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Bonding with an aggressive bunny

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Benji-Bunny, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Benji-Bunny

    Benji-Bunny PetForums Newbie

    Feb 17, 2019
    Likes Received:
    I really need some help! My bonding isn't going well as my original, male Bun is being very aggressive. I sent the below information to a behavioural advice team who've advised me to move their pens into a different room (which I'll do tonight) but that if there's no improvement in 2 weeks I'll need return my new, female Bun. Any suggestions very welcome!!

    I adopted my female (Bernie) about 6 weeks ago and my original Bun (Benji) isn't warming up to her (they are both neutered and similar ages). They are house bunnies and are side by side in pens most of the time. Benji has always been free range so he does see the house as his territory, I didn't put them side by side straight away but they've been in the pens for 3 weeks.

    They are in the pens while I'm at work and at night but I let them both out to stretch their legs in the evenings, around 4 and a half hours depending on what time I get home. Each night I get them into opposite places, so one will be in the hallway and bedroom and the other is in the kitchen and living room. Benji also gets an hour in the hallway/bedroom when I get ready for work as where he has always been free range, being shut in winds him up much more than Bernie! I swap litter trays every morning and their hiding box every evening.

    As I don't ever pick them up (and Bernie is still less confident around me as she's new) they do get close through the bars of the pens when I'm letting one of them in or out for the evening.

    Bernie doesn't seem overly concerned by Benji but Benji is aggressive to her (he's VERY friendly otherwise). Benji chases her within his pen and nips her through the bars (not enough to hurt her) and will grunt at her. Sometimes he'll go straight to try and nip her through the bars and sometimes he will thump his feet and leave the room immediately. After grooming Bernie I have put her fur (lots of it) in Benji's pen and he's charged at my hand and started biting the fur. He's even nipped me a few times when I've been trying to get him away from her, and Benji and I are certainly well bonded! Bernie seems more gently curious of Benji and has shown a few positive signs but sometimes gets scared if he's being aggressive. This happens regularly but only briefly as they have very little opportunity to reach each other. I have bricks in between the pens so Benji can't reach her but they're still close.

    I'm loath to get them together on neutral ground as it seems Benji will attack her if he can.

    My only entirely neutral place isn't big enough to move the pens to so I'm moving them tonight into my spare room which Bernie has never been in and Benji has only been in on the rare occasion I've worked from home, he hasn't been in there since the day after I got Bernie and I've rearranged everything so that it'll seem new.

    I've been advised to give this 2 weeks but that it's unlikely that it will improve and that once they've had a fight (which they have, very briefly on the only occasion they've not been separated because Benji got out) that bonding won't happen because you can't come back from it. They also were very against the "stressing" method.

    Please, please give me something to try before I have to return Bernie-Bear :(
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