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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > Slightly confused with my girl
Last Post by Stitchntwinks at 6/21/2012 5:45 AM (24 Replies)
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User is Offline Stitchntwinks
207 posts Send Private Message
6/17/2012 10:35 AM

Hiya, first time posting here, just looking for a bit of advise, 

I have a 2 year old make bun named stitch, and a 1 year old female named twinke, they are currently in the process of being bonded, they are living either side of bars at the minute but not able to touch eachother, at meal times I move them both so there is only one metal fence between them so they can get used to eating near eachother, all was going really well the started grooming a but thought the bars and happily grooming the selfs on either side of the bars doing binkys etc, then a couple of days ago, twinkle started growling at stitch through the bars, so I pulled her away at put her straight back in her run, she didn't do it again later on but did it again the next time every time I had them either side of the gate. 


Just wondering what might have triggered this and what I might be doing wrong.? I'm not planning on stopping their bonding but just don't really want him to be scared of her, I was beginning to get them meeting three or four times a day, maybe this was too much too soon? Today I let them eat together and then a little sniff then put her into her run again, to end on a high.


Any advise would be fab,, thanks in advance


Becca


User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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6/17/2012 2:02 PM
Welcome - she is defending her turf...the best thing to do is to introduce them in a totally neutral space away from their spaces.

Also many times they will be territorial about their things like litterbox, food, etc...until they are bonded.

What have you done so far as far as introducing them?

User is Offline Stitchntwinks
207 posts Send Private Message
6/17/2012 9:54 PM
I had them in a neutral space and she was so gental with him, but thats was before he was neutered though. she's my new bunny ive only had her a couple months and had him ages and ages,do u think it's best to get them both into a neutral space together now then ?

Thanks

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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6/18/2012 3:25 AM
You should always, always bond in a neutral space. Bonding takes time and patience.

Can you outline what you have done so far? How long have you been doing the bonding process.

User is Offline Stitchntwinks
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6/18/2012 6:13 AM
I have introduce them on neutral territory before stitch was neutered, they were fine but he was a bit humpy a week after his op I moved her into his room with a gap between there runs so they can get used to smelling eachother, during feeding time I move them so they are able to sniff eachother through the bars, that's where we are now, I was kinda waiting for him to be totally over his op and rid of his hormones which I think he pretty much is now

Should I try putting them in the bathtub (obvviosuly with no water) and see how they are together?

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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6/18/2012 6:19 AM
I think that would be good. It sounds like she is not trusting him just yet and that is why she is growling at the bars at him as she is in her space and she does not want him there or even close to it. She's not ready at this point to make a commitment.

User is Offline Stitchntwinks
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6/18/2012 6:52 AM
That makes a lot of sence so if I start tonight in a neutral area with nothing between them. I also heard putting them in a basket and stressing them slightly might help should that come after they meet on neutral territory sorry for allnthe questions.

User is Offline tanlover14
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6/18/2012 11:41 AM
I'm in the process of bonding our three bunnies -- and we actually first introduced them in "her" space since we went to the breeders and picked her out and she thumped at him a ton but he was obviously in love with her. So we brought them home in the same carrier and the stress to her of being in it made her a lot more comfortable with him! She snuggled up to him the whole ride home. It turned out to be the perfect beginner bonding. I've heard a lot about how great the bath tub can be but I haven't tried it. We're bringing our third bunny home tonight and so I'll let you know if I find any tricks or tips for bonding them too! I'm also new to the community so any tips you find on bonding them would be extremely helpful too!
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User is Offline Stitchntwinks
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6/18/2012 12:04 PM
Oh thhat sounds fab, thanks, I get really nervous because I don't want to put them in a position where either on them would fight, and hurt eachother, they are such lovely buns and I no they would make eachother so happy, how long did it take to bond ur two?

User is Offline tanlover14
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6/18/2012 12:55 PM
I completely understand. I was so nervous about putting them together in the carrier but my boyfriend drove and I held the carrier on my lap and kept an eye on them just to make sure it worked fine. I think the pure terrifying nature of it all will really bring them together though. I read in a lot of bunny research links that the reason it works so well is that when rabbits are in danger they immediately come together as a group, since multiple bunnies are stronger and easier to defend each other than one on it's own. So I think unless they're both really comfortable in the carrier it should work really well. Our breeder also told us if you don't have a carrier, you can put them in a box (and bring an extra box just in case you really feel too nervous after you begin to keep them together the whole time) and just go for a ride around the block or two and it can be wonders for beginning to bond them.

