Personality and Energy Levels:
***Your rabbit will change as it ages. See below for possible reasons of aggression or other common behavior concerns.
- Baby Rabbit 2-6 months: This is a timeframe when you see subtle signs of your bunny’s true nature, but will never truly know what the bunny’s personality will be as an adult. Bunnies enter their “teenage years” where there can be changes in their behavior. As they reach sexual maturity, friendly, happy bunnies may get territorial and frustrated. Some rabbits, especially females may display aggressive behaviors. They may be hyperactive and curious, finding ways to get in trouble all the time. Over time, the behaviors will calm down with age.
- Young Rabbit 6-8 months: Rabbits get used to life and begin to settle into their personality. If they have already been spayed/neutered and are provided with a safe, healthy environment, young rabbits will be happy and energetic bunnies. They will likely try to test boundaries to see how far they can go while exploring new areas. They will likely have a lot of energy, and it is unlikely that they will settle down for long periods of time to be pet. They likely will not like to be held during this stage.
- Adult Rabbit 18 months – 7 years: Your rabbit will calm down a little and settle into their own personality. This is when a rabbit settles down to be part of the family and may trust you more. Adult rabbits will spend time with you more and enjoy being pet for longer periods of time. They will still be very active and require a lot of exercise and toys to play with. They will likely still have chewing and digging habits, but they might not be quite as persistent as they were before.
- Elderly Rabbit 7-10+ years: A rabbit’s average life expectancy is 10-12 years. They may start to be considered elderly at 6-8 years old. However, some larger size rabbits may have shorter life spans making them elderly anywhere from 4-10 years old. Every rabbit slows at their own pace, but in this stage he/she will start slowing down. The rabbit will lose energy as he/she ages and sleep more often. Fur will start to thin and there will eventually be loss of muscle mass which results in difficulty in zooming around and climbing. Some will lose weight while others may gain weight from being less active.
Diet Broken Down by Age:
WHAT QUANTITIES OF FOOD SHOULD I FEED BABIES AND “TEENAGERS”?
- 3 to 4 weeks–mother’s milk, nibbles of alfalfa and pellets
- 4 to 7 weeks–mother’s milk, access to alfalfa and pellets
- 7 weeks to 6 months–unlimited alfalfa based pellets, unlimited hay
- 12 weeks–introduce vegetables (one at a time, quantities under 1/2 oz.)
WHAT QUANTITIES OF FOOD SHOULD I FEED YOUNG ADULTS? (6 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR)
- Introduce timothy hay, grass hay, oat hay, and other hays; decrease alfalfa
- Switch to timothy based pellets and decrease pellets to 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. body weight
- increase daily vegetables gradually; make sure your rabbit can tolerate
- fruit daily ration no more than 1 oz. to 2 oz. per 6 lbs. body weight (because of calories)
WHAT QUANTITIES OF FOOD SHOULD I FEED MATURE ADULTS? (1 TO 5 YEARS)
- Unlimited timothy, grass hay, oat hay
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup timothy based pellets per 6 lbs. body weight (depending on metabolism and/or proportionate to veggies)
- Minimum 2 cups chopped vegetables per 6 lbs. body weight; always introduce vegetables and greens slowly to make sure your rabbit can tolerate
- fruit daily ration no more than 2 oz. (2 Tbs) per 6 lbs. body weight.
WHAT QUANTITIES OF FOOD SHOULD I FEED SENIOR RABBITS? (OVER 6 YEARS)
- If sufficient weight is maintained, continue adult diet
- Frail, older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up. Alfalfa can be given to underweight rabbits, only if calcium levels are normal. Annual blood workups are highly recommended for geriatric rabbits.
- ***Your rabbit will change as it ages. We commonly see rabbits being rehomed because of aggression or urinating all over.
Here’s How You Can Help:
- Spay/Neuter. This is of utmost importance and here’s why:
- Hormones cause havoc and frustration for your rabbit
- Hormones may make your rabbit want to mark territory by spraying urine
- >80% of unspayed females will develop uterine cancer
- Fear. Provide a safe, calm environment for your rabbit if needed. Learn to understand your rabbit’s communication. Provide a hidey hut and respect when your rabbit wants to be in it as a safe spot. Respect that your rabbit may not like to be held. Learn where your rabbit likes and does not like to be touched (never touch the nose).
- Territorial. Some rabbits are territorial of their spaces. Respect this. Provide another space for your rabbit during pen cleaning. Expect that feeding time may cause some lashing out.
- Medical. There may be a health issue and a trip to a rabbit savvy vet is recommended. If there is a sudden change in behavior always see a rabbit savvy vet right away.
1. “Gastrointestinal .” The Bunny Lady, https://bunnylady.com/rabbit-life-stages/.
2. “Baby Rabbits (Domestic).” WabbitWiki, February 9, 2019, http://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Baby_rabbits_(domestic).
3. “Do rabbits really get womb cancer?” Goddard Veterinary Group, www.goddardvetgroup.co.uk/do-rabbits-really-get-womb-cancer.
4. Harriman, Marinell. “Age Related Behavior.” House Rabbit Society, https://rabbit.org/journal/3-3/age-related-behavior.html.
5. Koi, Sandi. “Domestic Baby Bunnies and Their Mom.” House Rabbit Society, https://rabbit.org/care/babies.html.