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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 Bumpy Bonding Experience – advice needed

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    • lapinamoric
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        hello all!

        after going on and off through a few helpful threads here, i’ve decided to finally bite the bullet and make an account of my own, for my own specific situation. this is my first time bonding two rabbits together, and it feels like all the advice in the world just does not apply to these two major freakos i have in my house.

        we’ll start with introductions of the two rabbits.

        Anarchist, or Archie for short, is my newest bun. she’s sweet and shy, but i don’t know how much of that is just her being afraid – i have a feeling she’ll turn out to have her own dominant streak, since she was adopted about a week ago and still hasn’t fully come out of her shell. she’s the result of a neglect situation, obviously not going to go into detail on that, but her foster mom says she’s spunky and sweet and looking for another bun to love. with me, she’s a complete lovebug and cuddles up to the slightest touch. she’s a welcome addition to the household, and one who i will love just as deeply as any.

        Liberal, or Libby for short, is my other bun. i adopted him around 2 years ago, and he’s a TOTAL asshole. he’s pushy and rude, but he grew up around other buns and constantly tries to love on the other animals we have in the house. so, i figured it was good for him to get a friend. he was given away from his own house since he would not stop humping his sister, and of course the old owners didn’t want to even consider spending money on neutering him. so i bit the bullet and had him neutered myself, but i fear he was neutered late, since he’s kept his rowdy (see: asshole) streak going. he’s still a loving and sweet bun, and a total papa’s boy, and to be honest? i totally spoil him. but he’s just… a bit of a jerk, that’s all. (maybe i’m a bad dad, letting my son get away with nipping me when i don’t feed him soon enough…)

        pictured below – Anarchist (black) and Liberal (brown).

        because of Archie’s timid nature, i keep meetings with her and Libby brief. and obviously i do not want to move too fast, since she is still relatively new & getting settled. but at the same time, i know it’s important to get them used to one another. as of right now, i have her cage set up in a seldom-used corner of Libby’s space – i only have the one room for them, and as such moving to a neutral zone outside of, say, a bathtub, is not in the question. i barred Libby off from entering her space, and he seems pretty cognizant that this is no longer his corner. i swap around their litter pans daily, so they can get used to each other’s scent.

        their first bonding period went well, but the problem begins here… they frolic around a bit, and all seems well, until Libby catches a whiff of her tail – with no pen to separate them, he becomes a humping MACHINE, and just won’t stop even if Archie complains! this happens regardless of whether the space is neutral or not. he totally latches on around her neck and just goes to town. he’s never bit her skin, only her fur, but it is very distressing to Archie. especially since that’s literally ALL Libby wants to do to her. he doesn’t care about grooming, or anything, just humping her. i can tell it makes Archie upset, since she seems to want to get along with him, but she runs for her life every time Libby comes near her, since he always comes up from behind or crawls over her to start humping. one thing i’ve also noticed is that Libby plays guardian for me, too. every time Archie approaches papa, he gets frustrated and starts humping her again.

        at the same time, i think part of this is also Libby getting way too excited for his own good. he hyperventilates and honks and carries on every time he’s near her – his ears get warm, and he just can’t seem to calm down whenever he’s near Archie. admittedly we do not know if Archie is spayed or not, since she is a rescue, but we are taking her to the vet for her vaccines and a check-up on Saturday just to be sure. i will edit here if she is spayed, and if spaying her makes a difference.

        the funny thing about this though, is that neither of them display ANY sort of aggression WHATSOEVER. i’ve seen no growling, no grunting, no biting nor thumping. they’re both extremely interested in each other, but all they do is chase and be chased. in fact, whenever i pet them, they both cuddle and purr as if nothing is wrong.

        if there’s any sort of advice that anyone can offer, i’d be so happy to take it. i know i must be doing something wrong, and i am open to any criticism or commentary on my bonding style, since i’m still a newbie to this.


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        8839 posts Send Private Message

          Mounting in early stages is very normal, I wouldn’t be too alarmed. Those actually sound like promising and very normal early sessions. The fact that there is no aggression is very good. Also try your hardest not to be emotionally involved or projecting expectations on to them.

          I do think you started sessions a bit too early. I would give your new bun at least a couple weeks to settle in with no side or litter box swaps. Then do side swaps for at least a couple weeks. This should help some of the excitement settle and he may mount less.

          Once you start sessions again, when Libby mounts, just watch closely. If Archie tries to get away prevent Libby from chasing her. If he mounts her head, spin him around so he’s in the correct orientation. You can pet them both a lot in these early session to help keep things positive.

          You also might try to make a larger neutral area (such as the bathroom floor). Once sessions get longer the bathtub usually doesn’t work as well. Going to a friend’s house with them can also be great for longer sessions (they can even ride in the same carrier on the way there so you get a bonus stress session on the way).

          . . . 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.  


          • lapinamoric
            Participant
            3 posts Send Private Message

              i appreciate the reply! i am away from my computer right now so i can’t articulate a nice big reply, but i’ll touch on the main points.

              i’ve definitely got space in the bathroom to turn that into a neutral space, i can’t believe i didn’t even consider that! that’s wonderful advice. and i’ll take some extra time to let Archie settle in, i’ve definitely got emotional stakes in this parade, so it would be best to set those aside for now.

              i appreciate the advice very much, genuinely. it’s so helpful for a newcomer like me. i’ll keep updating as things progress eventually.


            • DanaNM
              Moderator
              8839 posts Send Private Message

                You’re very welcome! Happy to help and keep us posted! 🙂

                . . . 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.  


            • lapinamoric
              Participant
              3 posts Send Private Message

                quick update! Archie has been spayed, and she’s currently recovering. in the few days that Archie was gone, Libby was absolutely despondent – he kept rattling the bars of her enclosure like he usually does when he wants her attention, and he ran circles looking for her. whenever they interact outside of the enclosure, it’s more of the same with Libby honking and flicking his tail, but I have high hopes!


              • DanaNM
                Moderator
                8839 posts Send Private Message

                  Oh I didn;t realize she wasn’t already spayed! I’m sure things will go much more smoothly now! It can take 3-4 weeks for hormones to fully settle so if things seem crazier in 3 weeks time give her another week or two to chill.

                  . . . 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 Bumpy Bonding Experience – advice needed