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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > My rabbits attacked each other & drew blood - BONDED
Last Post by LittlePuffyTail at 11/25/2012 2:39 AM (39 Replies)
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User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/14/2012 7:53 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new.

I am trying to bond my two fixed rescue rabbits, one female and one male. I had the girl bunny for 3 months and decided to get her a friend. They did great during their bunny date yesterday so I adopted the male and brought him home. I put them in an x-pen with a divider in the middle. They were great all night. Today I had the day off so I decided to spend all day with them. I introduced them in an x-pen in a neutral area and they got along fine for SEVERAL hours. I put them back in their divided x-pen and went to dinner. When I came back, I found them both bleeding and one of my rabbit's eyes seems infected. I think they somehow went around the divider maybe. I will take them both to the vet tomorrow for their injuries.

I am thinking of giving up on the bonding experience because this is the most stressful thing I've ever been through. I don't think I am that good with rabbits to be doing such a difficult thing as bonding.. I wish I could just pay a professional. Please let me know if I should tough this out and keep trying or give up.


User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
Forum Leader
16760 posts Send Private Message
11/14/2012 9:21 PM
Oh dear - yes, bonding is stressful.

No matter what, I say at this point give it a break for a bit and see what the vet says tomorrow - hopefully they are both okay.

I know many people get discouraged bonding - it truly can be stressful and extremely time consuming. It sounds like today was the first session. I say don't give up on it just yet though. Let us know what the vet says and then come back on the bonding section and do a bonding journal and we will help you out.

Another thing - have you asked the rescue that you adopted them from if they can help bond them? Some rescues do...not all, it just depends on the rescue.

User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/14/2012 9:44 PM
Hi Sarita

Ok - I'll be back with an update tomorrow after the vet

User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/14/2012 10:15 PM

Bunny date:

Cage set-up:





Day 1:

Neutral area - they hung out in there for 5 hours without a problem


At 8:30, I put them back in the cage for dinner and when I came back I saw that they drew blood. Bailey's (dutch rabbit) eyelid is swollen red . Oliver's (fuzzy lop) is bleeding on his side and chin.

After I saw that, I separated them, and brought Bailey upstairs actually so that there would be 0% chance of them hurting each other again.

I'm going to vet tomorrow at 7:30am.

cries



User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15492 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 2:05 AM
The xpen set-up you have is more of an intermediate cage. When first starting out, they need to have at least 3 inches between them, and preferably be fully enclosed with a roof. Even if your original bunny is not a jumper, the new one may jump over the barriers.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11093 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 2:24 AM
How are your buns today?

I'm sorry you are dealing with a difficult bond. Yes, bonding is terribly stressful!!! After a bad fight, it's best to give them some time off and this will allow you to have some time to calm down too. My advice is do lots and lots of research while they are taking a break. It's great to have lots of different things to try.

You may want to re-start the bonding process with stressing, like car rides. This is often helpful when buns are being difficult.

Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
Forum Leader
16760 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 2:52 AM
Oh what a cute couple. I especially love the Dutch rabbits.

User is Offline Hazel
733 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 3:00 AM
Crystal, I'm sorry they are giving you such grief. Like Beka said, one panel as a divider is not enough, they still can fight and injure each other through the bars. There has to be several inches of space between their cages.
I hope everything goes well at the vet's!
"You ain't buna fide!"

User is Offline FrankieFlash
Michigan
1715 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 4:20 AM
Don't give up! I almost did, several times for a matter of fact but they encouraged me to keep at it on BB and I'm so glad they did. I now have 2 happily bonded buns.

Do take a break and let all wound heal but when you go back. Put them in separate housing and do bonding sessions in neutral territories. Increase the time of their bonding sessions but always start slow. And the most important thing is to end the bonding session on a good note. For example, treats or what I did was give them pets laying right next to each other. They enjoyed that.

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15492 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 4:43 AM
Definitely don't give up! They do seem to be getting along well already. I'd just try starting smaller and shorter at first. It's normal to want to rush through the process, but it's okay if it takes a couple weeks or longer of daily sessions.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Sam and Lady's Human
2006 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 5:36 AM
You have a really good start, despite the fight! They definitely need a buffer between them, so they can't get to each other at all for a while. Keep at it!

User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 8:44 AM

Thanks for all your support! I guess I won't give up yet even though I'm really scared.


We came back from the vet with oral antibiotics (which they don't like the taste of) and an eye paste... Luckily they are doing ok, but each of them has a pretty gnarly injuries right next to their eyes I separated them for now, with space in between the cages like you all suggested. I guess I'll just have to take it really slow. After they heal I guess I can try taking them for drives in the carrier or walking around with the carrier and shaking it up a bit. Thankfully I can work from home today and keep an eye on them.




