View Full Version : 10 week buck has attacked 10 week old doe - help!!!

21-04-2010, 11:04 AM
Hi Newbie here :wave:

I have two dutch rabbits who are both 10 weeks old now. We have had them for 2 weeks. They are both confirmed as being a doe and a buck and we were planning on having them neutered/spayed when they are old enough. They have been really sweet together and have bonded really well. They were not from the same litter but from the same breeder.

On Monday I went to bring them in from their run when I noticed that Flower the female had a bloody ear and nose. :( There was quite a bit of fur on the grass in the run. I brought her to the vet who said she would be okay and in fact her injuries are healing really well. I have kept her inside to keep an eye on her and Joe (the male) is outside in their hutch.

The vet checked out Joe and said that he was a male but that his testicles had not dropped. He seemed surprised that such young bunnies would fight.
I have just put them in the run but divided it so that they can see each other. They are both trying desperately to be next to each other but I'm too worried about leaving them alone together. I am aware that if I keep them apart for too long then they might not be bonded anymore.

I really don't know what to do. My vet said that he would normally neuter males at 4 months which is another 6 week's away! Should I just let them play together and see what happens? At some point I will have to leave them alone and I'm terrified that Flower will get hurt again. I bought 2 so that they would have each other so buying separate hutches and runs defeats the point really.

Any advice????

I would be really grateful.

H Maughan
21-04-2010, 11:07 AM
I would probably house them separately until they've both been neutered and all healed up. Then you can probably try bonding them again. It could have simply been a silly squabble over some food that caused this but you don't really want fighting like this becoming a common occurence.
How big is their housing (hutch and run)? and what and how much do you feed them both?
Helen xx

21-04-2010, 11:10 AM
Personally I'd keep them seperated until they are both neutered. The Buck is clearly about to hit puberty and things are unlikely to settle down now.

21-04-2010, 11:17 AM
Don't panic - your two buns will bond again once they are BOTH neutered, so if you do need two hutches/two runs, it will hopefully be a temporary thing.

When people buy from breeders, breeders often neglect to tell them that (unless you want the rabbits to mate which is a bad, BAD idea) it'll take about five or six months in total before they're both grown enough to be spayed/neutered. This means 3-5 months of keeping them separate and in separate accommodation.

The buck can be neutered as soon as his testicles appear (this usually happens around 3 months) and then SIX WEEKS after his operation, he can start interacting with the doe again. Sometimes by this stage, the doe is too hormonal herself to bond with the buck, but I have successfully bonded an unspayed doe and a neutered buck in the past.

You must eventually get the doe spayed though, because they have a tendency to get ovarian cancer if they are not spayed and this is painful, horrible, and worst-of-all, preventable!

I'm so sorry your little doe got injured and I hope she's on the road to recovery. If you do need separate accommodation for them, it should only be for a little while.

21-04-2010, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the quick replies!

I guess I was hoping that you wouldn't say that I would need to separate them but I think it's probably the safest option.

They live in a fairly large hutch 5 foot by 2 by 2. Their run is 6 foot by 4 and we let them run around the house too.

We feed them pellets as advised by the breeder and they get some veg and loads of hay in the evening. They seem very healthy and happy otherwise.

They have been really loving and sweet before now. I was hoping that this was just a one off but perhaps this isn't the case.

21-04-2010, 11:56 AM
When the Vet checked Joe on Monday did Vet also re-check Flower to make absolutely certain that Flower is a Doe ?

21-04-2010, 12:02 PM
The vet did confirm that Flower is definitely a girl and Joe is definitely a boy. I trust our vets as we have used them for ages with our cats.

Another thing is that my daughter has admitted that the lid was left off the run for most of the day.

Could a cat have gone into the run and attacked Flower? I would have thought that her injuries would have been worse though if a cat had got in. The vet could not feel any injuries on her body just her ear and nose.