They aren't completely bonded yet (they don't live together, only have play time together), since we are bringing the third home tonight we wanted to bond them as a group so hopefully one won't get rejected, but they are fabulous out together! Have your buns groomed each other at all when they've been out? I've heard that's usually a really good sign that the bonding process is going well. Another trick, since you said your bun is being very territorial is too switch them in their cages back and forth for a day or two... so they get used to having the others smell in their terroritory. It helps them view it as not just theres anymore.

I'll be starting the bonding process later again tonight when I bring the other one home -- since he's coming home alone and not with the others in the carrier, I'll let you know how it goes and if I catch onto anything that makes it easier or helps tonight! The best learning technique is experience.

I've read just not to let them fight. And keep a spray bottle handy just in case they do. This will get them away from each other before they can hurt one another. If they hurt each other, they may never be able to be bonded because one bad experience can make them leery forever. So that may help calm your nerves, it definitely did mine although I haven't had to use it yet.

In the beginning, the girl seemed annoyed by the boy and him always jumping around her but over the last two weeks (that's how long we've had her), she's really begun to open up with him. She plays with him and grooms him so hopefully when they are ready to be fully bonded it won't take too long!
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User is Offline tanlover14
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6/18/2012 1:05 PM
ALSO! Always make sure their bonding sessions end on a good note! Even if it's only you giving them veggies while their together... ending on a good note is important or they'll begin to associate bad things with being in the same area as the other bunny. Play toys they can play with together have also helped ours bond a little better. When she'd be playing with a toy he'd get curious and vice versa. Even if they fight, you can use the spray bottle to separate them but then feed them veggies or something quick so they can take something good from the bad situation.

I'm not an expert -- but I've heard making sure they end on a good note is always a very very important thing!
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User is Offline Stitchntwinks
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6/18/2012 10:14 PM
They have groomed eachother, I think tonight I'm going to put them in a basket and stress them a bit then put them in a neutral space for like 5 mins and see what there like, if I have a towel to scoop them up, a water spray and some food I think I should be ok, u have heard people saying that some bunny pairs need to fight a bit to get it out their system, I swap ther litter trays round all the time, and their food bowls, it doesn't seem to bother them in the slightest, they still use the littertrays with hardly any mistakes. Which I think is a good sign, I'm confident stitch is totally over neutering now so I think their ready, how did your bonding session go? I was out last night so couldn't start yesterday, deffinately going to tonight though.

User is Offline tanlover14
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6/19/2012 6:15 AM
That's really good! My bonding session went pretty good for the most part!

Although, oddly enough --- our 3rd little boy was just neutered last week and our other male isn't neutered and they actually bonded the best! I was surprised. I thought their hormones would totally interfere with each other since I heard it takes two weeks for all their hormones to get out of their systems. The only time they had any confrontation was when our un-altered male started humping the altered one. But I didn't interfere (since I heard all rabbits need to do that to figure out whos the dominant one) and after a few minutes they were laying together. They even gave each other a few grooms on the head!

The girl was fine with him for the most part but they started chasing each other and it made me a little nervous. I couldn't tell if it was aggression or what. When they stopped she went to a corner though and when he came over she made this weird noise I've never heard her make before and it's slightly difficult to explain - like a mixture between a hiss and a purr it sounded like and then she thumped. LOL. But she was like that when she met the first male also so I'm hoping it's nothing to bad. We're hoping they become a bonded trio!

The girl has such a different personality than the other two ! The third one we got (the altered boy) is a total NUT! He's already jumping in our laps and jumping on the couch and everything. And he had to have spent like 30 minutes alone and we came back out and his whole cage was turned upside down. He had tore his ceiling toy off the top of the cage and his water bowl was spilled everywhere and his hay holder was on the other side of the cage with his litter box dragged to one side. And he already figured out how to open the door to his cage. LOL. This guy is giving us a run for our money but he's SOOO cute! And lovable too!

I have to bond them all again before I head to work tonight so I'll let you know if anything new happens!
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User is Offline Stitchntwinks
207 posts Send Private Message
6/19/2012 10:07 AM
Aww that's sounds really positive!! I bet they are soo cute togetheri dont think im brave enough to have three, my two are enough work as it is!! He sounds like such a tinker!! Twinkle is a bit like thats she will come see us on the sofa and race around and turn things over too, stitch is way more laid back, so hopefully they will make a good couple!,
I've just had our session, I got a wicker basket, put stitch in first as he's the calmer of the two and was unlikely to jump straight out, I the put twins in, she did a little grown at him, I held her hear down for a second and said no firmly then kinds pulled the basket round the kitchen table for a while and they were snuggling in loads, I stopped for a second and they still cuddled and to be honest looked rather confused, then I did it again thre was no sign of aggression, it was cute to see they were seeking comfort from the other one and totally gives me hope for the future bonding!,
After doing this and stopping over and over for about 10 mins I stopped and watched them snuggle for like 2 minutes or so, I decided to leave it at that for today, and build up to having neutral space time once they trust eachother a little more. I'm going to do it again tomorrow morning before work then tomorrow night again too,

When I gave twinkle a cuddle after she was really burying her head under my chin and giving me massive cuddle, it was so sweet.

