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Two girl rabbits, a lovely cosy nest of fur....and a pinky bald patch :(

(32 Posts)
MuddhaOfSuburbia Tue 26-Apr-16 12:56:17

Rabbit Experts! can you help?- sorry looooooong

we inherited two does from dcs friends last year- PAH had sold them too many in one go (don't get me started on PAH grrrrr)

they've been fine though not very handlable- one girl is obviously a bit bossier/braver than the other, the other a bit meeker. Not much tho- if I put say a couple of broccoli stalks in they'll eat one together (eg lady and the tramp) then move on to the next one

at the moment they're not themselves. Both off their food- they're eating but generally VERY motivated by grub (they start doing laps of their run whenever they hear the back door open, usually) and not as interested at the mo. Not bothered with their toys either, and don't want to go in their hutch at night, prefer to stay in run

They have made a lovely nest in there, it's a work of art I would sleep in it if I could fit in there -both of their fur is in there, but more of the meek one's, I think (different colours)

we thought they were moulting due to all the lovely snowy fluff drifting across the garden- but now think hair pulling/nesting (no chance preggo unless they have a 1 year gestation period)

noticed today the meek one has a 50p sized bald patch near her tail and the bossy one is a bit tufty in same place

do we think nesting for phantom preg/s? or dominating? Or both?

heeeeelp meeeeeeee


RosieSW Tue 26-Apr-16 17:40:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MuddhaOfSuburbia Tue 26-Apr-16 18:14:57

thanks Rosie

see they do have loads of hay, and fresh food too- they have a bit of dry food first thing, then usually a toy with hay and a couple of bits and bobs in, then greens/fresh veg, then a run about to trim the grass, then a bit of dry food at locking in time. They have constant access to hay and water but usually go mad for the dry stuff (presumably because they don't get much of it)

I'll try and find some more stuff for them to do/play with- those are good ideas

they just had an hour's runabout on the grass and the patch on the shy one is alarming-it's bigger than it looked earlier. And the bossy one is looking decidedly scraggy in the same place- just above the tail


I wonder, given the place the patches are, whether they're likely to be doing it themselves or to each other

I know does aren't supposed to get on which I only found out AFTER we agreed to take them - but these two seem ok. They do have little niggles but they're normally snuggled up together

wonder if spaying will make a difference

Zebedah Tue 26-Apr-16 20:36:17

I had to read and run earlier but came back to say spay if they aren't already!
This should stop the nesting/phantom pregnancies and therefore the fur pulling (hopefully- worth doing regardless to prevent uterine cancer)
I have two lovely girls- one more dominant than the other. Her behaviour got a bit extreme when she started fur pulling, biting me when I stroked her sister, and of course biting her sister for receiving attention.
Have you tried pinning her? It's how bunnies naturally assert dominance. When she acts out either to you or other bun, gently but firmly pin her to the floor sort of around shoulder area. She will likely struggle for a sec then freeze- hold for maybe 3 seconds. Then pet her and the other as normal.
I know it sounds a bit rotten but it worked a treat when ours was getting a bit too fruity- stopped biting within a couple of days and she was pretty brutal!
Might help balance their relationship and between this & spaying make them easier to handle.

cherrypepsimax Wed 27-Apr-16 22:24:19

Its spring! Mine are neutered, but they are still frantically digging holes and doing what rabbits would do in the spring, yours are nest building. If they are not neutered that would be the thing to do for sure. When they are like this, they are hormonal , rabbit PMT ! It will prevent them getting uterine cancer and just make them less hormonal, so happier.

I don't think I have ever seen bunnies 'pinning' each other, I wouldn't recommend that, you could hurt / injure them and it wont do a thing to help their hormones.

You are right that 2 girls together can fight, so neutering them now before they fall out would be best, plus make sure they have no reason to fall out, lots of space (run attached to hutch) and good diet, (hay based) and lots of things to do (like a digging put, apple branches / willow branches to chew)

They have a 30 day gestation period they can actually mate and give birth on the same day - how eye watering is that!

ClashCityRocker Wed 27-Apr-16 22:35:30

Just popping in to advise spaying - apparently an 80% risk of developing uterine cancer before age 5 if they are unspayed and have never had a litter.

