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Thread: No nonsence approach to bunny bonding and neutering

  1. #1
    Mama Doe sgprescue's Avatar
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    Default No nonsence approach to bunny bonding and neutering

    After reading a lot of posts on the forum lately I felt I needed to start a thread on bonding. Many people seem to faf around when it comes to bonding and there really isnt any need for it. Over the years I have paired up hundreds of bunnies and found the way I do things to be the easiest and least stressfull on the bunnies.

    single or pair?
    I have on many occasions heard people mention that their rabbit does not get on with another one. With the number of bunnies I have had through my doors I have NEVER found one that I couldnt pair up. If given enough space, matched up in the correct way (see below) and neutered first then there is no reason for bunny not to get on with another one.

    Neutering
    This part is very important. It can be very difficult to bond hormonal un-neutered bunnies so neutering first is essential. I always get ALL bunnies neutered before bonding them and find this the easiest way to do it. If you have a male/female pair and only get the male done then at some point the female will become hormonal and increase the chances of a disagreement.

    Which sex?
    It doesnt matter if you have 2 males, 2 females or a male/female pair, as long as they are neutered at the correct age and paired up correctly any of the above can work. If you have 2 boys or 2 girls that are growing up together it is important to get them neutered before the hormones kick in, this will obviously depend on your vet but my vet neuters boys as soon as their testicles drop (usually around 12 weeks depending on breed) and the girls as soon as they are 1kg in weight (around 14 weeks for an average dwarf lop). There are many benefits from having them neutered at such a young age. With the boys, their hormones will not have kicked in yet so you can drasticaly increase the chances of them staying together. With the girls, the operation is not so severe at a young age, adult does develop a layer of fat around the uterus meaning there is more for the vet to cut through to get to it. I recently had 2 litters of dwarf lops and all of the males and females were neutered at 14 weeks, within a week after the op they were all healed up.

    When to bond
    Forget all this nonsence about leaving it 6 weeks. The only time you need to leave it that long is if you are matching up a neutered male with an un-neutered female. I often get single males and females neutered at the same time and pair them up 10 - 14 days later. As long as their stitches have healed there is no reason not to pair them up. I have found very little difference in the temperament of a bunny that has been neutered for 2 weeks from one that has been neutered 6 weeks. Once you have put 2 bunnies together do not seperate them, they need to establish their territory and who is boss, seperating them even if it is overnight will not help this process.

    Where?
    It is very important to match them up on neutral territory and away from other rabbits. Usually a large run in the garden is best. Put both bunnies in there at the same time and then leave them there for a few hours. ONLY seperate them if they are starting to injure each other. You must expect a bit of chasing, mounting and possibly a little bit of fur flying but this is perfectly normal and will soon settle down. Most importantly, DO NOT TOUCH THEM during the bonding process.

    Some of you may find my methods a little harsh, however they are the most successful and least stressfull on the bunnies. I have many groups and pairs of bunnies here that are all very happy and healthy and I have never observed any arguments between them. If anyone is still having problems after trying the above send them over to me, I am always up for a challenge :wink:

    Cheryl

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    Default hi

    Thanks Cheryl - great advice

    What about bonding singles and pairs into existing groups though? Or do you think that couples are best?

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    Mama Doe sgprescue's Avatar
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    Default Re: hi

    Quote Originally Posted by elve
    Thanks Cheryl - great advice

    What about bonding singles and pairs into existing groups though? Or do you think that couples are best?
    exactly the same bonding technique but just with multiple bunnies. I recently bonded one of my males with a male/female pair and it was actually the 2 males that became really lovey dovy with each other . I also have a group of 2 males and 2 females that were originally 2 male/female pairs and they all adore each other.

