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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 Bonding advice for two diff size bunnies

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    • LittleLionMan
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      Hi all! I have a 5 yr old lionhead male named Wolfie, and recently began fostering to adopt this medium size bun named Panda. Both are spayed/neutered — Panda is 6 or more weeks post spay, and Wolfie is 4 years post neuter.

      They have been prebonding a week (aka a human eternity) in side by side but not touching pens. i switch back and forth with who gets let out for exercise time

      When they met at the center, they were both very nervous. They stayed pretty close to one another while I pet them, but didn’t interact a ton. They never fought and the bond was deemed to be a good bet. What’s complicated is that their personalities at the center are far from their true personalities. Panda was described as anxious and submissive, but she is definitely  dominant and very confident. Wolfie was anxious and petrified of her when we brought her home, but is now very interested and back to his normal self. while they’ve only been prebonding for a week, theyre showing such positive signs. They lay on the same side of their respective pens, they flop, they groom the other’s stuffed animal, no territorial marking, and when they’re out exercising they run over to the others pen to say hi. I have nose guards up so they can’t nip but there have been times where she weasled her skinny head through the bars and nipped him. She’s lunged and bit me out of confusion, and while I was wearing a sweatshirt the force was enough to leave marks. Shes been incredibly sweet most of the time and will even lick me. But also she’s a decent size bunny and he’s so gentle and small that the aggression scares me a bit.

      im conflicted on what to do next. the positive signs make me think they’re ready, but there definitely is some aggressive tendencies with her. On the one hand I wonder if prebonding is making them frustrated, but I also don’t want to have Wolfie get hurt. Also I’m so scared I’m start bonding sessions! How do you not intervene when they nip and engage in other “acceptable” behaviors?

      im not sure if anyone has any advice on whether I should continue prebonding or move to bonding sessions? Obviously I understand each situation is unique and you only have what you’re reading to go off of, but I’m open to hearing what people think is a good next step! Thanks so much for reading my novel!


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6239 posts Send Private Message

      I don’t see any harm in doing some more prebonding, esp since you’re a bit unsure as to if their ready. In my experience they are ready to start sessions when they don’t react a lot to each other, or react positively (such as laying near each other). They usually are frustrated at first and then they start to accept things. They also usually start to mirror behaviors after a while (so they will eat at the same time, groom, etc.).

      As far as knowing when to intervene in sessions, don’t worry about intervening too much in the each sessions. I think it’s most important to prevent fights early on, even if you might be intervening a little too often. I like to pet a lot during bonding sessions, so when they come towards each other or go nose to nose, I will pet them both a lot and swap scents. This makes them think the other bun is grooming them and helps keep everyone calm. As you get more confident and know a bit more about how they are towards each other, you can ease off the petting and let them interact a little more freely.

       

      . . . 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.  


      • LittleLionMan
        Participant
        110 posts Send Private Message

        Thank you for the second piece of advice today! My inclination as definitely to continue prebonding, more so now if I may be taking her to evaluate her excessive drinking. I wouldn’t want to begin bonding and then have it be immediately broken by a vet visit.

        Despite the warnings, I think I underestimated how stressful bonding would be. I want them to be friends but I am also very protective of my little man. I know I will probably have difficulty during the bonding sessions and will probably overreact to some normal behaviors. Hopefully more prebonding will help all of us adjust 😉


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6239 posts Send Private Message

      It’s very normal to be stressed in bonding! And yes I think that’s a good plan, you definitely want to make sure both buns are healthy before starting the process.

      It can be especially hard not to be protective or play favorites. I find it helps to try to be as impartial as possible, and try not to project who you think should be dominant or submissive, or get mad if one bun nips etc. Try to think of yourself as a peaceful life guard. They are going to do most of the communicating with each other (in ways we don’t always pick up on), you are just there to make sure no one gets hurt.

      A glass of wine before bonding sessions also doesn’t hurt. LOL

      A quick cheat sheet of what to allow and what not to allow:

      things that are OK (assuming they don’t tend to escalate):

      • mounting (if they mount the face, just spin the bun around so they are oriented correctly, to avoid bites to the genitals!)
      • nipping
      • lunging
      • grunting, thumping
      • short chases of 1-3 seconds, provided you have a large enough space for them to move around in. if you are in a small space, don’t allow chasing.

      things to stop right away:

      • boxing
      • hard biting
      • circling
      • face mounting (spin the bun around, as I mentioned above)
      • chasing for more than a couple seconds
      • Fighting: bunny tornados, kicking, fur flying, etc.

      Gray area:

      • fur pulling: bonders vary in how much fur pulling they allow. it depends a lot on the comfort of the bonder and the buns in question. I don’t tend to allow much in early stages when there is risk of it escalating to a fight quickly. but once things are calmer you might see one bun just yank a tuft of fur and then that’s all that happens.

       

      . . . 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.  


      • LittleLionMan
        Participant
        110 posts Send Private Message

        Thank you for being so kind and helpful.  I will certainly take your advice and grab a glass before my first bonding session! I like the idea of a lifeguard or a referee rather than the protective mama bear I am. Shout out to the parents of tiny humans. My child will be bubble wrapped until they’re 18 😅

         


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6239 posts Send Private Message

      You’re very welcome! Keep us posted once you start sessions!

      . . . 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 Bonding advice for two diff size bunnies