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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 Bunny Bonding Advice

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    • TheSunnyBuns
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        On April 6th I started my bonding journey (24/7 method) It’s been relatively decent but there’s just a couple things that have me hesitant to expand their pen (currently in a 2×2 as we’re still on the first step) . For a bit of background Arizona, my girl, is free roamed and Phoenix, my boy, is free roamed minus at night where he’s penned. Each in their own rooms. For the past couple months we’ve been letting them get used to each other through his pen, every night they’ve eaten dinner together, shared hay and chews, swapped litter boxes, and I’ve caught them laying down together through the bars. So finally I took the step to start bonding in a neutral territory. It’s been relatively good so far, no fighting or anything overly negative. They’ve even cuddled together and share their food/water 100% fine. However it’s also a bit strange. There’s been practically no mounting. The only bit they’ve done it is one time each on the second day and neither of them cared. But I think this is where the issue may stem from. They do commonly get into those “head wars” where both of them refuse to groom the other (they’ve groomed each other before just not as often as I would like) which makes me believe they’re having a hard time deciding who’s dominant. Phoenix is extremely sweet towards her and has never showed any negative behavior whatsoever however Arizona will swat at him I don’t know whether it’s because she’s annoyed with him or what but I’m too scared to move on with this continuing but it is the only negative behavior I have ever observed. Apologies for this being such a long post just kinda lost on what to do, any advice is so very appreciated


      • DanaNM
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          It sounds like things are going VERY smoothly and you shouldn’t worry! There isn’t always going to be mounting, and head wars are very normal, even in bonded pairs. I have found it’s not productive to worry about who is dominant as it’s often very hard to tell. They may not always groom each other after a grooming request, but as long as they don’t fight due to an unmet grooming request things are going well. 🙂

          I don’t consider unmet grooming requests to be a negative behavior. Things that count as aggression or negative include:

          -boxing, lunging

          -chasing

          -circling

          -hard biting, fur pulling

          -mounting that leads to a fight or chase

          Positive:

          -food sharing

          -litter box sharing

          -cuddling

          -grooming

          -relaxed behaviors in general

          . . . 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.  


          • TheSunnyBuns
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              Thank you so much for the reassurance. They’ve been in a 4×4 for the past 2-3 days in their neutral territory while I’ve been completely neutralizing their forever home (the room Arizona once free roamed) by rearranging/ replacing furniture and completely washing the room in vinegar. Do you think they’re ready to go upstairs and “cement” their bond? They’ll be in an xpen when they first go to their forever home and I’ll slowly be expanding it until I reach the entire room .The growling and swatting has slowed down but still happens occasionally in the afternoon but positive behaviors have become a lot more common (constant flopping!) But should I wait until it is completely gone?


          • DanaNM
            Moderator
            8954 posts Send Private Message

              I would wait until you see only positive behaviors and no negative behaviors for at least 48 hrs. Since you’d like to go straight from neutral to the final home it’s important to make sure they are really fully bonded before moving them.

              Sometimes moving to a new but still neutral spot can help them sort out final issues and really cement. Is there another neutral spot you could move them to? I think it would also be OK to expand their space in neutral territory. Sometimes they start to get stir crazy and it slows the process.

              . . . 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 Bunny Bonding Advice