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Thread: Do you want to bond a trio? Read this first

  1. #1
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    Default Do you want to bond a trio? Read this first

    We see an awful lot of posts asking about trios, so though that it might be useful to have all the information in one place so that people can just read the thread and the info didn't have to be regurgitated over and over.


    Can trios work?

    The basic answer is potentially yes, trios can work with the right rabbits involved. However, not all bunnies are suited to being in a trio, the same way as not all rabbits are suited to being in a pair, or suited to being single (rarely are bunnies suited to be single though).


    What do I need to think about when considering a trio?

    The most important thing when looking to bond a trio is looking at the rabbits involved and why it will benefit them. It's important that if it's going to be successful it is done with the best interests of the rabbits involved, in mind, as opposed to someone just wanting a new rabbit.

    As mentioned previously, not all rabbits are suited to being in trios so it is important to look at the rabbits you have and work out what is best for them. So you want to look at things like personalities, likes, dislikes, health, how any current bond dynamics are, how easy the first bond was, etc.

    If you're bonding a trio, then you may be starting with three singles, or you may be starting with a pair and adding in a single.

    Starting with a pair and adding a single

    This is most commonly what people do and it can work nicely, if the right bunny is added, for the right reasons. However, there are risks to doing this and it is important to be aware of the possibilities.

    If the bonding gets out of control, then you may find yourself with three single rabbits. The original pair may not rebond, depending on what has happened to result in them all being separate.

    Also, you may find that one of your original pair switches allegiance and bonds with the single bunny, shunning the original bunny they were bonded with. This would leave a rabbit who has previously been in a pair, alone, which is not fair, however, equally, it would not be fair to separate the freshly bonded pair if they are happy.

    Starting with three singles

    If you are starting with three singles then this is actually probably easier in terms of the things to consider, but potentially more stressful on you. You are not facing the risk of an established bond divorcing, you are not facing the risk of having more bunnies single than started single although you do still face the possibility that a trio may not work, but you might find a pair within the three rabbtis does work. Equally, this can be a successful way to bond a trio of rabbits and you might have no issues.


    How do I actually go about bonding a trio?

    The same rules for bonding a pair, apply to bonding a trio. You can find information on bonding a pair here as well as there being lots of useful links on the forum and many helpful posts from people like The Duchess and Janice (the search function should bring you up a variety from each of them- I tried to look for Janice's awesome post on how to bond, but couldn't find it).

    What you need to be prepared for with bonding a trio is that they will take longer to bond because they have more different options for the heirarchy, than with a pair. This means things are likely to remain unsettled for longer, and that you are likely to get the 'heirarchy test' later than 24-48 hours.


    Is there anything else I need to be aware of?

    It can be harder to monitor if one rabbit is ill in a trio, especially output, unless you are watching them very carefully.

    Also, you may see, once the initial period of bonding is over, that over the next few months it becomes clear that the actual dynamics of the trio don't work for one, two or all rabbits, in which case you will have to start looking at whether it is best for them to split them up somehow, and if it is best to do that, how is it best and what would work best for all bunnies.


    If I think a trio is in the best interests of my pair bunnies, how do I go about choosing a rabbit to bond with them?

    If you already have the rabbits for thr trio, then the decision is there and there is likely less to consider than if you are taking on a rabbit specifically.

    If you are looking to take on a rabbit specifically to bond into the trio then it is essential that you do it carefully.

    You will need to look at your pair of rabbits and think about why they could they benefit from a friend, what qualities would that friend have, what would be the 'purpose' of the friend, things like that. You will need to be able to think about what you will need in the rabbit to give you the best chance of finding the right rabbit for that pair.

    Ideally you will want to bond in a spayed/neutered rabbit. Also, you will ideally have a 'back up' plan for if they don't bond into a trio. This may be keeping the rabbit as a single and then finding it it's own friend, or it may be returning it from where it came from. For all those points, a reputable rescue is by far the best way to go when it comes to choosing a friend because they can provide advice, sometimes bonding, should take the rabbit back if it doesn't work, and also help you match the right rabbit to your rabbits.

    If you get from somewhere like a pet shop, a friend or freeads, etc, then you need to be prepared that they may not bond, and that you may need to keep them separate. If you're not prepared or able to be able to keep them separate, then you need to look at getting the rabbit from elsewhere.



