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Thread: Starting bonding - a happy ending!

  1. #11
    Warren Scout JuliaW's Avatar
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    Hi monty's human! Interested to read how this is going as we are 3 weeks into a bond- together full time for just over a week. We had issues with aggression from our existing buck- the stress of ensuring no one got hurt wasn't good. We felt that the close range supervision required (he was properly trying to grab her skin) was too much to continue and we had to separate them to give us a break. The mistake we made was to completely separate them- her in a hutch and him in his normal house envirnment. As soon as we put them together again the aggression started straight away. The solution was to keep them permanently together in a separated pen in the garage. They accepted the others presence slowly and the serious aggression stopped when we did put them together. We are happy to leave them together now for long periods but there is still some nipping but with no follow through. Trouble is no two rabbits are the same. So there can't be a one size fits all approach. Sending you very best luck wishes and I hope you manage some sleep tonight!

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  2. #12

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    Thanks Julia! I'm sorry to hear your bond didn't go so well. Fingers crossed it gets better from here! I'm really hoping they don't need to be separated as we could only separate completely, so that would be a huge complication. But early indications are good! Although there has been nipping and fighting, so far it hasn't gone further than fur pulling, so if it stays at that sort of level I'm happy to keep them together for now.

  3. #13

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    I'm no expert, but I think what you've described sounds pretty good so far and all normal behaviour.

    Whenever we've done bonding there's always been lots and lots of humping and it can take ages to settle down. I think it's just a case of letting them get on with it and only stepping in if things escalate negatively. I've always found that the girls seem cope ok with all the humping and will let them know.

    If things continue to go well, I would definitely keep them together and just be close by in case anything kicks off.

    Good luck for tonight x

    **created by my DD Lionheadlop**

  4. #14

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    Thanks TheThreeB's!

    The morning update is not as good as I hoped it would be. When I came in to sweep the floor and change the hay, Monty was hiding behind Ossie with this real look of "You're huge and I'm tiny, you chase the broom away!" so I had high hopes they might be getting on. But I left them alone while I had breakfast and came back to find tufts of Monty's fur everywhere. (My poor baby! I told him that he was too young to be getting involved with women and that he should stay with his mummy and let me spoil him rotten for a bit longer yet.) I've got some pictures of them together, mostly looking cute, but one of Ossie lurking rather menacingly. Unfortunately, just after the last one was taken, she chased him away and nipped him.

    The situation seems to be that Monty is trying to be friendly, wants to cuddle up, I saw him groom Ossie and ask for grooming, is generally being friendly and loving, and Ossie is putting up with it/ignoring him for a few minutes then chasing him away again I'm also slightly concerned about water intake, it doesn't look like they've had anything more than a few drops between them in the last 24 hours, but I don't quite know what to do.

    Anyhow, bunnies:

    Bunny sandwich!


    What are you doing?


    Ossie's watching you...


    Monty's trying to make friends!

  5. #15
    Warren Scout JuliaW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monty's Human View Post
    Thanks TheThreeB's!

    The morning update is not as good as I hoped it would be. When I came in to sweep the floor and change the hay, Monty was hiding behind Ossie with this real look of "You're huge and I'm tiny, you chase the broom away!" so I had high hopes they might be getting on. But I left them alone while I had breakfast and came back to find tufts of Monty's fur everywhere. (My poor baby! I told him that he was too young to be getting involved with women and that he should stay with his mummy and let me spoil him rotten for a bit longer yet.) I've got some pictures of them together, mostly looking cute, but one of Ossie lurking rather menacingly. Unfortunately, just after the last one was taken, she chased him away and nipped him.

    The situation seems to be that Monty is trying to be friendly, wants to cuddle up, I saw him groom Ossie and ask for grooming, is generally being friendly and loving, and Ossie is putting up with it/ignoring him for a few minutes then chasing him away again I'm also slightly concerned about water intake, it doesn't look like they've had anything more than a few drops between them in the last 24 hours, but I don't quite know what to do.

