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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > New bunny owner of 3 Holland Lops!
Last Post by Skipper's Mama at 10/23/2012 1:16 PM (49 Replies)
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User is Offline sweethoneybuns
Long Beach, CA
11 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 9:38 AM
Hello everyone! I am a mother of 3 beautiful children who each wanted their own little bunny rabbit to care for. & I have many many questions. Can they all live together in the same cage & be able to get along? Or do I have to put them all in their own cages? I want them all to bond with each other. 2 are males & 1 is female. They will all be neutered as soon as they are old enough. Can they all be out of their cage at the same time & play with each other? Since they have bunny companions, will they even care about us humans? Will one bunny feel left out or can all 3 bond together just fine? I just want them all to be happy! Hopefully you all can help me so I can pass what I've learned along to my children. If there is anything else you'd like to add, let me know! I'm sure I've missed a bunch of other questions to ask.

User is Offline Zap
78 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 9:52 AM
Have you all gotten them at the same time? Bonding is a process, but I think it will be easier if they are all coming together at the same time. Bunnies can be territorial, but if they successfully bond, they can have a "honeymoon" phase in which your kids may feel a little left out.
It can take rabbits a long time to come to trust a human; even a whole year! So it may take some time for your bunnies and children to come to their full bonding capacity, but with lots of patience and love you can make it work
It is a good idea for each bunny to have their own cage so that they have their own place to go to, especially if the cages are not that large. Since these are caged rabbits, make sure that they are getting plenty of out-of-cage exercise. A lot of rabbits will be more active in the afternoon than earlier in the day, so this is a good time for them to run and play out of the cage. You can use food (like flat parsley) to tempt the rabbits to stretch their backs and so on. If the kids are actively engaged in exercising the rabbits by helping them stretch or by teaching them tricks, they will bond more easily with the rabbits. As long as the rabbits are having good experiences with rewards while they are with the children, they will learn to associate these things with them.
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User is Offline sweethoneybuns
Long Beach, CA
11 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 10:04 AM
I got them all at the same time, but they are all different ages. The males are 2mos & 3mos. The female is 5mos. The males seem to get along just fine but the female will mount the males & start fighting so I have to separate them. When the kids get home from school they usually let their bunnies out of the cage to play. But the female one has to be in a separate room when she is out. My baby is so sad that her bunny can't play with the other bunnies! Haha. Right now the 2 males share a 36" cage & the female has her own cage, same size. I'm planning to get another cage to separate the males because I heard that as they get older, they may start fighting. Is it alright to start feeding them things other than pellets & hay right now? I wasn't sure if I could give them any treats yet. What does it mean to stretch their backs? Do you think it's best to have them out one at a time so they can bond better with my children? I feel that when they are out at the same time, they pay no attention to my kids. My kids get really sad! But they do enjoy the bunnies hopping around like maniacs. My kids even cut out all of our boxes (shoe boxes, cereal boxes, etc.) & made little tunnels & homes for them to go into. The bunnies absolutely love it! They even jump in the air & do binkies. Buuuuut.. they still don't want to be touched. Hopefully that changes soon!

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
Forum Leader
17817 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 10:21 AM
Since the female is 5 months I would get her spayed asap. I would not even let her near the males until she is spayed. Although they are 2 and 3 months old and aren't sexually mature most likely, they will be very very soon and you don't want to risk the female getting pregnant.

I think if the males are getting along, I would not separate them unless there is a problem. Really in the end if they are bonded they need to share the same space, not separate.

I think it would be fine to slowly introduce some greens to them as well.

Yes, they will change and become more social as they age and feel comfortable.

User is Offline sweethoneybuns
Long Beach, CA
11 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 10:46 AM
Well, I'm not quite sure if they are both males. The breeder said he wasn't sure of the younger one yet. So yeah, I don't want to risk it. They will all have their own cages soon but be placed right next to each other so they can still see/smell each other. I feel the 2 males are both bonded.. will the female ever be able to share that bond with them? I'm planning to get her spayed asap.. so hopefully once all that is over with, she'll be a little bit nicer to the other buns.

