Paw Talk - Pet Forums banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm a new bunny owner. He is almost 2 years old, I think he is neutered. In his first home (1st year) he was played with a lot by kids. In his second home he spent most of his life in his cage alone in the garage, hardly ever getting played with or let out.

I keep him in our kitchen now. He never comes out of the cage. I don't want to force him out by grabbing him cause I want to respect his space, but I can't seem to coax him out either. At first I was only opening the door when I was in the room so I that I could supervise, as I am trying to litter train him. Now I've left him alone for almost the whole day so he won't be scared to come out, but he just sits in there.

How do you foster a relationship with a scared bunny? He won't play with anything I put in the cage either. Like toilet rolls or little boxes. I don't know what to do.
 

·
is a little "special"
Joined
·
4,131 Posts
How long have you had him? To me, it sounds like he is nervous from being in a new place, and not doesn't understand his new freedoms yet.
He knows that his cage is a safe place, and he just isn't ready to leave it yet.


One thing you definately don't want to do is force him out of his cage. You need to make sure he associates coming out with a good experience. One thing you can try is putting a litter box with some "used" litter, and some nommy hay (Smudge LOVES orchard grass and oat hay!) outside of his cage to tempt him to come out. Laying in a litter box is very comforting to a nervous bun, because it smells like them, so that might help.


What times of the day are you allowing him out? Rabbits are the most active early in the morning and late in the evening, so he might be more energetic at those times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
I had this same problem with Oliver; with my dog and cat nearby, even without them nearby (just their scent being everywhere), Oliver had no interest in coming out of his hutch.

In order to not force him out, I began using a cat carrier as his house/substituted his cardboard box with it, and then every now and again, I would gently lift him out. It's not the most fun, meaning, he doesn't enjoy being lifted out, but once on the floor, he comes out on his own.

When I wasn't using a cat carrier, I would do the same thing with his large litter box, though it wasn't as safe because it didn't have a lid/top. Left alone, Oliver wouldn't come out too much; he takes some coaxing.

Good luck!
 

·
Betta Bomb
Joined
·
5,202 Posts
As said above, he needs his own time. My bunny Acacia STILL spends the majority of her time in her pen (she lives in the closet) but I keep the pen door open as long as we're awake in here. Obviously it is closed while we are away or in bed but seriously she stays in it most of the time. The room is bunny proofed and I lay out boxes and rattles and on occasion will she venture far from her pen. Bunnies like to know exactly where they are and how close they are to safety, sounds like your bunny might be relieved from being away from the noise of kids. Just because he was picked at by a lot of kids before does not mean he likes it, children can easily harm a bunny and then he lived alone in a garage? Sounds to me like he just needs to get his bearings. Bunnies are generally nocturnal coming out to play and whatnot during twilight and dawn and while this may not conform to your available times it still may take some time for him to adjust.

To put things in perspective and to prove that all bunnies are different: I got Acacia as a baby and even after having her spayed at 6 months it took a good year before she was able to stand my presence! lol I got Akina at age 2 from a terribly neglectful home and right away she was queen of the place, very social bunny. Just remember that bunnies in the media and pet stores are portrayed as cuddle lovers when in fact the better majority just like to lounge next to you or do their own thing when its their idea ;) Maybe your bunny is just glad he's where he is now and is enjoying his retirement!! lol
 

·
Resident Aquarium Nerd
Joined
·
9,930 Posts
Just give him more time and let him come out on his own, as others have said :). I had a rescued rabbit who spent the first four years of her life in a hutch with no human contact. She wouldn't come out of her cage for at least a week but started to get brave. Still, for the first several weeks, she wouldn't go too far and would immediately dart back into her cage if she heard/saw anyone. Over time, she got more bold and warmed up to people :). I never forced her out of her cage. In fact, I completely left her alone until she was approaching me on her own. Then, I offered treats. I didn't even try petting her for months.

She was more of an extreme case (most rabbits I've had/fostered come out after a few days, a week max) but patience is key :).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks you guys! I feel a lot more confident that he will warm up to us eventually now. I do have a 1.5 year old. I have been keeping her baby gated in the living room while he is baby gated in the kitchen, but I think her noises freak him out even from the other room because he came out today! at naptime right before she woke up.

She has been taught already to not touch the bunny's cage, but I catch her sticking her finger in a little. He doesn't seem scared of that too much, and has even come up to her finger, but wouldn't come out. He let her pet him a little too. She understands "soft" and was gentle with him.

Well, while he was out he basically just tried to stay away from me while I did the dishes. He let me feed him a piece of carrot. But soon went back to his cage. I think people noises make him nervous. But things are looking much better since the first couple days. :)
 

·
Betta Bomb
Joined
·
5,202 Posts
I know my 4 year old bunny would freak about dishes! The sharp clanging of them hurts sensitive bunny ears. As for your baby- that's wonderful that she understands "soft", we did the same with my niece since birth. Chloe has literally been around animals since coming home, it's very important for skills later on etc. . . Kudo's to you :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
He's been coming out a lot more. He waits til I'm not right by the cage, but he's coming out fine now. I'm so relieved. He's showing a tiny bit of playfulness too. Yay!
 

·
laugh often
Joined
·
1,690 Posts
My holland lop was very skittish and scared when we got him. He still hates to be held for long periods but I was able to get him to interact with me by finding out what his favorite veggies were. Then I'd leave a trail leading up to me. Eventually he'd just come to me expecting a handful of veggies. :)
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top