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Bonding my four bunnies, weeks of trying fails!

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by acjb007, May 16, 2010.


  1. acjb007

    acjb007 PetForums Junior

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    Some of you may have read my old posts on here. To recap I have two boys (a year old) who have been castrated. They never fight and love each others company. A few months ago I got two baby girls who are now about nine months old and they have been spayed. I keep both pairs in (very large) hutches with runs next to each other and have done for about two months. They often sniff each other through the bars and aren't bothered by being so close. However, Whenever I let them meet on neutral space a fight breaks out.

    Today I popped all four in the back of the car and went for a drive. The whole journey went well and no fights broke out. In fact they seemed to bond. I got home and let them all run around the kitchen floor for an hour and apart from a couple of chases they got on fine. As soon as I put the two pairs into the same hutch the boys decided to fight the girls. By the way of the two hutches I placed the girls in the boys larger one.

    What went wrong? My only guess is they were happy with the girls outside of their hutch but not once they got in together. I don't think its a lack of space as the hutch is on three floors and about 7 feet high. The run is about 6 feet by 10ft. Full of platforms and places to have their own space.

    Any advice is much appreciated!
     
  2. Gertrude

    Gertrude PetForums VIP

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    The same thing happened with my bonding last week (tho only 2..M&F) anyway like you say car journey went well, let them out back home and it's a no-no!
    So next day I put them back in the carrier on a fleece blanket, put them in the kitchen and hoovered the kitchen and lounge for noise, switched off, left them together for abouut 10 mins in silence, took the blanket out, put it in the cage and then let them directly into the cage onto the blanket, and they've been fine for a week now - might be worth a try?.
    I *think* it was the blanket being transfered from carrier to cage that helped????
    Also my cage is three story but I colsed off 2 floors for an hour too when I put the blanket in. x
    Good luck x
     
  3. hazyreality

    hazyreality PetForums VIP

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    Did you disinfect the hutch? If it still smelt of the boys, it was still their hutch, as far as they were concerned.
    Can you take them for a drive, then have someone watch them in the kitchen while you clean the hutch(white vinegar is ideal), leave it to dry and then put them in it. If you can just put them in the run to start with, then add the hutch part?

    Worth trying the blanket thing :) Also if its not going so well, it could be worth giving all 4 a bath together!
    Having bonded a 5 and planning on bonding a 6 this weekend, it works :)

    *Heidi*
     
    #3 hazyreality, May 16, 2010
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  4. BattleKat

    BattleKat PetForums Senior

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    agree with the disinfect idea, also I've heard of people switching the cages on a daily basis so that by the end of it they're used to each other scents and see it as joint territory.
     
  5. acjb007

    acjb007 PetForums Junior

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    As they boys hutch is so big and would be a hard job to clean do you think if I gave it a light spraying of vinegar and water (mixed) and a wipe then left it for a day to dry it would work? Or maybe bonding them and keeping them all in a room for a week then letting them back in the main hutch? Maybe after a week they boys would forget it was their main home?
     
  6. Gertrude

    Gertrude PetForums VIP

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    My hutch is large and I put disinfectant in a spray bottle, squibbed it all over and then wiped with a wet cloth, didn't take too long, but it did help :thumbup:

    The hutch, you can see the size in comparison to Colin (It was about to be cleaned out so thats why it looks a mess) :eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Kinksfan

    Kinksfan PetForums Newbie

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    Hello, four of our rabbits get along fine in our sunroom and have for months. They groom, etc. They are 2 pairs with male/female combos. When it's time to go back into their pens, each original pair wants to go back to their own house.

    I've put the 4 in the larger pen that is owned by one of the pairs (confused yet?) but the female wants to stomp, she's upset and doesn't feel comfortable. I take her & her partner back out as I don't want everyone stomping in the house, getting stressed.

    What you have to do is work on the one/two that are the cause of the strife. It is hard getting more than a pair together as I've tried with various ones over the years, trying to make combos. It all depends on personalities, females are more territorial and antsy than males much of the time, even when they're fixed.

    Young bunnies (teenagers) under a year old can also get on the nerves of more adult bunnies. Sometimes you have to wait until they're a little older.
    Again, it's all in the personalities of everyone involved. Plus you don't want to break up an original bonding of a pair as it could happen.

    Hope things work out.
    :)
     
  8. Stufi

    Stufi PetForums Junior

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    Hi,

    I am sorry you are having problems. I think the car journey is a great idea as it confuses and slightly stresses them so that they do not concentrate on each other.

    However, when you get them back home they must be put somewhere neutral. It needs to be an area where non of them have been before. If this is not possible the whole area, not just the hutch but everything in it or around it needs to be cleaned and thoroughly scrubbed with Vinager/Water mix. I would say the max area for Bondong three should be 5ft x 5ft. This may sound small but it means that all rabbits have to interact and it is easier for you to break any fighting. Now it takes time and a good waterpistol. I would suggest (having just done it myself) that the bunnies should be left together in their bonding area for at least 3 days without moving. This meant me camping in the garage keeping watch through the BH weekend. When fighting occurs use the water pistlol along with a high pitched squeel. This will startle them and (hopefully) stop the fighting but it will not make the rabbits nervous of you as they would if you were to jump in and seperate.

    I wish you all the luck and promise you if you are patient and stubborn, there are very few rabbits that can't be bonded.
     
  9. B3rnie

    B3rnie Guest

    I agree with this, you find alot of bonding going wrong because people either rush or they increase the area the buns are in too soon and then fighting starts :confused1:
     
  10. BattleKat

    BattleKat PetForums Senior

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    I really hope this is true, I'm getting a buck to bond with my 2 girls tomorrow and I've been really worried by a lady on another forum saying I shouldn't do it because my girls will divorce and I'm a bad bunny owner!

    I intend on doing it very slowly and they will be living in cages next to each other for a month or two before being introduced to their final home (which is new to both of them), I don't suppose if I have any questions I could PM you as I've never bonded before and really scared of cocking it up!
     
  11. B3rnie

    B3rnie Guest

    So long as you take your time I can't see it being an issue at all, if anything adding a buck to my existing does made their bond stronger, I have known of occasions where an existing bond breaks down but tbh that is very few and far between :thumbup:
     
  12. BattleKat

    BattleKat PetForums Senior

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    Thanks, I've hardly slept this week for worry and had decided totally against the idea at one point. So nice to hear some positivity!
     
  13. Stufi

    Stufi PetForums Junior

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    I am sorry to hear what people have said. PM me the site as I am on many of the Rabbit ones. There are far more experienced people than me but if you PM me I will send you the links of our Bonding Photo diary and help where I can. If I don't know the answer I am sure I can find 1 :thumbup::thumbup:
     
  14. emzybabe

    emzybabe PetForums VIP

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    you need to keep them in the kitchen for a couple of nights. empty and clean the hutches using a good disinfectant like jays fluid leave to air for the few days. then spray with neat vinegar leave to dry and then put them in with new fresh bedding and new toys etc
     
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