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Thread: Bonding a Trio - Will it get better?

  1. #1

    Default Bonding a Trio - Will it get better?

    We've done a lot of research prior to starting the bonding of our m/f pair with a single m.
    We're keen to take it slow so as to minimise stress to the buns (and us!).
    We are bonding in a pen in neutral territory daily and are currently at approx 30 mins (after 6 days) Our two males are more confident and approach each other but always head first which leads to either boxing or a tornado which I break up immediately.
    My question is, will this eventually improve if I continue to break it up in this way? At the moment it makes me wonder how they will ever work things out if their only close interactions are like this (they spend most of the time approx 20-30cm apart, interspersed with these fight interactions).

  2. #2
    Warren Veteran
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    I would stop the short sessions as they are just winding each other up and it could end up in a massive fight which could stop any future bond. 30 mins is not enough time to develop a good relationship and these two are not accepting each other this way.

    Maybe go to side-by-side bonding - leave them separated by wire mesh for a few weeks. You can swap sides daily after a while to get them used to each other's scent. You may have to take it very slowly.

    I'm assuming they have all been neutered for at least a couple of months?

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper
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    The answer to your question is that it may not get better. You have good intentions with regards to your Rabbits but they may not see it your way. Our Bunnies are not that different from their wild cousins where 2 males would possibly fight over a female. One would almost definitely be the dominant one.

  4. #4

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    Thank you both.

    All are neutered, most recent was 10 weeks ago, the others over a year.

    We did try side by side initially then read that it can be bad to use that when bonding an already bonded pair, so many different opinions, to be expected on such a big topic I guess!

    We will persevere and make the sessions longer and consider side by side again.

    We're very aware of the need for hierarchy and that one bun will need to establish their dominance, it's just that everything being face on means I have to stop it before they can figure anything out, hopefully longer sessions might fix this and allow them to use some other behaviours.

  5. #5
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    I would be very careful - if they are already going straight in to fight, it won't get any better if you just keep putting them in the same position, and half an hour isn't long enough to change their behaviour if they are just seeing a rival male. Once they start fighting, you can probably forget about trying to bond them. They need time to get to know each other without being quite so confrontational. There is a difference between establishing who's boss, having a chase, fur pulling - all normal in the first stages of bonding - and locking in for a fight.

    There's nothing wrong with side-by-side bonding if it means a good outcome eventually. Each rabbit also has to develop 2 new relationships in trio bonding, so it may not be as straightforward as bonding a pair. You may, for instance, find that new boy and the girl bond fairly easily, but the other boy may take much longer if he's 'losing' his partner. So you could even consider bonding the girl with both boys separately before trying as a trio. It all depends on the individual rabbits and how they react to each other.

    I would also look at a totally neutral space when they are together - somewhere that none of them have ever been, so they have no territorial rights over the others.

  6. #6

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    We are being careful and yes, completely understand re the difference between establishing dominance and fighting which is why we were worried before. We have just done two hours and the longer time made a huge difference, I guess before we were never letting them get past the initial meeting stage. There was some nipping as well as approaching for a sniff and then retreating without a fight and some laying down after a while too, it probably helped that I was much less anxious as well! We will aim for 4 hours tomorrow and continue that.

    We will continue with them side by side as well to hopefully help.

    We do do our bonding in a completely neutral space.
    Last edited by JadePez; 02-01-2022 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Posted before I finished writing

  7. #7
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    That sounds much more positive, and it is quite stressful for the humans as well.

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