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Thread: Coaxing a rabbit to go up and down to other places and in and out of hutch

  1. #1

    Default Coaxing a rabbit to go up and down to other places and in and out of hutch

    I rehomed a rabbit yesterday. She's in a play house with a hutch inside as a place to retreat to for warmth and security. The main door to the hutch is kept open and the solid one to sleeping area is closed. The hutch is on legs to keep it warmer and to allow her underneath so she has extra room. It's only about a foot off the floor. In my experience rabbits are happy to jump in and out of something like this, but she just doesn't seem to realise she can. I had a ramp to help her get up there but she won't venture onto it. So I got a tunnel instead (there is a tunnel flat on the floor she likes running through) but she won't venture into that either. I tried lifting her into the hutch but she didn't seem to realise she could come out. Maybe she's been trained not jump out of an open hutch. She also seemed to feel unable to get round a wooden toy in her hutch that wasn't really an obstacle. She moved around in the hutch but wouldn't go past the toy or even stick her head out of the open door.

    I think she's lacked space and opportunities to explore in her life so far so maybe that's part of the problem, but she has explored under the hutch and like I said she seems to love the tunnel that's flat on the floor. But without being able to go into the hutch she loses space and a warmer place to sleep. I was also planning to add a sort of mezzanine to give her extra space, and I expected her to jump on top of the hutch too. It's only been a couple of days so maybe she just needs time, but if anyone has any advice to coax her into realising she has these options I'd appreciate it.

  2. #2

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    Firstly I would want to make sure that there are no mobility problems preventing her from jumping up and down from things, eg arthritic pain in her hips and/or spine. If she has come from a neglectful home then arthritis is a possibility even if she is very young

    https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-h...bit-arthritis/

    If all is found to be well health wise after a thorough Vet check ( she will need her vaccination too, if this has not already been done ) then you could try putting treats in the areas you want to encourage her to use. Will she eventually have a companion Rabbit ? That would probably help her to be more adventurous and of course every Bunny needs someBunny to love ❤️😃


    I used to be ‘Jack’s-Jane’ but I have been logged out of that account and I can’t get back in !

    Apologies if my posts read as being blunt. Failing eyesight makes it hard to type out long messages.

  3. #3
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    Some rabbits aren’t keen on ramps, she might prefer something more step like or jump from one platform to another, Maybe if you put something like a couple of bricks under the base of the ramp to raise it up slightly, it wouldn’t be quite so steep, that might help. Also, if the ramp is smooth wood, putting something with grip like carpet on it might help, you could also attach cross pieces of wood to give her something to grip on.

    Maybe once she is more settled she will be more adventurous.

    Binky free at the bridge Boots, you will never be forgotten xxxx

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Do you think it might be because she can't see very well or maybe, as you said, it's just a matter of time. I have a boy who won't come out, his friend comes out but he won't.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoobec View Post
    Some rabbits aren’t keen on ramps, she might prefer something more step like or jump from one platform to another, Maybe if you put something like a couple of bricks under the base of the ramp to raise it up slightly, it wouldn’t be quite so steep, that might help. Also, if the ramp is smooth wood, putting something with grip like carpet on it might help, you could also attach cross pieces of wood to give her something to grip on.

    Maybe once she is more settled she will be more adventurous.
    With the hutch she has also had the option to just jump straight in or out, and the ramp is pretty shallow. It did have good grip on it, and now the tunnel is there the grip might not be quite as good, but it is textured inside so it should be OK. If she doesn't catch on maybe I'll try a halfway step in between.

    Quote Originally Posted by tonibun View Post
    Do you think it might be because she can't see very well or maybe, as you said, it's just a matter of time. I have a boy who won't come out, his friend comes out but he won't.
    I did mean to say this actually. I noticed she jumps when I touch her if I come in from the side, even when I'm making noise. If you come in from the front she's OK, even though she should be able to see better from the side. When I went in to check on her in the dark I brought a torch and put it on the floor and she went right up to it to sniff it, as if she wasn't bothered by the light at all. She's also albino, so as I understand it she should be more sensitive to bright lights. My partner came to a different conclusion and thought she was deaf as she wasn't jumping at all at loud noises, but maybe she's just used to them. She'll have her first vet check up in a few days, so hopefully that will clear some of this up.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by InspectorMorse View Post
    Firstly I would want to make sure that there are no mobility problems preventing her from jumping up and down from things, eg arthritic pain in her hips and/or spine. If she has come from a neglectful home then arthritis is a possibility even if she is very young

    https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-h...bit-arthritis/

    If all is found to be well health wise after a thorough Vet check ( she will need her vaccination too, if this has not already been done ) then you could try putting treats in the areas you want to encourage her to use. Will she eventually have a companion Rabbit ? That would probably help her to be more adventurous and of course every Bunny needs someBunny to love ❤️��
    I haven't had her long enough to really be sure about some of those arthritis symptoms, but so far she looks OK. The only thing I've noticed is when she stretches up on her hind legs she comes down again quickly. Maybe that's just what she wants to do, or maybe she's been out of a hutch so rarely she doesn't have the right kind of strength or balance. I think the real test will be when we can take her outside (we ordered a run last week but it's been delayed - I might try to improvise something this weekend).

    Do you think a companion would be a good idea? I think she's over three years old and I think she's been alone all that time except when she's been used for breeding, so I thought it was too late to introduce another rabbit into her life. Since she was used for breeding she obviously hasn't been spayed either - will that make a difference? We plan to give her a lot of attention but I don't want her to miss out without a companion, but at the same time if we get her a friend and they don't get along, we don't have room to set up a whole new separate home for another rabbit!

    As for vet checks, that's in a few days. Her previous owner did vaccinations themselves so I don't have a record of what she's had. I was going to ask in a separate thread but if anyone can answer here: is it safe to assume she's had nothing and just do them all again, or are there some vaccinations that can't be given twice?

  7. #7
    Mama Doe
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    I think the usual situation would be to assume she's had no vaccinations and to start again. I would ask about neutering her while you are at the vet. Girls are very prone to uterine cancer. After neutering, she could also get a bunny friend - maybe look at rescues for a neutered boy?

  8. #8

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    You will find lots of useful information on here

    https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/


    I used to be ‘Jack’s-Jane’ but I have been logged out of that account and I can’t get back in !

    Apologies if my posts read as being blunt. Failing eyesight makes it hard to type out long messages.

  9. #9

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    My youngster came from a place where she was only kept on one level and had very little in the way of climbing equipment. It took her quite a while to work out how to jump into the outdoor house, and then quite a while to pick up the courage to jump out again, but gradually in her own time she worked it out. Once you have checked for any health issues, just give her time to explore, but make sure there are other options for shelter etc that don't involve jumping. You could also add very low platforms like planks and sleepers and leave food on them to encourage her to explore different surfaces and levels.
    These days, only a couple of months later, my youngster is a nightmare and can fly apparently!! Climbs on everything but still wary of ramps for now. It'll come.

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