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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Forum BEHAVIOR My 1st bunny Bella hates my 2nd bunny Winnie

  • This topic has 3sd replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by DanaNM.
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    • Sam with the two Potatoes
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        My 1st bunny, Bella (spayed), after a year still refuses to get along with my 2nd bunny, Winnie. They’re about 5 months apart and ever since I got Winnie, Bella has always tried to attack him. She grunts at him, tried to bite him, chases him, at one point we heard Winnie squeal because she was hurting him. The other side of the story is Winnie loves Bella, when Bella is in her enclosure and Winnie is let loose to roam, he goes straight to her, flops by her, and follows her around. As long as Bella is in her enclosure, he will come to her and rest by her, but once Bella is free to roam and Winnie sees her he runs away and hides. I tried bonding them, feeding them together, petting them together, giving Bella her sense of dominance by giving her things first and nothing ever worked. At one point, i even tried stress bonding them which I was not happy about, and it worked for the first half hour they ate next to each other fine, but once they both relaxed she started chasing him again. This has gone on for a year now and every attempt at bonding has failed, i dont know if Bella just doesn’t like other bunnies, which I wouldn’t understand since we got her while she was around other bunnies and she was seen playing with them or if she’s jealous of winnie so she gets defensive or if she just doesn’t like Winnie. Winnie has always been a sweet heart, he couldn’t hurt a fly if it tried to attack him, bella on the other hand has always been more vocal and aggressive towards us when we’ve tried to pick her up or even as simple as trying to clean her enclosure. Would anyone have any idea of what I could do or at least know if this is a lost case at this point


      • Wick & Fable
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          Can you provide some more clear details around what you’ve done in terms of the bonding process? Rabbit bonding has some mechanics that require time and slowly going from step to step, often taking multiple weeks to sometimes months of daily work/sessions.

          To start, when you’ve tried short meetings, have they been in a small neutral territory? Neutral meaning neither rabbit have been in that area anymore.

          Unsure if you’re familiar, but we have an overview of bonding here for your reference: https://binkybunny.com/infocategory/bonding/

          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.


        • Sam with the two Potatoes
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            Yes both bunnies were in a neutral territory, an open space in a sense so they both weren’t forced to possibly feel cornered or threatened. We put things in the middle that they would like (hay, toys, food). At first they would both roam and investigate where they were, but if Bella by some chance ended up getting closer he would sit still and she would go towards him and start biting him. Because of this we never tightened the space because we already saw this was gonna be a longer process. As the weeks went by it didn’t get any better, instead it went from Winnie sitting and waiting to him seeing Bella and immediately running away, sometimes even thumping when he’d stop. So then came a period of time where we held off on the bonding because we could see that Winnie was developing fear towards her but we kept their enclosures together so they’d get used to seeing each other and having each others scent nearby. Bella always got her food first, treats first, hay first, because we believed it could be a dominance thing and doing that didnt really change anything. Winnie has never fought back never tried to attack her, on the contrary when she’s in her enclosure he always goes to her and stays by her. Once we saw it wasn’t going anywhere, we stopped the bonding after about 3 months, and kept them seperated to in a sense reset the process.. when we put them back nothing changed. We tried putting them in a smaller space, the same result. To add some details about each bunny, Bella is a netherland dwarf mix so she is very active, however she was diagnosed with e cunniculi which resulted in one of her eyes going blind unfortunately. winnie is a holland lop about 5 months younger than bella.


          • DanaNM
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              I’m sorry you are having such a tough time with them! You mentioned Bella is spayed, but can you confirm that Winnie is neutered? If not then that is your primary problem. My advice below assumes that he is neutered.  Bella sounds like a fairly territorial rabbit in gerneal (those nethies are so fiesty!). Also the fact that she is blind in one of her eyes might make her a bit more fearful, and hence aggressive. Health issues in general can make it difficult to bond. Also keep in mind that rabbits are aggressive out of fear, so helping her realize that Winnie is not a threat is going to be the most important step.

              You mentioned that stressing helped at first, so I would start by going back to this. Nothing too intense though! My first bond sounds very similar to yours and I did eventually get them bonded, but it took a long time. What worked for me finally was to start with SUPER short sessions, so that they wouldn’t have time to fight. I would first take them on some short car rides together in a bin, maybe 5 -10 minutes max. If they don’t fight in the car on the first day, repeat this daily for a few days (as long as the buns aren’t getting overly stressed out) with no other bonding sessions. If that all goes well, then add in a 2-3 minute session after the car ride. The goal is to end the session before there is any aggression at all. If the buns like to be petted you can also pet them during this time. If that goes well, repeat the same thing the next day. If that goes well, you can try skipping the car ride the next day, but again keep the session short. Then you will want to gradually increase the amount of time they are together. I recommend being pretty hands-on at first, so any time they approach each other, be ready to start petting them both. This will help build a positive association and make them feel like the other rabbit is grooming them. I would not put food in the pen at this point, just in case it causes aggression.

              The space you use is extra important. It should be VERY neutral, meaning that it doesn’t even smell like your home. In really tough bonds I have even gone to a friend’s house to bond because my apartment was too small to have any true neutral territory.

               

              . . . 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 BEHAVIOR My 1st bunny Bella hates my 2nd bunny Winnie