

squiz81 Wed 23-Jan-13 10:32:29

grin grin how funny! rabbits really are very contrary!

FernieB Wed 23-Jan-13 13:48:45

Give up! She likes the table. You've done all you can and she clearly wants to be an arctic bunny, so let her.

My current bun hates being held - I can hold him for up to 30 seconds but after that he gets cross and he's a big boy and very strong. He likes to approach us and offer himself for strokes. If we don't, we get prodded until we oblige.

zcos Thu 24-Jan-13 22:24:58

How old was poppy before you got husbun?
I have sweetest male not neutered but never aggressive just wants to be stroked. Always regretted not getting companion but was on his own in place we got him and read that they don't take kindly to strangers.
Feel well guilty at the moment though cos had first baby in dec so bunny not getting enough attention or playtime cos of cold and snow. I would usually bring him inside to have a run around and a cuddle (he used to like romantic comedies) can't wait till weather warms up so he can go in big run all day and me and little d can be out with him. He is going to love my little d!

saladcreamwitheverything Sun 27-Jan-13 12:42:22

One of my bunnies has a lovely warm hay-lined compartment within his three storey hutch, however chooses to sit out in all weathers...they are very contrary long as the options are there they will choose where they want to be!

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