This is not so much a request for info as a record of a WTF moment ....
I opened the hutch on Friday to feed my female rabbit (about 1.5 years old, unbred, mutt, very unfriendly but super cute NZ type mutt) and thought immediately there must have been a murder. She was laying outstretched among PILES AND PILES of her own fur. I grabbed a towel and "burritoed" her to check that there was no damage, in a few spaces in her 'underarm" area the skin was bare, but there was no blood. Closer examination showed a svelte, lean rabbit where the day before she was nothing short of rotund. It is the beginning of spring here, we had a week of heat last week (now we are back to cool and rainy spring).
Dr Google tells me that some rabbits will "molt themselves". This was over one night. Her brother, who is in the hutch next door, still is in his winter coat and looking chunky.
I've left all her fur in her hutch, as it's still cold and she also growls if I put my hand in her "bedroom" area. I was thinking it might be a false pregnancy, but her entire body down to her tail is down to summer fur, so I doubt it. And there is no chance whatsoever that she has been bred, although that was my first panicky thought. Unless this rabbit can fly and pick locks.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:Could it be some sort of psychological issue with her? Does she seem stressed at all?
Dr Redhawk, this is the rabbit that growls and tries to attack me when I put the food in her hutch. Psychological issue should probably be her name. I try to just be calm and non-reactive, pet her a little if she lets me, and let her enjoy what she likes- holing up in the little "private area" of her hutch, not making her go out in the run in the grass (she doesn't seem to enjoy it like the other rabbits do, I don't see her jump around or browse the grass, she just obsessively digs these massive holes and then lays in them. I thought the hole digging was good for her, but just getting her from the hutch to the run she gets crazy stressed), giving her toys and some cardboard boxes to rip up every once in a while.
Dale, they seem to be free of mites. A veterinarian friend told me when I got them that a big challenge with raising rabbits here in this area is ear mites (we have several wet months in a row), so I've been extra attentive and they seem to be totally bug free. No untoward scratching or anything. Both of them are mostly white and I haven't seen anything on them.
As for food, they get a pretty varied diet, mostly garden weeds and waste plus kitchen veg scraps and a handful of pellets. I can get two kinds of hay: alfalfa (it's a pretty crummy alfalfa) and Tinton (?). They won't eat the tinton so I use it as straw for their bedding. Occasionally I can go and cut fodder for them, often it's some kind of brachiaria pasture grass, but more often it's "field weeds", lots of dandelion family plants. They also get the oats, sorghum, field peas I grow for them.
I have been giving them sunflowers the past few weeks, that's pretty much the only difference in their normal diet.
This week if it stops raining (maybe thurs) I'll put her out in the run for the day to keep her busy in case she finds the pulling enjoyable.
Vets here don't deal with rabbits, or I'd go and get them both fixed (when I got them I called around to fix just the male, I got one response, $1800 and "we've never done a rabbit so we don't know how he'll do with anesthesia". Figured I'd skip it.)