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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 Fighting Sisters

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    • Sagicory
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      Hi everyone! My rabbits Sage and Chicory are two females who are 10 months old. A few months ago they had a fight, and we took them to get spayed. Since then, they’ve both been having on and off medical issues so we haven’t really tried rebonding. However, I want to start rebonding them as soon as possible. I’ll be taking them to the vet soon to get their nails trimmed to hopefully avoid deep injuries if I can’t get them apart. Any tips on how to do this bonding stuff? They’re housed separately, but in one pen, right now, with space between them. This is because they have a history of trying to get through to each other. (It’s one of those “shape your own” pens out of plastic). My plan right now is to order another 2 of their pens to increase their exercise area so they don’t feel too threatened. Then I’ll use the old one to rebond? I’d really appreciate any tips! Thanks!


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6232 posts Send Private Message

      I remember your girls!

      As a starting point, I would recommend reading through this info: https://binkybunny.com/infocategory/bonding/

      It should give you a good starting point, and then you can post any more detail questions you have about the process. 🙂

      In terms of bonding space, it’s best to use an area that is 100% neutral, so an area that neither bun has been in before (this seems especially important for harder bonds). So if there is a room in your house that they never go, that would work best. Lots of people use their bathrooms for that reason.

      Side by side housing is great for now. When you’re ready, you can start swapping which bun is on which side every day or so to help them get even more used to each other.

      How do they behave towards each other from the opposite sides of the fence?

      . . . 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
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      23 posts Send Private Message

      Thank you so much for the reply! I’m actually not sure. They try and rip the plastic between them to get to each other, but one day Chicory made it to the other side and promptly try to tear Sage to shreds. It’s a little weird because usually they lay next to each other through the plastic or sniff noses through the cracks between panels.


    • DanaNM
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      6232 posts Send Private Message

      It’s pretty normal for unbonded rabbits to be aggressive when not in neutral territory.

      You might look into getting some “nose guards” so they can sniff and see each other, but not nip each other.  Here’s what I like to use:

      Nose guards?!!

      You can use the panels to make the barrier between them. I’ve found my buns can jump over a fence made from 2 panels, but they can’t jump over three panels. Swapping sides should also help things calm down, but it may take several weeks.

      It’s really important to prevent aggression from happening at this stage, because it can make bonding harder.

      Also just to comment on your original comment about nails, biting tends to cause more injuries than nails (in my experience). You will want to work very hard in your bonding sessions to prevent fighting from happening at all. Have some thick leather gloves on that cover your wrists to make sure you can deal with fighting if it happens. In the beginning, it’s OK to err on the side of intervening too early, rather than too late. Since yours have a history of fighting, your goal will be to promote feelings of calmness between them so things dont immediately escalate to fighting.

      . . . 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
      23 posts Send Private Message

      Thank you so much! I’ll definitely look into nose guards. They look perfect! I was wondering if you had any tips about some sort of timeline, like sniff through separate cages first, and then neutral territory with food? How do you feel about stress bonding? It seems to be quite controversial. Sorry I’m asking so many questions! I just want to get this right. Lastly, I really like herbs. Do you know if any can help with calmness or like a rabbit dopamine boost ( 😛 )? I really appreciate this. Thank you!


    • DanaNM
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      6232 posts Send Private Message

      So there are not hard and fast rules on the timelines, because it varies pair to pair. I like to do cage swaps for at least a couple of weeks, or until they seem calm towards each other and don’t “freak out” when you swap sides. Ideally you will see aggressive behaviors (like running the fence, trying to “get at” each other, etc.) go away, and they may even lay near each other or start to mirror behaviors (grooming at the same time, eating at the same time, etc.). Once that happens, you are ready to move on to sessions in neutral territory.

      I usually don’t use any food in sessions at first. If one bun is very food excited, it seems like it can confuse them. I personally like to use large spaces, because it gives them space to move around each other without resorting to fighting if they feel trapped (and more time to read behavior and intervene), but you can try whatever space is most convenient for you first. Aim for a short session and don’t expect miracles. 🙂 I like to set short time goals (like a couple minutes at first) and just aim for them to spend time together somewhat peacefully, and don’t end the date on fighting. You can pet them a lot and swap scents during these sessions (especially if they approach each other) as it can help keep them calm and makes them feel as though the other rabbit is grooming them. 🙂

      I suppose you could try having some fresh lavender around if you want?

      . . . 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 Fighting Sisters