View Full Version : Three(ish) daft new bunny person questions.

14-03-2013, 06:48 PM
This is going to sound like a very odd question, but I'm very good at worrying so I'll ask it anyway.

How important is it for bunnies to hear voices? Be talked to?

There's also another question which goes a little like this: "I got my bunnies and was promptly can't-get-out-of-bed sick for about 5 days so we're not totally used to each other yet, and they let me stroke them a little if the cat from up the road hasn't been bothering them too much (We're working on that, finding some kind of cat deterrent as soon as possible. Until then rattling the door handle usually does the trick) but the weather has forgotten that this is spring. So we're getting snow, rain, sleet, hail, beautiful sunshine and pretty much everything in between. But the bunnies (who are dwarf lops, just in case that makes a difference,) (Come to think of it, it probably does,) are moulting. And I don't want them to end up either matted or with hair balls, but we're kind of at the 'cautiously sniffing my knees, wiffling nose and keeping an eye on the daft biped while going to sit on some hay' stage. So... what would it be best to do? I'm kind of reluctant to just grab because,... well, because it would be grabbing."

And another question which goes "They don't seem interested in any of their toys, but they love to go 'bedrooom, upstairs, downstairs, tunnel, run GIANT BUNNY U TURN! run, tunnel, downstairs, upstairs, bedroom, repeat until hay is more interesting.' So I think they're quite happy, but I'm a bit worried because although they have hay (Oh the hay! It's like some kind of edible carpeting/bed which is also a midnight snack. Which must be disconcerting to wake up and go "...When I came up here I had a bed. Now there is no bed. Brian, have you seen my bed?" "Mmhmm? uhgmm." *shrugs, hay still in mouth, trying to swallow discreetly* "Are you sure? because it was just here. Seriously, right here." "Mughnee!" "I know! Weird, right?" "Mhghmm." "You know what I think Brian? Aliens." *Brian nods vigorously.*

...So aside from the small soap which seems to be occuring in this post I have three questions. Which I will put here.
1) How important is it for bunnies to hear voices, human voices, being talked to, etc.
B) What should I do about the whole fur, grooming and weather thing?
C) Will their teeth be alright with just hay or should I keep hunting for yummy wood they like?

Sorry for all of... that. But if I read it again it won't happen and I'd kind of like answers, sorry. :oops: And thank you for clicking and um. Getting down here. Thank you.

14-03-2013, 07:37 PM
1. if they have each other, not at all really. If they do not live together, they need attention around the clock from humans, as rabbits need constant companionship. If they don't live together, you should get them neutered so they can be safely bonded :)
If they have rabbit companionship, they don't need human friends. However, a friendly bunny can be a lot easier to health check, groom, give medication etc so if you can get them to trust you, that would be good. Your instinct not to grab them is right - you should never force them into being handled/stroked as this will frighten them. As prey animals, rabbits are usually naturally wary, so you must gain their trust. Most rabbits will never like being picked up (it's instinctual, the only thing that would pick them up in the wild is a predator) but many grow to like strokes. Let them come to you, explore you. The best way to build up trust is to simply sit in their run for ages, with a book or something, ignoring them. Their curiosity will eventually get the best of them and they will come over and see what you are doing. Obviously this isn't very practical weather-wise at the moment, but spend as much of your time as possible just there, maybe talking to them, but letting them come to you. You can also try hand-feeding - this will make you very popular!

2. If they are short haired, they shouldn't need grooming much if at all. If you feel they are moulting a lot it may be an idea though, so they don't ingest the extra hair. Incidently, I don't think they should be moulting at the moment (assuming youre in the UK?), you didn't get them from a pet shop or other indoor place did you?