User is Offline LoveChaCha
Rabbit Warren
6569 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 12:56 PM
Have you established an exotic vet yet? Rabbits are considered exotic pets and need to be seen by a vet for a well visit Especially if they are young they need to be looked over.

Here is a list of vets that are considered good by the House Rabbit Society:
http://www.rabbit.org/vets/index.html

I would make sure that the cages are not touching each other because there have been known pregnancies between cages that are situated right next to each other.

It takes a few months for a rabbit to come out of its shell, as they are prey animals, but when they do, they are great companions and fun to be around.

Females can bond to boys bunnies. There are even girl - girl pairs on this forum.
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User is Offline sweethoneybuns
Long Beach, CA
11 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 6:52 PM
Thank you all for your responses.. I am so glad to have found this forum. & yes, I have already found a very good vet for them. I know that they can bond w/ same sex & opposite sex.. but I just wanted to know if all 3 can bond together so that one isn't so left out all the time.

Also, one of them has been having diarrhea all day today! Should I get rid of the pellets & just let him eat hay for a day or two?

User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
3218 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 7:05 PM
If it's been going on all day I think it could be an idea to consider a trip to the vet as diarrhea in rabbits can be extremely bad.
Is it possible one of the children could have fed him/her something different ? If you are introducing greens that could be the problem, best to introduce any new food slowly and one at a time so if it does cause diarrhea you can pinpoint the cause.

I have 4 bonded rabbits but they are a family group still I do know other people that have bonded trio's. It all depends on the buns in the end.
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User is Offline tanlover14
3391 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 6:22 AM
Welcome to BB! I just wanted to pipe in -- I have a trio! And I have 2 boys and a girl. The boys were INSTANTLY buddies. I would have a vet check them out and see what they say to make sure they are in fact males. An experienced rabbit vet should be able to tell right away if they are male/female. My girl was in fact a terror to the boys and would only bond with them on HER TERMs. (From what I've read girls tend to be like that). Since she has been spayed, she is a WONDERFUL rabbit though. In the beginning, we were also worried that her bond to the boys was not as strong but I think before her spay she just wasn't as interested and since then -- she is ATTACHED to her brothers and follows them everywhere and cuddles! She DEMANDS grooms from them though!

If your female is mounting them than it is obvious she is trying to be the dominant bun! LOL. My girl was like that until she was spayed so I would suggest doing that ASAP. Especially so you can begin the bonding process as soon as the boys are old enough to be done. I wouldn't break the bond the boys currently have but I wouldn't let them live together full-time until you have a chance to bond all 3 pairs separately. I had to bond my girl and boy, girl and boy, and boy and boy separately before they would all play together nicely so I don't think anything of what you are saying is shocking at all!
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User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
Forum Leader
7322 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 10:01 AM
Baby bunnies always act bonded to each other when young, but that often changes as they get older, so separate cages are a must. They should be separated anyway as they are old enough to mate at this point (males can be sexually mature at 2 months in some cases, and females are by 5 months) unless you are absolutely 1000% sure they are the same gender (it's easy for even vets to mix this up, so I always recommend separating them anyway).

This site has a lot of information on bonding and we'll be happy to help when you're ready to put them all together again! Bonded bunnies are really great and it can be stressful to get them living together in peace, but it's worth it. Once bonded, they will all live together in one cage and can't be separated again (they're not like other pets who can live together, be separated, put back together, etc - once bonded, think of them like spouses who need to remain together). It can definitely be done! Most of us have single or pair bunnies, but we've had members with trios before. It can be a bit more work to bond them all together vs a pair, so just be prepared. They may be very easy and remain bonded from their youth, but many don't.

