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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Forum BONDING Survived the first at home date!

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    • LittleLionMan
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      Well I have survived my first bonding session where I was a ball of stress for four long minutes! Both bunnies did really well for the most part. They were really active for the afternoon and seemed interested in the space. Tina (to be renamed) kept shoving her head under Wolfie but he refused to groom her (he’s just hop away). He eventually mounted her head, which is something he did at the end of the speed dating marathon with the rescue. at the end of today’s date they started sniffing butts and going in a circle which I think could’ve turned into a bunny tornado, though I could be wrong? But all in all I think it was a positive first go — there was no nipping, biting, grunting, or stomping at all.

      Do I do a second date tonight Or should I leave it until tomorrow? i will say that I’m a bit nervous for the second date since they’ll be more familiar with the neutral territory. I can also tell they may have an issue establishing dominance which should be good for everyone’s stress levels.

      to those that have bonded/are bonding, what have you guys put in your bonding space? I hear a lot of pros and cons for toys and tunnels (in terms of territorial-ness), so I’m curious what has worked with you all.


    • LittleLionMan
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      Update: I did another short session yesterday (5 min) and a long one today (45 min). The second date yesterday I didn’t let them touch much. My goal was just to have another introduction because they seem confused by the other buns presence — which is so funny to me considering they’ve been living next to each other and have used the other’s litter. weirdos!

      Today was accidentally 45 minutes with mostly neutral (one nip, mounting, and a small chase) and positive behaviors (self-grooming, loafing, eating, hoppin around the space and playing) but they did get into a minor tussle or two. They both want to be head honcho.

      Tina constantly shoves her head under Wolfie to be groomed. Wolfie just looks at her head for a bit almost debating if he should give in, but mostly turns and hops away. He did mount her/attempt to mount her a few times. He has a tendency to mount her head when she’s trying to get groomed, which is fun for me! He did give in at one point and groomed her but it was pretty hard so I stupidly I broke it up (I really wish I didn’t). At another point they went after each other a bit and I was going to end the date but decided to keep going. They calmed down for the most part and just shared the space.  I was able to get them in a position to perform some “bunny magic.” They both were purring and happy and I called it once they were done getting pet.

      I’m not sure anyone is reading these, but if someone is:

      1) how long should I wait between dates?

      2) what should I have in my bonding space? I don’t want them to be bored but also don’t want them to be territorial.

      3) how do you not intervene?! I’m too reactive and I need to stop so they can work it out.


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like things are going pretty normally and not too badly! The rough grooming could have been a precursor to mounting. Usually the mounter will groom the other bun to try to convince them to let them mount, but if they don’t groom enough the mounting attempt is usually not successful. lol

      When I read “bunny tornado” I think of a fight where fur is flying and they are circling around very quickly. Just circling can be a precursor to fighting so circling should be stopped. Face mounting should also be stopped (to prevent a bite to the mounters genitals), but I usually will spin the mounting bunny around so they are in the correct orientation.

      I’ll try to answer your questions but let me know if I missed anything.

      1.  Most people do 1-2 sessions a day when sessions are short, or daily when they get longer. In general, once you start bonding sessions you want to be as consistent as possible, but if you need to skip a day or two it’s not the end of the world.

      2. For short sessions, I don’t put anything in the area. I usually put down some pee pads to make clean up easier. When sessions get longer than an hour or two I add a pile of hay. Then I will have some wet veggies on hand to offer for hydration and to keep them happy. When sessions get really long (like more than 4 hours), I will have some new (neutral) chew toys, like apple sticks or branches. I do think they can get bored in longer sessions so having some chew toys helps. If the bonding space is large, you can experiment with having some various brand new hides (with at least two exits) or tunnels. Sometimes they help because they can break up chasing and make things less boring, but sometimes buns will “claim” one. If the space is small then I wouldn’t worry about it.

      3. I think your level of intervention sounds pretty good. I think in the beginning, it’s better to potentially intervene too much, because preventing fights is the most important. I love the “bunny magic’ trick, so I would keep doing that! Having them be calm and happy together helps them learn to communicate without things escalating to fights. Once you get a better sense of how they are together you will be able to read their behaviors a bit more and can start to ease off intervening.

