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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > A friend for Digby
Last Post by Colin at 11/20/2008 7:42 AM (47 Replies)
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User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/01/2008 2:38 PM

I just made an appointment to have Digby meet some eligible bachelorettes on Sunday

Does anyone have any advice for these first meetings? We're bringing him to a bunny foster home (part of the House Rabbit Network) here in Massachusetts, which has 5 females.




User is Offline jerseygirl
Australia
14628 posts Send Private Message
10/01/2008 3:58 PM

Wonderful! Goodluck! I wish your webcam coverage extended to the foster home!




User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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10/01/2008 8:31 PM
Try to do it somewhere neutral and since he's going for a car ride first he may be a bit off, but try to watch his behavior and thiers as closely as possible and really read into it.


Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/02/2008 5:24 AM
"The Bunny Bachelor" lol. good luck. have you read any bonding articles? they sum up very well what you want to look for. remember that most of the time it is not love at first sight, but if you have "tolerate at first sight" that is usually good enough. and the dynamic can and probably will change once you get home to his turf. you might not be able to date all the ladies the same day b/c if he gets upset with one or two, that can color his opinions of the others. it's best to actually go back a couple times and do repeat dates to see if the feelings are real or if it was just a one-time thing that they were getting along.


Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2008 12:18 PM

We just got back from the foster home, and Digby has a new little friend!  A grey dwarf bunny named Yoshi was very friendly to him, and started grooming Digby right away!


We tried a couple other rabbits first.  There was Rosie, a dark grey female with a white nose, who is very friendly with humans, but was a bit too aggressive for poor Digby. As soon as she got a bite of his fur (but fortunately no real damage), we knew the date was over.

Next was Truffle, a beautifule black bunny with a brown trim (looked like a Britannia Petite, but was almost twice the size). They did fairly well together, and she did groom Digby a little once or twice. Unfortunately I think he was still a little gunshy from his encounter with Rosie.

After that, we introduced him to the funniest Angora, who looked almost like a Koala with big ears. They were fine together, but no sparks.

Finally, we brought in Yoshi, who went right up to Digby and licked his ears. After a couple minutes, Digby came out of his shell a little, and after a bit of mutual sniffing, tried to mount Yoshi to let him know who was the boss. They ate a little snack together, did some more grooming, and we decided to give it a shot.

We had an uneventful car ride home with the two of them snuggled together in one carrier. We did a little bonding session in the bathroom (while I scrambled to finish setting up the second cage). Now the two of them are settling into their new homes. Digby is in the new cage tonight, and Yoshi's in his old cage. I'm planning on switching them each day.

I'll try to get some pictures of Yoshi soon - wish them both luck!

 

Huge thanks to Suzanne from the House Rabbit Network - she was very helpful and knowledgable. She even weighed Digby (he's 6lbs - and she thinks he might still be growing!)  She also gave us some tips for picking him up. We had been having trouble with that, but today I had him scooped up, on his back in my arms, and he barely even fidgeted.

 




User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/06/2008 5:51 AM

I love these bunnies. I can't believe how well the bonding is going!

They had another session on the bathroom floor this morning. After they sniffed each other a little, I put some greens on the floor for them to share. Digby, being the piggy little bun he is, started chowing down right away. Yoshi was a little hesitant, but he did eat a couple bites. Amazingly though, Digby didn't even eat everything before he started sniffing Yoshi again. He tried mounting Yoshi a couple times (very gently), but I quickly brushed him off. The thing that really got to me was that Digby was honking every time Yoshi was nearby.

This went on for about half an hour. Sometimes Digby would chase Yoshi a little, and when he realized I wouldn't let him mount Yoshi, he would groom Yoshi's back a little. I got the two of them lying side by side, and gave them some nose rubs. Then, Digby completely flopped over next to Yoshi - I was so happy! When Yoshi realized that Digby was finally relaxing, he started grooming Digby's ears. He dove right in there (which was hilarious - Yoshi's entire face fits in Digby's ear). Unfortunately I think Digby might be a little ticklish in there, as he started flipping his ears after a couple seconds.

I can't wait until Yoshi feels a little more at home - he's so submissive around Digby. I'm giving him some solo exercise time right now, and I've seen several binkies, which is great.




User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/06/2008 6:08 AM
it's okay to allow mounting as long as it's done in the right direction (no mounting the face, that can be dangerous!), it does not go on for longer than about 20-30 seconds, and the bunny being humped is not upset by it. mounting is a way that they determine dominance so it is a natural part of the bonding process for some buns.


Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/06/2008 7:08 AM

Good to know, thanks Beka. There was a little face mounting, but I'll be leave them alone for a bit otherwise.




User is Offline Colin
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10/06/2008 3:06 PM

Well, wouldn't you know it... we did another bonding session tonight and Yoshi mounted Digby this time. Is it a problem if they both mount each other - will they be competing for dominance?

The session still went really well - they both seemed to be grooming each other equally.




User is Offline Colin
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10/07/2008 3:08 PM

I think I made a rookie mistake this morning - things were going so well with Digby and Yoshi that I decided to try putting them both in their "exercise room" together. I did put a barrier up so it was about one third its normal size (about 6x8 ft).  It wasn't terrible, but there was a lot more chasing and mounting (from both, although poor little Yoshi wasn't very sucessful), with much less grooming.

So tonight, we put them in the bathroom again, and walled off the area behind the toilet so they wouldn't run and chase and hide back there. They were great - even better than last night. They both groomed each other, although Yoshi did most of it.  We put some greens on the floor for them, and they both chowed down this time - I think Yoshi is becoming much more comfortable around Digby. They both did a little self grooming after the meal, and then snuggled up next to each other. I gave them some nose rubs, and the both seemed incredibly content.

We now have their cages next to each other - they used to be about 5 feet away. Yoshi currently looks like he's teaching Digby about the joys of ripping up paper




User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/08/2008 4:04 AM
it sounds like it's going good so far. yes, just go slowly... it's easy to get anxious and wanna "see how they do" but that can actually reverse progress you've already made. it sounds tho like there was no harm done. back in the neutral space they were quite happy!

have you been switching cages everyday? this is where you leave everything as is and only the bunny moves cages. it's very important for getting them used to each other's scent and using the other's things.


Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/08/2008 4:25 AM

Yeah, we've been switching the cages each day since Yoshi came home, and last night we put the cages next to each other.

We had another bonding session in the bathroom this morning that went very well. Digby is more successful at mounting because of the size difference, but they both try every now and then.




User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2008 5:47 PM

Today was a big day for our buns - starting with a trip to the vet. They both did very well in the carrier together, and also when I put them in the bathroom after we got home.

Tonight, we set up an xpen in the living room and had the buns in there for about 3 hours. Digby mounted Yoshi near the begining of the session, which Yoshi usually tolerates. They were doing very well until the end - plenty of grooming and snuggling. They also shared a litter box for the first time. However, at the end Yoshi became determined to mount Digby. He always tries to mount Digby from the side since he's smaller - which results in the two of them spinning around in a circle as Digby turns around to see what's going on.

I placed them next to each other and gave them some nose rubs, but a couple minutes later they started again, so I repeated the nose rubs and put them in their cages. I did notice a couple small tufts of fur on the ground, which I think are from Yoshi trying to keep Digby in place.

Until now I've been giving Digby some solo exercise time before the sessions since he's usually a little pushier and more active (Yoshi has his solo exercise time afterwards). I think I'm going to have to give them both exercise time before the sessions though.




User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/13/2008 8:53 AM
you might try doing a stress activity before the bonding if that worked for you. even if it's just a couple minutes on the washing machine. 3 hours might be a bit long for this stage. maybe cap it off at an hour so they don't have enough time to get aggressive. just enough time to eat and snuggle a little bit and chill out.

so the xpen situation is working out well tho?


Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/13/2008 8:55 AM
also... you have a webcam? have you thought about doing a short "bonding show", maybe 15 or 20 minutes... would that be possible?


Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/13/2008 2:06 PM

Actually, I think we may have moved beyond the need for the xpen. I put the xpen in their playroom this morning, and they were doing very well for about 2 hours. They did seem a little restless - they weren't annoying each other, but I think because they knew they were in their playroom, they wanted to be able to run around freely. I crossed my fingers and let them out, and they were great. They ran around together, did some binkies, and when they got tired they snuggled up in a corner of the room. I also let them explore both cages together when it was time for their midday nap. I let them into the playroom together again tonight, and they're still doing really well. I definitely haven't seen Yoshi do this many binkies before. It's great to see them running around freely together. If they continue to do this well, I think I'm going to try having them share a cage in a couple days.

I didn't think to set up the webcam where we've been bonding them. It's possible if I hook it up to my laptop. I'm not sure how useful it would be since they're so close, but I could give it a shot. I'll try to upload some of the videos I've taken with my digital camera.




User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
2819 posts Send Private Message
10/15/2008 12:59 PM
I think that you're ready for 24/7 housing. from the videos, I'd say they're bonded now. Yoshi showed no aggression when Digby sniffed his behind and well, if Digby flops any harder against Yoshi, you'll have a small, cute throw rug.


My bonding quest with Maryann - Read about a less than easy bonding with two buns - but they did bond!

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/16/2008 5:42 PM

Sigh... I thought they were pretty much bonded.

We had their cages next to each other and were switching them each day. They've been having shared exercise time for the past couple days - 2-4 hours at a time, twice a day. They were doing great - no signs of aggression, not even any humping. They were even snuggling and grooming each other every now and then.

I spent a couple hours today breaking down the temporary NIC cage, cleaning everything, and building an enclosed pen around the large dog cage we have. I put Digby and Yoshi in there together, and they seemed fine for about 2 hours. Just as we were getting ready to go to bed, my girlfriend heard them scuffling. She came in and saw the 2 of them fighting in the litterbox. By the time I got there they were inside the dog cage. I separated them twice, putting them in different parts of their new home, but they seemed intent on finishing the fight.

Right now, Digby is in the new space, and Yoshi is in an xpen in their exercise room. I guess tomorrow I'll go back to stress bonding them - car/washing machine rides followed by some time in the xpen, and if they do well there, rides followed by time in the new enclosure.

Any suggestions/insight would be greatly appreciated.




User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/16/2008 6:16 PM

I think one mistake I made was only putting one litterbox in there. It's big enough for both, and I've seen them use it together before, but that seems to be where the fight started. It's also possible that they may have been munching on the same piece of hay, as I've also seen that, but it didn't result in a fight last time.

One thing I'm concerned about is if I leave Digby in the new enclosure overnight, he'll claim that space as his own. Should I try putting both of them in the xpen? I can stay up pretty late to supervise them. I think tomorrow I'll take the dog cage out of the enclosure, and create the xpen with the L-shaped divider that MarkusDark mentioned in another thread.




User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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10/16/2008 7:11 PM
The xpen with the L shape is a great idea, and I think two litter boxes is a good idea too or at least a super big one they can both fit in.


Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart
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