    I want to mention about my pairs who are not trio compatable bunnies.

    My two pairs are Candyfloss and Dusk, and Sandy and Roger (Roger from the first trio).

    Candyfloss is blind and has been bonded with three rabbits prior to Dusk. Dusk accepts her quirks and all, but I do have to sometimes repair the bond with a car journey. If I tried to add another bunny in, I'm sure it would completely upset the applecart and Candyfloss would fight them. So, these two live out their days as a pair.

    Sandy dated every single man here and Roger was her last hope of having a friend. She fought because she was so anxious, but when I put her with Roger he sidled over and started grooming her instantly. They have never fought; my fighting machine was mellowed. They do chase a lot, but they are also much happier together, and Roger doesn't hide like he used to (we are now three years on from when he was bonded into a trio with Summer and Tilly). If I tried to add a third in, I'm fairly sure Sandy would fight them, and I don't want to mess up the bond her and Roger have, for either of their sakes, so they stay as a pair aswell.


    I think maybe it might be useful to have a look at my personal experience of bonding trios and the dynamics of the successful ones. That can be found in the following post.

    In addition to all of that, if you think of anything that needs to be added, please let me know. Also, if you want to add your own experiences of a trio that was successful, or unsuccessful, or was unusual, or someone can learn something from, then please do share. I would suggest that you maybe make those posts with useful info in are bolded so that it is easy for following readers to identify them, and learn from them.

    I hope this is of use
    Last edited by Sky-O; 30-10-2011 at 01:35 PM.


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  2. #2
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    Trio one

    Summer-f, Roger-m, Tilly-f

    How they were formed, i.e. the age of the buns, did you start with two and add an extra one, if so, were they a male female pair, two males, two females, related or not and their ages? Summer was very old but a rescue so we don't know how old, Roger was a wildie. They bonded first, but were only bonded for maybe 2 weeks when I addedd Tilly who was probably a middle aged girlie, but quite ill with head tilt. All were very freshly fixed when they went together

    Any problems/falling outs etc. Nope, none at all. They were a dream.

    Personality of the buns involved. Summer was very enthusiastic and loved anything and everything. Roger was a typical wildie, lots of hiding, nervous, but used the girls to get his confidence to grow. Tilly was quiet and very sweet, but had such strong will power inside her.

    What happened with that trio was that Summer and Tilly became very firm friends. Roger ended up with a hareem but because by nature he used to hide a lot, the girls had each other.

    Roger was a former wildie. He was terrified of people and found solace in other bunnies, yet spent a lot of his time in hiding. When he bonded with Summer, who was very outgoing, they lvoed each other, and he groomed her a lot, but he still spent a lot of time hiding. I bonded Tilly in because she needed someone who could groom her (Roger was a grooming machine), and Summer needed a friend who would be around and not in hiding. Tilly also needed a friend, and what we found with Summer was that she was the right size to help Tilly with her head tilt.

    Summer and Tilly became VERY firm friends, best friends, and Roger popped out, as and when he wanted, groomed them all, and hid again, but learnt, over time to come out and be sociable. I guess as all oddities, no one got left out because they were all independent and 'loners' anyway.



    Trio 2

    The Dopeys- both f and Cloud-m

    How they were formed, i.e. the age of the buns, did you start with two and add an extra one, if so, were they a male female pair, two males, two females, related or not and their ages? The Dopeys are two sister and were completely inseparable. To all intents and purposes they are one and the same doing all the same things at all the same times and we can't easily tell them apart- hence the joint name. I first bonded them with Cloud when they were all just over 1. Cloud was recently neutered- 8 weeks prior- but they were unspayed. They had no problems at all but then I added a fourth a year later and after 6 weeks the new addition turned on the weakest Dopey so they had to be split into two pairs. The new girl eventually divorced Cloud and so I then rebonded Cloud back with the Dopeys who had at this point been spayed, and it was the easiest bond ever, they had clearly missed each other. They were a dream too.

    Any problems/falling outs etc. Not anything, even when Cloud got vicious with his illness or the Dopeys got horny and humpy with everything.

    Personality of the buns involved. Cloud was a vicious little turd and the Dopeys are very sweet, vocal, stupid, inseparable rabbits.

