Mrs. Bunny is suddenly terrified - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Mrs. Bunny is suddenly terrified

Hi everyone, I'm a relatively new bunny owner and doing everything possible to keep my bunnies happy

My first bunny, Flipper, is a young buck. He and I have a very good relationship and he trusts me completely.

I took him to an animal shelter to pick out a mate. He met 16 does before my new bunny, Raspberry, cuddled up to him.

They were very affectionate to each other and courted and mated. Raspberry had a big wound on her back (under her tail) so I had taken her to the vet and gotten her injections and an ointment that I'm applying twice daily. The vet said it was ok for them to be kept together.

However, the morning after, Flipper has gone and fallen asleep in his favourite spot behing the couch (he is as affectionate to me as normal), but Raspberry has become very territorial in the cage and is suddenly edgy whenever she sees me walking around. She occasionally lets me pet her for a little while and feed her but mostly she scampers off to the corner and hides. She's not burrowing or building a nest as far as I can tell.

I've been trying to look up doe behaviour after mating, as well as trying to settle in a new bunny, but can't find anything about Raspberry's in particular. She did come from quite squalid conditions so it may be some negative past experiences..

If anyone has any advice or suggestions, I'd really appreciate it thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-29-2012, 03:19 PM
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Okay, so before we get to the behavioural:

1. When you say "pick out a mate" do you mean a friend or are neither bunnies spayed/neutered?

2. Did you get Raspberry, take her to the vet, then immediately put her in Flipper's cage?

3. What kind of conditions was she picked up in?

4.How old is Flipper? How old is Raspberry?

Okay, so you just brought this traumatised bunny home. Of course she's not going to be the sweet, loving thing you saw. Every animal has a "honeymoon period". For some it's sweet, adorable behaviour until their real personality shows up. For others it's aggressive or fearful behaviour until you manage to coax them or they adjust.

The length is different depending on the animal. If Raspberry doesn't settle in a couple weeks you may have to start working with her. Treats whenever you approach, toys laid out all over the play area, etc.

Since you didn't mention what kind of conditions she was in before being rescued I am going to assume that she probably didn't have a lot of human interaction. To a bunny, you are a massive scary creature that's going to eat her. She has no familiar hiding spots, she doesn't know where she is and this creature is loud and scary. It's up to you to teach her that people=good things

You also didn't mention how old she is. When babies, rabbits are adorable and sweet. Once they hit maturity, regardless of speutered condition, they do a 160 in personality. You have no way of discovering what your rabbit will be like, no way of predicting any changes, and no way of changing or preventing behaviour. If Raspberry, or Flipper, are babies you could end up with Rabbit-That-Doesn't-Like-Other-Rabbits or Rabbit-That-Hates-People or Rabbit-That's-Fine-Without-Pets.

I would definitely recommend The House Rabbit Society website. They answer a lot of questions and have excellent advice.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-30-2012, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Hi BarkingPup, thank you for your reply
Here're the answers to your questions:

1) neither were spayed/neutered. As Flipper was ready to mate, I decided to adopt his mate.

2) Raspberry and Flipper, once they cuddled and started rubbing their chins on each other, were put inside a new carrier (neutral territory) and then taken to a groomers and the vet. They were kept in the carrier even after coming home. Flipper mounted her after an hour, and she was relaxed. Then they were allowed to exit the carrier and welcomed to Rasberry's new surroundings.

3) Raspberry's previous conditions: horrible. She was in a cage with at least 25 other rabbits, it was dirty and the rabbits were all frightened half to death by everything. The institution did not have anough funding, and Rasberry's wound had possibly been aflicted by aggressive (and much larger) bucks.

4) As they were both rescues, I am not certain of their age. I estimate Flipper to be a year and a half, and Raspberry to be about 8 months old. Both definitely very young.

I have been referring to the House Rabbit Society for a while, and do indeed find them extremely helpful and to offer excellent advice Thank you for recommending them.

Here's an update of what has happened since I posted this:

I spent an arm and a leg and took them to one of the best vets in the city as I did not trust the previous vet's advice on "it's ok to keep them together". It turns out that Rasberry's wound, although healing externally, had actually destroyed her vulva. She is scheduled for surgery and will have the scartissue and wound surgically removed to ensure that a clean wound can heal there instead.

This would explain Rasberry's behaviour... because even though she was given free reign of a large, 3-storey cage and Flipper was kept outside, she and Flipper were extremely affectionate to each other through the bars. Raspberry was very docile every time she was picked up, and I have been working with her petting her, cuddling, feeding her, speaking to her and putting her at ease. However, she would suddenly freak out and quiver due to no reason I could attribute (noise levels, etc,) so I even suspect she's slightly bipolar due to the abuse she suffered.

I have also been working with Flipper who is obviously enamoured but frustrated at not being able to go near her (I wanted her wound to completely heal since I assumed it may have been hurting her after the first time they mated). He is currently heartbroken and mad at me for having left Raspberry at the vets so I am doing my best to shower TLC on him as well.

Do you have any reccomendations on how I should proceed after their surgeries? They will of course be kept seperate for 2-3 weeks until Flipper's hormones settle and Rasberry's wounds heal completely and the stitches are removed.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 01:09 AM
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I highly, highly suggest you get Flipper neutered. I don't know if the vet is going to spay Raspberry when he fixes her wound but neutering is a whole lot cheaper than spaying. However, if you spay her she'll be a lot less likely to get cancer. Hopefully she's not pregnant and you can hold off on the spay until you have more money.

Uneutered and not-spayed rabbits can become aggressive and they spray... both sexes. Flipper may exhaust Raspberry by constantly trying to mate with her. Breeders do not keep males and females together because of the dangers (getting pregnant multiple times in a row, female or male aggression, mounting their children, etc).

You should keep both rabbits separate for several weeks after Raspberry heals. Introduce them in neutral territory, let them play together, etc. Slowly start introducing them to each others cages. Raspberry, having come from a scary place, needs structure and love. I would give her her own space and start bonding with her before putting her with Flipper. I would also leave her alone for a few days, don't pet or hold her unless she actively approaches you and asks you to do it.


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 08:30 AM
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I don't even..... I can't even express my feelings right now...What makes you think you can play god with your rabbits? I mean, thankfully you adopted them but by breeding them you're only contributing to the population. You saw Raspberry's conditions at the shelter?? That's because of people who breed their rabbits because "they were ready to breed"...You don't know either of their backgrounds, any potential babies might be genetically sick. You don't know. That was incredibly irresponsible of you. I just... Really???

Get them both fixed.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Barking Pup, just an update that both bunnies are home and recovering wonderfully from their surgeries
I already had 2 other cages so I put Raspberry in hers with new toys and a little house she can go hide away in if she ever feels like it. She's actually a lot more loving and happier since the discomfort of the wound's scartissue is gone, and has a very healthy appetite now

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