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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 Only one bunny grooming

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    • katiecaza
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      Hi,

      first of all i apologize if this has already been asked/answered before, i did try to find some advice on here and online but can’t really find any. i have a spayed female and neutered male holland lop that i’ve been trying to bond for a little over a month now. We did lots of pre bonding beforehand and  they’ve been doing pretty well! they’ve never gotten in a fight and have seemed comfortable around each other basically from the start. We’ve been slowly increasing the time and space they spend together during bonding sessions and they have been able to spend a good 8 hours together (in a very small x pen of course) with hay and water with no issue. The male did mount a bit here and there, other than that they pretty much just flop and hang out together. The thing i’m wondering is when to move forward, since like i said they really have had no problems ever, but i have noticed that my female has groomed my male a few times and puts her head under his asking to be groomed very often but i haven’t seen him groom her at all. she seems to even get frustrated at points when he doesn’t groom her back. I have tried the banana on their head trick and they both groomed each other that time but he hasn’t done it again since. My question is should i move forward with the process if he isn’t grooming back or continue where we’re at? We’ve been stuck at this point for a while but i don’t want to rush them or anything if that’s not the best thing to do. thanks!!:))


    • Wick & Fable
      Moderator
      5047 posts Send Private Message

      It’s not uncommon for there to be disproportionate grooming in a bonded pair. I’ve read about (and also currently have) pairs where essentially only one rabbit grooms the other, and that’s how the hierarchy was established.

      I personally would say move forward, and if you see signs it’s not going well, remember you can always go back! It’s hard for people who aren’t actually involved in the bonding process to provide guidance, because ultimately every bonding process is different because every pair of rabbits is different. It sounds like you have a good foundation so far, and you’ll only know if you can go farther until you try. It seems like the likelihood of an instant fight is quite small, so it seems like a safe time to try longer than 8hrs (with you supervising) and/or  expanding the area a bit to give them more room.

      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.


    • pinkiemarie
      Participant
      372 posts Send Private Message

      I agree with Wick, I have a pair of bonded neutered males and one is pretty aggressive and the other is super chill. You would think the aggressive one would be dominant but the chill one actually won dominance by just calmly putting his head under the other one’s head over and over and over again. I’m not sure how the dominance will work out in your pair but uneven grooming is very common and I would guess that he’s withholding grooming as a dominance behavior (I could be wrong but that’s my armchair take on it lol).


      • katiecaza
        Participant
        3 posts Send Private Message

        thank you for the advice:) Theyve been together for about 16 hours now and have been doing good! (sharing food, litter box, grooming from the female etc)  Theyre also in a bigger space and it hasn’t been an issue. We plan on watching them in there for another day to make sure there aren’t any problems. The male is still mounting every once in a while though, should we wait until that stops to consider them bonded and move them in together or is that not something to worry about?


      • pinkiemarie
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        As long as he’s mounting they’re probably not fully bonded because that means he’s trying to assert dominance. You can definitely keep moving forward and 16 hours is great but don’t leave them unattended yet. A fight could still break out and someone could get hurt.


      • DanaNM
        Moderator
        6239 posts Send Private Message

        Mounting can (and does) happen in fully bonded pairs, but I 100% agree that 16 hours isn’t long enough.

        You’ll want to wait at least 48 hours before making the final move to their permanent home. I usually wait until I am sure they are bonded, then do another 24 hours or so just to be on the safe side. If any scuffles or aggression occurs, I restart the clock.

        That said it sounds like it’s going great!

        . . . 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
      6239 posts Send Private Message

      Agree with others, I would move forward! As long as you are seeing lots of other positive signs (cuddling, hanging out together, sharing food, and just generally being relaxed around each other), then having two-way grooming is not essential!

      . . . 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.  


      • katiecaza
        Participant
        3 posts Send Private Message

        That makes sense. they’ve been together 40 hours so far and he actually hasn’t mounted since i made that last comment so we’re going to give them a little bit longer to lock things in:)

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Forum BONDING Only one bunny grooming