    This trio was more like a pair because the Dopeys are like just one rabbit.

    As mentioned, The Dopeys are like one entity. They are litter mates, look the same, act the same, move the same, and are completely inseparable. To all intents and purposes they are one rabbit, in two bodies. They are also exceptionally easy going.

    My aim for putting them into a trio is because one day one of them with die and the other Dopey just won't cope, so the idea of having a friend PRIOR to losing a Dopey is that it will help the remaining Dopey cope. First they had Cloud, who had never met another bunny and was lonely. Now they have Lightning who is slightly younger. It's helped them be less insular and has helped them develop their own personalities more and separated them more into two bunnies, which is good.


    Since losing Cloud, The Dopeys have been bonded into a trio with Lightning, and the dynamics and reasons are pretty much the same.


    Trio 3

    Dawn-m, Hope-m, Sunny-f (all siblings)

    How they were formed, i.e. the age of the buns, did you start with two and add an extra one, if so, were they a male female pair, two males, two females, related or not and their ages? I started bonding when they were about 7 months old. Previously they had divorced when hormones hit- obviously not Sunny, she was separated before that. I waited until after the boys had recovered from their neuters and then started. I did a long bond because thats what they needed. After a month of long playdates I moved the two boys in together. Sunny couldn't join them because she was unspayed and a flirt and she made them scrap. They lived side by side until she was spayed and still had playdates together. When she was spayed they moved in together as soon as I could make it happen, which was about 2 weeks after her spay.

    Any problems/falling outs etc. Nope, none at all.

    Personality of the buns involved. Sunny is the smart one, and very feisty and knows her mind. Dawn is very nice and licky but seems to have a second self where every so often he just goes nippy and chases for no apparent reason, Hope is like the odd bunny out. Right from being 2 weeks old, whatever everyone else was doing Hope was doing something different. He is almost a 'special needs' bunny. He lacks social bunny skills

    This trio is the one of most surprise to me because all bunnies have strong personalities, but, for whatever reason, it works. They are all very different and benefit from other rabbits at different times. Collectively they are known as 'the Swarming'.

    These are an oddball trio. They would likely cope as any of the pairs, but are more comfortable in a trio. Hope has always isolated himself, so had he been in a pair, the other rabbit would have ended up lonely. So having him in a trio means Sunny and Dawn can get company from each other when Hope is being a loner.

    Dawn sometimes likes to chase, but only chase, nothing else, and if he is in one of those moods, the others can avoid him and be together.

    Sunny is independent and smart, and likes to go off and do her own thing, but come back for company if and when she needs it.

    This trio was made of sblings, very early after the boys were neutered and I tried a variety of combinations and these ones were happiest when together as a group.



    Trio 4

    Autumn (m), Wish (f) and Flame (hermaphrodite)

    How they were formed, i.e. the age of the buns, did you start with two and add an extra one, if so, were they a male female pair, two males, two females, related or not and their ages? I bonded Autumn and Wish first. Autumn was well neutered, Wish was ill and not spayed. About a month later I added Flame who had been 'neutered' 6 weeks prior.

    Any problems/falling outs etc. If Autumn is not there Wish and Flame have a tendency to chase and squabble- they have a much more sibling relationship without him there

    Personality of the buns involved.Autumn had never met another bunny (from being about 3 weeks old or so) until he met Wish, when he was roughly 15 months, but he was a right softie. As it's turned out, he is a healing bunny and grooms and heals any rifts. He's just the nicest! Wish is very sick, and a completely feisty madam. The world needs to adore Wish. Flame is more laid back and easy going, also ill, and has his moments too. The group is mostly held together by how very nice Autumn is.

    I chose a trio for these because Wish and Flame had been an unseparable pair (before Flame produded his testicles), and Autumn really needed a friend but I didn't know what he would be like or how he would cope or even if he would be interested in rabbits, so it needed to be with some easy going bunnies who weren't fussed whether he was with them or not. As it turns out, without him I don't know if Wish and Flame would have remained as happily bonded, or if their bond would have been filled more with chasing than it is with Autumn in it.



