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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Help on Bonding Rabbits
Last Post by ravishingRabbit at 2/17/2012 10:13 AM (16 Replies)
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User is Offline Jenner
58 posts Send Private Message
2/07/2012 1:49 PM

  Hey everyone!

I am looking for some advice on what to do/how to handle bonding my rabbits. Everything I know about bonding is from what I have researched online, but each website is a little different in what they suggest of course.

I've had my first bunny for a little over a year. She is a Netherland Dwarf named Jenner. She is sweet, but also a bit nervous most of the time.
My first year of college I lived at my mom's and Jenner loved to play with my cat. Since being at my own place, I wanted to get Jenner a friend since I read about bunnies enjoying company.
I adopted a Holland Lop, who I renamed Odom. He is almost four years old. He is very calm and sweet.
He is neutered and she is not.

Jenner has a big fancy cage that I made her - a C&C style. I placed Odom in just a typical store-bought cage next to her cage for the first few days. 

For the past two days I have had them meet for just 10-15 minutes in neutral territory (the bathroom, where neither of them had been before).

The first day they both took turns humping each other, and that was really it.

The second day they humped each other for the first couple minutes, then Odom laid down on the floor on his side and when Jenner would walk by, he stuck his face under her belly. It looked submissive to me. But Jenner kept pulling out his hair. Sometimes he would just lay there and other times he jumped up like it hurt him.


Advice on what I need to do???
Thanks!


User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
Forum Leader
17944 posts Send Private Message
2/07/2012 1:55 PM
Welcome! They sound like a cute couple.

I would highly recommend that you get Jennifer spayed. It is always recommended that bond rabbits be altered.

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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2/08/2012 4:49 AM
It does sound like they are getting along pretty well, but it is in Jennifer's interest to get her spayed ASAP. Do you have plans to have this done soon?
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Jenner
58 posts Send Private Message
2/08/2012 2:44 PM
I am considering getting Jenner spayed.

Should I do anything about her ripping his hair out?

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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2/08/2012 3:53 PM
Pulling fur can be a sign of a false pregnancy. Rabbits are induced ovulators and being in the presence of a male rabbit (even if neutered) can make the female think she is pregnant. This is likely to continue until she is spayed, yet another reason why it's important to have her altered.

Do you have concerns about spaying? Have you spoken with your vet about the procedure?
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Online Monkeybun
Hillsboro, Oregon
10463 posts Send Private Message
2/08/2012 7:45 PM
Agreed, definitely spay her first

Also, putting their heads down isn't submissive, it's dominant. Demanding grooms

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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2/09/2012 1:38 AM
Posted By Beka27 on 02/08/2012 06:53 PM
Pulling fur can be a sign of a false pregnancy. Rabbits are induced ovulators and being in the presence of a male rabbit (even if neutered) can make the female think she is pregnant. This is likely to continue until she is spayed, yet another reason why it's important to have her altered.

Do you have concerns about spaying? Have you spoken with your vet about the procedure?


I just reread your OP.  You meant she is pulling out HIS fur when he demands grooms.  I apologize, I didn't reread that part when I responded last.  I will leave my bit about false pregnancy tho, because that's important info for you to have and other members who may be reading.

She may be trying to groom him and just doing it poorly.  Is he reacting badly to the fur being pulled?

Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
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2/09/2012 3:42 AM
Hair pulling is pretty normal - when they hump or nip they usually pull some fur out. Overall it does sound like they're getting along quite well and normally.

I would definitely advise getting her spayed though. It will help their bond develop and remain stable. Plus, females have an extremely high rate of reproductive cancer (80% by 3 years old) so it's really for her health above all.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline Jenner
58 posts Send Private Message
2/09/2012 1:58 PM
Thanks for the responses everyone!

Today went SO well with their bonding session! No humping or fur pulling. The ignored each other for a couple minutes and then Jenner groomed Odom for the rest of the time...licking his ears and head.

For spaying, my main concern is her making it through the surgery. I know bunnies can get overly scared, and I don't know if veterinarians are really all that experienced when it comes to bunnies. They just seem to small and fragile. I'm probably over-thinking it, though.

