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Thread: Is this bonding doomed?

  1. #1
    New Kit
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    Jan 2017
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    Switzerland
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    Default Is this bonding doomed?

    A month ago we sadly had our old buck pts, leaving our 2 year old doe on her own.
    Daisy has been ok (she saw the body and accepted he was gone) but she clearly misses having another rabbit around.
    Daisy is very affectionate and spent hours grooming her previous partner.

    But I live in Switzerland, and is is almost impossible to find a single male here.
    So after searching for weeks, yesterday was the big day when Daisy got to meet Chico - a three year old, castrated ex-breeder bun.
    We took Daisy with us and she and Chico were introduced on neutral territory at the breeders.
    Initial signs were excellent - some humping (from both) but also some mutual grooming, and no major chasing.
    They were together for a couple of hours in the bonding pen and then traveled home together (90 mins) in the same carrier.

    Once we got home we put the carrier into a large neutral pen on the grass in the back garden.
    Things were ok for about 20 mins and then Daisy got quite aggressive and 'attacked' Chico - there was lots of fur flying but no injuries.
    We broke the fight up by shouting at them (so they were't locked together in any way).
    At that point we caught them both and moved them to a smaller pen in a neutral area thinking the sudden increase in space might have been an issue.
    At this point Daisy became super aggressive and was really going for Chico - naturally we separated them immediately.

    We put them both in the garage (another neutral location) in small separate pens next to each other overnight.
    Daisy is fascinated by Chico and I can't decide if she is being aggressive or excited when she sees him.
    Chico seems very nervous.

    I am desperate to make this work, and can take it as slowly as needed, but now they have fought is there any chance Daisy will calm down and accept Chico, or should we return him and start over with a different rabbit?

    Any help, advice or insight would be really appreciated.
    This Forum got me through my last rabbit bonding so I am hoping we can do it again.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper BattleKat's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
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    Minehead, Somerset.
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    Default

    Personally I would maybe leave them next to each other for a few days then try another neutral location in a really small area without any room to chase.
    I've had success in the past with putting a colander or a tennis racket in between two fighting rabbits.

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  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Jan 2012
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    IOW
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    Is Daisy spayed? Assuming she is, she is not happy having a strange rabbit in her territory even though she is spayed. So it is the most difficult bond when bringing a new rabbit back to a female as they are so territorial and as such my advice would be to keep them close but not able to get to one another, in the hopes that Daisy will mellow and eventually accept him. It can take a long time but it will be worth it. The length of time really depends on the feistiness of Daisy.

  4. #4
    New Kit
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    Jan 2017
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    Switzerland
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    Default

    It has been 2 weeks since I started this thread, so I wanted to come back and update it.

    We started by placing them in fairly small cages side by side in the garage for an entire week.
    During this time I swapped their litter trays daily, and Daisy slowly started to calm down.
    After a week I started doing small intros together in a limited space in another neutral location (the bathroom).
    We slowly built up the time they spent together, and always tried to finish each session on a positive note by intervening before things got too heated.

    It went back and forwards for a while, but after 10 days they spent several hours together with no major signs of aggression, so we moved them into a larger joint pen back in the garage.
    We added a minimal amount of new (to both rabbits) items. 2 large boxes with 2 entry holes in each, 1 large fleece blanket, 2 water bottles at opposite ends of the cage, 2 food bowls, and their shared litter trays from the previous pens.

    They lived together in the garage pen for 3 days, and today we finally moved them to their permanent enclosure.
    We started by allowing them access to only one of the lawn pens, and slowly opened doors to give them access to everything over a period of about 3 hours.

    So after a long and often fraught 2 weeks I think we finally have a bonded pair!!
    I am so happy for both of them, and am hoping that over time their bond will grow.

    Anyway I wanted to update in case someone else is feeling discouraged, and say that even if it takes some time, it can work out in the long run even if the initial signs are not great.

  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
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    Lancashire
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    Default

    what a lovely outcome. Patience is definitely required for many bonds, i'm pleased yours paid off

  6. #6
    Forum Buddy Pets mum's Avatar
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    Default

    Just read your thread, so pleased that it's working out well, after a rocky start. Well done you, and well done bunnies, I really hope it remains a strong bond now xxx
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