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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.

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Forum BONDING How long after a fight to begin rebonding?

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    • DianeK
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      Hi Everyone,

      I have two female rabbits, Jeffrey (yes, a girl) and Lilly, both under 1 year old and spayed. My husband and I have recently started bonding them (2 weeks in). We did all the correct steps, bathtub, slowly increased areas, etc. Everything was going wonderfully, they were running around together, eating together, using the potty together, etc. until a couple nights ago. 

      A series of very bad decisions on our part (we opened up part of the house too quickly to the them, which was originally Lilly’s area. To add insult to injury, we put Jeffrey’s cage in her room as well). Well, a fight broke out in the middle of the night. Lots of fur, Lilly has a cut on her should that I’m praying doesn’t abcess. We separated them for the night, tried again in the morning… same thing. Lilly was still furious and launched a full assault against Jeffrey. 

      We separated them again, and they are living in the hallway with a baby gate separating them. There’s no fighting through the gate, they seem calm and are sleeping close to the gate.

      So when do we start bathtub bonding again? I’m actually getting a little nervous. They have a VERY long car ride ahead of them, we’re moving from Alaska to Vermont on June 1. I really, really don’t want two bickering bunnies in the back seat, but as we all know, they have their on timelines.

      Any guidance/thoughts on my situation? Thank you all.


    • LongEaredLions
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      I would only wait a day or so. Then, take them back to the bonding stage they are comfortable with and continue from there. You should be able to get them bonded by June.


    • DianeK
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      I was hoping that would be the case, thank you for your response.

      I’m really trying not to inflict my human timelines on my beloved rabbits…! 


    • LBJ10
      Moderator
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      Yep, that sounds like a good plan – wait and couple days and return to the point where everyone was comfortable. Perhaps they need to be stressed a little more too? Have you tried putting them in a box or laundry basket and dragging them around? Or putting them on top of the washer or dryer when it’s running? Or putting them in a carrier together and taking them for a ride in the car? Any of those might help.


    • DianeK
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      Husband just reported he did a 10 minute session with them in the tub. They did very well, Jeffrey smacked Lilly across the face right off the bat, both peed, but in the end there was some mutual grooming.

      It’s weird, both are completely un-phased by the vacuum cleaner and the washer. They will continue to eat hay, groom, etc. I was laughing at Jeffrey on her way to her spay, she was cleaning her toes and looked rather bored!

      I think a car ride would be a good thing, if anything to get them used to it. They have about 6 days of driving ahead of them. I know they will do fine but I’m still extremely nervous. Heat, Canadian border patrol demanding we take them out, etc. I’m just there will be some unforeseen stuff.


    • DianeK
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      So sad and discouraged. They’re fighting almost immediately in the bathtub. Jeffrey seems to be presenting, Lilly nibbles on Jeffrey’s side until it turns into a full blown fight. This happened twice today, both within 5 minutes. They’re still not marking or fighting through the baby gate, and they tend to lie closely as well.

      Do they just hate each other?

      Now what? I cannot bear the thought of rehoming Lilly. I made a commitment to her and I intend to keep it.


    • DianeK
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      Well, we’ve decided to give everyone a break. Both bunnies are in different wings of the house, have free range, and both are a LOT happier. Binkying, playful, running around. Normally that would make me smile but I feel like such a failure. With this move to Vermont and trying to wrap up my job, I have enough on my plate.

      The next thing I have to deal with is how to transport two un-bonded buns in the back of a Subaru Outback.

      Maybe I’ll try again at the beginning of May when my job is done, giving me the whole month to try and bond them. Or perhaps I’ll just start them with a clean slate at their new home. Opinions? Pros and cons?


    • LittlePuffyTail
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      Don’t feel like a failure! I consider myself a pretty experienced rabbit Mom (I’ve had buns over 10 years) and despite several attempts I am unable to bond my two buns. I have an aggressive female I can’t make play nice. Bunnies can be ridiculously difficult with this whole bonding business.

      Starting in a new home can definitely be an advantage. No bunny has claimed the space yet and both will feel a bit uncomfortable and stressed out by it.


    • LongEaredLions
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      Don’t feel like a failure! Bonding is hard!
      Do whatever you feel like you should, we cannot tell you that.


    • calipa_st
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      After a major fight with mine, stitches involved and all. I just kept my two next to each other in a separated ex-pen but didn’t do any bonding sessions. I did this for a week and then reintroduced them in a different way (I have a galley kitchen and neither had ever really gone in there so it worked a lot better than the tub had.
      I’d wait a week, it’ll be like a reintroduction.

