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Thread: Inconsistent Bunny-loving behaviour

  1. #1

    Default Inconsistent Bunny-loving behaviour

    Hi, I'm new here.
    I recently brought home my first bunny, an 11 week old mini-lop. When we collected him the breeder had him held up to her chest, and he seemed happy enough. She told us to be as 'hands on' as possible with him after letting him settle for 24 hours in our home.

    This turned out to be more or less impossible. He wouldn't let us touch him at all, let alone pick him up or stroke him (and still doesn't). It felt cruel forcing him, so we gave him the space he wanted. We've had him for 12 days now, about a week ago we could hand feed him dried fruits, and in the last few days he has been happy to sit about a metre away from my desk, sprawled out, whilst I'm working, occasionally doing quick-sprints and binkys under me. I can sit very close to him whilst he is sprawled in a vulnerable position without him running away or even looking anxious, which implies he isn't afraid of me. But, as soon as I reach out to stroke his forehead or upper back, he's gone, then returns to a safe distance and sprawls once more.

    I guess what I am asking is if this behaviour is normal for a newly-homed bunny? I'm aware not all rabbits want to be stroked or held (this is also true of dogs I have owned), but it is strange that he is both relaxed and terrified at the same time. I can't work him out. On an evening, between 10:30-02:00 (I stay up late) he seems to be my best pal, his free roam area is large, but he chooses to sit and play very close to me, so I think he wants a friend? Yet, on a morning he sometimes won't leave his cage or take treats from my hand. He is very inconsistent.

    I would love to hear if anyone has had a similar experience, or if this is normal in new bunnies.

    Many thanks,

  2. #2
    Forum Buddy Pets mum's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to the forum sounds like your bunny is making good progress already by choosing to come and sit near you. He may never like picked up, as bunnies are prey animals, so prefer all four paws on the ground. I would just let him get to know you in his own time, you could try sitting on the floor, maybe read a book, and then he can come and investigate in his own time. Good luck, and look forward to hearing more about him, and bunny photos always enjoyed on here
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  3. #3

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    That's good to hear. I was worried that we may have a wild-natured bunny that was destined to hate us! I think the breeder confused me by suggesting we're very hands on, as if it's supposed to be an easy, normal thing to do.

    Many thanks, I will be uploading photos!

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Bunny has to learn to trust you and this can take quite a long time. Any progress really has to be on his terms and gradual. Just keep being friendly with him and then he will come to trust you. Accept him as he is

  5. #5
    Warren Veteran bunny momma's Avatar
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    He sounds lovely. What is his name?

    He may be more comfortable if you did not reach over his back where he cannot see what you are doing. Some like rubs above the nose or between their ears.
    I pick mine up when necessicary for grooming or health checks, being sure to support them well and hold them with nose in my elbow , supported by my forearm.
    It does take time to develop trust, and sometimes it is a game of chase or a nip when they need the vet.

  6. #6

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    His name is Finley, he's a cutie.

    At the moment we can't touch him, he will sit very close, all spread out. But it's strictly look but don't touch! We can hand feed him, and he sniffs us and occasionally prods us with his head. Yes, I had to chase him into his carrier for his vaccinations visit! The vet described him as 'a little bar of soap', so it seems like he is more timid than the usual rabbit!

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