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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > New to bond and other questions
Last Post by RabbitPam at 8/20/2012 11:08 AM (2 Replies)
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User is Offline Bethstang
7 posts Send Private Message
8/19/2012 1:54 PM


I have 2 male/neutered Holland Lops (6 months old) that I bought from a reputable breeder a few months ago, they are wonderful, very friendly.  The breeder emailed a few days ago and asked me if I wanted another Holland Lop (1 yr old - male/neutered).  She had sold a bunny to a couple with a 2 yr old daughter back in December and now the husband is allergic.  So I contacted the owner and she told me she was giving him away, so I went and picked him up yesterday.  Anyway, I have him in his cage for now next to my other rabbits.  In the upcoming weeks my hopes are to introduce him to my other rabbits, I do know this might not work out and his breeder is willing to take him back if it doesn't work out.  The cage is fairly small so I wanted to let him out in my bathroom to give him some exercise.  When I went to pick him up he flipped out, I know rabbits typically do not like to be picked up but holy smokes.  Once I have him he calms down quickly, but he pins his ears back.  A few hours later I go back to put him in his cage from the bathroom and again I have to pick him up and he starts trying to run for his life and grunting when I pick him up.  He doesn't seem friendly in general, such as when I get his food bowl out of his cage, he runs to the other side of the cage and sits in the corner. My question is, is this behavior normal for a rabbit in a new enviroment?  What things should I be doing to bond with him and help him calm down.  I hope his behavior is just due to a new home or maybe he just wasn't interacted with much at his other home and they got tired of him as a pet and that was the real reason they were giving him away.


Thanks so much


User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/19/2012 2:09 PM

I'm betting the new buns had some bad experiences with the 2-year-old and that is why the first family gave him back. If so, he is probably scared to death. My first buns was mishandled by two families with children before me, so she was really scared and mean. Some things I did to win her love:

1. Don't force it! Wait. Wait. Wait.

2. I put a day's old sock that I had worn in her cage, so that she learned my scent wasn't mean and wouldn't hurt her.

3. I never forced her out-- so if she hid in the back of the cage, I let her be. Sometimes, I would just sit with the cage door open and talk soothingly to her. Sometimes she never came out. Eventually she did.


That buns of mine ended up being the friendliest thing to me. We even slept together in my bed! (She was potty trained, of course!) The key is to be patient. The poor thing probably had it rough. A 2-year-old doesn't know how to properly handle a rabbit and, likely, neither does a parent who gets a 2-year-old a pet rabbit.

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
11069 posts Send Private Message
8/20/2012 11:08 AM
I absolutely agree and that was my first thought too. Even one bad interaction with a 2 year old mishandling the bunny could set a basic response pattern of fear. I suspect that the party of kids my own bunny went to before I got her may have been the reason I cannot pick her up except on occasion. You will need patience with your new bun.

Be sure to read up on the best ways to pick up and hold a bunny, since it may be that one method will make him feel much more supported than what you're used to. Start at ground level (squatting for example) and try the football scoop along your arm, or bringing him into your chest, hand firmly under back end and feet and hold him close there. Don't stand up for a while, or not at all for a few times. If he struggles LET HIM GO. Don't let him twist his way out. He could hurt himself easily.

Lay on the ground by his cage and hide treats in your pocket and hands. Read a book quietly, or read aloud in a soothing voice. Ignore him. Let him come over and explore you, find the treats, then praise him when he does. Give him pets and don't try to pick him up. He will get to know you on his own terms, expect fun surprises on you, and learn to be safe around you. He may eventually get to know your other boys without needing to be picked up to get to them, but try your own bonding first.
BTW, you may need to put on a fresh outfit that smells like him but not your other bunnies. It may be the smell of them that is adding to his fear. Get him 2 stuffy toy animals that you put in their cages to get their smell and leave them with him so he becomes used to their smells as being regular in your household.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > New to bond and other questions

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