BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Fighting bunnies!
Last Post by Gravehearted at 9/13/2006 11:32 PM (21 Replies)
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User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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7/09/2006 3:12 AM

Hi

My bunnies (about 14 weeks) have started scrapping this morning!  I read that this could happen with two females when they reach sexual maturity, but isn't it a little early?  How old do they have to be before they can ne neutered??  Will this stop the problem or have they fell out for good?

They seem to approach each other and start sniffing the others bottom and just go round and round until they start fighting..  then other times they lie together licking each other!! i don't get it.

I have seperated them while we are not around to supervise, but i don't want them to stay apart forever.  We can tell when they are going to start, as Mable starts to sniff BooBoo and then it all kicks off..

Can someone help please or is this the end of a beautiful relationship?

I am ringing the vets in the morning to get advise.

I am not sure in this situation as we've only ever had single bunnies before.


User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
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7/09/2006 6:22 PM
Actually, they are reaching sexual maturity right on schedule.  3-4 months.  Though many times vets wait six months to spay them.

Same sexed rabbits can be more of a challenge.  Are they sisters? But ultimately, it comes down to dominance.  One of the females will have to accept being passive otherwise, if they both are dominant, this will be extra hard.


For now, keep them separated until after they have surgery.   They may be fighting over a resting spot, food or a certain area, because their hormones are saying how important it is for each one to have the best hiding space, best eating area, etc,  to insure survival of their future unborn offspring.   Of course, they don't know that they won't be having babies, but their new hormones don't know that, and now that they are reaching  baby bearing age, they will fight for dominance, and if they both insist on being dominant, they can get into a very very nasty fight.   So that is why you will need to avoid that from happening, or at least from happening again, if it was bad.

They can  still be near each other, but be sure they can't bite each other through a cage or fence.

Once they have both been spayed, then it will take about a month for their hormones to die down.  After that, you would still have to put them through a bonding process to help them adjust to living together.     

Spaying definitely helps with the instincts that cause them to be aggressive over territory, but it won't make them get along instantly.     But it will at least make it more likely to be successful with bonding.   Check out the bonding section tips on this site, and feel free to come back and ask any questions about how to bond.

Do you know how to find a rabbit savvy vet who  knows how to spay a rabbit - much more complicated than cats and dogs,  so they need to know what they are doing with rabbits.   If not I can offer you some links etc, that will help you.

User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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7/10/2006 10:06 AM

i have a vet who is great (he was on the ball with my last rabbit) and he has said that they will need to be spayed, on the same day.  I have an appointment to take them (seperately) to see him so he can check them both and advise when it can be done. 

We bought them as Sisters, although they don't look alike much.

It seems that Mable (the smallest when we got them) seems to start it all by constantly trying to get Booboo to lick her, or sniffing Booboo's bum, this just seems to annoy Booboo and a fight breaks out.  When they are out together its when they both go into their cage/pootray/boredom box that the tension rises, could this be to do with nesting??  I think its also a dominance thing, will the op help with this?

They are extremely licky at the moment, and if they are not licking each other they are grooming themselves.  We are keeping them seperate most of the time as we don't want them to get into the habbit of fighting, and hopefully we can have them 'done' soon.

Will keeping them seperate most of the time affect keeping them together after the op?? I though getting sisters would make them living together easier?  I hope this isn't the end of a beautiful ralationship as they really loved each other before.

 


User is Offline BB
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7/11/2006 7:25 PM

I am happy to hear you have a rabbit savvy vet.  What a relief that is for you.

Mable is showing dominant behavior.  A request for grooming is a dominant move.  Sniffing the behind is a threat of humping - a dominant move. So Mable is showing BooBoo that she wants to be boss.  And that would be fine if BooBoo obliged, but she doesn't sound like she is going to accept Mable as the top bun.  At least for now, and right now, her hormones may not allow her to be passive.    Sisters or not, they can fight for the alpha position.

I think the reason they are fighting in certain areas does have to do with  a nesting instinct.  Meaning, females will fight for the prime safe spots that they feel will give their future babies the best chance of survival. (and this is all due to their new grown-up hormones)   So the same spot that they both shared as kits, now becomes a "THE" spot to compete for for their own kits survival.

Regarding if surgery helps this: Once they get spayed it will make their territorial instincts less strong.   Will they still fight?  Maybe, maybe not.  There is no way to tell that at this time.  Because the bottom line with bunnies comes down to who will be dominant, and who will be passive.  

For now, if they don't fight in certain areas, you can supervise that and encourage friendly behavior, but if they are fighting over their cage, litterbox etc, then you'll need to keep them in separate areas until they have surgery.    Yes, it will affect them to be separated, but if you keep them together and they are fighting, that will do more damage than if they are separated.

So for now, give them their own areas, but if they don't fight in other areas, like running around, then again be sure to encourage this and allow their friendship to continue there.   You may need to block off access back to their own caged areas, to prevent one from going into the others and fighting.


User is Offline Heather Herbert
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7/18/2006 6:50 AM
I had an unspayed female and got a rescue thinking it was a male. It was a female and boy did she spray everything! I had her spayed and kept then in separate cages for almost six months! but they became great friends. It was just so hard having different times to let them out and constant watch over them together for a while. Then, one day it clicked Be patient.

User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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7/18/2006 9:11 AM

thanks for your words of encouragement! for a while i thought i was the only 'crazy' person to have inflicted this on myself.    i can imagine it will be hard at times but they are SO worth it, cheeky monkey's!!!


User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
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7/18/2006 9:55 PM

Welcome Artwench00.   Now you're entered into the drawing for the bunny goodies for posting in the forum!  Good luck!

Great advice!  Patience is the biggest thing.   It can be tiring and frustrating.

So do you have two female rabbits now or ??

Also, out of curiosity, did the spraying get better after she was spayed? 


User is Offline BB
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7/18/2006 10:04 PM

Bunnybabe  -  Oh, no you are not the only one!  There's a whole C.P.W.I.B.T.T club  or "Crazy People Who Have Inflicted Bonding Troubles on Themselves" Club.

In the past, I have been brought to TOTAL frustration  - full mayhem and chaos - boohoos and all.

I keep trying to add to the "bonding journal" to show the process I've been through, but we are having some tech difficulties with that section, but we're working on it and more journals will be added.  That way you can see firsthand other "crazy people" doing the bonding thing. 

Hey, you can even join in.  Do a bonding journal of your own if you'd like, and I'll add it in.


User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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7/19/2006 7:20 AM

Hey BinkyBunny I've just had a look at the 'bonding journal' and laughed my head off, cause thats exactly what we saw happening before Mable and Booboo turned into the bunnies from hell! (at least i can laugh about it now-these last few weeks i've been freaking out)

Your journal is so good, and I will be attempting to re-bond my two when they have 'spent the day with Craigeeeey' which is code for 'going to the vets to be spayed'!  they seem to think its a treat when i tell them that although i'm not sure how the vet feels about being called 'Craigeeey'!!!

Have you had lessons in how to take professional photos because i know that mine NEVER come out like that, thy're either blurred or out of focus or don't actually include said bunnies.... i suppose practice makes perfect tho and i could have a go at a journal...

We are not letting mable and booboo out together much at the moment, but they take it in turns having freedom, so they can still see and smell each other.  Hopefully Craigeeey (my vet) can 'do' them shortly as he thought they were a little older/maturer than we originally thought, but Booboo has had a sniffle this last week or so and he wants to try to sort that first.  But all being well i should be re-bonding soon.....

should we put them together when they are recovering or will this wind them up??

Hey its also good to know i'm not as crazy as i first thought!!


User is Offline BB
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7/20/2006 7:36 PM

I had photography in high school, but that was a LONG time ago.  I have a digital camera and it has a "Sport" setting, which helps, but also, many digital cameras have the option of quick click - meaning it will take the picture right away - no delay for focusing.   If you have a digital camera, yours might have this option too - just press down lightly on the button that takes a picture - not all the way, just about halfway and hold.  

