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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Forum BONDING 24 hour bond prep

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    • NalaBunny
      Participant
      34 posts Send Private Message

      Overview-

      I have two rabbits that I’ve been pre-bonding for 3+ months now, but now it’s summer, and I have time to bond them. I will start bonding in 5 days and I’ve decided 24/7 bonding is the best option for me.  Currently, Franklin- Female is freeroam in my room while Nala- Female has a large 6ft by 6ft cage.

      Personalities-

      Franklin: She is a 7-month-old spayed female rex mix rabbit. She has been spayed for around 2 months now and yes I know she was spayed too young but we were told she was male. She is a very active sweet girl. Her favorite activity is eating but she has never once been aggressive about food.  She constantly is begging for grooming from Nala from the other side of the pen. She’s never been aggressive and is sorta chill with everything in life. She can be a little too much when it’s feed time cause she gets overly excited.

      Nala: She is a 5-year-old rescue spayed lion head female rabbit. She was spayed around 7 months ago. I don’t know anything about the first 3-4 years of her life except her owner was an animal hoarder and she was bred accidentally once. She doesn’t like humans at all other than when we give her food. She lunges at everything and is not afraid to bite but she is far better now and only lunges sometimes and barely bites. She’s also a super territorial rabbit and hates people in her space. The only thing she really likes is my cat and dog but there not huge fans of her. I decided to get franklin to bond with her cause she seems very bored on her own.

      So the reason that I have decided on 24/7 bonding is that I’ve tried several others and they made almost no progress. When I tried stress bonding, every time I would put them back together Nala would not recognize franklin at all. I also tried table bonding and the same issue arrived even though i was doing multiple sessions per day. This is why I want to try 24/7 bonding cause then they won’t be fully separated ever.

      My Plan-

      So the first container they will be in is a large round bucket with a 16-inch diameter. The bottom will be cover with pee pads, some horse stall pellets, and a lot of hay. I will keep them in this until they show a lot of positive signs of bonding. My next container will be an 18” by about 20” cage. For the next few steps, I will just be allowing them more space within that cage. After that, I will switch them into a 2′ by 4′ pen with two litterboxes and I will continue to increase that pen until I feel they are ready to free roam in my room.

      Now what I’m asking for is tips to help this bonding process be more successful, I would love to hear your feedback.


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6236 posts Send Private Message

      I have used the 24/7 method before and have had good luck with it, but I tend to prefer large spaces. Personally I have never had luck with small spaces, and it seems like sometimes buns have issues moving to larger spaces when they are bonded initially in small one. Also I’ve bonded I think 5 or 6 pairs now, and the only bond I’ve ever had fail used the small space method… so there’s that.

      Being in a small space is very stressful (16 x 16 very small tiny), and many rabbit welfare organizations recommend against it these days (even though I know some bloggers and youtubers recommend it).

      Many people still use the method so I won’t say you should or shouldn’t do it, because I know it works for lots of people. But, if you find it isn’t working out for you (they are just trying to fight constantly), just know that you can move to a larger space and may have much better success. My theory is that when an animal is afraid, their instinct is fight or flight. If they have no where to flee, they fight. I’ve personally found that by giving animals space to move around a bit more, things are less likely to escalate to fighting and they interact more calmly. Small spaces work on the principal of “flooding”, which basically means you overwhelm the animal to the point that they give up.

      In general, for either space you use, be sure to keep an eye on the buns eating and pooping and overall stress level to make sure they don’t go into stasis. You’ll want to have a helper so you can have someone supervise them if you need to use the toilet, eat, etc. It’s OK to separate them for a minute if you need to step away (esp with a small space, you need to supervise very closely).

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • NalaBunny
      Participant
      34 posts Send Private Message

      Thank you this is very helpful, my only worry with small spaces is that I have a bunny that with get territorial in a 2ft by 2ft space, do you have any tips to prevent this. Also how large of a space do you recommend and what should o add to the space to make it suitable for bonding?


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6236 posts Send Private Message

      I like to use the largest space possible, even as big as two x-pens linked up. You might see some chasing, but the idea with a large area is that one rabbit may chase, and the other runs away and has space to get away. Eventually the rabbit that’s chasing realizes the other rabbit isn’t going to turn to fight them and they eventually calm down. So you may not be able to prevent one bun getting territorial, but they will have space to sort things out without it turning into a full blown fight.  Lots of people will just use 1 x-pen if that’s what they have available.

      I usually start with just a pen with nothing in it, with some pee pads on the ground (you can layer these so it’s easy to peel away the dirty ones over the course of the session). As the session progresses (in a long session) I will add a pile of hay in the center. I usually feed wet greens for water, because bowls will get knocked over early on. You could attach a water bottle to the pen wall if you have one as well.

      If you have a large space, you can also experiment with hides and tunnels (make sure all are new and have at least 2 exits so no bun gets cornered). In the past I’ve just used boxes opened on both ends and turned on their side.  Sometimes these can help break up chasing, but sometimes one bun will get more territorial over them, so it may take some experimenting.

      Once you get hours into marathoning, I like to get the buns some new things to chew (some new twigs or palm plates, fresh hay, etc), especially during times of day when they are active and might be getting bored.

      I think the most general rule for bonding is that if things are going well, keep doing that thing, but if not, try something else (so larger or smaller space, stress or less stress, food or no food, etc.).

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  

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Forum BONDING 24 hour bond prep