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Thread: Starting bonding - a happy ending!

  1. #1

    Default Starting bonding - a happy ending!

    So, we are thinking about trying to bond Monty with our new bunny, and I was hoping I could call on advice/experience/encouragement? I've never tried anything even remotely like this before...

    The first question is, will we be ok to do it this weekend? Monty is 6 weeks post-neuter on Monday, so we were hoping that we could start 2 days early without it making any difference, but we can put it off a week if needs be. The main concern is that the current set-up isn't ideal. Monty is doing well except that he only has access to a water bowl, which has run out in the middle of the night a couple of times now, but the new bunny is confined to the hutch until they're bonded. And she's huge, so our previously reasonably-sized hutch looks tiny for her I think it would be better for all concerned if they were bonded sooner - new bunny hasn't been best pleased at being kept confined. We were told she was spayed before she came to us, so I don't think babies will be a problem, just hormones.

    The plan once we can start is to de-camp both to the bathroom and leave them to run around on the bathroom floor. This is about a metre squared, so nice and small, and with the size of the new bunny I don't know that there will be room for real fighting and things. How long should we expect them to need to be kept there before we can move them to bigger space? The shower gets all over the floor every time you use it, which I don't think bunnies will appreciate, so I'm hoping that if the bond goes moderately well we can open their space out in a day or two!

    I've been reading up and I think I know what to expect. I've washed "Monty's" towel today to be used in the event of aggression, and I'm planning on putting a pile of hay in under the bathroom shelves. It's all tiled, so not worried about mess on the floor or where they choose for a toilet. It will have to be water bowls again as there's nowhere in there to put a bottle, but I'll be keeping an eye on them. Is there anything I've missed?

    And are there any questions I haven't thought of?

    Thank you in advance! I shall use this as a good excuse for some cute pictures:

    The culprits:

    Monty:


    Ossie (new bunny):


    And Trouble being a gardener for the full menagerie:


    (I can't make the images any smaller... have been trying for half an hour... grrrr... sorry.)
    Last edited by Monty's Human; 11-08-2017 at 08:38 AM.

  2. #2

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    So, we've been at it for just over two hours now, and I'm trying to read how we're going. I don't think it's a lost cause by any stretch, but I'm also not sure that it's going as well as it could have. It started off slightly unexpectedly, but largely predictably. We carried them into the bathroom at the same time, let them sniff each other from our arms for circa. 30 seconds, then put them down on the floor. The second we let go, Monty was on top of Ossie humping her - and I mean on top! Because of her size, she's been running around with Monty humping away with his feet off the floor. This went on for about half an hour - humping, then Ossie would shake him off and nip, they'd separate until Monty came back and tried again. We quickly figured out that Ossie was becoming quite territorial of under the shelves, so we removed them, leaving an empty floor (our bad!)

    Since then, there's been a couple of comings-together, only one I felt I needed to step in for. But we've now settled down, only I'm not sure if I should intervene or not. Monty has retired to behind the toilet (not anything I can do about that hiding place!) and Ossie has pretty well taken over the rest of the floor. A couple of times I have put some treats down, once with me sat with them encouraging them both to come to me, and a couple of times just spread in the hay. Monty has come out each time and had at least his fair share (and generally some of Ossie's, too) and while he has been out has also had some hay. So I am comfortable that he is not unduly stressed and I don't need to stop altogether. Ossie is also letting him come out to some of the hay (which is also where the water bowls are, so again, I am happy Monty has access to what he needs). Unfortunately, Ossie isn't letting him into one corner of the floor at all - as soon as he goes near, she lunges and he runs away. (No nipping, now). He also approached when she was in the "shared" part of the floor and got nipped, though Ossie is happy for him to be there when she isn't. Twice Ossie has approached Monty and, with him behind the toilet, they have sniffed each other quite calmly for a few seconds. So the only problem seems to be if he approaches Ossie or her territory.

    Should I be doing anything, and if so what? I mean to keep using the treats to make sure Monty comes out and gets hay. Is it better to scatter or - given that Monty is making clear he's much happier when he's able to see and touch me (eg when my feet are on the floor) - should I try sitting down and stroking them both for five minutes to see if that encourages them to play nicely? My concern is that at the moment they are ignoring each other except to lunge and nip. I don't want Ossie to become too territorial in case that can ruin any chance of bonding in here? There is also some vocalising and stomping going on, but I think that's par for the course?

    Thanks for any wise words anyone can offer!

