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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > A friend for Digby
Last Post by Colin at 11/20/2008 8:42 AM (47 Replies)
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User is Offline Colin
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10/17/2008 4:21 AM

It looks like this may take some time.

I have the two of them in the xpen with an L-shaped divider. I tried leaving one end of the divider open, but they keep getting into scuffles. Fortunately neither of them appear to be injured, but they were going at it pretty hard, and there were several tufts of fur flying.

This morning I tried the washing machine ride for the first time. They were fine in the laundry basket together, and definitely snuggled up next to each other, although there was no grooming or anything. I put them back in the xpen afterwards with the divider open and gave them a little bit of greens, but Digby was the only one who ate. A couple minutes later, they started fighting again. It looks like Yoshi is starting things by nipping Digby on the side. I separated them for a minute, but they started up again before too long.

They're still in the xpen, but the divider is connected to both sides again. It has two sides of NIC grids so they can't nip each other through it very easily. I've attached a pic of the setup below.

I'm really worried - I'm not sure exactly what started this feud, but they've never fought like this before. Should I just go back to square one, or should I try keeping them in the xpen together until they "make up"? Does anyone have experience with bonding bunnies who were doing great, and then took a serious step backwards?


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User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/17/2008 4:56 AM
what are you doing when they start to fight? are you spraying with a water bottle? i think you might want to take it back a couple steps to a semi-neutral location. i wouldn't do stress bonding just yet, i would wait and use that as a last resort. go to a small semi-neutral area, have a large litterbox with some munchies, and a spray bottle. you will have to spray before the aggression starts, so keep a close eye on the body language. close supervision will also help you see who is going for who, what kind of events are triggering the aggression. keep the session shorter, not more than an hour. i liked having a small laundry basket with me. in the case of a fight, i would lower it upside down gently over one of the buns. this would keep them within the same area but allow things to calm down for about a minute... and my hands and arms would not be in the way. you've made great progress with them, but it might have been a case of just moving too fast. with mine, once there was no fighting at all, i still kept going with the regular sessions for about a week to make sure. keep switching sides every night also...


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

User is Offline Colin
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10/17/2008 5:22 AM

I do have a spray bottle that I've tried, although I think I might have to get one that has more of a "stream" than a spray. It sometimes works if I catch one of them being aggressive before they really start fighting. Other than that, I've been using a piece of cardboard to separate them when necessary. I'll look around and see if I can find a laundry basket or something like it that's the right size (the one I used this morning is too big).




User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/17/2008 6:42 AM
you will need a stream setting on the bottle. a mist won't be enough to stop them.


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

User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
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10/17/2008 7:53 AM
Where is the pen located? Is it in a neutral space or is it Digby's ol' stomping grounds? It is possible that there is still some space issues happening with them. If you have a couple of old sheets, I'd suggest putting them around the x-pen so they can't see outside of the pen.

Do you have a bath tub to do some bonding sessions in? You may need to restrict their space again with the bonding. If they are continuing to show aggression, you may need to take a step back although the current setup should be fine to keep them in.

Sometimes rabbits just do or 'say' something that sets them off and then there's a whole new 'battle' over dominance. I know this may sound silly but the moon is now just waning so maybe that was the issue. The videos did seem like they were ready for the next step.


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

User is Offline Colin
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10/17/2008 8:11 AM

The xpen is in their "exercise room", which they've been roaming freely a couple hours at a time, twice a day for the past 4 days. Granted, Digby was there first, but they were doing so well in there together before. I'll see if I can find some old sheets to block the view.

Should I start giving them solo exercise time again, until they can do well together in an undivided space?




User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
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10/17/2008 8:23 AM
I would give them some solo time again for about five days and then try the dual exercise time again. I know that this may sound silly but we just had a full moon that was more 'powerful' than normal.

Sorry, I live near Berkeley so I haveta be part hippie.



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

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/17/2008 8:23 AM
my experience has been this: towards the end of my bonding adventure, the only out-time my buns got were *during* the bonding sessions. i think if you do it that way they will begin to equate playtime (a GOOD thing!) with the other bun ALWAYS being there. if they have separate playtime, it's easier to pretend that "the other guy" is not a permanent fixture... they will have limited runtime for the short term, but in the long term you'll have a better result.


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

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/17/2008 8:25 AM
LMAO!!! we posted at the same time Markus and gave opposite advice! NICE!


do it Markus' way and then try it mine... lol!


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

User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
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10/17/2008 10:03 AM
I am a big fan of not going back. But if the first thing Yoshi does during playtime is to go after Digby, then I'd suggest seperate playtimes but within site of one another.

Note, I'm not an expert on bonding - I just went through hell for 4 months bonding my two.


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

User is Offline Colin
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10/23/2008 6:19 AM

It looks like things are back on track, with a couple minor differences.

After their spat, I reassembled the 2nd NIC cage (sigh). For the first couple days after that, we went back to bonding sessions in the bathroom, and for the past 3 or 4 days, we've been bonding them in the xpen in the living room. They're doing well - snuggling and grooming each other - although I still have to keep an eye on them. Digby doesn't seem interested in mounting Yoshi anymore, but Yoshi does often stick his nose in Digby's hindquarters. I think Yoshi is nipping him, since after a couple seconds, Digby gets annoyed and turns around. Last night Yoshi tried mounting Digby again, which never ends well. He can't really hold him down, since Yoshi is so much smaller, which means that Digby just turns around, and they both go after each other's hindquarters, spinning around. I think Yoshi still really wants to be the dominant one though. He's definitely more comfortable now, as he often flops next to Digby - I hadn't seen him flop at all before, unlike Digby, who's a chronic bunnyflopper

This morning, Yoshi was a little weird. The two of them shared some veggies and snuggled a bit. They were both in the litterbox, then Yoshi hopped off to the opposite corner and sat down. After a little while, he thumped. Digby hopped over to him and snuggled up. Then Yoshi thumped again. Digby stuck his head under Yoshi's, and Yoshi started grooming him. Yoshi thumped again, but kept grooming Digby! I guess Digby wasn't the thing that was annoying him (might have been the sound/vibrations of the heater or dryer from downstairs).




User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/23/2008 6:29 AM
this sounds odd, but is there anyway you could pet Digby so Yoshi could hump for a moment without a fight breaking out? sometimes they just have to get it out of their system and it needs to be allowed for a short time.


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

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2008 1:27 PM

They started fighting again while bonding last night. I didn't see exactly what started it, but they were in the litterbox again. I think next time we're going to try in a new area, maybe the kitchen, without the litterbox.

Beka, I'll try to keep Digby calm so Yoshi can get the humping out of the way, but Yoshi usually starts by nipping his backside, and it usually doesn't turn into humping.

 

Does anyone know any bonding experts who aren't here on BinkyBunny? I'd love to get some advice from someone with experience bonding 2 males.




User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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10/25/2008 5:08 AM
^^^that i don't know... you could always contact the rescue you got Yoshi from and see if they do boarding/bonding adventures... aside from that, it's really just working with them every day, reading the signs, and not giving up. if something is consistently not working, try something else. i think two males are generally the easier of the same sex pairings. females tend to be more territorial.


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

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
10/26/2008 11:59 AM
We've been doing the bonding sessions back in the bathroom again, and it's working much better. They still occasionally go for each other's hindquarters (can't tell if they're trying to groom or nip, or both), but I've been giving nose rubs to the one being nipped/groomed, and that seems to defuse the situation. No humping attempts at all for the past couple days either.

I haven't had a chance to clean their anal glands yet, but I'm wondering if that might help, since that's where some of the hormones are secreted from. Neither one really enjoys being picked up or handled, so I'm working on getting them used to it.



User is Offline MarkBun
Richmond, CA
2825 posts Send Private Message
10/29/2008 7:52 AM
One thing you'll have to realize is that they probably won't ever be 100% calm friends. Maryann and Dono still get into tiffs about once a week that last for about 3-5 seconds. Other than that, things seem to be progressing normally.


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

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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10/29/2008 1:05 PM
^^ That's definitely true...every once in a while Rupert will nip Kahlua when she goes by, and sometimes they'll even have a little hump! But they've been bonded since June and otherwise don't have scuffles, cuddle and coexist peacefully and lovingly.

Glad things are going better -keep up the great work!


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

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
11/04/2008 6:55 AM

The bonding is... still going. Each session, they get into at least one little scuffle. But they also groom each other each session. I think I'm going to give them a day or two off, then start again with either a car ride or washing machine ride.




User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
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11/04/2008 7:26 AM
you might not need to do a stressful activity if they are basically getting along, that's for when they are really out for blood. will they eat veggies or hay together? or sit in a litterbox together? how is the water bottle working? do you spray before the fight starts?


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

User is Offline Colin
107 posts Send Private Message
11/04/2008 7:33 AM

They do eat veggies together peacefully, but they seem to be getting slightly more aggressive over the past 2 weeks. Sometimes the water bottle helps, but not always. Should I spray one as soon as he nips the other's backside? Often the one being nipped will just turn around, sniff the other's head (or sometimes groom them), and they'll be fine.

I haven't been putting a litter box in with them for bonding sessions, since that was usually where the fighting started. Once I feel they're doing well enough to leave them in there for an hour or more, I'm planning on putting two litter boxes in with them.



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