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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Rabbit digging/scratching while waiting in production box...how do you deal? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Rook
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Hi, All!

I've worked with rabbits for the last few years and I have one that is an absolute treat! He is currently certified through Pet Partners as a therapy animal is very gentle, and loves human companionship.

However....

Lately, there's been a development. A few months ago, he began digging, scratching, chewing around in the load compartment of his production box. It's getting hard to convince the audience that the box is empty when the presumably empty box makes noises and moves around on it's own accord. I understand that digging is a natural reaction for rabbits for as many reasons as there are rabbits (e.g., creating a comfortable spot, thinking that a tunnel will look great in one particular location, or just getting bored or frustrated).

I was curious as to whether any of you had dealt with this issue and what has been successful for you?

Many thanks!

-Rook
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl
TrickyRicky
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My guess is the rabbit is trying to dull his teeth. I'll bet that you feed the bunny mostly pellets and pellets are soft food. Try having the bunny eat mostly hay, The hay is hard and rough and it will help dull his front teeth a bit. Also put a chunk of 2x4 wood in his cage and the bunny will chew on the corners.
If his teeth are still long,you can use a small sharp tin snip to cut both top and bottom front teeth.
Tricky Ricky
Rook
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Thanks, Ricky!

Yes, his diet consists of both free-feed pellet and hay. He like to chew on (and toss around) pine cones, but I did recently put in a block of wood for chewing. It isn't the chewing so much in the load container, but the scratching and digging. I read that it's a normal behavior, though perhaps I should take a look at his nails...you remind me that he might be trying to wear them down as well.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl
drmolarmagic
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Rook,
I think like all performers he just wants more stage time! Maybe top billing with you......
I've always saved that one special type of treat JUST for when the rabbit is in the box, she looks forward to it and is busy until the grand production
magicusb
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Dear drmolarmagic
What is that one special treat?
Thanks
Dorothy Dietrich
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Rook
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Quote:
On Oct 19, 2017, drmolarmagic wrote:
Rook,
I think like all performers he just wants more stage time! Maybe top billing with you......
I've always saved that one special type of treat JUST for when the rabbit is in the box, she looks forward to it and is busy until the grand production


LOL, But he's already the star! People line up after the show to see him...I'm just the guy who holds him.

On a more serious note along the lines of your good advice, I've since begun a reinforcement process of providing him treats (he likes oats) while quietly hanging out in the box. It seems to be working.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl
drmolarmagic
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Quote:
On Oct 19, 2017, magicusb wrote:
Dear drmolarmagic
What is that one special treat?
Thanks
Dorothy Dietrich

for my bunny its the yogurt drops I think they're made by Kaytee, at Petco, Petsmart or Petland
Bruce
Rook
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I've been training Dust Bunny with an oat per behavior as a reinforcer, but something that might take him a bit more time to consume (thus keep him busy) would be valuable. I'll have to look into the yogurt drops!
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl
Bill Hegbli
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An animal is likely to develop all kinds of conditions and illnesses just like humans. Who knows what the little guy has developed or gotten into. As you are an experienced rabbit owner, but not a Veterinarian, it would be a good time to take the little guy to a Vet. and know for sure. Rabbits can carry all kids of diseases and if you have the rabbit around children, you are setting yourself up for a lot legal action. If it continues, and you do not want to see a Vet., then get ride of the animal and get a new one. At the very least, get advice from a good Pet Store, or buy a book on care and feeding of rabbits. A magician forum is not the place to get animal care advice.
Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Rook
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Quote:
On Nov 11, 2017, Bill Hegbli wrote:
it would be a good time to take the little guy to a Vet.


Indeed! He was recently in and has a clean bill of health!

Quote:
Rabbits can carry all kids of diseases and if you have the rabbit around children, you are setting yourself up for a lot legal action.


I can only agree. He's also a therapy rabbit who makes regular visits to senior centers, schools, the University and its psychology clinic, which emphasizes the need for regular health evaluations.

Quote:
buy a book on care and feeding of rabbits.


Can't help but have a bunch of those, also...my wife breeds rabbits for show and we have to keep on top of the herd's health.

Quote:
A magician forum is not the place to get animal care advice.


I agree on that point as well. I didn't mean to give the impression that I was asking for animal care advice, but rather if anyone else here had the same issue of this rabbit behavior in "load" and whether any of you found a fix for that (e.g., limiting time in the box to X minutes, creative use of sound equipment to mask the noise, or some helpful hint that I hadn't considered).

Given that my day job is at a University that puts me in contact with veterinarians quite frequently (we have the only vet program in the state), I generally go to them or my own vet for care questions.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl
Bill Hegbli
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Thank you for your justification for my comments. They were not meant to be harsh or demeaning to you, but as food for thought for something you have not though of, as I don't know anything about you and your experience of what to do next with your concern of the animal.

You can talk to 10 vets and teachers and get 10 different answers. That is do to the difference experiences with person.

There is time that asking need to stop, and take the little guy in for an through examination. Being you have a school available, then they will most likely do it for free, for a learning experience and the students. I would suggest you also take the chew wood, you gave the animal, as this needs to be tested as well, and the food.

If you did not buy the food and wood at a pet store, it is not necessarily safe for the rabbit. They also need a hard wood, not a soft wood.

This is all offered as things to consider, not that you are using or doing anything wrong, as I said, I don't know as I am not at your house.
Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Dougini
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My (short) experience with live animals really was a learning experience. After pulling my bunny from the hat, peeing all over, I decided to go the puppet route. They make pretty good spring rabbits today:

https://i.pinimg.com/564x/9f/0c/8a/9f0c8......30ae.jpg

Doug
drmolarmagic
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So I've started working with a new bunny and even after all the training and precautions, my little fluff ball was nervous enough to pee just before production. I picked up the bucket and it was dripping!. You just keep going and clean it up afterwards. I'm sure she'll get the hang of it after some more rehearsal time....I love working with animals.
magicusb
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Where this is a problem with a rabbit put custom cut paper towels in the bottom of the prop. That way it looks better to the audience when it appears, and also more comfortable for the rabbit should it error early, so it is not sitting in a pool of mess. Also if it persists you might drill holes in the bottom and place the bucket on a table, before and after, with a towel or towels on it.
Houdini Museum
Check out http://HoudiniOpoly.com or...
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1726279887/houdini-opoly-fun-exciting-legend-and-magic-hero-b/

Houdini Museum Tour & Magic Show.
Only building in the world dedicated to Houdini.
http://Houdini.org
http://HoudiniDisplays.com
http://PsychicTheater.com
Scranton, Pa (570) 342-5555
"The truth shall make you free, but first it will make you angry." -Robert Ingersoll-Atheist (on the mind of Houdini when he died.)

We are thrilled we were able to bring The Grim Game to the world! Thanks TCM.
Rook
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I went to the Magic Cafe and all I got were these lousy
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While I haven't had the problem of Dust Bunny eliminating in the prop, the paper towel idea (or perhaps puppy training pads?) seem like a good solution. I usually place a dark colored hand towel in the prop with him because it makes the floor more comfortable and he enjoys playing with it, but it would make absorption material for any accidents.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl
paulalpha
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I have never worked with animals but some magicians who do put their animal into the production box just before the rabbit is made to appear. Plus the rabbit appears early in the show, so the rabbit spends as little time as possible in the production box.

How long is the rabbit in your production box? Is he kept there throughout the entire performance?
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