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BUNNY 911 – If your rabbit hasn’t eaten or pooped in 12-24 hours, call a vet immediately!  Don’t have a vet? Check out VET RESOURCES 

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 Need Help Bonding!

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    • WillowAndPepper
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        Hi everyone! I’ve been having trouble/need help figuring out the best way to bond my rabbits. I answered all the questions on bonding below, let me know if any other questions need answers 🙂 Now for background info, I adopted Willow roughly 3 months ago and she is now 7 months old, she was very scared at first and took her 3 weeks to come up to me but now we are bonded. Everywhere I researched highly recommended have bunnies in pairs so I started looking into it. I rescued Pepper almost 2 weeks ago and he was already neutered, he is very curious and not scared of anything at all (very surprising for a bunny lol). At first, Willow was extremely agressive towards him (they were kept separate 24/7 but she saw the arrival of a new bunny), but now after being neighbours she is much calmer and seems to want to be his friend even though she has only been spayed for 1 week and her hormones havent calmed yet. So I took this as a good sign and saw other positive behavioural signs from both bunnies and I thought it was a good time for their first session. I set up an x-pen in an area that none of the bunnies had seen and introduced them, I was very shocked to see that Willow was completely calm and Pepper was the one who was agressive, he was charging, boxing and grunting at her, Willow ended up hiding behind me and that’s when I stopped the session. No one was injured as I had a dust pan blocking his ‘attacks’. He also charges at me when I go near his litter box but never bites or anything more. I would really appreciate help these topics:

        1. How can I stop charging/agressive behaviour from Pepper?
        2. How will I know when both bunnies are ready for sessions?
        3. What are the best bonding methods?

        Spay/Neuter
        Are your bunnies spayed/neutered? Yes
        If so, for how long (for each)? Pepper: currently 3 years old and was neutered before 1, Willow: 1 week ago

        Housing
        Please describe your bunnies’ current housing set-up (living together, as neighbors, etc.).

        They are currently neighbours in separate x-pens and each have exercise time throughout the day

        Bonding background
        Did you allow the bunnies to “settle-in”? Yes
        How would you describe your bunnies reactions towards each other (answer for each bunny): shy, scared, curious, calm, aggressive, excited, affectionate, etc.? Willow: at first, very agressive, but after living next to him for a week she has been curious and excited. Pepper: at first, curious but now he is agressive

        Have you done any “pre-bonding” (cage or litter box swaps, etc.)? yes, they are getting used to each other being neighbours and I have just switched their litter boxes
        If so, for how long? not sure how long since I only switched the litter boxes today so I dont know
        Have you started sessions yet? Just one today
        How long have you been working on bonding your bunnies? 1 week and a half
        How frequently do you have bonding sessions, and how long are they? The one I did today lasted around 10 minutes maximum
        Have you tried any stressing techniques? No

        Any advice is appreciated!!


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
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          I think you should definitely wait at least another 2-3 weeks before doing more sessions. Willow’s hormones will take a while to settle, which can make things more volatile. Her scent will continue to change and sometimes in females it can take 4-6 weeks for their hormones to fully settle down. That time will also give more pre-bonding time. It’s usually recommended to let the new bunny settle in with no bonding or pre-bonding for at least a week or two, then do a few weeks more of pre-bonding.

          The fact that Pepper is charging you for going near his litter box tells me that he needs more time to just settle in and get used to his new surroundings, and is possibly reacting to Willow’s hormones as well. So even taking a couple weeks with no side swaps or anything could also help.

           

          . . . 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 Need Help Bonding!