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Thread: Bonding two ageing males...

  1. #1
    Warren Scout
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    Default Bonding two ageing males...

    Thanks to all of you who sent us their condolences after the recent loss of our rabbit Willow.

    Now that Willow is gone, I have two males left, Charlie and Harvey. Charlie and Willow were a bonded pair, Harvey always lived separately, right next to them. I spent a long time trying to form a trio but it always ended up the same: Harvey and Charlie fighting. But maybe it was because of Willow.

    So I will try to bond the two males (they are both at least 5 years old, exact age unknown as they were adopted as adults) and just out of curiosity, what are the chances of it working out?

    Both are quite stubborn and Harvey is especially assertive.

    To be fair, we have been watching Charlie closely today and he does not seem heartbroken. Many years ago we had a rabbit and guinea pig living together as a bonded pair and when the rabbit died it was obvious that the guinea pig needed a companion: he was just sitting in his hiding hole, depressed. But Charlie is running around as normal and does not seem to behave any differently.

    I am prepared to spend some time trying to get them together but I must admit, it's always all out war and it seems quite distressing for both of them.

  2. #2
    Mama Doe
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    Assuming they are both neutered, it's worth a go. If they do fight, just call it quits and they end up as singletons again. Sometimes they mellow with age.
    I would try somewhere totally neutral - where no bunny has been before. Even the small of another bunny (eg Willow) may set them off, and you need to give it a fair chance.

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Are they both neutered? If not then I wouldn't try to bond them. Boys usually fight if not neutered but even when they are they might not get along.

  4. #4
    Warren Scout
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonibun View Post
    Are they both neutered? If not then I wouldn't try to bond them. Boys usually fight if not neutered but even when they are they might not get along.
    Yes, they are both neutered. Although they were neutered as adults.

  5. #5

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    All the neutered Bucks I have bonded over the last 24 years have been easier than any Buck/Doe bond. The only bondings that I have had failures with are Doe/Doe bonds.

    I would give it a go


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  6. #6
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    OK, I'll give it a go.
    So far, the routine is: the two rabbits approach each other. Furious competitive digging, side by side. Chasing. Then circling. Then all hell breaks loose and I have to separate them.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lagomorphine View Post
    OK, I'll give it a go.
    So far, the routine is: the two rabbits approach each other. Furious competitive digging, side by side. Chasing. Then circling. Then all hell breaks loose and I have to separate them.
    Exactly where are they meeting and in how big a space.? indoors or out ?

    Intervene to stop the circling BEFORE a fight starts

    You’ll need heavy duty gloves and a thick sleeved coat/jacket to protect yourself from random bites.


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  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    Oh boys ! I hope they calm down & this works out for you

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by InspectorMorse View Post
    Exactly where are they meeting and in how big a space.? indoors or out ?

    Intervene to stop the circling BEFORE a fight starts
    The setup is this: they have been living side by side in the garden, in two separate runs. They are let out during the daylight hours; they have their turns (half of the day Charlie, then the rest of the day Harvey). The both seem to think the whole garden belongs to them.
    So whenever they have met, it's always been outdoors.
    Bringing them indoors is tricky because they are not cuddly buns. They only allow the odd stroke and fuss, but strictly on their terms. Other than that, "give us treats, humans,or we are not interested!". So picking them up and taking them indoors is problematic.
    There was one occasion, last summer, when they both got out accidentally (Charlie escaped from his run through a tunnel) and had a big fight. We found them lying next to each other, totally exhausted. They were so worn out, we picked them up without any resistance.
    When one of them is in his run and the other free range, they are quite happy to feed from the same hay ball through the wire mesh. Occasionally Harvey sticks his head out through a gap and you can almost hear him say to Charlie "groom me, you b*stard!". Which Charlie ignores.
    That's about it.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lagomorphine View Post
    The setup is this: they have been living side by side in the garden, in two separate runs. They are let out during the daylight hours; they have their turns (half of the day Charlie, then the rest of the day Harvey). The both seem to think the whole garden belongs to them.
    So whenever they have met, it's always been outdoors.
    Bringing them indoors is tricky because they are not cuddly buns. They only allow the odd stroke and fuss, but strictly on their terms. Other than that, "give us treats, humans,or we are not interested!". So picking them up and taking them indoors is problematic.
    There was one occasion, last summer, when they both got out accidentally (Charlie escaped from his run through a tunnel) and had a big fight. We found them lying next to each other, totally exhausted. They were so worn out, we picked them up without any resistance.
    When one of them is in his run and the other free range, they are quite happy to feed from the same hay ball through the wire mesh. Occasionally Harvey sticks his head out through a gap and you can almost hear him say to Charlie "groom me, you b*stard!". Which Charlie ignores.
    That's about it.
    Given that scenario you are going to have an almost impossible task bonding them in the garden. IMO your only hope of success iIs to bring them both indoors (use a pet carrier if you canít pick them up ) and introduce them in a small, enclosed 100% neutral area. The bonding process may take weeks, if it is to happen at all. You will need to keep them in 24/7 during that time. Not just for an hour or two. If they donít fight in the small indoor enclosure then you can gradually increase their space over a period of weeks. When/if you ever get to the stage where they are happy together in a relatively large indoor area and outdoor temperatures permit you can put them out into a secure, neutral outdoor enclosure. If you just let the have free roam in the garden a fight will probably kick off again, even if all was OK for several weeks indoors.

    Once Rabbits have had a serious fight, as yours seem to have once had, they wonít forget.Trying to get them to bond in a garden they both believe to be their own is never going to work, IMO.
    Last edited by InspectorMorse; 26-02-2021 at 05:12 AM.


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