3. If they have healthy teeth and good genes then they shouldn't need too much else to wear their teeth down, but it is a good idea to always provide chew toys so that they can gnaw away. Mine rarely touch commercial chew toys but love willow balls/toys and their favourite treat is fresh apple sticks. Fluffers is selling some at the moment in the For Sale part of the forum, if you're quick. There are certain types of wood that are poisonous to rabbits (willow twigs, but not thick branches are fine and apple and pear is fine) so be sure to check any that you want to try.
To keep their teeth in good health, hay is the most important thing to get them to eat. It should make up around 90% of their diet and they should eat at least a pile the size of themselves every day, if not more. Establishing good eating habits whilst young is important and can prevent problems in later life. The hay is also very important to keep their gut healthy- rabbits should have an extremely high fibre diet. This means that grass and hay should make up the bulk, with some greens and a small amount of high fibre pellets. If fruit or carrot is given it should be in small amounts as too much sugar upsets the natural balance in their gut.

Some rabbits, to due to their genes, will still get problems despite having a good diet, which is why it is important to get both front and back teeth checked regularly by a vet and keep an eye on their eating habits for any change. A good diet can still help though. Unfortunately lops can be more prone to dental problems due to their squashed faces and the fact that they are very popular and so are bred a lot by backyard breeders and pet shops, who often don't know a lot about or care about genetics.

14-03-2013, 07:37 PM
:lol: you're funny :lol: :wave: that made me smile :D why the voice question? I think it would probably help them get to know you if you talk to them a lot - mine probably think I'm mental, I talk to them about everything :lol:
I appreciate that it must be difficult getting to know each other if they're outside bunnies when the weather is so bad :( you will have to make the most of any dry days you get. Is their run big enough for you to sit in? The best thing to do is spend ages just sitting there, not attempting to stroke them or pick them up. Let them come and check you out in their own time. And have some tasty treats to offer them if they get close, so they start to associate you with nice things.
Did you say they are long haired? If not they shouldn't really get matted so I wouldn't worry too much about the grooming part for now, that can come later :wave:
Do you have any pics? :D x

14-03-2013, 07:42 PM
Hello :)

If they live together they already have the best kind if company, so I wouldn't worry too much about whether they can hear you.

Were they outdoor buns before you got them? If so they'll be fine outside with lots of bedding. In terms of grooming, if they are happy to be stroked could you gently groom them on the floor with your fingers while they get to know you better?

Hay is fantastic for wearing down teeth and should be 80% of their diet, but having something to nibble on will be great and help to keep them busy :)

14-03-2013, 08:27 PM
I think talking to them is an important part of the bonding taming process, so i would say it is reasonably important for them to hear your voice. Mine come when i call them and definitely recognise my voice over others. But you don't need to worry about constantly babbling to them.

They should be ok on the grooming, it comes out in tufts which if you notice loose you can just lift from the fur, or try holding some tasty treat in your hand and run a damp hand over their bodies to get any loose hairs off until they are more comfortable with being handled.

I can recommend here http://www.chinchillas2shop.co.uk/ if you want to get some fun wood buts for them. Mine like the various types and i think they probably taste different too. Like like the harder knaw rather than just the hay.

14-03-2013, 08:40 PM
some sort of communication with them is important yes :) I talk to mine, because I honestly think they can understand me. I sit down and tell them what is happening (such as why medication is being done, why we go in the car, why I'm leaving them at the vets) and I find that their behaviour is much better when I speak to them compared to when I don't. I also sing to them :lol:

I leave mine too it unless they really need brushing, medicating, weighting etc. Bribery works quite well :lol: Sitting with them is important too but obviously them being outdoors and the weather really doesn't help! I rarely brush mine tbh :)

Hay hay and more hay, I mix dried forage into mine to make it a bit more exciting and I mix their pellets in sometimes too :)

14-03-2013, 08:45 PM
Thank you!

