Growling Rabbit

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by grams, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. grams

    grams fiber crone

    Messages:
    328
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2004
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I did a search but didn't find anything on this, so I will just ask.

    We got rabbits for the first time about a month ago, so far everything as been pretty fun, regular, etc. However, Monday night when DH went to feed one of our daughters who was visiting went with him. When he reached into the pen to get the doe, she growled at him. Now, I just wish I could have seen and heard it because he is now a little afraid of her. Did I mention that he is a big man? But seriously, is this normal, all I can figure is 1. It was because Kate was with him and she was "New" or 2. Because the doe is about to kit. (think that is the correct term).

    Thanks for any advise.
     
  2. Lynnette

    Lynnette Michigan Hobby Farmer

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Hi,

    I have had rabbits for about a year and I can assure you the growling is nothing to be concerned about. It is the rabbit's way of saying "back off", I have had rabbits attack me before, the best thing you can do is treat it like a dog, show the rabbit that you are dominant. Gently but firmly hold the rabbit to the cage floor for about 3-5 seconds. Don't do this in a threatening manner, but don't let your rabbit's get away with it either, they will only get worse.

    I don't know that it is a sign that she is ready to "kindle", kit is the name for the babies, kindling means giving birth. I would say it was more likely that your husband had a different smell or that it was your daughter's smell. Not that either of them smelled badly, just their body chemistry seemed off to the rabbit.

    Hope this helps,
    Lynnette
     

  3. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    815
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    Oh yeah, if the doe is about to kindle she's quite likely to growl/grunt. Make sure not to leave your hand in front of her, otherwise she might lunge out and scratch or bite. Just put your hand on her head/ears/shoulder region and keep her there while your do your thing. If she growls giver her a very, very gentle like shake or put a finger inbetween her ears and wiggle them back forth. Eventually she'll learn.

    Really, it's nothing serious. Just one of those little anti-social things that rabbits like to do. :)

    Edited to add: whoops, I was still typing when Lynnette posted.
     
  4. Al. Countryboy

    Al. Countryboy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    617
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Location:
    Alabama
    I have a doe that starts growling after about a week bred and continues to do that until she has her kits. Then she is quite.
     
  5. grams

    grams fiber crone

    Messages:
    328
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2004
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Thanks, she was a little bit more friendly last evening, but I think she is all mine to care for now. Tom is still talking about a fried rabbit everytime he goes around her.
     
  6. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,117
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    France
    They can REALLY hurt you, when they bite.
     
  7. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    544
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Location:
    Kansas
    If she actually attacks you and keeps it up, you may consider getting rid of her. I hate to say it, but after raising a good 200 rabbits at one time, the mean ones will produce mean offspring. Just growling isn't the best either, because she shouldn't be telling you to back off, but at the same time if she's due soon you can give her some leeway. In my opinion, an attacking rabbit has no excuse though. The only time I would let a doe growl and attack would be right after she's been with a buck, some does get REALLY wound up then. But if she generally doesn't do it... I would give leeway for that and other situations.
     
  8. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    815
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    They sure can. The worst I've ever seen was a buck. Wow, was he ever mean. He'd try and grab onto flesh and then he'd shake and kick and try and rip a mouthful out. With some time and training he did mellow out.

    In my experience, the average growling rabbit is just saying "Leave me alone" "Don't TOUCH me" "Go away" and at worst will nip you.
     
  9. twohunnyz

    twohunnyz Pacific Northwest

    Messages:
    220
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Location:
    NE Washington
    There is a really fun and interesting website called The Language of Lagomorphs, which is what what are. ( www.muridae.com )It talks about various body/ear postions and what they can mean. I've found it extremely helpful, not ever having had rabbits before.

    Our Doe started 'grumbling', sort of a moan/whine/mutter, at us when she decided she was ready to be bred, and has continued all the way through to her Kits being 3 weeks old now, with no thoughts of her ever quiting! Some rabbits are just more vocal than others. To us it seems to mean 'I'm not crazy about what you're doing, but get it over with and, oh by the way, thanks for the pat on the head'. :) She has never shown any signs of agressiveness, though, that would be a can't-mistake-the-meaning 'growl'. We always give a forehead pet before doing anything in their cages and after, saying good girl and speaking in a soothing tone. How about giving a treat like a bit of diced apple? Just may be able to win her over! Also, Does can get more protective of their territory, ie the barn/cage area, when close to kindling. For this reason some limit visitors unknown to the rabbits at this time and following, too. Or, like us, there are only family interested in seeing them anyway so we just made sure they were used to them in advance and there haven't been any problems at all.

    Hope this helps!
     
  10. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,390
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Central WV
  11. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    Some rabbits are more vocal than others, and does do tend to be grumpier when their bred. Now, if she's nasty all the time she's not worth keeping, and often the kits will have her temperament. I've got a flemish doe thats all talk and no action, she's always grumbling, even when alone in her cage, it doesn't automatically mean aggression, although in most rabbits it does.
     
  12. twohunnyz

    twohunnyz Pacific Northwest

    Messages:
    220
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Location:
    NE Washington
  13. BellsBunnies

    BellsBunnies Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    As rabbits get to breeding age - does may become a little on the protective side of their cage - Since your doe is about to kindle this maybe the reason are she could have been startled - and she was saying back-off.