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Thread: Bonding and Behavior Problem

  1. #1

    Default Bonding and Behavior Problem

    Hello, All!

    I adopted a 1 and a half year old english spot female in August. At the time, I was told by the shelter that she was seperated from her bonded friend. So I thought I would get her a friend late on when she was spayed. I got her fixed in Septemeber and adopted a neutered male 7 month old Holland Lop. He was a very sweet boy in the beginning and allowed me to pet him and pick him up if necessary (I dont pick them unless I really have to).

    After 2 weeks of recovery, I started bonding them. Everything went well and they were grooming each other and loving on each other after about a week and a half. They were completely fine together for about 3 weeks and never had any issues. The male asserted dominance and the female was willing to groom him. They are mostly free range bunnies except I put them away at night in a large dog exercise pen to keep them out of trouble while im sleeping.

    A few days ago, I came home from work and I saw tuffs of fur on the ground. Echo (the female) was terrified and hiding instead of binkying when she sees me come through the door. Fleetwood (the male) did not seemed different. She was terrified of me and wouldnt let me touch her. I had noticed a day before the fight that Fleetwood was being a little bully to her by stealing her food from her mouth and nipping at her to always get out of the way when he wanted to go in the area she was in. She would pin her ears and get a little grumpy when he would do this but she still listened. She always was sassy even before him.
    So I separated them immediately and waited until the next day to try to reintroduce them in a neutral room. Fleetwood chased after her aggresively and tried to bite her. I instantly separated them again. After another day, I tried again and they can be together for about a hour until Fleetwood chases her or bites her. Since the day before the fight, Fleetwood has been especially rude. Violently shaking the cage bars at night or when I isolated him, lunging at me, avoiding me, and scaring Echo. Echo is terrified of him and wont go near him when they used to cuddle all of the time. The vet checked them and they are both okay. What happened to him? What caused the bond to break? Why is he being such a bully when he was once so sweet? What can I do to fix this? Do I need to rehome him?
    Last edited by jbarr23; 31-10-2019 at 05:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper BattleKat's Avatar
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    Default

    It's really hard to say with rabbits. It could be that they had too much space in the early stages of the bond. It could be that Echo stood up to Fleetwood while you were away. Perhaps being shut away at night was frustrating him. It certainly does sound like something happened to him but what is a bit of a mystery.

    I would personally try having them in completely different areas unable to see each other and see if he is still being "off". If he doesn't return to his usual self I'd be looking in to whether something is wrong physically. I know a vet checked them but it could be that there's something undetectable by a general checkup. Trying him on painkillers for a few days to see if he mellows could be a good first step to finding out if some underlying pain is causing him to act out.

    At any rate, taking a little break for tensions to ease before trying bonding again sounds like a good idea.

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