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Thread: When to give up?

  1. #1

    Default When to give up?

    My 11 year old dwarf lop, Bella, lost her husbun of 8 years. She was miserable alone so I took her speed dating and she settled quickly with Jeff, a 7 year old lion head.

    They’re house rabbits and started off living separately but able to see each other if they chose to. It progressed really well and they spent their time lying either side of the window watching each other. They were moved to a neutral place together and it all went well. In total this all took about 3 months.

    When together, Jeff grooms Bella and she snuggles into him. She hardly ever leaves his side. They share a blanket, food, toilets and toys.

    Despite this, we haven’t been able to progress to unsupervised time together. Bella communicates by “mouthing” (by this I mean not quite nipping, just putting her open mouth and closing gently). She does it to me when she’s excited for food and did it to her previous husbun when she wanted him to groom her. Jeff seems to misread this and will lunge at her with tail up, she will then do a quick turn and face him, one will then nip the other and they’ll jump into a brawling ball. I will calm the situation before this happens but it means I’m unable to leave them alone.

    They sleep in their own areas and spend the day in the neutral zone or Jeff’s area (Bella’s isn’t set up for me to be there all day). We’re 6 months in now (9 total) and I’m exhausted. I spend from 8am (when they scratch the door to get to each other) until midnight (when Bella demands to leave) supervising them. When I have to leave the room I watch them on camera. If I don’t allow them to be together they both seem to sulk and have even tried to clean each other through the window but I also can’t leave them alone.

    Bella is becoming increasingly vulnerable due to her age. She’s very wobbly and I’m desperate for her to avoid conflict and live the rest of her life happily settled, as she was for the majority of it.

    I’d really appreciate advice on what to do next.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    IOW
    Posts
    20,233

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    Hi. I read about your dilemma yesterday but could think of nothing useful to say but, after thinking it over, all I can tell you is it is really up to you how to manage this situation. I have no definite answers as if there is some kind of friction between 2 Rabbits it is probably best to keep them separate but still close to one another then you can all be happy. We don't always understand why Rabbits do certain things as they have their ways and we can only do so much for them. Your girl is a very good age and I have a 12 yr old and she was being bullied by a younger male so I put her with another boy who treats her very nicely so she is very lucky now.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Toni.

    I wish I had the space to try Bella with another rabbit but it would mean encroaching on her or Jeff’s space, which I can’t do.

    When I keep them separate they will scratch at the window (it’s a glass door) to get to each other. Bella will flop in her toilet and be visibly upset, Jeff will dig at the carpet and be generally destructive and a bit of a pain. This forces me to bring them together and then they’ll snuggle like they’ve missed each other and make me feel terrible for keeping them apart.

    We have gone several days in a row without them having a go at each other but we always seem to end up with a fall out at some point. When they squabble, I’ll separate them but they’ll both ask to go back to each other straight away. They’ll then settle like nothing has happened.

    If it wasn’t for Bella’s vulnerability, I’d probably be less concerned about the bickering but it can so quickly escalate into something more serious. It’s all very confusing and all consuming at the moment.

  4. #4
    Warren Veteran
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bradford
    Posts
    6,042

    Default

    Is there any way you can leave them separated by a secure mesh divider when you can't supervise them? They will be able to snuggle next to each other but not fight. It might make life a bit easier for you as well. Something like taller puppy panels or a large dog crate may work.

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