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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Having a rough time..
Last Post by alexa at 7/09/2012 8:14 AM (25 Replies)
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User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/01/2012 5:59 AM

Hey guys, so I recently adopted a new rabbit. Her name is Scully, of course. She was from the local rabbit rescue. I took Spooky to go date a few rabbits but he didn't seem to like anyone. I just kind of had a good feeling about Scully so I brought her home. They didn't think she was spayed, they couldn't find any scars or anything. We booked an appointment to get her spayed, but when they opened her up, it turns out she has already been spayed. I gave her a few days to heal, and by that time she had been living side by side to Spooky for a week and a half. They are in the same room together, but separated by a barrier I made out of NIC cubes and zip ties. I got hooks for the wall and zip tied it to the wall. I had a blanket I would put over it so they could get breaks from each other. 


So the first introduction I did like the rescue lady told me to. I put them in the kitchen and let them roam around, I would keep my hand in between them so they couldn't nip. But Scully was able to get at Spooky and they had a huge fight. Fur was everywhere. I was real freaked out. I put them back in their room and put the blanket down. 


I talked to some people on the Facebook group "Bunnies World Wide" and was told to try it again in the bathtub, since that was more neutral. I did that and Spooky seemed scared of Scully. They had a few little fights but worked them out on their own. I forced them together and pet them at the same time. They separated and flopped at each ends of the tub and just looked at each other for 20 minutes or so before I decided to end it. 


The next day I did a little bathtub session again and they had a few little fights but worked them out on their own again. I put banana on each of their heads and Scully groomed Spooky but he wouldn't groom her. I decided to go do a car ride with them which worked out well. They ended up snuggling and everything. I was really excited. I put them back in their areas when we got home. 


I did another car ride the next day but they fought in the middle of it and I had to pull over and take them out of the car and kind of jiggle the box and move where they were in the car. They were fine after that. We went home and went back to the bathtub and they laid on each side and looked at each other again. 


So last night I swapped them in their areas. Spooky was grooming her bed and she was going around chinning everything. 


This morning was the hard part and the part where I just wanted to give up. At this point, they both have little scabs from fighting. My hands are torn up too from breaking up fights. I was laying in bed with Scully, who doesn't know she can get off the bed. Spooky was hanging around under my bed and usually doesn't want to come up on the bed if I am up there because I always try to cuddle. I thought I was in the clear. But Spooky jumped up there. I just pet them both because I was afraid they would fight. Spooky got done wanting to be pet and turned away. Scully nipped him on the butt! He got so scared he hopped like 2 feet away and then turned around and lunged at her. He got ahold of her paw and would not let go. I was trying to pull them apart and Scully started screaming! I finally got them apart and they both don't have any blood. 


Ugh. Is this just a bad idea? Should I give up? Its only been a week of trying to bond. 


I am going to leave them apart for a week probably. I assume that Scully got her paw hurt so I need to let her heal. I put the blanket down so they can't see each other. 


What should I do? I am stressed and emotional feeling. I just want to love them both and I hate that they are hurting each other. And I feel bad when I am just hanging out with one of them and the other one is by themselves. This is mentally exhausting. 


User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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6/01/2012 6:07 AM
I think you need to step back and take a break. It is mentally exhausting and you have to be up to the bonding especially when the bonding gets tough.

You will need to be very careful if they are both out together and not bonded so that the accident on the bed doesn't happen again. It was probably just fright for both of them as they weren't expecting each other. It doesn't sound like the bedroom and bed are neutral areas.

Take a break from bonding them for a week and see how you feel then - if you want to then just start all over again.

User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/01/2012 6:16 AM

Yeah, Spooky has been everywhere in the house pretty much. I was feeling bad that I haven't hung out with Scully that much so thats why I brought her in there. Spooky was blocked off but he started ripping up the carpet so I took the gate down and figured he would go under the bed. I was about to put Scully back in her area anyways. It just all happened so fast. 


