12 week bunny squeaks and thumps

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Lothiriel, May 27, 2012.

  1. Lothiriel

    Lothiriel Crowing

    10,323
    174
    381
    Aug 30, 2007
    New York State
    My Coop
    One of my friends 12 week Lion Heads has started squeaking and thumping whenever my friend goes to pick her up, but stops as soon as my friend is holding her. She just started this behavior recently -- up until a few days ago it was no big deal.

    My friend has read that they will thump when they feel threatened, but isn't sure what the squeaking is about. The bunny starts it as soon as the cage is opened, so that rules out pain when she is being picked up. She read somewhere else that the squeaking is what bucks do when they're in heat (impossible, I know.. it's the does who go into heat, and I told her so [​IMG]. I know there's rut in breeding season but that's not the same thing as heat).

    Oh.... Does constant licking have something to do with it too? She's got a salt lick for them but this one will lick her constantly when she's being held.


    Any ideas?? This is her first time with rabbits and I've never had rabbits so I'm clueless as well. I have posted over on BYH but haven't gotten much response. Any input is appreciated. [​IMG]
     
  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    18,404
    7,209
    561
    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    Rabbits thump when they are excited, and not just by what might be perceived to be a threat. Bucks often thump before or after breeding, for example. The squeaking while in heat thing, of course, is silly. Domestic rabbits will breed at any time of year (though they are more likely to do so during the longer days of Spring, Summer, and Autumn), so there is no "rut" with them, and does don't do a proper "heat" cycle, either. Does will experience hormonal highs and lows, they are more likely to breed during the "highs," but the signs are usually fairly subtle and don't include vocalizations.

    Actually, rabbits don't vocalize a whole lot. They do have a sort of hum or purr that they make when happy, and a horrible scream for extreme pain or mortal terror (sounds a bit like pulling nails out of wood). An animal that is being assertive about its territory may make a sort of grunting or growling sound just before it smacks you with its paws or bites you. A breeding buck often grunts as he "does the deed," some will squeal (much like the pain scream, but slightly less intense). A rabbit that is frightened but not terrified will whimper or squeak, under the circumstances, this sounds like what your friend's rabbit is doing.

    Most of the communicating that rabbits do is in the form of body language. Without seeing this doe's posture, it's a bit hard to be sure about what is going on with her. If she's running to the back of the cage and trying to hide in the corner, clearly, she's not welcoming the contact. Most rabbits find being picked up unsettling at the least, most find it truly frightening. Knowing just how to pick a rabbit up can make a big difference, but some rabbits never learn to "like" being picked up. The other possibility is that this doe is starting to get territorial, and really wants to kick your friend's hand out of her cage. That has a totally different posture - head and body up, with ears flattened as she charges. 12 weeks is a little young for this kind of behavior. Most does are a good bit older before they develop this sort of attitude - I'm thinking she's more likely to be scared.
     
  3. kristirose125

    kristirose125 In the Brooder

    11
    0
    21
    Jan 26, 2012
    What about the licking? I got a "baby dwarf mix" from my local farm store and she licks my arm when i pick her up and play with her.
     
  4. CountryKitty

    CountryKitty In the Brooder

    54
    4
    30
    May 3, 2012
    Sweat has salt in it--many grazing animals like rabbits love the salty sweat on people. (I remember my dad letting our goat slick his arms after he'd been building a new pole barn, and we had a house rabbit that liked to lick mom after she'd been out mowing in the summer sun.)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: