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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Bonding issues
Last Post by RabbitPam at 2/07/2012 2:34 AM (2 Replies)
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User is Offline mlg4491
15 posts Send Private Message
1/06/2012 5:33 AM

 Hi all, 

I'm new to the forum, and I was hoping to get some advice on bonding. I've had bunnies for years, and recently we lost one half of our bonded pair to kidney disease. We gave our little survivor a stuffed animal to cuddle, which helped a little, but once he stopped constantly searching the house for his friend he just got listless, slept all the time, and there were no happy dances to be seen. I took this to mean that he was lonely and missing his lady (as we all were) and that perhaps we should think about another rabbit before he starts to lose his appetite or otherwise go downhill. I called our vet to ask her what she thought an appropriate grieving period might be since I didn't want to rush anything, and she told me that sooner was better. So, I called the local shelter and asked for their "bunny lady," who gave me a list of available single ladies. I had seen so much information online about bringing your rabbit to the shelter for bunny speed dating, and asked her if that is what she recommends. Her reply was that, since I had already bonded a pair of bunnies, that it would be easier on everyone to just do the bonding at home rather than dating at the shelter, as the way a bunny acts in neutral territory and at home are so different that bunny speed dating isn't much of an indicator. Well, I wish I hadn't listened to that advice, as then I might have known that the bunny we ended up bringing home would like nothing more than to disembowel our current rabbit.

 

Well, we took our new addition home, and set her up in a pen adjacent to our existing rabbit. They both ignored each other's existence for a week, interspersed with a bit of boxing and attempts at nipping through the bars.I didn't like the look of this, so when we took our new bunny in for her health exam, we took Zo along as well and let the two ride in the  car together. This went fine, but didn't seem to do anything for the ensuing bunny date in neutral territory (our bathroom). There was about a 5 minute period of ignoring one another, followed by lunging and grunting on both sides. I've tried more car rides, putting them in the carrier and on top of the washing machine, putting banana on their heads to induce grooming, giving them surrogate stuffed animals with a bit of each other's fur (which the new bunny promptly attacked and tried to kill. Since it showed no aggression back, she has since taken a liking to it, but this did not improve her attitude toward our current rabbit). I also started switching their cages and litter boxes, and decreasing the time spent together in neutral territory in the hopes of ending on a good note.  Bunny dating is always accompanied with a spray bottle to avoid aggression and a big ol' mountain of greens to keep each of them occupied and not concentrating TOO hard on each other.  This has gone on for a month, and all I have seen is an increase in the hard feelings and fear that come with fighting.  They've even, on more than one occasion, started outright fighting with no warning that I can tell.  Their introduction started out bad, and their attitude toward each other has only gotten worse. So I ask you, the bunny-savvy, what else can I do? Any suggestions at all would be most welcome, as I really don't want to bring the new rabbit back to the shelter if I can avoid it.  She really seems to just want to bond with out cat, which would be just fine if she would be civil with our rabbit. 


User is Offline Lazee
205 posts Send Private Message
2/05/2012 4:58 AM
I have 2 that have never and I expect will never take to each other. I have to house them seperately. nothing I have done has helped the situation either, going on 6 months now.

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
10577 posts Send Private Message
2/07/2012 2:34 AM
First, I am so sorry for your loss of your bunny's mate. (What's his name?) I am angry on your behalf at that lazy shelter person who did not let you follow through with the dating, since you obviously knew it was the best thing to do. I don't know where you live, ie. nearest major city and state, but it would be good to check out other local shelters as well. In California, for example, there are rescue groups that also offer bonding assistance for the process, so that may turn out to be an option.

Personally, while others disagree, I think a month is soon enough to take back the poor little female who is fighting with your guy and see if you can bring him there for a dating session with others. If you want to try it with that shelter, I mean. You were talked into taking her, and if this was not the owner of the shelter, they need to be informed of this situation and your not being accommodated for dating. The person running the place may be amenable to letting you bring her back and trying a date session. Also, someone else there with more experience may be able to help with the bonding by seeing your two together.

It does sound like she's not going to get along, but if you do want her to stay (and do you like her?) then there is definitely hope to bring this to a better situation, but it will take much more time. You know all of the bonding process advice that we tend to give here, and are doing it, so I applaud your efforts so far. We've had several members who have been through some very long, tough bonds that worked out, so it's very possible. But if you don't want to do that, now is the time to make the change before she gets too at home with you. I don't like returning bunnies to shelters, but if it means a different bunny gets adopted instead, you are still rescuing someone, and she may find her next home is better for her by being adopted elsewhere. My first concern is for your grieving little guy. He needs comfort, not fear and fights.
 photo CarrotCrop100x500BBSiggy_zps0f2147e4.jpg Have your people call my people. We'll do carrots.
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