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Aggression and Genetics

Discussion in 'Behavior and Handling Techniques - Rabbits' started by W.M., Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Nov 14, 2018
    W.M.

    W.M. Exploring the pasture

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    This may seem like a dumb question to most, but I must ask. Can bunny aggression be passed to the young from a parent?

    I noticed some behavior from my Havana doe lately. She's been grunting here and there at me, and last week pawed at my daughter's hands as though she was trying to scratch at her. I've been watching her posture and behavior and kind of get the feeling she's having a confrontational body language. I had to remove her from her cage today to clean her box. She has this "don't come in here" attitude; if that's such a thing. She was raised by another young girl in 4-H. I've had other rabbits in the past, but I never had a Havana before. So, I don't know if this is common with the breed, or if it's just her. She's around 6 to 6 and half months old.

    Any thoughts or opinions of this would be great to hear...read.
     
  2. Nov 15, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    She could be grouchy because she is ready to breed. She might make a grouchy, protective mamma also. That is not a bad thing, as long as she is a good mom.
     
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  3. Nov 15, 2018
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady True BYH Addict

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    ABSOLUTELY a nasty temperament can be inherited. It isn't unusual for a doe to get territorial about her cage as she matures, but if she doesn't get over it, as far as I'm concerned, she has voted herself out of the gene pool. People who breed for meat may be willing to put up with a grumpy animal, but I deal with breeds that mostly become pets. Almost 20 years after the incident, I have a scar on my wrist from the bite of a (male) Netherland Dwarf that was genuinely vicious; I never want to feel responsible for that kind of injury to a child. So, temperament is one of the things I select for. I am understanding about a doe that is protective of her litter, or a "touch me not" when pregnant, but an animal needs to be at least docile at other times for me to use it in my breeding program. I can't guarantee that all of the offspring of friendly rabbits will be as friendly as their parents, but the odds are much better that any particular one will be.

    That said, rabbits have a "pecking order," and you may be exhibiting subordinate behavior without realizing it. To a rabbit, "high" is dominant, "low" is subordinate; if you approach your rabbit from a low angle, she may see that as submissive behavior and think she can tell you to get out of her space! If I see a rabbit standing tall with their head up as I open the cage door, I keep an eye on them because that rabbit may charge at me. If I find their behavior at all questionable, I keep my hands as high as possible in the cage, and approach the rabbit from as high an angle as possible. Only after the rabbit lies down in a submissive pose will I pet it.
     
  4. Nov 15, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    Every species of livestock I've ever been around, docility is a trait that science has shown that "can" be passed down. It's simply the lack of aggression (or aggression is the norm, with a lack of docility......depending how you wish to look at the partial glass of water)
    Many cattle breed EPDs now include a docility factor rating.
    docility.jpg

    Applies to humans as well.
    Some are thin skinned, get upset easy and become aggressive, others have thicker skins and you can't rile them up with a pointy stick.
     
  5. Nov 15, 2018
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady True BYH Addict

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    greybeard likes this.
  6. Nov 15, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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  7. Nov 15, 2018
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady True BYH Addict

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    Right off the top, I can think of two very undesirable genetic traits that are directly linked to one that is considered desirable, one in rabbits, the other in horses.

    In rabbits, a lot of people consider the broken coat pattern to be desirable; in fact, there are several breeds where the broken pattern is a requirement for showing (Rhinelander, Checkered Giant, English Spot, Dwarf Hotot, etc.) But the spotting pattern is almost a byproduct of the action of this gene; it affects the formation of (among other things) the muscles and nerves lining the digestive organs. A study involving Checkered Giants showed a 1-to-1 correlation between animals that had two copies of the Broken pattern gene and a really nasty condition called megacolon. Megacolon causes poor nutrient absorption and periodic episodes of GI stasis, and almost always results in a shortened lifespan.

    In horses, the Appaloosa patterns are usually considered highly desirable (the louder, the better, as far as most people are concerned!) But a few years ago, someone noticed that the same gene that causes the Appy spotting patterns in horses (known as the LP gene) is associated with night blindness in dogs. Out of curiosity, they began checking the vision of horses that 1) had no copies of the Appy spotting gene ; 2) had one copy (leopard or blanket pattern); or 3) had 2 copies of the spotting gene (snowcap or fewspot patterns). All of the snowcaps and fewspots were night blind.
     
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  8. Nov 15, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I never knew that about Apps and I love them. Good thing to know.
     
  9. Nov 15, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    You never rode an app at night?
    My uncle had one we all used to ride and we learned, to have it back at the barn before nightfall or know the way back ourselves.

    I thought their poor night vision was pretty common knowledge, tho until now, I never knew exactly why they had relatively poor night vision.
     
  10. Nov 15, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Yes I did, but I never had a snowcap or few spot leopard App.
     
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