What is the diarrhea like? Is it really runny? If so, this is a very bad sign in a rabbit, especially one so young, and he needs to see a vet asap. If it's just soft smushy poop, it may be cecals, which they normally eat. Extra cecals can be normal in baby bunnies - mine had them for a week or two. If that's the case, keep an eye on him and still take him to the vet to make sure he doesn't have a parasite or something. I wouldn't take away the pellets just yet, but offer lots of hay.

- Elrohwen

User is Offline sweethoneybuns
Long Beach, CA
11 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 1:06 PM
Thanks Roberta! After some research & reading this forum, I have found out that it is not diarrhea & that it is just cecals. Can they eat carrots or asparagus this young? Or should I only be giving them dark leafy greens? I haven't really tried introducing anything new to them yet.

Thanks tanlover. (: Yes, my doe is definitely the more dominant one. She is also older & from a different litter. So you didn't let them play or interact at all until all 3 of them were spayed/neutered? I really would like to keep the 2 boys in the same cage.. but I'm worried one might be a girl! So I will go to the vet & get them checked asap.

Thank you, Elrohwen. So for now just keep them in separate cages? & then once they are bonded.. then all 3 of them can live in one cage? I am so confused.. haha. Can they all be bonded & each have their own cages still?

User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
3218 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 2:33 PM
Hi Honey Buns, Carrot is a treat so just a tiny slice every other day to start. Parsley in small quantities, bok choy, basil (mine all loved basil as babies and still adore it) Most authorities say that they should not start greens until 6 months which is probably right in most cases. Check out the food lists etc under diet on the BB home page. My buns were rescued from a free range garden so they were use to grass etc and basil, they were only weeks old at the time and were already eating solid food. I didn't find out until much later how young they actually were when they first arrived so they had greens from the beginning and their babies just decided that they wanted Mummy and Daddy's yummy greens and helped themselves.
Because I got caught out with the gender (from ignorance) I ended up with two oops litters, first one from not knowing the correct genders and the second one because the vet only told me to keep Piglet separated for a week not a month.... 6 weeks after the first litter I got a pre Xmas surprise. As adorable as baby bunnies are I never want to go through that experience again, I think I was more stressed than Pepper and giving them away to new homes would have to be the most distressing heart breaking thing. Thats how I ended up with 5, the last two babies I just could not part with despite people wanting them and when one family was unable to keep a bun from the first litter (Nermal) I took her back without question (got some rebonding to do there)
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User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
Forum Leader
11463 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 6:33 PM
Welcome!!

I agree, if you aren't sure of the sex of any, I would sepearte until you can fix them. The female could be spayed now, and perhaps the vet could sex the males and confirm in the mean time.

I would suggest checking out the 'bonding' section here for some info and also to see what others have found worked to bond bunnies. Once they are all fixed it will be easier to bond them (and safer! You don't want any babies) but it may take some work. When rabbits fight they can really hurt each other, so I think reading about bonding techniques and safety will really help you judge the dynamic and start readying them to bond

Good luck Keep us posted and congrats on your new additions!
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User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
Forum Leader
7322 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 2:33 AM
Once they are bonded, they must live in the same cage. As I said, rabbits can't really be casual companions. They're either separate, or bonded, and when they're bonded they need to live together and be together all the time.

I would definitely keep them separated. Rabbits can get pregnant very young which is dangerous (and obviously not a good idea in general). It will be much easier and safer to separate them until they're fixed, then rebond them.

You can definitely start introducing veggies to them. Start with one at a time, feed a little bit for a week, then add something else. There's a good list on this website for bunny safe veggies. I think most of us probably feed mostly leafy greens like lettuce, herbs, kale, etc.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
3218 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 3:22 AM
Straight from the BB HRS diet list. Please do not feed your rabbit any lettuce. Cos, Romaine and the darker varieties are OK but not just any lettuce. It will give them diarrhea and that may kill them.

