PDA

View Full Version : Training Buns



Pix
28-10-2011, 09:30 PM
Before I post any of this, I just want to say that I know that buns are buns and that buns do what buns do.

But is it possible to train them out of some of their behaviours. The three that worry me are:

Mounting: My female bunny regularly tries to mount my male bunny. He runs away, she chases him, she sometimes nips him. And then he will usually run off and for some reason she'll let him be.
They've only ever had one fight, and it was before they were re-bonded after the separation for their spay/neuter, and it was precipitated by her incessant mounting.
It doesn't lead to fighting, but it just feels so oppressive to him. Can I do anything to dissuade her?

Gnawing: They are gnawing their run (and now, their hutch), and they are very efficiently destroying both. Is there anything I can do to dissuade them? I can't allow them free run all the time, and I don't have a garden which will allow a shed with attached run. Although I have put down a deposit on a new shed for them to live in and am waiting for a delivery date (it was due to be delivered a couple of weeks ago). I am worried that having spent a lot of money on a shed for them they will destroy it. How can I dissuade the gnawing and preserve their new shed?

Thumping: He thumps. I don't know if it's for attention, but I don't think it is and because it's so loud, even if it's the early hours of the morning I'll rush out to calm him down. If he's having the thumps he always seems really tense, so I just stroke him and talk gently to him till he relaxes a bit. I don't give him treats to eat or anything because I don't want him to think he's being rewarded for thumping, but I hate to think of him being genuinely scared. I am concerned that once the shed arrives I might not be able to hear him if he's scared. Is there anything I can do?

I know buns are buns. And at the end of the day I just want them to be happy and safe.

Snowberry
28-10-2011, 09:35 PM
Sorry but all three of these behaviours are perfectly normal bunny behaviours and you won't train them out of it!

Chewing can be minimised by making sure bunny a plenty to do and isn't getting bored. Do a search for bunny toys for some ideas to try.

As for stamping, remember rabbits are prey animals- he will be stamping to warn off danger. Is he outside! Is it possible foxes, cats are coming onto the garden and e can sense them?

Beau Belle
28-10-2011, 09:45 PM
Hello :wave:

I have a gnawer, and here's how I do damage-control:

1. Lots of yummy hay to munch
2. Chill and Chew mats from The Hay Experts
3. Digging box filled with newspaper to shred, hay to munch and treats to find
4. Chewing toys such as logs and those loofah balls
5. Lots of excercise time
6. Towels and fleece blankets to dig and drag and fight with
7. Very strict with saying 'NO' and a loud clap of my hands when he attempst to chew on something he isn't mean to chew on. I then praise him when he stops chewing.

The thumping means that there is something that is wrong. Can you perhaps move his hutch to a more secure location? Mine rarely thump in the night, but if they can hear mice in the attic, it's a thump-feast!

Snowberry
28-10-2011, 09:47 PM
Bungle thumps if we close the kitchen door when we are in the living room- it's his way of saying "it dont be rude and shut me out"!

He is fine for the door to be closed at night when we are in bed, but not if we are still downstairs!

Pix
28-10-2011, 09:49 PM
In which case. I think my questions should be.

Mounting: I know mounting is perfectly natural bun behaviour. And if it is not starting fights, do I assume he's fine with it? Am I putting my feelings onto them?
I know buns are usually happier in pairs, but is he happier if he's being constantly mounted? Do I need to separate them?

Gnawing: I have tried homemade paper and cardboard toys. They have a 'hayroom'. They have wicker and wooden chewtoys. What can I do to reduce the gnawing? They are destroying their home and I am worried that they will destroy their new shed?

With regards the thumping - he is outside. I've never seen a cat or fox when I've gone out to pacify him. I've wondered if it's his reaction to her trying to hump him.

Beau Belle
28-10-2011, 09:51 PM
I once tried to leave a window light on when OH was away (I'm afraid of the dark :oops:), but the buns (who'd settled themselves under my bed) were not happy ~ they thumped until I turned the damn light of! :shock:

Pix
28-10-2011, 09:55 PM
They live directly outside the back door. There isn't a more secure location in the garden.

He thumped a couple of times a few nights ago, but it was very windy so I wondered if he could hear the fence panels wobbling and that was unsettling him.

It's probably about one night a month that he does it. And the other day I was working from home and he did it during the day... So long as his feet are fine and he's not injuring himself do I just try to make sure they are as secure as they can be and leave him to it?

Pix
28-10-2011, 10:00 PM
Do you let them shred paper? He loves shredding paper, but I don't put it in the hutch any more because I read something on here once where someone said not to. That would be an easy thing to try though. Same with the fleece and towel...

I've got the chill and chew basket, but it looks so lovely I've not let him near it... :oops:

I might have to try clapping. I do that funny throat noise that the lady on 'it's me or the dog' does to tell mine off. It used to work, but it doesn't any more. I think they know it's just me and they aren't scared.


Hello :wave:

I have a gnawer, and here's how I do damage-control:

1. Lots of yummy hay to munch
2. Chill and Chew mats from The Hay Experts
3. Digging box filled with newspaper to shred, hay to munch and treats to find
4. Chewing toys such as logs and those loofah balls
5. Lots of excercise time
6. Towels and fleece blankets to dig and drag and fight with
7. Very strict with saying 'NO' and a loud clap of my hands when he attempst to chew on something he isn't mean to chew on. I then praise him when he stops chewing.