I don't want to do anything wrong.


Here are some photos though:

 She does this around him. But he just sits tensely like this. He is wet from being sprayed for nipping. 

 They do this too. They are driving me crazy!

 Here was one of the car rides. 


User is Offline mocha200
4514 posts Send Private Message
6/01/2012 6:22 AM
I know how it feels but don't give up! It took me FOREVER to bond my bunnies, I think about 8 months but that includes a 1 month break. I would take some time off for her paw to heal but when you start back up, do it gradually.

1. Before you start a bonding session make sure you have everything ready. Where gloves to protect yourself from being bitten if you have to break them up. Have a spray bottle with water in it to spray them if they start to nip (you can also use a shower head if yours comes off.) And a dust pan to put in between them if they start to fight. Some people also throw a blanket on top of them to stop it, but their is no guarantee they will stop.

2. Then, put them in a 1x1 NIC cube or a small basket on top of the dryer to shake them up a bit and to stress them so the cuddle. If you don't have a dryer or don't have one running, just shake them up by bouncing it on your knees or with your hands.

3. After that put them in the tub. No towel in it or anything, the slippery bottom will be more stressful for them. If they start to fight stop it with the things I listed above and put them back into the basket or NIC cube and shake them up, then put them back into the tub. Never end a bonding session after they have just fought or they remember it badly. The only time I would is if they got hurt.

4. End the session on a good note. for example if they are, ignoring each other, grooming ( even grooming themselves, when they groom themselves it shows that they are comfortable., cuddling, flopping is a very good sign.

5. Every day make it a little bit longer. Until you can sit in the bathroom with them for 1-2 hours with nothing bad going on. If you move on to quickly (like to a bigger space) It could cause a fight. Also, remember bonding is like a roller coaster! One day it could go great, and the next, not so good. Don't get discouraged!

Please post on here about how their bonding sessions go and take lots of pictures and video! We will help you if you need it!
Photobucket

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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17711 posts Send Private Message
6/01/2012 6:22 AM
Well it certainly looks as if it could work. It takes awhile for rabbits to trust each other. Just because there is no grooming doesn't mean that they cannot live together - you really cannot force the grooming either.

I think the fact they can stretch out together like that in the bathtub is a good sign.

It's also okay for Scully to seem scared - that's natural and you have to let him get over his fearfulness but of course you do not want any fighting - harmless nipping is okay as long as one of them doesn't get irritated and start fighting with the other.

User is Offline mocha200
4514 posts Send Private Message
6/01/2012 6:25 AM
Wow! Those pictures really encourage me! Don't give up hope! One of my bunnies didn't start grooming my other bun until a week before they were bonded.
Photobucket

User is Offline Stickerbunny
3662 posts Send Private Message
6/01/2012 7:21 AM
My bunnies didn't groom until over a month after living together and even then, only Powder grooms Stickers, she won't groom him back. lol It looks like they just need a lot of long neutral sessions to get used to each other and are being territorial elsewhere. Which is normal. Get a pair of thick gloves and a colander, when they start to lunge, put the colander between them. Wear thick gloves to protect your hands if you have to break up a fight.

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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6/01/2012 7:29 AM
Heck I've had some bonded pairs that never groomed each other :~)

User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/03/2012 10:10 AM
Last night was pretty bad. I got home from work and walked into my room and there was fur EVERYWHERE. And it was all Spooky's. Scully got out of her pen somehow, which I still haven't figured out but she is now in Spooky's old NIC cube condo that he doesn't use anymore. She beat Spooky up for who knows how long. He was so tired and stressed when I got home that I thought he was injured. I put him in a carrier and went to my aunts house to use her phone because somehow mine was not working. (perfect timing, right?) I called the bunny rescue around here and they calmed me down and told me to bring Spooky back home and let him relax and give him some greens. He is okay now. He ate, drank and pooped overnight. I was cleaning up this morning and found an ENTIRE nail from one of Spooky's back toe. That is probably what is hurting him. Do you guys think I should continue this bonding process?

