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Thread: New concerned parents attempting bonding......

  1. #1

    Default New concerned parents attempting bonding......

    Hi there, new parents first post!

    About 6 weeks ago we inherited a 6 year old male that has wry neck, he's fine on the ground, can get around and eat / drink no problem. It only causes issue with balance and tail spin when you pick him up so we minimise handling. He is naturally a quiet reserved bunny. We have now rescued a 4 year old female English Spot to keep him company. She is very playful and may be a bit boisterous. They are in pens next to each other and were able to smell each other for a few days, we then inserted a kissing gate where they rubbed noses and made all the right signs.

    We have now started putting them together for a couple of hours a day in a neutral space, they are very docile together and no fighting, so docile we can even have to lay them next to each other.

    My concern, probably just over protective, she pulls large chunks of fur from him, mainly his rump. No blood, no fighting, just looks very dramatic and because of his condition it can put him off balance. Are we being over protective new parents and should we just let her / them get on with it and build up longer sessions aor because of his condition are we going to have difficulty with this bond?

    Thanks Mark

  2. #2
    Forum Buddy Zoobec's Avatar
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    Are they both spayed/neutered?

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoobec View Post
    Are they both spayed/neutered?
    Yes.

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark1 View Post
    Hi there, new parents first post!

    About 6 weeks ago we inherited a 6 year old male that has wry neck, he's fine on the ground, can get around and eat / drink no problem. It only causes issue with balance and tail spin when you pick him up so we minimise handling. He is naturally a quiet reserved bunny. We have now rescued a 4 year old female English Spot to keep him company. She is very playful and may be a bit boisterous. They are in pens next to each other and were able to smell each other for a few days, we then inserted a kissing gate where they rubbed noses and made all the right signs.

    We have now started putting them together for a couple of hours a day in a neutral space, they are very docile together and no fighting, so docile we can even have to lay them next to each other.

    My concern, probably just over protective, she pulls large chunks of fur from him, mainly his rump. No blood, no fighting, just looks very dramatic and because of his condition it can put him off balance. Are we being over protective new parents and should we just let her / them get on with it and build up longer sessions aor because of his condition are we going to have difficulty with this bond?

    Thanks Mark

    Welcome to the Forum Mark

    I think when one of the rabbits is not in the peak of health, but the other one is, I wouldn't just leave them to it. I would monitor very carefully as there can be several reactions that a healthy rabbit may have to one that has a weakness.


    You probably know this info already, but in case there's something here that might help you, I thought I'd post these links:

    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

    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...68#post6934868


    Book in RWAF shop:

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


    Mischief and Tinkerís Mum
    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...y-trios-videos!

  5. #5

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    All read thoroughly, so I believe the non-wounding fur pulling to be normal, even though it looks aggressive to us? Should we let this go on for seconds / minutes or perhaps use the water bottle method to discourage it?

    We may try the fruit juice on the head method to encourage grooming, as other than the fur pulling they pretty much ignore each other even when laid side by side.

  6. #6
    Warren Veteran daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark1 View Post
    All read thoroughly, so I believe the non-wounding fur pulling to be normal, even though it looks aggressive to us? Should we let this go on for seconds / minutes or perhaps use the water bottle method to discourage it?

    We may try the fruit juice on the head method to encourage grooming, as other than the fur pulling they pretty much ignore each other even when laid side by side.
    It looks horrible to us but yes. It's a completely normal part of the bonding process.
    I normally let it happen for a few moments, they normally stop at their own accord after a few plucks. If she doesn't stop and he's becoming stressed just slightly move her away from him. (Wearing thick gauntlet type gloves or using a towel).

    Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by daphnephoebe View Post
    It looks horrible to us but yes. It's a completely normal part of the bonding process.
    I normally let it happen for a few moments, they normally stop at their own accord after a few plucks. If she doesn't stop and he's becoming stressed just slightly move her away from him. (Wearing thick gauntlet type gloves or using a towel).

    Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk
    They are usually good at stopping, unless it escalates into a fight (rare). But our pair were fur pulling for two-three weeks after they first met, with it becoming more intermittent, even once they were fairly good friends. Another option rather than getting involved might be to distract them slightly - e.g. an unexpected noise (close the door slightly more forcefully, drop something, perhaps have a noise up on your phone) that makes them both stop to go "What was that?" Fur pulling certainly isn't anything to be worried about on its own

    With grooming, by all means give it a go, but beware it may not work! I tried putting jam on foreheads a couple of times, and all it got me was jam all over me and some dirty looks My two have been together a while now (six weeks?) and still won't groom each other, so that may not happen. There are other positive signs to look for, though. Lying side by side is good, as is sharing food or, when the time comes, toys. Just ignoring each other can sometimes be a good sign too! I got really discouraged by the lack of grooming at first, but it just isn't "them", so try not to get too hung up or feel bad if it doesn't happen

    Good luck!

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    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark1 View Post
    All read thoroughly, so I believe the non-wounding fur pulling to be normal, even though it looks aggressive to us? Should we let this go on for seconds / minutes or perhaps use the water bottle method to discourage it?

    We may try the fruit juice on the head method to encourage grooming, as other than the fur pulling they pretty much ignore each other even when laid side by side.

    I have never used 'stuff on the head' for bonding/grooming!

    Fur pulling is perfectly normal during a bonding process but as I said before, I would be concerned if one rabbit is being 'picked on' and can't run away or defend themselves.

    I have bonded severely disabled, deaf, blind rabbits before .. but personality is very important. It's especially important if one or both of the rabbits are 'vulnerable'

  9. #9

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    Looks like we're just going to be more nervous than the bunnies during this process- thank you for your guidance and reassurance.

  10. #10
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark1 View Post
    Looks like we're just going to be more nervous than the bunnies during this process- thank you for your guidance and reassurance.

    That's often the way!

    I have nerves of steel and a zen disposition when I bond rabbits, but I've done hundreds without failures

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