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Thread: New rabbit, one bully

  1. #1
    Young Bun
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    Default New rabbit, one bully

    Help! I have got two bonded rescue rabbits that we brought home yesterday. We have (as advised) kept them in their base enclosure (they at house rabbits & will have lounge once settled in) at first & once they seemed settled we gave them a bit more room (attached puppy pen) but every time they have more room one is being unkind to the other. He is chasing him away from the food bowl, out of the litter tray by the hay rack, basically anywhere the other is. I am a new rabbit mummy & don't know whether to give them less room (will this help bond?) or more room (have some space?). In the smaller space (7ft by 3ft) they seemed ok, grooming each other & lying down together. Now they are sat apart & the 'victim' is sat up with ears pricked looking wary of the other who is chilled out eating hay. If they are still like it tomorrow I will ring the rescue for advice, but they are not open in the evening so was hoping someone might be able to help before that.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeccaT View Post
    Help! I have got two bonded rescue rabbits that we brought home yesterday. We have (as advised) kept them in their base enclosure (they at house rabbits & will have lounge once settled in) at first & once they seemed settled we gave them a bit more room (attached puppy pen) but every time they have more room one is being unkind to the other. He is chasing him away from the food bowl, out of the litter tray by the hay rack, basically anywhere the other is. I am a new rabbit mummy & don't know whether to give them less room (will this help bond?) or more room (have some space?). In the smaller space (7ft by 3ft) they seemed ok, grooming each other & lying down together. Now they are sat apart & the 'victim' is sat up with ears pricked looking wary of the other who is chilled out eating hay. If they are still like it tomorrow I will ring the rescue for advice, but they are not open in the evening so was hoping someone might be able to help before that.

    Hi Becca

    Go back to the restricted space. Opening out the space can make for tension in new relationships. You'd think it would be the other way around, but it doesn't seem to be.

    What sex are these rabbits?

  3. #3
    Young Bun
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    They are both boys & were already bonded when they got taken in by the rescue (I would assume siblings?), so it isn't a new relationship. I've been volunteering at the rescue for a few weeks & have never seen them behave like this, which is why I figure it is something to do with the move. I've put them back in just their base enclosure. He was still chasing (very much asserting his dominance) but they seem to have settled but are sat apart. I don't know how long to leave them for in the smaller space (it's 7ft by 3ft so not tiny), I don't want to be cruel, but don't want to upset their bond?? Does that make sense?

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeccaT View Post
    They are both boys & were already bonded when they got taken in by the rescue (I would assume siblings?), so it isn't a new relationship. I've been volunteering at the rescue for a few weeks & have never seen them behave like this, which is why I figure it is something to do with the move. I've put them back in just their base enclosure. He was still chasing (very much asserting his dominance) but they seem to have settled but are sat apart. I don't know how long to leave them for in the smaller space (it's 7ft by 3ft so not tiny), I don't want to be cruel, but don't want to upset their bond?? Does that make sense?

    I don't know how long you've had them in the smaller area?

    I would keep them together in the smaller area for at least 48 hours after you're happy with their progress, unless they get antsy with one another. Make sure you introduce some new boxes (with at least two exits) and a couple of litter trays and make the area interesting. That's what I would do - though other people will have a barren area for them, so it's up to you really.

    I wouldn't split them up at all, and certainly not at this stage, unless they start injuring one another seriously.

    Good luck xx

  5. #5
    Warren Veteran daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    I don't know how long you've had them in the smaller area?

    I would keep them together in the smaller area for at least 48 hours after you're happy with their progress, unless they get antsy with one another. Make sure you introduce some new boxes (with at least two exits) and a couple of litter trays and make the area interesting. That's what I would do - though other people will have a barren area for them, so it's up to you really.

    I wouldn't split them up at all, and certainly not at this stage, unless they start injuring one another seriously.

    Good luck xx
    Pretty much this.

    I normally go for really empty space so nothing to defend but each to their own.
    The only other thing I'd suggest is losing the food bowls.... just scatter food around their space so they can forage for it. It allows a more natural eating style and helps prevent one bullying the other at meal times.

    Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Young Bun
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    Thank you both. I will leave them in the smaller area. I guess I have spent so much time reading about how much space they need that I was a bit paranoid about keeping them in the smaller area. i also stupidly assumed that because they are not a new bonding that they'd be fine, it wasn't that one was moving in to the other ones territory, the were moving in together. Lesson learnt! The space has a litter tray, hay rack, water bottle & a water bowl & a shelter (with more hay in it). When they just have this space they seem fine, grooming each other, snuggling up together. If they are fine with this space still this morning I will leave them in just this for a couple of days & stop worrying about them not having enough room (big picture, it's a couple of days not a lifetime!). I will definitely try the scattering food, although once the were back in the smaller enclosure only they shared a food bowl before bed (I did just one type of veg to see if they would share better, which seemed to work). Thank you so much for your advice, I feel more confident to take it slow now!

  7. #7
    Young Bun
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    Back on track this morning �� They are snuggling & chilling together, shared pellets from their bowl this morning with no nipping or chasing & are generally relaxed and seem happy. I will definitely be scattering their veg later to make them forage for it.
    Thank you for all your help. I am so relieved!

  8. #8
    Warren Veteran daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeccaT View Post
    Back on track this morning 😃 They are snuggling & chilling together, shared pellets from their bowl this morning with no nipping or chasing & are generally relaxed and seem happy. I will definitely be scattering their veg later to make them forage for it.
    Thank you for all your help. I am so relieved!
    You can also scatter pellets as well

    Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeccaT View Post
    Thank you both. I will leave them in the smaller area. I guess I have spent so much time reading about how much space they need that I was a bit paranoid about keeping them in the smaller area. i also stupidly assumed that because they are not a new bonding that they'd be fine, it wasn't that one was moving in to the other ones territory, the were moving in together. Lesson learnt! The space has a litter tray, hay rack, water bottle & a water bowl & a shelter (with more hay in it). When they just have this space they seem fine, grooming each other, snuggling up together. If they are fine with this space still this morning I will leave them in just this for a couple of days & stop worrying about them not having enough room (big picture, it's a couple of days not a lifetime!). I will definitely try the scattering food, although once the were back in the smaller enclosure only they shared a food bowl before bed (I did just one type of veg to see if they would share better, which seemed to work). Thank you so much for your advice, I feel more confident to take it slow now!

    You said it

    You know, sometimes we worry about their quality of life above our own, and make rods for our own back. If they can tolerate it for a wee while, then it's OK for them. They will soon tell you when they want it extended.

    You are doing really well - vibes it continues

  10. #10
    Young Bun
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    Thank you. They seem really settled being back in the base enclosure. They are sharing the pellets really well from the bowl, which I feel is a good sign (social eating without snatching must be good right?). They are still snatching veg, one eats much slower than the other & seems a bit fussier, but less so now some is scattered around & some is in the bowl. It seems to work for them. I will try later tomorrow to give them a bit more space. Just a couple of panels, slowly does it.

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