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EdieBird
05-08-2011, 06:46 AM
Sarge is a very trusting bunny, with me, anyway. I think he's afraid of large spaces, though. A little background - Before I got him, he was in a VERY small hutch, there was just room for a litter box, a food bowl, and the bunny in there. (half the size of the smallest cage I'll keep rats in...eek) His cage here is WAY bigger than that, while still not up to the standards given on UK sites, it's way bigger than most American sites would suggest. (Sarge and I are in the USA) He's comfortable in there, and will hop and even binky around in the cage.

However, Sarge will not come out of the cage of his own free will at this point. If I pick him up and cuddle him for a while first, he'll slowly bob around and explore the room, and then he'll go in and out of the cage. He'll come and sit on my lap, then hop away and look around. If I call him, he comes straight back. It's like he needs me to assure him that it's okay to be out of the cage.

So, how can I build his confidence up so he's not afraid to explore on his own without me having to give him permission? Or does he just need more time to get comfortable with the idea of some freedom? I've only had him two weeks.

Before anyone suggests it, a rabbit friend is not feasible right now. Money, mostly, and space. If I could do it, I'd totally get him a girlfriend. (after neutering, I want NO babies!)

Blackberry & Co
05-08-2011, 06:52 AM
Hi :wave:

Two weeks is a short time for him to have built up his confidence. You've done really well so far :)

He is used to that horribly small space, so it will take time for him to feel comfortable with more space.

Here's a couple of ideas.

How about cuddling him in a blanket, so it gets his scent, and then spreading that in front of his open cage to see if he will venture out onto it? It could be moved a little further away each time he comes out on it, and then he might feel more confident about leaving his home?

Also, have you got any puppy panels? You could make a small 'safe' enclosure linked to his cage, then as he gets more confident you can make it bigger, until you don't need it at all :)

His confidence will come - it just takes a long time. It was the best part of six months before Buttercup trusted me enough to accept a nose rub, but it was so worth waiting for :love:

EdieBird
05-08-2011, 07:20 AM
I'm going to be getting a x-pen to take him out in the yard, when it's not set up outside I could probably put it around his cage area to give him a more confined area. I will try the blanket idea...I have some fleece leftover from making rat hammocks I can use.

Oddly, Sarge is at his boldest when my cat is lounging on the floor in the critter room. I'm not sure I approve of this friendship, Mischief is a perfect name for this cat. I have the bruises to prove it. He's not a mean cat, he just has NO restraint.

I have to say, Sarge is an amazing bunny. He picked me, I just picked him up to look at him and he cuddled in and started bunny-purring and grooming my hand. If it'd been my choice, I'd have gotten the little one with the gold and black patches and the hole in his ear. Sarge pretty much said that wasn't happening.

On a side note, the 15 year old girl I got him from is trying to rehome most of her herd so she can spend more time with the few she's keeping, and put them into bigger hutches. Her mom is also fencing off part of their lawn as a run, so they'll at least be able to get some exercise. She's a good kid, and she genuinely does love her rabbits, she just got in over her head when her one litter turned out to be 11 brawling boys and one girl. From now on, she says, she's researching before she gets any animals.

EdieBird
06-08-2011, 06:14 AM
I just wanted to post that Sarge is coming along in leaps and bounds. (well, hops and binkies, at least) :love:

Tonight he was bouncing in and out of the cage, in and out, in and out. He was happily checking out everything, and having a great time crinkling some gift wrap the cat shredded over Christmas. It's already torn up, no harm in letting the bunny play in it, right?

When I told Sarge to go back in his cage since it's getting late, he went in, looked back at me, and when I didn't move he jumped back out, licked my knee (I was sitting cross-legged on the floor) and then went slowly back to the cage, looking back with every step, very much like a dog that wants you to follow it. He looked very upset when I just gave him a goodnight scratch and closed the door.