Pinning shouldn't hurt - it is literally resting your hand on the buns head and holding it there - not firmly with pressure. It puts the bun in the submissive pose and asserts your dominance.

How old are they? I believe about twelve months they hit the bunny equivalent of puberty - Young buns, even though sexually mature, are much more 'go along to get along' as well, they need to be in the wild. You may see changes in behaviour and temperament and despite previously getting on fine, they may begin to fight.

Keep an eye on food and water - they are normally the earliest indicators of health issues in bunnies as I'm sure you're aware.

No harm in taking them to the vets for a checkup and chat, though.

Zebedah Thu 28-Apr-16 08:06:41

Thanks clash you could explain it better than me! cherry it does no harm if done correctly and as Clash rightly says it's about dominance. I'm not suggesting for a moment it would change their hormones but if there are dominance factors at play here- as alluded to in the OP- its a really handy trick.
Rabbits do it to each other using their head and also assert dominance through humping, thought that less appropriate than pinning wink

MuddhaOfSuburbia Thu 28-Apr-16 09:13:24

THANK YOU Rabbit People flowers

there's so much to go on here

re puberty. When I noticed the bald bit/cosy nest full of fluff the other day, googled it and found 'phantom pregnancy' I couldn't help but draw parallels between these 12mo girls and my hormone rushing 12 yo twins

unpredictable and moody-check
not interested in usual stuff-check
hair pulling-check
getting testy with/trying to dominate each other one minute-check
grooming each other the next-check

and BOTH their bedrooms are a state at least the bunnies aren't telling me they need iphones or their lives are over so they're my favourites

we're going to have them spayed after payday and have the vet look them over

thanks again all

Lancelottie Thu 28-Apr-16 09:19:25

I so hope it's the rabbits you're having spayed after payday...

MuddhaOfSuburbia Thu 28-Apr-16 09:30:30

grin grin grin

I can't say it's never crossed my mind Lancelottie

ClashCityRocker Thu 28-Apr-16 15:45:52

Here's a good site about the language of Lagomorphs...

cherrypepsimax Thu 28-Apr-16 18:02:30

It's not correct about the pinning. A dominant bunny will put their head under the subordinate bunny and demand a head rub./ face wash. Ive heard all sorts of nonsense but this pinning is a new one on me. If you can find any credible reference for that Id be genuinely interested.

Make sure you pick a good rabbit vet, one that is confident to do the aneasthetic, intubates while they are under, and uses a pulse oximeter to monitor them.

Good luck smile

Zebedah Thu 28-Apr-16 18:44:28

I agree re grooming as a dominance show too; having had several rabbits with behavioural issues I can assure you pinning between rabbits exists, and pinning to assert dominance works.
Maybe we should agree to disagree on this cherry but here's some light reading:
States pinning as a method to stop biting:
States pet rabbits and wild rabbits pin using their heads to assert dominance:
In a book about raising rabbits, also discussing pinning to assert dominance:

Hope you get your girls happy and healthy soon OP!

cherrypepsimax Thu 28-Apr-16 19:11:45

Thanks for those links I'll read them later

MuddhaOfSuburbia Fri 29-Apr-16 08:20:12

Thanks for all the info! I'm working it out while watching them carefully

I've just had a slap forehead with hand moment

OH went to let them out of their house first thing-he said they looked fine but a bit scruffy

We lock them in their eglu every night about 11ish, out again at 6. It's a bit of a pita to be honest but it's to keep them warm and dry/safe from foxes-there are gazillions of urban foxes round here. This must be prime hair pulling time (awake, bored)

I dont know whether to wait till its warmer and just leave them out all night, or maybe do it now. They seem tough as old boots but who knows with little animals. Hmmmm.

MuddhaOfSuburbia Fri 29-Apr-16 08:22:59

I can't work out who's top dog here. They both groom each other as far as I can see

The bossy one does chase the meek one off sometimes, though

OH asked about neutering at PAH. They said 85 each, 15 more for optional pain relief



ClashCityRocker Fri 29-Apr-16 09:29:15

They probably haven't worked out who's top dog either - I think that might be the problem grin

Do check for mites/fleas too.