  3. #3
    Mama Doe Scrappy's Little Helper's Avatar
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    Ooh good luck with the bonding your very beautiful buns ❤️❤️❤️I did it myself for the first time last year so I know how nerve wracking first time bonding can be!

    I'm hoping some of the more experienced binders will pop along soon but it seems to me like it's going fairly well and that they're in the sorting out the hierarchy stage. When I bonded my two for the first day they mainly ignored each other and their interactions mainly consisted of some nipping, chasing and an awful lot of thumping! It doesn't sound as though there is a lot of aggression so I would be hopeful for a successful bond. Personally I wouldn't intervene unless they start circling and the nipping turns to more aggressive biting.

    I think you're in the trickiest part of the bonding process but it sounds like you're doing really well with it. I think it's just a case of holding your nerve through this tricky stage, keep monitoring them from outside the pen and be ready to jump in when you need to.




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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrappy's Little Helper View Post
    Ooh good luck with the bonding your very beautiful buns ❤️❤️❤️I did it myself for the first time last year so I know how nerve wracking first time bonding can be!

    I'm hoping some of the more experienced binders will pop along soon but it seems to me like it's going fairly well and that they're in the sorting out the hierarchy stage. When I bonded my two for the first day they mainly ignored each other and their interactions mainly consisted of some nipping, chasing and an awful lot of thumping! It doesn't sound as though there is a lot of aggression so I would be hopeful for a successful bond. Personally I wouldn't intervene unless they start circling and the nipping turns to more aggressive biting.

    I think you're in the trickiest part of the bonding process but it sounds like you're doing really well with it. I think it's just a case of holding your nerve through this tricky stage, keep monitoring them from outside the pen and be ready to jump in when you need to.




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    Thank you! I'm glad to know I haven't completely misread everything We just had what I think is a positive development - Monty has come out and for the last few minutes has been eating hay all around the floor quite happily, thumping occasionally. Ossie went over and they nose-bumped for about half a minute, absolutely no aggression at all, then Ossie retired again. She is now in a different corner, chilling out, but she's still lunging if Monty tries to go over. Still, she is letting him eat quite happily, and sharing the floor, so fingers crossed they can build on that! I'm trying to stay out of it - because it's in the bathroom, I have lined the bathtub with a duvet and am in my own little den where they can't see me, but I can admonish or praise them as appropriate - and Monty came out without treats this last time. Fingers crossed from here!

  5. #5
    Mama Doe Scrappy's Little Helper's Avatar
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    Definitely sounds like they're getting there Just keep taking heart from the positive developments and being comfortable enough to eat near each other is definitely one!

    I think Ossie being territorial is just par for the course with female buns. Funnily enough we always go through the same charade after a vet visit. Snoopy will always go straight to the bedroom for a sulk for a couple of days. When he finally ventures out into the living room his wifebun Fudgie has become territorial over it and will chase him back into the bedroom. Often accompanied by some impressive Kung fu kicks! He will then spend another two days slowly creeping his way back in. I always leave them to it as they always manage to sort themselves out. Basically in a very long winded way (!) I'd say not to worry too much at this stage about Ossie being territorial as if my two are any indication of how things work, the boys are very good at sliming their way in and the girls can become less Norah Batty about their space.


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    Bunnies: Snoopy and Chocolate Fudge Cake

    At the Bridge: Scrappy My bunny mentor and the beautiful girl who introduced me to the wonderful world of rabbits

    Peanut Butter My cheeky boy who came so far in learning to love and trust humans. If only you could have stayed a bit longer

  6. #6

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    That does seem to describe exactly what has been going on here! We seemed to be making progress - Monty was constantly approaching with his head bowed, so I did try the jam trick and put a little bit on his forehead. About ten minutes later Ossie groomed him for the first time (I don't know if the jam helped or not). We think it's grooming at any rate - it looks to us more like fur pulling, but no fur has actually been pulled out as far as we can tell, and Monty takes it quite calmly, eyes closed, really relaxed.

    Unfortunately not all good news - seems to be two steps forwards one step back. Ossie moved from grooming to face mounting to humping him from behind. Again, Monty seemed quite calm, so we didn't interfere, but when she mounted from behind he broke off, then tried to do the same back. A fight ensued, fur pulling and circling, so I threw the towel in (literally), and did a quick check for injuries. Other than Ossie having lost quite a bit of fur today, nothing untoward seems to have occurred, and definitely no permanent damage.