Anyways, that's pretty much todays session in a nutshell, any1 have any advise for the next step or how long I shud do these sessions for?


User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
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6/20/2012 5:29 AM
Sounds like you're making progress!

One thing I did was combine the bathtub and stressing into the same session. They started with some quick stressing in a laundry basket, then into the tub. They would be good together for 10-15min, then when they started nipping or chasing I'd put them back into the basket for 20sec or so. Once they were back in the tub I had some more calm time.

Gradually work the sessions up longer and longer. The way I thought about it was if I was bored and comfortable enough to read a book and not watch them every second, I was ready to take the next step. I did sessions in the bathtub until they could be in there for an hour and I could read next to them. Then I moved them out into a small hallway (also neutral to them) and started again with shorter 15min sessions, working up to about 4 hours. At that point, they moved into a cage together full time, though I made the cage as neutral as possible by reconfiguring it and temporarily moving it into the living room from the dining room so neither would be too territorial of it.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline tanlover14
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6/20/2012 7:11 AM
Thought I'd post an update on my bonding lil buns!! They are so cute but yesterday the girl thumped her foot off at our new altered male bun. Finally they had a good sniff on each other and both went their separate ways with no thump so I ended it there and put them away on a good note... Today however, she kept following him around but every time he'd turn around and acknowledge her she'd thump at him again and so he'd walk away and she did the same thing! This kept going on for a good 5 minutes until finally out of nowhere, she just started snuggling up under him. Everywhere he went she followed him and they spent the next 15 minutes doing nothing but sharing food and laying next to each other! I'm so happy -- I'm not sure if it's their age that is helping (since they are all the same age, 4 months, and from the same litter) or what since they are all very young but I was hoping I wouldn't have to put them in the tub. The girl is just SOOO skittish that any time I do something like that I feel soooo bad. Thankfully that looks like it won't be necessary!

The next two are getting neutered this coming Tuesday and so after they are fully healed hopefully they will keep the same friendship and be easier to bond so we can eventually put the three altogether! I was getting really worried about her hating the new him bun and having to keep them separate. I would hate it if I had two bonded bunnies and one alone. I feel like I'd have no choice but to get a fourth that she could pick out but I was really hoping not since 3 bunnies has been quite a job! Getting them all out to play on their own and then all out for bonding and such. Takes up a good few hours everyday!

I'm SOOO happy your two are doing good also! What kind of buns are they???
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User is Offline Stitchntwinks
207 posts Send Private Message
6/20/2012 8:19 AM
Aww w sounds like shes in looovveeeee tan lover hehehe I no me too, I'm off tomorrow so gna have so bonding time in a neutral space

Elrohwen, that's along th basis of what I was thinking of doing tomorrow, though put them in the basket and walk upstairs to the bathroom and put them in the bath, and see how they react, they were both breathing heavily this morNing when I took them out the basket so I hope they aren't getting too stressed by the whole situation!!
I think il see what happens tomorrow, is it best to have food and toys their for them or for them to concentrate on eachother?


User is Offline tanlover14
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6/20/2012 8:43 AM
I put toys with mine and they began playing with the toys together! I just made sure I had a wide assortment. I took all of their toys and put them together in the neutral area with a neutral litter box with hay in it and a water bowl. And they all seemed to share everything pretty nicely!
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User is Offline Stitchntwinks
207 posts Send Private Message
6/20/2012 9:25 AM
Yea sounds good to me,I swap their food bowls and litter trays a lot so they should be ok with sharing, I think they are pretty much getting used to eachothers smell too now, it's really exiting but so nerve wracking too, how's you buns getting on?

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
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6/20/2012 9:41 AM
I would leave out anything they could get territorial of (food, toys, litterboxes, etc) for now and gradually add them in later.

The safest thing to add in would probably be a little pile of hay since they're less likely to be territorial about it (it's not as exciting as pellets, for example) and could encourage them to eat together which is good for bonding.
- Elrohwen
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