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Thread: Help! Need serious help bonding my male buns!

  1. #1

    Default Help! Need serious help bonding my male buns!

    Hi All,

    Wondering if anyone can give some personalised advice based on my situation as I have pretty much read everything there is to read on bonding already!

    So Moonie and Middie are my two male rabbits that I have had since August / October 2020 respectively. Both are same age (2 weeks apart, about 6 months old now). When I first got Moonie we thought he was a girl and so got Middie so 'she' could have a male companion. I wasn't very knowledgeable in rabbits and so they had 2/3 fights (before they were neutered). They both have been living in separate cages (spare room) that are right next to each other for over 3 months and they take turns in free roaming around the house.

    So 5 weeks after they have been neutered I started the bonding process and held these in the bathroom (neutral area). Started with 15 mins then increased to about 2 hours within a week as it was going well.

    After about 7 days I put up a pen in the kitchen (also neutral area) and put them both in there in the morning and pretty much left them in there together for hours. They always snuggled with each other, groomed each other, used the same litter and ate together so all was going well! However there was some humping from Middie and he was a bit more pushy in terms of 'displaying his dominance' i.e. constantly demanding some grooming. Moonie would give in sometimes but I could see he wasn't too thrilled about constantly being pestered.

    It got to the point where I was comfortable leaving them there throughout the day while I watched tv in the next room and all was well. So I then decided to give them more space, I opened the door of the xpen so they had access to the whole kitchen which they explored for a bit and Moonie went to lay down next to the fridge. I left them for about 5 mins and ran back in the kitchen as I heard a lot of noise, of course they were fighting like crazy and fur was everywhere! It seems that when I give them a bit of extra space all their bonding goes out the window! This was last night so I separated them, Middie is now in the spare room with his cage and he can free roam in the room, and Moonie is in the xpen I set up in the kitchen. They have no contact with each other so cannot smell or see each other.

    Should I keep them separated for a couple of weeks and then try swapping them around in their habitats each day first? Or should I re-start the bonding process again asap. Or should I put them in their adjoining cages again for a couple of weeks so they can at least smell and see each other.

    Any advise is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
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    I would first of all give it a try putting them back in exactly the same area where they were last comfortable with each other. And obviously watch them very carefully. Increasing space whilst bonding is very often a problem. This can be due to too quickly or too much space or a combination of both. If they can get to where they were, I would leave them a lot longer before moving them. And then when you do move them, I would do so very minimally.

    Best of luck.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Omi,

    If I put them back and they seem ok with each other, should I keep them in there as long as I can (e.g. maybe have them sleep in that enclosure together), or should i keep them sleeping separate for a while still?

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Quote Originally Posted by snas View Post
    Thanks Omi,

    If I put them back and they seem ok with each other, should I keep them in there as long as I can (e.g. maybe have them sleep in that enclosure together), or should i keep them sleeping separate for a while still?
    No bonds are the same and people who bond have differing views. Many people think that if you split them up at all during the bonding period then they need to start afresh each time. Bonding rabbits is all about them trusting each other and they seem to usually need prolonged time together when there is no aggression for the bond to fully develop. If you are able to sleep very close to them and it's all looking OK I would leave them together.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    No bonds are the same and people who bond have differing views. Many people think that if you split them up at all during the bonding period then they need to start afresh each time. Bonding rabbits is all about them trusting each other and they seem to usually need prolonged time together when there is no aggression for the bond to fully develop. If you are able to sleep very close to them and it's all looking OK I would leave them together.

    Thanks Omi, one last question if thats ok. If I keep them together and even try letting them sleep together, then what should i do about exercise time? Wont taking turns free roaming the house count as separation? But also keeping them together non stop with no exercise will probably stress them out.

  6. #6
    Mama Doe
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    I would just leave them confined at a point where they are stable and comfortable with each other. Giving them extra space right now will be a backwards step. It will be worth it in the end. Just don't be tempted to rush it. A week or two in a smaller space to bond properly vs fighting...It's really not worth risking a fight as it may mean no permanent bond.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmer View Post
    I would just leave them confined at a point where they are stable and comfortable with each other. Giving them extra space right now will be a backwards step. It will be worth it in the end. Just don't be tempted to rush it. A week or two in a smaller space to bond properly vs fighting...It's really not worth risking a fight as it may mean no permanent bond.
    Thanks Shimmer, i will put them back together this evening and give them loads of greens and treats so they form a positive association. Would you suggest not giving either of them free run of the house right now then for exercise? As technically that means they will be separated for a few hours in the day.

  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimmer View Post
    I would just leave them confined at a point where they are stable and comfortable with each other. Giving them extra space right now will be a backwards step. It will be worth it in the end. Just don't be tempted to rush it. A week or two in a smaller space to bond properly vs fighting...It's really not worth risking a fight as it may mean no permanent bond.
    I agree with Shimmer. Put them together and keep them together with no separation at all including exercise times. Leave them like that until you are absolutely confident that they are relaxed together, before considering changing anything.

  9. #9
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    I agree with Shimmer. Put them together and keep them together with no separation at all including exercise times. Leave them like that until you are absolutely confident that they are relaxed together, before considering changing anything.
    I agree with this too. Good luck

  10. #10
    Forum Buddy Pets mum's Avatar
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    Good luck, hope everything goes ok for bunnies
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