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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.

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Forum BONDING 3 male bonding – were friends before

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    • Goldieandher3hares
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      I have 3 male bunnies who were friends before.  One is about 9 months, the other two about 7 months and are brothers.  They all were getting along just fine from the birth of the younger two up until the oldest got neutered.  They lived in the same room/enclosure the whole time.  I separated the older one for a week or two from the time he was neutered, but he could see the other two.  When I tried to put them back together, instant fighting.  They have been separated since.   The brothers got neutered about 3 weeks later, went together for the procedure and were doing fine for about 1 week together.  Then fighting, fighting and more fighting.  These guys have injured each other when I wasn’t looking.  They are now all 3 separated.  They can see and smell each other.  They will even lay next to each other through the cage.  No lunging or anything like that.  It’s been almost 2 months since the last procedure.  I have rotated them through the different cages so they can smell each other.  No matter what I have tried to bring them together, they start instantly fighting. (The whole, you need gloves, bunny whirlwind with fur flying type of fighting.)

      To complicate things more, I have 1 female rabbit who is 6 months old.  I had her separated from about 10 weeks to avoid an unwanted litter.  However, she got around the boys pre-neuter for about 45 minutes once when my back was turned and she now has a litter.  I’ll be taking her in for the spay once the babies are fully weaned and gone.  Having an intact female could certainly be adding to the issues, but they generally can’t see her though her smell is all over.

      It’s hard to get them enough exercise each day because they can’t be out together.  Any suggestions?  Is this even possible to bond them now? My goal was to have them in a larger indoor/outdoor enclosure together, but with enough individual spaces for some alone time.  Not sure this is possible now.


    • Wick & Fable
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      Rabbits who have not yet reached the hormonal, puberty stages of growth often get along with other rabbits easily. It is likely this, rather than them being related that allowed them to get along. Rabbits do not acknowledge family units like we do — they will fight and mate with siblings and parents all the same, so the progression you are experiencing (i.e. they were getting along and now they are fighting) is actually quite normal and is to be expected now that they are older.

      “Is this even possible to bond them now?” – Arguably, I’d say this marks when you can actually start bonding them. If you wanted to be extra cautious, you can wait a bit so there are no lingering effects of the neuter (post-neuter ‘craze’ as they call it) and to ensure there are no leftover grudges from previous negative interactions. For rabbits who were unable to get along post-puberty (which is a big portion of them, as yours did), you cannot start bonding until they are all spayed/neutered, since the procedure helps mitigate some of the challenges in creating lifelong bonds. That being said, neutering/spaying is not a magic fix — rabbits will still likely be territorial and aggressive, as you are seeing. Again, this is common and not surprising.

      There is general information about the rabbit bonding process in the RABBIT INFO section of this website. It will start with introductions in neutral territory only (no where they have free-roamed themselves and claimed as their own space), as well as pre-bonding measures, like swapping what pens they are staying in or swapping their litter boxes and toys.

      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.


    • DanaNM
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      Echo everything Wick said, and I would also wait until your female is spayed and all the babies are gone. Having a hormonal rabbit around can definitely complicate things, even in fully bonded pairs. I once had an unneutered male in my bathroom overnight (I was taking him to the rescue in the morning), and my bonded pair was FREAKING out. So smell alone can def mess things up!

      When they fought, how bad was it? Did any of the buns get so injured that they needed medical attention?  Bunnies can hold grudges, so if one was badly injured, it may be hard to bond them, especially in a trio. Maybe you could do two pairs (two males that get along the best, and then your female and the third male)?

      When you’ve tried the boys together, what was the space like? Was it super neutral?

      . . . 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 3 male bonding – were friends before