View Full Version : Introducing unaltered male to spayed female? See new, related question in 7thpost...

08-07-2007, 11:58 PM
We recently lost our 6yr old rabbit Mocha who was Muffin's partner for 3 years since she was a baby.

Muffin is spayed (or is it neutered...I always get these confused).

Yesterday we adopted Jack - an unaltered male (approx 8-12 mo old). I intend to have him neutered, however I have a question regarding when to bond them.

Muffin is skittish, difficult to catch and she lives in a large outdoor habitat which includes a secure 7' x 12' enclosure with a 4' x 6' shed with a pet door that houses her food etc. She shared this with Mocha.

I currently have Jack in a purchased cage on a stand within the enclosure. My thought was that it would allow them to become familiar with each others scent prior to actual introductions.

Dilemma #1 - not great planning on my part but we are going away for a week in August (about 5 weeks from now) and I am not sure if I should start bonding them now (before he is neutered) or wait until after. My concern is that if I wait, we won't have enough time to feel confident they are okay before we go on vacation (since it is recommended to wait at least 2 wks after neutering before attempting bonding).
Question #1 - what are your thoughts? Bond before neutering or wait until after neuter and vacation to attempt bonding and leave them in their current setup until then?

Dilemma #2 - I have done more research on bonding now and realize I may have a problem. Since Muffin is timid, does not like handling, and has a large area to run in (and get away from us in) she does not usually let us get close enough to pick her up. Since Mocha died it has been even worse, although is slowly getting better. I am not confident I can catch her to put her in a neutral area...
Question #2 - do you think we could introduce them in the existing enclosure if Jack is left in his cage for her to get used to him and his scent for a while? And slowly introduce him into her space?

Thanks in advance. I appreciate the advice.


09-07-2007, 12:02 AM
Do NOT introduce them on her space. Females are more territorial than males and she will have a pop at him.....once they get of on the wrong foot everything becomes more difficult.

Honestly I would wait 'til he is neutered....a young rampant buck and an older skittish doe is a difficult combination, if he hassles her it will cause a fight and stress them both out.

09-07-2007, 12:14 AM
Do you think I am okay with his cage in her enclosure for now? THey cannot get to each other, but she certainly knows he is there....

From the sounds of it, he will be there for a while...

09-07-2007, 12:23 AM
DEPENDS ON HER REACTIONS TO HIM IF she gets stressed by his presence then move him, if she sniffs or ignores him then its fine....where is he exercising?

09-07-2007, 12:30 AM
Muffin doesn't seem to care at all.

Re: excercise...We have been taking him out on a leash for excercise, but I think I am going to make a temporary run instead. I have never used the leash before, but the lady at the petstore recommended it instead of a run, since they can be so expensive. He is great at having the leash put on him, but I have found he gets anxious (mind you, we have only had him two days!).

However... that does lead to my desire to introduce them sooner since we are going away in 5 weeks....I am not sure I am comfortable having friends/neighbors move him to the run and back... It would be easier if he were settled in to the new home with Muffin instead.

I am going to see if I can get him neutered ASAP, maybe I will be lucky and can get him in next week, then we will still have two weeks to organize the bonding before having to leave them alone...

In your experience, am I okay to trust they will be fine once we have bonded them and they are okay for a week or so, or should I just wait until we get back from our vacation and will be here with them for more than two weeks after?

09-07-2007, 12:34 AM
We allow 3 days for bonding and in most cases this is adequate.

Some pairs do take longer but even the most difficult should have been bonded enough to co-habit in 2 weeks...however 1. It can take up to 4 weks for hormones to start to subside and 2. some rabbit just plain hate each other...and may never get on (very rare but does happen).

Also did you know that the use of a leash can be dangerous?

09-07-2007, 01:14 AM
The salesperson sold me on "it has a release mechanism", however after using it for two days I have decided the run option is much better. The leash just did not seem to be a good idea because he was anxious and on the second time with the leash he wrapped herself around a tree and I got nervous myself.

We are definately building a temporary run for him.

If I can get him in for neutering right away then we might manage to get them together before we go on vacation.

Thanks so much for the advice and help.

09-07-2007, 04:50 AM
I have another question...sorry to be a pain..

I was just out checking on the rabbits and a thought occurred to me...

