Oh no... Bunny hit Puberty!

Oh, the past few weeks have been bliss with your new baby bunny. He or she has been using the litter box perfectly. You're making fast friends and even cuddle pretty frequently. Things are going great.

Then one day your little angel is a bad boy with tattoos, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and revving his bunny Harley all over the front yard.

Your baby just hit puberty.

Boys/Bucks

Many bucks will go into puberty as soon as their testicles descend around 10 weeks of age. This sounds incredibly young, and it really is. At this point, you may see mounting behavior on favorite toys or even on you. When Zane hit puberty he mounted everything and anyone in sight as much as he possibly could muster the energy for. Thankfully this behavior stopped almost immediately after his being neutered. Urine spraying down your walls is likely to happen unless you have urine guards around your cage. Your once-clean rabbit will suddenly be kicking poop pellets everywhere. It's even possible that you'll sustain a few bites. This is when your rabbit most likely to get a bad case of guarding their cage from you.

Neutering is an option and likely your best one if you intend to keep the rabbit as a pet. It's a quick procedure and within a few weeks, your rabbit will have calmed down to the docile pet it once was. If you want to breed or you can't find a veterinarian within comfortable driving distance that is willing to perform the surgery, it will take 2-3 months for your male rabbit to calm down. With this new rush of testosterone, he'll want to flex his little rabbity muscles. Let him, but never let him think you're afraid of him. Continue to handle him as you did before he decided he was The Man.

Girls/Does

Does are a little less wild about puberty than bucks. It's more common for does to get nippy at around 12 weeks of age when they enter puberty, give or take a week. Miniatures may be closer to 14 weeks. They can spray urine, too, so make sure your ladies have urine guards for indoor enclosures as well!

The biggest changes in most does are the desperate desire to nest, the desire to breed, and a sudden skittish attitude that may be overwhelming. In fact, you may have to start at the beginning and gain your rabbit's trust all over again. Allowing them to have a quiet, dark place to hide with plenty of bedding material may help some rabbits cope through this time.

Spaying is also an option but a good deal more invasive than neutering. Speak to your veterinarian about your options.

The Potential Complication of Adrenal Disease

Adrenal glands produce small amounts of gender-specific sex hormones even if the rabbit is neutered. If your altered rabbit is still acting "buck-ish" or as if she wants to mate 6 weeks after altering, have their hormone levels checked at your vet. It's a very simple blood draw test and shouldn't hurt your rabbit. Lupron is the most common prescription if the rabbit's hormones are still too high after it has been altered.

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