Blackberry & Co
06-08-2011, 06:50 AM
Aw, that's great :D It's lovely when they make progress like that :love:

William
06-08-2011, 07:02 AM
He sounds like a very sweet bunny :D My Timmy is a lot like him, very friendly, obedient, and likes to lick me.

nessar
06-08-2011, 07:04 AM
I just wanted to post that Sarge is coming along in leaps and bounds. (well, hops and binkies, at least) :love:

Tonight he was bouncing in and out of the cage, in and out, in and out. He was happily checking out everything, and having a great time crinkling some gift wrap the cat shredded over Christmas. It's already torn up, no harm in letting the bunny play in it, right?

When I told Sarge to go back in his cage since it's getting late, he went in, looked back at me, and when I didn't move he jumped back out, licked my knee (I was sitting cross-legged on the floor) and then went slowly back to the cage, looking back with every step, very much like a dog that wants you to follow it. He looked very upset when I just gave him a goodnight scratch and closed the door.

Thats brilliant! I imagine soon he'll be confident enough to explore other areas of the house too :) Just give him some time. Cant believe he is so well-trained! One of mine is deaf (although I did teach him one trick) and the other is very bright, clever enough to only come over for food!

With his cage, I dont know how big it is, but as you suggested you didnt think it is quite big enough, could you use the pen to put around it at night and when hes not free-range, so he has some extra space? This will expand his living area without inconveniencing you (because you'll be asleep!) and without having to buy a bigger cage. Or, depending on what type of cage you have, you could build a second level. I dont know how much free-range time he gets now, but with the right bunny-proofing you could have him out a lot more, some people have their buns out 24/7. Both these options could be a solution.

Personally mine are in a fairly small cage at night (between 15 and 20sqft depending on how I arrange it) with freerange in my bedroom in the day. I'm currently deciding how best to add another level in the cage, as they do get bored in there and they loved it when they had another level before. Hope this helps give you an idea of how some people do it, you might find you're not so far off from it afterall :)

EdieBird
06-08-2011, 08:04 AM
The cage I have is designed to be expanded. You can add levels clear up to the ceiling, if you want. (I wouldn't, too heavy!) I just have to save up enough for the expansion unit. He currently has this: http://www.ferret.com/item/ferret-nation-habitat-model-141/630303/ and then later on I can add this: http://www.ferret.com/item/ferret-nation-habitat-add-on-model-143/630300/ He likes climbing, so I think the fact that it's tall rather that wide might be okay. Sad to say, even his current cage is huge compared to a lot of American rabbit cages. :shock: Someday I won't have a tiny house and I'll be able to get something that's really big enough.

He gets a couple hours of free range time when I'm not at work, supervised because I have a cat that seems to be able to walk through walls. I love my cat, he's a good cat, but I don't trust him with anything that doesn't have fangs of its own. Then there's the dogs. They're getting use to him, but it'll take a while to get them to a point where they won't want to chase him. It takes a while for Dachshunds and Basset Hounds to catch on to certain concepts, you have to explain everything to them because they want to know WHY.

Sarge is so smart it's almost scary. He can tell the difference between a treat container and a regular food container, he's learning simple commands faster than any dog I've ever had, and he's got me trained to recognize when he's had enough cuddles already.

William
06-08-2011, 08:25 AM
I don't think I've seen many proper sized rabbit cage/hutch outside of this forum :( Sadly the majority of people, in UK and US, don't realize how much space rabbits need. People are proud and think they're spoiling their rabbits if they have 4-5ft hutches with no runs...

Theres a lot of bad cages/hutches in the UK too but the RSPCA at least gives out the right info (6x2 hutch with 6x4 run) and I think the UK sells some good sized hutches when the US doesn't because a lot of people here have house rabbits. Where I am especially (Florida) you rarely hear about outdoor buns, which is a good thing.

C&C are getting more and more popular though, and they originated in the US. I often see on craigslist a C&C set up being advertised :D Often I see people getting rid of C&C cages because they say the bun just free ranges their house, that's how I got all mine (over a 100 cubes from one woman) because the woman just free ranged hers after awhile and didn't need the cubes anymore. I think rabbit care is slowly improving.