Can you please tell me if you think this will be a problem?

When we moved our rabbits (mocha and muffin) outside, they immediately made themselves a home under the shed...contrary to what I believed would happen, they also pooped and maybe even peed under the shed where they were sleeping, and where I cannot get at to clean up. (litter training totally undone!)

(FYI - The shed is sitting on beams surrounded by pea gravel (no danger of shifting). Both are on top of wire mesh in case of digging - which there has been a ton of! I thought rabbits didn't like pea gravel - no such thing!)

Now that we have lost Mocha and I am looking at introducing Jack, will the feces that I can't get at, left over from Mocha, be a problem?

09-07-2007, 08:14 AM
Is there any way you can block off the underside of the shed? Perhaps by using a line of bricks around its perimeter? I would be concerned that if one of your rabbits became unwell his/her instinct would be to retreat to a safe dark place(his place under the shed!!) ..how would you get to him/her without having to lift the shed?

09-07-2007, 09:07 AM
As Jack isn't neutered, it would be a very bad idea to bond them until a couple of months after his neuter, even though she is spayed - this is because he will hump her like crazy, and she will probably turn on him in the end, or be utterly miserable.

As Muffin is basically feral, you have a problem! He cannot be introduced into her territory, and having his cage in there won't really help, as it may even increase her animosity towards him and will certainly be incredibly frustrating for him.

The way I see it, you need to get him neutered first, keep him seperate from her and sort out her accomodation. It's not a good idea for your rabbits to have so much freedom that you can't get to them if they become sick or injured in a fight.

The area under the shed, judging by how much poop is left on my patio daily, must be a magnet for flies, which of course can kill a rabbit by laying eggs on their fur - the poor bunny gets eaten alive. Your first task must be to board off this area so they can't get under - if necessary dig a trench and submerge wire fencing in an L shape, to stop them digging down to get there, or/and put paving slabs all around the shed so there's no way for them to dig under.

Only then can you even think about bonding them, because there's no way you will catch Muffin while she has a bolt hole, and of course you have to catch her to bond them on neutral territory. Good luck and let us know how it goes :)

09-07-2007, 01:46 PM
Thats a good point....I didnt think about how crazy she must be driving him with all those hormones :shock:

09-07-2007, 08:54 PM
After reading on this forum and other sites, I suspected I had a problem with her getting underneath the shed. Thanks for confirming. I will make the necessary modifications.

I am not sure I would say Muffin is actually feral. Not exactly friendly, doesn't like to be touched, but will come around us when we are in her pen. Just runs as soon as we try to touch her. Maybe preventing her from getting under the shed will help us to build a stronger bond with her.

As for Jack...is waiting a couple of months after he is neutered really necessary?
I want to do this right so if that is whats really required, that is what I will do. However, I read on various websites and leaflets that 2 weeks after neutering is all that is required....

09-07-2007, 08:59 PM
You only really need to wait 2 months after neuter if the female's not spayed - as yours is, you could try it earlier than that, but he will still be very hormonal and the humping might annoy her.

I can't touch my group of 4 shed bunnies either, but if they are ill there's nowhere for them to hide, so I don't worry as long as they're happy - I'm sure you have one very happy girl bunny there, just not ideal if you need to get her urgently for some reason :)

09-07-2007, 09:17 PM
Just remembered actually - the way I caught Maa when she needed to go to the vets was in a really big cat carrier - so big that she had to walk into it to get the food I put at one end - with the smaller carrier she just stretched in and grabbed it, as she knew what it was all about :lol: She loves her food though - depends how much your girl loves food if that would work. The other thing that works (only once - they know after one mistake :lol: ) is if you pop a plastic washing basket over them - the type that you carry the laundry to the washing line in. You can shunt it along the ground with them underneath it, until you get to a place where you can catch them more easily.

09-07-2007, 10:00 PM
I think we will wait until we get back from our vacation, so it will probably be about a month before we introduce.

As for Jack's temporary home...do you think I could partition off a section of her run and put a temporary hutch in there for him until he can join her? Will it bother her to have him right there? It would be much less complicated than building a brand new temporary shelter, or putting him in the garage where we can't get at him to visit as easily... I also want to start acclimatizing him as soon as possible. Our summers are relatively short here!;)

Thanks again for the advice. I really appreciate it!:D