User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11093 posts Send Private Message
11/15/2012 9:17 AM
Your lop looks pretty cranky in that pic. Is this just after the vet?
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/17/2012 7:05 PM
The rabbits are healing really well, and I had a successful bonding session today. I put them in their carrier and slid it back and forth for a few minutes and watched them cuddle close. After that, I configured my x-pen into a tiny area and placed them inside. They laid there and nuzzled a little. I gave them some food. Bailey ate it and cleaned herself. Oliver seemed pretty scared.. he didn't eat.

I'll try this again tomorrow and everyday for the next few days. When would it be appropriate to move on to the next area? And should I try my small bathroom floor (where they've both been before) or in a small x-pen outside on the lawn?

User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 8:28 AM
Another successful bonding session today. I put them in the carrier again and tilted it back and forth for 5 minutes. Oliver humped Bailey inside the carrier so I had to tilt it over on its side to make him stop. Then I sectioned off a small area in my bathroom with an x-pen and put them inside along with a bowl of spring mix. No one really ate. Oliver munched on a tiny piece that fell on the floor. Bailey was so cute.. she stood up on her hind legs and looked about. Not much room to move. Oliver just kind of laid in the corner panting with excitement/fear like he normally does whenever he's around Bailey. He mounted her a few times and this time she allowed it! After a few seconds of mounting, I pushed him off so that Bailey wouldn't be too upset. When he attempted to mount her face, I held him back and this time he actually eased off instead of dodging my hand and lunging at her with frustration. Bailey looked like she wanted to mount him once, but when I pet her she eased back. I'm starting to think Bailey isn't the dominant bunny after all. The first time they were together, she was the one who did most of the mounting! He tried to mount her as well, but he wasn't able to catch her that often. When he did mount, that's usually when the fights would break out. I guess I'll keep doing sessions in the corner of the bathroom, and after that I'll try a bigger space on the lawn which is another neutral area.

User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/18/2012 2:00 PM

I put them together in the bathroom again for 20 minutes and there was hardly any mounting. Then I put them in an x-pen on the lawn for another 20 minutes. They ate together, cleaned themselves, and chased each other a little. After a while, both rabbits took turns mounting each other, but not as aggressively as the first time. Bailey got more humps in than Oliver and he seemed frustrated by that. Can there be two dominant bunnies in a pair? I'm not sure who is going to win this. Luckily, there was no fighting but there was still some hair pulling, chasing, and mounting that kept me on edge the whole time. 

I also noticed that Oliver kept spraying everywhere. He would pee while running and then flick his feet back. Or he would jump over Bailey while peeing and drops would land on her back. He also ran over my shoe while peeing. I'm not sure why he's doing that. Maybe he feels possessive of Bailey towards me? Should I have let him settle into his new surroundings for a couple of weeks before starting with the bonding? He probably doesn't feel very secure in his new home yet.


User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/19/2012 12:17 PM

After a few great sessions, they fought again. Oliver bit me in the hand when I tried to separate them. I ended up pouring water on Oliver and that made him stop attacking. I was able to separate them pretty quickly this time and neither of them seemed to be injured at all. I separated them for 5 minutes then put them back together in a smaller space, and they were fine. They are so great in small spaces, but whenever I try to give them more room they start chasing and mounting within 20 minutes and eventually they will probably fight. How will I be able to tell when it's time to move on to a bigger space?

Small spaces:


Bigger spaces:




User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/19/2012 9:59 PM

In a 6x2 x-pen, they plopped down right next to each other.. lots of progress these past couple of days

Should I try to keep them together all night?



User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11093 posts Send Private Message
11/20/2012 1:39 AM
I wouldn't leave them together over night yet, since they have had ups and downs. Have you tried any stress bonding? It may be helpful in this situation.

Can there be two dominant bunnies in a pair? I'm not sure who is going to win this.
They will continue to try to dominate the other until one submits.
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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User is Offline Crystal
30 posts Send Private Message
11/20/2012 7:09 AM
They seemed really comfortable in that x-pen set up so I kept them in there at night and slept where I could see and hear them. They didn't fight. Bailey is relaxed and independent and Oliver is more insecure and will follow Bailey around close for the most part. He seems to be the dominant one now. I've seen him circle her if she's away from him for too long. I don't think it's aggressive, but I still tell him no because he doesn't seem relaxed when he's doing it. She groomed him once that I saw which was great to see I haven't seen him groom her even though she will present her head to him sometimes. Whenever she lays down, he will lay down next to her and they will take naps together. I am a lot more comfortable now around them but still keeping my eye on Oliver who acts like a needy, obnoxious child although he is older than her. I hope they will be bonded soon.

Oliver is not great with his litter box. He is ok with peeing in the litterbox, but I will sometimes find a urine stain outside the box next to it and have to clean it up and move the box over it. He will leave pellets everywhere. Should I work on the pellet training after they are finished bonding or during?
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > My rabbits attacked each other & drew blood - BONDED

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