VEGETABLES TO AVOID
Avocado
Bamboo shoots
Beans, dried
Beans, raw: lima, kidney, soy
Bracken Fern
Cassava
Coffee beans and plant
Whole corn kernels (can get stuck in intestines)
Grains
Lettuce, Iceberg

Millet
Nuts
Onions
Peas, dried
Potatoes, including peels
Rhubarb
Sweet peas
Sweet Potatoes
Tea leaves
Whole seeds

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User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
Forum Leader
17817 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 3:48 AM
Lettuce won't give rabbits diarrhea. That is simply not true. Iceberg won't give diarrhea either - it just is not recommended because it's grown conventionally and has a higher probability of pesticides due to his high water content and not a high nutrient content.

User is Offline tanlover14
3391 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 6:39 AM
Sorry if the bonding stuff is confusing! It can definitely be overwhelming, as I know from experience! But don't be discouraged. It just takes lots of Patience and time. Once it's done though -- the bond with them is incredibly heart warming and amazing to watch.

Once bonded they will HAVE to be kept in the same cage. Once bonded they can go through a very dramatic depression period if one bunny is taken away. Or if kept apart. Surgeries, illnesses, ect. are all good reasons for keeping them separate but the ONLY reasons.

I would not keep your two boys in the same cage for multiple reasons. One being if one is a girl, you really don't want to end up with an oops litter. And I'm sure your kids don't want to have to go through that either. It's an incredible amount of time, work, and heart break when you have to give them away to new homes. Another reason is -- they will have to be separated for about a week after their neuters anyways and in the mean time as their hormones start kicking in they could begin to fight. I did small play sessions with my boys before bonding them all but one was already neutered and EXTREMELY docile while my un-neutered male bun was very dominant so it worked fine but that was definitely a caution I took at my own risk. If they fight because of hormonal build-up and it gets nasty there's a very good chance you will never be able to bond them. Rabbits remember bad situations very well and if they do fight they may very well never get over it and accept each other.

When the time comes for bonding, I'd love to give you any advice I have to offer! But until then, I'd definitely keep them separated.
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User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
Forum Leader
7322 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 7:40 AM
Posted By Roberta on 10/11/2012 06:22 AM
Straight from the BB HRS diet list. Please do not feed your rabbit any lettuce. Cos, Romaine and the darker varieties are OK but not just any lettuce. It will give them diarrhea and that may kill them.


Lettuce is perfectly safe, though you are correct that iceberg is not recommended due to high water content and low nutrient content (though saying it will kill them is hyperbole - it's still a veggie like all others and not toxic the way a few can be for bunnies). There are plenty more varieties of lettuce beyond iceberg though. My pair live almost exclusively on romaine, green leaf, and red leaf lettuces (plus whatever random varieties I grow in my garden).
- Elrohwen

User is Offline sweethoneybuns
Long Beach, CA
11 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 1:39 PM
Oh no, I really don't want to end up with any oops litters. I do not have the time for that! I really hope that does not happen. The oldest is a doe & she's usually the one doing all the mounting, haha. They are all separated as of now. When is the youngest I can have them neutered by? The doe is ready to be spayed & her appointment is coming up next week. But the 2 males (one possibly female) is 2mos & 3mos.

Thank you, everyone. I have taken note on what they can & can not eat & also the bonding process. I can't wait to start! You all have been very helpful! A million thank yous. & I'm most likely going to be giving them spring mix. Is that okay? That's just what I always have in my fridge for myself.. & baby carrots.

Also, once they are all bonded again.. what is a good sized cage to keep 3 holland lops? I wish I would have known about all this "bonding" sooner before I bought all of them their own 36" cages. So pricey!! I had no idea that they would all have to live together. But it's okay, whatever makes the bunnies & my kids happy.

User is Offline CocoVermont802
103 posts Send Private Message
10/11/2012 1:44 PM

Just so you know, for spaying you may want to check your local humane society.

 Thats what I did and it only cost $30! Worth a little research!

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