 A small little frame thing should show up in the viewfinder - that basically sets the focus, then you hold it in that position until you want to take the picture.    Then when you press down completely, it takes a picture immediately so you can catch your bunny!  

Also, always make sure to use a flash even during the day, because that really helps focus a bunny even when it's moving.

Here are some more picture tips

Regarding when to put your bunnies together.  It usually takes about a month for the hormones to die down, so you may want to wait that long.   And just be sure to re-introduce them in a neutral territory, even if they are used to seeing each other.   You can also start with the whole car ride thing! 


User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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8/18/2006 12:43 AM

Update:

Ok so i've tried to get the camera out when we've started re-introducing Booboo and Mable but i'm afraid i almost peed myself with nerves on the first attempt and the camera was the last thing on my mind. (sorry) also i don't seem to have a quick shot setting so when i calmed myself down and felt i could use the camera, by the time the bloomin flash went off the rabbits had dissapeared out of shot ( i do have a lot of photo's of empty poo trays and carpet though!)

Anyway its 3 weeks since their op, and they got over it remarkably quickly, they were both running around the day after and there was some binkying too!! (seperately of course)

Anyway we've been letting them out together gradually over the last 2 weeks, only short periods at first, then more as they seemed better.  There was a lot of head shoving, mainly Mable, but she wasn't the only one to be groomed. Booboo stands her ground and Mable gives in and starts grooming Booboo. 

We've taken them for a drive, which seemed to work (but they did get very hot huddled together in the box)

Booboo really doesn't seem bothered about grooming or being groomed but Mable is constantly requesting it.  They have been licking each other and lying together now for a couple of days, but we still seperate them when we're not around and at night.

I'm not sure if there is still a bit of a hormone thing still in the 'air'  as every now and again if Mable shoves her head under Booboo's bum, then the tension can rise.  We stop them by clapping (or by water spray if its to hand) and put them back in their cages.  But this morning when i let them out together, I was cleaning their cages and turned my back and they started scrapping  I pulled them apart and put them in their cages and told them firmly that this was 'naughty' then i covered the cages with a blanket telling them i didn't want to see them as i was very dissapointed!! (stupid i know)

my question are.. Is this wrong? Am i being cruel? Do they understand? Could the hormones still be an issue?


User is Offline BB
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8/20/2006 5:54 PM

I am sorry I didn't answer you right away.  We are updating some site software and it really caused some format problems that we had to fix.  

First you are doing the bonding thing right and you are not being cruel at all.  I doubt they fully understand as it takes repetitive consequence for them to get it, but some bunnies are quicker at it than others.   But hey, we're human, not rabbits, so we just have to communicate the way we know how, even if it really is more for us than it is for them. 

When my bunnies were really going through major bonding issues.  I'd be stressed, nervous, disappointed and say "You guys are driving me crazy!!!!!"     That wasn't really for them to understand but for me to vent!   Egads, bunnies can really be a pain if bonding doesn't go smoothly.  They have certain ideas about things and they don't care about our  ideas about things. 

So now that they got into a scuff - the next step is to keep them separate for a few days (unless you have already put them together and they are doing fine.

It can take really about a month for a bunny's hormones to die out. Sometime a little longer.   It really sounds like Mable is being a Queen. 

If they continue to get into it, you may need to do the car rides more often.   Do you have any air conditioning in your car?  If not, bring a frozen water bottle and put them with them to help keep them cool.  You can also mist their ears and have the vent on, so the air can blow by their ears and help keep them cool.

Also, right now, where are they playing together?  Is it considered neutral?  Or are there things or places within the territory they get into a scuff over?


