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Rabbits/Will my rabbit trust me again?


Hi, I recently adopted a 2 1/2 old Holland lop doe last week. Shes been home about 4 days. I think she was held maybe once a day at the breeders but she came home extremely skittish. I was told to hold her at least once daily to get her used to it. She will not come out of the cage, and grunts and thumps when I even come close to sitting by her. I have made the mistake of picking her up out of the cage instead of letting her come to me. She bit me twice and I spanked her and pinned her down. I read on a site that pinning an aggressive rabbit down by the shoulders helps. But I think she is just terrified, not aggressive. I regret horribly that I spanked her. I should have never hit her despite what I read on a rabbitry website. My question is, will she ever learn to trust and love me? Even after I hit her and picked her up? I will never do it again, I realized shortly that rabbits are not the kind of animal that learn from that. She is clearly still, if not more scared then the first day she was home. She has a healthy appetite and eats a lot of hay, and grooms well. So she's very healthy. But can I still form a bond with her after the incident?


I am glad that you have seen the error of your ways regarding hitting (for future reference no animal learns from hitting or what we refer to as "positive punishment".) And yes you should be able to bond.

I would slowly reintroduce yourself. Do not pick her up if at all possible. Offer treats to coax her from her cage. Let her explore. Let her come to you. Offer treats. Go at her own pace. Remember, she is a small prey animal and you are a very large, very new predator to her.

Is she spayed? Unaltered does that are breeding age also get very hormonal and aggressive when not being bred, especially if shes been bred in the past. If you are looking for a docile and friendly doe, id go ahead and spay her. Good luck!


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Shawn Evans


I can answer questions regarding ARBA, showing rabbits, genetic diseases and faults, medical care, raising meat rabbits, questions regarding different breeds, questions regarding diet, questions regarding color and color hereditary traits (breeding for color and pattern) and general questions about rabbits.


I am currently a breeder and exhibitor of English Lops and Tans in ARBA and have raised several breeds. I have both indoor rabbits and an outdoor rabbitry. I have raised rabbits for meat, and I have raised rabbits for top show competitions. I am especially well versed in color genetics and have written several articles regarding color and hereditary traits.

American Rabbit Breeders Association American Tan Association Lop Rabbit Club of America North Carolina Rabbit Breeders Association


Bachelor of Animal Sciences/Husbandry with a strong focus in genetics.

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