      One last tip, don’t worry too much about who will be “top bun” or the fact that both buns are showing signs of dominance. This is all normal, and often times in bonded pairs I’m convinced both buns think they are in charge! I know sometimes I’ve projected my opinions on things a bit and probably slowed the process down. 😉

       

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Great thank you! It’s so tough not to get involved or project our own opinions. I intervene a lot but sometimes think my movement sets them off when they’re both in a tense face-to-face. it’s a learning experience for the three of us but we’re doing the best we can!

      Thank you also for answering my questions! theres a plethora of bonding info out there, but it all reiterates x minute sessions in a neutral territory and look out for these behaviors before moving to the next step. But nothing I’ve found recommends how often dates should be, the cool off time between them, or basic things like how to set up the neutral territory! I didn’t end up doing a second date because 45 minutes seemed on the long end for us and I didn’t want to push them over the edge. In the scheme of things it’s probs a short session but better safe than sorry! I’m sure I’ll have more questions as time goes on 😅


    • DanaNM
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      You’re welcome!
      I actually wrote a blog post for the binky bunny blog about all the conflicting info out there, but it’s not published yet!

      And yes, in early stages especially it can be tempting to push thing too far too fast (and end up with lots of fighting), so it’s good to be a little on the cautious side!

       

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      I honestly didn’t know there was a blog, so thank you! I will look into that 🙂


    • LittleLionMan
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      Ok my friends, I have another question for you!

      as background, Wolfie and Tina are doing well overall. For two days in a row we were together for 2 hr dates with no mounting or nips, though I’m still pretty involved. They’re displaying neutral and positive behavior: they eat together, will self groom, play and explore. Yesterday they started mirroring each other more, in that they both sprawled out, groomed and age at the same time. Tina even flopped and did a few binkies. All very cute, National Geographic moments.

      now to my question! Despite the fact they are clearly starting to trust each other and speak  the same language, they do something that terrifies me and I’m not sure how to handle it. They will go over to each other and push their noses/mouths together, I imagine it’s an attempt to establish dominance and get the other to groom them. It’s not immediately aggressive, but they have tense bodies and are pushing into each other a bit. A few times Wolfie tilted his head (like he was going in for a kiss) and it looked like he was nipping/going to nip tinas face though she didn’t react. So what I’ve been doing when they approach each other is petting them both so they both feel groomed and I can control their heads should I need to (which they sometimes get frustrated with). Sometimes if they’re moving towards each other I’ll move to get in a better position. When they see me moving they will either stop what they’re doing, or will touch noses and hop away.  I’m not sure if I’m handling this properly by getting involved, or if intervening prevents them from sorting things out?  I see so many videos of people letting their rabbits duke it out to some extent, but that seems scary here since they’re literally pressing their faces. I don’t want them to get hurt or develop animosity towards on another, but also don’t want to cause bonding issues. What’s the right thing to do?


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like you are doing exactly what I like to do!

      So that sounds exactly like a grooming request. I like to do lots of petting at first in the early dates, esp if they seem tense. Then once I have a better sense of how they are doing, I will start to ease of the petting, or I will try to wait a second or two before starting to pet.

      Since yours seem to be doing well, you could try easing off of the petting a little and see what happens.

      I’ve had a lot of success with this method in my last few bondings. It was taught to me by the lead at the rescue I volunteered at, and she really had a lot of success with it t, she really was the bunny whisperer!

      I think the type of intervening you’re doing is good. I would only worry if you were literally pushing the buns away from each other every time they approached (which some nervous people will do!). I think petting lots and promoting calm interactions in the early dates especially is the way to go. 🙂

       

      . . . 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.  


      • LittleLionMan
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        Sorry I must have missed your post when I posted an update!

        I did take your advice though! I tried my best not to intervene and let them handle it. And Wolfie actually started grooming her! I feel silly now because they’ve been doing this dance for days and I kept intervening. I did let him while he groomed her, just because he kept switching to a harder groom that was close to her eye (not sure why?). He also would start grooming towards the back of her neck, which I was told was a precursor to mounting.

        She didn’t groom him, but instead kept torpedoing her head under his body. I told her she was pushing her luck and needed to give him some space!

        But altogether a positive day! There was grooming, binkying, eating, playing, and flopping. Still work to be done obviously but it was a sigh of relief.


    • LittleLionMan
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      Never mind! I sat back (well hovered) and tried to let them sort it out. And guess what? Wolfie fricken groomed her! It was a hard groom at first but then was soft. So happy! Issue now is that she keeps torpedoing him for grooms. He will alternate between hard grooms where she occasionally flinches and soft grooms. also does this thing where he’ll hard groom bear her eye which is also terrifying. But the grooming was progress!


