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I’m back! With some good news. Both bunnies healed fine. All their wounds have healed for the most part, they still have marks but it looks much better. His foot has healed as well (if you didn’t see my other thread, I found a wound on his foot. It was a pretty bad one.) both bunnies are still living next to each other. In fact they have seemed more interested in each other through the gate. They always seem to be flopping right against the gate at the same time next to each other, and they have been doing this new thing where they run back and forth in front of the gate, copying each other. I don’t know what this means, to be honest it looks like they are trying to play with each other?
They also have been doing this cute thing. When I bring them their food they use to run up to the gate, but now every time before running to the gate they run up to the gate between them getting the other attention that I’m bringing them food. The first time I saw it I didn’t think much of it, but it’s been happening for over a week now.
So I think I’m going to try bonding them again soon. Probably the end of next week. Do you think that is a good sign? Before they could have cared less about the other living next door, but now they seem very interesting in each other.
Also Bunnie (female bunny) is much better with me. She stopped biting me and is now letting me pet her again.
Glad they are healed up and Bunnie is doing better with you
Usually running the fence is an aggressive or territorial thing… but not always? Do they lunge or have their ears back?
Flopping next to each other is great, and I’m not sure what to think of the behavior around meal times.
Have you been switching their sides as well?
Yes, I am still switching their cages. That is that only time they will not pay attention to each other through the gate. But they will still mimic each other (eating laying drinking at the same time). They don’t lunge at the gate, or have their ears back. I thought the same thing at first. It’s very odd. They usually flopped right against the gate next to each other right after it. Today, they have not done it at all. They are still doing the food thing tho. Same thing with that, no lungeing, no ears back.
I am also switch toys and even given them blankets with each other scents still. They switch cages while the other one is playing, also when I am wrapping things up for bed, they have a good 10-20 minutes in the opposite cage. I am in no rush to start bonding again, so if you think it is best to wait still, im 100% for it. I rather their next bonding session go well, instead of bad.
This weekend I am setting their x-pen up to be a more permanent set up because I believe that this bond will take a bit longer. (adding permanent cage covers, and making the divider more of a wall instead of a removeable gate) But then again who knows.
Hmm, then yeah it could be playing?
Sorry if I mis-read, but I usually swap who is in what cage every 24-48 hours (so they have a at least a full day in the opposite cage, and at least a few hours with a dirty litter box from the previous bun). Not sure 20 minutes would have the same effect?
Having a set-up you feel more comfortable with is great, it makes the whole thing less stressful in my experience, because it feels less rushed.
They usually get a good few hours. The 20 minutes is when they are both in the cages. Where one isn’t in playtime. If that makes sense. Before the event,I was doing the 24 hours, but I had exams this week, and it was a little difficult for me to get around to it. I’ll do it all this week though.
They use the same play area. Which has toys and a large blanket. So I would assume they can smell each other like that too.
So I have a small issue. Every time they are in each other cages longer then an hour, they both start acting up. Bun bun starts looking all sad in her cage, and she starts getting mad in his cage. I have to go and calm her down and pet him just for them to calm down a bit. They are fine for an hour but that is all. They start acting up after an hour. Do you think I should back up completely to step one of prebonding and just do a blanket switch/litter box switch only? Or should I keep going until they break out of this phase? I don’t want to end up doing anything that causes them to think of each other badly. Thanks!
I think you should be swapping them completely for a full 24 hours, or even a full 48 hours. The acting up is part of the process, and means that you should continue pre-bonding. Eventually you will swap them they won’t react at all, and that’s the goal. It’s likely they are acting that way because you’ve only been swapping them for a few minutes, so they are expecting to go back “home”.
I’ve always done full swaps of which bun is in which cage, and left the litter box dirty for at least 6 hours after the swap happens. I time so I swap in the evenings, and clean litter boxes in the mornings. I would only recommend just swapping the litter boxes if it’s not possible to swap the buns (not as a first step).
So they both have been in the other cage for a full 24 hours. They actually much better. They acted like it was just there cage. They did a lot of sniffing at first, which I was happy to see because they must have smelled each other scent. Bun bun is more curious about her then she is with him. I catch bun bun a lot staring at her. She however acts like he isn’t even there. Lol. I will switch them again later tonight and do another 24 hours.
Hello, I just had a thought. I plan on bonding them again once my Christmas break starts. So, next weekend. I’ll have more time for longer sessions. In my past bonding sessions I never did stress sessions because I was a little scared about it. Will my bunnies be ticked at me if I put them in a stressful situation? I know you mention car rides before, but Bun Bun has been on car rides before and literally looks unbother by it. In fact he will flop and hop in his carrier. I seen the washer machine method too, where you put them on top of a washer machine. I also seen the vacuum one.
