Sunday, 19 July 2015

Chewing - A Problem?

Why Bunnies Chew?
  • Chewing is part of a bunny's nature, and to bunnies, it is a rather enjoyable pastime. 
  • The practical benefit: a bunny's teeth do not stop growing, so they are worn down by everyday chewing and munching. 

The Right Attitude
From a human's point of view, chewing is often considered to be "bad" behaviour because household items are often targeted for chewing purposes. Common objects include:
  • wires
  • legs of wooden furniture
  • remote control buttons
  • books placed on accessible shelves

We must understand that our bunnies don't know it's our treasured possessions they unknowingly damaged. They are innocent.

DO NOT hit, scold or punish your bunny in any way.

The Common Mistake: Chewing "Rewarded"
When we're engrossed in activities like watching TV, a graceful hop up the bookshelf or consistent gnawing on the wooden chair legs will no doubt attract our attention.

In order to somewhat stop this behaviour and resume our activity, we give our bunnies a treat or an extra piece of vegetable. After eating, they usually become satisfied and will go about with their usual grooming or resting business.

Now, here is what the bunny learns from our actions: "Ohh, by chewing, I get something yummy."

The chewing behaviour is unconsciously reinforced!

How to Prevent
1. Provide hay at all times.
  • When your bunny finishes the given amount, do not hesitate to offer more. The bunny can munch on the hay to satisfy his/her chewing urge.

2. Chew wood
  • These can be bought from a pet shop.

3. Bunny-proofing your home
  • You can use baby gates to fence off your study, for example, where the books are kept.
  • Wires can be encased in plastic tubing. Slit the length of the tubing to wrap the wire inside. 

First published on 07/08/2011

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