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Hey all, a little background info first:
So I first rescued a 1 year old rabbit, Luna and we had her spayed. Let her heal and then brought her back to the shelter for a bunny date. We then adopted Bun Diesel because they got on the best. At the bunby date they mostly ignored each other. BD showed some interest in Luna but she ran away and that was it. The other rabbit we tried with there was much more aggressive and so BD was our favorite choice. He has already been neutered. They don’t know his exact age because he was found outdoors but they know he’s young. This is my first time bonding rabbits.
Current set up. We had Luna in a pen we built in our walk in closet. The closet is also blocked off by a baby gate and we would usually just let her have free reign of the whole closet. Once we adopted BD Luna was moved into our bathroom and I but BD in the pen in the closet. Both buns get free range of the bedroom during the day, at separate times. I feed both at the baby gate so they were able to smell each other for a few days.
Day 1 of bonding session I started them off in the bath tub. No fights or aggression. Mostly just Luna staying still and BD on and off humping her.
Day 2 again done in the bath tub. Pretty much the same as day 1 this time Luna humped back a few times but most of it still done by BD. BD ate some food.
Day 3 I decided to change bonding session location to a small blocked off hallway. BD was having a lot of traction issues in the tub and Luna just tried constantly to jump out unless the curtain was closed. They both seemed to like the hallway better. Luna could get away from BD better if she needed too and BD didn’t look like he was slipping on ice all the time. Still lots of humping from BD one or two humps from Luna but mostly Luna again just stayed stationary and scared looking. BD flopped and groomed her and ate lots of food. Towards the end Luna cautiously ate some food. Ended it shortly after that.
Day 4, today, still in the hallway. Luna has finally been much more active. BD has spent most of the time chasing her offering his head for grooms. She mostly just ran away from him. Both took breaks to eat and groom themselves. Finally on like the hundredth time offering his head Luna groomed BD’s head! She then kind of crawled on him a bit but seemed more like a checking out his back to groom then a mount. Shortly afterwards she flopped. There had been no humping for most of it. Chasing resumed with short breaks for food. BD then has tried to mount 3 times but Luna runs from most of it. He got one short humping in and seems to have returned to chasing and offering his head. Luna is still running away from him. She flopped a second and third time. Would say today was a successful step in the positive direction.
I’m having issues loading pictures from both my phone and computer but if I get it working I’ll post some.
I forgot to add I’ve been switching their litter boxes and stuffed animals every other day. Also because Luna seem so scared so once I started doing the sessions in the hallway I have been bring her first and letting her have a couple minutes alone to check out the territory but not too long as I want to keep the space neutral. That seems to be helping because she hates being picked up and starts acting scared from that point so it gives her some time to calm down after being carried. I’ve been doing sessions in the mornings, when I usually feed them their veggies but putting some veggies in there to encourage them to eat together at their normal time but during the bonding session.
She then kind of crawled on him a bit but seemed more like a checking out his back to groom then a mount
Hi – it sounds as if it’s all going well. The hallway is def the right way to go about it and you’re getting positive results… keep on at that !
It can take a few days – it may take a few weeks – but you’ll see a shift in their behaviour. That she is moving away from his advances is good (no fights).
And she groomed his head which is greeeat after 3 sessions. Also that everything is being swapped every day is good too.
All textbook stuff ! Well done !
Thank you. Definitely happy to see a change today with Luna. I was getting concerned because she doing nothing for the first few days. It’s funny too because they play with each other at the gate on their individual sides all the time. One will hide and then pop up to the gate and the other one will run and then come back and pop back up at the gate and so on. They will get really into it a binky as the pop back up at the gate to “suprise” the other. But then in the bonding session Luna would be so stationary. I think part of it is that Luna got a little freaked out by her first bunny date with a different bun. He was a much larger 8lb bunny and he got a little aggressive with her. Bun Diesel has a really good disposition and took to her right away he’s also smaller than her so I think she just has to get over her fear that he’s not going to be as aggressive like the first bun.
Still can’t get photos to upload. Tried doing a photo bucket link that doesn’t seem to work either
Bare with me trying to get this photo thing to work. Did one photo and it worked but tried to add more now it’s not working again. Ugh.
Those last 2 photos make me smile like The Joker !!!! Brilliant !!
They are too cute!! I’m glad (and jealous) it’s going so well for you. Feel free to share tips too btw.
Thank you both. Love my bun buns sweet faces too. I definitely think I’ve lucked out with how well it has gone so far. It’s still in the stages Luna could get fed up so I don’t want to jinx myself lol. I think a lot of it is that Bun Diesel has a really great disposition. He’s a super sweet bun. He doesn’t even care about being picked up. Luna is a sweet bun too but much more skittish. You have to take your time with her but once she likes you she’s a lover and likes to give lots of kisses. She’s been a bit more iffy with me during the bonding time because she hates being picked up and I’m having to do it daily. She got the same way when having to give her her medicine the 5 days after being spayed basically having to chase her down in her pen, she wasn’t happy with me for a few days. It’s a good personality mix.
