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Home Forum BONDING Bunny’s ear nicked

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    • Lizruth
      Participant
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      Howdy,

      We just rescued two single buns that’s we’ve been trying to bond for three weeks now. It’s our first time bonding rabbits, and we are total newbies. We’ve had ups and downs. Successes and setbacks. The doe is expressing very dominant behavior, but has groomed the buck four times now since we started sessions. The buck won’t groom her back; although, he is very docile. She gets very mad when he doesn’t groom back. She will grunt and thump, and sometimes a scuffle will break out. Today the same thing happened, but this time he got his ear nicked during the scuffle over unreturned grooming. It is very small and superficial nick with no blood, so I’m not sure if she did it intentionally or if it was just a biproduct of her nipping and his pulling away. Once it started escalating, I intervened. However, I didn’t see the actual blow.

      I was told they are both fixed by the rabbit rescue.
      I cleaned his ear with hydrogen peroxide and put some neosporon on it. I know to keep an eye on it and watch for puss. Any other advice?

      Question: does this constitute an aggressive bad fight? Should I keep them separated for a while?

      Thanks for the help. We are concerned bunny parents.


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      2841 posts Send Private Message

      Hi there, welcome! Bonding is stressful!

      So, I would take a wee break and go back to pre-bonding cage swaps for a couple weeks. The nip itself might not have been bad, but it sounds like they might be getting into an aggressive pattern, so a break can help with that.

      Can you describe what you’ve done so far? Some buns benefit from a longer settling in period and pre-bonding time.

      Once I know a bit more about what your process has been I can give some suggestions.


    • Lizruth
      Participant
      2 posts Send Private Message

      Thank you so much for your speedy reply. The support is so appreciated.

      I’m gonna take your advice and give them a two-week break. 

      The recommendation from the rabbit rescue was to switch their homes everyday. We have been doing that religiously. They also recommended stress bonding in the car. We started off with that for a few days, and my husband and I decided to do it sparingly as it is too stressful for them to do everyday.

      We were doing two short sessions a day in the tub with rugs and in a small neutral area in our living room with two panels cornered off from our x-pen. We live in a small apartment, so neutral space is hard to come by. We decided to stick to the tub after a few session in the living room. All of their bonding sessions have been monitored and moderated by us…I try to start and end each session with them between my legs while I groom them together. I also added raisins to the mix at the beginning and end of each session. Sometimes, I give them lettuce too. 

      To be honest, we weren’t planning on bringing them home when we did. They were a spontaneous adopt. I have been doing research on bonding everyday since I brought them home and only just learned about pre-bonding last week. We did skip that step, but had already started the process and had seen some progress. Last night made it clear to me how important the pre-bonding step is…

      It’s been trial and error, and looking back, I should have done more research before bringing them home. That being said, I agree that they need some time to settle into their new environment. So, we are gonna hold off on the sessions for a couple of weeks. 

      Any other advice is welcome…


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      2841 posts Send Private Message

      Gotcha!

      The switching is good, the car rides are good! If you’ve been switching their homes, that constitutes pre-bonding, but yes usually you do that for a while without sessions.

      I think a break will help. I think you should try a larger space. I’ve never had a ton of luck in the bath tub. When one bun tries to get away, they can’t, so circling and tussling ensues.

      How did they do in the car?

      Can you try your bathroom floor? Or a larger area? Maybe kitchen?

      When things are tense, I like to focus first on keeping everyone calm and happy. So when they approach each other expecting to be groomed (or even to nip), just pet pet pet them both and swap scents so they think they are being groomed. As long as they are near each other, pet pet pet.

      Once they start getting more relaxed around each other, you can ease off the petting and see how they do.

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