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View Full Version : So disappointed, bonding help needed



Hugo's There
29-12-2008, 02:23 PM
I have just put Fuzzy and Summer together for the first time and it didn't go well :( Fuzzy is the male bunny we took in a few weeks ago who was so badly matted. And Summer is an older female who has been on her own since loosing her partner in August.

Fuzzy was such a friendly and tolerant bunny when I was brushing and cutting his matts out for hours on end but has now decided he has a good set of teeth and is going to use them. He wasn't really aggressive towards Summer in the normal sense but was humping her and biting her back at the same time. Summer tolerated this quite well to start with but understandably got a bit miffed with it. When her warning grunts were ignored she went for him and a fight developed. Not wanting anyone hurt I waded in without thinking and ended up with Fuzzy hanging from my finger :roll: When will I ever learn :lol:.

Now Summer wont let him near her and if I put them next to each other Fuzzy just turns to bite her and if I go to move him he has his teeth angled towards me too. His body language isn't at all aggressive just his teeth.

After an hour I have seperated them as they both seemed stressed. The thing is I don't know what to do now. Summer is an old lady and I don't want her upset, but she has been really down being on her own for so long. We have tried so many times to get her an old male companion but it has never worked out for different reasons. If her and fuzzy aren't to be it seems likely she will stay alone for the forseable future.

Also with Fuzzy, do we get him a different wife? He will obviously be the same with her and I can't see her putting up with it. With 34 rabbits we cannot end up with 2 more seperate bunnies. But at the same time I don't want Fuzzy living alone for the rest of his life :?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have bonded so many bunnies but these two are causing me such a worry. The fact that I still feel really ill isn't helping but I'm sure that hasn't affected the bunnies behaviour.

Spacegirl
29-12-2008, 02:28 PM
Was it a full blown fight; swirling in a ball and fur flying kind of thing? Was blood drawn? What was the set up where you put them together?

Hugo's There
29-12-2008, 02:35 PM
I didn't let it get that far as Summer is an old bunny, Fuzzys teeth were clamped down. They don't go for each other in an aggressive way straight away, fuzzy wants to hump her but really bites her back hard, pulling fur out and then she turns on him.

I did sit them next to me on the bed for a minute stroking them both to calm them down and fuzzy turned and just bit a piece of skin above summers eye, not with any aggression but just turned and nipped her which is when I decided to call it a day for now.

Normally I don't handle bunnies when I am bonding them but this was a weird one and I know there could possibly have been serious injury if I hadn't

Fairy13
29-12-2008, 02:42 PM
:( I'm sorry your first try hasnt worked with them :(
I only did about 3 bondings before the fiasco with Willow and it is really upsetting.
I'm not sure what to suggest, unless you believe in popping them in a carrier and taking them for a drive? (I still think Willow would have tried to murder Daisy regardless of where they were put or driven! :oops:)
Other than that seeing if they can go elsewhere to be bonded? Potentially would that help?

Hugo's There
29-12-2008, 02:47 PM
:( I'm sorry your first try hasnt worked with them :(
I only did about 3 bondings before the fiasco with Willow and it is really upsetting.
I'm not sure what to suggest, unless you believe in popping them in a carrier and taking them for a drive? (I still think Willow would have tried to murder Daisy regardless of where they were put or driven! :oops:)
Other than that seeing if they can go elsewhere to be bonded? Potentially would that help?

Are you offering :lol::lol:

I don't know what to do as I don't really want to push it due to Summers age but at the same time I don't want to think about them being on their own either. Getting 2 more bunnies for them at the moment isn't really an option. We have a new boy coming at the weekend but given his disability I don't think he is a suitable match for Summer.
Besides her age Summer is strong and healthy which is why we thought Fuzzy would be a good match for her :?

Have you tried bonding daisy and willow as a pair then?

Jack's-Jane
29-12-2008, 02:49 PM
Personally I dont like to force a bonding with two Rabbits who really dont like each other. I know my opinions on bonding are in the minority though.
I cant read some of the threads about difficult bonds, I just get too upset :oops:

I guess you could leave them for a couple of weeks and try one more time. I know there is no way I could have thought about bonding Buns when I was so ill last week. Just standing up took every ounce of strength I had !!
If you do try again in a couple of weeks maybe having them in a totally 'other Bunny free zone' :?

Good luck with whatever you decide. I am sure there are many people on here more helpful than me as bonding really is something that scares me and upsets me in equal amounts !! :oops:

Hugo's There
29-12-2008, 02:53 PM
Thanks jane. I am normally pretty laid back with bonding but I seem to be rather over protective of Summer. It is also very hard to find bunny free zones around here now adays.

