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Thread: Still Having Problems :(

  1. #1
    Mama Doe
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    Default Still Having Problems :(

    I hoped that I wouldn't have to make a post like this, but the bond that we at first considered successful between our three rabbits does not seem to be going well.

    As some of you might know from previous posts, we had a role-reversal in which Beatrice became scared of Jellybean and Jel became the dominant, territorial one. Apart from a bit of chasing it wasn't too bad and they've been tolerating each other, almost no biting or fur pulling, but Beatrice is absolutely terrified of her and can't wait to get out of the shed in the morning.

    Jellybean and Hamilton are all loved up, and I feel really sorry for Beatrice who has taken to staying outside all day. At night it's really hard to make her go in the shed, and in the morning she'll be cowering in one corner, often with a puddle of pee next to her...I assume because she's too scared to go over to the litter box.

    I don't know if it's fair to describe a rabbit as being mean, but Jellybean does seem cruel to Beatrice. I've been feeding Bea on her own as Jellybean will just chase her off and take her food. In summary, Beatrice has been excluded and Hamilton doesn't seem to care about her anymore. It's really sad to see.

    I'm trying to decide what to do. If I bring Jellybean back in, is that unfair on her and Hamilton? Hamilton would definitely warm up to Beatrice again, he's very easy going and gets on with every rabbit, cat, bird, human that he meets! But would Jellybean be depressed to leave him? Although it seems more unfair on Beatrice, as she was there first. I feel that if Plumpkin were still alive then this would have worked out better.

    I have considered finding a bunny at a rescue for either Beatrice or Jellybean to bond with inside and then trying them as a quad outside in the spring/summer when it's warmer again, but OH is against getting another bunny because he's worried the quad won't work out either, which I can understand.

    Any advice is really appreciated. I feel so guilty for making Beatrice's life unhappy. I've made one bunny happy and turned a happy bunny miserable, can't win!

    20191101_133827 by Rachel Brown, on Flickr

  2. #2
    Mama Doe Scrappy's Little Helper's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry you're in this situation No one can say that you haven't tried your best to get this trio to work. I understand it can take trios longer to settle and sort out their hierarchy. I guess the question is whether this is a bond that will take a lot of time or whether Beatrice and Jellybean will just never get on. Hopefully people with experience of group bonds will be able to advise from their own experience which of the two is the likeliest scenario.

    I'm generally very much of the opinion that you shouldn't give up too quickly on a bond. However sometimes I think it's necessary to take a step back and make an honest assessment whether it's in the rabbits' best interests to persevere. If one rabbit is being bullied and excluded, as seems to be happening to Beatrice, I would seriously consider getting her her own friend and having two separate pairs.

    Good luck, I hope you manage to find a solution that makes everyone happy.

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  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    I'm sorry too, I've thought of you & your buns & was hoping they'd be muddling on ok. It doesn't look like Bea & Jellybean are going to live harmoniously.

    I'd leave the 2 loved up bunnies outside & bring Bea in. She'll probably be grateful for the peace & it doesn't sound like she is getting much out of the trio relationship. I remember you saying Jelly doesn't like it inside so much but how is Bea? Is she a people kind of bunny?

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I'm sorry to read this update

    I think it is sometimes the case that in a trio one bunny is left out to some extent. It was certainly the case when I had the three Rexes. Yan and Tan were not aggressive towards Tethra, but it appeared he was never welcome to join them in their snuggles and would sit by himself. Your situation sounds more serious than that though, as I never thought that Tethra was fearful of them. Your experience with Hamilton, Beatrice and Plumpkin was probably more the exception than the rule, as they seemed to always be a three rather than a two plus one.

    I don't think that anyone could confidently predict what would happen if you introduced another rabbit with the intention of bonding a quad and I can appreciate your OH's concerns.

    If it were me I think, if I was sure that there was no real aggressive behaviour, I would leave things as they are for a while longer in the hope that the two does might bond better given more time. I think that Jellybean is possibly lacking in confidence and still views Beatrice as a threat. She has learnt that by bullying her she can control the situation to her advantage and so feels more secure. If, after a while there is no improvement then I would consider obtaining another bunny. If you attempted a quad and it was unsuccessful, could you accommodate two pairs, one inside and one outside?

  5. #5
    Mama Doe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    I'm sorry to read this update

    I think it is sometimes the case that in a trio one bunny is left out to some extent. It was certainly the case when I had the three Rexes. Yan and Tan were not aggressive towards Tethra, but it appeared he was never welcome to join them in their snuggles and would sit by himself. Your situation sounds more serious than that though, as I never thought that Tethra was fearful of them. Your experience with Hamilton, Beatrice and Plumpkin was probably more the exception than the rule, as they seemed to always be a three rather than a two plus one.

