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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.

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Forum BONDING When to start pre-bonding?

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    • CheddarCheeseBunz
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        I’m new to caring for bunnies, so any advice is appreciated!!

        I recently adopted 2 male lop bunnies, named Cheddar and Cheese, on July 8th (3 weeks ago). They are brothers from the same litter and are currently 3.5 months old. They are unneutered, but will get neutered at the same time as soon as the vet says OK.

        Some context:
        When I brought them home, they were kept together in one x-pen(6ftx6ft) in a spare bedroom. They had no issues together and would often groom/cuddle/use litter box with each other. However, on July 12th, Cheese started to mount and hump Cheddar. I notified the rescue right away and they said to clap loudly to stop the mounting. That worked for the first few times but quickly became useless. At first, Cheddar didn’t seem to mind getting mounted but then he started running away and Cheese would chase after him. Since I read that this could lead to a fight, I decided to put them in separate x-pens (each 4ftx6ft) with a small gap in between and blocked with cardboard boxes. So they can still smell each other but can’t see each other, except for when they climb up on their hidey houses.

        Questions:
        1. How soon after the neutering surgery can I start the pre-bonding process? I’ve read that it can take 2-4weeks for them to heal and for the hormones to settle down. Does that mean I start the pre-bonding process 2-4weeks after the surgery OR could I start pre-bonding right when they get home from surgery?

        2. Can I pre-bond them in my current setup (same room but separate x-pens next to each other)? Or do they need to be put in a new/neutral space?

        3. I’ve read that pre-bonding should last at least 1 month. How will I know when pre-bonding is done?

        4. For the actual bonding, should they be placed in the new/neutral space? I eventually want to free roam them in my living area. Should that area be used as the bonding location?

        Thanks so much in advance!!


      • Bam
        Moderator
        16805 posts Send Private Message

          Very clever of you to separate at the first signs of one bun being uncomfortable with being mounted!

          Pre-bonding can start pretty much right away after the neuter surgery, and it will bc of how you’ve set things up. As things are now your buns are able to smell and hear each other, but not reach to hurt each other. This is great!

          It’s not rare for buns to go through a short period of “post-neuter craze” just after their neuter. This is a sort of hormonal surge when the buns can become extra territorial, aggressive and sexually interested. This phase rarely lasts more than 2 weeks. If you see signs of that you could wait with swopping litterboxes and toys until 2 weeks have passed.

          The step after swopping litterboxes and toys is to swop the buns between their respective areas. This is so they can both “claim” both areas -i e the areas dont belong to either one of them. This makes things easier when they’re going to share the space.

          It’s recommended that you do the first bun to bun sessions in a completely neutral space. I introduced my buns on a veranda where none of them had been before. Maybe you have a bathroom or some other space that your buns havent had access to?

          The neutral space should not be too big, but it should have places where a bun can hide. It’s great if you can arrange so that there are boxes etc that a bun can climb up on and where there’s only room for one bun. Both their litterboxes should be present in the area, and its good if you scatter some hay here and there. High value food like treats can cause fighting if introduced too early, but hay is only semi-attractive and offers the buns the opportunity to show each other that they are of a friendly mindset. If the buns eat together or in each others’ presence it’s a a very good sign.

          Once the buns get along in the neutral space, chances are good that they’ll get along in other areas as well.

          You could start a bonding diary in our forum bonding-section. That way we could all follow along and offer suggestions as you go. No two bondings are alike!


          • CheddarCheeseBunz
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              Thank you Bam! That means a lot since they seemed to have missed each other which broke my heart, but it’s good to hear that it was the right thing to do.

              I’ll keep an eye out for the “post-neuter craze” and I do have a smaller neutral space for the first bun to bun sessions.

              In the neutral space, should the boxes they can climb on be new so that they won’t be territorial?

              Thank you so much for the advice!


          • Bam
            Moderator
            16805 posts Send Private Message

              I used boxes I already had, one plastic and one wooden box. They were there as “platforms”, not as houses, and esp the plastic one was popular with my girl bun, who was a bit scared in the beginning. There was a “house” and a tunnel too. Rabbits feel safer when there is a tunnel, so I always like to have at least one tunnel in any bunny area.

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          Forum BONDING When to start pre-bonding?