Last Post by TH004 at 7/30/2012 12:10 PM (9 Replies)
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User is Offline Badjer
3 posts Send Private Message
7/24/2012 6:59 AM
Hi there! I'm really awful about keeping up on forums but I'm desperate for advice right now!

My partner and I found two abandoned domesticated rabbits out at a wetland restoration site. We could only capture one despite many attempts to get the second. We decided to foster him as our local shelter seemed very full. He was really well behaved so we decided Buckbean could stay.

 He was neutered about a week ago now, but is now displaying some really destructive behavior! Yes, I have read in many places: buy things for him to chew on. We have. Every kind of toy made of sisal, wood, grass, you name it. I even gave him a terrycloth washtowel to destroy. He doesn't care because he has only one love: our sofa. It's a nasty old thing with a pull-out bed in it that was left by the previous owners of our house. It's really not something we're that attached to, but having a rabbit shred the skirt of it doesn't look any nicer, and we worry about him ingesting the material. 

 He does have a nice little (indoor) hutch now, but obviously we don't want to leave him in it all day and night. We've tried separating our enclosed porch to keep him on one side, but he's so determined that he's now knocking down the wood panel barrier we made to get to the couch!

 What on earth can we do? I know we can hope that his destructive behavior will fade away in the weeks following his neuter, but for now?! Is the only option to build something out of wood to fortify the couch?

 I'm also looking for tips on how to bond with Buckbean. We have no idea what his previous history is. The vet told us he seems to be about a year and a few months old. Sometimes he lets us pet him, but generally is somewhat wary. 



[ETA] We tried using hardboard panels. He jumped right over them and onto the couch. This may or may not be a bad thing, as he's only shown interest in eating the skirt around the bottom... but obviously this isn't a good solution either...

User is Offline Sarita
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7/25/2012 3:52 AM
He's cute - so lucky he was saved!

Can you get some NIC cubes? You can fashion something around the bottom to try to deter him that way. Maybe once he realizes he cannot get to the skirt, he will just give up.

As for you bonding with him - it just takes a bit of time and trust. He may still be in the exploratory mode at this point but once he calms down and gets used to you and that could take a good while so be patient, he will probably be more open to pets from you. Sometimes just sitting on the ground and ignoring your rabbit will get him interested in you - let him come up and sniff you and go from there.

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
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7/25/2012 5:02 AM
He's adorable in that pix.

I used to have a layer of nic cubes circling my livingroom couch and chairs, and it looked odd but I was able to use both while Sammy couldn't get under any of them.
I would also recommend spraying the skirt with a white vinegar/water solution. It smells badly to a bunny, but you won't smell it within a minute.
Are you still using this couch? Maybe it's an opportunity to get rid of a piece you sound like you don't want.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

User is Offline Badjer
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7/26/2012 3:08 PM
Thanks for the tips! For now, the masonite panels seem to be doing the trick... maybe that and/or vinegar will help, and hopefully he will calm down in a few weeks!

The only reason we want to keep the thing is that it pulls out into a guest bed :[

Anywho, because he couldn't get to the couch, he decided to find something else to do- he started chewing cords for the first time! We went to the hardware store and got some of that thick vinyl tubing to put around the cords and that did the trick. Today he's being very good! We harvested some of our own fresh timothy hay & I made it into a sort of basket/toy and he's been munching that... He's made friends with one of our cats, too. Aww, jeez.


Here he is having a seat on an adirondack chair...

User is Offline Sarita
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7/26/2012 3:49 PM
He's adorable! Yep, they may always find something to chew on. Hopefully he will outgrow the chewing phase too.

User is Offline FrankieFlash
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7/26/2012 4:02 PM
He's soooo cute! Thanks for rescuing him! As for bunny-proofing it sounds like you're doing the right thing. It usually takes a lot of attempts before you find a successful solution to certain problem areas. Buns can be very resilient. I'm still adapting things that bunjamin just one day decides needs to be chewed.

User is Offline bun-crazy
Milan, Indiana
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7/29/2012 10:33 PM
OMG he's so cute! I'm so glad you rescued him! I had to use NIC cubes to block off my entertainment center and the back of my husbands recliner (they were going under it and chewing the inside) and it's working very well. I usually keep some on hand for this type of thing because they'll always find something to destroy. LOL. Also, my boys loved going behind the couch (it doesn't sit flush with the wall) and chewing my carpet, so I bought some 8 inch diameter cardboard tubes at Home Depot and put them back there. Now they run through it like an underground tunnel and if they want to chew/dig on them it's ok. Saved me a lot of worry (not to mention carpet!)

Keep up the good work. Sounds like you're all just getting adjusted to each other. In time he will become more social with you. It took my boys several months and I've had them since they were just about 8-10 weeks old. Now if I lay on the floor with them, they'll jump up on my back and hop all over me. They also have started giving me nose bump greetings and one has even jumped on my lap for a few seconds while I was sitting on the couch. Buns just need more time to trust us humans, I guess.
Binkies =:x

User is Offline Princess*Smudge
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7/30/2012 9:33 AM
If you want to try a cheap alternative toy for Buckbean, try giving him an old phone book. My bun was so stubborn all she wanted to do was get under our couch, I tried so many toys made from everything I could think of and what finally did it was a phone book! I would put it out for her, open it up and tear a couple pages to get her started and she would just go nuts, she'd dig and tear and toss it. It made a big paper mess but cleaning that up was better than dealing with a destroyed couch.

User is Offline Badjer
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7/30/2012 10:41 AM
I'll try the phonebook again- I gave him one but I didn't start tearing it up at all & he ignored it.
I got him a few more toys today and tried removing the panels and spraying vinegar on the couch skirt. He seemed grossed out by the smell, but still could not resist and went in on the spot he liked to chew best right away. I decided to go ahead and cut the skirt off with scissors. The couch looks so much better now (well, as good as it can.. it's still awful hahaha). I let him back out of his hutch and he ran over to the spot he chews, looked around, ran around the couch a few times, and then relaxed somewhere else! I think maybe he just wanted it out of his way so he can run laps? Either way, problem solved- for now.

He started chewing at the wood molding yesterday and we sprayed vinegar and he hasn't touched it since.

Can't wait until that testosterone has subsided!

User is Offline TH004
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7/30/2012 12:10 PM
I got both of my buns to like me (the first had been abused, and it worked with her!) by putting a days old sock in the cage with him/her. I would just sit with the first, who was aggressive, and talk to her while she was in the cage. (She ended up being so loving that we would sleep together!) The second one, I would talk to him in an empty bedroom while letting him hop. Treats helped too