We got them from the RSPCA where they were outside bunnies but in a sort of enclosure thing with high walls and concrete. So they have outdoor coats but grass is still a novelty. They aren't moulting as much as the other bunnies we saw but the people there when we picked them up said that they could probably do with a groom. It's not falling out all over the place enthusiastically but when I got to hold them at the RSPCA I came home covered in Oreo and Hobnob! (And I say that purely because I can. Typical that the first oreo I come into contact with is a bunny!) Basically I heard 'could do with grooming' from the nice RSPCA lady and came home, found out the brush and thought that I have bunnies and a brush and these should probably interlock at some point in the not too distant future, but haven't tried anything yet. I put it in their hutch with them for a couple of minutes while I was cleaning so they could see what it was, but I have no idea if that would have made a difference. The idea about the damp hand sounds much easier than using it right now while we're still getting used to each other. I don't think they're particularly long haired... But I don't have much to compare them to to be honest. I just see pictures of bunnies with matted fur and get a little (lot) paranoid. Hobnob will stand being stroked a bit before he goes to do other things; Oreo is more curious about everything "Look! A thing! I'll back away a bit and then explore the thing." but she isn't keen on being touched at all. She doesn't bite or anything but she runs off so I've been sitting there and she'll come up and see what I am and investigate my knees and then we sort of keep an eye on each other and carry on.

I ask about the voice thing because I can't talk right now and it's long term, and when I will be able to again is completely in the grey static of 'unknown' which is a pain so I'll have to work something out... Sorry to ask again but any ideas? I don't think I have my voice recorded anywhere or I'd try that. They seem happy together though, so that's good. And I will be taking pictures! Many pictures. When I get my act together anyway... (I come in every night when it's dark and go 'I forgot the camera. Again.' And it sits there, taunting me with it's single eye, like a metal cyclops, judging me...)

I have been sitting out there for the past couple of days in the morning until they have a nap in the sun and then in the afternoon when they're a bit more active. So far they've worked out how to get into the treat container (I swear they must be hiding thumbs somewhere) and Oreo likes the taste of my shoes, so we're getting there. I sit and read until I have to be somewhere or I can't feel my fingers, luckily we have some tarpaulin to cover it in the weather (which turns out to be very useful because I think the rest of our garden is being reclaimed by the sea we don't live near or something, it's like squeltch city,) so I just put that over my head if it starts to rain, so hopefully sooner or later they won't mind if I stroke them. I hand feed them some of their pellets through the hutch door (a little worried sooner or later someone's going to get something stuck between the bars so maybe not my greatest idea) but if I open the door they aren't so keen, so I sprinkle them in the hutch or run instead depending on the weather. But I tend to have a few treats with me when I sit in their run, but it's a bit up and down if they trust me enough to get close so I can give it to them. But we do have a lot of hay absolutely everywhere, so at least that bit is ok! And we have an apple tree in our garden which has plenty of bits we can chop off (apparently it's supposed to be shaped like a stick instead of a tree. Which I find odd. Absolutely no idea what that's all about but anyway,) so I'll keep going until we work out what's best.

Thank you! :D People are much better at this than the books I've managed to get my hands on. I'll see how we go with the apple wood and try different things! I remember now they had a huge branch in their pen at the RSPCA and somehow it never clicked in my mind... *headdesk*

14-03-2013, 09:46 PM
They don't need talking, if it's something you can't do, don't worry about it. You'll be well matched since they are rather unvocal creatures themselves.

Butbutbut it might be really cool to try clicker training! I did a bit with Molly when he was a single bun and they take to it really quickly. You could have a little sound, doesn't need to be a voice sound, and then pair the click to it and they could then associate the sound with food and it'll work the same as them knowing your voice or being able to come when called. I find it really helpful having some sort of response from them when they know an event like food might be coming, for doing health checks, getting them to go somewhere etc. Having Faline know a sound was really useful when she escaped. She came to me and she knew the words 'get in' so ran back home by herself.

14-03-2013, 09:57 PM
That's a brilliant idea! Thank you, I'll try it. Perhaps it'll help reduce the levels of Benny Hill appropriate chasing they did so we could take them home if we need them to be somewhere or they turn into bunny Houdinis or vetty things happen or - many things! :D

14-03-2013, 11:11 PM
Larilie... Hiya!:wave:

They dont need to talk..... They'd never get a word in with you anyway!!! :lol:

14-03-2013, 11:42 PM
Hi Fee!

I swear I telepathically message them and it is entirely possible they can telepathically message me back, only I'll never know because they could never get a word in edgeways!:lol: