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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > How do I know if two buns are ready to be in same cage?
Last Post by rabbitmom at 1/21/2012 5:37 PM (4 Replies)
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User is Offline rabbitmom
7 posts Send Private Message
1/14/2012 8:25 PM

Hi! I need help!

I have boy bun, T-rex and girl, Big Mama.  The shelter where I adopted those from said that they were born on 8/21/11 but they are not 100% sure. I am assuming they are between 4 to 8 months old.

They are speutered on 12/7.  They have been in the cage which set up side by side after the sugery. They sniffed each other and showed great interest each other during the time.

I started to let them play together from New Year's day. They were at each other at the beginning but, started licking after the car ride.

They seemed to be  bonded pretty much last few days. They didn't even want to play. They will go to corner and lie down together and lick each other. They visit ed each other's cage and sit together in same litter box and eat hay together during play time which is about 3-4 hours.

I felt bad to saparate them at bed time. So I decided to let them sleep together for the first time last night.

I watch them in the corner with light off. Mama, the girl which seems to be dominant since she request licking all the time. T usually responded to the request  Mama is sweet and generous so she will lick T, the boy when she feels for it.

I watched Mama was licking T for  a while and lied down side of him and seemed so happy and exited about they are finally spending the night together. I went upstairs to get some sleep, too.

When I went down stairs to check them in the morning. They seemed o.k. and still together. But, as I approached to the cage, I noticed hair was everywhere. I checked the rabbit and saw the puntured wounds which costed me vet trip today.

How do I know when they are truly bonded? What should I do now?

User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
7322 posts Send Private Message
1/18/2012 4:56 AM
Set backs are tough - mine had a couple mild fights over a month after moving in together.

For now I'd go back to what you were doing before - let them get comfortable just playing together in the evenings. When you feel comfortable again, move them in together but make sure to spend the whole night on the couch so you can be there to break up any scuffles. Also, the set up of the cage is important. Instead of putting them together in a cage that one used to inhabit, set up a new area with completely clean things and no hidey spaces they can be territorial of. This phase is called "cementing" and it's a chance for them to live in a fairly small space together with nothing to fight over so they finally get used to the idea of living together.

Since mine were only bad at night/early morning, I started having them sleep in a small pet store cage so Hannah couldn't chase Otto. I also brought the cage into my bedroom every night so I could hear if they had a fight. I did this for probably 2-4 weeks before introducing them to their big cage for the whole night.
- Elrohwen

User is Offline rabbitmom
7 posts Send Private Message
1/18/2012 6:24 PM

Thank you! Erlohwen,

I am continuing the process as before. They are still grooming each other and lie down side by side occassionally. One thing I have noticed: T is demanding grooming all the time. It was Mama who would present before and T would groom her in response. Mama still request groomin, but T will usually ignore the request. Occasionally he does groom her in respose, but not very long or often. However, Mama grooms T often and long.

Tonight, I could see Mama was frustrated for grooming T without getting any in return.  She flipped her hind leg as she jumped into her litter box.

Can pecking order change after a fight?

Tomorrow, I will try banana puree on Mama's forehead for T to lick....

When they seem to be more comfortable, I will try to move them into my bedroom so I can stop the fight if that happens - as you suggested.

I set up the play area with the cage connected to it. The cage was once used by T, but I cleaned it throughly. Would it still be o.k. for them to move in there? or should I just not use the cage at all? When I put them in same cage, do I need to buy new litter box or cleaning it with baking soda and vinegar will be enough to get rid of their scent?




User is Offline Elrohwen
Hudson Valley, NY
7322 posts Send Private Message
1/19/2012 4:42 AM

I found the pecking order changed throughout bonding. It seemed that Hannah was definitely in charge at first - she humped all the time and constantly demanded grooming (which isn't surprising since she has a dominant personality in general). Strangely, when they moved into the cementing phase Otto started humping her! It was very weird. He even still tries to do it occasionally even though she's clearly in charge and chases him away from food or treats (she doesn't hump him anymore, but only because he runs away too quickly). She's in charge, but she became less dominant and he became less submissive when they were fully bonded.

My theory is that dominance in rabbits isn't all or nothing. To live together as a unit they all have to groom each other and make sure the others get enough to eat. In the beginning one rabbit might want to be super dominant, but eventually they need to learn to do things for each other because that's how rabbits survive in the wild together. I think this might cause the flip flop as the submissive rabbit realizes that he wants to be groomed too.

I think it's ok to use the same cage as long as you clean it really well with vinegar. Can you move it to another spot? A change of scenery might help too. Mine lived in the dining room, but for cementing they moved to the living room (and later spent nights in my bedroom) so it seemed like a different set up at least even though the cages and pens weren't new (once they were bonded in the new areas I moved it all back to the dining room and they were fine)

- Elrohwen

User is Offline rabbitmom
7 posts Send Private Message
1/21/2012 5:37 PM
Thank you, Elrohwen again for very helpful info.

I was busy every evenig for monitoring T and Mama. I had a chance to stay home all day today due to weather advisory today because of the snow.
I let T and Mama to spend time all day today. There was no fight. They will occasionally groom each other, but still Mama grooms T most of the time and T ignores Mama when she asks for grooming.... Still it was peaceful.

I am aiming for cementing on 2/1. It will be full 2 months since they've been speutered and about a month for playing together. Thank you for great tip for moving them to different place for it. I might wait one or two weeks more if it doesn't look they are not ready yet.

I will post you how it goes.
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BONDING > How do I know if two buns are ready to be in same cage?

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