User is Offline ea hurse
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8/30/2006 7:41 AM
i'm watching this debate with great interest as my household has again expanded- a rescue older girl called Blue (mixed breed, white with huge blue eyes/grey patches round them, maybe around 18 months old) and a baby girl lop, 8 or 9 weeks old, called Chino (or Cappy), white with greyish brown paws, nose and flecks through her fur, looks like a (you've guessed it) cappucchino. from their brief encounters with each other i've gathered that Lollo and Blue like each other, Lollo and Chino like each other and Blue and Chino want to rip each others eyes out. I'm hoping its just because she's still skitty with being so young and little (she's incy wincy!) and i may have to keep her apart until she's grown up and been spayed. i do want to try to get the other two together soon though, as Lollo and Blue are interested in each other, also Lollo really seems to be calming down now, i even got a 5 minute session of petting him just now- and i was the one who ended it cos my arm cramped!

User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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9/02/2006 12:27 AM

ok STS (since the scrap) we've kept them seperate a lot more, I think there may of been hormones flying round still, cause when we have let them out togther recently Mable has done less 'shoving her head up Boooo's bum' which can only be a good thing.

Before, as soon as they were out together, Mable would run to Booboo and try to shove her head under Booboo's chin (or bum - whichever was nearer to her head) but recently she's not doing so much of that and they can be out together doing their own thing.

However we can still see the tension rising sometimes and when it does they both go back in their cages.  I think they do love each other really because sometimes when Booboo is caged, Mable will lie next the cage and chill out (or maybe this is her teasing Booboo)

They really don't like going out in the car.. they sit togther shaking when they're in the box, and shake for a while when we get back.  Is this normal?  sometimes i feel so bad inflicting this on them! 

I think patience is the key, and i've learnt to be a lot more patient these last few months!! Blown to smitherines is my plan of the four of us skipping round the garden in the summer, butterflies fluttering past us, birds singing the summer chorus, while we sit making daisy chains and the bunnies hop and skip playfully in the grass!!! Its been more like commando bloomin warfare..

But I wouldn't change them for the world


User is Offline BB
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9/06/2006 8:53 PM

Loopy-lop:  AH HA.   I just came here from your other post regarding litterbox habits.  This could be one of the reason their litterbox habits are bad right now.    Until they have figured out the heirarchy roles, you may have your hands full with a poopfest    I'll explain further and help you down at that other post regarding litter training.

 


User is Offline BB
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9/06/2006 9:01 PM
Posted By bunnybabe on 09/02/2006 2:27 AM

However we can still see the tension rising sometimes and when it does they both go back in their cages.  I think they do love each other really because sometimes when Booboo is caged, Mable will lie next the cage and chill out (or maybe this is her teasing Booboo)

  Yes, teasing can actually be the case. Can you believe it?!! But bunnies can sometimes lay near each other to signify that this is THEIR space...HA HA!!

They really don't like going out in the car.. they sit togther shaking when they're in the box, and shake for a while when we get back.  Is this normal?  sometimes i feel so bad inflicting this on them! ">,/div>

I know it's hard to see them all freaked out, and yes it is normal for them to have to wind down after something stressful. But the stress is actually part of the reason they bond.

I think patience is the key,

 You got that right! I sure have been brought to the edge of insanity trying to bond two very head strong dominant females.

So how many times per day do you try and bond, and where do you bond - do you do it in a neutral territory?

Do you have plans on getting them spayed?  I know you talked to a vet about it, but not sure if you set a date.

 


User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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9/07/2006 5:51 AM

Right now, they love each other i'm sure..

We had them spayed about 4 weeks ago, everything went well and both were binky-ing the next day.

The scrap i mentioned happened about a week after the op... I thought things were back to normal and turned my back for a second.  however after learning my lesson and after much more careful watching over the last few weeks we seem to be getting along fine (touch wood superstitiously)

dare i even say we have a couple of bunnies falling back in love (sisterly of course!!)

We all thougth it was gonna be Mable that was the dominant one, but Booboo has stood her ground and it always ends up being Mable that does the grooming - Booboo does lick Mable occasionally but on her terms, when and where SHE wants.  Mable tries as often as possible to get Booboo to groom her, she shoves her head under Booboo's chin (and bum) but Booboo won't budge!! Sometimes its a relay of heads going under, but 9 times out of 10 Mable does the licking.

