okay so we got a free bunnie from the farm store and shes doing some funny things that made me wonder if maybe she p.g. how can I tell. This is our first rabbit and...... dont know much. Any help would be great.
Maybe it is just her disposition but she kind of growls and jumps at my daughters, and really scratches around in her bedding. I dont know what really makes me think she is p.g. but that would be my luck, get a rabbit, not know much about them and then have babies!
I know I should have researched more, but what better way to learn than here on BYC!
My daughter has been begging for a bunny for a long time and when this one was free well........ those of you with kids know that one!
Okay, doe rabbits are KNOWN for not making good pets.
They are territorial, more than males, so they do not like their space (cage) invaded. What you're seeing (the growling, and lunging), which I am going to guess is when they approach her or go into her cage to get her, is her clearly saying "THIS IS MY HOUSE GET OUT!"
I have a doe right now who is like this and a young doe who I know is going to be like this. Typically, once you get these rabbits out of their cages they are fine.
Another thing to keep in mind is that rabbits are Prey Animals. Literally EVERYTHING like rabbit dinner, and they have little in the way of self defense. Their main defense is their speed in getting away, and a strong kick of their back feet which with sharp nails can really gash a person open.
Those things being said, rabbits aren't the best pets for kids IN MY OPINION. They are not like kittens and puppies, the majority of the population of domestic rabbit DO NOT enjoy being held and loved on.
There are always exceptions to this rule. You will always hear someone say that so and so had an awesome pet rabbit that loved being held and so on and so forth...
These rabbits ARE THE EXCEPTION AND NOT THE RULE.
These rabbits are generally rabbits that were handled tons from the time they were very little babies.
I have one myself. Her mother is a jerk, her father is nippy, but she was a single kit litter and was handled tons from the day she was born and I can do anything to this rabbit, turn her upside down, scratch her tummy, she will practically jump into your arms when you open the cage door. It took alot of work to get her like that, it did not happen on it's own and it's HIGHLY unlikely that a free feedstore rabbit will be this friendly.
At this point the only thing you can do is let her know you're the boss. Do not show her that if she puts up a fuss people will leave her alone. Hold her anyway, offer her treats, etc. But come to grips right now with the fact that this particular rabbit may never be a great loving pet, especially for kids.
My advice to you would be to see if she comes around for a month or so and if she doesn't sell her on your local craigslist (may seem harsh but if you have young kids you don't want them to have a bad experience with rabbits) and buy a baby bunny (a male!) from a small hobby breeder who has likely handled the kits from a very young age OR go through a local rabbit rescue who specializes in spaying/neutering and litter box training the rabbits...
OH and clip her nails, especially on her back feet. You don't want to her to scratch you or your kids with those feet, they can pack a punch!
Also, on the off chance that she is bred, rabbit gestation is 31 days. Provide some type of nestbox from now until next month. A mini kittie litter box(usually less than $3.00 from Walmart) with some hay in the bottom will suffice.
I knew that they werent the BEST pets but my 9yr old dd is so great with everything that I caved
......... I wasn't aware of the territorial thing or that males are better, even though I know that males are always better when it comes to other pets like dogs and cats, just didn't know it applied to rabbits. If I get her spayed will that help?
Would have gotten a kitten but we already have three of those.. from a drop off mama...all males that need nuetered now!
Even if she doesnt calm down she is here to stay, that is just how I roll. So... what are good "treats" for her? She seems to like carrots and apples, anything else that would be okay?
Thanks for all of your advice, I knew I could count on BYC!!
I would have her spayed. It may or may not help with aggression but getting rid of the hormones is always a good thing.
As far as housing, if she is going to live in the house, you could get a metal puppy exercise pen. Make that into a 4x4 square. Put a piece of plywood with linoleum glued on as her flooring. Give her a cardboard box with a couple square holes cut in. Get a cat littler box and you can use feline pine or just wood stove pellets as the litter. This would give her more room and you can walk into her area. Sometimes this helps and sometimes it doesn't with the territorial thing. But at least it gives her more room to run around. You will need clips to hold the "doors" of the pen together.
Make sure you get some good timothy or orchard grass hay. They need that for gut motility.
Toys such as hard plastic keys for babies (must be the hard plastic), paper towel rolls or natural wicker baskets are great to keep bunny busy.
Don't give too many treats but bananas and carrots are good.
PLEASE be aware that if you use Wood Stove Pellets as bedding, that you MUST read the label to make sure there is NO ACCELERANT in them. Some of them have it, most of them don't. It's worth mentioning.
Hay is a must in my book. You need good hay, buy a bail and not a expensive small bag from your local pet store.. If you moesy over to www.backyardherds.com you can see my post on Basic Rabbit Diet in the rabbit section. My name over there is JoieDeViveRabbitry, feel free to PM me either here or over there with any questions you may have.
Spaying may help, some people don't feel that sinking that kind of money into a rabbit is an option. I have found that a altered rabbit is MUCH easier to litter box train if you were interested in that.
Apples and carrots are good, IN MODERATION. Bananas they love, but one little wheel is plenty as the sugar content is high.
Green beans are popular, and I have never met a rabbit who turned up their nose to parsley.
The key is to not kill them with kindness, you can make them sick feeding them constant treats.
Also be aware that rabbit urine can literally be a ton of different colors and that sometimes when a bun has had alot of greens their urine will be bright, blood red. THIS IS NOT A UTI and your rabbit is not dying, and will go away within a day or so, the same goes for bright orange urine.