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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Any experience retraining an abused bunny?

Today we brought home a beautiful English Lop. It is beleived that she was used as a breeder bunny for someone who sold to pet shops and she outgrew her usefulness and was dumped at a local slaughterhouse. She is extremely thin - like you can feel every single bone in her back and her thigh bones. The shelter lady thinks she's 2 years old based on her breeder stamp.

I brought my male flemish giant to meet her at the shelter and they mostly ignored each other and laid next to each other a little, but when we got home she started lunging for him and he just ran away from her. What's concerning me is that she also just lunged at my 4 year old daughter through her cage.

Is it possible that she's just stressed out and can be trained to be a nice little house bunny or are we setting ourselves up for disappointment?

Oh I should also add that she just had her spay surgery 10 days ago.

Oh and here's a pic:
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 08:44 PM
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Although I don't have any experience with abused bunnies let me just say that she is beautiful. Perhaps being in a new environment with new smells has her on edge. She may need some more time for her hormones settle after her spay. Good luck with your new addition and we keep our fingers crossed that she settles in soon. What will you name her?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 09:09 PM
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Has she been spayed? If not, she's probably very aggressively hormonal, and the lunging is quite normal.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 09:23 PM
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it says she was spayed 10 days ago. Time may change her attitude when she gains trust and learns you aren't going hurt her

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 09:25 PM
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Ah, misread that. In that case, there hasn't been enough time for the hormones to leave her system. She's still acting like an intact female.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-25-2009, 11:12 PM
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You may have to adjust your expectations. You'll only be disappointed if your expectations are unrealistic. If you wanted a good child's pet, buying one with the history of this one might have been a mistake. Depending upon how badly she was abused, she may never become a friendly, interactive pet.

I got a bunny once who had been abused and then discarded by tossing it into a friends (fenced in) back yard. Even after years of work, she would only allow so much interaction, and she was never what you would call a 'normal' bunny.

Time and patience will tell how far she can/will come along. In the meantime, I'm not sure I would allow a 4 year old access to her. Small children, while meaning well, are not always the best at handling and interacting with some animals. Since this one is already challenged in that area, you might want to restrict access until you can assess her skills and gauge how they might be interpreted by the bunny.

Good Luck...
Bob



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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 01:34 AM
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Kids are fast and loud and clumsy and scary to bunnies anyway often times... but i do think that it is too soon to tell

I do want to praise you for taking in a needy animal

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 11:35 AM
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She's very pretty, congrats.

I think you should give her some more time before considering her a disappointment. Her hormone level will not have decreased yet as she was only spayed 10 days ago. Also, she is in a completly new environment, her whole world has changed. She is probably nervous and will need some time to get use to things.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the replies! I took her to my vet today to get her checked out and the vet was alarmed that she was spayed in such an emaciated condition. She also discovered that she has a bad ear mite infection. So we've quarantined her in her own room for a couple of weeks until her hormones settle down and she gets the full 3 doses of ear mite shots.

I wanted to add that she's already starting to come around a little. She'll eat treats out of my hand and will let us pet her calmly and gently. I'm sure we have a lot of work ahead of us with her but I'm hoping it pays off in the end and she's as sweet as our other bun. Sadly I had to explain to my daughter about how some people are not nice to their pets and how she has to treat this new rabbit special until the rabbit learns that people can be nice too and not just mean.

Will keep everyone updated - thanks again!!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 08:47 PM
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They may have rushed to spay her in order to assess her. Often older breeding does will have reproductive cancers which may have already spread and become problematic.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 09:12 PM
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She is beautiful. I LOVE her ears.

I also think she needs some time to settle down her hormones. It took Teddy what seems like forever for him to calm completely down. But he definitely made a lot of progress in the month after the operation.

Even if she never is the cuddly bunny that your male it she can still be enjoyable. Ollie and Ophelia don't let me touch them but they are wonderful to watch. I would never give them up.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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It seems as if poor Molly is deaf. I'm pretty certain. She goes back to the vet on Monday so I'll talk to her and see if there is a possibility that she can regain some hearing when the mites clear up.

Poor little thing has had such a hard life
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 10:22 PM
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Awwww poor Molly - sweet bunny. Well, taking all things into consideration, I'd say she is acting quite normally actually. If she was being used to breed chances are she has had it pretty rough having litter after litter. Now she is in a new home, was recently spayed, there is another bunny around she is not sure of and she can't hear anything. Her behaviour is understandable.

It takes time for the sweetest of bunnies to settle in to a new home and atmosphere. For the time being, keep her separate from your other bunny, give her some extra attention and TLC and do your best not to approach her from behind if she can't hear you.

Here is something you can try - lay down on the floor on your tummy and stay perfectly still. Let Molly come up to you on her own and explore you from head to toe and have a few treats ready in your hands. This allows her to get to know you on her level when she is ready and it also helps to build trust.

IMO, bunns who need the most work are the ones that end up being the most rewarding. It will take time but you will be so happy when she begins to make progress and flourish in her new loving home. She is a beautiful bunny!
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