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Home Forum BONDING Bonded bunnies fighting after spay

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    • Doula2007
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      I have two bonded sisters who just got spayed about 4 days ago.
      We have been keeping them together mostly – but the vet wanted them
      Separated when we aren’t there to watch them.
      They’ve been totally fine together – I even left them together last night,
      But I slept lightly in case I heard them start to fight. They were fine.
      And now all of a sudden this evening they’re mortal enemies!
      What gives? I went ahead and separated them for the night.


    • Doodler
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      Unfortunately what you are seeing is normal. I am not sure how old they are but many people get babies and want to keep them together so they don’t ruin their ‘bond’. Baby bunnies can’t bond. This is why it is recommended bunnies are separated by 12 weeks of age, and it’s not just because it’s also very common for them to be sexed incorrectly.

      When hormones are involved this fighting is what you normally will see. This is exactly why it is recommended that the first step in bonding is to have both bunnies altered. It’s great that you separated them. It’s very important to keep them separated until their hormones are settled.  Normally it’s recommended to wait 4 weeks but it can take longer. Once they are healed and their hormones are settled you can go through prebonding and try to truly bond them. There is a lot of helpful information on these steps in the bonding section of this website.

      Good luck with them!


    • Bam
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      I agree with Doodles. What you are seeing now is classic behavior in unbonded rabbits. One moment they are happy together, the next moment they are mortal enemies. Also, the first few weeks after a spay is the “worst” time regarding aggression and territoriality. This is because a spay creates a hormonal imbalance in the body and brain, and the bunny system needs time to adapt. This is normal, but it means bonding should not be attempted at all during this time.

      It’s good that they are in the same room, but they shouldn’t be allowed to meet. Cage bars are not enough to keep them out of harms way, there should be a solid barrier or a distance between the cages/enclosures so they can’t reach in to bite each other. Buns can bite each other badly if they get the chance (eyes, nose, cheeks etc).

      Since they have been fifghting, it’s safest if you do a full bonding procedure once they’ve healed, starting with pre-bonding (swopping toys and litter boxes between them).

      Here’s a link to this site’s bonding info: https://binkybunny.com/BUNNYINFO/tabid/53/CategoryID/9/PID/940/Default.aspx

      You can also start a bonding journal for them here to get tips from other people, there will be many situations a long the way that you may want advise or just general input about.


    • Doula2007
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      Thanks for the info! I actually didn’t know babies couldn’t bond – when we had Flemish Giants they were from different litters/different ages so we had to go through a lengthy bonding process with them, so I’m familiar with the process. I was just hoping not to have to do that with these two! Not so lucky I guess.

      So my main problem now is….they don’t seem to be eating at all unless they are together. They are separated at night now (we have a 2-level hutch). I put them together when I got up this morning and after a couple glares at each other, there were some licks on both heads and then they munched happily on some fresh herbs together. Still not comfortable keeping them together if I’m not home or in the same room, though. Is it possible they still *kind of* like each other?? These buns are about 10 months old.


    • Asriel and Bombur
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      No, and really please don’t put them together again. You need to give them time to heal, hormones to die down, and prebond them for a bit. A fight is a fight, and bunnies can hold grudges making future bonding more difficult. Yes, it seems cruel to separate them, but it’s necessary to keep them 100% separated at all times. With their recent spays their hormones will be all over the place, and their scents change, so they won’t recognize each other really after a while.


    • Doodler
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      You will want to keep them separated, meaning 100% of the time. Since they aren’t bonded they should start eating in short order. They also weren’t fixed that long ago so it may take time for their appetite to return back to normal, regardless of the lack of company. Just keep a close on them. They have to heal and get used to their new, although temporary, normal.

      It is worth taking the time to bond them correctly even though I know it is sad right now. They shouldn’t have any direct contact until you start bonding sessions. Fights can happen out of nowhere and they happen in a blink of an eye. Some fights can be impossible to stop before damage is done. It’s really not worth the risk.


    • DanaNM
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      Are you able to alter your set-up so they can see each other? It is important to make sure they are eating! Since they are 10 months old it sounds like they are maybe in a bit of a confused relationship. Definitely not bonded… but if they only eat when the other is around, maybe you can alter their set-up so they are side by side and can still see 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.  


    • Doodler
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      I thought I should clarify because I realized that I may have sounded like I was being passive about your concern about them eating. I agree 100% with DanaNM that it’s important to make sure they are eating. Since you said ‘they don’t seem to be eating unless they are together’ it sounded to me like you weren’t even sure. That’s why I was saying to keep an eye on them. Obviously you want to watch their food intake and pooping. To me it sounded like they haven’t been separated long enough to know how they will acclimate since you have been keeping them together mostly. I personally don’t think they will starve themselves if you gave them some time during the day to get more used to the idea of being separate. Of course if they are going too long without eating then something needs to be done. What I did as part of my prebonding is fed them across from each other on opposite sides of the double pen blocking their areas. This might resolve the issue for you if you can make that happen!

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