I guess I’m scared I’ll hurt the bond between my rabbits and me. Do you think a stress sessions might help them a bit more. Kinda get passed all their history and get them passed the dominance thing? Bunnie gets freaked out over everything, so I kinda thought that might help her realize that bun bun can be a bunny she can trust.
I have always found stress sessions to be helpful, and it doesn’t hurt your bond with the rabbits any more than the usual bonding stress (no bun likes being scooped up and forced to interact with “that other bun”).
You just have to be careful that one bun is not getting too stressed. You might try a short stress session right before a planned longer one, that plan has worked pretty well for me. In fact, in all of my bonds, I’ve made breakthroughs in longer sessions that were preceded by stress (usually a car ride together).
Alright. I’ll do a stress session before I do the first bonding session. I’ll probably end up putting them in a container and put it on top a washer machine. I’ll just watch them and make sure they don’t look to stressed out. Bun bun doesn’t ever seem stressed, but Bunnie does get stressed easily. Honestly with bun bun being a cuddle machine and her getting stress out easily, it might work out with him snuggling her while she stress. Maybe that might make her trust him more and feel comfort?
I’m probably going to do a short session for the first one, just to test the waters and make sure they are not trying to fight each other. I have no idea how they will be after all they went though, but I hoping they will be fine considering they are still okay with seeing each other through the bars.
Yes, the snuggling for comfort is the goal with stress sessions.
You basically just supervise to make sure there is no nipping, and don’t go for too long. Usually 5-10 min is good for the washing machine. I couldn’t have mine on the machine for more than 5 min, I felt too bad! The car seems a bit less stressful for them, and usually we were driving with purpose (to somewhere else to do a session there), so there was no cutting those sessions short.
So I’m starting bonding today… again! I decided to wait a little while long to bond them, I wanted to enjoy my time off plus give them a little more time. I been switching their cages non stop. He has been in hers for 24 hours straight, some days 48 hours. Same for her. I also been taking their litter boxes out during their excercise time, and having them use each other litter box while they are exercising. They seem to be fine living next to each other. She is always flopped next to the gate (sometime half her body is pushed against the gate completely) he is the same way. I catch them a lot laying next to the gate looking at each other, I don’t know if that is a trust problem or not, but they seem to be relaxed considering they are always flopped when doing it. They are very sync with each other. Almost to the point where it’s freaky lol.
I did try stress bonding after Christmas, but it was a total fail. I tried many things and I couldn’t get them stressed. They were to curious in each other and their surroundings. I tried a vacuum next to them, the washer machine, putting them on a high surface, I tried the crate method too, but they literally could care less about the sounds. But I guess the good thing is that they didn’t fight.
Day 1: (again)
– started with force cuddles. She put her head under his right away. He kept trying to shove his head under her head, but she wouldn’t let him. I petted them both, very relaxed petting.
– I gave lettuce at 6 minutes in hopes they would eat next to each other. He ate his, she wouldn’t eat at all.
– Bun Bun walked off and she did as well, but she end up turning around and got into lunge mode. Her ears went back and her tail went up, I stopped her as she went to basically jump his back.
– I petted her after that to calm her down. I think her trust with him was damage a bit from the boarding place event. Not by much tho.
– after she calm down, Bun Bun came over and I took that chance to force cuddle them again. Still very relax with petting. Once again they went back in forth with who head was on top or under.
– Bunnie was trying to keep her head under Bun Bun much more then he was. She was the one asking first to be groomed in all cases, not him.
– Bun Bun would lick my hand a lot while being near her. (I will stop petting once she trusts him a bit more)
I ended the session with them still in force cuddles, Bun Bun eating another piece of lettuce and her not eating at all. Session was 10 mins.
– sessions started off with force cuddles. Bunnie walked off almost right away. I Let her do this.
– Bun Bun sat by me for a minute
-Bunnie came over and shoved her head under his head. I relaxed petted them this entire session.
-she kept moving her head to one side of head to the other. She even would press her nose into his.
– around 6 minutes she became frustrated and nip him. Was not a bad nip. He followed up by putting his head under her head.
-this lasted a minute before she put her head back on his.
– I gave them treats. Once again Bunnie refuses to eat her lettuce, but she ate pellets. Bun bun are both.
-Bunnie did not let Bun Bun finish. She end up shoving her head under his. This lasted until the 14 minute mark. She did the same thing moving her head around to side to side, or nose bumping. She ended up getting frustrated and nipping him to where he made a sound and followed up by charging her. I quickly stopped him from charging her and said no loudly.
