Bunny probs

animalover14

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 1, 2014
30
0
22
Iowa
I just adopted a really old bunny from a family member who wasnt taking care of him very well. His name is Martin and hes really old but the family member doesn't remember just how old he is. Anyway when he was with his previous owner he was ignofed and had little to no human interaction at all. I want him to trust me and I want to be able to get near him without him running away terrified. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Anything would be helpful.
 

Hanna8

Songster
7 Years
Jan 26, 2012
181
24
109
It will be tough, but the best thing to do is to spend some time near him while completely ignoring him. Sit on the floor and read a book or watch tv or something. This will help him get used to and comfortable with your presence. Once he's good with that, you can start placing yummy greens near you and on your legs and stuff. The goal here is to get him comfortable with approaching you and to associate you with good things. Then you can work up to hand feeding, to get him comfortable around your hands. Once he's good with that, you can try to pet his head while he eats.

It will take a lot of time and self restraint, but this should help him get comfortable with you. If he is not neutered, you may also want to look into getting that done.

And a quick note on bunny etiquette that may be helpful: You should generally ask your bunny permission before you pet him (except for when you do the hand feeding thing), it is good manners. To do this, hold your hand out near his face. A bit to the side is usually best since they can't see too well directly in front of their faces. If he puts his head down for you, you have permission. If not, you should show that you respect his wishes and refrain from petting.
 

animalover14

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 1, 2014
30
0
22
Iowa
Thank you much. I dont know if he is neutered or not i will have to ask. We just got him 3 days ago and in my opinion he has gotton braver since I got him. When he saw me 3 days ago he ran to the very back of his cage and would shake in fear. Now he doesn't shake in fear but he still runs away from me. Also just today I tried your advice about sitting still and ignoring him and he came up to me and sniffed my foot but then he ran away scared and kicked his back feet in my direction. I dont know what that means.
 

Hanna8

Songster
7 Years
Jan 26, 2012
181
24
109
No problem! If he is an unneutered boy, you should be able to tell pretty easily by seeing if he's got any big business going on in the back. Otherwise he may be neutered or actually a girl. Rabbits are pretty easy to sex incorrectly when they are young.

That's a great sign! Was the kick a thump on the ground? Thumping is what rabbits do when they are scared. If that's what it was, I would interpret his behavior as timid curiosity. He's scared of you, but his desire to know more about you is strong enough to get him to approach you anyway. I'd try and sit with him for a while every day if possible so he keeps making progress. It sounds like he will keep on warming up to you if you keep it up.

I'm not sure what his living arrangements are like or if this will be possible for you, but it may also help to place his cage in a place you frequent so he can get used to your sounds, smells, and movements even when you aren't specifically working with him. You should just make sure he has a place to hide if you do this so he can make himself feel safe. A towel over half the cage would suffice.
 

animalover14

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 1, 2014
30
0
22
Iowa
He is currently living outside because sadly my mother has severe allergies to pets other than dogs and even that has some restrictions. Anyway he is living in our recently built chicken coop because we havent gotton our chicks yet. His cage is on the ground so he can get out in the fenced in yard and eat dandelions- I learned those r his favorites.
 

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