(Close Window)
Topic: Rabbit digging/scratching while waiting in production box...how do you deal?
Message: Posted by: Rook (Jun 4, 2017 01:06AM)
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
Message: Posted by: TrickyRicky (Jun 10, 2017 11:28PM)
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
Message: Posted by: Rook (Jun 11, 2017 02:04AM)
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.
Message: Posted by: drmolarmagic (Oct 19, 2017 07:53AM)
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
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Oct 19, 2017 08:57AM)
Dear drmolarmagic
What is that one special treat?
Thanks
Dorothy Dietrich
Message: Posted by: Rook (Oct 19, 2017 11:34AM)
[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 [/quote]

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.
Message: Posted by: drmolarmagic (Oct 23, 2017 02:21PM)
[quote]On Oct 19, 2017, magicusb wrote:
Dear drmolarmagic
What is that one special treat?
Thanks
Dorothy Dietrich [/quote]
for my bunny its the yogurt drops I think they're made by Kaytee, at Petco, Petsmart or Petland
Bruce
Message: Posted by: Rook (Oct 23, 2017 03:07PM)
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!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Nov 11, 2017 10:54AM)
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.
Message: Posted by: Rook (Nov 12, 2017 10:14PM)
[quote]On Nov 11, 2017, Bill Hegbli wrote:
it would be a good time to take the little guy to a Vet. [/quote]

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.[/quote]

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. [/quote]

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. [/quote]

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.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 16, 2018 11:01PM)
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.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Jan 19, 2018 09:45AM)
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/9f0c8a2640453ad75eabe07064ae30ae.jpg

Doug
Message: Posted by: drmolarmagic (Jan 31, 2018 11:52AM)
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.
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Jan 31, 2018 12:18PM)
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
Message: Posted by: Rook (Jan 31, 2018 12:31PM)
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.
Message: Posted by: paulalpha (May 2, 2018 12:57AM)
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?
Message: Posted by: drmolarmagic (Jun 14, 2018 11:16AM)
So Kara (the bunny) is in her bucket for production about 3 min. She is loaded in (a yogurt treat is waiting there) and the bucket gets carried on stage, then the music starts and the silk productions etc. followed by the stuffed bunny which is placed in the "empty" bucket and a second later Kara comes out jumping into my arms to screams of joy from the audience. Then she gets a kiss on the head and back to the carrier off stage. (then 2 more yogurt treats)
I agree you can't leave them in the load chamber too long as it gets hot.
I've just finished a mailbox production for the rabbit, and built in a mesh back wall for ventilation. Next comes a surplus laptop fan to cool the whole prop. Still don't want her in there more than a few minutes but this keeps the prop cool in the hot auditoriums.
Kara is also working with me and hopefully will be coming to my busking shows. She needs to get out more, on her leash.
Message: Posted by: TrickyRicky (Sep 26, 2018 08:32PM)
Hi Rook.
I came across this old post about your bunny scratching inside the production box. One of the reason for this type of behavior is, her nails need trimming and she's using the hard surface to try and dull her nails.
Pet shops sells nail scissors for animals, they are for small animals. I use it to trim mu bunny (lady Gaga) nails. Try this out and let me know how it is.
Tricky Ricky
Message: Posted by: Rook (Sep 28, 2018 11:37PM)
Thanks, Ricky! Yep we trim his nails regularly. It's been some time of tryin different things with him and, while he's a delightful and calm bunny, he simply doesn't like being in the box. I've since trained another rabbit who considers the box a second home, and has given no problems whatsoever.
Message: Posted by: TrickyRicky (Oct 20, 2018 05:41AM)
A friend of mine made me a medium size Drawer Box from plastic material using a 3D Printer which is very light.
The bunny would start scratch the moment I put her inside. I discover that the plastic is hard and slippery and she's trying to get a comfortable grip. I place a thin piece of Balsa wood on the surface and that stopped the scratching.
If you can't locate any Balsa, a thin sheet of ply-wood will do. I also pad the surface with that stick on sheet of felt material you find in the Craft store.
Tricky Ricky
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 29, 2018 12:16PM)
I agree with Tricky Ricky. Put something inside the box along the wood walls to see if it will help your bunny stop scratching the wood walls. Maybe plexiglass or a thin sheet of metal. If nothing stops the your bunny from scratching the box making the noise, maybe a foam material along the walls will eliminate the noise.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 29, 2018 12:57PM)
[quote]On Jan 31, 2018, drmolarmagic wrote:
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. [/quote]

I started this thread because of your issue: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=677690&forum=13
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 16, 2019 12:09AM)
[quote]On Oct 19, 2017, Rook wrote:

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

[/quote]

Rook just a comment off the subject, if you are sitting holding the rabbit in your lap while children are touching him, youíre asking for problems; I always without fail pick a mom from the audience and have her place a towel on her lap and hand her the rabbit to place on her lap....

In todays climate having a young child moving a hand anywhere near your crotch is a dangerous decision and a good way to have your promo picture posted on Meganís List
Message: Posted by: Rook (Oct 9, 2019 01:10AM)
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, Howie Diddot wrote:
[quote]On Oct 19, 2017, Rook wrote:

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

[/quote]

Rook just a comment off the subject, if you are sitting holding the rabbit in your lap while children are touching him, youíre asking for problems; I always without fail pick a mom from the audience and have her place a towel on her lap and hand her the rabbit to place on her lap....

In todays climate having a young child moving a hand anywhere near your crotch is a dangerous decision and a good way to have your promo picture posted on Meganís List [/quote]

I agree wholeheartedly, and my comment may have given the wrong impression. At the end of the show, those who wish to visit with him come up to the table, as his production box doubles as a carrier these days and the front remains open as he sits there happily being pet.

On a side note, the rabbit I've written about earlier has since retired from the magic scene and I've been working for Somme while now with his understudy in my shows. I had been training him to be reinforced in the box since he was a kit and he seems to consider it his happy place.