Booboo does a lot of rolling on Mable, because Mable always wants to be near Booboo, she will slip into the tightest of spaces to be next to her.  Then Booboo will get up and just roll on top of Mable!! its so sweet, all we can see sometimes is Mables little nose twitching with Booboo on top!

The other day they were both lying on the fire place, and Mable wanted to get next to Booboo, she started by trying to get Booboo to groom her by pushing her head under Booboo's bum and then just slid down under Booboo's leg to lie next to her... Booboo's leg was in the air!! we just sat sniggering at them cause its so funny.

We still keep them seperate at night and when we're not around in the day, but they are out together most of the time when we're home... i do a lot of running after them when they both sneak off - just to check they're getting on ok.  The last thing i want is for them to get into a scrap and have to start all over again! But it is getting less and less each day :o)

Its so lovely to see them loving each other again - I don't regret getting two together - its been hard work and its probably not over yet but its so worth it


User is Offline BB
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9/07/2006 8:46 AM

AWW.. That's great! Sounds like, with your help, they are working it out.   Good news!


User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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9/11/2006 10:36 AM

Ok so does anyone know a good divorce lawyer??? They are fighting again!!!!

I was convinced that they were getting along so much better, but the day before yesterday in the evening Booboo was lying on the fire place when Mable started sprinting around the room, this scared Booboo and she shot off the fire place, but when she stopped she was holding her front right paw off the ground.  Anyway she started walking on it again and we thougth nothing of it. Yesterday we notice that she sometimes holds it up, but only occaisionally, and shes running and binkying ok.  She's even been washing herself with it.

Then yesterday evening Booboo was binkying and sprinting around the room, Mable was lying in the corner, when Booboo started jumping on top of and around mable, then Mable starts chasing after Booboo and they started to circle...We split them up and both went to bed.

This morning my husband let them out while I was at work and a fight broke out! He tried to split them up, but Booboo just came running back for more.  He managed to catch Booboo and put her in her cage, but a bit later when he changed them over, Booboo was (he said) like a possessed rabbit, trying to get at mable throught the cage and when he shooed her away she went for him!!  Her ears were forward and her tail straight out..3 times she tried to attack him and eventually he managed to pick her up (he said she was rock solid when lifting her) and put her in a box, closed the lid and went for a walk, which calmed her down.

Why is she being so evil?  Could this be to do with her foot?  I've heard that bunnies can show agression if they are hurt? But she's been using it ok mostly. She has been quite jumpy lately also... Is she taking this dominance thing to the extreme and trying to dominate my husband?  She's been ok with me since i've been home...

We've gone back to keeping them seperate (with a mesh protector in front of the cage) so no attacking through the bars..and I think I will give them a break for a week or so and start again. 

Remind me not to count my proverbial chickens next time i update and tell you its going great!!!!! I think i've found my first grey hair


User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/12/2006 10:19 AM
aww - that can happen, and it's really disappointing when things seem like they're really going well. Some pairs just take time to negotiate through things.

I think your idea is right on, to give thme some apart time and then try again. Some bondings can take months!
Keep an eye on Booboo's paw, hopefully it will improve, otherwise I'd recommend a visit to the vet just to make sure it's not broken or anything.
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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9/13/2006 4:57 AM

Thanks Gravehearted..its good to know its not totally over 

I will keep them seperately for a while (it just seems such a shame as they were so loving) i can also see more car rides on the horizon...I might even put them in the bath tub.

Booboo runs around the room at a million miles an hour, binkies all the time and is using her front leg to wash her ears etc with so I start to think its better but then she will sit and just raise it a little of the ground... bit i will keep my eye on it.  Would she still be doing so much on it if it was broken?? oh dear i hope its not.


User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/13/2006 11:32 PM
honestly I'm not really sure - it seems like it might be worth at least a call to check in with your vet about her paw.
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Fighting bunnies!

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