MuddhaOfSuburbia Fri 29-Apr-16 09:47:42

meek one is too lazy to be top dog I feel

the other one has more application and conviction

God they're complicated little fellers, aren't they

ClashCityRocker Fri 29-Apr-16 12:31:44

They are indeed - from what I've read, their social structure is far more complex than say dogs for example.

Btw, I've heard bad things about the vets associated with PAH (is it Vets4Pets?) so I'd ask around first to make sure your local one is ok.

Do you have a garage or something you can put a run in overnight or a shed or outhouse you can bunnyproof?

MuddhaOfSuburbia Fri 29-Apr-16 13:15:44

We have no outbuildings at all, can't bring them indoors either because dogs

I think the run is pretty fox proof-all double pinned down etc. No sign of any fox digging since we first put it up and one made half hearted attempt to dig by their house. And yet. If there was one clever enough and willing to put the hours in to dig NEAR the skirt, it could do it

Fucking foxes gah (I loved the foxes. Once)

RosieSW Fri 29-Apr-16 15:47:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cherrypepsimax Sun 01-May-16 13:59:13

Optional pain relief!?

If they are in pain they will not eat, and then the go in a stasis and then you are in big trouble, pain relief is not optional...

Ask them how many they have done, how many they have lost, do they intubate (they should) do they use a pulse oximeter to monitor them (they should).

When you say lock them in the eglu, do you mean just the plastic bit? If so, is it an old fashioned eglu or one of the fancy new ones which are a bit bigger? The old style eglus are really too small to lock them in over night, especially as they are most active dusk and dawn. Can you leave them with access to the run, if you are worried about the cold maybe put a tarpaulin over it or something like that?

Helenluvsrob Sun 01-May-16 14:09:38

You sure you haven't had a stray wild bunny in the garden having his wicked way ?

cherrypepsimax Sun 01-May-16 14:11:03

Have read the link on pinning - I think you need to bear in mind that it is written by a breeder. We are talking about family pets here. I agree firm and confident handling can help in these situations because the rabbits certainly can learn that if they lunge / growl / bite that you will go away, but I would not suggest pinning them, especially to a new owner. Pinning them will not remove some of the issues that cause them to behave aggressively either, and could perhaps make it worse.

Spaying them will help with hormonal behaviour. Giving them the correct environment (they have access to a safe exercise area at all times, they have a healthy diet based on hay / grass) so that they are happy, healthy and busy eating hay will also help.

I have never ever pinned my any of my rabbits and I have had plenty of 'aggressive' rescues that have all become lovely pets when they have been treated as rabbits - who are complex, sociable, athletic and intelligent animals.

Good luck :-)

PartyShit Sun 01-May-16 14:33:25

Hello smile

I'm a rabbit-bonder for a local rescue (office worker by day, Super Rabbit Bonder by night) and I have many buns of my own. One of my girls has been a serial nest builder for some time and it is always connected to something, it's her way of telling me something isn't right. Sometimes buns will pluck fur because of parasites, usually fleas or mites, so just have a good old rummage around her fur and particularly at the base of the tail.

My lady now does it because she has dental problems, it's her way of coping with the discomfort of her sore teeth and because she can't eat her veggies she seems to distract herself with the fur pulling. When you get them spayed, just ask for a full check on their gums and teeth too.

The dominance thing will not stop until the buns are spayed. Some bunnies can have a wonderful bond which is then ruined because of hormones causing fighting. Again, back to the teeth/parasite/something underlying going on idea, one bun might just be grumpy because she's not feeling great so taking it out on the other. Spaying is expensive but definitely worth it purely for the cancer risks if left unspayed.

You could help with the scruffy looking fur by giving them a good groom, if you can't brush them just stroke them vigorously with damp hands. A lot of fur build up in the stomach from grooming can cause all kinds of gi problems and could be putting them off their food. They are complex little creatures and they do hide things well.

Definitely agree with never pinning a rabbit - why on earth would you want to do that?? Give them enough space and attention, there's no need to even handle them - rabbits aren't there to be picked up and cuddled, get down on their level and let them explore you. I've seen lots of accidents and some deaths from rabbits being picked up and mishandled, it's just unnecessary. Sorry for long post! Good luck.

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