I guess Fuzzy has been through quite an ordeal over the past couple of weeks so maybe a bit of time may help. I just hate seeing Summer on her own :(

Jack's-Jane
29-12-2008, 02:59 PM
Thanks jane. I am normally pretty laid back with bonding but I seem to be rather over protective of Summer. It is also very hard to find bunny free zones around here now adays.

I guess Fuzzy has been through quite an ordeal over the past couple of weeks so maybe a bit of time may help. I just hate seeing Summer on her own :(

I have 3 Single Bucks here at the moment. I cannot take on any more Buns, I cant bond any of the Bucks with each other and I dont want to upset an established duo by attempting to bond another Buck in. If they all fell out I'd end up with even more singletons.

In a perfect world all Buns would have a Bunny friend. But sometimes we cant give 'perfection'. But we can do our best to provide them with companionship ourself, to have them near other Buns, to provide a stimulating environment for them etc....etc...

For me the alternative to having my Single Boys would be to rehome them. Call me selfish but I just cant do that. I am not perfect either.

:)

Julia123
29-12-2008, 03:11 PM
Hi There

I have managed a couple of difficult bondings by doing the following :-

Building pens and putting the buns next to each other - be careful to add chicken wire to any large spaced bars to avoid injury from fighting through bars.

Swap litter trays over daily -swap bunnies over every couple of days - don't clean trays out too often - its a bit stinky but the idea is to mingle the smell so they get confused. Allowing them to see each othet through bars also helps them get used to each others movements.

Do gradual intrductions - holding one bunny if you have to and allowing the other to sniff - that may be enough for one day, then maybe the next let them sit next to each other - but hold them so they can't bite - as soon as one gets up they will usually go for each other so make sure you are on hand to pick one bun away

Do this daily for as long as it takes for them to tolerate small amounts of time together and always end on a friendly note

I re-bonded my broken pair like this and it took about 4-5 weeks - I eventually noticed them lying next to each other on each side of the bars, so I tried them in a carrier - with lid loosley on so I could get to them - I did this for longer and longer periods and eventually took them out in the car together.

Finally I put them both in a very small cage togeher (after about an hour in the carrier) and sat with them and separated or clapped hands at any scuflles - which had dimisnshed greatly - then after this a larger pen, then my landing and then eventually back free range.

Sorry just realised how much I waffle - hope it makes sense :oops::oops::oops:

Hugo's There
29-12-2008, 03:16 PM
It is difficult isn't it, and probably the one thing I hadn't really considered well enough when we started our sanctuary. But even now I am still not sure of the answer.

Because we loose so many bunnies we are constantly having to be on the look out for new partners for many bunnies. However finding bunnies who have similar problems and therefore share similar housing, dietry needs etc is difficult. If every time we lost a bunny we went straight to the nearest rescue centre and got a suitable bunny and yet continued to take in rabbits with special needs etc we would be over run with bunnies so quickly.

This is why we have to match up the bunnies we have coming in to us as best we can. Although there is a big age difference between Fuzzy and Summer they are both healthy bunnies with good mobility etc. so in theory make for a good match. Which is why I'm not sure whether to persevere. The new bunny coming in is small with mobility problems so is no match for summer who is large and agile :? It really is a difficult one

Hugo's There
29-12-2008, 03:19 PM
Thanks for that Julia, they were lines I was thinking along now. I did try the gradual introduction thing with me holding and stroking them both next to each other. Which is when he turned and took a piece of skin out from above her eye for no reason.

I may have to wait for the summer to try the long bonding thing as it is so hectic indoors in winter trying to get everyone exercised. That means poor Summer will have been on herown for nearly a year :(

Sooz
29-12-2008, 03:19 PM
Again, not everyones cup of tea but I start my bondings off in a carrier so they don't really have room to go for each other. I've found it to work quite well, i think because it allows the rabbits to get used to each other without viewing the other rabbit as a threat...mainly because it restricts movement and defensive/aggressive body language.

That said, there has been two occasions I couldn't even get the bunnies in a carrier together before the teeth came out. :shock:

Hugo's There
29-12-2008, 03:22 PM
The problem is Fuzzy is humping and biting and there is probably still room for that in a carrier :?

Poor Fuzzy has never met another bunny before and obviously doesn't know the "rules". He is using his teeth to great effect without being aggressive in nature if that makes sense :? and is ignoring all warning signs from Summer.

Thjank you for all the replies, they are appreciated :D

charlie82
29-12-2008, 03:26 PM
I just recently managed to get Teddy and Phoebe together after two months of very slow bonding.

I agree with Jane and don't like forcing two rabbits that hate each other together.... It doesn't sound as though they all out hate each other though at this point.