    I don't think that anyone could confidently predict what would happen if you introduced another rabbit with the intention of bonding a quad and I can appreciate your OH's concerns.

    If it were me I think, if I was sure that there was no real aggressive behaviour, I would leave things as they are for a while longer in the hope that the two does might bond better given more time. I think that Jellybean is possibly lacking in confidence and still views Beatrice as a threat. She has learnt that by bullying her she can control the situation to her advantage and so feels more secure. If, after a while there is no improvement then I would consider obtaining another bunny. If you attempted a quad and it was unsuccessful, could you accommodate two pairs, one inside and one outside?
    I'm really hopeful that it will get better with time too, I'm just not sure. Jellybean will chase at Beatrice and nip at her, but it is nothing at all like it used to be. It seems more intense in the morning, and by the afternoon they will all be grazing within a metre of each other and the situation will seem sort of peaceful. Can rabbits hold grudges? Jellybean has a scar on her lip and on her ear from Beatrice...I wonder if she is still nervous that she might try to hurt her again.

    Another idea that my OH and I had was to try re-jigging their shed setup so the layout is completely different and then bringing them all in together and watching them for a while. Making the space neutral territory again might give Beatrice the chance to assert more confidence and not be shunned to the corner.

    I haven't split them up as of yet because it hasn't seemed bad enough to warrant that, and in response to Joey&Boo, I don't think Beatrice would be happy inside. She loves grazing the grass and she's a bit scared of my cat. I think she would find it boring inside, compared to all of the stimulation outside. It's so tricky. I am particularly missing Plumpkin at this time, my little angel

  6. #6
    Wise Old Thumper BattleKat's Avatar
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    Personally I'd look at getting a fourth from rescue where you've got back up if it all goes south.
    The rearranging and neutralising idea is good though, especially if you can provide more than one water bowl/bottle and litter tray so that Bea doesn't have to compete if she doesn't want to. I'd also try switching up when you feed them. It could be that in the morning it's intense because they know food is coming so feel more territorial.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beapig View Post
    I'm really hopeful that it will get better with time too, I'm just not sure. Jellybean will chase at Beatrice and nip at her, but it is nothing at all like it used to be. It seems more intense in the morning, and by the afternoon they will all be grazing within a metre of each other and the situation will seem sort of peaceful. Can rabbits hold grudges? Jellybean has a scar on her lip and on her ear from Beatrice...I wonder if she is still nervous that she might try to hurt her again.

    Another idea that my OH and I had was to try re-jigging their shed setup so the layout is completely different and then bringing them all in together and watching them for a while. Making the space neutral territory again might give Beatrice the chance to assert more confidence and not be shunned to the corner.

    I haven't split them up as of yet because it hasn't seemed bad enough to warrant that, and in response to Joey&Boo, I don't think Beatrice would be happy inside. She loves grazing the grass and she's a bit scared of my cat. I think she would find it boring inside, compared to all of the stimulation outside. It's so tricky. I am particularly missing Plumpkin at this time, my little angel
    I think this might be worth considering.

  8. #8
    Forum Buddy Craig 1965's Avatar
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    I'm also sorry to read this - you put all your love and time into making life better for your rabbits and you are totally dedicated and caring. I echo Scrappys Little Helpers view and perhaps a fourth bun may be the best way forward to share life with Bea.
    Sending you loads of vibes - you are such a wonderful bun-carer.
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  9. #9
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I am so sorry this doesn't seem to be working. My feelings are for Bea, rightly or not, as she was there in a relationship first, so I think Jellybean will have to go back indoors for now.

  10. #10
    Mama Doe
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    Thank you everyone for your kind words and your feedback! We've decided that we're going to try changing the shed setup quite drastically in the next couple of weeks. We're going to be installing a 2nd floor in there and getting some bits from Manor Pet Housing.

    Things have seemed a little better this weekend - I gave them some brambles today and although Beatrice was nervous and ran away a few times, eventually she calmed down and joined in. Right now I'm looking out of the window and her and Hamilton are snuggled together in the shed, which is so nice to see because I was worried that he had totally ditched her. If they become close again then maybe things will balance out and maybe Jellybean and Beatrice will at least be chill with each other and not so edgy. I do think it's possible that things will improve further so I'm not going to give up just yet

    20191103_105905 by Rachel Brown, on Flickr

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