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A bonding question...

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A bonding question... Empty A bonding question...

Post by JessAndBenji on Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:01 pm

Hi all. I haven’t properly introduced myself yet but I’m Jess and I have a little Lionhead buck called Benji. He’s a spoiled boy who pretty much runs our household. He’s a house bunny who free roams and orders us around Laughing

Anyway, we work long hours so my partner and I thought it would be nice to get him a friend. He’s fully neutered so off we go to the rescue and bring home a gorgeous Lionlop doe for him. The rescue did warn us that she can be quite dominant plus the fact she is possibly partially sighted/hearing issues (she’s had a clean bill of health from the vet though) so that can make her very dominant. We thought that might be good as they said she’d need a confident bunny friend (which Benji definitely is).

Fast forward 3 days later and things aren’t so great. They’d been side by side without a fuss (other than when we got it wrong and let him free roam, he got very territorial over ‘his space’ as the pens are in the front room where his base is), they were flopping with the barrier between, happily munching their hay alongside each other in their respective pens, we were swapping them between pens each day etc so we thought let’s go for it and put them together in a very small space.

Within minutes hair was flying and they were really going for it so we had to split them.

Rang the rescue and she said she is going to bond them for us. She mentioned some stress bonding techniques and just wondered what the general thoughts on these are? She said about putting them in a carrier on a long drive. She also said she’ll try them in a controlled and monitored small space and not separate so sode by side etc as it can make dominant bunnies worse to have them alongside each other. The bunny that Luna (the doe) was bonded to before she said she basically let them ‘have it out’ in a closely supervised manner for 48hrs and then they were ok. She’s having them next week for a week to bond and just wondered what people think of her approach? Are they likely to work it out this way? She seems lovely and very knowledgeable, and don’t get me wrong the bunnies at her rescue were extremely well cared for, but I don’t want to pay to send them off and they come back stress bonded which I’ve read is generally a weaker bond, to go into what was ‘his space’ and fight. Is this likely to happen or has she got the right idea for two dominant bunnies and making it happen? She’s also said leave them side by side til next week but no free range time in front of each other cause this will wind them up? But won’t they be stressed without it? They are both in fairly big runs.

Sorry for the massive post, just finding this all very stressful and don’t have much experience on it so worried about both bunnies. Thoughts on all of this would be greatly appreciated and look forward to getting to know you all Smile

JessAndBenji
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Post by woodwench on Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:40 pm

http://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-care-advice/bonding-rabbits/

Click on this link and see what the Rabbit Welfare Association recommends when pair bonding.

It can be a long and often despairing process for owners. Rabbits are like humans when bonding is concerned. Your rabbit may not fancy the bun you think they should and getting them to change their minds can take time.
Your rescue lady sounds very old fashioned and her methods are not what I would recommend. I would definitely not put them in a carrier and take them for a drive. That can make them resent the carrier and cause issues when visiting the vet. Travel can be stressful at the best of times but what it must be like when confined with somebun you have been fighting with must be awful. And "letting them have it out" is dreadful. Rabbits will inflict some pretty awful wounds on each other and that means infections, maybe abscesses ... A very silly thing to do.

Check the RWAF link.
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Post by gemma997 on Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:22 pm

Bonding is stressful not only for the rabbits but for humans too.

Some are easy some take time and other rabbits just are not wanting a bunny friend.
I am currently bonding my fifth pair and I have had the lot. Even having to return a rabbit due to suitability( she has now been rehomed on her own).

I use an empty ball pit with another smaller pen inside, the pen is made up of four sides of a dog pen clipped together. I use the ball pit to mask their sight so they dont know where they are. I spray the pen with pet remedy to mask they sent of where they are.
Some fur may fly as long as they arent pulling it out by the skin. Use a spray bottle with water when the scuff starts spray them on the nose it is should kick them into grooming themselves. Try not to seperate until they are settled and grooming, this is to stop them associating the fight with each other.
You could use a garden glove and your hand to seperate if the water doesnt work but dont lift them out just push them apart being careful they dont have a hold of each other by the skin as this could obviously cause damage, dont want them to switch the object of aggression the aim is to distract them to settle.

Keep swapping the cages that will break down the territorial aspect.
Once they are ready to go in the same pen I would make changes to that pen, possible putting new carpet in changing things about make it so it not his pen anymore.

I would not recommend a stress bond.

The bonding sessions should be every day making it a little longer each time. They will not be ready to roam free or share a pen until there is mutual grooming and you are a long way from that. Even when they get to that stage gradually extend the space they have. So when they are sharing a pen limit them to that room and then gradually build up the rooms they have access to.

Your issue is you have two dominant bunnies and they are not willing to give it up so will take a time to get a bond.


How long have you had benji? Is she neutured?

What rescue did Luna come from?

As woodwench said rwaf is good to get hints.

Good luck

Gemma xx
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Post by jolovesbunnies on Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:40 pm

Good luck hunni.

Hugs Jo xx

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