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Thread: Possible bonding issue - how to proceed?

  1. #1
    New Kit
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Switzerland
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    14

    Default Possible bonding issue - how to proceed?

    Our 3 year old male lost his lifelong companion last month.
    The 2 were inseparable, and constantly mutually grooming, etc.
    After losing her Chilli definitely missed having a friend around, and has been quite lethargic, so we have been on the hunt for a suitable partner for him.

    Today we took Chilli with us to choose a new friend, and he picked a 10 week old doe (Daisy).
    They met on neutral territory and initial signs were good. A bit of mutual grooming and then happily wandering around in the same area.
    No humping at all, but Chilli was neutered before sexual maturity, so this is pretty normal behavior.

    We bought them home and put them out in a run on the lawn (again, neutral territory for both rabbits).
    While they were out we gave the hutch a full clean, replaced all litter trays with new, etc.
    We rearranged everything, and after almost 7 hours together we moved them into the hutch and run area.
    Once again the initial signs were great, with both rabbits seeming quite happy, lots of jumping around, binkying etc.

    But then Daisy went into the upstairs area of the hutch and Chilli became quite territorial and chased her downstairs.
    Within minuted they had settled again, but now Daisy was pretty wary.
    Chilli then stated being very submissive and moving slowly towards her, and laying down close by, but Daisy was having none of it - as soon as he came close she hopped away.
    The funny part is that whenever one of them went inside the hutch (2.5 meters long and 1 meter wide with 3 exits) the other one would get up and go and look for them and not settle until they were both withing view of each otehr.
    They clearly want to be together, but Chilli is also clearly struggling to share the top floor of the hutch with Daisy.

    We closed off the top floor, left them for another half hour with very close supervision and made sure the day ended on a positive note (no chasing, both happily eating from the same food bowl) and have now put Daisy into a separate cage for the night.

    So thank if you got this far, but I need advice on ho to continue with them tomorrow.
    Do I start them off in the run on the lawn, or do I put them in the hutch/run enclosure and close of the top floor?
    Or?

    If the bonding doesn't work we do have the option to return Daisy, but naturally we are all already in love with her, and I can see that Chilli badly needs a friend.
    So any tips n how to proceed would be very, very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    11,091

    Default

    It sounds like they are showing good signs of liking each other. I think that based on what you have said would be to close off the top until they are fully bonded. Usually it is best to keep them in a small environment and then expand it but it sounds like they are getting on when they are free range on your lawn.

    When you say you gave the hutch a good clean, do you mean you used some disinfectant. There may still be some smells from his previous partner. I am not sure what people usually use on here to do the deep clean but may be worth asking.

    Good luck, I hope it all works out with them (sounds like it will)
    Homer and Katy "Mum, is that pineapple you have in there?"



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  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swissgreys View Post
    Our 3 year old male lost his lifelong companion last month.
    The 2 were inseparable, and constantly mutually grooming, etc.
    After losing her Chilli definitely missed having a friend around, and has been quite lethargic, so we have been on the hunt for a suitable partner for him.

    Today we took Chilli with us to choose a new friend, and he picked a 10 week old doe (Daisy).
    They met on neutral territory and initial signs were good. A bit of mutual grooming and then happily wandering around in the same area.
    No humping at all, but Chilli was neutered before sexual maturity, so this is pretty normal behavior.

    We bought them home and put them out in a run on the lawn (again, neutral territory for both rabbits).
    While they were out we gave the hutch a full clean, replaced all litter trays with new, etc.
    We rearranged everything, and after almost 7 hours together we moved them into the hutch and run area.
    Once again the initial signs were great, with both rabbits seeming quite happy, lots of jumping around, binkying etc.

    But then Daisy went into the upstairs area of the hutch and Chilli became quite territorial and chased her downstairs.
    Within minuted they had settled again, but now Daisy was pretty wary.
    Chilli then stated being very submissive and moving slowly towards her, and laying down close by, but Daisy was having none of it - as soon as he came close she hopped away.
    The funny part is that whenever one of them went inside the hutch (2.5 meters long and 1 meter wide with 3 exits) the other one would get up and go and look for them and not settle until they were both withing view of each otehr.
    They clearly want to be together, but Chilli is also clearly struggling to share the top floor of the hutch with Daisy.

    We closed off the top floor, left them for another half hour with very close supervision and made sure the day ended on a positive note (no chasing, both happily eating from the same food bowl) and have now put Daisy into a separate cage for the night.

    So thank if you got this far, but I need advice on ho to continue with them tomorrow.
    Do I start them off in the run on the lawn, or do I put them in the hutch/run enclosure and close of the top floor?
    Or?

    If the bonding doesn't work we do have the option to return Daisy, but naturally we are all already in love with her, and I can see that Chilli badly needs a friend.
    So any tips n how to proceed would be very, very much appreciated.

    hi there Swissgreys and nice to hear from you again

    If you would like a bit of reading matter on the subject, here's a few links.
    Not everyone agrees on the way forward with bonding, but you might pick up some tips that are new to you.

    http://rabbit.org/the-most-important...g-is-patience/

    http://rabbit.org/introducing-rabbit...oup-situation/

    http://www.cottontails-rescue.org.uk...nding-bunnies/ (good for pair bonding)

    http://www.fatfluffs.com/info/bonding/

    http://www.actionforrabbits.co.uk/bonding.html


    Book in RWAF shop:

    https://shop.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pro...iona-campbell/



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    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...y-trios-videos!


    And lastly, loads more good luck

  4. #4
    New Kit
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Thanks for the replies.
    We are plodding on with the rabbits, and I keep envisioning the gloriously happy update that I will eventually post.
    But in the mean time thanks for putting up with my endless questions, and offering support.

    We have decided to avoid all contact in the hutch and attached run area for now, and keep their time together in a neutral space.
    They spent the day today together on the lawn in a large run, and things seems to be slowly settling.
    I think Chilli's initial manic enthusiasm has abated somewhat, and Daisy is becoming slightly less skittish around him.
    I envision that eventually we will successfully bond them, but it might take a while.
    But i think it will work, and I can't wait to share photos ad a happy follow up post.

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