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Thread: territorial bunny

  1. #1
    New Kit
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    Default territorial bunny

    Hi everyone,

    New here

    We have two female rabbits, Chip and Lunar. They are actually my daughter's and live in her room. My daughter has a loft room with a slanted roof, and the rabbits have one end of it as an enclosure, about 2 metres by 3 metres. They were both born in early June last year, but are unrelated. Chip is a dwarf rabbit, and Lunar is a somewhat larger dwarf-mix. Neither has yet been neutered.

    Chip (the dwarf rabbit) came home with us in August, and the other in September. We read up on bonding, and everything seemed to go well. They had a couple of tussles, working out social order and things when we moved them into the new enclosure under the roof at Christmas time. Although some of their chase games have bordered on agression (Lunar is clearly dominant), they groom each other, sit side by side, share food, etc.

    Chip wasn't feeling well over the last week. Several trips to the veterinarian, some hand feeding, and dietary adjustments later, she seems herself again. The problem is that in order to observe her eating, urination, etc., we put her in a cage. Now Lunar 'owns' the enclosure and doesn't want to share with Chip. They're fine sitting together on someone's lap, and they clearly want each other's company, but Lunar is being so territorial, we are worried that she will hurt Chip.

    So, what can we do? Put Lunar in the cage for awhile? Swap them every day for a couple of weeks, clean the enclosure, and try again? Should we buy them new hiding places? Is it possible to make the enclusure neutral again? Should we get Lunar neutered, keep her in a separate cage until she is recovered, and then treat it as a new bonding?

    Chip has never been excessively territorial, and has been friendly with Lunar. Lunar has generally been the territorial and/or agressive one. I think we will get them both neutered at some point, though my daughter is very worried about the risk to them during/after the procedure. When is the best time to have them neutered? How much will it help with Lunar's behaviour?

    TIA
    Last edited by Chip&Lunar; 09-02-2018 at 02:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Young Bun Finn.The.Mini.Lop.Bun's Avatar
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    If they are not neutered then you will need to separate them immediately. This is not only going to lead to one becoming hurt but it could ruine your chances of bonding them later on as rabbits can and do hold grudges. They don't forget fights quickly. You are going to need two accommodations at the min living standard and wait until both are neutered, plus the time it takes for the hormones to drain.

    Only neutered buns can really live haply together for the reasons you have just stated.

    Hope this helps -- bonding can be a stressful process.

    Welcome to the forum

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
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    You could try re-bonding them in a neutral space, ie an area where neither rabbit has been. Or you could wait now until they have been spayed and then re-bond them. Female rabbits can be very territorial as they are thinking of where they will have their babies. I hope you can get them both back together but it can't be guaranteed.

  4. #4
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    Default territorial bunny

    Thanks for the help! Sorry for leaving this so long, but I now have a new (related) question.

    How long after spaying should we wait to attempt rebonding?

  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper
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    The longer the better really, but 6 - 8 weeks might be sufficient for the hormones to become less. I hope it all works out for you.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the quick reply. What should we do with living arrangements in the meanwhile? We have two cages that are 700 cm X 1600 or thereabouts. That where they currently are. We have a single large enclosure that is about 2 m X 3 m that they used to be in, and we hope they can live in together again. Should I split the enclosure, so they have more room after they get their stitches out? Should they live in the cages until rebonded? Also, can we use anything to clean/scent the enclosure that will help?

  7. #7
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip&Lunar View Post
    Thanks for the help! Sorry for leaving this so long, but I now have a new (related) question.

    How long after spaying should we wait to attempt rebonding?

    I should wait at least 8 weeks after a female spay before bonding

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip&Lunar View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply. What should we do with living arrangements in the meanwhile? We have two cages that are 700 cm X 1600 or thereabouts. That where they currently are. We have a single large enclosure that is about 2 m X 3 m that they used to be in, and we hope they can live in together again. Should I split the enclosure, so they have more room after they get their stitches out? Should they live in the cages until rebonded? Also, can we use anything to clean/scent the enclosure that will help?
    Those cages don’t sound big enough to be closed into (though you might want to keep them confined immediately after their spays). Splitting the enclosure temporarily into two sounds like the best idea, a lot of people use puppy pen panels for this. I’ve heard of people switching bowls and litter trays to mix up the scents a bit when preparing to bond.

    It’s especially important at this time of year to allow loads of time for hormones to subside post spay as they are particularly full on for baby rearing season right now.

  9. #9
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    The cages aren't meant to be their homes. They just in there for recovery.

    A question about splitting the enclosure... If they each have half of the enclosure, are they likely to be territorial about their parts, when I take divider out?

  10. #10
    Wise Old Thumper
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    You would need to re-bond them in a neutral area or the dominant one could very well be territorial.

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