    • DanaNM
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      hahah! that’s great progress!

      you might see that lead to some face mounting. If so, don’t panic! Just spin the mounter around so they’re facing the correct way.

      Other than that they seem to be doing wonderfully!

      . . . 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.  


      • LittleLionMan
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        Thank you so much, DanaNM! You’re the real MVP!

        We’ve had several days of 2 hour dates and 2 days of grooming. I’m going to try for a longer stretch today since it’s the weekend. She has yet to groom him and is a bit…needy and demanding. That’s honestly the only hump we need to get over. They share everything else in the space really well, including a litter box— well they take turns even though it’s big enough for both. I guess today I’ll just see how long we can go before we’re all over it.


    • DanaNM
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      That sounds really great! You don’t necessarily need to see two way grooming if you see tons of other signs that they are bonded. She may be waiting to make sure he’s trustworthy before grooming back.  I would say go with your gut. In my experience, when they are bonded they seem to “click” and you just know. If you still have doubts and there seems to be tension, then give them a bit more time. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      That’s good to know! We moved to a new neutral area so it would be comfortable spending hours there. I can let them interact largely on their own and trust that it’ll be ok 99%  of the time. So they’re feeling very close to being bonded, but we’re not there yet. the other 1% of the time is little miss needy getting upset when he stops grooming her, chasing after him and either forcing her head under him or nipping his tush. Usually if I intervene if stops and all is right in the world. We’re going on hour 4. I’m not sure I when I  should call it quits.

       


    • LittleLionMan
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      update: this weekend we did 5 hrs on Saturday and 6 hrs on Sunday in a new space (usually ended around 7pm both days). Pretty much everything still the same: sharing food, water, litter box, and toys, as well as binkying, sleeping, and sprawling out. Wolfie will groom her without issue but Little miss is still a brat and gets upset when he stops grooming. She will run after him and nip his tush or run and jump in front of him so she can shove her head under him. I’m *hoping* this will calm down once she gets more secure in the relationship.

      question to DanaNM or whoever wants to respond. How do I proceed? This week can’t use the space I was using this weekend. Would it be a mistake to try letting them out in the room they share? Or should I go to another neutral room?  it’s probs not time to move to a pen together yet because of the small dominance issue.

      im sorry for all the questions! Despite all the bonding info out there, the process is still so foreign.


    • Susanne
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      Hi, I’m not an expert but to me it all sounds great with your buns. Also wanted to say my Elmer is kind of a brat too and is very persistent in trying to get grooms from Ruby. He shoves his self under her aggressively! He has done a little few step chase with a half hearted nip if he is not ready for her to be done. This is after a year together, so maybe a little bit of that is just part of the dynamic and they may be closer than you think 🙂


      • LittleLionMan
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        Ah yes I read your whole bonding saga (Elmer is an easy name to remember)! Question for you (or anyone), when you started marathon bonding was that in the same room you had their side-by-side pens in? Or a completely different space?


      • Susanne
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        Ha, yes, and I think most bun bondings turn into a saga 🙂 I started marathoning in the neutral large walk in closet I used for their dates. As part of the saga, they were gone for a week and I replaced the carpet in it to vinyl, so it was as neutral as I could get (Elmer had been in my entire place).  I would definitely not do it where their pens are, I made that mistake with another bunny I tried bonding him with and they got into a scary fight.  With mine, the closet worked. It was brand new for the new bun and lost the old smell for Elmer. I think it was within 10- 12 hours that I let them out of the closet into my bedroom, which was a room Elmer had been in often but not his living space. I stayed with them in there for another 24 hours, and then let them out because the small disagreements seemed to subside and I did see them groom each other a little. Once I let them out of the bedroom, they went in the room where the pens were on their own, and since they were laying close in there and acting fine,  I went ahead and kept them together free roam from then on. So, it wasn’t long but I was working at home and slept within earshot for another week. I would only leave for short errands out for the first week or two to make sure it was safe.

