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Thread: territorial buns/neutralising a big territory - ideas please!

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    Warren Scout Squishies's Avatar
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    Default territorial buns/neutralising a big territory - ideas please!

    Hi everyone, I'm looking for ideas on how to neutralise the wider territory of my bunnies; the territory beyond their cage/aviary.
    ...my pair have supervised free run of the garden and most of the house when I am home, and are very clear with me and any visitors that they own, well, *everything*!

    To give a couple of comedy examples of how territorial they are...
    - if I am out in the garden planting new plants, they will attempt to move pots/trays/watering cans etc, if I have put them in a place that is not to their liking
    - when I go on holiday and they have no access to the house for a couple of weeks, the moment I get back and throw open the back doors, they will run in, do a full recce of 'their' rooms, and then drop a few territorial poops in the lounge for good measure in reminding me whose house it really is...
    ...it's very amusing and cute of course, but it does worry me that they may be incredibly reticent to accept interlopers, even if I re-extend their space from the aviary very slowly.

    The basic background is that I'd love to bond in another bunny or another pair with my existing pair, and while I can go elsewhere to do the bond in completely neutral territory, plus I can then neutralise and rearrange the aviary before their return; I am worried that my two are not going to want to 'share' the rest of their territory - especially their beloved garden and favourite spots under the table/under the bed etc. Obviously I can deep clean the house and wipe down the skirting etc, but even then they seem to remember the location/sight of everything just as much as the smells, and of course, the garden is far trickier again!

    Any ideas or experience anyone has of bonding with rabbits who have such a big and established territory (and are not used to sharing!) would be gratefully received. No idea is bad idea! ...all rabbits are different with their own personalities of course, and my aim is driven only out of wanting to do a good thing for my bunnies longer term.

    ...some of you already know the context of why I would like to re-grow my little troop, but I shall put it again briefly here if helpful, or if anyone is wondering why on earth I might want to attempt to bond in more furries!:
    I had a sublimely happy trio, and tragically lost one of my boys who was the 'social glue' of the group. In particular, he was inseparable/lifelong mates with my girl bunny, and they went everywhere together (while the other boy was always quite timid and kept himself to himself).
    Having lost everyone's favourite bunny, I now have a pair that despite being generally healthy/ok, I would describe as 'rubbing along' rather than actively 'getting on' and my girl bun in particular seems quite lonely, despite having a litter mate around.
    [other info! they are just turned 3 years and are both neutered/spayed]

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squishies View Post
    Hi everyone, I'm looking for ideas on how to neutralise the wider territory of my bunnies; the territory beyond their cage/aviary.
    ...my pair have supervised free run of the garden and most of the house when I am home, and are very clear with me and any visitors that they own, well, *everything*!

    To give a couple of comedy examples of how territorial they are...
    - if I am out in the garden planting new plants, they will attempt to move pots/trays/watering cans etc, if I have put them in a place that is not to their liking
    - when I go on holiday and they have no access to the house for a couple of weeks, the moment I get back and throw open the back doors, they will run in, do a full recce of 'their' rooms, and then drop a few territorial poops in the lounge for good measure in reminding me whose house it really is...
    ...it's very amusing and cute of course, but it does worry me that they may be incredibly reticent to accept interlopers, even if I re-extend their space from the aviary very slowly.

    The basic background is that I'd love to bond in another bunny or another pair with my existing pair, and while I can go elsewhere to do the bond in completely neutral territory, plus I can then neutralise and rearrange the aviary before their return; I am worried that my two are not going to want to 'share' the rest of their territory - especially their beloved garden and favourite spots under the table/under the bed etc. Obviously I can deep clean the house and wipe down the skirting etc, but even then they seem to remember the location/sight of everything just as much as the smells, and of course, the garden is far trickier again!

    Any ideas or experience anyone has of bonding with rabbits who have such a big and established territory (and are not used to sharing!) would be gratefully received. No idea is bad idea! ...all rabbits are different with their own personalities of course, and my aim is driven only out of wanting to do a good thing for my bunnies longer term.

    ...some of you already know the context of why I would like to re-grow my little troop, but I shall put it again briefly here if helpful, or if anyone is wondering why on earth I might want to attempt to bond in more furries!:
    I had a sublimely happy trio, and tragically lost one of my boys who was the 'social glue' of the group. In particular, he was inseparable/lifelong mates with my girl bunny, and they went everywhere together (while the other boy was always quite timid and kept himself to himself).
    Having lost everyone's favourite bunny, I now have a pair that despite being generally healthy/ok, I would describe as 'rubbing along' rather than actively 'getting on' and my girl bun in particular seems quite lonely, despite having a litter mate around.
    [other info! they are just turned 3 years and are both neutered/spayed]

    Hiya

    My rabbits free range the whole house, always. They also have (when out and supervised) the whole of the patio and garden.

    Over the last 25 years I have always bonded new rabbits in my kitchen, including the existing 'old' rabbit/s. I then clean the front room, (where they seem to gravitate to) whilst they are bonding. After a length of time in the kitchen I then throw the doors open and they can all go everywhere. They end up together in the front room.