I feel bad because Spooky is my baby. I have had him for almost two years and he turns 2 this month. Scully is only 6 months old. Is that too much of an age difference? They also don't know when she was spayed. I actually made an appointment to get her spayed and they opened her up and she was already spayed. I have also grown attached to her, but it makes me feel terrible when they fight because Spooky always gets beat up more. Its always his fur everywhere. Its like he doesn't fight back.

I don't know what to do. I am really stressed about it and feeling all kinds of emotions. I wanted to do this for Spooky because he always tries to bond with cats and dogs and I am going to be more busy than usual when school starts back in August because I have to do an internship too.


User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/03/2012 10:22 AM
The only possible explanation of how she got out has to be that she jumped it. There were no breaks in the pen I made. And its like 4 feet tall. I have been so confused. There was a blanket covering the barrier so they couldn't see each other which I think is why she wanted out so bad because she has been here for weeks and hasn't seemed to be an escape artist.

User is Offline Stickerbunny
3662 posts Send Private Message
6/03/2012 10:24 AM

They fought because she got out into non-neutral territory, any bunnies in each others territory are going to fight if not bonded. You should take a break now that they had such a huge fight and let them both calm down though. Put some extra locks on her condo to make sure she can't get out.\

Edit: As for how she got out - bunnies can jump and CLIMB. If a pen is too high for Powder to jump, he'll climb it. So a roof is required for some bunnies. 


User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/03/2012 10:35 AM
Yeah, she was just in a "area" with a barrier. I basically split Spooky's room in half with a barrier that I made out of NIC cubes and bought hooks and attached it to the wall. Its complicated, haha. But the blanket was over it, so she must have made her way under the blanket and THEN climbed it. She is now in Spooky's old NIC cube condo and it has a roof on it. She is a spunky little rabbit. So sassy.

I talked to the rescue that I got her from and I think they are going to help me out with bonding. I might be taking them to her house for a week or so for her to bond them while I clean and try to make everything not smell like Spooky. But we will see. Scully will be staying in the cage when I am not home or sleeping.

Spooky slept with me last night and I was relieved when I woke up and saw a pile of poop next to me. I guess he was hanging out with me in bed while I was sleeping. But I was anxiously waiting to see him poop so I knew he was alright.

User is Offline Stickerbunny
3662 posts Send Private Message
6/03/2012 11:30 AM
My two are bonded and they still pull each others fur, the fact there was no serious injury is a good sign, at least they weren't actively trying to kill each other. Bunnies can easily do a lot of damage to each other. Getting a rescue to help would be good, bonding can be VERY stressful on both the owner and the bunnies so an impartial third party can be helpful.

User is Offline mocha200
4514 posts Send Private Message
6/03/2012 1:28 PM
^ also their would be neutral territory at her house!

That must have been tough for you to come home and find that! I am glad they are in more secure cages for now so nothing else happens!
Photobucket

User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/04/2012 3:01 PM
I am having one on one bonding with just me and Scully today. I started to think that maybe she just isn't even that comfortable with me yet! So we are hanging out in the living room while Spooky is locked in my room. She is running around checking everything out! She is a major cutie.

I'm going to have a chat with the rescue lady this week sometime, but for now both the bunnies gotta let their bite wounds heal. We are putting neosporian and silvadene cream on them. They look and are acting better today.

Also, Scully is starting to get a little fluffier?! I have no idea what breed she is.