        By the time I did the marathon, they had a couple dates and a 2 hour car ride home from a “bunny bonder’s” home,  lived side by side and pre-bonded in my place for a week,  and 3 or 4 more long dates in neutral area. So moving to less neutral so quickly was because they had a decent amount of time getting familiar with each other first. And up to that point I didn’t see any real aggression (and I’d seen Elmer with other buns and he was acting much better with her).  For me, even though they weren’t attached at the hip or acting how I thought bonded bunnies would act, I also felt like I could read their interactions enough to predict they wouldn’t fight. The advice I got on here to try and use your instincts did help me decide what to do and when. 🙂


      • LittleLionMan
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        Thank you for laying out what you did. I actually didn’t see this until and let them out in their shared space yesterday. I unravelled their xpens so it was different and they didn’t have an enclosed territory. It was actually going really well for 8 hrs. They shared each other’s litter boxes, pulled a lady and the tramp with a piece of lettuce, cuddled a bit. She has even started grooming him, which he doesn’t love.We made it to 10pm with small chases from her (they haven’t ever actually fought), but then she ended up doing  pretty long chase he started to get afraid/upset so I thought it best to quit. It’s funny because I don’t think she’s meaning to upset him when she goes after his butt. She seems infatuated by him and he’s like “give me some space woman!” Anyway,  we did 9 hours yesterday and I might try moving to a neutral space today and see how it goes today.

        I’m wondering if they should be in a double xpen or free roaming? I’m not sure if it’s making her more inclined to chase since he has more room to run away? Also, for 24 hr bonding, how do you leave to eat and use the bathroom! unforeseen issue I ran into yesterday.


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds like it’s going well!

      As for the space, I would go to another neutral space. I wouldn’t use the main room just yet. Double x-pens sounds like a good size space to use. Chasing is an interesting one, because the main reason we stop it is that it can lead to fighting. But if the buns have space to get away from each other, often the chase stops on its own, and can actually be an important part of the process. Myself and few other members here had really tough bonds that didnt fully bond until the buns could chase it out. From the bun’s perspective, the act of one bun running from the other shows the chasing bun that the running bun isn’t going to challenge them. Of course if it’s turning into circling or is really intense then it should be stopped immediately. In my experience, when the space is small, chasing leads to circling more often because the running bun literally has no where to go to get away. But, every pairing is different! So feel free to experiment with the space to see what works best for your buns. The general rule is that if things are going well, don’t change anything and just give them more time in that space.

      And yes, bathroom and food breaks are tough with marathoning! If you don’t have a helper to watch them during those times, I usually just separate them for a second (usually with a panel of the x-pen I’m using).

      . . . 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.  


      • LittleLionMan
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        Hmm interesting point you bring up. Wolfie doesn’t really fight back since he’s  a docile/mildly anxious bunny. So poor thing just running away. Sometimes he decides he’s going to get back at her — which is either roughly grooming her or trying to nip and run (only if she’s occupied by a toy). They’re more half hearted attempt to say “I’ll show you!”

        who knew bonding would require so many rooms! I’m bonding at my parents home since it’s largely unoccupied and my apartment had zero neutral space. Family will be here this week so I have limited options, but I will figure it out! Thanks again everyone!


    • DanaNM
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      Sometimes it really seems like nothing is happening, but the more time they spend together the more they trust each other. So as long as things aren’t getting worse, and they aren’t fighting more and more, then progress is being made as they learn how to communicate with each other and set up their own boundaries with each other. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Current update in case people read this bonding saga in the future:

      The bunnies are doing really well. The past few days I’ve had some AC issues where I couldn’t use neutral area as much, but we made due. Still some chases from Little miss (I think I’ve almost decided on a forever name) when wolfie stops grooming. She tries to groom him sometimes but he’s not a fan. Im also pretty sure he groomed her eyelashes off 😅

      This weekend I’m hoping to start overnight bonding. They share things well, so do I only have one litter and water or do I still put In two? Do I break of chases still or at this point to I have to let them sort it out? Ive found chases occur from grooming disputed or when he overreacts when she’s doing something like binkying or zooming near him. Anyway, any tips and tricks or general advice for an overnight would be  greatly appreciated!

       


    • DanaNM
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      Thanks for the update! Sounds like you are ready for overnight sessions!

      I usually add one big (brand new) litter box when we’re well into the marathon and they are doing well. I’ve found when I add it too early it causes disputes, but being able to share a box is one of my metrics for a pair being bonded. I start out with lots of pee pads on the ground and a big pile of hay in the middle.

      One water bowl is fine, they will prob knock it over a bunch lol . Wet veggies also provide water (I tend to feed them veggies frequently during the bonding sessions to get them something happy to do).

      I will usually stop chases after like 3-4 seconds, depending on how intense they are. If they are “slow chases” with ears forward, I don’t intervene. If they are fast an aggressive (ears back, tail up), I stop those right away. At this point try not to physically stop them, so use a loud sound (I usually clap and say “HEY” lol), rather than getting in with them to stop it.