    Anyhow, bunnies:

    Bunny sandwich!


    What are you doing?


    Ossie's watching you...


    Monty's trying to make friends!
    Good morning !
    Looks pretty good to me. Have you tried giving them washed wet veggies/herbs (obviously not chives!) and water in a bowl aswell as a bottled. I'm sure they will drink if they need to they don't look too stressed.
    I found that after things had settled to an occasional nip we moved them from the bathroom to the utilty. This is where Bob's usual living space is when we are not in. Things improved somemore and we could have them semi monitored with the kitchen door open but blocked off
    He accepted her in his space and just seemed happier- he clearly didn't like the bathroom or garage.
    Also he didn't start to groom her in return until they were together full time in a normal environment . I'd started to think it was going to be very one way but now he does it more than her.
    Hope that helps.

    Sent from my SM-G361F using Tapatalk

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by JuliaW View Post
    Good morning !
    Looks pretty good to me. Have you tried giving them washed wet veggies/herbs (obviously not chives!) and water in a bowl aswell as a bottled. I'm sure they will drink if they need to they don't look too stressed.
    I found that after things had settled to an occasional nip we moved them from the bathroom to the utilty. This is where Bob's usual living space is when we are not in. Things improved somemore and we could have them semi monitored with the kitchen door open but blocked off
    He accepted her in his space and just seemed happier- he clearly didn't like the bathroom or garage.
    Also he didn't start to groom her in return until they were together full time in a normal environment . I'd started to think it was going to be very one way but now he does it more than her.
    Hope that helps.

    Sent from my SM-G361F using Tapatalk
    Thank you - that is good to know I am starting to think about the next stages and where to go from here. I read just about everywhere that any attempt to make their space wider/where a bunny has previously lived will cause more fighting and readjustment, but this gives me some hope that it may not be all too bad! Re: herbs/veg, I have considered putting some more kale down washed, or picking them some nasturtiums and washing them. I'm holding back because I gave them a full serving of kale last night at about 5.30, so I don't want to cause a veg overload and risk an upset tummy. They have two bowls of water, I think the problem is they don't have a bottle (which they both usually use) because I don't have any way of setting one up in here. They did knock them over fighting yesterday, though, so it's possible they've been sipping from the resultant puddles and that's why the bowls are still full.

    I had to clean up some urine, and they both came over very interested in the kitchen paper, so I gave them a few sheets to play with. They seemed to enjoy it - I also have some photos of what I think is them both head down, asking for grooming, I wanted to check that it was?




    I've seen it described but haven't seen it. Unfortunately neither is actually grooming the other, if that is what it is! And Ossie started eating the paper, so I removed it again.

    I'm wondering if some of the aggression could be from boredom? I can make a couple of non-controversial toys easily enough - say a couple of loo roll tubes with some hay and treats in them. I also have a couple of Proper Toys that haven't been opened yet so don't belong to anyone; would it be a good idea to maybe bring them in, or would that risk more aggression?

    For the sake of my own sanity, I am also wondering how long until I can introduce litter trays. They have one each, but I'm not sure about a) when and b) where to put them. In the bathroom, together they're going to take up almost all of the available floor space, so if they're going to provoke territorial behaviour, it might be better to wait until they have a bit more space, so there's room for neutral ground too? On the other hand, they need to be using them before they can be let out into the next little bit of space (there's a white rug I can't remove) so the only option apart from bringing them into the bathroom is to introduce at the same time as providing more space, which might be too much stress on the bond?

    Sorry for asking so many questions! You are all being very patient, and I am very, very grateful I have said before this is the only time I have to give to bonding Monty for another year or so, and he's been so lonely that I'm desperate for it to work out and terrified of doing anything wrong. I am thinking that the next thing to do would be to put in a couple of toys so they have something to alleviate boredom - either cardboard tubes or toy-toys, I honestly don't know which - and if they're able to share that (they shared the paper really well, until Ossie chased Monty off so she could eat it) maybe think about introducing litter trays?

