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Thread: Urgent Help please - fighting rabbits!

  1. #1
    Warren Scout
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    Default Urgent Help please - fighting rabbits!

    As some of you may have seen from my previous post, we collected our rescue bunnies on Wednesday and they've been settling in pretty well since then. However, this morning they seemed to be squabbling over food and one bit the other twice. How serious is this?? They are both boys, under one and unneutered*, but the rescue said that they get on really well. They've been together for about a month.

    We've separated them temporarily with one in their playhouse and the other outside. Should we leave them like this for a bit, and if so for how long and what should be our next move? The outside one doesn't have much shelter but can hide between the side of the playhouse and the tarpaulin that is covering the run.

    Please advise!!


    *We are planning to get them neutered and we're going to talk about it when we have their vaccination appointment next week.

    ETA: unfortunately I have to go out shortly and won't be back til mid afternoon, so urgent advice would be really appreciated!
    Last edited by OliveTree; 01-11-2019 at 08:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Mama Doe
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    I would keep them separate unless you are supervising (and completely if they draw blood), neuter ASAP and rebond. You need to discuss timing with your vet as you should leave a couple of weeks gap between each vaccination and any other procedure, such as neutering.

    Are they not vaccinated at all?

    I would be tempted to neuter first to keep them together, but there is always a risk with unvaccinated rabbits, especially if they are stressed (such as the move and falling out) and I wouldn't be happy with that, either. There is also the weather to consider if one is outside - he will need more protection anyway, and an unheated room after the op as they can't regulate their temperature after an anaesthetic. You also need to monitor input and output for a few days to make sure they are eating and pooing ok. Leaving neutering for another month pushes it further in to winter weather.

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Oh no, I'm so sorry to read this I had no idea that your boys were not neutered, as they had come from a rescue (rescues usually neuter before adoption). I have to say I am really not that surprised that they are fighting Unneutered bucks will usually fight, even if they are litter mates.

    You say they were OK for a month at the rescue? Were they together also before they were rescued? I would suggest that their bond at the rescue was probably quite fragile and the change of circumstances, now you have adopted them, has caused this upset.

    In my view you are definitely right to separate, as not only could they seriously injure each other, but if they do have a nasty fight it will probably be impossible to ever have them living together.

    I realise this is far from ideal for you and I'm so sorry as you must be so upset. However, I would suggest your best plan is to keep them separate and have them neutered asap. If you can provide accommodation for them both separately and as they have not been vaccinated I would make their vaccinations a priority. After vaccination I would wait a couple of weeks and then have them both neutered. Unfortunately you will then need to wait about 6 weeks for their hormones to calm down, before re-introducing them on neutral territory.

    I really am so sorry that this has happened.

  4. #4
    Warren Scout
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    Hi, thank you for your quick reply. Unfortunately we just can't accommodate them separately. We don't have the space or the money for separate homes. I think I will need to talk to the rescue asap (I know they're not open this morning though). Do you think we will have to send one of them back?

    Eta: the rescue introduced them.

  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliveTree View Post
    Hi, thank you for your quick reply. Unfortunately we just can't accommodate them separately. We don't have the space or the money for separate homes. I think I will need to talk to the rescue asap (I know they're not open this morning though). Do you think we will have to send one of them back?

    Eta: the rescue introduced them.
    I would wait and see what the rescue suggests, before deciding on what to do. One option would be to send one back. Another would be for the rescue to house both rabbits separately, get them vaccinated and neutered and then re-bonded for you. You could perhaps come to an arrangement where you formally adopt them and pay for their veterinary treatment. Sending lots of hugs.

  6. #6
    Warren Scout
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    Thanks. The rescue were very laid back about everything, and now I'm wondering if they were *too* laid back. They suggested that vaccination and neutering were both optional and it would be completely up to us whether or not we got them done. I planned and expected to do it anyway, but I'm now wondering if that was a bad sign.

    I can talk to them though and see what they say. They already held onto them for ages while they waited to us to be ready. I don't know whether they'd accommodate them again but it's worth asking.

    In hindsight, we should have arranged for them to be neutered then. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

  7. #7
    Mama Doe
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    If they go back to the rescue, the rabbits are still in the same position. It is still something that can be sorted out and have a good outcome - there is just going to be a slight delay to what you were expecting.

    Can you put a hutch or big dog crate in the playhouse and swap the boys over daily? It doesn't have to be a quality item - just one that will do the job. I wouldn't use a second hand hutch (especially with unvaccinated rabbits), but dog crates are readily available on local groups (eg FaceBook, GumTree) and can be disinfected before use.

  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Yes, of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but quite honestly there are so many things to consider with rabbit ownership. In my experience it's also very unusual, but not completely unknown, for rescues to rehome unvaccinated and unneutered rabbits. In my view, if this is common practice with this rescue they have probably had similar situations happen previously.

    You could, of course, just return these rabbits and adopt a neutered and vaccinated pair from a different rescue. However, that would be an enormous pity for these two lads, who in my view have really not done anything wrong. They've just followed their natural instincts. On the plus side, if they have lived together harmoniously for a month in the rescue, then the signs are positive that they would be able to be re-bonded.

  9. #9
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    Iím sorry you have been put in this position. Itís not unusual for any pair to have a bit of a fall out in new territory, and this will be compounded by the fact that they are both un neutered. Iím very surprised that a rescue would bond an unneutered pair of boys.

    I hope you can think of a way around the situation. If they have been together a month prior to this hopefully they can be rebonded, I would wait after their hormones have subsided probably 6 weeks after neutering.

  10. #10
    Mama Doe Scrappy's Little Helper's Avatar
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    Oh no I'm really sorry the boys have been fighting I agree with the advice given above, the only thing you can really do now is to separate them, neuter and try to rebond them at a later date. Unfortunately it takes a few weeks for the hormones to settle so it will be a while before you can even attempt to rebond them again.

    I know it's not much help to you right now but I do feel you've been let down by the rescue. Having two entire bucks together is a big risk as there is a very high likelihood of them having serious fights. You've been set up for potential heartbreak very early on, so the rescue should do the decent thing and put things right. Whether they will or not is another matter!

    It's frustrating you're in this situation but it is salvageable. If you want to keep the boys and you get no help from the rescue then I think the best interim solution is to get some temporary shelter for the one in the more exposed part of the run, get them both neutered, wait a few weeks for the hormones to subside and have a go at rebonding them. Many of us on here have bonded bunnies ourselves so we will be able to guide you through it.

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