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Thread: Trying to Bond Lonely female

  1. #1
    Mama Doe Lynn's Bunny's Avatar
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    Default Trying to Bond Lonely female

    Hi, my rabbit, Jack, passed away in August from cancer, and left his buddy, Henriette. She is only 5 years old so I got in touch with a rescue group and they brought over a single neutered male. He is about 2 years old. I introduced them in the shed as Henri hadn't been in there for 5 months and I cleaned it all up, etc.

    I made the mistake of putting her on his side of the shed (I have it divided for now) and she was very aggressive with him. They ended up fighting.

    So they've been separated since the brawl but can smell and touch each other thru the bars. He is honking at her and seems to like her. But she is NOT happy and lunges and boxes him. She also tries to bite him.

    But I noticed this biting is not happening as much now and she is settling down. I don't plan on puttting them together like that, for quite some time.

    But is it too late now for them to bond because they had that big fight. No one was bleeding but there was fur everywhere?
    HELP!

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    I don't think it is too late for them due to the fight but females are very territorial. Did Henrietta live in the shed before? If so, can you bond them elsewhere? It can take months to bond some rabbits, incredible really, but they can be so awkward. Good luck.

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    Mama Doe Lynn's Bunny's Avatar
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    Yes she has lived in the shed but hasn't been in since April or may. We are thinking of taking them on a car ride. Have you heard of doing that for bonding?

    The aggressiveness has calmed down from my female. She likes to sit near him, with the pen in between, and groom herself. He is honking at her a lot. Is this a good sign?

    What about swapping them back and forth with the pens. So their smells intermingle? Would that be a good idea? I honestly had no idea she would be so upset! I thought since she missed Jack she would be happy to have company. Maybe she prefers to live alone afterall.

    Well, I guess time will tell! 😊

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    Rabbits are strange - they want company but something makes them resist a new rabbit. I suppose it will be a matter of time so she can get used to him and are you sure the male is neutered? You can keep swapping them over, it might help, but stress bonding is frowned upon and I have never done this but others have. One person put the 2 rabbits in a pet carrier for 3 or 4 days! It did work luckily but imagine having them both stuck in something like that for a few days. A small neutral space seems to be the most popular way of bonding, I didn't realise so many people use this method before going onto UK Rabbits. Folk are bonding all the time on there. Sometimes it can take a few months! Your boy sounds really enthusiastic, let's hope your girl will get to like him.

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    Mama Doe binkyCodie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn's Bunny View Post
    Yes she has lived in the shed but hasn't been in since April or may. We are thinking of taking them on a car ride. Have you heard of doing that for bonding?

    The aggressiveness has calmed down from my female. She likes to sit near him, with the pen in between, and groom herself. He is honking at her a lot. Is this a good sign?

    What about swapping them back and forth with the pens. So their smells intermingle? Would that be a good idea? I honestly had no idea she would be so upset! I thought since she missed Jack she would be happy to have company. Maybe she prefers to live alone afterall.

    Well, I guess time will tell! ��
    the chance is is that likely the shed will still smell of her, she views it as her territory. any bunny who isn't friend coming into that territory is seen as a threat, hence why she is trying to attack him. she is unhappy about having another rabbit in her shed.

    rabbits are much happier in pairs, I highly doubt having been bonded before that she will prefer to live alone now. that isn't the issue. the issue is that the shed is her home, her territory, you're putting a threat in there. that is why they fought, she is defending her territory.

    I'm not sure if it has been, but the entire shed will need to cleaned top to bottom and "neutralised" so it does not smell of either of them. in other words, entirely cleaned out with hot soapy water and left to dry, and then I clean with pet disinfectant one last time.

    any bonding that takes place must be done on neutral ground. not in his carrier, not in her carrier, not on her side of the shed, not on his side of the shed. many people use a bath with a blanket for this reason, the space is small and they have never been there.

    I always suggest scent swapping, whether that is pens, or blankets & litter trains between them. it helps them to get used to each others scent. having them side by side is also crucial.

    the key to bonding is small sessions ending on a positive note, with not too much space. I have found the bigger the space, the more fights, the more room to chase, harder to intervene. have them in the bath together for 5 minutes for a week, then build it up to 10, 20, 40.. etc. bonding is often not quick and can take weeks or months. you'll want to end sessions on a positive note such as ignoring one another, or a sniff. of course if they fight and really want at it, leave it for a few days and try again.

    driving in a car in a carrier is considered stress bonding. it can be a good tool, but it is frowned upon. keeping them in a carrier for multiple days as tonibun said one person did is extreme and I would reguard as cruel, keeping them in it together for 5 minutes before back to their pen? not so much. I have a bigger carrier that opens at the top, Catit Cabrio I think it is, I actually used that as a bonding space for Luna & Orion. Luna is a bit more of a special case being blind, the bath was far too large lunging when Orion was near. the smaller space allowed side by side contact, and easier to intervene.

    some do bonding in huge pens with lots of hidey places. I don't like the idea so much as if a fight is to break out, they can run everywhere before you can grab them.

    once bonded (grooming, laying side by side in the bath) you need to think about the next step, where they live. completely gut out everything, remove any and all bedding, hot soapy water completely cleaned out. no scent from either of them needs to be left behind.

    if you give a newly bonded pair too much space, they often end up fighting. so I would suggest keeping it small-ish and extending the space over weeks. of course not so cramped that they can not move, but not so big that its too much at once.
    Snoopy : 14.02.15 - 12.05.17 [mini rex]👑Luna : 14.02.15 [rex]👑Orion : 21.10.17 [mini rex]

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    Mama Doe Lynn's Bunny's Avatar
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    Oh dear....you see my shed is basically a wood outbuilding. So washing it all out with soap and water is not a good idea. It has wooden floors that would just soak up the water and cause mold. And there is no where else they can live. So I feel I might be screwed. Because even if they bond in the tub, they have to end up living together in the shed. I have a video of todays attempt. Am I allowed to link it? Its my youtube account?

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    Yes I think putting your video is fine. Others do it.

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    Mama Doe binkyCodie's Avatar
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    unfortunately you won't be able to put them back together in the shed, he will attack her as its his territory, she will attack him as its her territory. you'll have to find some sort of way to give it a deep clean so its completely neutral. you could always start a new thread and ask for ideas, as for me hot soapy water is the only thing that comes to mind unfortunately.
    Snoopy : 14.02.15 - 12.05.17 [mini rex]👑Luna : 14.02.15 [rex]👑Orion : 21.10.17 [mini rex]

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    Mama Doe Graciee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn's Bunny View Post
    Oh dear....you see my shed is basically a wood outbuilding. So washing it all out with soap and water is not a good idea. It has wooden floors that would just soak up the water and cause mold. And there is no where else they can live. So I feel I might be screwed. Because even if they bond in the tub, they have to end up living together in the shed. I have a video of todays attempt. Am I allowed to link it? Its my youtube account?
    I wouldn't bother with soap and water.. But vinegar and water 50/50 I think it's white wine vinegar..? I can check, you can buy huge bottles of it cheaply and a cheap sprayer, it neutralises things. Doesn't smell great.. But then it evaporates off very quickly (no need to soak the wood too much) just make sure you get everywhere!

    I would never bond buns in a tub, heard too many horror stories tbh.

    Also youtube links are fine

    Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk

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    Mama Doe Lynn's Bunny's Avatar
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    Here is the link, that shows the behaviour. It is around the end, sorry its so long. https://youtu.be/G-_k3-p3BxA

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