The thumping means that there is something that is wrong. Can you perhaps move his hutch to a more secure location? Mine rarely thump in the night, but if they can hear mice in the attic, it's a thump-feast!

Beau Belle
28-10-2011, 11:07 PM
I don't really put paper in his hutch, but in his diggingbox which he can use when he's free roaming. :) He doesn't eat it, instead he make a great mess..! :D I have found that if I offer him lots to do and throw and chew, he leaves my furniture alone. :thumb:

Beau Belle
28-10-2011, 11:17 PM
I might have to try clapping. I do that funny throat noise that the lady on 'it's me or the dog' does to tell mine off. It used to work, but it doesn't any more. I think they know it's just me and they aren't scared.

I started off with a clap and a stern NO, and they soon got it. Now I usually just have to say NO in a almost-angry voice. Our newest bun is still being bonded (slowly) with my other two, but as he has had no previous experience with other buns he occasionally gets too excited and nips the girls. At this point I say a firm no, and put my finger to his head, and his head on the floor for a couple of seconds. This lets him know I'm the boss.
This technique worked very well with Poppet, who is now the friendliest, cuddliest bun :love: ( I was almost afraid of her as she was very aggressive before he spay).

The thumping... You might just need to keep checking when it happens ~ once a month doesn't sound too bad. :wave:

nessar
28-10-2011, 11:51 PM
If he is just shredding the paper then that is safe, but if he eats it that isnt.

As for the humping... How long have they both been spayed/neutered? Is it possible their hormones havent died down yet? Is there something that sets them off? Some people find food makes their buns go humpy, or they only hump the other when the human is nearby, sort of saying 'they're mine!'. If there is a trigger you can avoid it.

As for chewing, give them something tastier to chew than their hutch! I find plenty of hawthorne twigs and apple sticks satisfy my two's chewing need so they leave my furniture alone. Willow sticks arent as yummy to them so arent as effective. The wooden bridges that you can get, the ones with the bark still on, they are popular too. Also, as mentioned, give them as much space as possible, my two got very destructive when confined to a small room when I was inbetween houses, even though it was bigger than most rwa standard setups, then I put them in a bigger room and they are fine again - some buns need more space than others.

Also, some woods are softer than others and so succomb to bunny chewing power a lot faster, whereas others last longer, so when you come to replace what you already have hutch/run wise consider this. As for the shed, have a look in the housing section, especially the stickied threads, I'm sure there's one somewhere about preparing a shed for buns, and it involved covering the bottom of the walls with wood to protect the actual shed walls from the buns.

Pix
29-10-2011, 08:19 AM
Thank you for all the responses.

The thumping, I'm not really worried for me, I'm more worried for him - if he does it while I'm out and if it's hurting his feet.

They've been neutered 4 months, so not very long, but long enough that there shouldn't be hormones. I've not spotted a pattern to it, but that doesn't mean that there isn't one there.

As for the chewing. I honestly try to give them tastier things to chew. But nothing seems to dissuade them for long. Apple wood, raspberry canes, dried sunflower stem, bramble stem with spikes removed. My shed is full of dried and drying forage, and I have chewlogs and those chew balls and have lined everything with a whole extra layer of timber, but they just gnaw on through it.

And I wonder if it's about space. But if they didn't gnaw as much then their space wouldn't end up as full of clutter which is there to try to prevent gnawing!

nessar
29-10-2011, 10:15 AM
Thank you for all the responses.

The thumping, I'm not really worried for me, I'm more worried for him - if he does it while I'm out and if it's hurting his feet.

They've been neutered 4 months, so not very long, but long enough that there shouldn't be hormones. I've not spotted a pattern to it, but that doesn't mean that there isn't one there.

As for the chewing. I honestly try to give them tastier things to chew. But nothing seems to dissuade them for long. Apple wood, raspberry canes, dried sunflower stem, bramble stem with spikes removed. My shed is full of dried and drying forage, and I have chewlogs and those chew balls and have lined everything with a whole extra layer of timber, but they just gnaw on through it.

And I wonder if it's about space. But if they didn't gnaw as much then their space wouldn't end up as full of clutter which is there to try to prevent gnawing!

How much space do they have?

Also, how much hay are they eating? A pile at least the size of themselves each every day? Because excess chewing wood/cardboard etc can be related to a craving for fibre and a slow gut.

Oh and have you had their teeth checked? Destruction can be a symptom of pain.

He wont be hurting his feet stamping as long as he's healthy, the important thing is that he is not stamping because he is in danger, so make sure your enclosure is fox proof. Sometimes it isnt obvious what our buns stamp about. One of mine often has nightmares.

Pix
29-10-2011, 02:21 PM
They have double decker 4x2 hutch to share. A fresh hutch with about 2 inches of straw and an inch of hay every weekend.

The hayrack is refilled daily with excel forage, and they have 2 handfuls of meadow hay and a handful or two of oxbow orchard grass every day.

They eat a lot of apple leaves, sunflower leaves and stems and other fibrous plants.

Their run is only relatively small at 6x4 and I'm hoping to upgrade. But my first upgrade is that I'm buying them a 5x7 shed which is due to arrive on Monday.

And they free range for a few hours every weekend.