Not sure I’m really qualified to give tips. These are my first rabbits and first time bonding. I’ll continue to write about their bonding and if I think of anything else I’ve done I’ll let you know
Day 5 I decided to extend this session to an hour. It started off with Luna eating veggies and BD asking for grooms, wandering around the pin and binkying. Luna seemed much more comfortable in having her back end exposed but was refusing to groom him and just continued eating. He groomed her a little and then he then really pushed himself under her to be like “HEY! Groom me” she still refused. After that he started to try and mount her I’m guessing to try and reestablish dominance. Luna wasn’t having it and just kept running away from him. Basically they did a few laps around the area like that him trying to mount her her running ahead a little so he couldn’t. He eventually stopped on the third go around after no successful mounting. He walked away ate a little something and preceeded to ask for grooms again but this time sitting and waiting for longer periods. Luna just seems to want to eat. Sometimes she ignored him sometimes ran away but eventually did groom him. Again she crawled on his head to groom his back and then they cuddled together for a bit in a relaxed sit but not laying all the way down. A little more asking for grooms which Luna runs from with some more random binkies from BD. Seems to be going in a cycle of nose touches, him offering head for grooming her running away him chasing for head grooms, break for eating and so on. They were then nose touching and Luna flopped while nose to nose with him. But he nudged her to get up. One other change I noticed is many of the times Luna runs from him instead of a frantic scurry it’s more like a little hop away almost like small or a half binky not sure what that means but I’m guessing it’s better than before. Threw, from a bit of a distance so not to insert myself unnecessarily, some apppe treats in there since they finished most of the veggies and thought it would help it be a more positive experience. Luna ate both pieces which isn’t suprising as BD isn’t big on any fruit I’ve tried so far. They did a whole bunch of nothing for awhile then randomly he mounted her head, which I stopped. Pretty much more of the same stuff with Luna stopping to groom herself giving him the random lick on the ear or forehead. Ocassionally he tries to mount her which she runs from. Honestly think he just really really wants her to groom him properly him he’s getting frustrated she won’t or if she does its very short. Luna then started investigating the area, chewing and digging at some boxes, (eating the damn door frame) and BD is just stuck to her side. She did stop to groom him twice more but again for very short periods. She’s definitely relaxed a lot more but she’s not as into him as he is her yet. I think I need to extend their area next time because Luna definitely seems to be getting bored and won’t stop chewing the door frames. I’m debating if I should just extend the area to an L shaped area going from the front door to the hallway they are in or just try out the bedroom. I’m leaning towards the L shaped area just because the bedroom has a lot of places, like under the bed, they could fight in and that I can’t easily reach but the bedroom is bunny proofed and the L shaped area isn’t except for the hallway area they are currently in. Plus the bedtoom would be a really big expansion. That will probably be my project for to night… seeing if I can bunny proof the rest of the L shaped area.
Ok so interesting update. Luna loves to hang out under the bed when it’s her time to have the bedroom. It can be a real pain to get her back in her pen. The easiest way I have found is to let BD out of his area and he immediately goes towards her. She sees him coming a mile away and bolts usually running straight to her pen. I close her in and done deal BD gets the room to himself. So I go to do that and let BD out and Luna runs out from under the bed but after a few seconds runs back in. She came out a couple times he got close to her but would do back and never ran to her area. She then proceeded to run into his pen which made me nervous. He of course followed her immediately so I quickly grabbed something in case BD got territorial and they fought. And guess what? He didn’t care, at all. He watched her and followed her but the only thing he did was put his head down for grooms. She licked his ear and hopped on. Even hopped in his litter box and was fine. They ran around the room together. He also then went into her pen and no fights or aggression. I can’t stay in the room with them right now so was able to keep Luna in her pen once BD left it. Very interesting change that happened there. Unintentional and a bit nerve wracking for me but very good.
The dynamics can change and then change back – well done for holding your nerves….. it’s like holding your breath isn’t it? and then a huge sigh follows… lol
Yes exactly. I think I had a mini heart attack running to get the broom lmao. I wasn’t ready for the next step but apparently they are. Still think they need to be in a larger area just not that large yet and definitely not in each other’s pens. I can’t believe Luna let him in her pen (which is the bathroom) she gets territorial with me in there. She only nudges me nowadays that her hormones have cooled down since the spay but she use to nip quite a bit if she wanted you out of the area. They both seemed to focus on the litter boxes though which I just switched again today
Ok so now I can’t seem to keep Luna away from BD. I let her out for her turn again and realized when I put BD back I didn’t put the baby gate on right, it was at a weird angle so I squat down to fix it (it was still up not opened at all). Luna comes running out of her pen, straight to the gate. She jumps on my lap, I thought she wanted pets but then jumps right over the gate. She then hops into his litter box and he joins her and they start eating hay together then come out and flop down together. What am I suppose to do now? I know Vienna ypu said they can turn back to being territorial but they are determined to be with each other. How should I proceed from here? This doesn’t seem to be going by the normal bunny bonding script at all and I’m worried. It’s nice an all they are getting along but based on their sessions it seems like they need more time. I’m confused what step I should take next. Any advice?
Lunas adorable Diesel is adorable
EVERYTHING IS ADORABLE
Thank you, Hazel
So Luna and BD have been together, supervised, for most of the day (over 8 hours) now and are doing awesome. No aggression at all. No humping, no chasing (unless during bunny 500s). They have stayed by each other’s side 90% of the time. Have ate, slept, flopped, groomed, got into mischief and LOTS of binkies together. I have left both pens open and they have been in and out of each other’s no problem although they do favor the closet aka BD’s. Will post some photos of their day.