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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 HABITATS AND TOYS Advice Needed for Providing for Two Bunnies Separately

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    • Sagicory
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      27 posts Send Private Message

        Hi everyone!  I have two bunnies who were baby bonded and then unbonded during rabbit puberty. We have been unsuccessful in getting them rebonded, but I will try again starting after exam season, which ends in a month. Since their original fight up to now, they’ve been living in separate enclosures of about 15-20 square feet, and we let them out one at a time into the bunny room. The enclosures are inside the bunny room (the original plan was for them to share the entire room together, as the previous owners told us they had been bonded already past the baby bond). The bunny outside can sniff around and interact with the one still inside their own. This just has been a bit of an issue because I was hoping for them both to have more access to the full room. As of right now, neither rabbit has permanent access to the full room and they probably don’t feel like anything outside of their own personal pen is “home”. Does anyone have any tips on maybe using the room they separately “share” right now in the bonding process? I’m apprehensive about bonding to be honest, because they both got very large in the past few months and I’m worried they could do a lot of damage before I am able to them apart. They seem to be friendly through the enclosure panels, though.

        In general, I’m just a little worried and out of ideas, and I don’t want to be a bad pet owner. I’ve thought of a few ways and am really trying to provide the recommended amount of space, but this bonding situation has lasted quite a bit longer than I expected.  I would appreciate any input on how to fix this situation so they’re both able to enjoy a larger space! Thanks~


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        8598 posts Send Private Message

          Aww how stressful, I’m sorry! Both rabbits have been spayed/neutered, correct? Just checking because that is essential for bonding.

          I wouldn’t recommend using any room they have had access to for bonding. With tougher bonds especially, using a space that’s as neuteral and unfamiliar as possible is very important. Even though neither is in the room full time, I can guarantee that each rabbit thinks it’s their’s. 😉

          For the best chances of success, here’s what I would do:

          – Start swapping which rabbit is in which pen every day or two (this is called “pre-bonding”). Keep the litter boxes a little dirty when you do this. This helps mingle scents even more. If the enclosures are already side-by-side, great. If not, I would rearrange so they are side by side (ensuring they can’t nip through the fence). You’ll want to observe them for relaxed behaviors around each other, especially after you swap sides. If they start running the fence and trying to “get at” each other, then keep up the pre-bonding until they relax. This usually takes a couple weeks but could be longer or shorter.

          -when you start bonding sessions, continue the side swaps. Choose a very neutral, and maybe slightly stressful space. This could be the bathroom, a friend’s house, a basement they’ve never been in, etc. Not sure what you tried previously to re-bond them, but I’ve had the best luck using very large bonding areas, so like 2-xpens linked up. If that’s not possible, use the largest area you can. Be right in there with the buns at first, and don’t be afraid to have your hands on them a lot at first (wearing thick gloves as protection! I often use oven mits lol). When they approach each other and come nose to nose, pet them both a lot. This simulates grooming and helps build positive associations and calms them. Eventually you will ease off this but your goal is to break the cycle of them fighting and build up some good vibes so they can interact without it escalating to serious aggression. Start with short sessions (even 30-sect to a minute), with the goal of ending the date before fighting occurs so you always end on a good note. Once you start increasing the time scuffles are of course going to happen, but always try to calm them down and end on a positive note, even if that’s you petting them both or them ignoring each other.

          . . . 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.  


        • Sagicory
          Participant
          27 posts Send Private Message

            Thank you so much! Is it okay for them to continue using the large room separately until I get them bonded? I just don’t want them all cramped up until they can live together.


          • Wick & Fable
            Moderator
            5723 posts Send Private Message

              Two separated rabbits can use the larger room in rotation (not at the same time). Just keep in mind that becomes semi neutral territory since they’ve both had exposure to it so it can bring up territorial spats once together.

              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 HABITATS AND TOYS Advice Needed for Providing for Two Bunnies Separately