My rabbit doesn't fit the pipe?

My rabbit doesn't fit the pipe?

We have heard this a lot! Sometimes it is the instant reaction of unwrapping a 5 inch aperture door and a 6 inch diameter pipe. Then the rabbits bunch themselves up importantly looking rather plump and ignore it when first presented.

Some of our customers are shocked the pipe doesn't go through the centre of the door, or that the 8-inch diameter pipe fits to a 6-inch diameter aperture door. However, all these designs have been tested and found to work.

Sometimes I receive phone calls from customers asking to exchange 6-inch for 8-inch pipe. Over the years I have found many of these issues can be quickly resolved by asking a few simple questions.

The first thing I ask is "have you connected it?'. If the pipe is loose in the run or house and the rabbit is ignoring it, it is not that unusual.

Then I ask "has the bunny got a friend to encourage them or is he/she alone?" Some single rabbits are going to be cautious whilst having two can help to encourage quicker exploration. 

The next question is "have the rabbits been put either side of the connection so they can relate it to it going somewhere?" This change in perspective often helps bunnies get their bearings and they confidently start using the pipe!

My next suggestion is pop some herbs inside to encourage them. They may just pop their heads in and out and eat them, but it is a good start.

Don't worry if your rabbit goes through to the centre and then backs out again. They like to this to check what they can do, as sometimes reversing is necessary!

The final and best suggestion I can give - leave them to it with TIME. They are more likely to try it when you are not watching and probably at night. Leave the opening available to them and see what happens. They enjoy new routes, you are offering a new private tunnel (as in a warren) but they don't know where it goes yet. Once bunnies realise this is just an extension of their home, they begin using the connection regularly. 

I think our champion reluctant rabbit took three months to venture through. The customer was on the verge of swapping for a more open mesh tunnel when, bingo, one day the bunny was joyfully running back and forth without pause. To conclude I have provided some thoughts from one owner who recently had this issue for a short while.

"Poppy is bigger and was immediately comfortable with using the new cat flap and getting to the cat flap mesh box. I introduced them to both ends of the pipe. I did try to make it a small area by blocking the corner with their carrier to encourage them to explore but that didn’t work. 
Poppy tried the pipe a day or two after Benny. She succeeded in getting through the 12ft but She got half way down the 27 ft pipe and reversed back again. 
It’s been 10 days now and she seems to be growing in confidence. I think some herbs and pellets helped too!
It’s such a joy to have them in and out as they please. Benny spends a lot of time outside whereas Poppy likes to come back in for her sleeps. "
Cath Berry 

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