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Worried about new bunnies...

(8 Posts)
Elsashmelsa Wed 17-Jun-15 17:12:18

I'm hoping that someone might be able to advise me.

We picked up two bunnies from a local petting farm yesterday. They are 8 weeks and 10 weeks old. We are not sure yet whether they're male or female but they are booked in to have their vaccinations with the vet next Saturday.

They have been well handled from birth and are very much used to it but I am a bit worried about one in particular.

I have had rabbits at various times through my life but I'm not quite sure how to read this behavior.

First I should say that they are both eating well in regards their rabbit pellets and they are drinking water. However they're not really eating much of their hay at the moment, it is pretty much ignored apart from the odd nibble. It's in a hay box outside their cage and they can easily get to it through the wire.

So, onto the behavior. Firstly, because they have been handled daily we're not sure whether we need to leave them to settle in for a bit or continue to handle them daily.

When we open the cage they both come to the door and are quite happy to be stroked, they wander around but don't rush off IYKWIM. However, when we get the younger one out for a cuddle, the older one immediately goes to the sleeping area, stretches along the back, lays down and her ears go flat down her back. When I looked up this behavior it said that it's a sign that they're resting or content BUT this doesn't tie in with when it happens. It happens when we pick up the other one.

I wouldn't attempt to pick it up when it is like this anyway as to me it seems as though it's scared and it stays like it for a good 20 minutes or so afterwards. Eventually it comes out to have some food and water.

We have a big area around their hutch that we are making into a pen so that they can come out and I've just bought a big run for the grass aswell so they can go out there when we're at home (luckily I work from home so they will frequently get access to the garden).

Sorry this is so long but I'm worried. They were being sold anyway but I'm already feeling guilty that we've taken them away from their family sad.

FernieB Wed 17-Jun-15 20:57:49

They sound lovely and we will need pictures wink

Don't worry about the hay. I've had bunnies who aren't that interested in it and others that love it. They probably do eat some when they're relaxing in it.

Their behaviour sounds fine. It does sound like bunny is chilling out. They only stretch out when contented. I would keep handling them if they're used to it already. It'll make life easier in the long run if they're happy to be picked up.

At the vets, check the sex of your buns and ask about getting them neutered. It's essential for females to avoid cancer and advisable for males to stop hormonal behaviour such as spraying etc. it can also make them easier to litter train which makes your life easier when cleaning them out.

Sounds like you have a great set up for them - they are very lucky bunnies.

ApplesTheHare Wed 17-Jun-15 21:12:39

Aw they sound gorgeous!

As far as being handled goes, being picked up and cuddled makes even the tamest bunnies feel insecure as naturally they would never be off the ground. By far the kindest and most rewarding way to interact is on their terms, I.e. with you sitting on the floor and letting them come to you. That was you know they're not scared or stressed. If you have treats they enjoy (fenugreek crunchies - Google them - seem to be pretty irresistible) they'll soon start running up to you and jumping all over you when you go to hang out with them. You can even teach them to come when called smile

Elsashmelsa Thu 18-Jun-15 08:08:51

Thank you both so much. You have definitely put my mind at rest. DH finished the pen outside our patio doors last night so then morning when I get back from the school run I will let them out. It's completely secure and we have some giant tubes that DH has borrowed stolen from work for them to play in smile.

Last night, the one I was worried about was being stroked in the cage by DH and when he stopped stroking, she/he nudged his hand for another stroke (although it looked to me like she was telling him to bugger off but it didn't bite so DH carried on stroking - I'm sure it would have hopped away if it didn't like it...).

As for neutering/spaying, that's definitely in the plan and I've budgeted £100 each for them because I'm not sure how much they cost.

Apples, I think I will go with your suggestion of sitting with them and letting them come to us. I know they are from a petting farm but nevertheless that doesn't necessarily mean that they enjoyed being mauled (in the nicest sense of the word) but over excited children and adults. I want them to have a long happy life with us. They already take food from our hands so I think they are already recognizing us which is great progress.

One last thing, I've read loads of conflicting advice about giving them vegetables. I read that carrots are not good on a regular basis because of the amount of sugar so I'm definitely going to restrict those to maybe small chunks once every couple of weeks. I used to have Lionheads and used to regularly give them Kale, a little bit every day but now I'm not so sure what to do.

When they were at the Petting Farm they were given carrots and cabbage (just one carrot and two leaves of cabbage between 5 or 6 of them) each day. So they're used to it but I'm not sure that it is very good for them.

I have given them 6 little dandelion leaves today and they loved them, But that will probably be it for today. What would you recommend?

Thank you again.

ApplesTheHare Mon 22-Jun-15 21:52:14

How are the bunnies getting on? smile

Whatever else you give them, make sure their diet is around 95% hay. It's really important for grinding their teeth down and keeping their digestive systems healthy. As for other foods, I give mine a few good-quality pellets each day plus a few dandelions, fresh herbs and some fresh long grasses if they've not got access to grass. I'd skip the carrot and cabbage - they're sugary and can make bunnies gassy. I tend to look at this list if I'm not sure whether they can have something smile

http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/showthread.php?414904-Safe-fruit-veg-and-herbs-for-rabbits

ApplesTheHare Mon 22-Jun-15 21:52:50

Sorry, you'll need to copy and paste the link, silly app refuses to post links properly.

Elsashmelsa Tue 23-Jun-15 20:43:40

Apples, they are amazing!!! Our terrace outside our patio doors has been converted into a home for the bunnies. DH has even put up a 6ft net to keep the babies safe from any cats etc that may try to get in. So they have access to the outside from 6.30 in the morning until about 9pm. I work right next to them aswell.

They seem really content. They take food from our hands and always run up to be stroked as soon as we go outside. So far apart from their pellets and hay, they've just had a bit of dandelion and kale. What worries me is that I read somewhere that rabbits shouldn't have any veg or greens until they're 6 months old!! I've never heard that before...

MadAboutMathsMum Tue 23-Jun-15 22:58:30

We have just adopted rabbits from a rescue centre. They told us no grass or veg until 12weeks then introduce it slowly.

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