Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Settling Into The Rabbit Routine

Dawn, Sunny, and Umbra have been with us for almost a week now, and so far the routine has been fairly easy to settle in with. There have definitely been a few learning experiences that have come up, and a couple funny moments. The personality of the rabbits has also been coming out very clearly as we interact with the three of them. I have also learned that I need to get clip on water dishes.

The lovely Dawn is the one that taught me that. Dawn seems to have some sort of aversion to leaving a water bowl un flipped over for any length of time if I didn't put it exactly where she wants it at that moment. Where does she want it? That seems to migrate fairly regularly. She isn't the only one that flips water dishes, but the others seem to do it by accident as opposed to her picking it up in her teeth and throwing it.

Flashing Will Be My Friend!
It has become quite clear that I need to put flashing on un wired sections of 2x4, or at least something that keeps the rabbits from getting their not so little teeth around the wood enough to chew. The destruction is fairly rapid. We've put blocks of scrap 2x4 into the hutches, and they seem to enjoy destroying those, though it doesn't dampen their enthusiasm for the central 2x4 that makes up their private spaces. To prevent major damage I'm going to tack in flashing strips on the areas they can actively access so the hutches last longer, and to reduce urine getting into the wood and making the hutches hard to clean.

The Lady of the House found a couple of inexpensive chewing toys to bring to them, which they have for the most part promptly disassembled and shredded, which is the point of chewing toys. To have good stimulation for them we are going to need to find a way to make inexpensive toys for them instead of buying. To that end we have been researching what wood is good for them to chew on and what should be avoided. Drilling holes in wooden blocks and sticks and hanging them from the side of the cage seems like a very functional idea at this point. They won't have new things all the time, but often enough to keep them intellectually stimulated and active.

All three of the rabbits like attention, but in varying degrees. Sunny will come up and investigate me, and tolerate being petted and having her ears checked before going into her private space to signal that she is done with interaction. She however handles being picked up with ease and doesn't panic about it. On the other hand she didn't accept breeding from Umbra when put in with him briefly. 

Dawn on the other hand doesn't handle being picked up very well, and gets very stressed out about it, and kicks when picked up. She however enjoys attention from people, and comes up to interact when ever someone comes up to the cage. She also teases and plays with the dogs when she can get their attention, though they have been learning to leave the rabbits alone, removing some of her entertainment. Despite her discomfort with being picked up, she seems to enjoy being stroked, and tolerates health checks calmly. She also accepted breeding easily with Umbra when we put her in with him.

Umbra is our most outgoing and bold rabbit, and our biggest concern is him getting curious enough to want to hop out of the hutch when we open the door for daily checks and watering. He comes up to the door and in fact demands attention much of the time. He handles being held fairly easily, but isn't always in the mood to be picked up.

Coming Soon
Thursday I'll be talking about something I'm not yet sure of, and once she is back from Anime Boston where she is selling, the Lady of the House will be doing a set of posts on rabbit genetics and the genetics of our rabbits.


  1. As a former house-rabbit Mom, I have some ideas for inexpensive chew toys.
    *Hay - A rabbits best friend. Timothy hay is generally the favorite and it keeps their digestive systems happy and moving. You can stuff it in toys and hide treats in piles of it. Also provides bedding to the buns.
    *TP/PT tubes - Stuff em with hay and a few raisins and you'll have determined rabbits shredding them in no time.
    *Pine cones - My rabbit didn't like them, but you have to dry them out in the oven for a few hours.
    *Wood - Drill holes in small blocks and string them together on sisal rope to create a tossing/chewing toy for the dish-flipper.

    1. Tallah,

      Thank you for the suggestions, greatly appreciated. I was thinking to make a hay rack for each of the hutches some time soon. Do you happen to know if the hay bales that one would get for horses would also be good or if those are the wrong sort of hay or quality? As for pine cones, that's good to know since our land is full of pine trees.

    2. Most feed stores will know where they're getting the hay and in general, if it's good for horses, it's good for rabbits. Just make sure it's Timothy Hay and not alfalfa. Alfalfa is good for pregnant & nursing mother rabbits and their young, but the high calcium levels can cause urine sludge in adults. As a treat it's fine, but consistently it can be too much.