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Thread: Ellie's Behaviour - U/D Post 13

  1. #1
    Warren Veteran Cari's Avatar
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    Default Ellie's Behaviour - U/D Post 13

    I'm really struggling with Eleanor at the moment.

    I love her dearly but it's so frustrating sometimes and I just don't know what to do. I know that digging is entirely natural and as such I have tried to provide her with things to dig at; they have the carry case in their room which I fill with newspaper and hay for her to dig through and they have a covered cat litter tray filled with newspaper too for her to dig through but every single day, more than once a day I am going into their room to find that she has emptied the contents of their litter tray all over the floor and has poo'd and pee'd on the litter on the floor. She's also digging up the lino on the floor and she climbs onto everything and throws things about. I've had to remove absolutely everything from their room apart from their toys, she's even digging holes in tables and chairs. When she comes out and hops about she's really friendly and loving, but I can't let her out very often because I can't ever get her to go back into their room when it's time for me to go out. She lunges at me, tries to bite me and won't let me anywhere near her even to cajole her into going to the right direction, never mind trying to pick her up to take her places, which is fine, I do appreciate that rabbits don't like being picked up, but it now means that I can't let them out unless I'm home all day because even things like treats, rattling the food bowl etc, won't convince her to go back to her room.

    Stephen is still the same wonderful, loving, friendly little boy, but she's starting to really bully him. More than once this week I have gone into their room to find his fur on the floor where's she's been humping and pulling his fur out. She bullies him for food to the point where I have to now feed them separately because she grunts and lunges at him too so she can eat from both bowls.

    I wouldn't mind this so much but in 30 days time I have to leave her, in someone else's house whilst they rabbit sit (she does run a proper business), and I'm just worried and I don't know what to do about it. How can I possibly let her go to someone else's house when I know she might destroy it? How can I leave her and Stephen together when I'm so worried about it? The lady has said that they're living in the conservatory, I've seen it all, but that when they are home they like to let the rabbits hop about in their lounge so they can interact and not feel too isolated and upset, but I'm so concerned that she'll just destroy their home. They're there for three weeks.
    Last edited by Cari; 07-01-2014 at 10:57 AM.
    Ellie & Stephen
    Your paw prints will forever be on my heart.

    Mummy loves you.

  2. #2

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    Aww, she sounds a bit of a handful I wouldn't be too worried about the sitting, for a start I'm sure if they run it as a business they'll be used to some little terrors occasionally and I expect the new environment will keep her busy and she'll dig less anyway.

    Is she neutered? If not I'd certainly consider that as it might help with her behaviour.

    There are a few things I'd do, one you need a routine. Feed at set times of day, that way you can use dinner time as the trigger to go back to the room. Once you've got the routine eg dinner at 7pm on the dot. You can start by letting her out 30 minutes before. Then instead of chasing her (fun game for her) you go in put dinner down and wait patiently until she hops back in, and close the door. You might have a bit of a wait at first but you'll get there. I would start by limiting the space as much as possible eg closing off as many doors as possible. Once you have a routine (rabbits love routine) you can let them out for two hours per dinner, for example, (they'll be waiting at the door to come out) and let them back in at dinner (they'll be waiting to go back in).

    Another thing - only hay freely available. Pellets at meal times and even then I'd be hiding them in toys, in a treat ball, in the digging box etc. make her look! The same with any fresh foods - if you have bowls get rid. Rabbit's spend most of the day foraging for food, if you serve it up on a plate that's free time to get bored and destroy things.

    Tunnels - think cardboard boxes. Digging isn't just about digging, it's about building a home.

  3. #3
    Warren Veteran Cari's Avatar
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    Hiya Tamsin, excellent advice as usual you should write a book or run a rabbit forum or something .

    She is neutered yes, at least her previous owners said so. There's no real way to tell for sure without an exploratory laparotomy?

    The only problem with a routine is that with my shifts it's difficult, as there's no time every day in the evening when I'm actually home. I know I need to try though. They have very restricted pellets, just 2 eggcups a day but I wonder if she's rebelling a little as she was on free pellets after her operation as she had lost a massive amount of weight.

    I'll go and get more boxes from the supermarket tonight.

    Thank you.
    Ellie & Stephen
    Your paw prints will forever be on my heart.

    Mummy loves you.

  4. #4
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    Would she be happier as an outdoor Rabbit ?
    I AM NOW POSTING AS 'InspectorMorse' BECAUSE A TECHNICAL PROBLEM HAS LOCKED ME OUT OF MY 'Jack's-Jane' ACCOUNT ON SOME DEVICES !!

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    I don't know Jane, neither her or Stephen have ever been outside because we don't have the space. My 'garden' is literally wide enough for a 5ft hutch and it's only 6ft long so the whole area would have to be dedicated to their space and I still wouldn't be happy with the size. Potentially I could put chicken wire over the fences and cordon off the whole garden but I'm not sure about it.
    Ellie & Stephen
    Your paw prints will forever be on my heart.

    Mummy loves you.

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    Probably would be best for a vet to make sure that she's definitely spayed? Her behaviour could be hormonal if she hasn't been spayed or could be she's in pain? Is she all well now?

  7. #7

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    A vet might be able to tell if she's spayed by looking for a scar or doing an ultra sound. Possibly by measuring hormone levels too. Might be something to chat over with your vet.

    I've not tried it, but if you can't do a time based routine, I wonder if sounding a dinner bell might help. It doesn't literally have to be a bell but something that makes a noise you only use a dinner time, as the signal to rush over because the bowl is full. Not a constant noise just ring the bell once. Again, get them used to it, then give them limited access, sound the bell and wait for them to go back.

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    She's fine now, had several months of antibiotics and the infection has just gone, her teeth were ok when last checked. I thought she was having phantom pregnancies before because she pulled fur and built a nest but only did it twice and never again. I've spoken to the vet before whodsaid they could shave her to look for a scar but that was the only way she mentioned for checking whether she was neutered. She said chances were she was as Stephen humped her only a week or so after neutering. (bad boy).

    I could try that Tamsin, thank you
    Ellie & Stephen
    Your paw prints will forever be on my heart.

    Mummy loves you.

  9. #9

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    My rabbit does that when I leave her alone a lot. She kicks all the litter out of her box. Ripps up her towels really quite a nuisance haha... especialy When I go out of town and some else takes care of her. .. so what I did is tried to hang out as much as possible, Even if it's me being in the same room as here.. also rabbits don't like perfume So if she's wrecking stuff spray body spray on what shes wrecking. Also heard chicken wire works too. Good luck

    Sent from my SGH-I747M using Tapatalk now Free

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    She isn't alone though as she's bonded with Stephen. I try to spend as much time as possible with them but it's difficult when I can't let them out because I can't get her back in!
    Ellie & Stephen
    Your paw prints will forever be on my heart.

    Mummy loves you.

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