I know that I am grasping at straws really. I just really don't want to admit that Joe has attacked her. :(

21-04-2010, 12:10 PM
Hi, I think the other guys are right, it might just be better to play it on the safe side and keep them apart until they're both neutered. However if you feel this is distressing for them try putting them back together and sit watching them ready to seperate if any fighting occurs. It is very unusual for such young buns to fight but you never know :?

Just another thought, you say you give your buns hay in the evenings. Buns are supposed to have an unlimited supply of hay all day and night long. It is the most natural diet they can have so keep them supplied with hay at all times. You may already know this but their pelleted food need only be given once a day, they dont need to have this available all day, infact it is better that they dont as less pellet eating=more hay eating :D

Welcome to the forum :wave:

21-04-2010, 01:01 PM
Thanks for the advice Gemma.
They do have hay all day, I just make sure it's topped up in their hay rack at night. I do leave their pellets out all day. I guess I should give them less and take their bowls away.
How much veg should I give them? I give them about a carrot each per day. Is that too much or too little?

They do both seem to be unhappy at being apart and really wanted to be together when I split the run. I may try them together later and will sit next to the run and watch them.

21-04-2010, 01:12 PM
I may try them together later and will sit next to the run and watch them.

I wouldn't! That would be just asking for trouble. Serious injury from fighting can happen before you can intervene. If aggression has already happened you would be wise to be cautious. As both are nearing puberty anyway you really don't want to end up with her needing an emergency spay because he's impregnated her.

Carrots aren't really a suitable veg for rabbits despite what the media tells us. They are very rich in starch (carbohydrate) which can unbalance the caecal flora. Young buns should be introduced to veg very gradually.
Have a read of this article:

The best diet for a rabbit is one which mimicks the wild diet - plenty of tough fibrous greens and very little sugar/starchy veg/fruit. :)

21-04-2010, 01:28 PM
Thanks for the advice about carrots. I will look at that link later.

I have just put them together whilst I was putting Joe back in the hutch and giving Flower her turn in the run.

He didn't hurt her but was going up to her and putting his head under her bottom. This looks sexual to me. Am I right?

I think I'll be making a trip to the garden centre and getting that extra hutch and run!

21-04-2010, 01:35 PM
It's not especially sexual no, it is a normal behaviour that rabbits do to each other. They have glands around the bottom and by smelling this spot they can identify a particular rabbit. He is just making sure who she is. Please do be careful with them together, it really isn't advisable anymore until they have both been neutered and recovered. In a fight rabbits can pretty much bite each other's genitals off... it can get very nasty, very bloody and very expensive at the vet, not to mention the stress on bunny's immune system. Buns do not cope very well with stress and as well as settling into their new home, new diet etc and being separated, fighting can cause all sorts of hidden trauma. Rabbits hide stress and pain because they are a prey species but it can manifest in ill health which can often become an emergency very quickly, especially if stress stops bunny eating - the GI tract shuts down. Please do take care with them both at this vulnerable time. Good luck :)

21-04-2010, 01:40 PM
Thanks for replying lupin. Flower looks a bit like your rabbit as she's black and white.

I am going to go and buy her a hutch and run this afternoon. The rabbits are for my children (although I look after them as they are young) and my daughter has been very upset about Flower's injuries. I don't think I could put either her or Flower through it all again.

21-04-2010, 02:23 PM
Our two males rebobded okay after neutering. They have since fallen out and been split, but that is unrelated.

I know it is tempting to put them back together when they have previously been so happy, but I wouldn't. Their hormonal behaviour will only get worse as they get older. We thought ours were two females but both were males - at around 3 months they were spraying urine everywhere, humping and biting each other etc. If they hadn't been separated I think I would have had some seriously high vets bills and two badly injured rabbits.

Their behaviour settled after the neuter and they rebonded fine. Rebonding requires a bit of patience and work, but having seen them fight I couldn't risk leaving them together before the neuter.