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Thread: Routines and settling in...

  1. #1

    Default Routines and settling in...

    So I've has Buster and Lola for almost a week now so I'm really just checking in to see if people have any advice or suggestions on my routine/How I'm helping them settle in. I want to get it as right as i can from the start with them. At the moment their routine is:

    Morning
    1 bowl (roughly 1.5cups pellets)
    Greens variety of (carrot, apple, rocket, kale, basil, brocolli) - looking for other suggestions for easy, healthy daily greens
    LOADS OF HAY
    Bit of free roaming time if they want it

    Mid day - water & hay top up if needed.
    Free roam time if they want it (they are usually chilled and sleeping though)

    Evening - loads of free range time (from about 5.30pm-11pm)
    Bowl of pellets
    More greens
    More hat
    Fresh water

    There seems to be a tiny bit of tension: Lola does a lot of thumping, I thought it was being frightened/irritated when we use the kitchen but I think it's grumpiness when Buster wont groom her too...is this possible?

    Buster also seems to be trying to mount her which she doesn't seem to like and I think I've heard a wee scuffle a couple of times but I've not witnessed anything yet and it could be the excited run around and binkying they are doing too...so not sure. They seem happy enough to be around each other.

    Buster is neutered but Lola isn't spayed yet...will some of this potentially stop then? I'm really not sure.

    They are now happily free roaming in the evenings...they wouldnt come out of the safety of their own area until last night. Lola still won't take any food from my hand, Buster will.

    Lola also seems to be struggling to find her way back into their own area during free roam time too.

    If anyone sees anything here they think I should be concerned about or could be doing better then please let me know!! I've not had a pair of bunnies living together since I was a kid, and at that time the guidance for having bunnies wasn't so good so although I've had bunnies for most of my life I'm still learning about giving them the absolute best possible.

    Thanks

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  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I have a few thoughts, mainly based on my experience with Rexes.

    Regarding food, it sounds quite a lot of pellets that you are giving. I'm presuming that your rabbits are around 4 months old, based on the neutering status of both. Depending on the size of your cup, I would probably feed only half that amount and over the next few months I would slowly reduce it further so that they have about an eggcup full once a day. Rabbits generally will eat pellets in preference to other foods and you want to be making around 80-90% of their diet hay. I would also introduce forage (Dandelions, Plantain etc) into their diet and provide rabbit-safe sticks and leaves for them to chew (e.g.Hawthorn, Hazel, Apple). Sticks to chew are also a good enrichment tool for when they do not have free-range time. I, personally, do not feed apple or carrot due to their sugar content. It is very easy to over-feed a Rex

    I'm not sure what the thumping would be caused by. It's usually done as a warning in my experience, but some people report that rabbits do it when they are irritated (expecting food, which hasn't yet arrived for example). Have they recently been re-bonded after Buster's neuter?

    I think the humping will be due to the time of year, which sometimes means that even neutered bucks will hump (Spring Fever). I don't know when Buster was neutered, but he will still have hormones for up to about 6 weeks post neutering. Humping sometimes occurs due to excitement as well. I think this will settle down with time and after Lola's spay.

    I think they sound as though they are getting on fine, considering you've only had them a week and there is certainly nothing you have reported that I would be concerned about.
    "The mind tells me this is our new reality, the heart aches for it to be just a bad dream" Frans Timmermans

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    I have a few thoughts, mainly based on my experience with Rexes.

    Regarding food, it sounds quite a lot of pellets that you are giving. I'm presuming that your rabbits are around 4 months old, based on the neutering status of both. Depending on the size of your cup, I would probably feed only half that amount and over the next few months I would slowly reduce it further so that they have about an eggcup full once a day. Rabbits generally will eat pellets in preference to other foods and you want to be making around 80-90% of their diet hay. I would also introduce forage (Dandelions, Plantain etc) into their diet and provide rabbit-safe sticks and leaves for them to chew (e.g.Hawthorn, Hazel, Apple). Sticks to chew are also a good enrichment tool for when they do not have free-range time. I, personally, do not feed apple or carrot due to their sugar content. It is very easy to over-feed a Rex

    I'm not sure what the thumping would be caused by. It's usually done as a warning in my experience, but some people report that rabbits do it when they are irritated (expecting food, which hasn't yet arrived for example). Have they recently been re-bonded after Buster's neuter?

    I think the humping will be due to the time of year, which sometimes means that even neutered bucks will hump (Spring Fever). I don't know when Buster was neutered, but he will still have hormones for up to about 6 weeks post neutering. Humping sometimes occurs due to excitement as well. I think this will settle down with time and after Lola's spay.

    I think they sound as though they are getting on fine, considering you've only had them a week and there is certainly nothing you have reported that I would be concerned about.
    I agree with Omi

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  4. #4

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    Thanks for your great reply! Really helpful! The pellets they are getting is not each? It's between 2 of them, I'm not sure if that was clear on original post...it may still be too much though I just don't know as they eat so much!! They finish everything all the time including their hay. I give them tons of hay and they always have it pretty much finished by the time I go to top it up! Which is great but it makes me worry I'm not feeding them enough.