      In general with this phase try not to hover too much. For sure keep a close eye on them and be nearby so you can stop any scuffles, but I would sit outside the pen, and it’s ok to not be staring at them all the time!

      Be ready with lots of movies, snacks, books, and a helper to supervise when you need to use the bathroom!

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      That’s really great advice! I’m always in the area with them so I’m glad you mentioned to stay out of the pen. It’s funny you mentioned the water bowl because little mama just knocked it over for the millionth time. I will probably start tonight or tomorrow once I get everything set up. I’m going to do it where there’s a microwave and mini fridge, so I should be all set With snacks and drinks. I’m a bit nervous for this but I think they’re ready. I’ll keep updating! Thanks again DanaNM (I’m not sure if Dana is your name or your buns!)


    • DanaNM
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      You’re welcome! Keep us posted for sure!

      My name is Dana 🙂 , bunnies (currently) are Bun Jovi, Myra, Special Agent Dale Cooper (AKA Coop), and Bonnie <3

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Bun Jovi never fails to make me chuckle! We’re set to have our first overnight tonight. We’ve been together all day without issue. Of course my energizer bunny was recharged and ready to go around 8 and has been binkying up a storm, which kind of freaks Wolfie out. hopefully we get through the witching hour soon and every bun settles down. Fingers crossed I actually get some sleep tonight!


    • Susanne
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      I hope it goes well!!


    • LittleLionMan
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      Ah thank you! We survived our first night! I did wake up a few times to the pitter patter of bunny feet. I’m not sure if they were chases or zooms (cant see much without contacts) but I tried to shut it down just in case.

      I’m delighted to report that this morning Wolfie jumped right into the litter box with little missy. She’s tried to jump in with him before, but he always would jump out like “woah we just met…what are you doing!” After one night together he was comfortable enough to go in with her, which is huge!

      so question: do we do this for another 24 hours? I always see 48 hours quoted, I think as a marker of bonding.  So if they don’t fight in the next 24 hrs then that indicates we can move to a semi-neutral territory? Or I guess more generally, what is the process moving forward.

      thanks so much everyone! Feeling very relieved and grateful to have this amazing community!


    • LittleLionMan
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      Another 24 hrs in the books! Their relationship seems much stronger and there hasn’t been any chasing from Pixie, which was really our only issue before. They share the space well, respect with the other doesn’t want to groom/be groomed, and seek each other when there’s a scary noise.  Yesterday I moved with them to the kitchen (was feeling trapped in the basement) until 10pm, and then we moved into another room to sleep (also moved back to the kitchen this morning). Despite the movement from room to room, the buns really haven’t had any issues. Pixie was thrilled to be in a new space and zoomed a lot last night. at one point Wolfie had enough and jumped on the high bed where I was sleeping, which was shocking considering his fluffiness! I ended up sleeping on the hard floor and blocked the bed because last thing we need is for somebun to fall and get hurt.

      the only issue — which isn’t really an issue — is that one of them (*cough* Wolfie *cough*) is peeing outside the litter. Honestly he did this before bonding so that’s par for the course.

      This is the same question as I asked in the last post, but what’s the next step after 48 hrs marathon bonding? Do I move them in together in a semi-neutral territory yet or do I hold off? I imagine I can’t move them into wolfie’s room yet, but I can move them to their bonding room.

       


    • DanaNM
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      That’s really great news!

      I usually like to wait at least 48 hrs in each step. But the good news is that once they are solid in one space, you don’t need to supervise as closely in that space. So I’ve always tended to leave them in the neutral space longer than probably needed, but will sometimes leave them alone for a bit during the day when they’re sleepy. I think it’s safer to just let things cement a bit longer before changing the location.

      So you could move them to semi neutral if they’ve been super solid for 48 hrs, or wait longer if you want to get some extra sleep knowing they are doing great in neutral. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Thank you, Dana! In an hour it will be 48 hrs! They sleep together and cuddle and there hasn’t been any aggression or chasing. I feel they just needed that 24 hr exposure to firm up relationship, instead of separating them at night (but obviously necessary during the bonding process).

      So here’s another pickle I’m in. I’ve been bonding at my family home and will have to travel with them this week on Wednesday. I’m not sure if I should move them in together prior to travel, or if I should hold off? I plan on having them in a carrier together during the move to help solidify any remaining issues (which I don’t see evidence of). I’m not sure if I should get 3 days of xpen sharing under my belt or if I should just continue in neutral space? It’s an odd situation but unfortunately unavoidable.