User is Offline samiboo
New York
8 posts Send Private Message
6/10/2012 4:04 AM
she's a rescue right? then you don't know exactly what she went threw. maybe she has had a bad experience with male bunny's or just males in general. take it slow, use food as a tool just set down two bowls of their favorite food (like kale, hay, carrot), bring out a spray bottle to brake fights up, use fun crinkle toys, squeak toys, pennies in a bottle, etc. to get their attention. set down a comfy play area with enough space for both of them to socialize in.
this all seemed to work when gizmo my cat and zoo-zoo weren't bonding now their best friends
Master of Zoo-Zoo bunnie of mass distruction of my furniture and belongings

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
Forum Leader
7322 posts Send Private Message
6/11/2012 5:10 AM
The bathtub pictures are really great - I think you just need to stick with that until it's going really well. My rule was to wait until one stage seemed boring and I felt I could read a book, then I moved up to another stage. My guys were able to hang out in the bathtub for a couple hours and I felt ok walking away for a glass of water or to grab a book and that's when I knew they were ready to have a larger carpeted area out in the hall for bonding. Baby steps!

It might set things back a bit that she got into his territory and they fought, but like Sticker said, fur pulling is totally normal (mine do it) and if there's no blood, they only had a minor scuffle. Just go back to the bathtub sessions and move slowly using stressing as necessary to keep them calm.

Bonding is really stressful for the people and the buns, but at this point I think you have a really good chance of getting a wonderfully bonded pair, so keep at it!
- Elrohwen

User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/12/2012 3:06 PM
Yeah, we are waiting a little while still because Scully has a wound under her arm that is taking longer to heal that Spooky's did.

Spooky has been flopping next to her cage and showing his belly off. But Scully still tries to nip him or "dig" at him. I think he is warming up to her, but she might still be aggressive. She is a lot younger, I think I said that earlier. So maybe she is just still young and spunky. She definitely has more energy than Spooky.


User is Offline alexa
169 posts Send Private Message
6/13/2012 6:39 PM
Okay so tonight I didn't really have anything to do so I let Scully go in the living room and I blocked her off from my room where Spooky was with a baby gate and also a box. They kept standing up on their hind legs to see each other so I decided to do a bathtub session. Spooky "growled" at her when they first got in the tub and I just kept saying "Hey, be nice. Be nice!" and he would stop. I would get sooooo nervous when they got near each other. THey had "groom offs" but neither of them would groom each other. Ugh. I would say "Be nice be nice." and they wouldn't nip. I was petting Spooky and Scully came over and I thought she would mount him because she did once before, so I kept petting him so he would stay calm, but instead she nipped him and that really pissed him off. I was able to hold him back from lunging at her though but he sure was pissed. They ate next to each other and Spooky ended up flopping in the end. I still just can't let them get too close because they will try to nip each other. They are back in their areas, I ended on a good note. But Spooky keeps following her back and forth in her pen and grunting at her. I don't know why, I thought that the tub session went fairly well. Except one or two scuffles that I was able to break up with just spraying water.

What should I do? I hate that they can't even get too close to each other. Neither of them will groom each other which is why they get mad at each other and nip.

Also, why would Scully nip him in the butt if he wasn't doing anything? That really set him off, ha ha.


User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
Forum Leader
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6/14/2012 4:01 AM
Many bunnies are far more territorial through cage bars than in a neutral zone - they're just defending their territory and it doesn't mean they won't bond, so don't worry about it. If you think they're getting distressed, I'd put a blanket up between the pens or something.

Everything else about your bathtub sessions sounds perfectly normal for this stage! I had a fairly fast bond, about 4 weeks to completely living together, and it took a couple weeks for either of them to groom. They've been together two years now and Hannah still bits Otto in the bum with no provocation, so it's another perfectly normal, though annoying, thing to do. Just keep up the sessions. If it seems like they're getting worked up and might start nipping, put them both in a laundry basket and shake it around for 20sec or so, then put them back in the tub. I found this really settled them down and gave me a calm note to end the session on, rather than ending because they were getting pissy with each other and trying to nip.

They'll eventually work out their relationship - just keep at it every day! It really is stressful, but they're not fighting and trying to kill each other so as long as you supervise they'll be fine.
- Elrohwen
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