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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.

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Forum BONDING Male and female bonding—mixed signals?

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    • ilovelionheads
      Participant
      9 posts Send Private Message

      I’ve slowly introduced my new male bunny (6 weeks) to my female rabbit (10 months) back in February. At first they didn’t care about each other and flash forward weeks later they are eating together, lounging together, etc. The male bunny even follows the female around a lot, although never mounting her or anything like that. I’ve caught both of each other even grooming the other.
      Neither of them are fixed but we have definite plans of spaying the female as she is very aggressive/territorial. She likes to mark her territory often around the house and chews like crazy. I should also mention that they both free range except the male is often put in a large enclosure at night to make sure the female doesn’t eat his alfalfa hay.

      Anyway, sometimes she goes after the male’s butt as if she is trying to sniff and nip it. I’ve never seen my male bunny show any dominance over her. Tonight she has been extra aggressive going for his butt and chasing him around. I’ve heard stomping too and I assume it’s from him. But then she will snuggle face to face with him as if expecting him to groom her. Then she starts sniffing him and going for the butt and he jumps away each time.

      Are they just playing or could it become potentially a bad situation? She’s rather sweet one moment and nippy the next. She’s also not let me hold her today and usually she’s ok with it. I’ve taken a few clips of the behaviour if that helps.

      edit: so I was petting her and she looked very content and calm and my male bunny came over all curious. And then once he saw she was docile started humping her. I’ve never seen him even try doing this, it was so weird to watch. I stopped petting her and then she turned and lunged at him.


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      6238 posts Send Private Message

      So, uncastrated rabbits cannot be truly bonded. Hormones will take over and prevent them from bonding. Many of the behaviors you described are also hormonal in nature. If you would like your rabbits to live together, you need to them spayed/neutered, and then you can go through the bonding process.

      It is also almost 100% certain that your female is now pregnant. Just as a reminder for this thread, discussion of intentional breeding is not allowed on this forum.

      . . . 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.  


      • ilovelionheads
        Participant
        9 posts Send Private Message

        Hi, is it necessary to have them both fixed or can one of them be?


    • Wick & Fable
      Moderator
      5046 posts Send Private Message

      I agree with @DanaNM — rabbits who are not fixed cannot be truly bonded due to the hormonal aspects. And yes, the likelihood of pregnancy based on ages is very high.

      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.


    • LBJ10
      Moderator
      15493 posts Send Private Message

      From what you’re describing, it sounds like your female is “done” with him. In other words, he has served his purpose and now he is just an annoyance. They seemed friendly toward each other in the beginning because the male was still very young. Then he started to become sexually mature and the interactions changed. This is normal behavior for intact, breeding individuals. Even though you didn’t witness mounting until just recently, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened several times already. Based on their current ages, it’s highly likely she is pregnant. You should separate them because she is going to continue be be annoyed by him.

      I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but discussion of intentional breeding is not allowed on the forum. If you intend to bond them, then you will need to keep them separate until they can both be spayed/neutered. Then you can start the formal bonding process. They will be able to form a solid bond once hormones aren’t telling them to reproduce.

       

       


      • ilovelionheads
        Participant
        9 posts Send Private Message

        Hi, my intention isn’t to breed them, I preferably want the female spayed. My boyfriend was convinced they could get along fine without being fixed :/ Would the male also need to be fixed even though he has shown minimal to no disruptive behaviour?


      • Wick & Fable
        Moderator
        5046 posts Send Private Message

        While I’m sure your boyfriend has the best intentions, it was misinformed/misguided. If both of you will be involved with rabbit care, I recommend reading the information provided in the RABBIT INFO section of this website– it outlines some basic and essential information rabbit owners should know. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about rabbits, so it can be hard to figure out what’s “right”.

        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
      Moderator
      6238 posts Send Private Message

      Yes, both should be castrated for a proper bond to form. If only one is castrated, the hormonal fluctuations in the other rabbit can still trigger problems and cause fighting. You could get your male neutered right away, and see your vet about spaying. The vet may be able to do an emergency spay if her pregnancy isn’t too far along.

      . . . 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.  


    • LBJ10
      Moderator
      15493 posts Send Private Message

      Yes, having them both done is a must. If you only neutered your male, you would be looking at false pregnancies in the female because the male may still mount her even if he’s neutered (e.g. to display dominance). If you only spayed your female, then you would be looking at a very frustrated male because all he will want to do is mate. In either scenario, the hormonal behaviors in one bunny toward the other can trigger fights. Long lasting bonds are extremely unlikely to form if all parties involved are not spayed/neutered.

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Forum BONDING Male and female bonding—mixed signals?