    • LittleLionMan
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      Alright I followed my gut and moved forward so I can really solidify the bond before moving. After nearly 2 hours of cleaning I moved them into a shared xpen in semi-neutral space. They seem fine together and are cuddling as I write this, though they both tried to find some way to escape. The real test will be when the zoomies hit.

      Hopefully all goes well! Neighbors are having a party so we have some music to vibe to. Nothing says happy 4th of July like bonding bunnies 😂


    • Susanne
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      Great news! I bonded mine starting 4th of July weekend last year 🙂


    • DanaNM
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      It sounds like everything is going great!

      Given that everything is going well, I think as long as you can supervise for a couple days after the move then it’s fine to move them together! I wouldn’t separate them at this point!

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Thank you both so much for being so helpful and responsive! They’ve been together for four hours so far and no issues. Wolfie just flopped over and is getting groomed. In this stage do I have to keep them largely confined, or can I let them run around?
      thanks again!


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds great! Whether you give them some run around time is up to you, I think at this point you can trust your gut. 🙂 I think usually people only have issues with giving too much space when they do “microspace’ bonding methods.

      If things get testy you can always restrict their space a little, but I’ve found mine usually seem very happy to have more space and can get the zoomies out!

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Thanks again, Dana! im happy to report that they’re doing really well! They shared the pen last night without issues. Though we may have to re-establish our litter box habits. I have them out with me because they are both the types of bun that will freak out if contained. Better for their relationship to have to have they be happy and calm. The only thing I underestimated was how difficult it would be to wrangle two bunnies back into their pen!

      They feel pretty solid to me and the bond seems to only grow stronger. I always thought that Wolfie would prefer being a solo bun because he was spoiled and i thought he would be territorial, but boy was I wrong. Watching these two cuddle is truly the cutest thing ever!

      im moving with them on Wednesday and am praying the bond doesn’t break. They’ll be in a shared carrier during the car ride so *hopefully* it’ll be fine.


    • DanaNM
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      That’s so awesome! Sounds like they are doing great! I bet things will go smoothly with the move 🙂

      And yes, be ready for some poor box habits for a bit, but they will get better again! It seems like new couples can be even messier for a little while, like they are staking out “their” new turf, but then things start to settle down again. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Just another update! We’ve been pen sharing since Sunday — so almost a full 4 days with no issues apart from the weird under the bed confusion we had (which I posted about in a different thread). Long story short, Wolfie didn’t recognize Pixie when she was under the bed and was utterly freaked out. Bed is more securely blocked now so we don’t have to deal with that until they’ve spent more time bonded.  but they are always following each other around, cuddling, and mirroring each other’s behavior. Truly the cutest thing to witness. the impending storm permitted us to continue bonding instead of moving, but we’ll still be moving in a few days.

      Question: what is everyone’s litter box situation? In addition to an XL litter box, I have a large cardboard box with fabric I thought would a cozy place for them in their pen (didn’t want to risk a hidey house yet). however, they seem to have turned the “bed” into a second litter. Should I have two litters? Or would a large bin across the length of the pen be better (like 101 rabbits)?


    • Susanne
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      I’m glad to hear they have bonded and are happy! They sound “closer ” than my 2 🙂  One of mine is very weird about being under something low to the ground like the bed (he “buzzes” and thumps but stays under running back and forth). It’s odd and I don’t like him under because he won’t come out,  so I blocked my bed also. I bought some wooden planks and used double sided mounting tape to attach. It doesn’t look awful if you are considering any long term solutions, but hopefully they do better once bonded longer.

      Mine share one litter box. I switched a few times between one and two, at first they seemed to prefer 2. Now, I think I’ve had one so long they don’t associate anywhere else, as I tried to add a second again recently and they didn’t use it. I feel rabbits are very picky about litter boxes (from reading posts here and one of my own having issues at one point) and it needs some experimentation with types of litter, set up, etc. so I think adding a 2nd is a good idea to try.


    • Susanne
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      Oh and they are adorable!!


    • DanaNM
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      Congrats! Sounds like it’s going so great!