With Teddy and Phoebe, when first introduced they did not fight, they would sit in the same room quite happily together, but if Phoebe went over to Teddy he would sit there all innocent, then just turn round and nip Phoebe's face. He kept doing this, but I kept on with introductions (I don't like leaving bunnies together if they do this so they were always supervised). Eventually Phoebe got sick of him being nasty and started biting back, it would turn into a nipping match, then it began turning into all out fights that I had to intervene. Teddy was biting her hard too because I went to pick him up to put him next to her so I could calm them down and he grabbed (more like clamped down) on my finger thinking it was Phoebe. I was so lucky because my finger ended up in his diastema and just missed the teeth! I imagine it would have been a very nasty wound.

At the point the fighting as happening every minute I decided to give it a break. I left it for two weeks and then started again...I noticed that the time between nipping was increasing, and after two weeks it had completely stopped, kept teddy in my bedroom overnight with Phoebe and they have been best friends since! She is a little bossy but when they are in the garden they are inseperable. He follows her everywhere!

Are they kept in the same room?

Sooz
29-12-2008, 03:30 PM
The problem is Fuzzy is humping and biting and there is probably still room for that in a carrier :?

Poor Fuzzy has never met another bunny before and obviously doesn't know the "rules". He is using his teeth to great effect without being aggressive in nature if that makes sense :? and is ignoring all warning signs from Summer.

Thjank you for all the replies, they are appreciated :D

I always take them for a wander so usually the last thing on their mind is humping. I don't take them out of the house incase I need to split them sharpish but just carry them around with me as I clean & tidy.

90% of the time they lie perfectly still during this period. I then keep the carrier next to me and if they start to get a bit raucous I just take them for a wander again.

It dosn't work for everybun but it is an option to consider.

Spacegirl
29-12-2008, 03:40 PM
I agree that maybe the "softly softly" approach might be worth trying. Letting them live next to each other for a few days and introducing them very slowly. I normally wouldn't do it this way but under these circumstances it might be worth a go. Alternatively if you have someone whos good with bonding living nearby who could take them for a couple of days and give it a try then that might be a good option - sometimes when you are particularly protective over one rabbit its really hard to know when to intervene and a fresh perspective might be helpful?
I don't know what your set up is with other rabbits, but is it possible to consider adding each of them to a separate existing pair or group? Sometimes I find bonding the 3's or 4's is less traumatic.

Angie65
29-12-2008, 03:56 PM
Personally I dont like to force a bonding with two Rabbits who really dont like each other. I know my opinions on bonding are in the minority though.
I cant read some of the threads about difficult bonds, I just get too upset :oops:



I think ultimately they break down anyway

Jack's-Jane
29-12-2008, 04:25 PM
I think ultimately they break down anyway

:?

Angie65
29-12-2008, 05:01 PM
:?

I meant if it's a forced bonding - there's a few people that have really struggled to bond for ages, then it's worked. A few months later there's a fight.

Jack's-Jane
29-12-2008, 05:42 PM
I meant if it's a forced bonding - there's a few people that have really struggled to bond for ages, then it's worked. A few months later there's a fight.

I am with you now !!
Speak slowly and I catch on in the end........:oops:

:wave:

Ted an Petal
30-12-2008, 09:16 AM
hi hugo's there i tried bonding my girls over christmas and it didn't go well, they just hated each other and was full on lock fighting scared me to death, so i'm not doing it again and i know a bun shouldn't be on their own but i don't much choice other than that. don't be feeling bad about it, sometimes even we don't get along with someone so there's no reason that it can't be the same for bunny's.

AlisonA
30-12-2008, 09:40 AM
Oh no, what a shame :( How long has Fuzzy been neutered?

I don't normally intervene either but when I bonded my boss' rabbits I was told that when they tried, the female just instantly locked onto the male and wouldn't leave him alone. So I sat in the run with them and pretty much kept my hand very gently on the females back and whenever she started to put an aggressive posture towards him I just pushed my hand slowly down and she became all submissive and stopped. She got better over the next couple of hours and by the time I got out of the pen she was binkying around like crazy :shock:

I wouldn't normally go for 'forced' bondings either but with these two, apart from the fact that it was a choice of 'this one or no-one' for a friend so I had to give it a good go, it became obvious that it wasn't that they hated each other, it was more that their initial bonding behaviour was upsetting the other. By keeping this under control for the first couple of hours they soon settled happily and now 5 months later are always snuggled and loving towards each other.

Hugo's There
30-12-2008, 10:01 AM
Thanks for the replies. Fuzzy has been neutered for at least 9 months but to my knowledge has never met another rabbit before.

There was any real aggressive behaviour from him except for his using his teeth if that makes sense. Summer would have tolerated being humped if he hadn't used his teeth too. My finger has swollen up like a ballon where he bit mwe yesterday. I think in a couple of days I am going to try just sitting them together with me for 10 minutes here and there and see what happens. Fuzzy just needs to work out some bunny etiquette. :)