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Home Forums BEHAVIOR Bunny change of Behaviour

This topic contains 2sd replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  BaileySaffron 8 months ago.

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    Hi Everyone, my first post here! Sorry if it’s a bit long just want to give the whole story. (Also I know it crosses into bonding, but the two are connected so thought I’d post here) 

    We got Bailey last September, he’s a Netherland Dwarf, nearly a year old. He is generally lovely, friendly from the beginning, not too keen on being picked up but loves cuddles on his own terms and often will jump on the sofa to see us. He was neutered before Christmas too. He also has the run of the living room, and is never shut in any kind of pen or cage. 

    A few weeks ago we brought home little Saffron, a female mini rex. We set up a pen in one corner of the living room. (Well aware that with bonding you shouldn’t take the new rabbit straight onto the other’s territory, however due to space in our flat this was the only place we could put her- we sprayed/cleaned first and put the pen up a few days before bringing her home, so that it removed Bailey’s smell around that area, and he could get used to it.) 

    After a week or so, we began 15 minute sessions in the kitchen, introducing them. The kitchen is open plan to living room, however it is neutral space as Bailey never sets foot in there because of the floor! It was clear from the start Bailey wasn’t happy- he spent 80% of the time just biting the pen we had put across, trying to get out. When Saffron came near him, he would nip/grunt at her- but he really wasn’t bothered. This would happen each time, last time (the 5th or 6th session) he tried to actually jump the pen to get out (and failed.) It’s very clear he doesn’t want to be put down when we try to put him in the kitchen for bonding. 

    Anyway the main reason for my post is since getting Saffron, he’s become very aggressive, he often runs away even when we just try to stroke him, or for example yesterday I was stroking him, perfectly happy, he was crunching and relaxed- I moved my hand for a split second and he grunted and bit my finger- and it wasn’t a little nip it was an angry bite! He grunts and lunges at us often if we try to go near him, and it’s so different to how he used to be. 

    We’ve decided to put the bonding on hold for now, and we are going to go way back to basics with Bailey, sitting on the floor with him to gain trust etc. It’s just such a shame as he has changed a lot, and was neutered before Christmas so I don’t think it’s hormone related anymore. 

    I’m just after some advice- is it all down to getting the new bunny? And how long do you think it might take him to acclimatise. I would like him not to be stressed during bonding but it’s hard because he’s almost impossible to pick up most of the time and it has to be done somewhere neutral- so he’s never going to be particularly happy about it, as he has to be picked up and carried. 

    Any tips would be much appreciated… I’m not ready to give up and would love to gain his trust again. I would like him to become happier with us again, before trying to bond. That said he still gets excited and does zoomies and binkies, so he’s not totally fed up all the time! 

    P.s. I’m not a first time bunny owner, I had them growing up and my oldest was a netherland who lived to be 14! But I’ve never introduced bunnies before in this way, or experienced this kind of behaviour. 



    Is Saffron spayed? An unneutered bunny can make a neutered bun act hormonally.

    Bunnies can also just get extremely angry about another rabbit being in their territory. My female bun was absolutely furious when we first brought the boy bunnies home. She hated them and was very angry.

    I know you say you waited a week, but that’s still moving very quickly. First things first, both bunnies need to be spayed/neuetered. If Saffron isn’t spayed then they must be kept totally separate until she is. If she was spayed over a month ago, then follow the below.

    Give her at least a month to settle in, then start swapping both buns between areas every day. This helps them get used to each others scent without the threat of an actual bunny, and stops them being territorial about ‘their’ areas. This is particularly important when you have one bunny who is used to all the space being his territory. After a month of swapping, you should start to see a decrease in aggressive behaviours. If not, carry on a bit longer. Then, after that, you can start actual face to face bonding in neutral space.



    Thank you Sirius&Luna! 

    Saffron isn’t spayed as she’s still too young (had previously read that it is okay to try and bond adult/baby, otherwise wouldn’t have tried- it probably depends on the bunny and obviously with Bailey he wasn’t going to accept her immediately!) 

    We have stopped bonding for now and Bailey already seems much happier- I think you are right and it was too quick- they are still in the same room, and taking interest in each other occasionally- they sit near ish each other and often clean at the same time  

    Bailey hasn’t shown any aggression now,  since last week. The only thing now puzzling me is he’s much less bothered about food! To be clear I’m not talking about GI stasis- he is eating, he’s just changed. He used to finish his pellets in one go, be mad every dinner time running all over the place and zoom at the food bowl, and now he’s even leaving food so it’s still there in the evening- maybe it’s that he’s stopped growing so doesn’t get as hungry?! Saffron is still how he used to be- she’s very sassy with lots of thumping haha! 

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