    Once rabbits are bonded, I have had no issues regarding 'what's mine and what's yours'.

    Have you a time scale in mind?

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    Warren Scout Squishies's Avatar
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    Hello hello!

    That is hugely encouraging, I have to say! I have been worried that my pair have too much 'ownership' currently, but what you say makes sense; to only allow them into the 'shared' territory once they are well bonded.
    ...and you bond in the kitchen as somewhere they don't usually go, I'm guessing? (or do the existing/original rabbits have access to the kitchen usually too?)

    Thanks a million as always!
    Mx

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    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squishies View Post
    Hello hello!

    That is hugely encouraging, I have to say! I have been worried that my pair have too much 'ownership' currently, but what you say makes sense; to only allow them into the 'shared' territory once they are well bonded.
    ...and you bond in the kitchen as somewhere they don't usually go, I'm guessing? (or do the existing/original rabbits have access to the kitchen usually too?)

    Thanks a million as always!
    Mx

    Yes, my own rabbis go into the kitchen

    It's always worked though because the rabbit left behind is eager for company, and finds being shut up in the kitchen with a newcomer slightly odd (since they usually have freedom). I introduced two new rabbits this way to the 'original homeowner rabbit' and it worked a dream.

    With rabbits I don't know, it's all strange to them. Once bonded I put them into a big shed/run while they wait for their owners to arrive and collect them for home.

    I've been helping someone on here recently, and my advice was to make sure the bond is well and truly secure before opening out or moving to *any* new area. Err on the side of caution if you're not used to bonding, and keep them in their happy space for as long as you can bear to before moving back to a thoroughly cleansed 'home'

    I'm sorry you've not had any replies apart from myself M, I shall put out for more info for you!!

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    Warren Veteran joey&boo's Avatar
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    What MM said Sorry, I can't add much to that. Your rabbits sound fun. I'm not too sure how effective neutralising in houses is (but I guess we should try). Boo is not a humpy bunny but she got very humpy on just carrying the buns into what was her usual space. Yes I'd definitely leave them as long as poss in the neutral space to cement their bond . Good luck & keep posting

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    Warren Veteran daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    I'd definitely bond somewhere that is as neutral as possible. A kitchen or bathroom (I like using the bathroom) is easy to neutralise before a bond and I usually find them to be the perfect size.

    In terms of them being territorial with everything else - personally I think if they are well bonded before having access to the larger territory they should be fine. The most you may get is a little humping or fur pulling to real quick figure it out but I can't imagine it would be anything too serious so long as you don't rush them.

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    Mama Doe
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    If they are bonded elsewhere, I would then rearrange as much as possible in the communal (eg garden) areas, and put a lot of other suitable objects there eg new tunnels, large pots, boxes, bales of hay - anything that will confuse the existing bunnies and give the newbies an equal chance. Maybe reduce the area at first by a series of puppy panels.

    If you want to make everything smell more 'neutral', maybe let the weather do most of it (ie hope for lots of rain while they are away) and you could try spraying a weak liquid soap over everything (including grass and plants). It won't harm the plants (as long as it's not done in bright sun when it could cause scorching) and may get rid of a few greenfly.

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    Warren Scout
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    Hi M, you're going to get another one then yay! I can't really add to the above, MM and others are far more experienced than me, but let me know if you want any bonding vibes or to talk it through. Its a funny thing this rubbing along versus properly bonded. I thought Lucy had properly bonded into the quad, but then it all fell down, and now seeing her with Dave, I can see the difference. You know your bunnies well, you'll be fine. Xx

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    Warren Scout Squishies's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the encouraging advice, everyone - this makes me feel much more confident that (although it maybe tricky and take time!) it should not be impossible with enough thought and patience...!

    I like the hay bale distraction idea, too - my two will not be able to resist jumping up on the bales, for sure...
    [funnily enough, I already do the old 'spray with weak fairy liquid' trick on the roses for the darn aphids, so I guess that can't hurt to try either!]

    ...J&B, yes, they are a lot of fun if also a bit naughty! Smart though; they will even come and find me in another room in the house to tell me they want to go back to bed/back out to the aviary when they're 'done' of an evening, and will then go and sit by the french doors ready for me to open them to walk them back up the garden to bed.

    I will keep you all posted/report back as and when I take the first steps!

    Mx

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    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squishies View Post
    Thanks for all the encouraging advice, everyone - this makes me feel much more confident that (although it maybe tricky and take time!) it should not be impossible with enough thought and patience...!

    I like the hay bale distraction idea, too - my two will not be able to resist jumping up on the bales, for sure...
    [funnily enough, I already do the old 'spray with weak fairy liquid' trick on the roses for the darn aphids, so I guess that can't hurt to try either!]

    ...J&B, yes, they are a lot of fun if also a bit naughty! Smart though; they will even come and find me in another room in the house to tell me they want to go back to bed/back out to the aviary when they're 'done' of an evening, and will then go and sit by the french doors ready for me to open them to walk them back up the garden to bed.

    I will keep you all posted/report back as and when I take the first steps!

    Mx

    Looking back here ....... How are you Squishies??

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