    Cheryl

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    Mama Doe .::.whiterabbit.::.'s Avatar
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    Default

    thanks. great information for when or if i get bramble

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    Wise Old Thumper
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    cheryl great post and i am sure it will help alot of the less experienced people get an idea of how we do it!

    but i am not sure about your comments on the rabbits not liking others bit!

    now the challenge if you except! lets put your thoery to the test, i have two neutered bunnys one female and one male, i have tried each with every available bunnys here with NO success, both end up in jaw locks with other bunnies.

    i have had both here for nearly a year and i have given up!

    i recently thought i had nearly suceeded with the male but it turnes out he bit her in the most awlful place and she is no longer interested (do you blame her! )

    i chalenge you to your theory and if you can bond them to someone i have here or one of your own i will take take on them rabbits and even make a small donation to your rescue in gratitude!

    over to you

    Eve x

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    Default

    Thanks for posting this. I have to admit the bonding thing was a bit daunting to me - I've had years of experience introducing new rats to each other so the fact that bonding rabbits was supposedly so different was a bit of a weird concept to me.
    I do have to say I don't quite agree that any rabbit will get along with any other rabbit - before bonding Mary and Squishy, I tried Joey and Mary, and although I do think they would've got along eventually, I think it would have been more a case of tolerating each other than the true bond Mary and Squishy have formed with each other - these two genuinely seek out each other's company, whereas Mary was happiest when Joey was on the other side of the run/crate.
    I had more to add but time for the vet trip/obligatory spending all my new wages at the vets

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    Forum Buddy janice's Avatar
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    Excellent advice Cheryl.
    When I visited Lorna at Greenfields this week, we were discussing about bonding issues, Lorna does all her bonding at her place, she has been for the past months experimenting to see what is the best way.

    Method 1: putting them together and letting them sort themselves out in a neutral area where they can be easily observed, only temporarily separating for a matter of seconds if they were fighting which would cause each other damage or
    Method 2: Putting them each in a pen next to each other for a day, swapping them over into the other ones pen and then finally putting them in together.

    Lorna reckons that there really is not a lot of difference in the outcome of both methods apart from Method 2 takes longer. She now uses Method 1 all the time.

    Both ARC and Greenfields recommend putting them together and not separating them once they are together as this only delays and lengthens the time it takes to bond them together.

    Janice

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrn1310
    Both ARC and Greenfields recommend putting them together and not separating them once they are together as this only delays and lengthens the time it takes to bond them together.

    Janice
    for the benefit of the board at what stage do you consider them together?

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    Forum Buddy janice's Avatar
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    My own thought is once they are put in together they should remain together and left together for as long as possible (ie indefinately) taking them everywhere including vets visits with each other. The timing of the pairing needs to be done when you have adequate time to do observe them.

    I have just paired up a 'difficult girl' with a timid boy, Donna brought them both to me on Wednesday afternoon as I was neutral territory for them. We left it intentionally until this day as we knew that I would have the time to be around to observe them and I was also not working this weekend. Donna had been warned that other boys who had been previoulsy attempted to be paired with this girl had previoulsy been unsuccesful. We spent the first 4 hours having to part them as she kept lunging at him, they then had a 4 hour long trip in a carrier to meet Cheryl and all the buns and piggies we collected from her and since then they have either spent the time in my kitchen or out in the run where I can watch them as much as possible. They are still not 100%, however if I split them now, I consider we will have to start from scratch again.

    Hopefully that answers your question Eve.

    Janice

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrn1310
    My own thought is once they are put in together they should remain together and left together for as long as possible (ie indefinately) taking them everywhere including vets visits with each other. The timing of the pairing needs to be done when you have adequate time to do observe them.

    I have just paired up a 'difficult girl' with a timid boy, Donna brought them both to me on Wednesday afternoon as I was neutral territory for them. We left it intentionally until this day as we knew that I would have the time to be around to observe them and I was also not working this weekend. Donna had been warned that other boys who had been previoulsy attempted to be paired with this girl had previoulsy been unsuccesful. We spent the first 4 hours having to part them as she kept lunging at him, they then had a 4 hour long trip in a carrier to meet Cheryl and all the buns and piggies we collected from her and since then they have either spent the time in my kitchen or out in the run where I can watch them as much as possible. They are still not 100%, however if I split them now, I consider we will have to start from scratch again.

    Hopefully that answers your question Eve.

    Janice

    well to be honest cheryl i have dont my fair share of bonding especially over the last year, and confused by the meaning of this post and too what is being said.

    from what i have read cheryl is of the option that no bunny doesnt like other bunnys, so is it a mear case of finding the right one? and if that to be true i have tried two bunnys with about 13 other rabbits and it was a no go with most, so my question id do i have to keep taking on bunnys until they feel they have meet the right one or is it fair to say they dont like other bunnys and much prefer to be soilitry!?

    Eve x

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