    Their hay is a mix of dried hay and dried forage/dandelions etc...or should they be getting this fresh?

    I'm really interested in the sticks though...ive never done that before, where would I generally get these? I have an apple tree in my garden for example...can I use this or is there somewhere to buy them?

    Carrot and Apple have been used as treat when they have gone back into their area after playtime or when they have approached me etc. So in tiny bitesize pieces a couple of times. Do you think I should cut this out?

    I'm sure the thumping is nothing to worry about, i heard it can be a sign of illness/pain but I'm fairly confident it's because she isn't neutered and is just a wee bit hormonal and grumpy as she otherwise seems fine. Playful, eating fine, using the litter box etc.

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  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper
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    My experience with a family of 4 Rexes is that they are greedy, very greedy in fact They will eat everything that is offered. That is not so bad when they are growing and being very energetic, but if they continue with this quantity they will become obese, which can cause lots of issues. The quantities suggested on the sides of the packs are much too much imo.

    I did realise that the pellets were for the two of them. My suggestion to work towards an eggcup full was for each of them and I'm sorry I didn't make that clearer. Once they have properly settled, it would be good to get into the habit of weighing the rabbits regularly to check that they are not losing weight. If they are eating all of their hay, that's fantastic. It also shows that they would eat more of it, which is what you want to be aiming for. If they are hungry, they should be topping up with hay

    I personally feed a lot of forage, which is easy for me to obtain fresh mostly from the garden. I find that my rabbits have always preferred it. There is also a benefit in feeding fresh, as it will provide moisture which is good for their digestion. Give them small amounts to begin with. I bet you find they go made for it Bramble leaves are also good for digestion and most rabbits cope with the thorns with no problem.

    If you have sticks in your garden then those will be fine. I give mine the apple tree prunings and also the leaves just before they start to drop in the Autumn. Things like Hawthorn are great at the moment as they have succulent young leaves on them (don't feed anything with berries on). I also feed Willow, Hazel, Maple and Ash. You will find that the leaves will be taken first and then they will strip the bark. All excellent for their tummies.

    I personally don't encourage apple and carrot as treats. Try giving a pellet or two instead. If they are not having many each day, they will become a treat. Also perhaps get some Fibafirst sticks to use as treats.

    I have a five and a half month unspayed female atm and so I understand about strange hormonal behaviour
    "The mind tells me this is our new reality, the heart aches for it to be just a bad dream" Frans Timmermans

  6. #6
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    Great advice from Omi. Just to say I have a spayed rabbit who thumps when I'm going round with the food. I don't really know why but maybe it's because she used to live with another female in a small indoor cage and the other rabbit would stop her from getting to the food. They can thump for many reasons though.

  7. #7

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    Brilliant! Thanks for all the advice! I will get some of the fibre treats and some sticks for them. Went out and gathered some dandelion leaves this afternoon and have got them all washed a stored for the next couple of days

    I'm contending with Lola getting back into their pen just now. So they love being out and free roaming. They have been out for about 10 hours today so far. Continuous...but Lola doesn't seem to be able to find her way back in. Buster has got it sussed so when the food goes in he realises it's there and off he goes back in to get it. Lola on the other hand runs around like crazy, thumps, pulls on the bars of the cage. You can tell she wants to go in but she just can't work out how...any suggestions. I've tried laying out a trail of food for her to follow but she gets so far and gets a bit freaked and turns round then Buster gets the rest...ive tried herding her in but she just gets really scared...how can she be finding it do hard to find her way back??

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crinklewhiskers View Post
    Brilliant! Thanks for all the advice! I will get some of the fibre treats and some sticks for them. Went out and gathered some dandelion leaves this afternoon and have got them all washed a stored for the next couple of days

    I'm contending with Lola getting back into their pen just now. So they love being out and free roaming. They have been out for about 10 hours today so far. Continuous...but Lola doesn't seem to be able to find her way back in. Buster has got it sussed so when the food goes in he realises it's there and off he goes back in to get it. Lola on the other hand runs around like crazy, thumps, pulls on the bars of the cage. You can tell she wants to go in but she just can't work out how...any suggestions. I've tried laying out a trail of food for her to follow but she gets so far and gets a bit freaked and turns round then Buster gets the rest...ive tried herding her in but she just gets really scared...how can she be finding it do hard to find her way back??

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
    I would be surprised if she couldn't find her way back tbh and to me it would seem more likely that she just doesn't want to. Why do you think that she wants to go back but can't find her way in? What does she do if you leave her out for a little while?

    I've found that rabbits like to be in a routine. My rabbits are outside and get locked in the shed overnight. They are free to go in and out the whole day and spend time in different parts, usually in the same pattern. They receive their small amount of pellets late evening in the shed. They have come to know that the noise of the back door opening around that time equals arrival of food and they rush into the shed to wait for it.

    I think in time if you try to follow a routine and ensure that they are hungry at the time you want to encourage them in, you might have more success. Rabbits usually follow each other too, so I would expect her to follow Buster.

    I would think this is all part of them settling in and getting used to a routine rather than anything to get concerned about.
    "The mind tells me this is our new reality, the heart aches for it to be just a bad dream" Frans Timmermans

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