      I use one large box my pairs, but some people use two. If they use it together no problem I think 1 is easier (less cleaning!) 🙂

       

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Thank you both! I’m very lucky that the bonding has been fairly smooth and quick. They use the same litter but they are also…buttheads, for lack of a better word! If I take it away they will likely protest by peeing on the rug, so I may change up my litter and start fresh after we move. Hopefully one litter will suffice so we can maximize their room for activities!  Thanks again to you both for being so supportive and helpful!


    • LittleLionMan
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      Hi guys! Ok so we might be having trouble in paradise (sorry for the length). This morning I woke up and everything was fine. Typically pixie gets hangry and a bit agitated in the morning, possible because of her previous neglect. I typically scatter a few pellets to keep her calm while I go get them breakfast. well I went to the bathroom before giving them their pellets, and came back to what looked like a chase but may have been a tussle? it wasn’t until I got in the pen with them that I noticed the water and fur everywhere. the fur was largely wolfie’s butt fur tufts that he was blowing from his undercoat (lionhead life), which honestly doesn’t take much effort to pull them with my fingers. But my poor, chubby boy seemed out of breath/scared. I sat with them for a bit and calmed him down. Pixie even came back over and cuddled with him. No apparent injuries and they ate their scattered pellets. They seemed be back to normal behavior and I was able to run out to get them food and eat myself (while watching on the pet cam).

      a few things to note:

      – I changed their cage setup yesterday. Took the second “litter” away and added a hidey house. They share the litter no problem, so I just removed the hidey house in case that’s the issue.
      – she does like to chase his butt for some reason, though it definitely occurs more at certain hours. Never escalated into anything beyond that, it’s mostly her wanting to get groomed and him wanting a break because she’s a bit clingy. That said, he also did have a poppy butt because of dreadlocks under his tail/by his butt. While I cut those out the other day (again, lionhead life), I wonder if she’s smelling that and trying to “help?”

      Should I do something different or is this just a normal part of the process? I remember seeing somewhere that even bonded buns fight, just like married humans may argue. They’re literally cuddling together right now, so there’s no animosity. Such a confusing and concerning experience this morning!


    • DanaNM
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      It could have been the hidey- house for sure. I would just keep a close eye on them for the next 48 hours or so to make sure things are OK. Sometimes little tiffs happen when you move to a new spot or change things up early in the bond, so you just need to make sure things improve.

      It’s not normal for bonded buns to have scuffles where fur is pulled to that level, but some bunnies do get somewhat food aggressive, so that may have set things off.

      To me it sounds like they are just still in the cementing process and prob need a bit more supervision and time to fully settle into the bond.

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Ah oh thank you! this happened a few days ago, so I went with my gut and took out the hidey house and put in a second litter. We moved yesterday, which involved a 2 hr ride in shared carrier. They’re currently staying in a neutral area, but I will have to move them to Wolfies territory in a day or so. The two litters seems to help, as does staying on top of food. So far no other fighting whatsoever. Honestly, that’s why the situation was so weird. They were completely fine for a week and then I came in to fur everywhere. I guess they’re trying to keep me on my toes!


    • LittleLionMan
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      We moved into Wolfie’s room last night in the new house where we’ll be for a month or so. Everyone seems so much happier in this room which is great! My bed is also right next to their pen, so at 6am when I heard what sounded like chasing, I was able to roll over and see what was going on. Basically two things I saw: 1) Pixie following after wolfie demanding morning grooms; 2) confusion surrounding each other’s zoomies 😂. It was actually really good to see because I thought the morning ruckus was all Pixie. I was worried poor  Wolfie was being terrorized by her (still debatable haha!). he always used to do morning laps around the pen, and this morning I saw him do just that! But if Wolfie zooms, Pixie runs after (not sure if it’s play) and that causes Wolfie react and get out of her way. When Pixie zooms, Wolfie also reacts and jumps out of the way. Basically, watching them this morning it seems they’re having communication issues — largely because he’s an anxious bun — and the “chasing” isn’t Pixie being overtly aggressive. It’s also interesting because they understand the schedule. They know that I leave them while they’re eating so I can go eat breakfast. I watch them on the camera the whole time and can see they lay down and wait for me to come back. No chasing or fighting. I’m wondering if in the morning it’s better to let them out or keep them penned up? I’m not sure if having more space would increase chasing or decrease it?