    Trio 5

    Hay Monster (m), Sooty (f) and Sweep (f)- Sooty and Sweep are apparently sisters

    How they were formed, i.e. the age of the buns, did you start with two and add an extra one, if so, were they a male female pair, two males, two females, related or not and their ages? Sooty and Sweep are apparently sisters, so have been together from birth. At roughly 3 and a half they met Hay Monster. He had always been single since divorcing his brothers at 7 months old, and by that time, he was about 17 months old.

    Any problems/falling outs etc. The bonding was hard going due to Sooty acting in a very hormonal way and it took Hay Monster a while to work out how to deal with that.

    Personality of the buns involved.Hay Monster was a long term single bunny, and he was very independent and people sociable, but he showed the signs that he needed a friend. We were originally looking for just one girlfriend for him. Sooty and Sweep were a long term pair but Sweep was very bullied by Sooty and not happy.

    The hope was that Hay Monster would 'dilute' the bullying and take some of the heat off of Sweep- which did definitely happen. Also, it meant that in the times when he wants to take himself off- which he does still do- the girls could still have company and wouldn't be left alone. The dynamics actually worked like a dream once Hay Monster figured out how to deal with Sooty and her humping.
    Last edited by Sky-O; 23-10-2011 at 02:59 PM.


    Please Remember to Advocate for your Rabbit.

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  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper xx-snowball-xx's Avatar
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    Very useful thread.

    I did find the second post quite hard to read though.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by xx-snowball-xx View Post
    Very useful thread.

    I did find the second post quite hard to read though.
    Better?


    Please Remember to Advocate for your Rabbit.

    'I have the responsibility to do what I want in a world of others, but so does everyone else and it works best if we take each other into account.' (EVD)

    Please feel free to visit my therapy website and also my Professional Facebook page and Blog. You might find something interesting there!

  5. #5
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    Yes there is ALOT of info to take in in the second post.
    I think its lovely to have a group of buns. For example if one of the group dies there are others there for comfort. My pair were very happy together and I know I am taking a risk trying to add another but I have done it very slowly over weeks. If there had been alot of aggression through the fence and the rabbits were unhappy being close to another strange rabbit then I wouldnt have proceeded with the bonding. I have had 2 males and a female that have bonded very well but I have another male that cant bare being near another male. So, yes you have got to watch them very closely and try and figure out their personalities. Obviously the final hurdle is for them to sort out their heirachy which I know is the risky part.

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    Great thread thank you. I have pm'd Karen about putting it in the sticky

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    Wise Old Thumper xx-snowball-xx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky-O View Post
    Better?
    Ah yes, that is much better, thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by xx-snowball-xx View Post
    Ah yes, that is much better, thanks


    And that's awesome, thanks webble.


    Please Remember to Advocate for your Rabbit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by webble View Post
    I have pm'd Karen about putting it in the sticky
    Thank you for the PM.

    And thank you Sky-O for taking the time to write this, it will be very helpful to refer to. I've made it a sticky in it's own right as there isn't a bonding sticky as yet, but I'm going to pop a link to this in the behaviour sticky as well.

  10. #10

    Default Bonding my third

    I am currently attempting to bond a third. I have several reasons for doing this. One is that the third (Shadow, Female) that I am trying to introduce came from her family and was always around multiple bunnies. I am trying to introduce her to a bonded pair (Shirley, Female; and Larch, Male). The bonded pair that I introduced her to, seemed indifferent to her through the caging so I felt it might be a slow fit. The bonded pair weren't exactly looking like they would become a bonded pair at the start; but we accidently scared them into it with some in-house construction noises and they broke through their boundaries and bonded immediately. I cannot say that they are all that lovey-dovey, but they seem to like to sleep near each other, for sure. When I introduced Shadow through cages, it seemed that Larch took to her immediately but Shirley was protective of her male and did not want to share. We ended up doing some more construction in their presence and now Shirley seems to be showing signs of bonding to Shadow (and Shirley is grumpier with Larch now); but Larch is now showing possessiveness of Shirley and less acceptance of Shadow. I am taking this very very slowly. It has already been a few months of cage to cage contact. Larch and Shirley are still sleeping together peacefully, but I see signs of a few squabbles inside the cage (tufts of fur) that have only happened a couple of times and never before once they were bonded. Who knows? Maybe this will work, or maybe not?

    I have to say that this is the first piece of literature I have found on bonding more that 2 bunnies and I found it quite refreshing and useful. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.

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