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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Home Forums BONDING Help! Both bunnies want to be ‘top bun’

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #1322721
    Lmm08
    Participant

    Please help! I’m at a total loss of what to do next.

    I’ve been trying to bond my 2 neutered Netherland dwarf brothers. They were separated completely for nearly 2 months due to reaching maturity at different ages and began fighting. I got another cage to put alongside the original hutch so they could see and smell each other and swap their homes around daily.

    Bonding was going very well at first! The bigger guy would happily groom the little guy which was normal as before separating the little guy was definitely the top bunny.

    Recently, they are both bowing their heads requesting to be groomed. Sometimes the little guy gets frustrated and started nipping the big guy. Not a serious fight like how they were fighting before neutering, but sometimes he tugs a bit of fur out of the other bun. Then sometimes the big guy gets annoyed with this and thumps if he’s being nipped and they sometimes circle. If the big guy isn’t grooming the little guy or being nipped, he’s just frozen and barely moves whereas the little guy is happy to explore the neutral space I’ve put them both in or wash himself.

    Any advice would be great. I love them both and feel like I can’t even consider swapping one for a female and don’t have enough room to put another rabbit in the mix. Thank you!


    #1892871
    Dface
    Participant

    How long have you been bonding them for?
    This really doesn’t sound abnormal, mine took months to grt past this phase, it can just take time for rabbits to sort out all that hierarchy stuff!


    #1892919
    Lmm08
    Participant

    Phew! I just need to persevere then really. Been bonding off and on for about 3 or 4 weeks. Admittedly it hasn’t been consistent because of the hours I’ve been working and don’t trust other members of the family to do it (properly). T


    #1892953
    Lmm08
    Participant

    I don’t know if this is stupid but I’m thinking of just putting them both in a cheap cage when I’m on a day off, but the cage in the living room and watch Netflix all day. So I’d still be there to break up any fights if they happen. At the moment they’re just having dates in the bathroom for around 20 minutes. Is this a horrible idea?


    #1893001
    DanaNM
    Moderator

    Hi there, sorry you are having a rough go of it.

    It does sound pretty normal and very possible to bond them, but I don’t recommend going the cage route. In my experience with two dominant buns (which has literally been every time I’ve bonded lol), I’ve had much better luck with larger spaces, and very new, stressful spaces. In a small space, they can feel threatened and things can escalate more quickly (one bun tries to move away, but if there isn’t really anywhere to go, the other bun things they are turning to chase them, and circling ensues).

    Plus in a cage it can be hard to intervene easily.

    Have you tried any stressing with them? Car rides have always helped me with my dominant stubborn buns.

    The other thing that has always helped has been a change of scenery. My most recent pair was really tough, and I finally had the most success when I took them to my friend’s house and used their garage as the bonding space (I have a small apartment so neutral territory is hard to come by).

    And of course, patience is key!

    You might like to read an article I wrote about my most recent pair of stubborn buns where I go through their progression in more detail (as well as what worked and what didn’t): http://www.bunssb.org/bunnies/bonding-two-stubborn-senior-buns/


    #1893363
    Lmm08
    Participant

    Thank you so much your advice and article was really helpful!

    I tried them in a room in the house that neither had been in before, at first both ignored each other and both were exploring, then a mini fight broke out. The little guy seems to be very territorial. I then put them both in the laundry basket, put their heads together and stroked them both for quite a while. This resulted in really nice grooming! I just worry about them moving to a bigger area as this is where fights seem to break out. Should I just take it slower? Just pet them both like this on dates for a few weeks before moving on?


    #1893365
    DanaNM
    Moderator

    If small spaces work, stick with that! Every pair is different!

    I would do some more sessions just like the one what worked. When they start seeming more comfortable in that space, you can start them there, then move them together to the bigger space. Some people do have good luck with small spaces though.

    It also sounds like the big space wasn’t too bad, but the session might have gone on too long. You can use the petting technique in large spaces as well (any time they come near each other, pet pet pet).


    #1893521
    Lmm08
    Participant

    Just thought I’d update. Small space sessions going incredibly well. ALWAYS really nice grooming. But when I try to move to a large space the nipping starts… ?


    #1893523
    Lmm08
    Participant

    Also they do lovely grooming in the bathtub and eat happily from the same pile of food. This has to be a good sign right? It’s just tricky moving to larger spaces…


    #1893533
    a llama
    Participant

    MY PAIR IS EXACTLY THE SAME, except it has been easily more than a couple of months that they have been stuck in this kind of frustrating relationship. I’ll be checking up on this thread in case I can find new ideas with what to do with my two little terrors lol

    Btw – for me stress bonding sessions have worked beautifully in the sense of calming my pair down enough so that they can snuggle together without any issues – and of course TONS of petting because they can’t do anything alone without resulting in the dreaded nips to the forehead


    #1893550
    DanaNM
    Moderator

    How long are your small space sessions? I have heard of folks doing marathons in small spaces… the buns basically live in a litter box together for like 24-48 hours…

    Also how bad is the nipping? A little nipping and chasing might be necessary, you just don’t want it to escalate. If they are doing great in small, it’s also recommended to slowly increase the size of the space, not to plop them into a huge area all at once.


    #1893560
    Lmm08
    Participant

    I’ve been doing about 45mins – 1 hour sessions. Spaces have been a small sink/basin- no nipping, laundry basket- no nipping, bathtub- one or two nips at first now no nipping at all, bathroom floor (small room)- some nipping, guest bedroom – nipping and chasing, a play pen set up about 2 metres x 1 metre which I’ve just tried now – tons of nipping and chasing.

    I can’t give one up for a female I love them both. Nor do I want them both to live solitary livesj


    #1893581
    DanaNM
    Moderator

    I would start doing long sessions in the tub before changing anything. See if you can push up to like 4 hours (start with going for 2, then 3, etc). I know it sucks being cooped up in the bathroom, but in general, if something is working, stick with it!

    My first pair I bonded mostly on my bathroom floor (and actually my second as well). I would go for 4 hours in the tub, then when you are ready for longer start in the tub, then move them to the bathroom floor. Then try for really long, like 6-8 hours. When they can go 6-8 hours with no scuffling or intervention from you, try them overnight in the bathroom. When I did this… I used a pen to block the door, and slept on a camping mat in the hallway next to them. Sounds extreme but it worked!


    #1894133
    Lmm08
    Participant

    Not going great… starting to the think the little guy is just too fiesty to be bonded to any rabbit. I’m considering booking them into a rabbit bonding service


    #1894185
    DanaNM
    Moderator

    Getting a professional opinion is never a bad idea. Sometimes just having a neutral party to help makes a world of difference.


    #1894223
    Lmm08
    Participant

    Thank you. I’ve got them both booked in with someone that works for a rabbit rescue service. She said she might keep them for a week or two and only wants a small donation to be made to the rescue she works with. A woman from another rabbit bonding business wanted £300!? I don’t think so…

    I had them both on my chest today while I watched tv and stroked both their heads. Went welly


    #1894267
    DanaNM
    Moderator

    That’s great that you have that option! My rescue was a huge help to me, but they still made me do the work. Lucky you!


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