User is Offline bunnyfriend
Wisconsin
2343 posts Send Private Message
2/09/2012 5:51 PM

Hi welcome to BB

I had my rabbit spayed when she was 6 months old so I'll give you a little bit more information about it First off, the main and most important reason to spay your rabbit is that unspayed rabbits have an 85% chance risk of developing uterine cancer at a young age. Spaying eliminates this risk, along with ovarian and mammary cancer. Unspayed females who around males can go through false pregnancies, where they believe they are pregnant and actually start ripping out their fur, become aggressive, and sometimes stop eating. Other reasons is that spayed rabbits make better companions, are more well behaved, have better litter box habits, and can form true bonds with other rabbits.

The first step would be to find a rabbit savvy vet, do you already have one? If not, there's a list on the House Rabbit Society of good rabbit savvy vets (a good way to separate the non-rabbit savvy vet from the savvy ones is to ask them if they require withholding food before the surgery, if they say yes then move onto another vet. Rabbits can't throw up). The vet's success rate with rabbits should be over 99%. Spaying is a safe procedure when done by a vet who has experience. My vet ran blood work and did a pre-spay health check up to look for any pre-existing conditions that might make the surgery dangerous. Here is an excellent page on spaying; what to ask, how to tell if a vet is right for the job, and a list of what to make sure: http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/spay-neuter.html The vet should also prescribe pain medicine for afterwards so that a rabbit is feeling well enough to eat.

I am very glad that I had my rabbit spayed, a week before her spay her hormones started kicking in and she became aggressive, after the spay she returned to my normal sweet bunny. She recovered very quickly, after a couple days she was totally normal. Whew! Sorry that was so long but I hope this gave you more information on spaying

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RIP Tigger          Wilbur             Totoro

User is Offline ravishingRabbit
USA
91 posts Send Private Message
2/09/2012 8:26 PM
Going to reflect what everyone else is saying since I figure the more people that say it the higher a chance you do it, I really also recommend having your bunny spayed, for all the reasons already mentioned by everyone else.

I've always been worried when having my bunnies fixed, not because I didn't trust my vet, it's just me being overly worried. Just make sure it's a rabbit savvy vet, as bunnyfriend said you can find a list on the House Rabbit Society website. That's how I found a new one after we moved out of state. It's always nerve-racking knowing your little bunny is being operated on because at the time the situation is out of your hands, but it's in your bunny's best interest to have it done since we all want our little friends to live as long, and healthy a life as possible. =)
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User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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2/10/2012 2:01 AM

I can't speak for lurkers on this site or unregistered readers, but the vast majority of posting members who have female rabbits have either had them spayed or have adopted them already spayed. It is definitely something that is done often and usually without incident. Rabbit vet care has come a long way in recent years, and exotic vets are trained on the procedure and are very confident in their abilities.

Do you have a rabbit vet in your area? Have you taken either of them for check-ups? If not, another option is to contact the rescue you adopted Odom from and ask who they recommend for spaying your female rabbit? They are spaying and neutering bunnies prior to adoption, so they might have some leads for you.

We may seem like "dogs with a bone" on this topic, but it's so, so important both for Jenner's health and for their success as a couple.  I'm not very comfortable encouraging the bonding at this point until she has been altered.

Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Jenner
58 posts Send Private Message
2/10/2012 12:56 PM
I have been doing a bit of research about rabbit spaying. The vets listed on the House Rabbit Society's website are all far drives for me. I will contact several different clinics next week and see which ones have a vet who has done many rabbit spays.

Do some shelters/humane societies spay/neuter rabbits for people in the community? I was wondering if this would be cheaper than a vet at a clinic. (though I value safety over money)

Thank you guys for all of your help!
Jenner and Odom are still doing really well so far.

User is Offline Jenner
58 posts Send Private Message
2/14/2012 4:11 AM
I made an appointment to get Jenner fixed!

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
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7322 posts Send Private Message
2/14/2012 5:29 AM
That's great news! With a good vet who has experience in spays, it's really not an issue and so much healthier for her in the long run.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline Jenner
58 posts Send Private Message
2/15/2012 3:11 AM
Update: Odom and Jenner had a great bonding time last night. No humping or fur pulling. Jenner groomed Odom's face a lot and Odom did a few happy kicks/twists in the air.

User is Offline ravishingRabbit
USA
91 posts Send Private Message
2/17/2012 10:13 AM
Glad to hear that they're both doing well and it's great news that you're getting Jenner fixed!
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