  7. #17
    Warren Scout Pippin'sMum's Avatar
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    I've been smiling while I was reading the posts on here, I particularly like the idea of males 'sliming' their way in, some human males are the same!

    I think things are definitely moving in the right direction, I may be wrong but I think if you haven't had any major fallings-out by now then it looks encouraging. I've bonded a few pairs over the years and it would seem they are just sorting out who is going to be the dominant bun, as Scrappy's Little Helper has said. I think it is just such a nerve wracking experience for you, you want it to work but are worried in case it doesn't, it's worse for you than them.

    I would put lots of veg/herbs/etc in and see if they eat peacefully in close proximity to each other. If so I think you are heading the right way. if you do get a major fall out, put them back in their separate homes and try again tomorrow, or try in another room.

    Mighty Max is very good with bonding, I'm sure she will give you some great tips.

    Good luck, and post some photos when they are together!

  8. #18
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pippin'sMum View Post
    I've been smiling while I was reading the posts on here, I particularly like the idea of males 'sliming' their way in, some human males are the same!

    I think things are definitely moving in the right direction, I may be wrong but I think if you haven't had any major fallings-out by now then it looks encouraging. I've bonded a few pairs over the years and it would seem they are just sorting out who is going to be the dominant bun, as Scrappy's Little Helper has said. I think it is just such a nerve wracking experience for you, you want it to work but are worried in case it doesn't, it's worse for you than them.

    I would put lots of veg/herbs/etc in and see if they eat peacefully in close proximity to each other. If so I think you are heading the right way. if you do get a major fall out, put them back in their separate homes and try again tomorrow, or try in another room.

    Mighty Max is very good with bonding, I'm sure she will give you some great tips.

    Good luck, and post some photos when they are together!

    Lovely phrase and description of some males P

    Thanks for the compliment MH and I have been in touch, and if I can help - PM me
    (you have been in my thoughts ....)

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pippin'sMum View Post
    I've been smiling while I was reading the posts on here, I particularly like the idea of males 'sliming' their way in, some human males are the same!
    He does rather have that air of a man from the films who knows he's done something he's been asked repeatedly not to - just like he's about to pull out some flowers from the local garage with a big winning "But I love you! I'm very sorry I mounted you from behind and pulled your fur out..."

    Thank you for the advice I will certainly post some photos if I can get them together! They seem to be doing all right with eating. Both are eating from the shared hay pile happily and freely, and they seemed to have worked out their own systems. With the hay, Monty can do what he likes until Ossie wants in, then she chases him off - but being a sneaky, clever bun, he just goes around, comes up behind her and keeps going from where she can't see him. The kale was brilliant, they were "sharing" in a very literal sense. Monty would pick a piece up, and Ossie would snap off whatever was dangling from his mouth and eat that before he could Both perfectly happy with that, though! Ossie gets very territorial over the treats, but Monty's too quick for her, so even with her trying to scare him off a bit he's getting more than she does. I think they'll be ok!

    Thanks MM I will drop you a line if I may. Trying to work out how and how quickly to progress things without disrupting fragile progress - any hints will be much appreciated!

  10. #20
    Warren Scout JuliaW's Avatar
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    Hi. Regarding litter trays- I put a large spare tray in the bathroom that I cleaned with vinegar to neutralise it but the put some of both their dirty litter in it and a small washing up bowl that boo had been using and they both used both with no fighting. They now only have the big tray that they share. I also put a cardboard box in filled with hay for them to chew /play with just to stop the boredom and give them something else to focus on.
    The photos looked to me like they were asking to be groomed maybe one will break the ice soon.
    Try not to get too stressed about it by putting too much pressure on yourself. It certainly isn't going to fail by lack of effort on your part.

    Sent from my SM-G361F using Tapatalk

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