-I kept them apart and petted them for a minute until they calmed down. I then put them back in a force cuddle and ended the session after a minute of that.
So Bunnie is now the one that is trying hard to claim dominance. She seems to get mad after minutes of him not grooming. This session was 16 minutes.
I just wanted to wish you luck with your bonding! Sorry to see the troubles you had before but I hope things go smoothly from here on out.
Thank you! Good luck on yours too!
Glad to hear they haven’t backslid too much since the bad boarding experience. I’m curious about how your stress sessions went. You mentioned they didn’t care, but they didn’t fight either. Not fighting is great, so you might consider starting off your normal sessions with a short car ride together, or some time on top of the washing machine. I think when bunnies realize there are more serious “dangers” out there to worry about than each other, it’s a bit of a breakthrough in the process.
I think it’s a good strategy to pet them a lot for the time being. Once you sense they are more relaxed around each other in general, you can start to ease off the petting and see how it goes.
Session was 10 minutes.
Stress bonding: (five minutes)
– Bun Bun was scared, Bunnie (shocked by this) could have cared less.
-Bunnie shoved her head under Bun Bun. After a minute of him not grooming, she tried to nip him real hard. She tried this every other minute. She put her head under his, if he didn’t groom she tried to nip.
-Bun Bun did seek comfort from her.
Bonding session: (five minutes)
Basically the same thing as the stress bonding, besides the part of Bun Bun being stress.
– gave them treats at 3 minutes, Bun Bun ate but was cut off by her rushing him and putting her head under his. She then tried nipping him again really hard after a minute went by. (She jerks her head real fast and her ears go back)
– for the last minute it was a very controlled force cuddle. I shoved their heads together, in hopes they can just enjoy the comfort.
Should I try putting banana on their heads? It seems she is getting mad at him not grooming her. I feel like they refuse to do anything else until the grooming situation is solved. Bun bun is also starting not to ask her anymore to groom him. He did it once this entire session.
What did you try for stressing? Car rides are the main thing that has worked for mine.
You can try banana. I’ve only had great luck with it when I’m pretty far into the process and they seem to be happy with each other but no one has groomed yet. Try to be patient, as hard as it is. You might not see too many grooming requests.
Given the history of your two, I wouldn’t force the cuddles so much. Rather, I would just pet whenever they approach each other on their own. If they want to hang out on opposite sides of the pen and just rest, that’s OK. They are still scoping each other out in this time.
Oh! Sorry totally forgot to say what I did for stress bonding. I did the washer machine method. I can try a car ride, i just have to plan for it. I do bonding sessions at night so it’s harder to jump into a car with bunnies. I’m also a little scared they will fight while in the car and it will be crazy. I have two carriers but they have been used by them before. Should I clean those with vinegar or something? Or trying finding a crate to use?
I’ll stop the force cuddles for now, but I really don’t think it’s going to stop them from the grooming stand off. But we will see. I’ll hold off on the banana thing for now. I’ll will be missing a session today because I won’t have time, but I should be able to get one done tomorrow.
Just to clarify, I was thinking “forced cuddles” was you placing them together and petting. I think if they come together on their own, petting is still a good plan.
For car rides, you should have someone else drive. I like to use a large plastic bin, rather than a carrier, so I can easily reach in the top. You sit in the back seat with the buns, and keep an eye on things to make sure they don’t start scuffling. If they didn’t fight on the washing machine, they probably won’t fight in the car.
So this weekend I was at an event and was not able to bond. And yesterday some stressful stuff was happening so I decided it was better to hold it off because I tend to show emotions more. I still did prebonding though, and traded their things a much as I could to I guess make up for it. I do not have any more events happening so I’ll be able to bond everyday.
Bonding session: (10 mintues)
-I did not do any force cuddles this session
– put them both in the bonding area. They kept to there sides at first then bun bun came over, face to face. She nipped him, and bun bun backed off.
– Bunnie moves a tad, she looked around and sniff areas out, but she stayed in place. Bun bun stayed where he was.
The rest of the session was a lot of sitting around, no movement. There was the occasional stretching out and sniffing the other, but they would quickly back to their spots.
-the end of the session bun bun was layed out, not where you can see his side, but he was layed out. She was for a bit but went back to sitting.
– session ended with bun bun grooming himself.
I petted the whole session, I didn’t let Bun Bun the entire session, was off and on with him. I petted her the whole session, very relaxed though, when I try to stop petting her she would get very tensed and stressed looking.
I think this session went pretty well. Let me know your thoughts.
Sounds very peaceful, and peaceful is good.