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Can an older rabbit learn new 'tricks'??

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Hello! I'm a newbie at this rabbit-keeping lark. I'm Jo and I have a 3 yr old daughter, a 2 yr old cat and a rabbit of undetermined age who has been inherited from my brother's girlfriend!


I've never kept a rabbit before, but Thumper has been with us a week and appears happy and healthy. "Ooops, word censored!"ody is sure exactly how old he is as my brother's girlfriend homed him from a rescue centre and she's had him a couple of years. He loves to be stroked and particularly responds to my daughter, however he hates being picked up (she never tries to - she's happy just to stroke him). I'd like to build a movable run for the summer so he can be out on the grass but I'd prefer it if he was more amenable to being handled.


Obviously he's not a baby and doesn't appear aged - is it too late to get him used to being handled or do you think he'll never like it? He's having a lot more human contact with us and isn't as skittish as a week ago.


Also, I'm sure I read somewhere that rabbits prefer to have company. Is this always the case? Can they be happy living alone? Or should I be considering getting him a friend? (Although I realise that this should be done with caution - don't want an explosion of rabbits! :lol: ) Any ideas, suggestions, tips gratefully received!




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Welcome Jo


Bunnies definitely do prefer company - but introductions need to be carefully done. I'd suggest that you take him to the vet and see if they can give you an idea of his age and check his general health, and also that he is neutered.


His ideal new friend would be a neutered female of roughly the same size. I suggest that you try to find a rescue centre near to you, who will have the accommodation available for a monitored introduction - that way you can be sure that they will get on before getting a new friend.


Most bunnies aren't too keen on being picked up and only really feel secure when they are on a lap or held firmly in your arms - you need to practice this while wearing sturdy clothing and talking quietly to him. Bunnies will scrabble when you pick them up, which is why they don't make ideal pets for small children, who usually want to play with them - the smallster could pick up a nasty scratch or even a bite.


They aren't really into many toys or games, but would benefit from some logs or blocks in their run that they can jump onto.


My girls have a luxury duplex wooden hutch in the winter and live in their pink rablu on the grass in the summer. the rablu run is ideal and very secure.


I hope that Thumper settles in well with you - we'd love to see some photos.

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Thanks Clare!


He is currently in a very posh two storey hutch in our outhouse at the moment. I think he's likely to stay in it as I've a plot afoot for chickens and a cube next spring! :wink: He'll definitely get a run though as I don't think he's ever been out on grass :(


I saw a rescue place in our local paper advertising that they have a lot of bunnies needing homes so I'll get Thumper checked out then give them a ring.





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What a pretty boy he is! I can't tell his size from the photo, but he looks like a netherland dwarf.


If he's never been on grass, then try him on it for an hour at first, then gradually increase the time he is on it, otherwise, he might just gorge on it and end up with colic :roll:


You're not too far from me, so if you're ever around Banbury - do let me know and you can pop by to see the rablu. It's out on loan at the moment though, to a friend with a new chicken to introduce.

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Yes he's definitely small - I'd say a little larger than one of those balls hamsters run around in! :lol:


I've just cleaned out his hutch and he's been pottering around the outhouse having a good sniff. I decided to be brave and I picked him up and firmly snuggled him onto my lap. He tucked his head into my sleeve and we had a brief cuddle and fuss. I'm sold on bunny ownership!


I'm glad you mentioned about colic. Anna took him to the vet to have his nails trimmed before settling him here. Apparently, the vet said he needs more greens and particularly grass. I've given him a couple of handfuls of grass over the past week and also decided to introduce fresh veg. I'm introducing new food slowly and he had curly kale yesterday, which didn't last long :wink: . How would I know if he's got colic? Would he get the runs? I've been careful only to give him a taster of new foods and he mainly has his bunny mix. So many questions!


My parents live near Witney so it wouldn't be difficult to take a small detour one day to check out your rablu! :lol: Thanks!




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Try to get used to handling him Jo and feel his tummy - it should feel like a little fat ball of dough - slightly squashy, but definitely not hard. A bunny with colic will look like he's in pain (did you baby ever have colic?) and will hunch up.


Their diet should consist of the following mix:


50% fresh hay - this is very important for their digestion

25% dried bunny food - best stick to one type - bunnies have quite delicate digestion and like an unvarying diet

25% 'greens'. Curly kale is a fave here too, but avoid letttuce as this gives them tummy ache. Try new foods a tiny bit at a time.. sliced apple is a good treat, as are dandelions.


Make sure that they get plenty of fresh hay - I buy mine by the bin bag load form a local farm.


Give Thumper a nose-rub from me. When he's used to you, you'll be able to 'trance' him on his back in your arms - here's one of my girls when she was little - http://club.omlet.co.uk/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=6791

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