    • DanaNM
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      I tend to like to give buns more space to sort things out, so I would prob try letting them out in the morning and see how it goes. If it gets worse then you can go back to penning them. 🙂

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      The buns have been doing well and do so much better when not penned up. The biggest challenge for us is currently the morning when everyone is going nuts and hungry. They understand the routine, snd once theyre fed they settle down waiting for my return. Im at a point where I can leave them out all day together and watch them on a camera when I’m not with them.I even went to dinner for the first time and came back to find them sitting together. It seems they mostly chilling in separate spaces since he likes to lounge on the bed and pixie likes to go under the bed. Is it normal to have them not hang out together? I’m not sure if it’s because they’re out of the “honeymoon” stage of their relationship or if it has to do with the fact that Pixie can still be a bit of a bully.  the little monster literally took a singular piece of hay from Wolfie’s mouth when I was refilling their hay. I feed them on a schedule and have taken to scattering their greens so they’re not competing for the same piece of lettuce. Dana, I know you’ve dealt with food related butt chasing, do you have any other recommendations? I’m fairly confident they won’t fight and I feel comfortable leaving them (since I have a camera) but the relationship isn’t rainbows, cuddling, and grooming bliss. I think he’s comfortable with more a platonic relationship and she’s like CUDDLES! We are still fresh in our bonding so hopefully it solidifies and we all settle down!


    • DanaNM
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      Sounds good!

      Not every pair spends 24/7 cuddled up, but you should see some cuddling during some parts of the day. You might notice a routine (like mine tend to sleep separately during the day, but cuddle at night, etc). Or like mine will often groom each other after dinner. 🙂

      I’ve found it can help to confine them in a smaller space together during the quiet times of the day to encourage cuddling during the honey moon phase especially. So you can let them run around during morning and evening, but then pen them in a smaller area during the middle of the day and night.

      As far as food aggression, the best tip I have is to just wait till they calm down to give them the food. They might run around a lot in anticipation, but I just stand like a statue with the salad/pellets until they stop running. This ensures that you aren’t unintentionally rewarding the chasing by trying to get the food down as quickly as possible. I do feed salad in a bowl and they share it without trouble, it’s more the moments before I put it down that are the issue.

       

       

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      The bunnies got into another tussle this morning with fur getting pulled, mostly fur from Wolfie. It was similar to the tussle a few weeks ago in that there were no injuries and no animosity between them. In fact, pixie almost seemed apologetic afterward. It’s so confusing because they spend so much time together and they haven’t had any fighting at all. They’re virtually free roam  (except for when I’m asleep) and I often find them cuddling under the bed. The only consistent thing is that pixie gets bit crazy when she wants food or wants to be groomed, particularly in the morning at like 630. In the 3-4 weeks of sharing a pen they’ve gotten into two fur pulling tussles —apart from those two instances, they seem bonded. But I imagine these fights wouldn’t have happened if they were completely bonded, right? They do SO much better when they’re not penned up, so I’d rather not go back to confining them. so how do I get over that final hump? Is it just a time thing or is there something I’m doing incorrectly?


    • DanaNM
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      Hmmmm, was this a tussle that you had to break up? Did these happen while they were penned?

      . . . 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.  


      • LittleLionMan
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        Yes to both. but everything immediately went back to normal, which is why it’s so weird. Wolfie (bun who most of the fur got pulled from) even jumped into the litter with Pixie right after despite having 2 litters to choose from. They were completely fine after and are completely fine now. They cuddled and everything feels fine. This is why it’s so weird! Literally 99.9% of the time things are fine, but they’ve had two of these morning fights. these are seriously the only 2 fights they’ve ever had. Should I try not penning them up at night or is there something else I should try?


    • DanaNM
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      Honestly sometimes there are little tiffs, especially in new bonds. Sometimes hidey houses can trigger some tiffs in the beginning.

      Not penning them at night may be worth a shot (but then still pen them during the middle of the day so they are encouraged to snuggle a bit).

      . . . 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.  


    • LittleLionMan
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      Great thank you, Dana. Your help has been invaluable throughout this entire process! yesterday and today I started clapping loudly and saying “no” to discourage any issues when I head them start running around. It tends to get her to snap out of whatever crazy is going through her head. This morning I let them out at 530 when they woke up (love the new schedule they decided to follow) and went back to sleep, which worked really well for them. Pixie is very needy and follows him everywhere, so they do end up cuddling and/or sleep by each other. The issue largely stems from the pen, which makes me wonders if she’s mildly territorial over the litter boxes/hay? I know she’s food crazy so it’s possible that’s part of the issue. I’m hoping with time she’ll feel more secure in her home, food, and relationship. For now, I’m going to try to let them out in the morning when they’re most active and see if that helps.

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