      But, my one rabbit (the blue dutch) I brought him near Rodan today and Rodan immediately had his tail straight up they were ready to kill each other. For some reason, my Lucky just pissed off my other two where they absolutely go bonkers if he comes near (in their defense, he’s a jerk)


    • DianeK
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      Thanks for the words of encouragement, everyone. Both rabbits are back to normal, I didn’t realize how withdrawn they had become after the fight. They both just shut down a bit, maybe a rabbit form of PTSD? They’re fine now, happy and fully engaged in life. We’ve formulated a plan to drive with them that they can still see each other, but not ride together. We have to buy a whole new vehicle and sell ours…. jeez, what we do for these creatures… I am officially a Crazy Bunny Lady! 


    • Slowebot
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      My bunnies would fight in the tub too, pretty viciously. I think to my older bunny, it smelled too much like home that he was still territorial and was attacking the new bunny. What really helped was taking them outside into a lawn or parking lot. A plethora of new smells and sounds put my older bunny on edge which was great because he wasn’t scared of water, vacuums, or shaking boxes. You’re definitely not doing anything wrong and I understand the feeling of discouragement. Try taking them outside near a street and put them in a pen. There were only a couple nips and then they were just nose to nose and they never attacked each other again. After that you can probably stuff them in a carrier immediately afterwards without them attacking each other and drive around for a while, then try a blocked off part of your home, clean the floor and cover the sides of the pen with something so they can’t see out of it or take them to the bath tub. I think if you can scare them enough into trusting each other and get past the hump of attacking, it should be easier.

      I’m sorry it’s been hard. Seeing my bunnies try to kill each other made me so stressed and sad and scared. I literally was terrified of putting them in the bathtub. I hope that if you do try taking them outside that it works because when you do finally see them next to each other it’s so rewarding.


    • Slowebot
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      Also if you get them close to being bonded again, considering you’re moving so soon maybe you can just move their cage or a pen outside of the room that instigates territorial behavior, it would be like skipping that part that set you back the first time. If you can’t/don’t want to move it maybe only let them be in that room when you can supervise and then take them back into semi-neutral territory when you’re busy/sleeping. When I moved my bunnies into the room they’d be staying in they got into a couple chasing rings. I’d bang a pot or spray them and then I would stuff them into the carrier or nic cube and take a short walk outside to calm them down. There are a lot of suggestions but use whichever ones you’d think would work best for your lifestyle and your bunnies. Good luck!


    • DianeK
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      Thank you, Slowebot, for the reply. I’m going to revisit your notes in a couple months when things have calmed down. I really do appreciate the response! My husband is having bunny issues now, they both run from him, as he was the “lead bonder”. Apparently everyone has been traumatized – oy.


    • Lisa-P&T
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      Apologies, I just realised that I am mixing up 2 forums!! But any advice would be brilliant as I have always found users of this site to be very knoedgable and generous with their advice. 


    • Lisa-P&T
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      Hi everyone.

      I came across this thread in my desperate search for help. People seem to be very knowledgeable and I’d love if anyone could offer advice on my own thread which I will link below. I have 2 female rabbits. One is ultra-dominant, very alpha (even with us, her human slaves!) and they’ve recently had a huge fight, similar to the one posted about here. I’d be so grateful for any input.

      I would also be very interested in hearing from the original poster, and if you managed to rebond?

      Thanks guys!

      https://www.rabbitsonline.net/threads/should-we-give-up-on-this-bond.101994/#post-1177159


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6231 posts Send Private Message

      Hi @Lisa-P&T ,

      Since this thread is very old, I’m not sure the OP will respond as I don’t think they have been active on the forums for a long time. You have Tony and Phil right? I know you have been through the ringer with them. 🙁

      I’ll leave this thread open for now just in case the OP notices, but in general it’s best not to reply to old threads because things get confusing. If you have another thread going I’ll try to reply to it there.

       

      . . . 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.  


    • DanaNM
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      So I just read your thread on rabbits online, and I hate to say it, but I personally would not attempt to re-bond. 🙁

      I say that just because I know how much you have been through with them, and the fact that there was a lot of bullying even when they were “bonded”, plus all the issues with food aggression. Having one rabbit with an illness can also cause problems.

      I have had 1 bond break on me, with two serious fights, including one that led to an injury that required vet attention (and these fights happened while we were home, and came out of no where. I shudder to think of what would have happened if we hadn’t been home). I opted not to try to rebond, because I just didn’t think it was worth the injury risk, and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to trust the buns ever again.

      If you do want to re-bond, it’s usually recommended to take a very long break with full separation anytime there is a fight that caused injury. Ideally the buns would be in separate rooms for several weeks to allow them to forget each other somewhat.

      Some pairings are just not compatible, and it seems like female-female bonds are some of the hardest and most likely to break on average (a big survey by the UK rabbit welfare association collected some data on this).

      Sorry you are dealing with such a stressful situation. 🙁 I think some cooling off time and healing time will help everyone, whether you decide to try again or not.

      . . . 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.  


    • DanaNM
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      6231 posts Send Private Message

      Going to lock this now and move the convo to the other thread on food aggression:

      Is dominance/bullying behaviour too much?

      . . . 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 How long after a fight to begin rebonding?