Bonding Help please!

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Bonding Help please!

Post by Liv75 on Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:13 pm

Hello

I am new to the forum and hoping someone can help me!

We had a pair of female bunnies who are 3, sadly one of them had a stroke in Autumn last year and passed away. Remaining bunny (Nibbles - spayed) was lonely, we gave her time to grieve and then got a rescue rabbit (male called Dexter - neutered) of same age. I have put them together a few times, under close supervision, they have chased, and Nibbles has looked very unhappy and sat low in the corner, but I know I need to persevere so I have, its not been fantastic, a bit of chasing then some mutual ignoring, until this week when Dexter really went for her and drew blood by biting her ears! Sad

Is there anyone who can help me with bonding? Nibbles looks lonely but this introduction is not going well, I don't want to send the rescue bunny back as he's had a rough enough time already being abandoned, but it seems unfair to have two solitary bunnies.

Any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you x

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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by iiisecondcreep on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:07 pm

Welcome to Happy Hoppers Smile

Sorry I don't have any advice, could you ask the rescue you got Dexter from if they could help?

I am sure someone with first hand experience/advice will be along soon

I hope you are able to sort things out for Nibbles and Dexter soon!
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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:14 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum. Wave

I am going to ask a load of questions (and probably answer myself).

What is their set up when they are not together? A good idea is to have them so they can see each other and sniffeach other but not s they can get their noses through wire. A protruding nose is just asking for a nip. Change litter trays over daily so they get used to each others smell.

Where do you put them together? Neutral ground is a must. Sometimes actually taking them to a friends house is ideal as that is completely neutral.

How much space are you giving them when together? Sometimes less is more initially.

How much time to you give them together?

Apart from nibbles making herself small what other body language do you notice?

I am sure I will think of more questions in a bit.


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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by Liv75 on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:33 pm

Hi, Thanks for replying.

They are in separate hutches at night, one outdoors, one in the garage as not as sturdy a hutch, but out in adjacent runs in the day time (have to shut in hutch at night due to badgers/foxes in the garden) so they can see each other most of the time.

When together it has been in a cardboard box, neutral territory, with hay etc, approx 18 inches square as I was told to keep the space very small. On a good day its been half an hour together with me watching constantly, on the fight day it was about 3 minutes and I had to separate.

Nibbles squeaks/grunts too when he goes at her, she also looks like she's closing her eyes. He tries to mate her and chases, but only once has he attacked. I'm nervous to try it again, I'll hold my hands up and say I'm not an experienced owner, I never expected to lose the other bunny so young, nature can be cruel and I found it quite upsetting, which is why I really want this to work.

I was told to put them in a small pet carrier and drive in the car with them as the fear will make them seek comfort from each other, I'm loathed to try this in case they fight and I can't watch and separate quickly enough, seems a bit barbaric!

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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by cheryl'n'bruce'flo on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:50 pm

If possible try and get them next to each other 24/7. Don't attempt to put them together until they completely loose interest in each other through the bars. What you are looking for is for them to be completely indifferent to each other. If tiny space is not working for together time then give more space but put in boxes with holes in that is just about bun sized. This way the less dominant bun can take cover and control the access the dominant bun has to them.

Mounting is good and at this stage is about dominance not mating.

The drive technique is not considered to be so good these days. Time and persevereance is the best way. If some strange man just moved in with you and ate your food and peed in your bed you would not react well. Neither would you be at your best if you were suddenly forced to move into a house where someone else is already living and never really asked for you to come. But in either circumstance you would adapt. It is the same for rabbits.

But don't lose hope. My pair fought incessantly to start with and blood was drawn, but they have lived happily together for more than 6 years now.


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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by bunny boy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:06 am

Hello & Welcome, I can't give any advice, as I'm a new bunny owner, but I do send lots of hugs for you, bunny nose rubs for your buns .
Love Judy
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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by c.bolduan on Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:10 am

Hello, welcome to the forum:wave:
Regarding bonding attempts for the bunnies Cheryl has given good advice. I agree with iiisecondcreep. If the bunny came from a rescue they might be able to help. Got a hunbun for one of my boys about ten days ago and we bonded them at the rescue as I had no spare rabbit unused territorial in my house. Worked well and they adore each other. Don't just take them in the car for a drive please. They will be stressed already. No more disturbance needed. Patience is a big factor when bonding. Sending vibes for the buns and you.

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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by Sixer on Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:10 pm

Hello and welcome Wave

Bonding bunnies can be a very stressful exercise - sometimes these buns don't know what is good for them.

Cheryl has given excellent advice. My theory in the past - and this has worked - has been that as long as there is no locked on fighting to leave the bunnies together. The reason behind this is that constantly separating and re-introducing means that the bunnies are going back to square one every time.

However I now realise that different methods are sometimes more appropriate. I am more flexible in approach as this' put them together and leave them together' will not work for my daughter's bunnies Bobbin and Hollie. We are taking the much much slower approach with them now.

Whereabouts do you live? If you are struggling sometimes a local rescue will carry out bonding for you for a donation if the rescue that Dexter came from are not able to help.
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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by jolovesbunnies on Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:23 pm

A very warm welcome hun.

Hugs
Jo xx

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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by KatieB on Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:26 pm

Hi hun

Welcome to HH. Cheryl has given you some very good advice.

I would see if the rescue that Dexter came from would be willing to do some bonding for you if not.

1. pop them side by side as often as possible.
2. Try cross scenting... so swap their accommodations over. Give them a clean out and then put them in each others hutch.
Once they are completely un-bothered with each other start with back to basics.

Pop them in the bath tub (empty and dry of course)... this will be completely neutral with no scents, and small enough that neither one can claim an area for their own.

Arm yourself with a squirty water bottle and a pair of oven gloves in case they fight. Mounting is ok, as its just them getting dominant.

Once they start becoming more comfortable with each other, add some hay to nibble on.

Once they feel comfortable with each other, move them out of the bath and into the bathroom, which gives them a little more space....

Only when you have witnessed grooming should you leave them alone together.

I agree with Sixer that really you should set aside a whole weekend to do this, stopping and starting might just confuse things...

Don't let them do each other any real damage minor Scuffles are ok but nothing that draws blood.

Whereabouts are you.... Im wondering if there are any rescues near you.... thats what id do !


Katie, Daisy B, Charlie & Annabelle x
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Re: Bonding Help please!

Post by Thumper2001 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:49 pm

Nothing to add but wanted to say hello and welcome Wave
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