A question from Hayley I. in Seattle, WA:
Q: I currently own four rabbits, and I have one female named Luna and one male named Oliver who are cage aggressive. Oliver was neutered but it doesn't seem to have helped, Luna is not spayed. They are both five months old and out of the same litter. So, my question is how do I cope with it, how do I change their behavior?
A: Rabbits can be very possessive of their personal space and, of course, they have a right to be. As prey animals, bunnies need to know they have a safe place to escape to when they feel scared or threatened. To encourage confidence in the safety of Oliver and Luna's territory, make it a point to clean their cages only when they've hopped out on their own accord. Never forcibly remove the rabbits from their cages; doing so could weaken their view of their safe places. Don't even reach in the cage when they're inside, even for feedings, at least for a few weeks. You have to give them time to learn that your presence has positive connotations. If they do happen to get a nibble in, yell out a high-pitched "ow!," so they fully understand that this action hurts you. Or wear gardening gloves. Time, patience, space, a calm approach, and understanding can transform a cage aggressive bunny into a easy-going, sweet pet.
Also remember that spaying and neutering reduces territorial aggression. Getting Luna spayed may help greatly, and Oliver may still need time until all of the testosterone has filtered out of his system (it can take 4-6 weeks). The good news is that at five months, they're still very young. This is a good time to alter their aggressive behaviors-- be patient and don't give up!