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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Perhaps Thumper is a zombie?
Last Post by Elrohwen at 6/14/2012 3:55 AM (2 Replies)
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User is Offline sir-rabbit-pants
30 posts Send Private Message
6/13/2012 3:58 PM

Thumper is a 5-year-old Netherland Dwarf who has graced me with his presence for nearly a year.  He's been such a social bun with any person he meets and craves attention.  Because I was getting busier, I thought it would be a great idea to get him a friend.  We went to an adoption event held by the local companion rabbit society and Thumper had dates with 5 rabbits (3 girls, 2 boys).  In every first date, he appeared nervous and disinterested.  If he got mounted, he ran away.  Otherwise he just sat there.  I kind of expected it because I'm pretty sure Thumper has a been a solitary bun for much of his life; he was also slow to warm to me but is now a total cuddlebun.  I had personally taken a shining to Nanette (now called Flower), but was warned that she's a bossy girl.  She'd had a number of dates and all went very poorly but I thought we'd give it a shot.  In their first date that day, she did mount a couple times but was much friendlier with him than any other rabbit and Thumper seemed slightly more relaxed.  After the other dates went similarly, we did a second date with Thumper and Flower.  In this date, there was no mounting and Flower tried to cozy up to Thumper a little bit; he was not excited, but not freaked out either.  Considering Flower's background, I took this to be a very good sign for her and figured Thumper would warm up to her so Flower came with us.  (Flower is a 2-year old Mini-Lop).

Dates 1-2 at home: Flower constantly tries to mount Thumper.  Thumper runs away and tries to climb me to get away.  When Flower is not mounting, Thumper is all hunched up and freaking out.

Date 3: Thumper figures out that if he backs into a corner, he doesn't get mounted.  He spends most of the time there.  Flower comes over to say hi.  Thumper doesn't move at all.

Dates 4-5: The stare-downs begin.  Each presents themselves to be groomed; both refuse to groom the other.  Occasionally they take breaks to ignore each other.

Date 6: Between staring contests, they each groom themselves or lie down.  During this date, Flower does a full flop.

Note: Flower seems to take relaxing very seriously.  If she's not moving she is all stretched out and she does this often.  Thumper is pretty chill but only recently started kicking his legs out but not frequently.  After date 6, I caught Thumper try out a full flop.  I don't think he enjoyed it that much but has still been much more relaxed since then.

Date 7: I feel pretty sure that they like each other, but don't know how to show it since they've mostly been single buns.  I try putting banana on each of their heads.  (Thumper NEVER turns down sweets).  Occasionally each of them will be tempted by the banana then remember that they CAN NOT give in and now there's an awkward and sticky staring contest.  I end up cleaning the bananas off both of them.

Date 8: Flower immediately lies down near Thumper.  Thumper keeps his butt in the corner but gradually relaxes until he's lying out perpendicular to Flower.

Sounds great right?  Stay tuned....


User is Offline sir-rabbit-pants
30 posts Send Private Message
6/13/2012 4:17 PM
So Thumper and Flower have been having individual run time, but still see each other through their cage/pen walls. Flower, who takes relaxing very seriously, comes out for maybe a minute and then returns to lie down some more. Meanwhile, Thumper bounces off the walls of his cage until he gets out.

Considering how well things have been going, on Friday, I let Thumper out while Flower was relaxing with her door open. He went running and while he was gone, Flower entered Thumper's cage. He came back and found her there and was not happy. There was thumping and attempts to bite Flower so I separated them. For the next day or so, every time they would come close to each other across the walls, Thumper would get up in Flower's face. (I kinda thought he was trying to show he's still in charge in a situation that benefits the little guy - Flower is twice as big as he is).

The next date went much better so I didn't think much of allowing another open house on Sunday. This time, so quick I'm not sure how it happened, they ended up in a huge fight under the futon. OMG! I reached my hand in to try to get at least one rabbit out. I got bit up but I got Flower out. I held her next to me, trying to figure out my next move (Flower does NOT like to be picked up and will flail until she gets away). Thumper came out and tried to bite her face. Naturally she freaked out but I did manage to get her back to her space. After that I decided we would take a break from any contact. I put up a blanket between their spaces so they can't see each other and watched them like a hawk during run time.

THIS MORNING, I woke up and heard quite the commotion in the living room. I went out to see Thumper IN Flower's area and a huge fur-flying fight (I could make a rabbit toupee with all the hair I picked up). I managed to separate them, but I'm totally freaked out. Is this match doomed? Is Thumper destined to be single forever?

PS: At this moment, Flower keeps trying to see peek out to see Thumper. I think she still likes him. He doesn't seem to care.

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
Forum Leader
7322 posts Send Private Message
6/14/2012 3:55 AM
Definitely do not let them in each other's spaces! Rabbits are very territorial, as you're learning, and they generally will never let a strange rabbit into their territory. The fights may have set back the bonding a bit, but I think you still have a good chance if you go back to neutral bonding zones and only neutral. Rabbits trying to kill each other will draw lots of blood, so the fact that there was only fur pulling is a good sign. Keep having them meet in a bathtub or other neutral area every single day and increase the time you keep them together. You should be able to easily do a four hour session without fighting. Once you can do this, you might be ready to let them live together, but you need to completely clean out their cages and set up as neutral a cage as possible with nothing for them to be territorial about.

Their behavior during the dates you tried sounds very normal. It's typical for one bun to be more bossy and forward while the other shuts down and sits in the corner, ignoring. This is good! Eventually Thumper will learn that she means no harm and they'll start some snuggling and grooming, but until you see those signs they aren't ready to be together full time.
- Elrohwen
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