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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 Not Making Any Bonding Progress…

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    • Nicoleliannexo
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      Hi friends! This is my first time posting here, so hopefully I do it ok lol! I am in some serious need of bonding advice.

      I currently have two males who are neutered and both 3 years old – Ziggy and Dusty – who I have been trying to bond for 3ish months now.

      A bit about their living situation: They reside in the same room next to each other but are separated by 2 xpens- they keep to themselves and don’t really bother each other at the gates though which is good. Their food is served against it though so they eat facing each other, but otherwise they keep to their own spaces away from the gate. We swap stuff every week.

      Their bonding sessions are done in a neutral area, in a large xpen, every other night for a few hours. It took us a LONG time to find the right room/amount of space that worked for them to minimize fighting. Here’s what usually happens and has been happening for a month now:

      – they do not initially bother each other as I feed them their veggies in the space. They go right for the veggies/hay and will munch on it side by side. this feels like a good sign

      – Ziggy has a thing for nipping at Dusty’s butt, which has happened EVERY session to the point where every time Ziggy runs up to Dusty, even just to smell him, Dusty runs away. They make no progress here because Dusty won’t let Ziggy near him. IF Ziggy persists, which is maybe 30% of the time, it ends in Dusty nipping back/a whirlwind of chasing and nipping that we stop right away.

      – we have tried stress bonding in the car 3 times, and it went fine. They snuggled together with no fighting, but we’re beyond terrified and I’m not doing it again bc it made no difference.

       

      – OCCASIONALLY if Dusty doesn’t fight back, Ziggy WILL groom him for ~5-15 seconds, BUUUT then he’ll aggressively nip and nudge at Dusty’s side to the point where eventually Dusty just nips him back and they start fighting. What is with the side nips/nudges? It’s relentless. Is this Ziggy asking Dusty to groom him? Because I really don’t think Dusty is getting the memo.

       

      – We recently put them in a laundry bin on our bed because Ziggy HATES anything without carpet, and it went pretty well. They snuggled, it was less stressful than the car, and Ziggy groomed Dusty a bit…. But it ALWAYS turned into Ziggy nipping and nudging Dustys side – with Dusty just staying frozen until he’s had enough and fights back… as always.

       

      Any tips? It feels like Dusty doesn’t even realize Ziggy is grooming him the few seconds he does, or that he’ll ever give in to Ziggys grooming requests – assuming that’s what the nipping is. I don’t know – I’m lost. I just need advice on how to move them forward a bit, or interpret what’s going on between them/what all the side/butt nipping is..

       

      TIA! And sorry for the novel lol


    • DanaNM
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      Oooh I can picture exactly what you mean with that side nipping thing! I have seen my buns do it in sessions and it’s really frustrating. I interpret it as a dominance thing. Usually one bun nips the other to get them to move out of the way, or in preparation to mount.  So it could be Ziggy is grooming because he wants to mount, or he grooms but then wants Dusty to respond to the nip in a submissive way (by moving). The side nip is not really a grooming request (that is when the bun puts their head down in front of the other bun’s face).

      How have you been ending the sessions, and how have you been breaking up scuffles? It’s important to try to end on a good note, or at least a neutral note.

      A couple thoughts to try:

      -when they approach each other and Ziggy grooms, be right there and pet both bunnies A LOT before Ziggy starts nipping. Try to get in there and make both bunnies think they are being groomed to see if you can prevent the nipping. You want to try to break the cycle of Dusty being afraid of Ziggy, and of Ziggy nipping Dusty.

      – longer sessions. see if you can get past the nipping phase. Maybe even set aside a weekend where you plan to have them together for a full day and see how that goes.

      -try daily sessions. with the every other day frequency, they may not feel they NEED to fully sort things out (this goes along with the above suggestion for longer sessions).

      -a new space (still neutral), but maybe try going to a friend’s house or a pen in a backyard.

      -you also might save the veggies and food for later in the session when things tend to get more tense.

      Maybe not as important but could also help:

      -start swapping who is in which pen every other day or every day. I usually try to time it so I put each bun in the opp pen at the end of the bonding session.

      . . . 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 Not Making Any Bonding Progress…