    I can't tell if occasionally they are both bowing their heads waiting for the other to groom, but Monty hasn't groomed Ossie yet. Following the fight we are back to each in their own corner ignoring each other, so I am taking this chance to report. I'm still not sure how to read it. I feel like we haven't made much progress since lunchtime, but then we also haven't gone too far backwards.

    How long might they be territorial and inclined to fighting a bit? I don't like seeing them like this

  7. #7
    Mama Doe Scrappy's Little Helper's Avatar
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    The head bowing and asking to be groomed as well as the humping sounds like them working out who the top bun is. You just need one to submit and accept being the submissive. This might take a bit more time and I expect you'll see more humping and them going head to head until they work it out.

    I have to admit it sounds pretty similar to how my bond went. For the first few hours they didn't seem to make much progress. I started the bond at around 2 in the afternoon and Fudgie didn't groom Snoopy until about 5 am the next morning. It certainly can feel like a long slog for progress!

    I think you're doing a great job, especially stepping in and stopping the fight from escalating. I would be encouraged by the fact that they went back to ignoring each other rather than constantly going for each other after the fight.

    I hope they pass through this phase quickly as I agree it's not very pleasant to watch TBH I'm not sure how long it will last for, I guess it depends on the bunnies involved. I started my bond expecting it to last a few days but in the end it was only really for a couple of days.




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    Bunnies: Snoopy and Chocolate Fudge Cake

    At the Bridge: Scrappy My bunny mentor and the beautiful girl who introduced me to the wonderful world of rabbits

    Peanut Butter My cheeky boy who came so far in learning to love and trust humans. If only you could have stayed a bit longer

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrappy's Little Helper View Post
    The head bowing and asking to be groomed as well as the humping sounds like them working out who the top bun is. You just need one to submit and accept being the submissive. This might take a bit more time and I expect you'll see more humping and them going head to head until they work it out.

    I have to admit it sounds pretty similar to how my bond went. For the first few hours they didn't seem to make much progress. I started the bond at around 2 in the afternoon and Fudgie didn't groom Snoopy until about 5 am the next morning. It certainly can feel like a long slog for progress!

    I think you're doing a great job, especially stepping in and stopping the fight from escalating. I would be encouraged by the fact that they went back to ignoring each other rather than constantly going for each other after the fight.

    I hope they pass through this phase quickly as I agree it's not very pleasant to watch TBH I'm not sure how long it will last for, I guess it depends on the bunnies involved. I started my bond expecting it to last a few days but in the end it was only really for a couple of days.




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    Thank you for being so reassuring I'm sat here like a quivering wreck, second guessing my every move, and yet they don't seem at all bothered. Half an hour of skirmishes and hay eating, then back to corners and ignore each other for an hour. It will be their usual veg time soon, so I'm going to scatter some kale and hope that brings them together a bit. My partner will also take over while I cook dinner, so I can have some time off (which will be nice if just to sit on something more comfy than the bath for a while!) I do still think this will all work out as a perfectly normal bond, based on what I've read before your very wise words, but I do wish they'd hurry up with it, for the sake of my nerves!

    (Ha, I sound like a Victorian lady. I shall have to swoon dramatically then languish fitfully in my bathtub next time they come to blows )

  9. #9
    Mama Doe Scrappy's Little Helper's Avatar
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    I reckon you certainly deserve a break, it's been a long old day!

    Ha I don't want to rub it in but I was very comfortable during my bond. I did it in the kitchen as it leads straight from the living room. I was close enough to see and hear them in case they kicked off. So I spent most of it with my bum on the sofa in front of the telly and Pizza Hut on speed dial!

    Do you think you'll be camping down in the bathroom with them overnight?


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    Bunnies: Snoopy and Chocolate Fudge Cake

    At the Bridge: Scrappy My bunny mentor and the beautiful girl who introduced me to the wonderful world of rabbits

    Peanut Butter My cheeky boy who came so far in learning to love and trust humans. If only you could have stayed a bit longer

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrappy's Little Helper View Post
    Do you think you'll be camping down in the bathroom with them overnight?
    Yours certainly sounds a lot more enjoyable! I don't know yet - my partner doesn't usually come to bed until 1-3am, which will be 18 hours after we put them together (ish) so I'm hoping he'll sit with them until then, and that by that point they'll be safe to be left alone for a few hours. If not, then yes, I'll probably have to spend the latter part of the night in the bath

    The things we do for rabbits!

    Thanks for all your support Treating us to a home cooked pizza tonight, so I have successfully escaped for a couple of hours!

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