Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Rabbit Myth... busted.

I get kind of frustrated when I find comments on the Internet that go like this: "Well, so-and-so told me that all dwarf rabbits are mean".... or, "Don't get dwarf hotots, they are really mean", etc. I'll see if I can collect all my scatter-brained thoughts on this and put them in a post, more for me, as I need to vent somewhere, this frustrates me!  :(   What people don't understand is that it's really not the breed, although I'm sure some breeds are more naturally affectionate than others (although I've only had one, so I'm just assuming), you can't just put a label on a breed and say they are positively "mean".... especially hotots.  :)


What it all really boils down to is the breeder.  If they are just raising rabbits to to make a buck and are pushing their does to get as many babies as possible... well, when you have zillions of babies, how are you going to make time for them all?  And if making money is your only goal, then temperament just isn't as important.  For me, I don't want to have so many babies that I can't "keep up", and end up with skittish, unfriendly bunnies.   But don't get me wrong... I'm not criticizing big breeders, I would like to expand my rabbitry as time and money permits :), but I think temperament should be one of our first priorities, not put on the "back burner", so to speak.  I've handled rabbits that weren't handled enough before, and it's not pretty.


When bunnies are handled from birth on a daily basis, they are just naturally friendly.  And when they aren't.... you got it.  They are scared!  Because duh, they haven't been handled before so obviously it's going to freak them out!  The more you handle your rabbit, the friendlier it becomes.  Period.  OK, well... maybe there is an exception for some mean rabbit that is just born mean and dies mean... I don't know, because I've never had one.  :) 


Take Mickey, for example.  Anyone from 1 to 100 can handle him.  He's a sweetheart!  He's constantly hanging his head out the cage begging me to scratch his head.  He was a single kit and was handled TONS from the very start.  I can let him run around the yard without worrying about him running off, because I can just walk up to him and pick him up and he is not one bit scared. 


So, know your breeder!  Ask them questions.  Handle their bunnies.  When you hold it, it should be calm and happy (if you're handling it correctly, that is).  This is what I aim for with my bunnies.  Handling them is important, especially because a lot of them go to homes with little kids.  I hand feed my bunnies, play with them, cuddle them, dish out lotsa head scratches, and..... guess what???  The love it.  They are cuddly, sweet, and affectionate.  And I get comments like the one I got today on the phone.  Someone was calling to be put on the waiting list.  A friend of theirs got a bun from me and they said they were so impressed by how it was so "calm" and "laid back".


So in conclusion, don't just put a label on a breed.  Every bun is different, every breeder is different, and when they are being handled daily, it makes a difference! 


Just my humble opinion, thanks for reading.  ;-)


Here's Mickey... "please, just one more head scratch".


Sarah said...

Well said! The sweetness and friendliness is why we were so blown away when we met Maui, but I was seriously impressed to see that all your bunnies are just as sweet! You do an amazing job! I know I keep telling you this, but it's true, and you deserve to be commended for it! Loved this post!

Emily said...

Awww, thanks Sarah! I was hoping it made sense, kind of a thrown together post, my thoughts were all tangled up on that one! Glad I got it across somewhat, though.
I really appreciate your kind words and I'm glad to know that what I strive for is paying off, so thank you so much! :)

Julie said...

I agree completely with you! I love the type of bunnies who will run up to see you and puuuusshhh their head into your hand for attention. It's frustrating dealing with ones that aren't friendly and flinch when you reach toward them. :(

Emily said...

Thanks Julie! I know, I have a rabbit like that (unfriendly) and it's no fun at all. :( Mickey is my favorite, he's almost agressive in wanting attention... LOL! :)

Debbie said...

The lines they're out of is more important then how much they're handled. Don't get me wrong....handling is important! I got does(D.H.) from a less-than-friendly line....both jr.'s. One never did settle down and was so aggressive I was unable to even raise litters out of her. The other took 2 years....this after biting me so severely she went down to the bone. Her kits settled down after weaning...luckly they always got thier daddy's personality. I now have a litter, that due to a crazy life right now, are 3 weeks old and have hardly been handled. They were examined and the nestbox was turned and they are now running around the cage....very curious and friendly. The run right up for attention almost every time.

Emily said...

Thanks for the input. I would agree that lines are important, but tend to think that handling has more of an influence on temperment. In example, some babies of mine out of a buck that was supposedly really mean are totally cuddly and sweet, I've been handling them tons since birth.
While there probably is bunnies that are just more naturally friendly than others, and lines are important, I think handling will make the most difference of anything.

Tamie said...

This post really interests me, as we adopted a 1-year-old hotot mix a few months ago. Daisy is very affectionate and will groom me all day if I let her, nudges our hands for attention and generally loves to be loved on, but she will NOT let us pick her up or hold her - she'll jump down and give a loud THUMP with her foot, then hide for a bit (she is litter trained and has the run of the house). We've stopped trying to pick her up, but we do spend a lot of time loving on her. I wonder if it's possible for her to come around in time, or if this is the way she'll always be?

Emily said...

Hmmm... good question. I can't really say how she'll turn out, but if you can keep trying to hold her, she could definitely turn around. I have heard stories of rabbits who won't let anyone hold them becoming totally cuddly after being faithfully given lots of attention, so I guess I would just keep working on her. :) Sorry, I know that's not much help, but hope that gives you some ideas... :)